The personal and professional worlds tend to mesh for Larry Finkel, Market Research Director. During more than a dozen years providing expert business intelligence as a top Research Specialist, he's danced at client weddings, lent them a shoulder during marital strife, cheered when their children received college acceptance letters.
For Larry, it's all good. It's also a genuine and organic way of ensuring that his clients make smart business intelligence investment decisions -- and that they keep their market research costs within budget.
His title is Market Research Director at MarketResearch.com. The description is accurate -- but it's far from all there is to Larry.
We asked Larry to share more about himself.
Q: What is your hometown?
A: I’m a Motown boy, and was living in Detroit during the ’67 riots! We moved to the suburbs later, and I lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., for 13 years after college.
Q: How many siblings do you have and where do you stack up among them?
A: I’m the baby of four siblings, with a ten year span between us. Girl, boy, girl, boy.
Q: What did your Mom/Dad do for work?
A: My mom was a teacher, my Dad was in retail; he owned women’s clothing stores, then he became a Vice President of Operations. My mom was an Economics major at University of Michigan in 1941 and worked for the War Labor Board out of college.
Q: What college(s) did you attend and what was your major?
A: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Two majors: Psychology and History of Art, graduated with high honors.
Q: What is your favorite cultural activity?
A: I’m a theater fanatic, and an art lover.
Q: What is your favorite city to visit? (domestic or international)
A: Rome. It’s like a European New York with ruins!
Q: How did you make that first step on the "career ladder?”
A: I was waiting tables at a gourmet French restaurant, working my way through college. A frequent customer turned out to be VP of International Sales at Xerox UMI, which is now called ProQuest... . He offered me a sales job right on the spot on UMI’s Article Clearinghouse sales team (the first document delivery service of the time). I rose to the top position in sales there, then was promoted to the largest department at the company and became the number one salesperson there during my first year.... In 1989 I was recruited to be Director of Sales at Simon and Schuster by the wife of my mentor...that same restaurant customer who had first hired me at UMI!
In your work at MRDC over the years, can you describe some of the more interesting client experiences you've had?
I’ve worked with some of these customers for over 12 years here. This means I’ve seen them through weddings and separations, children, adoptions, losses, job changes to other companies, rises up the corporate ladder, and even life cycle evolution toward retirement.
Can you give an example of a difficult work-related problem you solved and what steps you took to solve it?
I consider myself to be a problem solver with my customers; it gives me joy to find a solution to their need, especially to help them identify solutions to something they can’t see. One example: General Mills has been purchasing our Packaged Facts reports [with] year-end funding, year after year. Rather than a handful of workers there having access to a handful of our reports at their year end, I rallied to apply those expenses toward a full Packaged Facts Knowledge Center, which would allow everyone at their company to access our full body of research for a year. I enlisted the support of several budget centers there to pitch in to upgrade their status to start the subscription.