Strategic Business Leader
Fast Track Strategic Planning

To build organizations, we tailor high-value, cost-effective solutions

Forrest Consulting provides clients tailored, cost-effective solutions by sourcing the best expertise available on a "per assignment" basis. 

Among the talented professional consultants who work through us to meet clients' varied needs are:


William Baltz, president, Focus Strategic Marketing.

Tom Drouin, Drouin & Associates Consulting Services.

Jim Herrick, an Illinois licensed CPA.

Rachel Kaberon, managing partner, Arkay Solutions.

Lawrence (Larry) Lewandowski, financial consultant.

Ron Luken, productivity, profitability and operations consultant.

Sherie Presta, executive creative director, Focus Strategic Marketing.

Brian Seiton, integrated retail and supply chain professional.

Greg Sipla, strategy and profit growth consultant.

Thomas R. Smith, president, Ardent Solutions.

Lawrence (Larry) Wadler, information technology professional.


Please see bios below for more information.


William A. Baltz, president, Focus Strategic Marketing.


A journalist and copywriter, William helps companies create and publish content—including byline articles, blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos—to generate qualified leads, enhance the brand and display the firm’s subject matter expertise.


William founded Focus Strategic Marketing in 1995.  He is a pioneer in marketing professional services. He helped start Arthur Andersen’s marketing division, the first major professional services firm to embrace marketing. He developed marketing strategies for practices including mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and cost management in the manufacturing, financial, healthcare and distribution sectors. Also, as a senior operations consultant he provided process-improvement solutions for Andersen’s clients—including Ralston Purina, Chas. Levy, Hexcel and AT&T.


Today he leads an integrated marketing creative team. Clients include Grant Thornton, True Partners, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Huron Consulting, Katten Muchin Zavis, Replogle Globes and Association for Corporate Growth. The Healthcare Information Management Systems Society awarded his clinical pathways profitability analysis paper first place in 1996.


William earned his MBA in Finance from DePaul University, MS in Journalism from Northwestern University, MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and BA from the University of Colorado.


Tom Drouin, Drouin & Associates Consulting Services.

Tom's focus is B-to-B companies and not-for-profit organizations looking to develop and execute a business or mission strategy, new business launch or for support in enhancing organizational effectiveness through performance assessment and individual career coaching and development.

A senior executive and professional, Tom's corporate career was built on strategically conceived product and market innovation, business leadership and excellence in human development. His most recent senior role was at BOISE Inc./Boise Cascade as Director, New Business Development. He has a depth of experience as a volunteer leader in not-for-profit organizations.

Tom earned his B.A. at The Pennsylvania State University.


Jim Herrick, an Illinois licensed CPA.


Jim's slogan is, "Accounting can be complicated. My goal is to make it easy to understand."  


He specializes in:



  • Business advisory services
  • Business start-up and expansion
  • Tax planning
  • Management consulting


After receiving a MBA from DePaul University and passing the CPA exam on first sitting, Jim has accrued over 35 years of experience in accounting, auditing, tax preparation and management consulting. His experience include small to public companies in manufacturing and leasing as well as credit union, non-profit and other experience. Jim has completed specialized training at SCORE, the national small business consulting organization, and is a Certified Counselor specializing in assisting small business owners. Jim’s has in-depth experience in small to mid-size company financial issues, IT software changes and tax compliance issues.  He is presently pursuing personal financial planning certification.


Rachel Kaberon, managing partner, Arkay Solutions, and adjunct faculty at IIT Institute of Design.


Her specialties include assessment, evaluation and redefinition of business effectiveness and performance measures: customer and employee behavioral analysis, data modeling and tracking. She can design and implement operation process improvements in information collection, sharing and distribution. Through strategic roadmaps and learning experiences her work effects sustainable cultural change. Rachel uses story and metaphor, combined with analytic assessment, research and evaluation services, and focuses on the factors that impact how the organization operates. The results strengthen relationships, increase knowledge flow, grow decision making capacities and capabilities, and add measurable value to the balance sheet.


She has been Senior Planner for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; VP, Manager, Mortgage Analysis, Chemical Bank; VP, Collections Strategy, Citibank; and a statistician in the Election Unit at CBS News.  


Rachel earned her M.A., Public Policy, at the University of Chicago, B.A., Political Science and History, at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and B.A., Liberal Arts, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Lawrence (Larry) Lewandowski, financial consultant.


Larry is an accounting and finance professional with over twenty years of experience in the manufacturing and distribution arena. He has managed the financial functions for businesses with revenues ranging from $5M to over $150M. He has turned around money-losing operations and improvied overall performance through consolidations of overlapping functions. He has a background in contract negotiations and has used this skill on an international level. He has experience in mergers and acquisitions, including the performance of due diligence on prospective targets.


