Southeast Technical student James Elvidge takes first place in competition at DECA International Career Development Conference
Instructor Terry Greene honored for 25 years of service
Austin Lubinski and James Elvidge attended the 2015 DECA Collegiate Conference.
From April 17-24, Southeast Technical's DECA team attended the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, FL. While everyone in the Winona chapter qualified to participate, not everyone was able to make the trip. The team was represented by James Elvidge and Austin Lubinski, along with their mentor and coach, Retail and Sales Management instructor Terry Greene.
The conference opening ceremony took place on Sunday evening and featured a keynote speaker from a Disney professional. "There were about 3,000 people in the event center ballroom for the ceremony. The speaker was very motivational and I took tons of notes," James says.
"It gave us a great feeling and was very exciting. The DECA spirit was in the air with great lights, music, smoke - even confetti!" says Austin.
On Monday, the competition part of the conference began. Austin's category was Restaurant Manager; about 100 people competed in this area. "The competition begins with a 100-question test going over food and retail options. Next you get 30 minutes to look over a restaurant scenario. Then you get 10 minutes to explain to a judge how you would increase performance indicators for your scenario - for example, improving return on investment and increasing customer satisfaction."
As a food professional at Hy-Vee, Austin was very confident in his presentation, but he did not advance to finals. "I was really OK with that. I gave it 110% and I was excited about the experience and the opportunity to grow."
James Elvidge competed in Sales Manager Meeting.
James's category was Sales Manager Meeting. Last year he had come in at second place in this category, and this year he set a goal to win it. With about 75 internationally-qualified people in the group, this was an ambitious target indeed! He made it through the first round and progressed to the second round, which took place on Tuesday morning.
"We were given a case scenario and had 30 minutes to prepare. The scenario was being the sales manager for an oil distribution company that is moving its moving efforts from retail to a business-to-business format. As soon as I looked at the case scenario, my face just lit up because I have already been working in the automotive industry and I understood exactly what to do!" James exclaims.
In the Sales Manager Meeting competition, the student has to play the role of a sales manager. The judges play the role of the sales team. "You get 15 minutes to explain you game plan to them - the new sales training process, the compensation plan, organizing and addressing territories, forecasting market potential," James explains. "You have to establish rapport with your team and answer their questions. I didn't feel rushed at all - but I used up the entire time and ended with 20 seconds to spare."
The awards ceremony took place that evening. Along with about 15 others, James was called up to the stage for the Sales Manager Meeting category. All 15 finalists were introduced and given a medal, and then the top three places were announced.
Instructor Terry Greene was honored for 25 years of service to DECA at the international conference.
"When I was called onto the stage Austin and Terry Greene ran up to the front so they could see what was going to happen. When I heard the announcer say, 'In first place... from Minnesota State College Southeast...' I was so excited I didn't even wait for them to say my name - I rushed up to get the award. I felt an awesome sense of validation and accomplishment. What a great way to end my DECA career and transition into my new career!"
James is graduating this year and has already been advanced to a Sales and Leasing Consultant position at Dahl Toyota in Winona. Austin will continue at Southeast Technical and serve as the Winona campus DECA chapter president for Fall semester. Both credit Terry Green for building a close, competitive DECA chapter, who was honored for 25 years of service to DECA at the International Career Development Conference.
"Terry Greene has a great ability to challenge us. We've appreciated his leadership and management style, the way he can relate to students," said Austin.
"He is a true mentor and the type of professor you would call a friend," says James. "Southeast Technical is really lucky to have Terry Greene as an instructor."