UF Students Win NAMA Competition

David Barber dbarber@ifas.ufl.edu, 352-392-1848 ext. 214

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GAINESVILLE, Fla.—A group of 18 students from the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences went to Kansas City, Mo., April 14-16, and brought home a national title at the 2004 National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) student marketing conference.

The NAMA competition included 32 teams and nearly 500 students from the United States and Canada.

“Our students worked intensively on this project during the spring semester and most of the previous fall semester,” said David Barber, coordinator of education and training programs in the food and resource economics department, which is part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “When you spend two semesters working on something and compete with the best schools in the nation and get recognized in this manner, it is truly outstanding.”

Students are selected to participate in the project based on academic guidelines in a marketing course offered by department every spring, Barber said. This year’s group was composed of junior and senior level students, most majoring in food and resource economics, with some business majors as well as one tourism major.

For the NAMA competition, student teams must choose a product to market, develop a marketing plan for it, write an executive summary of the plan and give a 20 minute presentation of the plan for every level of competition that they advance through. The plan, executive summary and presentation are judged by a panel of marketing and agribusiness professionals.

The UF team chose to market coconut water, a vitamin- and mineral-packed bottled beverage alternative to sports drinks. The team named their product Vivo, which means “life” in Spanish, and targeted their product to the Hispanic population in the U.S.

“This process brings so much to the students, who in turn bring so much into it,” Barber said. “Instead of talking about theory, they can take ownership of a project and apply everything they know and also see how marketing happens in the business world.”

He said the competition not only gives students practical experience, but open doors for their futures as well. Students meet and mingle with agriculture marketers and agribusiness people from across the nation during the competition, which gives them an opportunity to enhance their resumes.

“Students can separate themselves from their peers in terms of experience for job opportunities and interviews. The NAMA conference and competition helps open doors for their future career opportunities as well,” Barber said.

UF’s students were also recognized by their fellow competitors who awarded them “Best Product” and “Best Oral Presentation” in addition to their national title.

UF NAMA team members:

Brandon Briggs, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Juan Castro-Anzola, North Lauderdale, Fla.
Luke Gingras, Snellville, GA
Lucinda Lee, Suffield, CT
Jay Muller, Orlando, Fla.
Josh Myers, Gainesville, Fla.
Jessica Pellen, Boca Raton, Fla.
Illana Plotkin, Jacksonville, Fla.
Priscilla Quijano, Davie, Fla.
Pablo Rivera, Fort Myers, Fla.
Mike Rosandich, Gainesville, Fla.
Deirdre Shaw, Kissimmee, Fla.
Trey Soud, Labelle, Fla.
David Spencer, Ponte Verdre Beach, Fla.
David Susa, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Lynn Tallman, Jacksonville, Fla.
Paige Wingate, Milton, Fla.
Natalie Wright, Fort Meade, Fla.



Posted: June 17, 2004

Category: UF/IFAS

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