Canisius Dedicates New Focus Group Facility

Buffalo, NY – Canisius College will dedicate its new Focus Group Facility, located at the Center for Professional Development in Amherst, on Thursday, June 20 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. The state-of-the-art facility will be named after Jacky Knopp Jr., PhD, emeritus professor of management and marketing at Canisius College and the late Bernard L. Martin HON ’78, PhD, the first dean of the School of Business Administration, now known as the Richard J. Wehle School of Business. The dedication is free and open to the public.

Established in December 2012 by Insight Associates Inc., the Focus Group Facility serves as a resource for Canisius marketing students and faculty, as well as community professionals in need of qualitative focus group research. It includes large and comfortable participant and observer rooms, and is equipped with a one-way mirror, the latest video and audio recording capabilities, a Wi-Fi-enabled web testing lab, and conference room.

Since opening, the Focus Group Facility has been used to conduct a mock trial proceedings in relation to the Flight 3407 plane crash, assist the state of Florida redesign its school breakfast and lunch programs, and to recruit top local law enforcement officials to help a local college tailor its criminal justice program, among many other marketing research projects.

“Focus groups are an important tool for gaining extensive and detailed feedback and ideas from consumers and key influencers,” said Antone (Joe) Alber, PhD, dean of the Richard J. Wehle School of Business. “They are especially useful in the retail and legal communities and we look forward to having this real-world business experience available to our students.”

Founded by former advertising executive vice president Ray Owczarzak, Insight Associates is a full-service marketing research firm best known for its creative approach to conducting focus groups. Insight’s president and chief executive officer is Canisius College alumnus Tony Diina.

“I donated the cost of converting the former classroom space into the Focus Group Facility so that it may serve as a valuable asset to the college’s marketing research program, as well as the greater business community,” says Diina, who earned his marketing degree from Canisius in 1969 and his MBA in 1972. “Drs. Knopp and Martin inspired me, molded me, helped me get established in the field that I still hold dear and in which I have been successful for 40 years,” adds Diina. “They and Canisius have been instrumental in my life, as they have for so many students after me, and I am proud to name the Focus Group Facility in their honor.”

Knopp came to Canisius College in 1967, where he served as an associate professor of management and marketing. He brought a combination of talents to the Canisius classroom. In addition to educating students about the theoretical and conceptual principles of marketing, developed throughout his years of research, Knopp shared his entrepreneurial acumen, which he honed during his many years as a marketing director, analyst and consultant. Much of his scholarly research focused on the legal framework of marketing and international marketing.

Throughout his tenure, Knopp was similarly instrumental in helping to develop, organize and promote the Canisius MBA program. His committee work also included terms on the MBA Advisory Council and advisor to the Marketing Society.

Bernard Martin arrived at Canisius College in 1966 and was the inaugural dean of the School of Business Administration. During his tenure, Martin secured accreditation for the school by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB). AACSB standards are used as the basis to evaluate a business school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, and programs. Martin also spearheaded the development of the college’s master’s in business administration (MBA) program, as well as its five-year MBA program. At the undergraduate level, Martin developed the marketing major at Canisius. Canisius College conferred an honorary doctorate degree upon Martin in 1978.

The Focus Group Facility is located at 300 Corporate Parkway, Suite 130, in Amherst, NY. For more information on the facility or to reserve space, contact 847-1590 Ext. 209.

One of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.