Larry's areas of expertise include:

  • Budgets, forecasts, and strategic planning
  • Due diligence auditing and documentation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Accounting close processes
  • Year-end audits
  • Operational audits
  • Policies and procedures for ISO and SOX documentation
  • Cash management
  • Day to day management of AR, AP, credit and collections, payroll, freight, billing/revenue
  • Bank lines of credit including draw downs and surplus funds investment
  • Bank audit support
  • Systems Implementation


He has held finance and controller positions with Bally Manufacturing and the Brunswick companies. He was recruited to be the CFO of an ailing, British owned, import and distribution entity where he implemented a financial turnaround.


Larry has an MBA from DePaul University and BA from Loyola. He obtained training as a Six Sigma Green Belt and has participated in various tax seminars.

Ron Luken, productivity and profitability consultant.


Ron is a senior executive who improves productivity and profitability and streamlines operations for manufacturers and other companies. He provides solutions to issues of low profitability and weak operating performance issues. A leader who demonstrates critical thinking while considering the implications on the people in the organization, Ron simplifies and reinvents processes to improve overall productivity. 


Ron has demonstrated the ability to lower inventory levels (20% for a consumer products company), shrink manufacturing process time (75% for a soft goods manufacturer), reduce equipment downtime and minimize process variability for a metal fabricator, and reduce equipment changeover time (up to 90%). Applying similar techniques in an office environment eliminated unnecessary activities such as inter-departmental movement and increased potential capacity by 40% and the opportunity for improved profitability.


In addition, Ron has significant experience in directing projects to develop and implement information systems, including a major effort to aid in the launch of an auto manufacturer's assembly plant. He has coached companies in a variety of industries on selecting an appropriate ERP/MRP system.


Clients Ron has assisted include Rayovac, 3M, Nissan, Robertson-Ceco, Certified Tool and Manufacturing, Pettibone, and Arlington lnternational Race Course.

He holds an MBA from Bradley University and a BA in psychology from the University of Illinois, and has Lean Six Sigma training.  He is a long-time Trustee of Elmhurst College.


Sherie Presta, executive creative director, Focus Strategic Marketing.


Sherie Presta is an award-winning creative director, brand strategist and direct marketing professional. From her career developing marketing programs for many of world’s leading companies, she knows how to develop offers, visuals and messages aimed at target decision makers that inform, sell and reinforce the brand. As an accomplished commercial artist and experienced marketer, her creative strategies meet business objectives and achieve measurable results.


Her specialties include conceptual development and integrating measurable programs across channels—web, e-commerce, social media, video, tv, print—ensuring a cohesive message and maximum impact and results.


During her career at agencies including Rapp Collins Worldwide, Draft FCB, Frankel & Company and Cramer Krasselt, Sherie has set creative vision, managed creative teams and implemented complex marketing programs for clients including Bank One, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Experian, BP, Federal Express, Sears, Motorola, General Electric, Ford, McDonald’s, Humana, Amerin Insurance, Prudential, Bankers Life, AARP, Hyatt Hotels and other corporations.


A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art, Sherie has won awards from the Direct Marketing Association (EHCO), Chicago Association of Direct Marketing (Tempo), Graphics Design USA, ARC Awards for Business Marketing and Pinnacle Print Awards.


Brian Seiton, integrated retail and supply chain professional.


Brian is an executive and professional focusing on organizations seeking to expand their integrated retail footprint by leveraging all facets of their network to support customer or B-to-B fulfillment and distribution. His career is built on developing solutions, systems and processes to improve productivity and reduce expense. His most recent senior role was Director of Logistics at Sears Holdings Corporation, where he led customer fulfillment for the Sears and Kmart online businesses in two distribution centers.


Brian led the development of warehousing, systems integration and transportation for Fulfillment by Sears, enabling Sears to compete with Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon. He also created similar supply chain and systems capabilities for KCD Brands leading to the externalization of Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard to other retailers and distributors.


Brian earned his Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Iowa with emphasis in Business, MIS and Communications.


Greg Sipla, strategy and profit growth consultant.

Greg's focus is strategic planning; strategy development and execution; mergers and acquisitions; and profit, growth and value creation.

He is a accomplished senior corporate strategy global professional. Greg is business leader who drives sustainable revenue growth and profitability through business planning and analytics that identify markets, products, process improvements, and mergers and acquisitions.

Greg has had progressive leadership assignments with top companies in diverse industries including consumer package goods, packaging, medical products, and management consulting. He has reported directly to or worked closely with the CEO of four Fortune 1000 companies. Greg's early engineering career set the foundation for significant ability to create and improve processes.

