President, The University Group Partners, LLC
Dr. Sheila R. Ronis is President of The University Group Partners, LLC, a management consulting firm and think tank specializing in strategic management, visioning, leadership, national security and public policy. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Management at Walsh College where she retired as Distinguished Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Complex and Strategic Decisions (CCSD). Dr. Ronis teaches the capstone course of the online Master of Public Affairs and Leadership program at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. She also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Glenn College. In addition, Dr. Ronis is an Associate with Argonne National Laboratory University of Chicago. She serves on the National Defense University Foundation Board of Directors as Chairman Emeritus. Her B.S. is in Physics, Mathematics and Education. Her M.A. and Ph.D. are from The Ohio State University in Large Complex Social System Behavior. Dr. Ronis currently is an active member of the Federal Foresight Community of Interest in Washington, D.C. where she and Leon S. Fuerth also support the broader federal government and global foresight communities. Along with Professor Fuerth, she was recently Co-Director of the Project on Foresight and Democracy funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She is Co-Director with Professor Fuerth of the Project on Civic Leadership for 21st Century America at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Ronis participates in the OECD Foresight Community in Paris and has published two United States Government foresight case studies for the OECD. Visionarios have been developed and published with her colleague, Dr. Richard J. Chasdi for the U.S. Army. She has also developed visionarios for the National GeoSpatial Intelligence Agency, several academic conferences, The International Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs, in Europe, the Government of Finland, The U.S. Government Accountability Office, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, The International Management Institute, Nahalal, Israel. Recently, Dr. Ronis addressed the Royal United Services Institute of Defense and Security Studies (RUSI) in London, UK. and was featured in two webinars regarding the National Visioning Initiative for National Security for the Commonwealth Smart Partner CPTM Think Tanking global community in London.
Dr. Ronis served as guest speaker on the use of foresight methodologies to improve public policy on September 12, 2014 at The Royal Society in London, U.K.; she was invited by the Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, Kt., the former president of the Royal Society and master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Dr. Ronis traced the Center’s work on the Project for National Security Reform. It included details on how the CCSD experimented with judgment and decision sciences for a conceptual set of capabilities for the Executive Office of the President of the United States. On 12 June 2013, Dr. Ronis was awarded the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Outstanding Public Service Award in a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Ronis is the former chair of the Vision Working Group of the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) in Washington, D.C., which was tasked by Congress to rewrite the National Security Act of 1947. As a Distinguished Fellow at PNSR, Dr. Ronis was responsible for the plan and processes to develop The Center for Strategic Analysis and Assessment; the place where the President of the United States will conduct “grand strategy” on behalf of the nation working with LTG Brent Scowcroft and Professor Leon Fuerth as Advisors. On 30 July, 2010, she chaired a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS, where she presented the findings of the PNSR Vision Working Group Report and Scenarios which she edited, that outlines why foresight capabilities are essential to the workings of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. She was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Scholarship and studied these issues in Singapore in August and October 2011. On 24-25 August 2010, Dr. Ronis chaired the conference: “Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security” at the National Defense University that explored a “grand strategy” for a healthy U.S. economy. A publication based on that conference, edited by Dr. Ronis was published December 2011. Dr. Ronis facilitated a workshop entitled Energy as Grand Strategy on 7-8 May 2012 at the National Defense University co-sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the Center for Technology and National Security Policy. On 8-9 November 2011, Dr. Ronis chaired a symposium at the National Defense University, Institute for National Strategic Studies, “Forging an American Grand Strategy: Securing a Path Through a Complex Future,” in Washington, D.C. A publication based on that conference, edited by Dr. Ronis was published in 2013.
In March 2006, she completed a study of the national security implications of the erosion of the U.S. industrial base for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. Her book, Timelines into the Future: Strategic Visioning Methods for Government, Industry and Other Organizations, was published by Hamilton Books in June 2007. Other significant papers include, “Transformational Recapitalization: Rethinking USAF Aircraft Procurement Philosophies” which was published in Defense AT&L in November 2004 and “Erosion of the Industrial Base and its Issues of National Security: A Systems Approach to Congressional Action” presented at the National Defense Industrial Association conference in November 2005. Dr. Ronis participates in many programs at the Eisenhower School, formerly the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. including their National Security Strategy Exercise. In June, 2005, she chaired at ICAF the Army’s Eisenhower National Security Series Conference, “The State of the U.S. Industrial Base: National Security Implications in a World of Globalization.” The Proceedings of that conference, which Dr. Ronis co-edited with Dr. Lynne Thompson were published by the National Defense University Press in April 2006.
Dr. Ronis founded and directed the Institute for Business and Community Services at The University of Detroit to assist the U.S. automobile industry in becoming globally competitive by bringing systems and strategic management principles to the industry. Joining the University of Detroit from Ameritech Publishing, Inc., where she was a Strategic Planner, she worked at AT&T and Michigan Bell before that, helping the corporation during its divestiture years. Prior to her Bell System tenure, Dr. Ronis directed a national energy program for the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA - now the Department of Energy), in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. While an administrative associate at The Ohio State University, she chaired the Legislative Affairs Committee, acting as the legislative liaison between the University Senate, the Ohio General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Board of Regents. Dr. Ronis began her career working at North American Rockwell in Columbus, Ohio.
