Eagle River woman leads team to college entrepreneurship contest victory

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 17:23
  • Members of the winning team in this semester’s Business Plan and Prototype Competition at SUNY Potsdam posed outside Satterlee Hall following their winning presentation. From left, Tori Peters, Sarah Berger, Emrys Burl, Brad Sweet, Claire Burns, Tatum Walber, School of Education and Professional Studies Dean Dr. Walter J. Conley and Dylan Staple. (SUNY Potsdam photo)

An Eagle River woman was on a team of students who won an entrepreneurship contest for devising a new system for tracking and managing luggage.

Claire Burns — who graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York Potsdam in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and Business Administration — led the team of seven who won the Department of Business Administration’s 53rd Entrepreneurial Business Plan and Product Prototype Competition this spring.

The winning team’s idea was a luggage tag radio frequency identification (RFID) system.

“When a passenger checks in with their luggage, the airline personnel would scan the tag,” reads a press release about the competition. “Information such as the traveler’s name, home address, email, phone number, connecting flights and destination would then be seamlessly recorded in the airline computer system which tracks the location of the luggage. The RFID luggage tag offers convenience to passengers and airlines and lessens the chance of misplaced luggage.”

In addition to coming up with the idea, the students were also tasked with creating a business plan, according to professor Dr. Edwin J. Portugal.

“Teams develop a strategic business plan that integrates the students’ understanding of the functional areas of accounting, finance, management, marketing, information systems, legal environment of business, human resource management and operations,” Portugal said in the release. “Students experience the stimulation of working in teams, the exhilaration of innovative thinking, the excitement of public speaking and the challenges of coordinating team members’ unique talents.”

Burns said the project was gratifying because it showed the value of hard work.

“This project challenged our ability to work cooperatively as a team. Not only did we have to create a product supported by a cohesive business plan, we also had to be able to communicate our ideas to other people effectively,” she said. “I am thrilled my team was able to face the challenge and experience the excitement in receiving the trophy as a result of months of hard work. This was the most rewarding aspect of this project for me as a team leader.”

Two named to Washington University Dean’s List

A pair of local students have been named to the spring 2019 semester Dean’s List at Washington University in St. Louis.

Named to the list in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences was Eagle River’s Alina Denisenko. To be named to the list, students must earn at least a 3.6 GPA completing at least 14 graded units.

Named to the list in the university’s McKelvey School of Engineering was Eagle River’s Jason Woodring. To be named to the list, students must earn at least a 3.6 GPA and complete at least 12 graded units.

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