I Research E- Technology Park Newsletter I Fall 2003
Dr. Auguste E. Rimpel
Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster
University of the
The UVIRTPark: Concept .
Development of the UVIRTPark m
St. Croix Startup m
Park Funding .
Meet the Board .
The Virgin Islands is well on its way to building a
Research and Technology Park (UVIRTPark), a
friendly meeting ground for business, academia and
government, that promises success for all three. The
necessary legislation is in place: a St. Croix site has
been identified, seed money has been appropriated
and negotiations are in progress with potential
tenants, including some well known Fortune 2000
Led by the desire to broaden the opportunities for
economic success, the University of the Virgin
Islands' former President Dr. Orville Kean launched
an initiative to create the UVIRTPark two years ago,
but the concept goes back even further. Dr. Kean's
longstanding concerns about the need to diversify the
territory's economy became pressing in the aftermath
of hurricanes that devastated the tourism industry in
the early and mid 1990s. Additionally, the University
was suffering from government funding cutbacks and
started searching for alternate funding sources.
Almost on cue, broadband Internet access a
necessity for truly viable e-commerce -came to the
Virgin Islands. That advantage was added to the
attractive tax breaks and U.S. legal protections.
The convergence of all of these elements drove the
movement to establish a research and technology
park (UVIRTPark)," said Dr. Auguste Rimpel,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University.
UVI President Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster sees the
UVIRTPark as "a good response to our environment."
Unlike traditional industries such as manufacturing
or retail, the electronic businesses that will locate in
the UVIRTPark don't need a lot of land or physical
access to markets. Moreover, Dr. Ragster noted, "the
knowledge industry is non-polluting and
environmentally friendly, so it won't degrade the
general quality of life for residents or chase away
"It's a holistic concept," she explained. Through its
partnerships with business, the University will
enhance its status as a learning center, lengthen its
research arm, and improve its own financial stability,
while advancing the social and economic welfare of
the VI community.
"Building the workforce is closely linked with our
mission and is critical to the UVIRTPark initiative,"
Dr. Ragster said. A thriving research and technology
park will help to create high-paying, high-tech jobs to
be filled by V.I. residents and UVI alumni. There also
will be internships for students.
UVI graduates are competent in computer
programming and in the development of software.
"But unless we have jobs for them here, they will
leave the territory." Indeed, many have, and so one
component of the
UVIRTPark effort is to locate and lure back Virgin
Islands talent as part of an overall recruitment and
Another component is pairing UVI professors with
business representatives in research projects
sponsored by the businesses. "This will help the
faculty to grow professionally while creating
expanded alliances with business and industry."
Dr. Ragster said.
"All the pieces are there, the legislation, the people,
the infrastructure, the leadership...all the resources
we need to make this a success," Dr. Rimpel said.
Welcome to the
Designed to keep
Syou abreast of
Developments in one
of the most exciting
S ventures in the
S territory today.
Dr. Auguste E. Rimpel
Chairman of the Board
Mr. Roger Dewey
Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster
Ms. Kathleen Dyer
Dr. Noreen Michaels
Mr. Roy Jackson
Mr. Liston Abbott
Malcolm C. Kirwan
The Research & Technology Community
An at-a-glance view of the systems approach to creating a viable, full-service and
profitable Research & Technology Park.
The UVIRTPark will provide a unique environment in which tech
nology-based companies can undertake research and development,
and also provide e-commerce services to clients on a global basis,
under the protection of US intellectual property law, and within the
beneficial tax structure of the Territory.
In return for providing these facilities and services, the UVIRTPark
will receive financial revenues and support for community develop
ment initiatives, and the University will receive educational collabo
ration with UVIRTPark tenants.
The market segments that the UVIRTPark will serve are software
developers, digital content companies, e-business exchanges and
marketplaces. The UVIRTPark will utilize relationships with strategic
partners, who will invest in the necessary infrastructure and will pro
vide services directly to the UVIRTPark's clients, including web host
* Technology Education
* Workforce Training
* School to Work Programs
* Entrepreneurship Programs
World Class E-Commerce &
* Software Development
* Hi Tech Incubators
* Virtual Business
* Knowledge Based Businesses
* Media & Entertainment
* E Commerce Businesses
* Satellite Office Space
* Web Hosting
* Teleconference Center
* Financial Institutions
* Management &
ing, content management, multi-currency financial transaction pro
cessing and digital marketplace platforms. In serving these markets,
the UVIRTPark is expanding the traditional research park concept,
but will also accommodate 'traditional' tenants in the form of tech
nology-based companies, engaged in research, product development,
and commercialization of intellectual property. The UVIRTPark will
provide an enabling environment for technology incubator compa
nies so that they can have access to the facilities and support services
they need to become viable business ventures.
