Alumnus Dick Worick helps students get a handle on market research

Alumnus Dick Worick helps students get a handle on market research

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 10:30am
Dick Worick photo
Dick Worick has graciously made a donation of $50,000 to the CoJMC through the University of Nebraska Foundation to support market research education.

by Bekkah Watkins

Dick Worick, a College of Journalism and Mass Communications alumnus, has graciously made a donation of $50,000 to the college through the University of Nebraska Foundation to support market research education.

His gift establishes the Dick Worick Visiting Professorship in Market Research and will enable the university to invite onto campus professionals or scholars of outstanding reputation in the area of advertising, public relations and market research. These experts will share their industry experience and knowledge with students, and Worick hopes they will especially bring knowledge of market research to upper-level advertising students.

Frauke Hachtmann, the associate dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, is glad to be able to give students one-on-one opportunities to work on their research skills.

“We want students to get excited about research, and the Worick Visiting Professor program is definitely going to help us achieve this,” Hachtmann said.

Worick said, “I would like to see the university turn out advertising professionals who are skilled at, or at least have the proper knowledge of, good marketing research protocol and fundamentals.”

As an example of how the Worick Visiting Professorship in Market Research will benefit students, last year the college hosted two speakers, and students found their real-world perspective particularly helpful.

One professional was Joel Vaslow, the chief operating officer at MSR Group, whose presentation was on advertising and public relations research. The other presenter, Mark Truss, director of brand intelligence at J. Walter Thompson, worked with advertising and public relations students in their capstone classes.

“Their industry information and interaction with students enabled a whole new stream of employment ideas for students,” Hachtmann said. “Without private support we wouldn’t be able to bring in such high caliber speakers for our students.”

Worick said he invested in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications because he believes that, as an advertising consultant, a professional should be able to knowledgeably explain correct market research methods to clients and be sure research is being used for the right purpose.

“Hopefully the professorship turns out to be successful and well received by the students,” Worick said. “I would like to see the college embrace the idea of adding even more teaching of market research to its curriculum.”

Worick was an advertising major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he also minored in marketing and English. He graduated in 1977.

“I was exposed to some market research in the business college since I had a minor in marketing,” Worick said. “But, I really felt it would have been advantageous for the advertising sequence to teach the basics and the importance of research to the advertising process.”

After starting his career in Lincoln at Bailey Lauerman, a full-service Nebraska advertising agency, Worick moved on to start a marking department in Omaha. From there he tossed around the idea of inventing a product and sending it through the entire marketing process from start to finish.

But, before he got that far, he risked everything he had, including most of his finances, and bought a small company called Midwest Survey. The company was focused primarily on field surveys and data collection.

Worick purchased it in 1994, and today it’s known as The MSR Group, a full-service market research firm he continues to own and manage in Omaha. It offers a full range of research services and is a nationwide company known for its award-winning customer satisfaction measurement and improvement process called APECS (Achieving Peak Expectations in Customer Service).

Worick is also the recipient of numerous industry awards and honors.

About Worick’s generosity, Maria Marron, Ph.D., dean of the college, said, “We are ever so grateful to Dick for his commitment to the college, his insight into the need for a professorship to provide a value-added aspect to students’ education, and his generosity in funding the Dick Worick Visiting Professorship.”

This article was written by Bekkah Watkins, a senior at Nebraska’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, who is the public relations intern at the University of Nebraska Foundation.