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There may be more representatives of West Michigan corporations and academic institutions involved in the Project 2012 Project Management Institute collegiate competition than any other similar event.
Put on by the Western Michigan Chapter of the Project Management Institute, the competition will conclude at DeVos Place April 9 and is sponsored by: Dematic, Davenport University, Grand Rapids Business Journal, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, Amway Corp., Steelcase, Lean Logistics, Stryker, Mitchell Intellectual Property Law PLLC and SIS.
Judges of the competition will be Dick Posthumus, senior advisor to Gov. Rick Snyder; Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering; Matthew VanVranken, executive vice president at Spectrum Health Delivery Systems; Carole Valade, editor of Grand Rapids Business Journal and Gemini Publications; James A. Mitchell, chair of the intellectual property practice at Mitchell Intellectual Property Law; and Tony Johnson, president/founder of Crosswind Project Management.
There are 16 mentors assigned to the eight student teams, including Kim Cook of Steelcase and Ben Todd of Amway. All mentors are members of the Project Management Institute and certified project management professionals.
According to information supplied by the West Michigan Chapter of PMI, faculty “champions” were appointed at each university/college to ensure that their team or teams receive all the support they need. Champions include Bob Clarkson, Davenport University; Judd Freeman, University of Phoenix; Deb Steketee, Aquinas College; Dana Johnson, Michigan Tech University; Charles Stull, Kalamazoo College; and Jean Nagelkerk, Jaideep Motwani and Joshua Gerlick for GVSU.
Gerlick said Amway’s Ben Todd has gone above and beyond the call of duty for meeting the double challenge of not only helping the students with the steps of the competition but also teaching them “what project management is all about.”
Freeman said the competition has provided University of Phoenix students “with a wonderful opportunity to learn about project management theory and then to apply that theory to an actual case study, using project management tools to accomplish specific goal related tasks.
“They have learned that project management can be a complex process requiring vision, commitment and collaborative skills to successfully carry out the project,” he said, noting that the experience “has increased both their awareness of and interest in project management as a possible career.”
“This is a great opportunity for our students to learn about project management in a realistic environment,” said Davenport’s Clarkson. “It is also a chance for these project management students to be evaluated and recognized by business leaders and project management professionals, which could lead to job opportunities and careers. I would like to commend the West Michigan Chapter of the PMI for taking the initiative to put something like this together. Davenport is pleased to be a part of this competition.”
Amway provided a significant number of certified project management professionals from among its employees to help put on the competition, including Jon Brickner, Kevin Douglas, Kaushik Nag and Kelly Talsma.