Member Spotlight

Rachelle Neal, President — Capitol Research Services, East Lansing

MY BUSINESS…MYSELF

I am founder, owner, and chief researcher for Capitol Research Services. I have a wealth of corporate, nonprofit, and public sector research experience gained through years of industry leadership. While I was growing up, my father was in the military, so my family lived and traveled all over the world. His duties took us from Anchorage, Alaska to Biloxi, Mississippi, but we always considered Michigan home. I was born in Lansing and returned to attend college at Central Michigan University and Michigan State University. I choose to live in Michigan and truly appreciate Michigan’s amazing economic and recreational opportunities. I also enjoy our midwestern ingenuity and sense of community. I am proud to be a Michigander.

Over 30 years ago, I started Capitol Research Services, a full-service market research firm serving a broad range of clients. Since our inception, we have helped hundreds of clients to strategically plan by defining key research objectives, investigating the marketplace, and integrating consumer information. Capitol Research Services specializes in comprehensive research including new product and service testing, tracking studies, mock juries, website usability and market feasibility studies. Our team is committed to providing clients with accurate and reliable information in a cost-effective and timely manner. Capitol Research Services now offers live video streaming, closed circuit television and remote focus groups.

GREATEST CHALLENGE

One of the greatest challenges facing my business has been to find skilled workers. This challenge is not unique to the market research industry. In 1978, very few members of my master’s program stayed to work in Michigan because of our poor economy. They took jobs in California, Chicago and Texas – everywhere but Michigan. Things have changed greatly but there is still somewhat of a disconnect between education and industry needs. It has been difficult for Capitol Research Services to find skilled workers with a research background. Fortunately, Capitol Research Services is located in East Lansing and our proximity to Michigan State University and other colleges has been invaluable. Since we were founded, Capitol Research Services has offered unique college internships that has afforded us access to train skilled researchers.

GREATEST OPPORTUNITY

One of the greatest opportunities  facing  our  industry is the advancement of technology. This has cut costs as well as reduced time to collect, analyze, and distribute information. Research methods have changed radically since the early days of homemakers going door-to-door to the present ability to collect information online. We offer online focus groups and surveys, in a fraction of the time compared to mail surveys. For more than five years, Capitol Research Services has offered focus group livestreaming. Our clients can instantaneously watch from practically anywhere in the world. Technology has created these wonderful advancements. Clients no longer incur hefty time and travel expenses to go observe  a focus group or wait several days for a DVD recording to arrive. They can watch it online or download a video for viewing at a more convenient time. The upside of this technology is not just cost savings, but timelier client reporting, which is invaluable in our fast-paced world.

WHY I BELONG TO THE CHAMBER

In 2008, I received the ATHENA award from the Greater Lansing Chamber of Commerce. ATHENA International’s mission is to “support, develop and honor women leaders and those who inspire them to reach their full potential by offering unique, impactful leadership development and awards programs.” In 2017, with help from the Michigan Chamber Foundation and other ATHENA recipients, we created Michigan ATHENA, now a partner program of the Chamber Foundation. We have held two annual luncheons with members and ATHENA recipients from across Michigan. Michigan ATHENA and the Michigan Chamber Foundation benefit all Michigan women.

A KEY TAKEAWAY

I would like to thank everyone at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce for their dedication to Michigan business. Capitol Research Services strives to improve our client’s success in the marketplace. We are committed to building a better community and state. I’m a born and bred product of Michigan and excited about Michigan’s future.