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The Hartman Group reflects on the rich legacy of its visionary founder Harvey Hartman, who passed away on February 24.

Harvey Hartman It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our charismatic founder Harvey Hartman after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 73.

Harvey was a larger-than-life presence and guiding force. Those of us who have had the good fortune to know and work with him have lost an inspirational leader and mentor, and a dear friend.

Harvey had an insatiable curiosity about consumer behavior, fueled by his interest in the social sciences. He was never content with basic observations and was constantly asking, “Why is this happening?” He was driven to understand “the messy lives of consumers,” who are complex, full of contradictions and always changing. It was about getting beyond analyzing specific data points to reconcile how consumers say they live with what consumers really do day to day.

Because of this, Harvey changed the way companies approach understanding consumer behavior. He pioneered employing full-time social scientists to develop innovative research techniques that combine anthropological methods with quantitative surveys.

Since founding the company in 1989, Harvey grew The Hartman Group into the food and beverage industry's leading authority on consumer culture. Company executives and senior leaders relied on Harvey’s fearless strategic counsel, sage marketing advice and business savvy.

A native of St. Louis and alumnus of Saint Louis University, Harvey Hartman was an author, business school lecturer, former Fortune 500 senior executive and nationally recognized expert on American cultural change and the consumer activities that impact daily business products and services.

Bold Vision, Big Heart

Harvey had that rare ability to see things others couldn’t and was constantly scanning the horizon in search of new ideas. He was a tenacious advocate of challenging the status quo, an ardent believer in knowing that what got you to where you are today was not what would drive future success. And he was never at a loss for ideas about what that could be.

Yet as driven as he was for the company to produce quality, innovative work, he had a passionate belief that the workplace should be enjoyable. We will miss his ready smile and gregarious laugh. He genuinely cared for each of us and our well-being and provided for us in ways beyond what small businesses typically do for their employees.

Harvey believed in giving back to the communities in which we live and work. The Emily's Friends foundation was established as a tribute to Emily Hartman, Harvey's daughter who tragically died in 1995.

We may have lost our visionary founder, but his indomitable spirit will always be intrinsically linked with the foundation of The Hartman Group. The best way we know to honor Harvey is by ensuring that his work, of which he was so very proud, and his vision continue.