College stands out at national business competition


Davenport University broke their own record with 21 wins at the Workplace Skills Assessment Program post-secondary competition at the Business Professionals of America’s annual National Leadership Conference. Courtesy Davenport University

West Michigan collegiate students participating in a national business competition set a new record by bringing home 21 first-place awards.

Davenport University announced recently that students participating in the Workplace Skills Assessment Program post-secondary competition at the Business Professionals of America’s annual National Leadership Conference broke their own national record by earning 21 wins.

The competition                                      

During BPA’s 2015 National Leadership Conference, which took place May 6-10 in Anaheim, Calif., 43 Davenport students competed against more than 5,500 individuals from 24 different states during the WSAP Competitive Events program.

Of the approximately 617 post-secondary participants, there were 80 students, 10 advisors, and five guests from Michigan, according to Vickie Thomas, director of education at BPA. A total of 94 post-secondary chapters participated.

The competition includes more than 50 different events in four broad categories: finance; information technology; administrative support; and management/marketing/human resources.

Several of the individual events at the post-secondary level include fundamental accounting, economic research, keyboarding production, advanced office systems and procedures, administrative support concepts, C++ programming, digital publishing and entrepreneurship.

DU performance

Davenport students earned 21 first-place finishes for the 2015 competition, which is an improvement from the university’s previous record of 16, and had an overall total of roughly 105 finishes in the top 10, according to university officials.

The WSAP program is designed to provide business students an opportunity to demonstrate workplace skills learned through business education curricula, and can range from individual and team competitions to objective testing and judged presentations, according to WSAP.

Ron Draayer, faculty member at DU and BPA advisor, said the students’ participation in BPA is helping them to become better prepared for successful careers in business and technology fields.

“We are extremely proud of our students’ achievements at the Business Professionals of America’s National Leadership Conference,” said Draayer. “Their victories show Davenport is doing a good job helping them learn the skills they need.”

Davenport students who won multiple events include Ryan Lutes, James Brach, Corwin Tobias, Chris Lammers and Daniel Hawkins. DU claimed first place in events that included administrative support team, advanced college accounting, banking and finance, C++ programming, contemporary issues, financial analyst team, network administration using Microsoft, parliamentary procedure concepts and video production team.

Other highlights

The BPA also presented 2015 National Honor Awards during the leadership conference recognizing individuals for their work and contributions to the career and technical student organization. Among the individuals recognized were Davenport BPA advisor Brian Kowalczk and Draayer, who has served as an advisor for DU for more than 30 years. Draayer also has been a BPA national board member since 2009 and received a 2015 Hall of Fame award.

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