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Our principal consultants include:



President & Chief Strategist

As President and Chief Strategist of OctaneVTM since 2001, Rick Ashley is personally involved in helping clients involved in the vehicle and transportation industries both identify and achieve their marketing goals.

During his career, Mr. Ashley has helped develop and execute successful advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns for a variety of local, regional, national and international brands, particularly in the business-to-business arena. His focus on brand positioning represents the philosophical cornerstone by which OctaneVTM unites its strategic, tactical, and creative protocols.

A 22-year marketing veteran, Mr. Ashley has spent the last 16 years as president of Ashley & Associates, Inc., an Indianapolis-based marketing firm and ongoing concern. Ashley & Associates specializes in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and has a rich business to business background.

Before launching Ashley & Associates, Mr. Ashley held a partnership position as President of Barnecut Marketing, a firm specializing in strategic and tactical marketing. In his capacity with Barnecut, Mr. Ashley oversaw the organization's creative and public relations departments and was instrumental in doubling the company’s size in nine months.

A cum-laude graduate of Indiana University, Mr. Ashley began his career by founding Lines of Communication, an award-winning marketing communications firm. There, he held both creative and account management roles, focusing his efforts on targeted strategic and creative assignments for high-tech firms and advertising agencies.

In 1985, Mr. Ashley joined Shuel Advertising’s offices in Indianapolis, following its purchase of his communications firm. There, as the agency’s Creative Director, he handled a wide variety of creative, strategic and administrative responsibilities. During his tenure, the agency enjoyed substantial growth and Mr. Ashley’s creative work was directly responsible for garnering the firm’s first ADDY awards in both print and broadcast media. The ADDY awards recognize creative excellence in advertising and are sanctioned locally and nationally by the American Advertising Federation.

Mr. Ashley has been honored by the American Advertising Federation (ADDY awards), The Printing Industries of America, The Art Directors Club of Indiana, Indiana Tourism (Vista Awards), and The Indianapolis Sales and Marketing Council (MAME awards).



Business Development Strategist

Mr. Boyer, Sales Strategist for OctaneVTM, has been responsible for developing direct sales and training initiatives for a variety of progressive organizations for more than twenty-five years.
Mr. Boyer specializes in the delivery of sales development and management services to execute start-up and/or turn-around sales initiatives. During his career he has recruited, trained, developed and managed more than 3,000 sales professionals.

Prior to working with OctaneVTM, he served for six years as a Vice President of Global Sales at Powerway, Inc., a leading provider of e-business software solutions. During the early 1990’s, Mr. Boyer held an equity position as the Executive Vice President for Kobek-Boyer & Associates, Inc., a sales and marketing consulting firm.

Other positions include Vice President of Sales Operations for Entertel, Inc., a subsidiary of publicly-held Entertainment Publications, Inc., Director of Marketing for Resort Condominiums
International, Inc., as well as holding previous sales and marketing management positions with, The Wholesales Club prior to its acquisition by Sam’s Club, and AT&T, Inc, prior to its divestiture
by the US Federal Trade Commission.

During his career, he has been retained in a consulting capacity to develop strategic sales initiatives, including developing and performing many sales and marketing programs for corporate
clients such as; Ambassadair Travel Club, Indianapolis Athletic Club, Indianapolis Convention and Tourism Association, American United Life Insurance, Cellular One Communications, Stanley-Bostich, Cannon IV, ITT Educational Services and IndyGo (formerly Indianapolis MetroTransportation).

Mr. Boyer attended Indiana University Kelly School of Business, majoring in Business Management, with an emphasis in Marketing Studies.



Senior Strategist and Research Consultant

As a Senior Strategist and Research Consultant for Octane VTM, Mr. Douglass brings 20 years of sales, marketing, and strategic-management expertise to the firm. Mr. Douglass has broad management and marketing experience, including B2B, channel distribution, research and analysis, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), direct marketing, heavy machinery, construction, and publishing.

Mr. Douglass completed undergraduate studies in History, Philosophy, and Economics at Purdue University in 1983. He finished an MBA with double majors in Management in ‘94 and Marketing in ‘99 from Xavier University. He has held positions in business development, sales management, marketing, and executive management. Mr. Douglass has been a principal of several marketing companies, a digital media company, as well as General Manager of a direct marketing and printing company.

Mr. Douglass’s accomplishments include leading the marketing team that doubled sales for an international Internet publishing company, launching a software company and managing to profitability in 3 years, driving sales for equipment marketing company to record levels through automation and intensive channel development, introducing more than 50 new products in the construction industry, and setting up a nationally recognized, award winning CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software system.

