North American Regional Ambassador: ESOMAR
Reg Baker has been involved with surveys in one form or another for over for 50 years, long enough to have once tabulated survey data using an IBM card sorter. Fortunately, that was short-lived and with the introduction of SPSS in 1968 he moved online, enabling him to keep body and soul together while in graduate school by analyzing survey data for faculty in political science, sociology, economics, geography, and even history on his way to earning his PhD. In 1979, he went to work at DUALabs, a now defunct DC-based non-profit that documented and distributed data from the 1960 and 1970 Censuses, and public use files on behalf of a variety of other government agencies.
In 1984, he joined the National Opinion Research Center (now simply NORC) at the University of Chicago as Director of Systems Development, eventually becoming Vice President for Research Services. While at NORC he was fortunate to work with a team of world class survey methodologists on the design and execution of large, complex, government-funded multi-year surveys. He also oversaw the migration of the NORC national field staff from paper and pencil data collection to CAPI and established the organization’s first CATI centers.
Reg moved from academic survey research to market research in 1995 when he joined Market Strategies International (now Escalent) as COO. Over his 17-year career there he oversaw the company’s transition to online and became an active contributor to industry debates on a broad set of issues about technology and evolving methods, their use and misuse. He became a frequent presenter at industry conferences, published numerous articles, reports, and chapters in books, and in 2007 began blogging as The Survey Geek. This also was a time when he became active in a variety of industry associations including AAPOR, CASRO, and ESOMAR
After his retirement from Market Strategies in 2012, he took on a number of part-time positions and consulting assignments. He taught in the Masters in Market Research Program at Michigan State University. He consulted with the Census Bureau. He served for four years as Executive Director of the Market Research Institute International and currently is ESOMAR’s Regional Ambassador to North America and a consultant to that association’s Professional Standards Committee.
He and his wife, Pat, live in Ann Arbor, MI along with Archie, their “terrier mix” rescue dog.