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2016 Conference Speakers


Ivy  Zelmann


Zelman & Associates



Addressing the Most Frequent Asked Questions in Housing




Linda Mackenzie,

Vice President, Client Solutions




Smart & Connected Homeowners: Strategic Insights to Capture these Consumers




Todd Tomalak,

Vice President, Research


John Burns Real Estate Consulting



 Today’s Home Design and Product Preferences by Generations Redefined


As a Vice President, Todd oversees our building product research and is an expert in building product market assessment and industry analytics. Todd forecasts building products spending, and helps building products companies and investors make strategic decisions.

Prior to joining John Burns Real Estate Consulting, Todd served as Manager of Economic & Industry Analytics at Kohler Co, responsible for all North American market modeling and quantitative market measurement. Todd is multiple winner of Most Accurate Category Forecaster from Chicago Federal Reserve, which peer group includes Wells Fargo, Caterpillar, Ford, GM, Macroeconomic Advisors, and more. He has his B.A. Mathematics from St Norbert College and an M.B.A. from George Mason University.

In his free time, Todd enjoys live music, good food, and is an avid chess player.


Mollie Carmichael, 



John Burns Real Estate Consulting

  Mollie leads many of JBREC consumer-oriented consulting assignments, as well as the firm’s Consumer Insights research and DesignLens subscription services. She also leads research efforts across the country on master-planned communities and individual neighborhood design.

Before joining John Burns Real Estate Consulting in 2007, Mollie served as a Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Lennar, Centex Homes, and Pulte Homes/Del Webb. She was also Vice President of Residential Product Planning at The Irvine Company, where she led strategic planning, market study due diligence, consumer and product segmentation, quantitative and qualitative consumer research, competitive research, tactical media planning, and model and sales office merchandising.

Mollie works in our Irvine office.
She enjoys art, her family and the great outdoors.


Laura Kennedy,



Kantar Retail


Omnichannel Retail's Rise in the World of Brick and Mortar


Laura Kennedy is a Director of Retail Insights. Laura leads Kantar Retail’s home improvement and Walmart research. As part of the Walmart team, she conducts constant research and analysis on Walmart’s U.S. operations, developing relevant forecasts, insights, and online content for supplier and retailer clients.  Laura also leads Kantar Retail’s coverage of the home improvement retail industry, heading a team that digs into the operations at Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as their diverse hardware store and specialty retailer brethren. Laura joined Kantar Retail in 2011 after reporting on the business of retail and numerous other topics for the Kiplinger Letter, a business forecasting publication in Washington, D.C. Laura graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.A. in economics.



Nancy Fire,

Design Director




Home Design from a Worldwide Perspective: Global Greats with Millennial Updates


Designer, interior design expert, and creative mind Nancy Fire is a juggernaut of the interior design industry. She has been consulting, designing, and launching successful product lines for over 30 years - Nancy’s consultation and expertise is of the utmost value in such a competitive industry. Founder of Design Works International, - a “diversified creative think-tank” that consults and workshops with some of the premier talent in the world - Nancy’s specialties include trend presentations, print/color direction, and graphics amongst a multitude of other skills. Nancy has worked with such household names as Kids II, Kimberly-Clark, and GAF. Additionally, Nancy is the design director for HGTV HOME, a prestigious title at the go-to interior design source for millions of Americans. Nancy carries significant clout and authority, holding positions with some of the most prominent design companies. She is one of the true “movers-and-shakers” of the interior design industry.



Sarah Catlett

Senior Vice President


The Futures Group


Exploring the Future Dynamics of the Home


Sarah Catlett is a Senior Vice President in the Advisory Services Consulting group at The Futures Company, an award-winning, global strategic planning, insight and innovation consultancy focused on helping its clients Profit from Change. Sarah works closely with clients to provide a comprehensive understanding of the shifting consumer attitudes, lifestyle values, and brand behaviors shaping the marketplace today and tomorrow. She has consulted with clients in retail, housing and home improvement, automotive, food and beverage, apparel, financial services, media and public relations, telecommunications, travel and leisure, entertainment, and health care. Sarah has led The Futures Company's U.S. sustainability research since 2007, and she is an expert on generational insights, particularly related to Millennials.

Prior to joining The Futures Company 12 years ago, Sarah was a music research analyst and project manager at Coleman Insights, a media consultancy based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle. During her time at Coleman, she managed perceptual and music-testing research studies to provide clients in the United States and Europe with strategic insights into music trends and branding opportunities.



George Leon, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President




Boomers and Dwellings in the Eighth Decade


George Leon is a Senior Vice President and officer-in-charge of marketing research engagements for HIRI and HIRI members, as well as the Manufacturing, Technology, Home Security and Energy industries. His projects have targeted consumers, trade-professionals, dealers, distributors and retailers. He has led market segmentation engagements, enterprise-wide quality and customer experience initiatives, and innovation-driving product development assignments, including choice-modeling, market simulation and forecasting. Trained as a sociologist, George is a skilled practitioner of both qualitative and quantitative research techniques encompassing the entire client ecosystem, including business partners, channels and client executives and employees in addition to customers, in both the B2B and B2C spaces. George has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Temple University.




Grant Farnsworth
Partner, Business Development Director

The Farnsworth Group


Homeowner and Pro Attitudes of the Online Home Services Market”.  


Grant Farnsworth – Partner, Business Development Director. Prior to The Farnsworth Group, Grant was a retail consultant and developed more than 100 national clients. Since joining The Farnsworth Group Grant has managed qualitative and quantitative research projects for a variety of manufacturing and retail customers. He is also responsible for company marketing, branding, product development and client services. In 2002 Grant founded Specpan, a B2B data collection service offered by The Farnsworth Group. Grant continues to refine his skills in research methodology, data analysis and business development through efforts with industry organizations, trade associations and defining research projects for building material manufacturers. As a long time drummer, Grant still practices music. His creative soul is an often-utilized resource in the company. Bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Indiana University with a concentration in Business and Management.



Todd Bairstow

Co-Founder and Principal


Keyword Connects


The Truth and Lies Behind Online Reviews for Home Improvement Companies


Todd Bairstow is a well-known entrepreneur and online marketing expert with 18 years of experience in the still rapidly-growing field. This concentration led him to found Keyword Connects in 2005, where he developed a business plan to generate leads for his clients on a 100% performance basis.