RTI International

The Future of Science

RTI is an independent, nonprofit institute that provides research, development, and technical services to government and commercial clients worldwide. Their mission is to improve the human condition by turning knowledge into practice.


Tim J. Gabel is the Executive Vice President of Social, Statistical, and Environmental Sciences at RTI International. Tim’s teams collect, process, and analyze data—all with an eye for solving the world’s most important issues—like global health security and sustainable energy solutions.

Tim had the opportunity to give the keynote address for the 50th anniversary of the International Field Directors and Technologies Conference (IFD&TC). He had one big concern: How would he inspire the newest generation of field directors and technicians to carry the torch for the next 50 years? He came to Duarte so he could inspire his audience to understand their legacy, and embrace their future.


RTI slide: head phone graphic


We worked closely with Tim to design a narrative that honed in on five lessons that audience members should take with them into the future:

  1. Get your hard knocks
  2. Don’t fear change
  3. Learn by sharing
  4. Be a leader
  5. Start today

Each lesson was enriched with one of Tim’s personal stories about growing up in the industry, and the events and people that influenced his growth.

We created a style for the presentation that was uniquely Tim using photography to set the stage for each lesson, and technological props from the era of each story. We used vibrant colors to complement and highlight his narrative, not to overwhelm it. And we infused visual humor to keep a potentially heavy subject feeling light and aspirational.

RTI slide: important quote


The event was a success and got attendees excited about keeping science alive and keeping RTI innovating. But we achieved what is arguably one of the best outcomes we could imagine, which is to positively transform the way someone considers presentations. Tim told us he now thinks about presentations differently—considering the big picture and the story, before he even thinks about slides.

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