Areas of specialty include:

  • Corporate and business strategy formulation

  • Strategic planning

  • Balanced scorecards
  • Financial analysis
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Business/company integration
  • New products and markets
  • Operations improvement
  • Turnarounds

Greg earned his MBA at Marquette University; his MA in International Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis, and his BA in Industrial Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tom Smith

Thomas R. Smith, President, Ardent Solutions.


Tom’s expertise is helping banks, financial services companies and professional services firms better manage their people, projects and processes.


He has experience with:


  • Business strategy
  • Management
  • Operations
  • Process redesign
  • Project management
  • Benchmarking
  • Marketing
  • Product development
  • Consumer risk management
  • Commercial risk management
  • Finance
  • Accounting


A proponent of continual change and improvement, Tom began his career with Arthur Andersen and has worked with First Chicago, Bank One, Discover Card, HSBC and JP Morgan Chase. He has managed large systems and operations projects, integrated divisions of two large banks to realize the benefits of their merger, implemented a state-of-the-art marketing prospect database, and created a strategy to allow a large professional services firm create several internet-based marketplaces. Tom redesigned all processes of a large creditor’s rights law firm and has led strategically important initiatives throughout his career.


Tom is a graduate of DePaul University’s College of Commerce. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has been trained in both project management (PMP) and Six Sigma (Green Belt).

Lawrence (Larry) Wadler, information technology professional.


Larry is an experienced management leader in all aspects of Information Technology.  He has demonstrated  the ability to lead teams, interface with internal and external business stake holders, address new automated processes leveraging demonstrated competencies in designing and building solutions which address the strategic needs of the business. He has extensive leadership experience in small, medium and large sized organizations. His skills have been applied in multiple industries which provides him the flexibility to be able to work with any organization.


Larry's areas of expertise:


  • Infrastructure Management
  • Tactical and Strategic Planning
  • Project Management
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • System Conversion
  • Business Operations
  • Change Management
  • Business Impact Analysis
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Software Design (SDLC)
  • Database Design
  • Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Data Integrity
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)


Larry has held leadership positions with companies including McDonald's, Chicago & NorthWestern Railroad, Abt Electronics, United Audio Centers, and Hill & Simpson.


An Interstate Commerce Commission Practitioner, Larry has completed Six Sigma Green Belt training, and continues to increase his knowledge of new products and industry trends from multiple sources through strategic vendor partnerships, news feeds, seminars, and webinars. He holds a computer science degree from Wilbur Wright College.

Lee Crumbaugh is president and founder of Forrest Consulting.  He is involved in all client work, adding experienced professionals with appropriate skill sets as needed. 


For organizations Lee has served, he has used his experience, knowledge, people skills and insight to deliver:


  • Exceptional leadership and management counsel, working with directors, management and others.
  • Planning processes that evince a clear, compelling vision and focus the organization on pursuing strategies and implementing action steps to move to the vision.
  • Sustainable marketing, communications and business development programs that build market presence, drive effective communications and on-going interaction with stakeholders, and grow resources, support and impact.

Career Highlights:


When recruited as VP, Marketing, of United Way in the Chicago suburbs, charge was to dramatically grow funds raised. Tripled results from $9 million to $26 million in seven years. Became COO, led reorganization, introduced team management and outcomes.


At the American Fence Association, as Executive Director worked with Board and staff to grow the 1,700 member association. Programs doubled revenue to $4 million in four years and then limited contraction in the recession.Achieved 80% membership retention.


At Continental Bank, as VP Public Affairs, re-built and led marketing communications team as part of bank turn-around after FDIC rescue. Working with new ad agency (Fallon) and talented staff members, changed how and what bank communicated, externally and internally.


Launched consumer publishing company. Wrote business plan, raised $750,000 from 27 investors, recruited board and employees, launched publication, managed corporation.Led generation of 365 ad pages from 250 firms, acquisition of 9,000 paid subscribers.


At national banking trade association, as Vice President and Marketing Director, edited and managed editorial, production and marketing for 30,000‑circulation monthly magazine for bank executives. Magazine earned First Place, General Excellence, Society of National Association Publications competition.Helped triple ad income by recruiting and managing marketing professionals, creating research and sales tracking/forecasting programs; developing sales materials; and conducting seminars.

Education: MBA, marketing management, finance emphasis, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. BS, news-editorial journalism, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.Colorado State University. Financial executive program Indiana University.
Affiliations: Assn. for Strategic Planning, International Assn. of Facilitators, Assn. Forum of Chicagoland, Social Media Club.
Publications/Presentations: Write strategy blog.Has written 1,000s of articles and columns; launched publications; drafted and delivered numerous speeches and presentations; created web sites; and organized meetings and seminars. Taught journalism.
Personal: Active volunteer.Competed in many Ironman triathlons and marathons. Live with spouse in Glen Ellyn, IL. Three children and a granddaughter.

Office 135 Dewey Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401 USA

Phone 630-909-9360, Cell 630-730-9619

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