Our principals bring over 40 years of combined experience with expertise in survey research and strategic consulting in corporate communications, branding strategy, international relations, crisis management, and political campaigns at all levels of government.
When a client hires GBA Strategies, they can be assured that they will have a partner on every call, at every meeting, and available to engage with all aspects of the project — reviewing websites and press releases, TV and radio scripts, mail pieces, phone scripts and field plans. We have a very talented staff, but we know clients hire us because of the expertise our partners bring and we make sure they are always accessible.
Karl Agne is a founding partner of GBA Strategies, providing strategy, message, and research services to a variety of corporate, political, and non-profit clients. Agne specializes in the use of focus groups and in-depth interviews, as well as media testing and perception analyzer exercises, to gain greater insight into consumers’ decision-making processes.
Agne has conducted research on a broad array of issues, from re-branding Fortune 500 companies to examining the decline of Democrats in Middle America to defining the unique values and political worldview of the Millennial Generation, and played a leading role in hundreds of political campaigns. In 2006, he directed polling for AFSCME’s independent expenditure efforts that helped expand the congressional battlefield and contributed to major Democratic victories in several ‘third tier’ races.
Agne has conducted research for hundreds of political campaigns at every level, from municipal elections to congressional and gubernatorial contests to directing national research and message development for the Gore-Lieberman campaign. He began his research career as a Senior Associate with Greenberg Quinlan Research, then founded Democracy Corps and served as its first Executive Director before launching his own firm in 2001.
Agne’s analysis and commentary have been featured on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX, and NPR; in progressive blogs including DailyKos, TPMCafe, and The Democratic Strategist; and in numerous print outlets, including The Washington Post, New York Daily News, Business Week, The Nation, American Prospect, and The Boston Globe.
Agne received his Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and earned a Master of Arts in campaign management from the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. He lives with his wife and four daughters in Wilmington, DE.
Michael Bocian, founding partner at GBA Strategies, serves as pollster and strategist for gubernatorial, senate, congressional, state legislative, mayoral and ballot initiative campaigns. With 15 years of experience, he has worked for the DGA, DCCC, DSCC, issue advocacy groups, membership associations and corporate clients.
In 2008, Bocian helped Democrats turn New Mexico from a delegation with a majority of Republicans to a delegation with a majority of Democrats. In addition to Senator Tom Udall’s historic victory, Bocian helped Martin Heinrich become the first Democrat ever to represent the Albuquerque-based 1st district and helped Lujan become the only Hispanic member of the delegation. In 2010, he helped Heinrich win re-election in a very difficult environment, helped Lujan win re-election and helped Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton win a serious challenge from a millionaire car dealer.
Bocian has also directed the polling for several successful ballot initiative campaigns, including the January 2010 passage of tax increases on the wealthy and corporations in Oregon to protect education and public safety. In 2008, he helped achieve a sweep of 9 victories for the Defend Oregon Coalition and the passage of a renewable energy initiative in Missouri. His previous ballot initiatives include two amendments to the New Mexico Constitution to fund education in 2003 and a government reform initiative in Macomb County, MI.
Prior to joining GBA Strategies, Bocian was a principal at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a global opinion research and consulting firm where he worked for 10 years. There he led the firm’s energy, environment and conservation practice, working with Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, as well as coalitions of conservation groups on issues such as clean air and clean water, forests, and renewable energy. Bocian has also worked with utilities and energy companies on a range of issues including global warming, customer satisfaction and mergers and acquisitions.
Bocian has conducted extensive education research among teachers, parents, and union leaders. He works with the National Education Association (as well as state affiliates in 19 states). In 2008, he oversaw polling among NEA members in 13 states, as well as the creation of a persuasion modeling effort and a new get-out-the-vote (GOTV) optimizer tool.
Bocian is a frequent presenter and has appeared on MSNBC, CSPAN, Fox News, NPR, and in numerous publications including the Washington Post.
Prior to joining Greenberg Quinlan Rosner in 2001, Bocian helped develop the emerging field of online polling at Knowledge Networks. Along with CBS Polling Director Kathy Frankovic, Bocian won an award for Excellence in Performance and Leadership of Online Research (EXPLOR) for their work in measuring immediate public response to the 2000 presidential debates. Bocian also served as an election analyst for CNN during the 2000 elections.
Bocian received his Masters in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two daughters.
Jim Gerstein is a founding partner of GBA Strategies, and has a unique blend of experience in quantitative and qualitative research, managing non-profit organizations, strategic planning, and communications for large scale projects ranging from U.S. presidential campaigns, to international peace efforts, to crisis management for corporations.
Gerstein has conducted hundreds of focus groups and surveys across the United States and four continents. He appears on television and radio to discuss public opinion on a range of issues, including US politics, foreign policy, and the beliefs and values of the Millennial generation.
For ten years, Gerstein served as the Executive Director of Democracy Corps, a non-profit organization founded by Democratic strategists James Carville, Stan Greenberg, and Bob Shrum, that conducts public opinion research and provides strategic advice to the progressive community. Under Gerstein’s leadership, the organization increased its annual budget seven-fold, initiated successful collaborations with public interest groups, and dramatically increased the organization’s impact on our national debate.
