Two Leaders In Corporate Knowledge Transfer Combine Forces


Kathy L. Hagen Joins The Steve Trautman Co.

(JUNE 5, 2014—SEATTLE, WA)  Kathy L. Hagen, formerly of K. L. Hagen & Associates and a thought leader in the field of knowledge transfer, has joined The Steve Trautman Co.—pioneers in knowledge transfer for two decades—as Director of Account Management.

Hagen will shape a new account management methodology at The Steve Trautman Co. and ensure a richer, seamless client experience.

With Hagen joining forces and networks with the company’s founder and Principal Steve Trautman, the move partners two of the U.S.’s top thought leaders in knowledge transfer—a field focusing on the methodical replication of the expertise, wisdom, and tacit knowledge of critical professionals into the heads and hands of coworkers.

Hagen explains that she and Trautman started out as competitors but with the same goals: to ensure client companies were able to identify and transfer business critical knowledge. When Hagen was approached by Trautman about joining his rapidly growing Seattle-based consulting firm, she first took time to learn more about his processes. “As you can imagine, it was vital to me that Steve’s processes were effective and solid. As I witnessed them in use and observed the outcomes for clients, I saw how well they worked. Also critical to me was joining a team of people I trust who are experts in their craft and work well together. I’ve done a lot of hiring at companies like Pfizer, so I am picky. This team is not only dedicated to client satisfaction but also to supporting each other. That clinched it—I was convinced.”

Hagen began working in knowledge management (KM) in 1994 while building her management consulting skills leading the KM practice for Life Sciences at CSC Index. Later, as assistant director for a large IT group at Pfizer she created practices to transfer critical tacit knowledge used by scientists and senior leaders. She led the Intellectual Capital Strategies team at Deloitte, and then at K. L. Hagen & Associates focused on knowledge transfer for Fortune 500s—primarily in the pharmaceuticals, food, manufacturing, bio-med and life sciences industries—working mainly with the C-suite. Hagen has also taught courses on knowledge transfer at the Minnesota State College and Universities, and today she speaks and writes on trends in the field—as does Trautman.

“Knowledge has become so specialized, so contextual, so global,” said Hagen. “Companies who want to succeed have to get agile in how they move their critical knowledge from head to head.”

“As we grow, Kathy will be emphasizing even greater client satisfaction,” said Trautman. “With her elevating our service conversations and showing clients how the same knowledge transfer tools can be used at an even deeper level throughout their organization, clients not only solve their immediate talent crisis, but also have a methodology in place that reduces future talent risks. That maximizes their investment long term.”

Trautman said Hagen will continue to work from her Midwestern base in Minneapolis, MN, and will serve clients at the senior level as a trusted advisor, strategically removing roadblocks and solving problems.

“What first interested me in Kathy is her exceptional relationship building and her deep understanding of knowledge management (KM) and knowledge transfer. She was one of the first leaders in KM to recognize the need to add knowledge transfer methods as a way of ensuring specific, practical results when handling merging workforces or executive transitions. Others didn’t make that leap.”

The Steve Trautman Co. are knowledge transfer experts who replicate businesses’ top talent and teach organizations how to manage talent risks so that their workforce is constantly ready to execute strategy. Their 3-step knowledge transfer process, pioneered by Trautman, assesses talent risk then increases team readiness and bench strength by replicating technical experts’ “secret sauce” in their coworkers. The firm’s scalable knowledge transfer methods are yielding observable results—within small teams and enterprise-wide projects—at scores of blue chip and global companies every day.

“This is the first time in history we’ve had four generations in the workforce,” Hagen said of U.S. companies. “And even after the Baby Boomer retirement bubble starts to even out, we will see younger employees wanting to move into roles faster than generations before. Companies who want to succeed have to get agile in how they move their critical knowledge from head to head. We’re going to have to do it in different cultures. We’ll have to do it with outsource partners. Companies really need to get good at it to thrive in today business environment.”

Even as corporate America’s demand for knowledge transfer increases, misconceptions persist. Hagen describes giving a recent speech and having a university professor say he did not believe lost knowledge existed. “I said, ‘Perhaps that’s because you’re not on the factory floor. You’re not out there in the trenches. If you were, you’d be able to see the lost knowledge, measure it, and understand what happens when it’s gone. Yes, companies can continue without good knowledge transfer. They will keep going—muddle through. They will be slower. They will make more mistakes. Profit margin will go down. Innovation won’t be as good. All because of a solvable problem of not transferring their experts’ knowledge to others who need to know.’

“By sharing what we know about knowledge transfer with clients and doing this work well, I believe—and this may sound a bit sappy, but I really believe it—we can make a meaningful difference in this country and even globally.”

#                                   #                              #

For interviews, contact Sonja Gustafson at: 206-547-1775 or