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Sustainability, health care, supply chain and trendspotting projects win 2015 Showcase

A sustainable approach to healthy eating, a new take on a device used in treating sleep apnea, two supply chain solutions, and an international trends study. These are the winners of Poole College’s Seventh Annual Leadership and Innovation Showcase, held April 16 at Nelson Hall on the NC State University campus.

A total of 65 teams entered this year’s competition, representing student work in practicum classes and five independent study projects. View brief NC State video interview with several this year’s teams.

“I think it’s a great experience for our students,” said Ira R. Weiss, dean and Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr. Chair at Poole College. “They really have to understand the nature of the projects that they are submitting, then put that understanding into a 90-second pitch and defend their work during a Q/A with the judges,” he said. “This event also is a wonderful way for our external stakeholders to see our student talent and the impact of the work of our faculty and our active engagement model.”

About 300 guests toured the undergraduate and graduate poster galleries that lined the second and third floors of Nelson Hall. Judging the competition this year were 52 judges, including executives, alumni, and NC State faculty and staff. The judges scored the entries based on several metrics, including executive summaries and a 90-second project pitch.

The college also announced its Employer of the Year award recipients during the Showcase awards program. This award is typically presented to one company whose recruiters are actively engaged in a variety of career development experiences throughout the year. This year, Poole College had a tie for this award and recognized two companies: CISCO and EY. Both work closely with the college’s career development teams in resume review sessions, information sessions, career fairs and other activities that help Poole College students prepare for their internship and job searches.

Following are the Showcase winning teams and their project summaries.

First place, Undergraduate Division

Shraddha Rathod, a first-year student, presented FreshSpire, a notification system that promotes healthy eating and food waste reduction by increasing communication between grocers and consumers. This system alerts customers on daily markdowns that occur in a grocery store due to perishable goods nearing the end of their shelf life. Her project mentor was Jessica Thomas, director of the Sustainability Initiative at Poole College. Read more about Rathod’s project.

First Place, Jenkins Graduate Division

A Jenkins Product Innovation Lab course again won first place in the graduate division, this time for an auto-titrating oral appliance with monitoring capabilities to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) at home, minimizing side effects and providing adherence and effectiveness data to dental and medical professionals. Team members were Kenneth Biryla, Darshana Paithankar, Rachit Garg, Rita Brugarolas Brufau and Jose Manuel Valero Sarmiento. Instructors for this team were Jonathan Bohlmann, associate professor of marketing, and John McCreery, associate professor of innovation management, both in Poole College’s Department of Business Management.

Second Place, Undergraduate Division

An undergraduate supply chain practicum project for Bayer CropScience won second place for team members Andrew Adams, James Simpson, and Alexander Edmiston. This team constructed a financial cost model to evaluate various expansion options for the company for a product line anticipating increased demand. The team’s instructor for this practicum course was Dianna Wentz, instructor. Bayer CropScience is a partner company of Poole College’s Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.

Second Place, Jenkins Graduate Division

An MBA supply chain practicum project for Lenovo won second place for team members Kaitlyn Moore, Blake Ward, and Nick Summit. The team designed metrics to track, analyze, explain and visualize customer satisfaction in a dashboard, for Lenovo’s Accelerating Customer Experience initiative.

People’s Choice Award

Poole College launched the People’s Choice Award to provide students and guests an opportunity to vote online for their favorite project. The inaugural People’s Choice Award winner was a consumer innovation project team for work completed as part of their International Trendspotting course held in London this spring. The Jenkins MBA team studied various marketing environments to see how technology is being incorporated into accessories. Team members are Jenkins MBA students Dave Knospe, Luke High, Josh Meek and Lauren McGuire. Read more about this project on the Jenkins MBA blog. Instructor for this project was Colbey Reid, director of the Consumer Innovation Consortium.

Diversity of Projects

Projects in the showcase represented the following disciplines or programs at Poole College:

> Accounting/AICPA competition project [undergraduate]: 1; IT-Risks and Controls: 1

> Business Analysis [undergraduate]: 1

> Consumer Innovation Consortium Jenkins MBA practicum projects: 6; Trendspotting course: 1

> High Technology Entrepreneurship Jenkins MBA practicum: 2

> Independent projects [undergraduate]: 3

> Marketing projects [undergraduate communications, digital, methods, research]: 16

> Master of Global Innovation Management practicum: 1

> NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic practicum projects [undergraduate]: 2

> Product Innovation Lab, Jenkins MBA practicum: 3

> Supply chain practicum projects, Supply Chain Resource Collaborative partner companies:

>> 13 undergraduate projects
>> 16 Jenkins MBA projects

Record Attendance

With more than 300 guests viewing poster summaries of 65 projects completed by Poole College’s undergraduate and graduate students in the past year, the 2015 Showcase had the highest attendance and student participation rate since the annual event was launched in 2008. The majority of the projects were completed as part of practicum courses in the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters.