Three decades of marketing research.
Susan Saurage-Altenloh, PhDSusan Saurage-Altenloh
Chief Insights Officer

Susan specializes in designing innovative research strategies and producing results that meet clients’ information needs – completely and exactly. Her 20+ years of experience include facilitating more than 17,500 qualitative sessions, completing thousands of quantitative survey and hybrid projects, and securing a reputation for producing reliable, timely, applicable results.

The firm, which stays on the early adoption curve of new techniques and methodologies, has won several national and regional awards for its creative and unique research approaches to secure critical, usable information for marketing and strategic planning purposes. Susan has gathered actionable data for a client list that includes nationally known healthcare systems, large manufacturers and refineries, prominent financial institutions, municipal and national governmental agencies, and advertising / marketing firms. The most notable ones—Tenet Healthcare, Conoco, Environmental Protection Agency, HP, State of Louisiana, State of Texas, BP, Exxon, Dow, Cameron, BVAA, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and McDonald’s—include several Fortune 500 companies.

Susan’s corporate experience includes thousands of research projects that required understanding and coordinating the needs, perceptions, and resources of multiple entities into a cohesive plan for marketing, service line development, and message strategy development. Most of these information-gathering efforts include insight from consumers, CEOs, influential opinion-leaders, or major employers. Susan’s firm has developed special expertise in research issues related to environment, legislative, academic institutions, health care, municipal infrastructure, and marketing strategy.

Susan recently earned a PhD in Marketing from Capella University. Prior to this degree, Susan earned her MBA at The University of Texas at Austin – one of the top 10 business schools in the country. Before establishing Saurage Research in 1987, Susan served as vice-president of a large southeastern region research firm.

Susan has authored several articles appearing in national and regional business publications including AMA’s Marketing News, Quirk’s Marketing Research Review, Enterprising Women, Houston Business Journal, and QRCA’s VIEWS Magazine. She regularly appears on television and as a speaker on market information and research trends. Susan authors her own independent blog, Factastics.

Dick WhittingtonDick Whittington
Research Strategist

Dick is a career research professional with over 40 years of experience in a wide range of global environments, both B2B and B2C.

He specializes in delivering practical solutions to address specific client needs. The majority of his carer was spent as a client-side researcher, which allows him to bring that unique perspective to the research he designs and delivers to clients.

In addition to his skills as a project manager and consultant, Dick has moderated groups, interviewed professionals, facilitated meetings, spoken as industry conferences, written articles for trade publications, led training/development sessions and mentored researchers in their professional development.

Dick approaches research strategically, with a belief that, to be relevant today, researchers must:

  • Understand and advocate for customers based on their complete body of research knowledge and experience, not individual project results
  • Deliver a greater return on research investments than alternative uses for the same funds
  • Successfully influence business leaders regarding actions and strategies to deliver business growth, profit and customer commitment.

Dick earned his Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Erin KeatingErin Keating
Project Manager

Erin specializes in client service and project management. With over 10 years of marketing communications experience, Erin has managed project teams of cross-channel experts to assure optimal marketing objectives. From rebranding to negotiating valuable media placements, Erin delivers results oriented service to clients. With strong attention to detail and a genuine desire to provide unparalleled service, Erin makes it a priority to gain first-hand insight into clients’ products and services. She has divers account category knowledge with a primary focus on B2B, including financial, telecommunications, insurance and technology.

At Saurage Research, Erin specializes in project management and designing and applying research solutions to help clients achieve their goals.

Erin is a member of the Houston chapter of the American Marketing Association and serves ton the Communications and Special Services committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. One of the primary functions of this committee is to conduct telephone and performance on-site surveys to provide entertainer preference information and audience demographics.

Erin earned her Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from Texas Tech University.

Tamara GooderhamTamara Gooderham
Insights Strategist (Analytics)

Tamara Gooderham is a market research consultant with eighteen years of experience in survey research. She utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods and her wide-ranging sector experience includes work for healthcare, education, government, energy and not for profit organizations. Tamara has carried out hundreds of survey projects of customers, employees and other stakeholders acting as project manager heading up a team and/or taking on the responsibility for carrying out individual elements of the project such as: design and administration of survey questionnaires, analysis of survey data, report writing, action planning and consultancy.

