University wins third consecutive project management competition


A team of students from GVSU poses with a $5,000 check after winning The Project competition. Photo by Rachel Weick

A team of students claimed first place at a project management competition yesterday — and picked up the third consecutive win for their university.

A Grand Valley State University team of students won the third annual collegiate project management competition, The Project, after preparing a plan where Michigan military veterans are connected to their federal benefits.

GVSU Team One was awarded $5,000 for their first-place finish at Davenport University’s Grand Rapids campus.

Project management

The Project was created by the nonprofit Western Michigan Chapter of the Project Management Institute to offer a competition where students follow parameters and guidelines certified project managers use every day.

The 2014 project scenario was sponsored by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to connect Michigan military veterans with their federal benefits.

Thomas Shaw, president of the institute, said while some of the project plans are more viable than others, all of them will be presented to the governor.

"My initial reaction to the projects was, 'Wow,'" Shaw said. "They have just done fantastic work. The level of detail and the research that went into their projects, I found fascinating. I was really impressed with the level of professionalism they brought to their presentations."

The final

During the final event at Davenport University, 10 teams representing nine higher education institutions delivered their project plan to a panel of judges: Aquinas College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Hillsdale College, ITT Technical Institute, Michigan Technology University, University of Phoenix and GVSU.

The winning GVSU team was comprised of six students: Kaitlyn Andrykovich, Andrew Dygert, Alec Gonzalez, Olivia Jelenek, Aaron Lawson and Ananda Muthusamy.

Champions for the GVSU team were Jaideep Motwani, department chair of management at GVSU, and Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for health at GVSU, while Andrew Gill, head of software application engineering at Dematic, was the team’s mentor.

“Grand Valley has fielded some consistently strong teams every year,” Shaw said. “Not to say the other schools didn’t do a good job either, I think Grand Valley continues to come in at the top for good reason.”

The Michigan Technology University team of Angela Barr, Destin’e Clark, Min Li, Cole Smith, Robert Strobel and Shivaram Viswanathan was awarded $3,000 for their second-place finish. GVSU’s second team finished third.


The competition also included a reverse career fair before the final four presentations, where representatives from companies could interview the students.

The format allows local companies, such as Dematic, Spectrum Health, Stryker, DPT Solutions and Steelcase to connect with students with project management exposure.

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