(source: Boston Business
Journal, 40 Under 40 Special Edition, October 4, 2002)
Susan Loconto Penta
Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute; master's degree in business
administration, City University Business School,
Professionally speaking, Susan Loconto Penta is the person
she never thought she would be - or wanted to be. As a 20-something
engineer, Penta was suspicious of professional consulting.
amazed me that teams could spend money on outside help and not do those
jobs themselves," she says.
When they left the software world,
Penta and her business partner, Michael Goldberger, intended to go the
route of product innovation, developing products and enhancing existing
ones with a heavy emphasis on technology and science. Through trial and
error, they established MIDIOR Consulting and are new helping other
companies, from large financial-services houses to non-profits, embrace
innovation in their design of products and services.
She is, for
all intents, a consultant - but the kind of consultant she says she could
have used when starting out.
"Much of what we do is dig into
details. We relish the primary research and getting into the data. It's
the hard projects we like," Penta says.
Innovation is nothing new
for Penta. Moda Systems, the software outfit she used to run, was one of
the early developers of mobile-data technology (think "handhelds"). As it
turns out, the company might have been too early: Penta says the market in
the late '80s and early 90's wasn't ready for the technology Moda produced
- which was, actually, a bit different from the sleek, slim, ergonomically
friendly handhelds of today.
But Penta has no qualms about product
innovation - or with helping companies with the research and development
to get their respective concepts to market.
Aside from MIDIOR,
Penta is the president of the New England chapter of the Product
Development and Management Association. She also teaches a management
course at Northeastern University.