Prior to his work with Democracy Corps, Gerstein was the Executive Director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, where he led public education campaigns, congressional visits to the Middle East, and convened Middle East diplomats in the U.S. for meetings with business and political leaders. Gerstein also established a non-profit counterpart for the Center, called the Institute for Peace and Security. The Institute provides financial, organizational, and strategic support for various Arab-Israeli peace projects, including meetings between retired generals from Israel and Arab countries, initiatives with regional business leaders, and dialogues between Jewish and Arab officials.
During the 1999 Israeli Prime Ministerial campaign, Gerstein joined Ehud Barak’s U.S.-based consulting team. He served as the team’s representative on the ground in Israel, overseeing polling, paid media, and message development for the campaign. Gerstein has worked on several U.S. political campaigns and has held several key positions within the Democratic Party. In 1992, he worked on the field campaign for Carol Moseley Braun’s successful run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. He later moved to Washington, DC, where he became the Deputy Director for Jewish Affairs at the Democratic National Committee. In 1996, Gerstein worked in the press office for the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and then directed the Clinton/Gore campaign for the north side of Chicago and northern Illinois.
Gerstein received an M.A. in Middle East History at Tel Aviv University and a B.A. in philosophy at Colgate University. He serves on the Board of the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center and Americans for Peace Now. He grew up in the Chicago area and today resides in Washington, DC, with his wife Aliza and sons Emmitt and Tomer.
Jason McGrath is Vice President at GBA strategies, specializing in providing polling and strategic advice to Democratic candidates, non-profit organizations, and corporations. With 10 years of experience in Democratic politics, McGrath has helped elect leaders at all levels of government from city councils to Governors’ mansions and the U.S. Senate.
Recently, he served as pollster and advisor to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s successful campaign. Working with a top notch team of strategists, McGrath helped Emanuel capture 40 of the city’s 50 wards and win a majority 56 percent of the vote in a six-candidate field.
In 2010, in the midst of a tough political environment, McGrath helped several Democrats stave off defeat, including Representatives Betty Sutton (OH) and Martin Heinrich (NM). Both Sutton and Heinrich faced aggressive, well-financed challenges from top tier Republican recruits and held on to win impressive victories. Over the past three election cycles, McGrath has worked with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, providing polling and advice for the independent expenditure campaigns of over 20 Congressional victories.
He has also done extensive research for progressive non-profit organizations and labor unions, including the Center for American Progress, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the National Education Association, and Change to Win.
McGrath has worked extensively in Chicago and Illinois, providing research and advice for Chicago Mayors Emanuel and Richard Daley, as well as several successful aldermanic campaigns throughout the city. He was an strategist for State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in his statewide campaigns in 2006 and 2010. McGrath has also advised the Illinois Association of Realtors and the Madison County Democratic Central Committee among other groups in the state.
In addition to polling and consulting, McGrath is an experienced focus group moderator, leading scores of discussion groups around the country for political, issue-based, and corporate clients.
Prior to joining GBA Strategies, McGrath worked at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for six years, focusing on research for Democratic candidates and progressive organizations. Before that, he worked as a Research Director on several federal campaigns in Pennsylvania and helped organize national political strategy for the Alliance for Retired Americans (AFL-CIO).
McGrath graduated from Georgetown University. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Betsy.
Brian Shreffler is Vice President at GBA Strategies, providing polling and strategic advice to political campaigns, issue advocacy organizations, corporations. He has conducted surveys and focus groups in over 20 states, and has advised a broad range of candidates and elected officials from the federal down to the county level.
Prior to joining GBA Strategies, Shreffler was an analyst at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, specializing in U.S. political campaigns, including campaigns for Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Jeanne Shaheen. He has polled on behalf of the DSCC and the DCCC, several U.S. House candidates, and for the union mobilization efforts for President Obama in the 2008 election.
On the state and local level, Shreffler assisted the Michigan Democratic Party regain the majority in the state House of Representatives in 2006, and spent several cycles helping the New Jersey Democratic Party maintain their majorities in the state legislature and on key county freeholder boards between 2006 to 2009 despite an increasingly difficult political environment.
Shreffler has also conducted research national trends on a broad range of issues including education, energy, the environment, social issues and national security on behalf of advocacy organizations.
Shreffler earned his Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in Virginia, where he majored in Media Arts and studied English, journalism and political science.
Meg Gerloff joined GBA Strategies in summer 2011 as an Associate. She previously worked at Peter D. Hart Research Associates, where she was responsible for assisting various departments in organizing focus group materials and conducting public opinion research.
Meg held an internship with the public relations firm Missy Farren & Associates in New York City. She also held a communications internship with the non-profit National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, D.C.
Meg graduated from James Madison University with a bachelors degree in Communications. She currently lives in Alexandria, VA.
Katie Eldredge joined GBA Strategies as a Junior Associate in the summer of 2012 after spending a year at Peter D. Hart Research Associates, where she was responsible for assisting in the organization and tabulation of focus groups, and in helping the staff facilitate other types of public opinion research.
Prior to working at Hart Research, Katie was an intern in Congressman Brian Higgins’ (NY-27) D.C. office, and was President of the Undergraduate Student Association of Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.
Katie graduated from Canisius in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications.
Eliana Fishman joined GBA Strategies in June of 2012 as a Junior Associate.
She has held numerous internships, working for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary election in New Hampshire, two Democratic Capitol Hill offices, the 2008 Democratic National Convention, J Street, and New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer.
Eliana graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, focusing on Arabic, Arabic Literature and Islam, with a minor in Government.