Mr. Douglass brings clients a solid background in management and marketing, a passion for technology, rigorous analytical thinking and creative problem solving.



Research Consultant

As a research consultant to OctaneVTM, Dr. Minnis brings nearly 30 years of business and consulting expertise to the firm. He has been involved in hundreds of consulting projects focusing on market research and development, management assessment, financial structure analysis, and planning. His consulting services have benefited a variety of businesses.

Among Dr. Minnis’s areas of specialization are organizational performance measures, strategic management concepts, leadership, entrepreneurship, organizational assessment and development, and the effect of stress on organizational behavior. From 1985 to 2000, he served Indiana State University as an instructor and program director in various aspects of business management. For the past year, Dr. Minnis has been Assistant Professor of Management at Eastern Illinois University School of Business.

A Certified Small Business Development Center Consultant, Dr, Minnis is much in demand as a workshop presenter and training speaker. He has served as a panelist for the Indiana Entrepreneur/ Small Business Educators, and was a panelist and organizing committee member for the 1986 Regional White House Conference on Small Business. He was invited to participate in the Governor’s Summit on Work Force Development and the Indiana Economic Forum Fall Conference in 1990.

Dr. Minnis is a graduate of Indiana State University, where he also earned his MBA. He completed his Ph.D. at Saint Louis University.



Creative Director

As Creative Director, Steve James brings with him an extensive background in advertising and communications design, and creative thinking.

Prior to working at Octane, Mr. James had been President and Creative Director for Steve James Design, Inc., his communications design firm located in Buffalo, NY. As principal, Mr. James directed the creation and implementation of visual design for advertising, print collateral, food and non-food product packaging, broadcast, and web/online media for business-to-business, retail, and service industry clients. Mr. James also taught as a lecturer at the State University of New York at Buffalo in the Department of Art, specifically in the areas of visual literacy, visual communications and communications design. Before coming to Indianapolis, he served as Vice President of the Board of Governors for the Kenan Center for the Arts and former President and later, Treasurer for the Art Directors / Communicators Club of Buffalo.

Mr. James's previous positions include Creative Services Director for the Peter J. Schmitt Co., a grocery and hardlines distributor and retailer, and Assistant Advertising Manager / Corporate Art Director for Twin Fair, Inc. a discount retail chain. Both companies were based in Buffalo and required the similar responsibilities from Mr. James for directing corporate advertising creative and production, art department management, and budget management.

After graduating from the State University of NY College at Buffalo with a BS in Design, Mr. James worked as Senior Art Director for Sheridan Advertising, Inc., a business-to-business advertising agency in Buffalo.



President, Publicity Solutions LLC

As a consultant specializing in the transportation marketplace, Mr. Zaritz has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive and truck industries. Before launching his own company, he served as the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer magazines, two leading publications that focused on the heavy-duty distribution, repair and sales markets. His responsibilities included the editorial direction of the two magazines, he wrote in-depth feature articles, answered reader questions and authored a monthly opinion page on industry topics.

Earlier in his career Mr. Zaritz also served as the editor of Automotive Aftermarket News, Automotive Body Repair News and as publications editor for the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association. As an independent writer he has been published in various trade magazines and the Chicago Tribune.

Over the years Mr. Zaritz has interviewed countless owners and managers at vehicle maintenance facilities, dealerships, jobbers and distributors to gather "real-world" information. He also has worked closely with leading suppliers and manufacturers and participated in many of their training programs.

He has addressed audiences including the Filter Manufacturers Council, the National Wheel & Rim Association, Mack Trucks, Kenworth Truck Co., and other industry groups. Mr. Zaritz served as a member of the Board of Governors for the Heavy Duty Distribution Association, is a former director of the Truck Writers of North America and maintained memberships in the Council of Fleet Specialists, The Maintenance Council, the Service Technicians Society, American Truck Dealers, the Association of Diesel Specialists and the Service Specialists Association.

While earning his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Business Management, Mr. Zaritz worked as a technician in an automotive and truck repair shop where he later was promoted to management.



Research Strategist

Randy Stone has dedicated more than 20 years to maximizing sales and marketing initiatives through the collection, analysis and dissemination of strategic data. Throughout his career, Mr. Stone has designed and implemented market research studies, business-to-business lead generation programs, strategic planning and program consultation that drive results.

