Key Team Members


Robert Porter, CEO

Rob Porter

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 RepassRex 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, Senior Vice President

Steve FrenchSteven French’s background includes 25 years of corporate marketing, business development, and management experience with industry leaders such as PepsiCo, Mars, Inc., and Marriott Corporation spanning a broad range of multi-faceted business disciplines, including business unit general management, brand marketing, multi-channel business development, corporate market research management, new business start-ups, new product concept development, competitive/product category analysis, and strategic plan development.

During his tenure at the Institute, he has worked with many global Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, start-up companies, associations, and various other organizations. He has pioneered a range of the Institute consumer research databases including the Sustainability Consumer Trends Database and Whole Living Database.

Steve and the Institute are frequent authors of research reports, articles, and a contributor to numerous domestic and international consumer media, including Fox TV, NBC News, Time Magazine, The New York Times, plus trade publications such as Brandweek, Progressive Grocer, Supermarket News, among others.

Steve is a regular speaker at many industry events such as FMI, IFT, LOHAS Conferences, Natural Products Expos, SupplySide Conferences, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Conferences, American Society on Aging (ASA), U.S. Green Building Council, Nutracon, Expo Comida Latina, WorldNutra, and many others.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Penn State University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Scranton.


Diane K. Ray, Vice President of Strategic Innovation

Diane RayWith 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 BennerAmy 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

Jan Nash

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 PretaFrank 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.