UNK students earn more than 30 awards at Professional Business Leaders conference

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney students took first place in seven events and claimed the overall excellence award for four-year colleges during the Nebraska Professional Business Leaders (PBL) State Leadership Conference.

Hosted April 10-11 in Kearney, the annual conference gives PBL members from colleges and universities across the state an opportunity to network, attend leadership workshops and compete in events testing their business knowledge and skills. The top state winners are eligible to compete at the PBL National Leadership Conference scheduled for June 24-27 in Chicago.

A dozen UNK students participated in the state conference, where they earned a school-record 28 top-five finishes. Each student placed in the top five of at least one event, and some Lopers won as many as seven awards. UNK Chapter President Joseph Hiatt of Spencer received the Who’s Who in Nebraska PBL distinction and Sydney Atkinson of Butte was honored with the future business educator award.

For the first time, the UNK chapter received the overall excellence award presented to the top four-year college, along with a gold level local chapter excellence award.

Other UNK students participating in the conference were Courtney Cox of Alliance, Olivia Lawless of Aurora, Brooke Thoendel of Bennington, Carley Damme of Blair, Amanda Payne of Dunning, Maddie Getz of Kearney, Omar Sanchez of Lexington, Cody Swinarski of St. Paul, Megan Wallman of Syracuse and Jackie Kalkwarf of Wilber.

FBLA-PBL is the largest business career student organization in the world. The high school division has 215,000 members, while the postsecondary division reaches over 11,000 college students.

UNK Individual Results
Sydney Atkinson – first place, business communication; first place, future business educator; second place, personal finance.
Joseph Hiatt – first place, entrepreneurship concepts; first place, marketing concepts; second place, small business management plan; fifth place, management concepts.
Courtney Cox – first place, financial services; third place, business communication.
Olivia Lawless – second place, business communication; second place, job interview; third place, client service; third place, statistical analysis.
Cody Swinarski – second place, business presentation; second place, network design; fourth place, personal finance.
Brooke Thoendel – third place, business law; fifth place, business communication.
Amanda Payne – third place, entrepreneurship concepts.
Omar Sanchez – third place, management concepts; fifth place, accounting principles.
Maddie Getz – fourth place, financial concepts; fourth place, macroeconomics.
Jackie Kalkwarf – fourth place, website design.

UNK Team Results
Sydney Atkinson, Joseph Hiatt and Megan Wallman – first place, local chapter annual business report; second place, integrated marketing campaign.
Carley Damme, Olivia Lawless and Megan Wallman – first place, sales presentation.
Sydney Atkinson and Joseph Hiatt – third place, desktop publishing.