Huntsman Post

Four students place in national competition, witness Nashville’s rebuilding efforts

By Jenna Jardine

Four students from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business earned top honors in a national business competition recently, and, at the same time, were able to help out an area struggling to recover in the aftermath of a flood.

The students excelled in a national competition held in Nashville, Tenn., and sponsored by Phi Beta Lamba, a collegiate business organization. USU students Lori Taylor, Vikki Ballard, Katie Reynolds and Derek Kent each placed in contests that tested their knowledge in key business areas.

Members of the PBL team. Back row, from left to right, Derek Kent and Katie Reynolds. Front row, Vikki Ballard and Lori Taylor. - Photo by Sterling Morris

Mr. Kent, executive vice president of the Huntsman chapter of Phi Beta Lamba, said the floods that hit Nashville in May of 2010 had damaged the area where the conference was originally to be held. Organizers could have opted to move the conference to a different city, but decided to hold it at another Nashville location so that it could help the area recover economically. The conference drew more than 1,700 people, and each event featured dozens of competitors.

Mr. Kent said witnessing this rebuilding process set this year’s conference apart from the others.

“Several times in the conference we were reminded of the tragedy that had affected much of the city,” Mr. Kent said. “We were reminded that something as simple as our presence left its mark in helping Nashville recover. While I am sure that several organizations and groups had to relocate their conferences, PBL was able to bring thousands of dollars into the economy that relies quite heavily on tourism.”

Ms. Taylor, a senior majoring in human movement science, placed second in public speaking. Ms. Ballard, who graduated this year with a degree in international business, placed second in the international business category. Taking third in the marketing concepts contest was Ms. Reynolds, a senior in human resource management. Mr. Kent, a junior in marketing and economics, took fourth in sports management and marketing.

“It was rewarding to see how well our students did when they were pitted against some of the brightest students in the country,” said Joseph Banks, advisor for the Huntsman School’s PBL chapter. “I think it was a good experience to see the economic impact PBL’s decision had on Nashville. Our students aspire to be strong ethical leaders, and they got to see the impact of the decision to stay in Nashville and invest in that struggling economy.”