Jack Honomichl Memorial
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Remembering Jack Honomichl

Comments made in honor of the longtime researcher and journalist at a Memorial Service on Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Arlington Heights, IL, by Diane Bowers, President of CASRO

I am here representing all of the many colleagues and friends that Jack had in CASRO, starting even before CASRO was founded back in 1975. In fact, Jack knew about the idea for CASRO when he learned that a few research business leaders thought they should get together to argue against a federal proposal to require that all government research be conducted by the Census Bureau!

These research companies and their Presidents established CASRO to prevent this federal proposal from becoming reality and Jack was supportive of their initiative. But when these same research business leaders decided to grow CASRO by adding members, developing standards, holding conferences, etc., Jack was skeptical. He thought that the research businesses were too competitive with each other and that CASRO wouldn’t survive. At CASRO’s 10th anniversary, Jack was one of our honored guests and he acknowledged our success by inviting Rance Crain, Editor-in-Chief of Ad Age (Jack’s journalistic home) to be the dinner speaker!

In the first years I knew Jack – he was a little intimidating. He was the regular "Research Beat” columnist at Ad Age, and I was young and knew very little about the research industry. He would call to interview me about what was happening on the research business front and in CASRO. I always knew Jack’s voice on the phone. He didn’t have to identify himself and usually didn’t. His voice was soft; he was very articulate and precise in his choice of words; and he spoke slowly with long pauses and deep breaths of air (he was probably smoking). And he asked me questions—he was an excellent interviewer. Of course, many times I didn’t know the answers to his questions. Even if I did, most of the time I didn’t think I should tell him about CASRO’s member companies. So, I usually talked about our events and other activities and, when the subject of CASRO was exhausted, I asked him about Frances and his family . . . then . . . how his swimming was going. Years later Jack told me with a little smile that he always liked the way I evaded his questions by asking about his wife and kids!

One year (I think in the mid ‘80s) Jack asked if I could contribute to the Top 25 (Top 50) annual report by providing the estimated revenues for all the other CASRO member companies not included in the Top 25. Thus began an enduring relationship and an important benchmark for the total size of the US research industry. CASRO has provided this supplemental information for the past nearly 30 years. As you know, "Honomichl’s Top 50” and "Honomichl’s Global 25” are very valuable annual reports that Larry Gold has continued to champion, and they have really established a strong presence for the US research industry in the global research community.

Jack was a real visionary – in many ways, but particularly so about the research industry. He anticipated the dynamic changes in data collection methodologies and data analytics because of new technology and client demand for a quicker turnaround on research projects. He knew that the need for information (good, reliable, actionable information and data) would increase enormously. And, with this new information age, he worried that research businesses might get "stuck in their ways” and not change quickly enough to meet the demands for information. I think his worry related to the fact that he truly believed that researchers (and research businesses) have the skill sets and the inherent disposition to determine what information is good, reliable, and actionable. [Jack was, after all, one of us: an excellent researcher. He loved research and the process of trying to solve a client’s problem or question through a well-designed and executed survey.] But he also knew (sooner than most of us) that change was coming to the research industry and profession. And so it has, and so it continues.

I am pleased to say that when CASRO honored Jack a couple of years ago with a Lifetime Achievement Award (a wonderful occasion), I talked with Jack about the many changes that CASRO has worked on with our members and in support of research businesses: our new initiatives in social media and mobile research guidelines; our new auditing and certification service for ISO quality standards; our efforts to collaborate with other associations on global standards and guidelines by supporting the development of the Americas Research Industry Alliance (ARIA) and the Global Research Business Network (GRBN). Jack was very pleased with our efforts and our progress at CASRO. His sage advice and insightful forecasts did not fall on deaf ears.

I hope we continue to meet with his approval.

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