Season 7: A Little Bit Louder Now• July 9, 2024

Innovation, Energy, and Space.

Shana Cosgrove talks to Michael Contreras, Founder and President at Ensemble Consultancy.

In this episode of The Outspoken Podcast, host Shana Cosgrove talks to Michael Contreras, Founder and President at Ensemble Consultancy. Michael began his education in civil engineering with a focus on structures and vibration. Through analyzing patterns, he was able to make a leap into innovation consulting, transmuting this knowledge from structural analysis to business models and marketing. Michael’s journey through academia—boasting a PhD and Master’s from UCLA, a Master’s from Rice, an MBA from Wharton, and a Fulbright scholarship that took him to Mexico City—was a series of steps aimed at filling the knowledge gaps he felt he needed to address. Download Spot The Station to see the Space Station as it moves across our sky: Michael and his team made it easy for everyone to witness our progress in space exploration from their front yards!


  • “A lot of the best companies are startups with a background in marketing and sales, and I realized I needed to get that.” – Michael Contreras [11:45]

  • “Sometimes when people fund an idea, they want to keep it going when it shouldn’t necessarily keep going. It’s having comfort with letting things die versus letting ego be the driving motivation.” – Shana Cosgrove [17:52]

  • “When I was doing research, I was always more applied than theoretical. I always wanted to create something that had a market.” – Michael Contreras [24:20]


  • [00:04] Intro

  • [01:34] Meet Michael Contreras

  • [03:40] Working With A Spouse

  • [06:08] What Is Ensemble Consultancy?

  • [08:01] How Did a PhD in Civil Engineering Turn Into Digital Consulting?

  • [09:54] Leap to Marketing

  • [13:03] What is Innovation Consulting?

  • [16:00] NIST Technology Innovation Program

  • [19:40] Government Work

  • [21:34] Randy Pausch

  • [23:41] Entrepreneurial Spirit

  • [25:51] Educational Background and Evolution of Expertise

  • [30:50] How Did This Final Digital Marketing Role Begin?

  • [33:40] Ensemble Claim to Fame

  • [38:50] US Fulbright Program

  • [45:21] Any Professional Setbacks?

  • [49:45] Advice for Young Professionals

  • [51:26] Book Recommendations

  • [53:37] Interesting Fact about Michael

  • [54:55] Latino Business Action Network

  • [55:58] Outro


Latino Business Action Network


I’d love to hear from you — your feedback is important to me and I read all of it. If you enjoyed the podcast, I hope you’ll give us 5 stars. I’ll be sure to thank you via email. If not, let me know what you think we should do differently. Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you’ll receive notifications about guest interviews and other topics that drop every Tuesday.

Live well, Shana

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