Tamara started her career in market research at the survey software and research organization Snap Surveys working for fifteen years at their UK headquarters. She joined as their sole researcher in 1997 and left in 2012 as Head of Research Services, having developed a department of 15 staff. Tamara is a technology specialist who ran Snap’s very first online projects in the late 1990s for a range of high profile international clients and throughout her time at Snap worked closely with software developers at the company to provide a testing ground for new innovative survey functions.

Since moving to the US in 2012, Tamara has used her research skills and experience to carry out survey projects that provide reliable and actionable insight for her clients.

Tamara has a diploma in Market & Social Research Practice from the Market Research Society, UK; a Master of Philosophy in Behavioral Science from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong; and a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK.

Mohammed ZakirMohammed Zakir
Data Analytics Partner Principal

Mohammed Zakir is the founder and principal of Acustrategy Analytics, an advanced analytics and pricing research company with a dedicated team of research analysts and data scientists experienced with Fortune 100, mid-market, startup, and private equity companies as well as government agencies and non-profits. Clients include Alcon, Apple, CVS Health, Ericsson, Novartis, Syngenta, Qualcomm, Thomson Reuters, the City of Houston, and the Gates Foundation while the team serves as trusted project partner with Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, and Saurage Research.

Areas of research expertise include pricing strategy and optimization, product strategy, portfolio optimization and bundling, and sales strategy.

Team members provide advanced analytics, big / unstructured data analytics, predictive analytics, data visualization, and digital transformation.

Mohammed has more than 20 years of consulting experience and currently serves as an external advisor to Simon-Kucher & Partners, the world’s leading pricing and marketing strategy consultancy.


  • Master of Business Administration, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Bachelor or Arts, Mathematics and Economics, Middlebury College (Vermont)
Brad LarsonBrad Larson
Data Collection Partner President

As the company founder, Brad brings 30 years of marketing research experience to Ironwood. Prior to founding Ironwood Insights Group, his leadership skills during his eight years at Thoroughbred Research Group resulted in the firm becoming a recognized brand in the research community. His oversight included strategic planning, client development, as well as research design. Prior to joining Thoroughbred, Brad spent 13 years growing the research arm of ICT Group into a $20+ Million-dollar division producing significant revenues and profit for the company. Before joining ICT Group, Brad honed his skills in a smaller research company where he learned the industry, managed call centers, developed sales and marketing plans and progressed from part-time interviewer to VP of Marketing.

Brad graduated with a BA degree in Economics from Brigham Young University. Brad is very active in the marketing research community and is currently serving on the Past Presidents Advisory Council of the Insights Association (formerly the Marketing Research Association). He is also active in PMRG, AMA (currently the VP of Surveys for the Phoenix chapter), AAPOR and LIMRA.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Brigham Young University, Utah
  • Professional Researcher Certification, Certified Expert Level, Marketing Research Association
  • More than twenty years of experience in quantitative field research
Mary Lea QuickMary Lea Quick
Director of Qualitative Research

Mary Lea Quick is the lead project manager at Ironwood Insights as our primary supervision point during fielding. She serves as a liaison between our programming, data collection and analytics teams in keeping Saurage clients informed throughout the life of a study. She is also a skilled research designer, moderator, and report writer, having been in the market research industry for over 30 years.

Prior to the recent launch of Ironwood Insights, Mary Lea was at Thoroughbred Research Group for ten years as the Director of Qualitative Research. For nearly 20 years she was the president / owner of MRK Research, which merged with Thoroughbred Research Group in 2007. She has moderated traditional focus groups, on-line focus groups, on-line bulletin boards and one-on-one interviews in numerous U.S. markets.

Mary Lea was an adjunct instructor at the University of Louisville in the College of Business for nearly ten years. She holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Louisville and a Professional Researcher Certification from the Insights Association. Mary Lea has experience in a variety of industry segments representing multiple consumer and business profiles.


  • Master of Business Administration, Unviersity of Louisville
  • Professional Researcher Certification, Certified Expert Level, Marketing Research Association
  • More than twenty years of experience in qualitative research


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