Interview with Mike DeLia, Executive Director, Focus Forward, LLC
Tell us a little bit about your company?
Founded in 2003, Focus Forward and Panel Direct Online are comprised of three divisions:
Nationwide Recruiting - Medical, B2B and consumer. We specialize in recruiting for online boards/web chats, phone interviews, in-person, ethnos, juries, and more.
Transcription - English transcription, multi-language translation/transcription, notes, fast turnaround, high volume, experts in every accent and topic.
Panel Direct Online - B2B, B2C, Patients, SBO's, ITDM's. Our US-based panel offering hundreds of detailed data points.
All of our divisions are anchored by an excellent, experienced project management staff, offering quality and customer service that is second to none.
How did you get involved with Market Research?
As with many others in the field, I somewhat fell into the industry. I began at Focus Forward in 2004, as a telephone recruiter working during my summer break from the University of Delaware. After discovering more about the inner works of market research, I became very interested in the different types of research and methodologies used. The way people think is quite interesting to me, and in this line of work, I literally learn something new every day. Eventually, I combined my love of market research, technology and writing into my current role as the operations head of our transcription department.
Why did you join the MRA?
Since I have been working at Focus Forward, and prior to joining the MRA, I frequented several of the events the group holds, including the 2010 Joint Chapter Conference in Philadelphia. I found that the individuals who attended these events were friendly, knowledgeable and passionate. I learned that the connections I was making at these events were invaluable, in terms of shared knowledge and networking. As several of my co-workers have been very active in the organization, I decided it was in my best interest to join them.
What is your favorite MRA event?
It would have to be the Joint Chapter Conference. It was a lot of fun! I made several professional contacts, and a few friends as well. I found it very exciting to hear industry leaders give their insights into some of the hot button topics of the day.
Where would you recommend MRA National hold one of its annual conferences?
Philadelphia, of course! It's a beautiful city, with a great nightlife and tons of activities. Plus, it's a central location to several other major metropolitan areas.
Are you a Philadelphia native?
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in Blue Bell. There's been a growth explosion there since my childhood, when it wasn't uncommon to see people riding horses along the side of the street.
What is your favorite Philadelphia area/activity?
I enjoy going to music events, mostly in the city. Some of the venues I like to go to include the Trocadero, J.C. Dobbs and the Electric Factory. I also enjoy going to parks in the area like Wissahickon Valley.
What are you hobbies?
In my spare time, I enjoy writing and playing music, both solo and with my band, Imbala. I play guitar and bass. I'm a bit of a geek as well. I own quite a few electronic gadgets and am a long-time gamer. Reading is also a frequent pastime of mine. The Hunger Games has, admittedly, had me hooked recently.
My taste in music is rather eclectic. Some of my favorite bands are Radiohead and the jazz fusion group Return to Forever. I enjoy everything from the classics, like Led Zeppelin and Hendrix, to electronic music, such as Aphex Twin and Daft Punk. Over the last couple of years, I've also been getting into some modern metal, including Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage and Irepress.