Pulaski County is looking to strengthen its relationship with Radford University through a new advertising campaign with the school’s athletic department.

The county announced the yearlong partnership on Facebook last week, which will feature ads at a variety of RU sporting events throughout the year. County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said he sees the university as an untapped resource.

“We think that the biggest bang for our buck is to target a university that is a talent pipeline,” he said.

Sweet said it all comes back to the county’s “40-by-30” initiative, which aims to have 40,000 residents in the county by 2030. Besides recruiting businesses to the area, Sweet has set his sights on students.

“We want them to consider Pulaski County while they’re in school as a place to recreate and a place to spend money; when they get out of school, a place to work, live and invest in,” he said.

Since it does not have a tourism department, the county does much of its advertising through the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, Sweet said. A document from the university outlining the contract says the agreement runs through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2020.

Sweet said besides being direct neighbors with the university, it being an unsaturated market was also a plus for the county. He said various localities advertise with Virginia Tech, but he hasn’t seen anything with Radford.

“The county feels this active partnership and distinction is important as we look to transition ourselves into a next-level community that attracts knowledge-based and technology-based industries and utilizes and retains the talent that is being produced from Radford University. As the urban-rural divide deepens in the Commonwealth, we wish to embrace and celebrate who we are and the comprehensive benefits of doing business here in the New River Valley of Virginia,” Sweet wrote in a document outlining the partnership.

The county is paying $8,500 for a variety of ads including: a banner hanging in the Dedmon Center; a sign at the scorer’s table in the arena; signs at the entrance and exits of the building; a video board message with a “did you know” component; 30-second spots on the Radford Radio Network; and signage at Cupp Stadium and the baseball and softball fields.

Sweet said he anticipates the arrangement will continue past next year.

A university spokesperson said that the school had no further comment on the partnership other than the document it provided to The Roanoke Times.

The partnership is also beneficial to the university, according to Sweet.

“We believe this cultivated partnership and subsequent public display will have a meaningful impact on the population, commerce and business growth of our county,” he wrote. “Likewise, this cultivated partnership and subsequent public display will increase exposure to Radford University and celebrate the output and impact RU is having on our community and the New River Valley.

“Pulaski County is…Highlander Country.”

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