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April, 2013 - SMAC in the News

'Priority needs' list leads survey meetings

Kris Langland

A quick and concise summation of the discussion from two school survey design public forum meetings held Tuesday and Thursday at Mt. Lake Public School (MLPS) can focus on the creation of a "priority needs" list for the facility's building, designed with an end result that culminates with what district residents are willing to pay as an investment in the project.

The pair of meetings were facilitated by the Southwest Marketing Advisory Center (SMAC) at Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall (SMSU), a professional marketing group led by Dr. Michael Rich, executive director of SMAC and Professor of Marketing at SMSU, backed by John Woehl, who is working on his master's in business administration at the university, along with Jenna Radtke, undergraduate SMSU student and managing director of SMAC.

Dr. Rich has 45-year personal history of designing surveys, and has been with SMAC since 2002. Since its inception, SMAC has completed 450 projects, websites, brochures, market analyses and survey work. All of the money earned by the advisory center and its executive director is returned to SMSU in the form of scholarships for students who are involved in SMAC.

The team's end goal was to gather impartial information and public feedback on what questions should be asked in a buildings needs survey.

No one from MLPS administration or the MLPS board was present during the meeting. On Tuesday, April 23, 20 district residents attended the meeting while Thursday evening, April 25, nine members of the public were in attendance. Dr. Rich, Woehl and Radtke will be taking all the information they recorded during the meetings and transcribe it into a published report. The results of that report will be published in the Observer/Advocate once they are completed.

SMAC has arranged for continued public comment via an online dropbox, located at District residents can use this link submit comments directly to the team. If those who submit are interested in having a team member contact them, they are encouraged to leave their name and e-mail address. SMAC emphasizes that any comments submitted will be re-written by the SMAC team in order to further disguise certain citizen's writing styles. The goal is to encourage community members to be open and honest with the team as they move forward in the survey design process. Any comments made will remain confidential and will be used to assist SMAC in the survey creation process.

Design of the survey is an involved, multi-step process that will take some time. A full disclosure of survey results will also be published when completed.

For further information, call 507-537-7102 or e-mail:

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