Allen Hammer, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor and Assessment Expert
Al is an award-winning researcher, an influential and widely read author, and one of the world’s foremost experts in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™ assessment (FIRO®), and the Strong Interest Inventory® (Strong). Shortly after Pam founded MCA in 1999, she met Al when he was teaching a FIRO® class. They have been collaborating ever since, including building a proprietary MCA normative database of 230+ executive teams together.
"Pam works with one of the leading data scientists in the psychology field, and that's Al Hammer. He's a remarkable individual—you fill out inventories and he sends back a report to you that makes you think he’s known you for 20 years."
—Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO, Cummins
Al is the brilliant mind behind the MCA executive assessments. He is able to interpret data from any combination of inventories and deliver deeply accurate insights – often revealing facets of a client’s personality that were previously unexplored, and making the client feel truly understood for the first time. The assessment results are one of the initial data points that lead to a conversation with the client about their story. From there, Al works with the MCA team to guide and support the client through the difficult process of change work, a long-term partnership that transforms the leader’s professional and sometimes personal lives.
Research, counseling, and the great outdoors all figure prominently in Al’s interdisciplinary approach to consulting. He received a bachelor's degree in administration and management science from Carnegie Mellon University, a major that emphasized data-based problem-solving. He became intrigued by counseling after studying underachievement as a freelance research assistant, which led to his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Michigan State University. He went on to counsel individuals, couples, and groups in a private practice in Oregon, and was a staff psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis. Drawn back to research, Al took a two-year postdoctoral position at the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry, investigating how technology can benefit patients and health care providers. He then became certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Ericksonian Hypnosis to help people activate their inner resources to change behavior. His experiences outside the classroom were equally formative. For two summers while in college, he worked as a gandy dancer on a railroad track gang, laying rail through the mountains and living in converted rail cars. He has hitchhiked around the United States, and was an enthusiastic solo backpacker, once going nearly two months without speaking to anyone. To date, he has explored 38 national parks. He is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a pioneer in wilderness education.
“People read his reports and they go, what? He wasn't in the room, how did he get this so right? He has brilliant insights!”
—Jill Cook, Chief Human Resources Officer, Cummins
Al’s contributions to the personality assessment field are far-reaching and significant. He worked at CPP, Inc. from 1986 to 1998 where he held a number of positions including senior scientist, director of product development, director of research, and editor in chief. His efforts resulted in more customer-based publishing, and today CPP, Inc. is a world leader in personality, career, and organizational development assessments. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Psychological Type for two decades, is the former editor of the Bulletin of Psychological Type, and was a director of the Myers-Briggs Foundation from 2004 to 2011. Al is the author or co-author of 22 MBTI®, FIRO®, and Strong publications, and edited “MBTI Applications: A Decade of Research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.” He won two Isabel Briggs Myers Research Awards for his research on couples and the MBTI® Step III™, and was the recipient of the APTi Innovations Award for helping to make MBTI®-Complete® available online. For many years, Al taught MBTI® workshops and training sessions around the country, and consultants, counselors, and researchers reported that he made learning about personality assessments fun.
Al lives in Virginia with his wife, Jane Berry, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Richmond who specializes in cognitive aging. They have a daughter who is pursuing her master’s degree in social work. Al owns a farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s where he indulges in some of his favorite things outside of work. Mountain gazing is a given, of course. Family comes by to play music on the porch; Al is partial to bluegrass. He enjoys reading, mainly literary fiction and non-fiction. And then there’s fly-fishing. Al takes to the farm’s pond to fish for bluegills and largemouth bass, and for native brook trout, Al can be found angling in the area’s remote mountain streams.