Annette M. Alvarez, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Annette is a native of Puerto Rico.  After attending Bryant College in Smithfield, RI where she earned a BS in Business Administration, she went on to obtain a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Haven, CT.  In 1992, her husband and her moved to Colorado, where he was transferred while in the United States Air Force.  She has over 20 years of experience in management with emphasis in finance, retirement plans, mortgage, telecommunications, budgeting, insurance, retail and credit counseling with over 15 years of management/supervisory experience in operations and customer service.  She was recognized over the years several times for managing top teams with lowest records in customer complaints.  She brings with her specific expertise in promoting and maintaining a productive work environment without sacrificing team moral, while meeting company objectives.  When she is not working, she is spending time with her 3 children or volunteering for her church.

Guillermo Alvarez

Vice President & CTO

Guillermo earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Colorado Technical University after moving to Colorado with the United States Air Force.  His Air Force experience started at NORAD in Colorado Springs.  He has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications and aerospace industries in the field of testing.  He has worked for major corporations such as US West, Qwest, and Raytheon.  Currently, he is earning a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  Mr. Alvarez will be involved in statistical analysis and report writing.

Lauren J. Ramsay, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP

Director of Assessment

Dr. Ramsay’s focus lies in providing science-based support for organizations addressing human resource management issues. She has deep technical skills in assessment development and validation and broad human resource management expertise. An experienced consultant, Dr. Ramsay has served both public and private sector clients through her own practice. Her corporate experience includes working for Thomson Financial (now Thomson Reuters), Magellan Behavioral Health, and FMI Corporation. Dr. Ramsay also has extensive experience in academia, and has served on the faculty of several universities including University of Colorado Boulder, where she served as a Faculty Director at Leeds School of Business, and University of Colorado Denver, where she serves as a lecturer for the Business School.

Dr. Ramsay earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Michigan State University. She holds an M.Ed. in counseling from University of Puget Sound and a B.Soc.Sc. in industrial psychology and economic history from the University of Natal. She is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

At FirstIdea, Dr. Ramsay is involved in the development, validation, and implementation of various assessment tools, working with clients to ensure effectiveness.

James Coughlin, ABD.

Assessment Consultant

James earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Monmouth University in 2008, and previously, a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Stockton University in 2006.  Upon completion of those degrees Mr. Coughlin has had vast experience within the clinical realm and with the administration of psychological assessments.  While enrolled in a doctoral program he has gained experience it administering and analyzing numerous cognitive, personality, and workplace based assessments.  He is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy program with a specialization of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Grand Canyon University.  His main focuses within the program and with which his dissertation is geared towards candidate application experience and application performance feedback.   Mr. Coughlin is involved in conducting job analysis, developing and administering written exams, assessment centers, providing feedback, as well as data analysis and scoring.


Brandon L. Young, Ph.D., PHR, SHRM-CP

Senior Assessment Scientist

Dr. Young applies science-based, data driven solutions to enhance the management practices of a wide range of private and public sector organizations. Brandon is an expert at assessing individual differences and measuring job performance and his technical skills include test development and validation. He has assessed hundreds of job candidates’ performance on structured interviews, written exercises, role plays, behavioral assessments, skills tests, and work samples.

Brandon served as a human resources consultant at a large employers association, where he provided guidance to employers on subjects such as selection, measurement, performance management, policy development, and employment law. He also served as a faculty member and Program Coordinator for the Master of Applied Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program at Colorado State University. Brandon currently serves as chief science advisor to human resources technology start-ups and consulting firms.

Dr. Young earned his Ph.D. in industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology from the University of Central Florida. He received his B.A. in psychology at the University of Northern Iowa and M.A. in I/O psychology at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is certified as a human resources professional by the Human Resources Certification Institute (PHR) and Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP), and is a certified top-level Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES) facilitator at the ProMES International Competence Center.

Jenneh Peabody, M.A.

Assessment Analyst

Jenneh began her career in business management, where she honed both the technical and soft skills needed for effectively guiding business owners in organizational growth and sustainability. While employed at a Charter School, Jenneh completed a master’s program where her research efforts targeted the understanding of human behaviors around employee/work motivation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. At FirstIdea, Inc. Jenneh develops knowledge based items for written examinations

Susan Quarles

Operations Manager

Susan Quarles is the Operations Manager at FirstIdea, Inc., in which position she manages the day to day operations of the office. She plays a significant role in long-term planning geared toward operational excellence, and collaborates with the consultants to ensure smooth operation of various processes in the organization.  Susan has been with FirstIdea for over 12 years. She is a dedicated employee with a solid background managing multiple projects simultaneously. She manages projects as they relate to testing, proctoring test exams, assessment center administration, and feedback surveys. She generates valuable feedback reports for the consultants and candidates providing survey results in order to analyze outcomes and objectives. Susan strives to consistently deliver clear results while supporting initiatives for success and excellence. Susan is proactive and resourceful with a strong desire to succeed and exceed goals. She continuously improves procedures to increase efficiency. She is passionate about creating and implementing innovative solutions, systems and process improvements in order to increase efficiency, client satisfaction, expense reduction, and improving overall client confidence. Ms. Quarles is a key contributor in the development and implementation of the Automated Rating and Feedback System (ARFS) and continued modification.  The ARFS process enhances applicant testing, selection, and job performance. ARFS also creates secure automated reports to assessment center candidates of their scores, strengths and recommendations for better assessment center performance, reducing labor hours for report generation by 75% - 85%.

Susan served 6 years in the US Army (active duty) as an Avionics Electro Mechanical Technician, graduating from her training as “Distinguished Honor Graduate.” Her additional duties were publications and records manager for the unit. Susan also served in the US Army Reserves for 6 years as a Human Resources Specialist. Ms. Quarles has over 40 years of experience in management and is knowledgeable of government contract management, records security, management and retention. Susan has held many positions in various companies, including co-owning an aircraft maintenance company. She was records manager in the oil and gas industry for several years.  In her spare time, Susan enjoys supporting and volunteering at community events as well as organizing community events, such as the community Oktoberfest. She is a past president of two non-profit organizations.