five in five* with sandy embrescia-hridel, director of strategic insights

Our marketing guru Sandy Embrescia-Hridel brings more than 25 years of experience to his role as director of strategic insights. He wasn’t just honing his forecasting skills in that time—our go-to market psychologist was also growing into a renaissance man of the outdoors, fishing in the Arctic Circle, whitewater rafting in Montana, and boating in the Great Lakes.

We sat down with Sandy to get to know him a bit more during our Five in Five, five questions in five minutes with an Interrupter.

you’re director of strategic insights. tell us more about what you do in a given day.

A lot of research—reading, interviewing, reviewing data. I’m getting to the core of what consumers want and developing insights that can help guide our clients and give them the facts they need to steer in the right strategic direction. I’m also forecasting, looking ahead at the building materials and construction industry as a whole to prepare clients for what’s coming down the pike. It’s a psychological job in many ways, understanding the demands of consumers, and that’s what makes it eternally interesting for me.

cool. outside of work, you seem to love challenging yourself physically. what’s one of the most challenging things you’ve tried?

When I was young and fearless, I used to do a lot of out-of-bounds and back country skiing. I even did an extreme ski clinic with several of the skiers featured in Warren Miller’s movies, attempting to learn how to safely ski off cliffs. I love challenging myself in an almost Man vs. Wild sense—there are no weather conditions that could deter me.

where did you grow up?

Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It’s on the southeast side of Cleveland. Cleveland is still home for me today.

what were your most notable qualities as a child?

I was never impulsive. I always, in some way shape or form, would consider my variety of options before making a decision.

what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Be present and don’t take stuff for granted. Yesterday is great and tomorrow is important but you can’t miss out on the present. And you can’t make good decisions about right now or enjoy it fully unless you’re here savoring it. Don’t miss opportunities to enjoy the things that are right in front of you.

*Five in Five is where we catch up with an Interrupter to ask five questions in five minutes. It may have taken us (way) longer than five minutes to have this conversation. But it shouldn’t take you longer than five minutes to read it, so we think it still counts.