Mr. Stone’s expertise has served a variety of industries, including manufacturing, high-tech enterprises, insurance concerns, and service firms. His emphasis on making data actionable helps to analyze markets and market segments, evaluate competitor threats and vulnerabilities, enhance market positioning, profile prospective opportunities and open the doors to increased sales.

A lead generation program developed by Mr. Stone to support the burgeoning national accounts program for a global manufacturer resulted in more than $37 million in revenue for the company in fewer than four years. The program supported twenty manufacturing rep firms and provided a tool to build value throughout the distribution channels (including distributors, contractors, architects and building owners) in a commodity marketing environment.

Mr. Stone administered several high level market research studies, including customer satisfaction measurement, market segmentation and competitor investigations, for a managing general underwriter (MGU) which writes stop-loss insurance for self-insured companies. The results of the studies led to the company’s restructuring of their business practices to become more customer friendly and a complete overhaul of their customer database tracking methodologies.

Mr. Stone has also conducted numerous international projects. Following the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), Mr. Stone performed training and marketing consulting to introduce free-market concepts and marketing strategies to firms in Prague (1996 & 1998). He also administered an international BPA audit campaign for a global publication, requiring the management of a 24/7 service bureau agency in collecting the data.

More than 25 clients, large and small, have significantly benefited from Mr. Stone’s ability to integrate sales and marketing data into a strategic platform. He studied Political Science and Sociology at Indiana University.



Project Strategist

Lisa Stewart-Johnson brings a wealth of project management experience to Octane, having spent 6 years as assistant manager of agency services at the 5 MetaCom Group in Indianapolis. Ms. Stewart-Johnson was responsible for creative department quality control, project management and resource management, having interaction with and coordination of, internal creative, management and interaction with account service personnel as well as coordination of outside sources such as printers, photographers and freelance contract personnel.

Ms. Stewart-Johnson is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in psychology and has experience in working in behavioral health care, foster care and managed care, as well as vetrinary care and retail sales.

Ms. Stewart-Johnson is an avid equestrian and is a board member of the Horse and Pony committee for the Hendricks County 4-H.



Channel Marketing Director

Meredith Ingram has an extensive background covering over 25 years in the CPG (Consumer Product Goods) Industry. She began her career as a sales representative for Procter & Gamble and moved up to various positions in the sales and marketing departments for the almost 11 years she worked there. She was responsible for leading many cross functional teams in National Introductions and Initial Product tests for several Bar Soap and Household Cleaning Products and Baby Diapers.

She then spent 5 years working for a Division of Bristol-Myers, Drackett. She was responsible for sales and marketing for various areas of the country. She helped lead several New Product Introductions such as Renuzit Clay Pottery Air Fresheners, Vanish Toilet Bowl Foam Cleaner, and Drano Liquid. When the company was sold to SC Johnson, Meredith then Worked as a key executive with Confab, the largest private label manufacturer of baby diapers, fem-hy, and adult incontinent products in the world. She played a key role in opening a European headquarters for the company. Under her leadership, the company grew its gross revenues 9 times in 4 years. The company was sold to Tyco International in early 1998. Meredith then started her own recruiting and consulting business remaining in the CPG industry where she has represented several well-known National Brand and Private label Companies in the grocery, HBA, and G.M. sectors.



Creative Director

Bryan Spear brings an extensive background in leading and driving the development of creative marketing concepts to the Octane team.

His responsibilities include all aspects of developing integrated marketing communications programs including concept, budgeting, scheduling, and production management. He has participated on and led many communications initiatives for Indianapolis-based advertising and marketing agencies ranging in size from 3-55 employees. During Mr. Spear’s career, he has interfaced with marketing and brand management for a variety of local, regional and national accounts.

Mr. Spear has served as an officer in the Art Directors Club of Indianapolis , and is currently a member of The Stutz Artist Association, Indianapolis Museum of Art., Indianapois Art League, and the The Indiana Historical Society.

Mr. Spear graduated from Indiana University with a Major in Fine Art and a concentration in Graphic Design.



New Business Strategist

As a Sales and Marketing professional Bob Stahlke brings more than thirty years experience with him as he joins the ranks of the OctaneVTM team. Specializing in the business to business market, in either start ups or well established sales organizations, Mr. Stahlke has enjoyed the opportunities to do what he does best, “Build Business Relationships.” 

From having travel responsibilities of a National Account Executive to being responsilbe for just a Central Indiana territory, he has been successful in promoting products and services, tangible and intangible to all levels within an organization from the C-level down. Mr. Stahlke has been recognized for his achievements over the years as he was selected to the Powerway Company's “President’s Club”  for exceeding sales goals and contributing above and beyond what was asked of him. Mr. Stahlke was also honored as “Sales Representative of the Year.”

