A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Title: CEO, partner

Age: 32

Rico Mace is leading efforts to help companies gain insights into millennials and other consumers as newly named partner and CEO of Orman Guidance, a market research firm in Bloomington.

Millennials are the subject of 60 percent or more of the research at Orman Guidance, Mace said. The company specializes in qualitative research, working with consumers and companies to develop insights that lead to marketplace opportunities, but also does quantitative research.

"It's the biggest group of consumers right now in new product innovations," Mace said of millennials.

Mace, who has led a restructuring and reorganization of the company as director of strategic planning, joined Orman Guidance in November. Former CEO Rosemary Sundin has overseen a transition that in early August made Mace the chief executive and a partner with an equal share of the company.

The Duluth-Superior area native joined the Navy soon after high school, serving as a project manager and quality assurance specialist.

After suffering serious injuries during an overseas tour, he completed his service and went on to earn dual MBA degrees in project management and human resources management at Capella University. He's working on a doctorate of business administration degree in strategy and innovation at Capella now.

Al Orman founded Orman Guidance in 1975. Over the years, it has done consumer insight studies that have influenced microwave ovens, cereal flavors and e-books, among other products.

Q: What's something the company has learned about marketing to millennials?

A: Millennials do not want to be called millennials. They want to be identified as individuals. When they're classified as millennials, for marketing research, they'll deny it because they don't want to be categories. It's the whole uniqueness principle.

Q: What led to the company's restructuring?

A: The company has been growing steadily and slowly. Rosemary wanted to take it to the next level because the marketing research industry is lagging in a lot of areas as a whole. She's leading a top-secret internal program, a project where we're looking at bringing the whole industry to the next step.

Q: What differentiates Orman Guidance from other market research firms?

A: The company [does] primarily qualitative research, face-to-face research. It could be through a Web-based platform, but it's literally two people talking together, one way or another. When big data shows trends in the numbers, we show why those numbers exist, why people are shopping that way, why people are buying these products.

Todd Nelson