About Merrill

The Merrill Research Story

Merrill Research was founded in 1986 to serve the needs of high technology, healthcare, consumer and services companies. We provide a unique blend of research, marketing and industry-specific know-how. Today, Merrill Research is one of the most experienced independent custom marketing research companies in Northern California. Merrill offers a wide array of global, multi-methodological research services, both qualitative and quantitative. Our client base is comprised of some of the largest and most successful high technology and consumer companies worldwide. We specialize in strategic communications and positioning, new product development, product evaluation and customer satisfaction research.

Electronics and Wine? An Unlikely Pairing

Merrill Research is unique – a regional company with a global clientele. A diverse roll call of customers that are leaders in their fields and giants of their industries.

Located between the fabled Silicon Valley and the legendary Napa Valley, our clients have names professionals and consumer alike know, brands recognizable in both the high tech and beverage alcohol industries.

Though their products are as different as computer software is to a Sauvignon Blanc, they share some common traits – and needs. They all know that understanding their customers is paramount to the success of their businesses. To improve their products, services, and bottom line, they all use market research. That’s why they choose us; Merrill Research.

A History of Innovation—MarketTools/Zoomerang

In 1997, Merrill Research led a team of investors in forming MarketTools, the creator of the leading online research survey engines, Zoomerang™ and Survey Manager™. MarketTools was backed by Merrill Research, Proctor & Gamble, General Mills , WPP, and other private equity firms. In 2011, Survey Monkey, in a partnership with TPG Capital, purchased Zoomerang™ from MarketTools in a deal valued at $1 billion.

Industry Awards

Merrill holds several industry awards, including the prestigious Texas Instruments Supplier Excellence Award. Texas Instruments established the award in 1983 to honor businesses that provided exemplary service. The awards are a key vehicle for communicating the standards the company expects of its suppliers. Businesses are evaluated on six criteria including technology, responsiveness, assurance of supply, quality, cost and environmental responsibility.

TI recognizes 14 suppliers with annual excellence awards (PRNewsFoto/Texas Instruments Incorporated..)

Merrill Research Team

David M. Schneer, Ph.D.

Founding Partner & Chief Executive

Research Moderator/Ethnographer I Micro Expression Practitioner I Body Language Master

David has more than 30 years of experience conducting research in the global technology markets. He has worked with the world’s leading technology, medical and consumer electronics companies supporting such initiatives as new product development (concepts, models, working and non-working prototypes), strategic communications (advertising development, advertising evaluation, marketing, positioning, branding), ethnography (B2B and B2C), and customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A certified Micro Expression Practitioner and Body Language Master, he routinely engages the following audiences: hardware design engineers, software engineers, distribution channel members (VARs, Systems Integrators, wholesalers, retailers, industrial distribution, sophisticated end-users), IT community, senior executives, medical professionals, and consumer end-users.

David was also a pioneer in the online survey market, helping to found MarketTools in 1996, which led to the creation of Survey Manager™ and Zoomerang™ (later purchased by Survey Monkey).

David earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Trinity College of the Bible and Trinity Theological Seminary. His Master’s degree is in modern American literature from the University of California at Berkeley and he holds a BA in Political Science and Journalism from San Diego State University.


Tameka Johnson

Vice President

Tameka joined Merrill in 2012 as Vice President, bringing more than a decade of experience in project management and analytical experience on both the client and supplier sides of market research. Currently she manages quantitative research including all phases of ad hoc and tracking studies for well-known consumer packaged goods, communications, technology and healthcare brands. Tameka's qualitative research experience includes moderator’s guide design and group facilitation/focus group moderation based on RIVA training.

Her study types include concept and product testing, package design, advertising/messaging research, pricing, legal/claims, and customer satisfaction.

Prior to joining Merrill Research, Tameka was a senior analyst at Nationwide Financial and Nationwide Property and Casualty companies. She also worked in various locations in the Southeast including Market Perspectives, CMI, TNS and Marketing Workshop.

Tameka works across several technology industry sectors including Semiconductors, Security, Printers/scanners/projectors and Medical.

When she is not working, Tameka loves traveling, teaching Zumba and being a proud puppy mom.

Michael Rinck

Head of Data Processing

Michael Rinck has been with Merrill Research for almost 25 years. His current position is VP of Data Processing. With that, he brings 30 years of experience in data processing and survey programming. He has extensive knowledge in questionnaire design, statistical analysis, multivariate analysis, and tabulation.

Prior to joining Merrill Research & Associates, Michael was Service Bureau Manager at Survox (CfMC) and a project researcher at Bruzzone Research Company. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Statistics followed by a master’s degree in Statistics at California State University at Hayward.

When not programming surveys or crunching statistics Michael enjoys home brewing. One of his favorite beer recipes is his Bourbon (Woodford) Oaked Barleywine Ale. He also enjoys fishing for steelhead on the Klamath River where he has been going with his family since he was seven.

Angela Burtch

Vice President

Angela has been on the Merrill Research team for more than 18 years, starting as a project manager. In 2015 Angela was named Vice President.  Angela’s involvement with the company has been varied over the years, from the semiconductor and consumer electronics industries, to working alongside her partners and customers in online travel & tourism, wine & spirits, and health care.

Prior to Merrill Research, Angela worked as a market analyst for Chemical Bank in mergers and acquisitions, was a manager representing Microsoft for in-store channel marketing, as well as a marketing research consultant for political candidates from the local to federal level. Has she ever mentioned how much she loves what she does?

Angela originally hailed from the great white north, as in Canada (eh).  She has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from Carleton University and loves, loves, loves to continue to learn by reading and participating in seminars.  When she’s not on her laptop, Angela is a bit of a movie and live theater geek.  She tries to be outdoors as much as possible: in a kayak, on a trail, or on skates or skis (she’s originally a Canadian, right), and it’s even better when she’s blending all of the above with her family and friends (who are all better skaters than her).

Amy Walters

Vice President

Amy joined Merrill Research in 2016 with 2 decades of custom primary research experience on both the supplier and client sides. With expertise on both sides of the aisle, Amy has a keen understanding of what keeps key stakeholders up at night and is adept at harvesting research findings to influence consumer-focused decision making. Amy has extensive experience working in wine and spirits, foods, and technology.

The foundation for Amy’s deep passion for research was laid during her years in consumer sensory science at Tragon Corporation (now Curion). While at Tragon, Amy was intimately involved in a wide variety of sensory research objectives in support of the largest, most recognizable wine and spirits, foods, and other consumer category companies in the world.

Just prior to joining Merrill Research, Amy completed a long tenure at Seagate Technology, where she launched and managed the company’s first ever Customer Insights function. In addition to designing and staffing her new department, Amy led the charge in developing key corporate metrics and using creative communication avenues to socialize the function across the global organization.

Amy is delighted to put her Sociology degree to good use and is thankful for her first Research Methods course for initially sparking her research flame. While she enjoys all aspects of designing, executing, and analyzing research, her favorite work activities are nerding out over data with fellow quant enthusiasts and making results sing through elegant data visualization. For Amy, there is no bigger compliment than to be called a research geek.

Doing the right thing is Amy’s number one life goal, and this extends deeply into her work. In her spare time, Amy enjoys exploring the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains with her husband and kids. She also greatly appreciates the opportunity to participate in her husband’s sommelier studies.