Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group
Best Companies rank: 2
Name: David Potere
Title: GeoAnalytics Consultant
Years with the company: 3

When David Potere made the jump from academia to business, he expected to work as an expert far from the center of things. But since joining BCG in 2009, he has helped bring science into the spotlight at the firm.

Potere is the head of BCG's global GeoAnalytics team, which he created. He is a graduate of Harvard College and has a PhD from Princeton University, which he received after serving in the U.S. Navy for four years as a surface warfare officer.

BCG has given Potere room to make a difference with his research, he says, "I think in a lab you have extreme expertise in data and analytics, but perhaps lack the context. This happens a lot -- we really understand how to assess crop health, but we're not farmers." That's different in business, he says, where he's constantly working with clients to find real-world solutions.

His area of expertise is geospatial analytics, and while that may seem obscure, BCG's clients often wrestle with large, unwieldy sets of numbers that they cannot figure out how to use. Arranging those numbers spatially can often provide valuable insight.

For example, Potere and his team mapped one client's pricing model against a competitors', but added a spatial component. They compared companies' pricing data and mapped it against the local transportation network. They found that at certain locations, other companies were undercutting them by shipping products at a cheaper rate. So Potere's client lowered the cost of products in those areas in order to compete.

But projects like this require a dedicated team, which Potere was able to convince the company to create only 18 months after he was hired. "Fast enough to make my head turn, I found myself recruiting people," Potere says.

"I think the art of it is a big part of why our team is getting traction -- we do some really charismatic visualization to help data tell a story."

By Shelley DuBois, writer-reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 20 2012: 6:55 AM ET
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