Nov. 6, 2003 A St. John company has donated about $40,000 worth of its services to help the Public Relations Department at the University of the Virgin Islands evaluate its image.
The Link Group, a market-research firm with an office in Atlanta and at the Marketplace shopping center outside Cruz Bay, held focus groups in August on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Patrice Johnson, director of public relations at UVI, said the company was looking for a way to fulfill the community obligations required as an Economic Development Commission beneficiary.
"A student who is interning there suggested us," she said. EDC beneficiary companies are required to give to the community, either in funding for worthy causes or by goods and services.
Dan Callahan, market-research analyst at The Link Group, said the company decided to work with UVI because the university has a big impact on the community.
Johnson said that the university needed to know if it was a place of choice or a last resort for people seeking a college education. Using the Link Group to study the question removed politics from the mix, he said.
Johnson said those who participated in the focus groups had good things and bad things to say about UVI.
"We got people who were passionate one way or the other," Johnson said.
While she declined to disclose the results, she said that UVI alumni said they still felt connected to the university and wanted it to succeed.
And, she said, people from the community without UVI ties were supportive and were eager to help the university.
According to The Link Group's website, the company has over $5 million a year in revenues. It was founded in 1994 by Brad Camrud and Tom Pfeil. Both worked for Proctor and Gamble; Pfeil also spent time with Coca-Cola.
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