"The UVIRTPark Concept will integrate five key components that work together
to create a special synergy that fits the needs and requirements of the islands
for clean, pollution free businesses." Malcolm C. Kirwan
Global E-Commerce Center
An important business component of the UVIRTPark the Global E
Commerce Center will provide web-hosting and other e-commerce
This center will be a multi-use facility providing a wide array of sup
port services for existing technology firms seeking a single-source
solution. The Center will provide facilities for start-ups that need
incubator services. It will provide a home base for software develop
ment and knowledge-based companies engaged in the research,
development and commercialization of intellectual property.
Community Technology Education Center
The Community Technology Education Center will coordinate a net
work of community technology education and job training activities
in collaboration with the University. These include degree programs,
student internships, work force training, school-to-work programs,
faster technology and literacy that support the objectives of the
UVIRTPark and promote the effective use of information technology
in business, education, government and the broader Virgin Islands
Strategic partnerships are key to
creating the unique environ
ment that will allow knowledge-
based companies to have the
confidence that their business
objectives will be achieved by
locating in the UVIRTPark. Malcolm C. Kirwan
Strategic partners will bring a Executive Director
global reputation, technical Research & Technology Park
expertise, and widely recognized
capabilities that are the key to the UVIRTPark's ability to deliver a
credible, and effective e-commerce business solution and provide
Community Reinvestment Program
The ultimate purpose of the UVIRTPark is to foster social and eco
nomic development in the territory. The UVIRTPark will be an inte
grated and coherent response to economic development,job cre
ation, and job training.
Approximately 1200 sq.ft. of office space for the UVIRTPark has
been established on the St Croix campus, utilizing the most easterly
wing of the residence halls. The UVIRTPark has funded the renova
tion of the space, which will provide the initial on-site facility for the
UVIRTPark. Arrangements for telephone and data connectivity to
the office are underway. The office space is planned for the joint use
of both the UVIRTPark and two tenants and will provide visible evi
dence of interest in the UVIRTPark and demonstrate that credible
early adopters have embraced the UVIRTPark.
It is anticipated that the UVIRTPark will open its doors for business
in the summer with two tenants and follow this event with a Global
Vision Forum to be sponsored by the Park and Crucian Global. The
forum will host executives of several companies interested in the
By the end of the Fall the UVIRTPark expects to begin implement
tion testing of its application process for companies interested in
subscribing to the UVIRTPark's e-commerce solution so that an
early test group of acceptance can be in place by the Spring of 2004.
Prototype operations for hosting and managed services are tentative
ly scheduled to start by late Fall 2003 with the launching of scaled
up operations targeted for the Spring of 2004.
I Coming this The Researh & T ogyee at w
It was 2000. Michael Fields, a U.S. businessman with fam-
ily ties in the Virgin Islands, was giving the commence
ment address on the St. Croix campus of the University of
the Virgin Islands.
As he tells it, that's when he was struck by the thought of
helping to develop the techno-potential of the Virgin
In June 2001 he launched Crucian Global (www.crucian
global.com) a business created to bring companies to the
UVIRTPark on St. Croix, offering managed services, co
location services and a variety of other services.
on bringing in
big U.S. and
Fields has worked closely with UVI and the local government to get
necessary legislation passed and marketing strategies in place for the
"Now Crucian Global is concentrating on bringing in big U.S. and
international corporations" he said. Fields likes to describe the pro
gram as a three-legged stool, offering companies tax incentives, US
The protection of
US copyright and
legal protection and telecommunications.
The "seat" of the stool is UVI and the UVIRTPark itself
which offers the comfort of job training programs, a
steady student supply of student interns, and the readi
ness to tailor degree programs around the needs of
Many of the companies Crucian Global plans to serve
will be companies interested in using the UVIRTPark as
a base for their e-commerce operations because of the
tax incentives it offers. But some of those, Fields says,
are likely to set up their "back office" operations in St.
Croix as well, requiring a physical presence. Fields pre
dicts Crucian Global will hire at least 30 people a year, for the next
five years, and eventually employ more than 350. For the most part,
they will be high-paying, top-level positions. He's looking not only
for V.I. residents but former residents with strong technology and e
commerce skills. Fields search has been anecdotal so far, but he says
it already is starting to show results.
