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Polco News & Knowledge

Once Upon a Survey


“Remember back in the day, people used to do surveys just because [they] thought this was the right thing for local governments to do?” said National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) President Tom Miller. “Now things have morphed into something much more meaningful and profound. It’s about figuring out what those data mean and how to use them to improve the quality of community life.”

NRC was founded in 1994 by Tom Miller, following his work with the City of Boulder, Colorado. “NRC was founded to bring the voice of the typical resident into local government decision making and, more broadly, to offer valuable data to help inform decisions of community, state and federal leaders,” Miller said.



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“We see local governments doing a lot more with survey data now, so the meaning is in actually changing communities,” agreed NRC Vice President Michelle Kobayashi, who has been with the company since the beginning. “I also would say surveys are a conduit to democracy.”

Managing Director Sonya Wytinck is proud to see how cities are using surveys to improve lives. “City staff and councils are proactive in considering the values of their constituents, as reflected in the research, as they progress toward goals,” Wytinck said. “They are making more inclusive decisions and creating happier communities.”

It is perhaps the link and the human desire for connection that has changed the survey from a vault into a conduit. “The real gift of the survey is to strengthen relationships,” said Marketing Manager Angelica Wedell.  “We can’t wrap that up and put it under the tree, but it’s something we are excited about during the Holidays and the whole year through.”

This is an updated article originally published in December, 2016.

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