In her career of more than four decades, Dr. Ronis has worked with many organizations; public, private, large, small, profit and nonprofit. These include: General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Federal Laboratory Consortium For Technology Transfer, U.S. Institute of Peace, USAID, Ameritech, USCAR, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, the National Science Foundation, The National Academies of Sciences, UNICEF, the Government of Finland, The Universidad Ray Juan Carlos, Hull University, the School of International Futures, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the Galilee International Management Institute in Nahalal, Israel, the Project on Forward Engagement with Professor Leon Fuerth, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, OECD, the Federal Foresight Community of Interest, GAO and The State Council of The People’s Republic of China.
Dr. Ronis began working with the U.S. automotive industry in 1985. This included Ford Motor Company as well as several automotive suppliers. In 1988, she worked with the Cadillac organization at General Motors to fix the Allanté two years after start of production. She then became involved in the Cadillac 2000 project on behalf of the Chief Engineer of Cadillac, Mr. Robert L. Dorn. In 1993, Dr. Ronis helped to revamp the General Motors corporate intelligence function. From 1994 to 1996, The University Group, Inc. became a captive supplier to General Motors working on a number of corporate functions. Since that time, Dr. Ronis has continued to work with GM on a number of projects. In 2000, Dr. Ronis was asked to assist the Ford Motor Company in improving its corporate intelligence function, and strategic visioning processes.
Dr. Ronis began working in the national security community during the divestiture years of the Bell System that included her participation in the decisions related to the security of the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure. For nearly three decades, Dr. Ronis has been working directly with the U.S. Department of Defense and the national security community. Her first major assignment was teaching “grand” strategy as it is viewed in global business to the Management Faculty at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She was also involved in the development of the first Strategic Leadership Symposium at the Army War College under the command of Major General Paul G. Cerjan. In 1993, Dr. Ronis began her work with the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D.C. She has played a role in bringing industrial knowledge of the transportation industry to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), now the Eisenhower School and NDU.
In 1996, Dr. Ronis was asked to deliver a paper on “National Security and the Theories of Dr. Deming” by the W. Edwards Deming Institute. The paper was read by General John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was widely distributed throughout the Pentagon as an example of applying strategic systems thinking to matters of national security. At DoD, Dr. Ronis has worked with the Air Force Special Operations Forces at Robins Air Force Base and Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). She was asked to write a “white paper” about the need to define and retain Department of Defense core competencies and what happens when outsourcing occurs. At the Pentagon, she has worked in support of projects at the Office for the Secretary of Defense on visioning for the Department, and supported the work of the Defense Reform Task Force for Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. Her work for the Secretary of Defense included a written operational definition of the Revolution in Business Affairs that was used to support the Revolution in Military Affairs for the Quadrennial Defense Review in 1997. In addition, she was a team leader as a part of the “red team” that critiqued the Joint Vision 2010 work for the Joint Staff, J-7. She also supported the work of the Hart-Rudman Commission on U.S. National Security for the 21st Century.
Dr. Ronis has also worked on behalf of the economic and transportation elements of national security supporting the original work to create USCAR, the United States Consortium for Automotive Research, and one of its major initiatives, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. In addition, she helped the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) with a master plan and vision for the future. Her work with FLC included a paper on how national laboratories and scientific researchers can comply with the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA).
Known as a systems security strategist, Dr. Ronis has authored hundreds of papers. Her paper delivered at the Pentagon entitled, “Economic Security is National Security: A Discussion of Issues Surrounding the Global U.S. Corporation” suggested a way to re-think industrial base policy. Her paper presented at the U.S. Army War College, “Visioning for the 21st Century: A Process for National Security” outlined the way in which an interagency activity might produce a more holistic national security strategy for the United States. Her paper on “Shaping in the 21st Century” delivered at the Army’s conference at the Walker Institute of International Studies examined the new roles that the Department of Defense would need to play in the Post Cold War era. Dr. Ronis supported the work of the Department of Commerce Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security with a study of the U.S. Army’s Theater Support Vessel released in December 2003 and a study on the Air Force C-17 completed in 2006.
Dr. Ronis also has published the scenario “Crisis on Asimov” in Automotive Industries Magazine, and the Financial Times Automotive World, in London that is a strategic futurist’s look at transportation in the world of 2085 that uses a Department of Defense visioning process. In addition, Dr. Ronis worked with the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming including co-authoring the paper “Preparing Cadillac for the 21st Century: Systems and Strategic Thinking.” She is the former Vice Chairman of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. She is a former board member and life member of The Economic Club of Detroit. She is a life member of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), the World Future Society and the Association of the U.S. Army. She is also a life member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and a Senior Fellow of the Inter-University Symposium for Armed Forces and Society. Dr. Ronis was a frequent guest on the NBC affiliate in Detroit and several other Detroit area TV and radio news programs. In September 2008, she was voted the number 1 Woman to Watch by Crain’s Detroit Business.