Students compete in Free Enterprise Marathon again

March 30, 2017

Saint Michael’s College sent a team of students to participate in the 5th Annual Free Enterprise Marathon held March 9 at SUNY Plattsburgh.  Charles Herbert, Emily Tarr, and William (Alex) Winkelmann represented Saint Michael’s in a two-part competition: a creativity & innovative challenge and a Free Enterprise “Speak-Off.”

The purpose of the competition was to encourage students to become better informed about the importance of free enterprise and to encourage and reward students’ creativity and innovativeness. The Saint Michael’s “Speak-Off” competitor, Charles Herbert, offered what his professor Karen Popovich described as a “brilliant and powerful” four-minute speech on the importance of free enterprise as he discussed regulatory and economic issues and the importance of growth of capital markets. “It was a great speech and the result was 2nd Place and a check for $500!,” Popovich said, adding that this was in addition to the $100 prize Herbert already had received as the campus winner.

In the second competition, students heard a presentation from Valerie Desautels, president of Delta Marketing International, which is a marketing and distribution firm in Plattsburgh.  Part of their line includes Nature’s Air Sponge products.  Students were tasked with three main challenges: Develop a promotional poster; design a product display unit; and present an idea for product development.  The Saint Michael’s team suggested a “micro” version of the product that could be used in cars or locker rooms or athletic carry bags.  The winning team from SUNY New Paltz presented a concept that could be scooped into cat litter boxes. Other winning ideas included a “clip-on version” as a personal body odor absorber, and repackaging the original product with college logos for use in residence halls.

Popovich and Robert Letovsky, a fellow Saint Michael’s business professor who also accompanied the team for the competition, said the students had a great experience, worked effectively as a team, and improved on their presentation skills. Said Letovsky, “their presentation had high-energy and they had a good quality idea.  We are very proud of their work!”

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