David Kalinowski

David Kalinowski

With a career spanning more than 30 years in competitive intelligence, David Kalinowski, ’89, serves as a shining example of Huskie grit and determination.

David graduated with B.S. in political science/public law in 1989. After graduating, his interest in Competitive Intelligence (CI), a formal discipline that captures and transforms raw data into relevant, accurate, strategic knowledge to inform business leadership decision-making, was sparked by a role at a boutique consulting firm.

In 1995, he went on to cofound his company, Proactive Worldwide, a leading market intelligence agency based just outside of Chicago, with fellow NIU graduate, Gary Maag. Through his work as President at Proactive Worldwide, David leads a global team that delivers competitive intelligence research, analysis, and consulting services to help clients gain new insights and perspectives about their external market landscape, such as competitors, customers, suppliers and partners.

David has provided his expertise to over 225, Fortune 1000 companies in healthcare, life sciences, technology, financial services, and consumer and industrial goods, and has trained over 3,000 corporate intelligence professionals on 5 continents.

David’s expertise extends beyond his work at Proactive Worldwide. He has also co-authored two best-selling books: The CI-Driven CEO (2022) and New Directions: A Competitive Intelligence Tale (2011).

In 2023, David was honored with a Business Titan Award for General Excellence and was inducted as a CI Fellow in 2022 with the Council of Competitive Intelligence Fellows. He earned the prestigious Catalyst Award in 2005 and the Distinguished Solutions Provider Award in 2015 from the Strategic Consortium of Intelligence Professionals.

David loves sharing his three-plus decades of knowledge with others who are in the early stages of their competitive intelligence careers. He shares, “I believe in helping others succeed as best I can. Giving back to NIU helps me fulfill my purpose – making a positive difference in the lives of others… I’d like to think I transfer my love and enthusiasm for this field to others and play my role to motivate and inspire them.”