Key Team Members
Robert Porter, CEO
Robert is proficient in all stages of the research process, including survey and study design, questionnaire development, data analysis, and reporting. Robert makes certain that employees in all of our centers meet our high standards, directing and executing all strategic plans and policies of the company.
His vision and leadership have been vital in the development of priority plans, performance measurements, management controls, acquisition strategies and implementations that have made our company’s tremendous growth in size, capabilities, and revenue possible. Robert is a recognized expert in mergers and acquisitions.
Rex Repass, President
Rex is the man behind the story, a bold leader and entrepreneur. He is highly experienced in helping organizations drive profitable growth and enhance corporate reputations. As President, he challenges the entire Research America team to move forward, innovate, and to think differently using his years of experience as a guiding light. Rex offers this same level of vision with clients, illuminating the path forward, and inspiring courage and confidence.
Rex can also hold his own against Wikipedia on any sports statistics and presidential history. Go ahead, try to stump him. Rex has a Master of Science degree in Communications, with an emphasis in public opinion and advertising research methods. He serves on the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications & Information Board of Visitors.
Steve French, Chief Operating Officer
Steve leads Natural Marketing Institute, a prominent international strategic marketing consulting and market research firm specializing in health & wellness, sustainability and whole living. He has over 30 years of strategic marketing, business development, market research, and management experience.
Combining a BS and MBA in marketing, he has accumulated extensive insight and knowledge into today’s consumer and market trends. He has pioneered a range of consumer databases based on interviews from over one million global consumer interviews in 30+ countries to help clients navigate, identify and validate market opportunities.
Prior to joining Natural Marketing Institute, he spent 15 years at PepsiCo, Mars, and Marriott.
He is a frequent speaker at many industry events, is regularly sourced by media, and an author of over 200 published articles and written reports.
In 2020, Steve received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State and is a current member of their Sustainability Advisory Board. In 2021, he received a Top 100 Global Marketing Leader award.
Steve’s personal and professional mission is to drive global strategies and consumer behavior change for personal wellness and the health of the planet. In the end, his vision is to help make the world become a better place to live – now and for future generations.
Diane K. Ray, Vice President of Strategic Innovation
With international business experience in over 25 countries, and a wide-ranging career in science, business development, research, and innovation, Diane brings a competitive advantage to any business growth initiative. Institute client experience includes Amway, Astra-Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, CIBA Vision, Campbell’s Soup Co, Herr Foods, Armstrong World Industries, Pergo, PECO Energy, Eastman Kodak, NASA, and Sprint to name only a few.
Amy Benner, Vice President
Amy brings over 13 years of market research and strategic consulting experience to Research America. She is responsible for growing client relationships and the management of all market insights and strategy development initiatives.
Amy’s experience spans across many industries including consumer goods and services, technology, health care, automotive, manufacturing, banking, legal, education, government, and entertainment. She guides all aspects of research studies for a diverse client base including Little Caesars, SpartanNash, U.S. Veterans Administration, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Plante Moran, Bosch, and Caterpillar.
Prior to her work at Intellitrends, Amy spent over eight years as a Project Engineer in the automotive industry. Amy holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA with a Marketing concentration from Oakland University.
Jan Nash, Senior Director of Research
With an M.A. in Applied Market Research, Jan equips the Institute team with 20 years of market research experience in the consumer and pharmaceutical industries. Her expertise includes both qualitative and quantitative research across many methodologies. She has performed primary research for companies such as The Discovery Channel, The Washington Post, Ortho-McNeil, Pfizer, Ross and other well-known national clients.
Frank Preta, Market Research Director
Frank Preta’s background includes 30 years of National and Global corporate intelligence, market research, business development, and management experience with industry leaders such as BASF Corporation, Bayer Healthcare, DSM Nutritional Products Inc., Pfizer Inc., Information Resources Inc., Automatic Data Processing Inc, and Acosta Sales and Marketing. Among numerous responsibilities, his services and accomplishments have centered on top-notch customer engagements and formulating/supporting marketing and sales strategies. Frank holds a B.S. Marketing, Seton Hall University and a Holistic Health Certification from American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
Kirsten Wingenbach, Director of Advanced Analytics
Kirsten's 20 years of research experience includes federally funded academic research and extensive new product development work. Creative and well-rounded, Kirsten has developed functional expertise in segmentation research, customer satisfaction, product/line optimization, media research, advertising tracking, and predictive modeling. Kirsten has a BA from Michigan State University and has completed extensive graduate course work in research methodology and statistics at the doctoral level.
Kathryn Schulte, Senior Project Director
With a BA in Behavioral Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School, Kathryn has nearly 20 years of experience in market research, analysis, operations and management. Kathryn’s client expertise encompasses both qualitative and quantitative methods including consumer, professional and political polling research. Among others, her specific client experience includes Warner-Lambert, Pfizer, Wyeth, Colgate Palmolive, Sunoco, Sony, Disney, ABC News and The Washington Post.