Since 2001, Phimation founder Dave Haviland has focused on providing management consulting to leadership teams at Stage 2 businesses to help them clarify their business goals and strategies, improve how they market products and services, boost internal productivity and successfully leverage new business and employee opportunities.

Since the inception of Phimation, Dave has led more than 4,000 strategy meetings. He has an ROI calculator going inside him at all times. His aim in conversations is to first ask great questions; and secondarily provide valuable advice from his decades of experience in the field of business.

He serves on the board of directors or advisors for several of his clients, and acts as a proxy for a Board with several others.  He also conducts workshops for groups of CEOs and for “rising leaders” – high-performing middle managers who will become future leaders.

His orientation is that of a COO – with a foot in strategy and a foot in execution.  As a result, he covers the gamut of issues that a business faces. He gives his clients as much or as little help as they want - from guiding the conception of strategy to overseeing the in-the-trenches execution.

His approach centers on “ROI with heart,” emphasizing good business decisions while honoring each company’s culture and relationships.  His clients either are family businesses or act like them.  His smallest client has 6 people and his largest has 200.

Dave graduated from Yale with an American Studies degree, spent a year after graduation biking around the country, and then landed in Louisville, KY. He later moved to Washington, DC, where he found his way from Capitol Hill into a business career serving as an operations, corporate development and marketing leader at four telecom/media startups.  He moved to Ann Arbor in 1998, and started Phimation Strategy Group in 2007 after being a partner in another strategy consulting firm.

His time outside work is filled with 3 adult kids, “beer league” hockey, and a blossoming karaoke career.


Since working with Dave we’ve been able to gain a better focus on our growth plan. What is unique about his approach is the amount of listening to talking/directing he does.  Most coaches are eager to share their knowledge, where Dave is eager to listen. His value is in his ability to listen and hear beyond our words to extract the heart of our goals.  At that point, he steps in and provides clarity and actionable ideas.  

Mickey Swortzel - New Eagle

Dave has really helped our company tackle some tough issues that we knew we needed to face but did not have the time or energy to do so, including some issues that we did not know we had.  Issue ranging from selling approaches, Partner to Analyst compensation, organizational structure, and Marketing budget priorities.  His demeanor is perfect for our company; listening when it makes sense, being tough when that is required and overall, just getting us to take action and move things down the field. His presence in the firm has been impactful!

Rick Claar - The Martec Group


I started my boutique business litigation law firm a little more than 10 years ago.  My strategy for generating work at the time was to work hard, network (mostly through one on one lunches and happy hours), and trust that the business would come.  While we had some success, we did not realize the volumes of business we were capable of servicing.  A couple of years into the firm’s existence, I retained Dave Haviland to help coach me to get our firm beyond start-up and into a stage 2 stable business.  Dave soon realized that in order for us to get to the next level, and given the sophisticated work we provided, we needed a more targeted approach to marketing our specialized services.  We began targeting our marketing solely in legal periodicals, developed a monthly eblast, blogging about current topics in the law that would be helpful to lawyers and our clientele, developed a series of networking events to enhance our professional working relationships with a larger volume of potential referral sources, and otherwise got us all rowing in the same direction.  8 years later, we have a true marketing “machine” in place, and our revenues have quadrupled.  What started as a 2 lawyer office is now 5 lawyers, with a potential 6th on the way. 

Dave has been a tremendous advisor to me and the firm and I am grateful to have him as part of our management team and look forward to the next 10 years with Dave at our side.

Ken Neumann - Altior 

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