Saint Michael's business students strong at competition

By: Mark Tarnacki
SMC business students and faculty at competition banquet

Saint Michael’s business students, accompanied by their faculty mentors Robert Letovsky and Karen Popovich, came away with two second-place prizes as they again participated in the second annual “Free Enterprise Marathon” at the State University of New York Plattsburgh on Friday, March 7.

The event’s purpose is “to encourage students to become better informed about the importance of free enterprise and to encourage and reward students’ creativity and inventiveness.” This year it involved eleven colleges/universities from New York and Vermont and offered cash prizes for the best short speech on the topic of “Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship,” as well as for the winning team in the “Team Creativity and Innovation Competition.”

The Saint Michael's College team, composed of Kevin D. Holloman ’14, a double major in Accounting and Business, of business majors Kelley Charette ’16, Abigail Goudey ’16, Loren Lachappelle ’14 and Nick DeThomasis ’14, made a strong showing. Though he didn’t finish “in the money” in the Speak-Off finals, Holloman finished second in the individual creativity/Mug of War competition, which involved developing a quick-selling pitch for a revolutionary coffee mug/dispenser.

Meanwhile, Charette, Goudey, Lachappelle and DeThomasis finished second of 10 competing teams in Team Creativity and Innovation with a cutting-edge marketing presentation to a New York-based firm involved in biofuels and grilling pellets.

Winners were announced by the event organizer, Professor Nancy Church at SUNY Plattsburgh, at an awards banquet that followed the day-long competition. They were:

Creativity & Innovation Team Competition:

  • 1st place-$800:  Clarkson University Team
  • 2nd place-$600:  Saint Michael's College Team
  • 3rd place-$400:  Norwich University Team
  • 4th place-$200:  SUNY Adirondack Team

Mug-of-War Competition for “quick-pitch”:

  • 1st place:  Krista Bennett - SUNY Adirondack
  • 2nd place:  Kevin Holloman - Saint Michael's College
  • 3rd place:  Alex Johnson - Norwich University

Students all made their presentations dressed in proper business attire. Other schools participating included Clarkson, four SUNY schools, UVM, Norwich, Clinton Community College and Southern Vermont College.  This event represented the “speak-off finals” after each campus had its own competition to determine representatives. The speak-off challenge topic was “Free Enterprise: What this Country Needs is More Entrepreneurs.”

This was the first year for the “Mug-of-War competition,” in which Saint Michael’s student Holloman placed second. Church, the event organizer, started it this year to fill the gap between the speak-off finals and the team presentations.

In the team creativity and innovation challenge, which saw Saint Michael’s finish second, the teams had to come up with ideas for Adirondack Grilling Pellets, owned by Colleen Lemza and her husband Bob, to help their business improve. The teams had about 20-minute briefings about the business and then had approximately five hours to assemble five-minute presentations, followed by questioning from judges Lemza, Robert Parks, publisher of the Press-Republican, and Daniel Alexander, president and publisher of Denton Publications.

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