"It's as if all Crucians who have left the island are tied together on
one string," he said. So if you find one, that person leads to another
and another. And the string leads back to the Virgin Islands.
The University of the Virgin Islands is in the front of the line for fed
eral funds channeled through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to
local efforts like the Research and Technology Park.
The 2003 Congressional Appropriations bill contains about $1.45
billion in low-interest loan money for jurisdictions seeking to devel
op broadband capabilities, and another $300 million for telemedi
cine and distance learning. It also contains an "earmark" for UVI's
request for a portion of that funding -a recommendation from
Congress that generally ensures a favorable reception of an applica
tion by the given executive federal agency or department.
With broadband infrastructure already in place on St. Croix, it's a
natural, as an integral part of the UVIRTPark, said Ben Dixon of
Dr. Auguste E. Rimpel is the Chairman of the Board of
the UVIRTPark and Chairman of the Board of UVI. A retired part
ner of Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP (PwC), Dr.Rimpel most recent
ly was the Managing Partner of International Consulting Services for
the Washington Consulting Practice. Dr. Rimpel has directed eco
nomic development activities in emerging or developing markets, in
China, India, Sri Lanka, Honduras, Colombia, Indonesia and the for
mer Soviet Union. Dr. Rimpel has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering
from Carnegie Institute of Technology, a M.S., Ch.E. and B.A. from
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in Chemistry
from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.
Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster is President of UVI and also
Secretary of the UVIRTP Board. At the University she held positions
that included; Chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics,
Faculty Trustee to the UVI Board, V.P. for Research and Public
Service, and senior V.P. and Provost. Dr. Ragster received a Ph.D. in
biology, University of California, San Diego; a M.S. in Biology, San
Diego State University and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry,
University of Miami.
Dr Nore e n Mi c h a e I is the Commissioner of Education and
in that capacity serves as an ex-official member of the Board of
Trustees of the University. She has served on the faculty of Louisiana
State University, the University of Kansas, Illinois State University
and has taught on a part-time basis at the University of the Virgin
islands. Dr. Michael earned her B.A. Degree in English/Secondary
Education from the College of the Virgin Islands and earned her
Masters and Doctoral degrees in Educational Psychology at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
R o y A J a c k s o n is a prominent local businessman and certi
fied public accountant with his own accounting practice. He serves
on several boards including the UVI, Public Finance Authority and
he is also Secretary of the VI Board of Accountancy. In 1996 he
Milburnie Associates, who worked with UVI and the Delegate to
Congress on the lobbying effort to get the earmark. "Distance learn
ing is also a good fit" he said. At least two companies seriously con
sidering partnering with UVI in the UVIRTPark already operate dis
tance learning training programs for their employees.
Only about 15 entities have been earmarked for the Agriculture
funds, so the territory's chances of a share are extremely good.
Meanwhile, UVI is pursuing other avenues for federal funding for
the UVIRTPark including $500,000 from the Department of
Commerce to help in training territory residents for jobs in the tech
organized the Government Development Bank of the Virgin Islands
and served as its first president. He was responsible for the establish
ment of the banks intermediary Re-lending Fund in conjunction
with the US Department of Agriculture. Mr. Jackson received a
MBA from UVI, and a BBA from Atlantic Union College.
R o g e r De w e y is currently the Executive Director of the St.
Croix Foundation, U.S.V.I. He has been a leader in re-vitalizing
Christiansted, acquiring and administering grants to rehabilitate
properties. Previously a consultant, Mr. Dewey managed the evalua
tion and restructuring of troubled real estate ventures and business
es, managed historic rehabilitation in Boston and developed resort
condominiums and suburban subdivisions. Mr. Dewey received a
MS in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a BS
in Mathematics from Tufts University.
Kath I e e n D y e r is a Principal at Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc.,
and has more than 23 years in key management positions for gov
ernment and corporate organizations. Ms. Dyer specializes in infor
mation systems strategy and architecture, information resources
management, systems integration, and applications development.
Ms Dyer received a MS in Technology of Management from
American University, a M.Ed, Education from University of
Pittsburgh and a BS, Secondary Education, UVI.
Liston A b b ot t, an electrical engineer has spent his profes
sional career in research and development of electronic communica
tion systems. He was employed by RCA and its successor until
retirement. Mr. Abbott holds six US patents, authored more than 20
technical papers and has been published in major international pub
locations. Mr. Abbott is currently a consultant in communications
systems, computer software development and applications, website
design, and other areas. Mr. Abbot received his BS in Electrical
Engineering from the College of the City of New York.
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