Pivotal Research brings 25 years of excellence in market research and evaluation services to decision makers across Canada and beyond.

Based in Edmonton, Pivotal Research, Inc. is a national provider of research consulting services with more than 25 years of experience delivering market research and evaluation excellence to decision makers across multiple industries. 

We are solution enablers going beyond intelligence to unlock success for our business, government and non-profit sector clients. We leverage our deep expertise in the design and implementation of innovative research that enables our client’s growth and innovation potential. 

We deliver an integrated suite of quantitative and qualitative research consulting services through market research, public engagement, and evaluation and assessment. Annually, we conduct over 150,000 surveys and hundreds of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions from various research projects that we undertake on behalf of our clients.

Pivotal Research delivers high-impact actionable insights that enable evidence-based strategic action. Our clients confidently take back our pivotal solutions and strategic recommendations to the boardroom or out to the public.   

We bring passion to all of our research initiatives ensuring that data-driven evidence makes a tangible impact on communities.  Pivotal Research is committed to examining research issues from a local citizen lens and upholding inclusion and diversity as key tenets for the way we conduct business. 

Our mission at Pivotal Research is delivering high-impact market intelligence and actionable insights that enable evidence-based strategic action by business leaders and policymakers across Canada and beyond.

We strive to become the go-to source in North America for evidence-based insights that enable smart policies and business decisions for thriving and happy communities and citizens.

Our Team

Our core team and associates bring years of corporate and government experience and subject matter expertise in International Business, Strategy, Public Policy, Statistics, Healthcare, Workforce and Skills Development, Community Engagement, Public Participation, Graphic Design, and Information Technology. 

Jihad Melhem


Doha Melhem

Director of Consulting

Jessica DeVries

Director of Research Operations

Emma Martin

Research Analyst

Emily McGoey

Business Analyst

Nicolaas Ainsworth

Research Assistant

Rainer Kocsis

Senior Research Analyst

Client Commitment

Pivotal Research is committed to delivering high-quality market research consulting services on time and within budget, providing our clients options and tiered research solutions to unlock insights and enable their success. Perhaps for these reasons, much of our work is repeat business. We have a reputation for making every effort to understand a client’s business and for “going the extra mile,” particularly when it becomes necessary to accommodate issues unforeseen by a client. We are known as having both the “big picture” view and the attention to detail which allow our client’s full confidence in the value and quality of our research.

Name and Credentials:  Jihad Melhem, MBA.

Role: President

Leadership and Project Management | Research Design and Methodology | Advanced Analytics | Sampling Techniques

What Jihad Brings to the Table

For 20 years, Jihad has served as a trusted resource for senior leaders in the public and private sectors on how research can support service delivery initiatives and help meet growth objectives.

Jihad holds a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from the University of Alberta and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. He also completed advanced marketing research certificates through the University of Georgia and the University of Notre Dame.

Before rejoining Pivotal Research as president, Jihad served as Director of Global Market Research at Sun Life and Vice President of Business Development at Morpace International (now Escalent). Throughout his career, he has led high-impact strategic research projects in healthcare, financial services, transportation, not-for-profit and public sectors.

As President, Jihad leads the Pivotal Research team to ensure high-calibre consulting and research assignments. He is an expert at designing creative and effective research methodologies that leverage the latest technology tools. Further, Jihad excels at translating data into actionable insights that influence policy change and positive business outcomes.

Jihad has been both a conference committee member and speaker at several LIMRA marketing and research events. He has also been a feature speaker at the IAP2 annual global conference.

The Fun Stuff

Jihad enjoys accompanying his three boys on skating rinks and on soccer fields in his spare time. He is also a passionate and curious world traveller. While he loves the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Istanbul, he hopes to explore the Luangwa National Park or Masai Mara on a thrilling safari in the near future. 

Name and Credentials: Doha A. Melhem, MPP

Role: Director of Consulting

Government Consulting | Business Strategy | Public Policy | Program Evaluation | Stakeholder Engagement Research | Recommendation-Development

What Doha brings to the Table

Doha leads government consulting and business development at Pivotal Research, Inc. She comes with more than 16 years of experience helping government and non-profit leaders in Canada and the United States unlock their full potential through evidence-based decision-making, program evaluation, and the design and execution of strategic policy and change initiatives. She leverages this expertise in her current role going “beyond the data” to enable high-impact solutions for public policy and business challenges, ultimately making her a strong asset on any research project Pivotal Research undertakes.

In her previous role at the U.S. Department of Labor, Doha led policy teams towards successful implementation and communication of critical skills development initiatives. She has a track record of exemplary performance and achievement awards in recognition of effective design, strategic communication, and coordination of policy and legislative proposals on economic recovery, skills development, postsecondary education, immigrant integration, free trade, international affairs, veterans’ affairs, and older workers.

Doha sits on the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Development Committee and brings her extensive experience and passion for shaping workforce policies that lead to thriving workers, businesses, and communities. She is also a member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) where she has served on the Canadian chapter’s Research Committee since 2017 contributing to inclusive research strategies.

Doha holds a Master’s of Public Policy and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Johns Hopkins University.  She completed her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with distinctions from the American University of Beirut.

The Fun Stuff

Doha loves living in Edmonton with her husband and three boys, supported by an amazing extended family.  When she is not in the office, you can find Doha baking and cooking up a storm for a big party!  She loves travel and has quite the travel bucket list to conquer. Doha is also passionate about reading history books and debating foreign policy. 

