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On Island Profile: Peter A. Abrahams

Sept. 18, 2005 – Peter A. Abrahams is a Crucian on the move, and his moves are dramatic.
He has been Deputy Commissioner of Procurement for the Virgin Islands government and Business and Facilities Director at the University of the Virgin Islands. On Monday, he became vice president of services at the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital. He makes his moves based on a certain motivation, he said in a recent interview.
"I look at the situation. If I think I can add value to an institution, I will make the move," he says.
Abrahams had been with the university since 2000, where, among other responsibilities, he spearheaded putting solar streetlights on the St. Croix campus. The 72 self-sustaining outdoor lights require no outside wiring or energy source other than the sun — and they could save UVI thousands of dollars in electricity costs, Patrice K. Johnson, UVI public relations director, said in March when they were installed. (See "UVI Solar-power Lights Touted as Cost Effective").
Abrahams also points to a program he initiated where storm water is now used for irrigation on the campus. He says the water bill at the campus has been cut by 40 percent.
But his responsibilities at UVI went beyond cutting energy costs. His responsibilities included the bookstore, maintenance and landscaping, renovation, purchasing and budgeting and overseeing a staff of 40.
At Property and Procurement, where he worked from May of 1999 to December 2000, he developed policy and made presentations to the Legislature.
One of the things he likes about St. Croix is its unique blend of ethnic groups. He says, "I am a perfect example. My mother was black and my father was white."
His background seems to indicate the atypical manner by which things often happen on St. Croix.
His mother, Arlene, left St. Croix to live in New York. There, she met and married a Danish citizen, Svend Abrahams. Peter was born in New York but remembers little of it; his family came to St. Croix when he was two months old.
He attended V.I. schools all the way through getting his bachelor's degree from UVI in 1987. He then attended the University of Alabama and returned to get his masters from UVI in 2000.
Along the way, he worked at the Amerada Hess Corporation from 1987 to 1990. He was a Process "C" Operator/Technical Aid. While there, he learned about electrical pumps, steam turbines and the refining process.
In Alabama, he worked as an associate buyer for SCI Systems Inc. There he picked up skills he could use in Property and Procurement.
He likes to get off the island once in a while, but he says this is home and where he is most comfortable. He likes St. Croix because one can always find something to do: "Where else can you pull off the side of the road and get into a game of dominoes?" he asks.
His favorite beach is Dorsch Beach at the south end of the west shore, past Sand Castles. "I take my kids there. They do some snorkeling." He has two boys and a girl.
He likes to get to Buck Island when he can. "Being out there has such a calming effect on a person," he says.
Abrahams gives credit to his parents for helping him with the tough decisions in life, but he also gives credit to an uncle – Dr. Eugene Petersen. He says those three people were always around when he had a question about what was right.
He says that once he was very critical of government and institutions, but his philosophy now is "put up or shut up."

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