Written by Dana Krems
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater American Marketing Association chapter was once again named the AMA International Chapter of the Year at the International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans on April 13. It is the eighth straight year that UW-Whitewater AMA has held or shared this title, and the 13th time since 2001. Competing against more than 380 chapters worldwide, this long-running streak is a significant achievement.
Marketing Department Chair and AMA adviser Jimmy Peltier expressed his pride, saying, “Last year I said that it would be virtually impossible to have a better year, but I am happy to say that I was wrong. We have had the best year ever in our distinguished 40 years of AMA success.”
Co-president Haley Lechner shared her perspective, saying, “I couldn’t be more proud of the work that our chapter put into earning the International Chapter of the Year title. Every year brings new challenges and opportunities, and I am grateful to have been a part of such a dedicated group of students.”
Co-president Nicole Alt added, “Throughout the year, the executive board spends countless hours and sleepless nights working toward being a successful chapter. Bringing this prestigious award back to UW-Whitewater makes it all worthwhile.”
Though the crowning achievement of the event was the Chapter of the Year award, there were many other highlights. The team placed second in the highly competitive International Case Competition with their presentation for the Wall Street Journal. This event is a nine-month-long effort during which student teams conduct extensive research and use their findings to create a comprehensive marketing plan as well as creative materials.
Associate Professor of Marketing Pavan Chennamaneni provided additional context, saying, “Teams from 86 universities completed case submissions and ten finalists were selected to present at the conference. In the last ten years, UW-Whitewater has placed second on three occasions and took first place in 2011. Competing and winning at this level is no small achievement.”
Among individual awards, Lauren Roloff won the $5,000 EBSCO AMA Scholarship and Matthew Young won USCA Sales Student of the Year.
Young related the personal impact of this award, saying, “Winning the competition is more than an award to me. It is the culmination of many things I have done at UW-Whitewater—including coursework, contributions to the AMA Sales Team and Institute for Sales Excellence Team, and helping others succeed. It gave me great satisfaction to be recognized for my impact on the university and other sales students, and I cannot thank my advisers, the sales program, and others who have helped me get here enough.”
Other notable distinctions included first place in the Giving Tuesday Fundraising Competition, second place in the Marketing Week Competition, second place for Recruitment Video, and six of the top 10 Outbound Sales Competition awards. UW-Whitewater also captured three of the top Relational Sales Competition awards, including first place by sophomore Alec Arndt; and three of the top Perfect Pitch Competition awards, including first place by sophomore Audrey Bouland.
Above and beyond the caliber of marketing students at UW-Whitewater, what sets the college’s AMA program apart is the depth of advising available to them. Pavan Chennamaneni leads the AMA Case Team, Assistant Professor of Marketing Andy Dahl leads the student-run consulting agency Creative Marketing Unlimited and is on the AMA National Leadership Team, Marketing Lecturer Dan Herlache leads the AMA Sales Corp, Marketing Lecturer John DeGraff leads Social Impact efforts, and Professor of Marketing Carol Scovotti leads Diversity initiatives.
Excellence and recognition are not simply measured by awards, however. The experience and professionalism of UW-Whitewater students shine through at every event, and when AMA national staff need something done, they turn to UW-Whitewater students. In addition, there is a strong teamwork aspect to AMA.
Dan Herlache elaborated, saying, “With the AMA Sales Corps, beginning freshmen to seasoned seniors all work together, coaching and teaching each other. The entire AMA Sales Corps invests countless hours and practice sessions in preparation for competitions throughout the year. I could not be more proud of this entire team—not only for the competitors who compete in the room but also for the alternates and coaches who work with them.”
Co-president Morgan Frederiksen added, “To see everyone’s hard work over the last two years pay off was the greatest reward. Everyone in this organization deserved that win.”
Reflecting on the program’s growth and success over the years, Peltier concluded, “I have been AMA Adviser since 1986. I have so many great memories that it is hard to choose which one I enjoy best. But, if you look at the wall in my office, you will see the faces of our AMA students over time. These memories mean so much to me, and I will cherish them forever.”