Mr. Stahlke began his professional career with National Car Rental in their Minneapolis corporate headquarters and within a year, received a promotion and transfer to Indianapolis as a member of their Commercial Sales Division. He also enjoyed contributing to Resort Condominiums International’s (RCI) success during their rapid growth to prominence in the timeshare exchange industry. Mr. Stahlke has always taken pride in being an ethical and professional representative for whoever he was representing.

Over the years Mr. Stahlke has done business with companies such as Cummins Engine Company, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, Deutz Diesel, Eli Lilly & Company, Inland Container, Ball Corporation, Marshalls, and Borg Warner.

Prior to transferring to Indianapolis Mr. Stahlke attended St. Cloud State College, St. Cloud, Minnesota.



Media Strategist

Stephanie Aikin has an extensive background  that covers more than 15 years in the sales and marketing of Consumer Product Goods (CPG), business-to-business and business to consumer market segments. Some of the companies for which Ms. Aikin has developed and executed successful strategies are; BowFlex, DDI, Australian Gold/Swedish Beauty, Union Pacific Rail Road, United Parcel Service, Velocity Racing and Transport, DGI Transport, Keys Auto Group and Frieghtmasters.

Ms. Aikin has helped formulate and execute successful advertising, marketing, media and public relations campaigns for a variety of local, regional, national, and international brands. Her focus on brand-positioning represents the philosophical cornerstone by which her expertise unites strategic, tactical, and creative protocols.

Ms. Aikin has a demonstrated active interest in local charities and has served as a fund-raiser and development chair for the Marion County Commission of Youth, a non-profit organization that supports the healthy and prosperous development of local youth. She donates her public relations expertise for the Hoosier Capitol Girl Scout Council and contributes her time, enthusiasm and energy as rally chair for the council’s Girl Scout Cookie Sale Committee. Ms. Aikin works in an instrumental role in small business reform as a chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Small Business Advisory Council.

Ms. Aikin has been recognized for her generous contributions of time over a number of years, most recently receiving the Girl Scouts’ high honor, the Integrity Award.



Project Strategist

As a member of Octane, VTM team, Ms. Neligh brings 20 plus years of production and project management experience with her in her role as Project Strategist. She has a solid understanding of production, printing, and planning as is applies to the advertising/marketing world.

Prior to joining Octane, VTM, Ms. Neligh had been the Production Manager for Quinlan Marketing and Communications for ten years. Her prime duties include meeting and maintaining all the Client’s needs in a professional and timely manner. Special emphasis was set on the quality of work and attention to detail.

Ms. Neligh’s previous positions included Production Manager for Children’s Better Health Institute where she was in charge of the production of seven children’s magazines. Production Manager for The Employment Source Magazine, a weekly employment publication, and Customer Service Representative for Rheitone, Inc. a service bureau.

Ms. Neligh is a Ball State Graduate with a BFA degree in Visual Communications.



Public Relations Strategist

As public relations strategist for OctaneVTM, Susan Dillman brings a unique wealth of multi-media and communications experience to clients. For 15 years, she worked in both print and broadcast journalism, serving most of her career as a member of Indiana’s Statehouse Press Corps. Ms. Dillman both hosted her own public affairs television program, as well as appeared for nine years as a regular panelist on the award-winning, statewide PBS talk show, Indiana Week In Review. She also prepared a regular radio segment on activities in the Indiana General Assembly.

She entered the field of public relations in 2000, when she joined the staff of Indiana University as media relations director and press secretary to the university’s president. Certified in crisis communications counseling, she managed messaging for the university and its significant international student and faculty population in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. She also directed the university’s external communications staff.

After leaving IU, she assisted Frank Anderson, the first African-American to be elected sheriff of Marion County, as his full-time campaign press secretary. Ms. Dillman once again delved into the discipline of campaign politics as communications director for the Indiana State Democratic Party. Strategic messaging, research and writing were among the many functions she performed.

Now, as public relations strategist, Ms. Dillman offers clients the benefits of her unique understanding of how the media work with the sharp focus and strict discipline required of political campaign operatives.

She is a member of the Indianapolis Rotary Club and a former member of the board of governors of the Indianapolis Press Club. She also has twice been bestowed with one of her home state’s greatest honors, a Sagamore of the Wabash.


Marketing Consultants
for the Vehicle and
Transportation Industries