Name and Credentials: Jessica DeVries, MA Community Engagement, BSc Mathematics

Role: Director of Research Operations

Capacity Building | Innovative Methodology Development and Reporting Solutions | Relationship Management | Community Engagement | Project Management

What Jessica brings to the Table

Over her eight-year tenure with Pivotal Research, Jessica has been integral to the development and implementation of all research initiatives undertaken at Pivotal Research. She brings her strong analytical skillset and her passion for working with people to uncover impactful research solutions. Jessica obtained a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Mathematics and Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta for her undergraduate education. She is currently completing her Master of Arts in Community Engagement through the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her thesis work explores how women who have experienced federal incarceration define success in life after prison throughout their community re-integration journey.

Jessica has been responsible for administering over a dozen 360-degree feedback programs for healthcare regulatory bodies and authorities throughout the country. Through her extensive experience with healthcare initiatives, she has gained an appreciation for the importance of customizing research solutions to meet clients’ individualized needs. Jessica is currently managing a Customer Satisfaction Research Program for Edmonton Transit Service (ETS), which involves securing feedback from multiple stakeholders by utilizing qualitative and quantitative research approaches. This project aligns with Jessica’s passion for mixed methodology research designs that leverage different data collection and research approaches to best answer clients’ research questions.

Jessica is a volunteer with The Mustard Seed in their Open Door Program, which supports individuals returning to the community from federal incarceration. This volunteer experience inspired Jessica to undertake her current thesis work. She has also provided various research supports to The Mustard Seed, such as program evaluation training. Jessica enjoys the opportunity to work alongside community organizations as they provide crucial support to those they serve.

The Fun Stuff

Jessica is an avid soccer fan stemming from her fifteen years of playing soccer locally. She and her family enjoy the outdoors and can often be found exploring the river valley and parks around Edmonton.

Name and Credentials: Emma Martin, BComm.

Role: Research Analyst

Marketing Communications| Non-profit Governance| Organizational Effectiveness | Consumer & Organizational Behaviour

What Emma Brings to the Table

Emma joined the Pivotal Research team shortly after she graduated from the University of Alberta’s Alberta School of Business, where she specialized in Marketing and Business Law. She is thrilled to be part of a team of like-minded individuals who similarly value continuous learning. Emma loves problem-solving and consistently demonstrates her ability to provide fresh perspectives firmly-grounded in research to various project teams. 

Emma’s prior experience with non-profit organizations across the province allowed her to collaborate with people who have vastly different perspectives and experiences from her own. This work inspired her passion for qualitative research that seeks to understand the perspectives of diverse target audiences. In her current role, Emma supports data collection and analysis efforts for multiple qualitative research studies and has contributed to quantitative survey instrument development. She quickly gained experience working with public and private institutions supporting a program evaluation of skilled immigrant programs in rural areas for Alberta Labour and Immigration, a process evaluation for a group of eight distinct BC health regulatory bodies, and a behavioural segmentation study for a local community-based organization. 

Throughout her degree, Emma thrived in leadership roles on multiple student clubs. She was involved in regional and international case competitions, both as a competitor and organizer. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of a small non-profit summer camp and has committed over 1,500 hours of volunteer service to the organization. 

The Fun Stuff

When Alberta’s climate permits, Emma loves spending time outside, especially in the mountains. Although her favourite sport is baseball, you will often hear Emma talking about her favourite hockey team – the Calgary Flames. Don’t worry – the rest of the Pivotal Research team are not Flames fans. 

Name and Credentials: Emily McGoey, BComm.

Role: Business Analyst

Strategy Development | Relationship Management | Public Policy | Marketing & Communications

What Emily brings to the Table

Emily is a recent graduate of the Alberta School of Business with a major in Marketing and a Minor in Human Resources. She is eager to apply her educational experience to help clients make informed business decisions that consider all relevant stakeholders. She is a strong communicator and brings several years of experience developing marketing and communication strategies to the Pivotal Research team.

Through her experience in the healthcare and construction industries, Emily gained a strong understanding of the intersection between public and private realms. She recently worked with global medical device manufacturer PRIMED Medical Products, where she travelled across North America and navigated the intense regulatory environment of Healthcare to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of medical devices in hospital networks. Through her employment as a communicator with PCL Construction, Emily gained valuable business development experience, authored corporate communications plans, and created project profiles to exhibit PCL’s construction expertise.

Emily was also an active member of the Alberta School of Business’ regional and international case competition teams, where she demonstrated her strong analysis skills, and capacity for strategic thinking. She continues this involvement by coaching novice case teams and delivering workshops.

The Fun Stuff

When she is not in the office, you can find Emily trying out the newest group fitness classes or hitting the slopes. She exercises her passion for writing by reviewing local restaurants and attractions. 

Name: Nicolaas Ainsworth

Role: Research Assistant

Market Research | Quantitative Analysis | Business Strategy| Economics

What Nicolaas Brings to the Table

Nicolaas is a soon-to-graduate student at Macewan University, pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce in Honours Marketing with a minor in Economics. Through his honour’s designation, Nicolaas has gained a heightened understanding of business research and strategic management., He excels most when faced with complex problems that require innovative solutions.

Nicolaas was an executive of two prestigious student organizations at Macewan University: the Macewan Marketing Club and the Macewan Entrepreneurial Organization. He was the VP of Research and the VP of Operations of the clubs, respectfully. The thesis he is currently working on reflects his business strategy strengths where he is investigating how involvement in student clubs may affect retention rates. His hope is that his findings will provide post-secondary institutions with a valid strategy for sustaining their student body in the current climate.

Beyond education, Nicolaas has also worked as a research assistant for Macewan University and as a research consultant for the independent gaming company Mint in Box.

The Fun Stuff

Outside of work, Nicolaas enjoys playing classic games such as chess, backgammon, cribbage, and poker. He also enjoys biking, camping, and has recently been trying his hand at tennis.