Harper joins Studer Institute

The Studer Institute and the University of West Florida have created a partnership that will allow Rick Harper, the University of West Florida’s assistant vice president of economic development, to become Director of the Institute.

The Institute’s President and CEO Randy Hammer announced Wednesday that Harper will help supervise the Institute’s staff and work while continuing to serve as the director of the university’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement.

“Rick and his staff at UWF are a wonderful resource for our community,” said Hammer. “I am thrilled we were able to work out this partnership with Rick and the university.”

Harper, who earned his PhD in economics from Duke University, joined the UWF faculty in 1989. He is best known in the area through his work with UWF’s Haas Center, where he served as Director until 2011. Earlier this summer Harper completed a two-year assignment as senior policy advisor for economic affairs to the Florida Senate.

As director of the Studer Institute, Harper will be responsible for research and the development of a dashboard of social and economic metrics that will allow people to evaluate the Pensacola Metro’s performance and standing relative to other communities.

“Data describing our community and its successes and shortcomings have to be accurate, credible, and relevant,” said Harper. “We have to understand these data in the context of our community, its history, and what is possible. I’m looking forward to working with the great team at the Institute to help our community achieve its potential,” says Rick.

Institute Founder and Chairman, Quint Studer, said that Harper brings to the Institute an unparalleled credibility and experience in analyzing and clarifying important measures of the Pensacola area.

“At the Studer Institute, we want to improve the quality of life for the people of this area in a measurable, quantifiable way,” said Studer. “Rick Harper is going to help us talk about issues based on data and metrics, and we’re glad to have him on board,” said Quint.