Truth is in the numbers. But sometimes interpreting data is easier said than done. Fortunately, one Whatcom County business has the know-how to do it right.
Vega Nguyen Research is a women- and minority-owned statistical data analysis and research firm operating out of Bellingham. They opened in July and recently received their certification from Washington State’s Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises. Their mission? To help both nonprofit and for-profit companies collect and interpret data to better understand how to achieve their goals.
Dr. Sara Vega and Dr. Jenny Nguyen use various methods to bring the highest quality of research to their clients including surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. After data has been collected, they conduct thorough analyses to create descriptive and visually appealing reports that bring all the pieces together and guide readers on how to use the data to drive decision-making. But for Vega and Nguyen, it’s about more than just data; it’s also about helping companies, agencies and individuals succeed and become a force for positive change in their community.
The pair specialize in the survey research field. “We want companies to know we’re here as a resource to answer tough measurement and data questions,” Nguyen says.
Vega and Nguyen help organizations and agencies measure program impact. They also work with government agencies, such as Whatcom County’s Department of Public Works, where a current contract, awarded in October 2018 has brought them together with another Bellingham-based company, Ketchup+Mustard Design, to create an effective marketing campaign. “We hold ourselves to strict ethical, academic and research standards and are committed to making sure our clients get results that drive decision making,” Vega says.
Where It All Began
Vega and Nguyen met while studying for their doctorate degrees at the University of Central Florida. They frequently worked as a team and found they shared an interest in applied sociology and a desire to bring it to the public. But how?
After graduation, Vega went on to teach and Nguyen went to work in Texas. Eventually their paths intertwined again in Bellingham. They decided to open a research firm that would bridge the gap between data analysis and the public, and become a resource to their new Whatcom County community.
The two sought to answer a couple pressing questions. How do you help organizations and agencies make data-informed and data-driven decisions? If someone says, “I want to start a new program at my nonprofit,” or, “I want to know how satisfied my customers or employees are,” how do you go about measuring success or satisfaction?
Vega has been thinking about these types of questions since she was a kid. She often wondered why businesses folded so frequently. A vacated building would instantly get filled by a new business, and the process would repeat. This made her wonder if research could help ensure a business would succeed.
Both Vega and Nguyen enjoyed their years in Central Florida working with nonprofit and for-profit companies. It made them proud to successfully assist various types of organizations, from homeless shelters to transportation planning companies.
“The research questions people are trying to answer become personally important to us,” Vega says. “We want to help people reach their goals using information backed by reliable data.” They work with all different kinds of people and businesses, and with contracts of all different sizes.
“As sociologists, we approach problems in a multidisciplinary way,” Vega continues. “We always look for ways to collaborate with experts outside of our discipline. It is why our team page includes such a variety of professionals. The more we acknowledge that all problems are interdisciplinary, the better we can collect and analyze the right data and address the questions presented by our clients.”
Both Vega and Nguyen maintain strong connections and develop personal relationships with their clients that last for months at a time.
“Our motto is ‘finding data to tell your story,’” Nguyen says. “We bring all the pieces together to tell a data-driven, rich story for each of our unique clients and projects; we feel privileged to do so.”
Vega Nguyen Research
1140 10th Street