Jim Ittenbach

Jim Ittenbach

CEO

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Jim Ittenbach

CEO

jittenbach@smari.com

Jim built the foundation of SMARI. As an entrepreneur, he is always looking forward – considering the trends, new technology, and what the future has to offer.

Jim Ittenbach began his career in 1972, as a Project Director for Herron Associates. He ended his ten-year tenure as the Executive VP and Director of Research Services. Next, Jim took a position with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as their Director of Development. Working with 187 parish coordinators and over 900 volunteers, Jim coordinated an Annual $2MM giving program as well as individual parish stewardship training programs. Yet, his entrepreneurial spirit won over and he launched Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI) in 1983, a research consulting firm. 

Five years later, SMARI was acquired by the Associated Insurance Company – the parent company for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.  He served as a corporate officer of the acquired independent company for the next nine years. At this point, the entrepreneurial spirit again won over and he led a successful LBO which enabled SMARI to again become self-directed and to expand the scope and nature of their service offerings to support a growing multi-national client base.

Jim’s breadth of experience serves as SMARI’s cornerstone and guidance as the company continues to specialize in custom designed primary research. 

BS in Marketing:  Ball State University  |  MBA: Ball State University

Past President: Ball State University Miller College of Business Advisory Board, Central Indiana American Marketing Association, Riviera Club, St. Simon Parish Council

Past Executive Leadership and Board Positions: Market Research Board of United Way of Central Indiana, QRCA, AMA, Indiana Associations of Hospices, St. Vincent Stress Center Indianapolis, Ball State Miller College of Business, Ball State University Alumni Association, Indiana Wind Symphony

What about market research really makes you geek out?

Discovering the interconnectedness of consumer behavior, dispositions and brand emotional engagements – this is where the magic takes place and opportunity prevails.

Katie Simmermon

Katie Simmermon

President

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Katie Simmermon

President

ksimmermon@smari.com

They say no one graduates with a degree in marketing research… well that statement couldn’t be more true for Katie. Between analytics and account management, she guides custom research design and helps clients solve problems.

A business degree wasn’t on Katie’s mind until she tried virtually every field of science, only to realize a lab was not where she was destined to spend her time. However, the quest for understanding, the art of discovery, and the continuous need to test the limit of innovation married the two industries well.  Now, seven years after she began her journey with SMARI, Katie is a versatile executive with a unique and wide-ranging skill set that enables her to always produce for the client.   

What motivates Katie?  Working with clients to determine what new methodology or unique approach to research can be implemented to find that one aha moment.

A team player who always goes “above and beyond” to get the job done, Katie takes on roles outside of her normal job duties and often provides insight and lends expertise to other departments. On her own time, Katie enjoys being active by doing yoga, running and riding her horses, Peyton and Red.

BS in Management & Marketing, Purdue University  |  MBA, Ball State University 

What about market research really makes you geek out?

The art of discovery. Finding that ah-ha moment in the research process that provides our clients with that one bit of insight that will pull them ahead of competition.

Mike York

Mike York

Operations Director

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Mike York

Operations Director

myork@smari.com

Mike is our Scrum master and the one who enables SMARI to fire on all cylinders, like ensuring a representative respondent sample, expedient data collection, and timely delivery of actionable results.

 He is distinguished by his passion for business, his focus on collaborative team-building, and his commitment to meeting customer and market demands.  Mike’s positive can-do attitude instills him and his team members with extraordinary energy and dedication in an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged.   

Mike grew up in central Indiana and the common thread between Mike’s childhood days and his professional career is his belief in orchestrated organization. Outside of the professional world, he enjoys a good cinematic experience almost as much as he does cheering on his Indianapolis Colts and Kansas Jayhawks. On the active side of life, Mike enjoys golf, basketball, being on the water, and a fierce game of bocce ball.

Masters in Applied Sociology  |  MBA,  Organizational Leadership

 

What about market research really makes you geek out?

That’s easy! As corny and cliché as it may sound, I sincerely appreciate being a part of an intelligent and accomplished team on a daily basis that can consistently deliver quality insights for our major lifeline, our clients.

RJ Gerard

RJ Gerard

Director of Accounts

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RJ Gerard

Director of Accounts

rjgerard@smari.com

As an accomplished and seasoned market researcher, RJ is very adept at exploring, observing, and probing for answers.

RJ’s experience in both qualitative and quantitative market research is far-reaching. He is an insights guru working with consumers, top-tier pharmaceutical companies, regional and national nonprofit organizations, medical device and industrial manufacturers, along with many B2B clients.

He is creative-minded with a passion for developing unique and engaging research methodologies to better understand user behavior, needs and motivations.

What about market research really makes you geek out?

I love research opportunities which entail the need to explore consumer behavior and emotional insights. At the end of the day, we all have hidden motivators and reasons for how and why we make decisions - both in personal and professional life. I am passionate about the challenge of creating research “techniques” which will open the door to discovery.

Dan Smith

Dan Smith

CFO


Sasha Fainberg

Sasha Fainberg

Consumer Insights Analyst

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Wesley Fry

Wesley Fry

Consumer Insights Analyst

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Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith

Research Specialist

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