SIFE team wins region, heads to nationals

June 4, 2014

For the second year in a row, Bryan’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team have earned a trip to the SIFE national competition as they won their regional competition in Atlanta April 2.

The Bryan College SIFE team. Presentation team members reported on their activities to further this mission statement: “empowering others to sustain their future,” according to team advisor Brad Gatlin, assistant professor of business. Mr. Gatlin said the team made a 20-minute presentation to a panel of judges that evaluated five other teams before selecting Bryan and the Lipscomb University teams as regional winners.

After their presentation, the team attended a job fair with representatives from about 30 Fortune 500 companies who were seeking candidates for internships or employment.

Team members include James Folsom, Laura Maye, Leo Gikonyo, Evan Collins, Nichole Thomas, Molly Vejvoda, and Will Tholken. They told judges about SIFE initiatives in education, entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability. These included:

    • SIFE 2012smRecycling more than 4,000 pounds of paper from the Bryan campus.
    • Teaching money management principles to 371 ninth-graders at Rhea County High School.
    • Teaching interview skills to 150 tenth graders at the high school.
    • Presenting a money-management seminar for Bryan College students.
    • Working with a Kenyan ministry to fund creation of an e-commerce site.
    • Creating a supply chain process map for the Kenyan program.

“All of this was student-driven,” Mr. Gatlin said. “Because I’m new (to the SIFE team and competition), all of our success was because of the leadership of the executive team. (SIFE President) James Folsom laid out a vision for the year, and it helped that it aligned well with the school’s mission and with the SIFE mission.

“We have about 20 members, which is fewer than we expected at the first of the year; but because of the planning and flexibility of the leadership team they were able to pull it off.”

A year ago, SIFE’s national champion team from Belmont University was in their regional bracket, and this year their draw included 12-time regional champion Union University.

The team is to travel to Kansas City, Mo., in late May for their national competition.