Principal Investigators Association

My Research Career: Lessons Learned

Spotlight on: Anthony J. Rhem, PhD


Dr. Rhem serves as the President/Principal Consultant of A.J. Rhem & Associates, Inc. (, a privately held Information Systems Integration and Training firm located in Chicago, Illinois. Anthony is an Information Systems professional with thirty (30) years of experience focused on implementation of major application systems. Anthony is also a published author, and educator, presenting the application and theory of Software Engineering Methodologies, Knowledge Management, and Artificial Intelligence. Anthony’s latest book “UML for Developing Knowledge Management Systems” is a source for assisting organizations in understanding knowledge management and how to incorporate knowledge into a software system for dissemination across the organization. He also has another book to be released in April 2013 on “Knowledge Management in Practice.”

Anthony is currently serving as the Director of Research Programs and Professor at The Knowledge Systems Institute ( - Master of Science Knowledge Management Program.

Q: How did you get into research?
I started in research when developing a repeatable process for Knowledge Acquisition. I subsequently submitted and was awarded an SBIR Phase I Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a proof of concept of the process, which later became a software product: Knowledge Acquisition Unified Framework (KAUF).

Q: What motivated you to get into your particular field?
I have been involved in Knowledge Management (KM) since 1998. My background in Artificial Intelligence (Expert Systems) lead some colleagues of mine Dr. Larry Medsker (George Washington University Professor) and Dr. Jesse Bemely (Director of Joint Education Facilities) to introduce me to KM by inviting me to a lecture on the subject given in Washington, DC. Since that lecture my interest and passion for the subject grew and I continue to write, lecture, and consult in this discipline today.

Q: What was the smartest career move you ever made?
My smartest career move was to start my consulting practice in August of 1990. I have been in business managing and serving as Principle Consultant for 22 years!

Q: Worst career move?
My worst career move was to commit to a consulting project before knowing about the lack of stability of the organization and it cost my organization in both time and loss of revenue.

Q:  Can you name an exciting professional opportunity you’ve been given?
An exciting professional opportunity I was given was being elected to the board of directors of Systems Integrators, Inc. I served as Chair of the Finance Committee and was a part of a successful sell of the organization in 1999.

Q: Tell us about the best mentor you’ve had and what they did for you.
Actually I have been fortunate to have a couple of great mentors; Dr. Larry Medsker and Gwendolyn Brooks. Dr. Larry Medsker was a major influence in introducing me to KM as well as introducing me to my current Publisher (Taylor and Francis). As a young child and to my mid twenties Gwendolyn Brooks held a special place in my life. She taught me many life lessons and was a source of constant encouragement and support through High School and College.

Q:  What would you say is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
I enjoy working with the employees of the organizations I consult as well as teaching my students that take my KM and Project Management courses at the Knowledge Systems Institute.

Q: Name one or two managerial, ethical, or personal principles that have helped you succeed.

  • Always deliver what you promise
  • Always add value to everything you do and to all you work with

Q: What was your toughest funding challenge?
My toughest funding challenge was my first National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase II proposal. While the technical section was solid, the commercialization plan fell short. From that point on I have made sure that I give extra attention to this section on future grant proposals.

Q: Do you see any new funding trends developing?
  Some funding trends I see that are developing include: Bioinformatics, STEM Applications, and Search Technologies.

Q: How do you achieve balance between your career and your family/personal life?
I’m still working on obtaining this balance. However, when in doubt your family should always come first!

To learn more about Dr. Rhem, visit his blog at:

Best-Seller! Dr. Rhem’s On-Demand Webinar on NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Proposals:

How to Produce a Winning SBIR Phase I and Phase II Proposal
60-Minute On-Demand Webinar available in CD, MP4 and PDF Transcript.

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The primary objective of the NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Programs is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high-risk, high-quality scientific, engineering, or science research that would have a high-potential economic payoff if the research is successful. That’s pretty clear.

Unfortunately, producing SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposals isn’t as straightforward as we would like, and many scientists struggle with crafting an effective proposal. Some key questions scientists are faced with include: What level of detail should be included in a SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposal? What are the key differentiators the Review Panelist and Program Directors look for? How do timing, market dynamics and strength of personnel affect proposal outcomes? And, which category should my proposal be submitted under?

During this insightful Webinar, your expert presenter will reveal insider strategies you can implement to increase your chances for funding. Gain answers to the most commonly asked questions; learn what inspires Review Panelists and Program Directors the most, and much more. Learn More!

One Response to “No. 116: My Research Career: Anthony J. Rhem, PhD”

  1. Nichole

    Excellent personal statement to live by Dr. Rhem “Always add value to everything you do and to all you work with.” — I will be using this daily! Thanks.

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