February 8, 2010
What made you decide to start KS&R?
In 1983, I was working at another research company with a group of very bright, high energy individuals. We had seen the level of research quality that others provided and were convinced that we could do things better and be successful in our own firm. Given where we were working at the time, our clients were primarily government and non-profit and we thought there was opportunity for us in the for-profit world as well.
We began KS&R with six founders and a support person. We had a large national client who continued with us through the move, which really allowed us to get a jump start. They were very exciting times 27 years ago, as we began the firm….and they're very exciting times now, as we continue to grow.
What do you see ahead for KS&R? What are the challenges and opportunities?
Given our tremendous staff and the reputation that we've built for excellence and customer service, the opportunities for KS&R are endless. The market research industry is changing in terms of how and what information is collected and from whom. We are intent on staying ahead of the curve in responding to these changes so as to best meet the needs of our clients.
I expect that our future growth will come from a continued diversification of our offerings in areas such as innovation, data mining, CRM and other IT-intensive areas. We will also continue to branch out into new industries by tying our long standing expertise in market research with industry expertise that we gain through the acquisition of new staff.
Which two people would you most like to have dinner with?
Two separate dinners, because there'd be so much to discuss:
1.) Hillary Clinton, because I have such respect for her, what she has accomplished and what she is trying to accomplish. Her efforts have not only benefited New York State, the country and the world, but she has also contributed to lifting that glass ceiling for all women.
2.) The CEO of any successful Fortune 100 company, to better understand how he/she approaches what seems to me to be an almost impossible job.
If you could change one thing about KS&R, what would it be?
It would be that we asked less time of our people. Because customer responsiveness is so inherent to our corporate culture, office lights typically burn late into the evening and days begin early in the morning. It's difficult to be both a family friendly business and a business that strives to exceed client expectations. We try to be flexible when deadlines are not in play, but those times are few and far between.
How would your family and friends describe you?
That I'm a nice person. (hopefully!)
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Being a founder of KS&R, all that we have accomplished as a firm during our first 27 years and all that we will accomplish in the future.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I was less sensitive to rejection, particularly as it relates to opening new doors for business. This sensitivity is two-sided. While it poses difficulties when trying to establish relationships, it helps when I'm building existing ones.
Who were your mentors?
I'd say that Ann Michel, former CEO of KS&R, was my primary mentor. I worked with Ann for over 25 years in 3 different employment settings. She was a phenomenal woman with incredible energy and insights into people and business. I learned from Ann that you have to have confidence in your talents, think big and go for it.
What are your hidden talents?
I'm not sure I'd call this hidden, but perhaps not well known. I am an organist and studied the organ while in college. I played regularly in church for over 25 years before retiring to be a substitute organist. I even have a pipe organ in my home.
What is your personal motto?
This is a bit trite, but is an expression that my father constantly chanted as we were growing up: "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘til good is better and better is best."