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Arizona State University student team members Haylee Hilgers, right, and Jason Hyacinthe won the EMC Green Data Center Challenge at the Avnet Tech Games.

Avnet Tech Games Winners Announced

Avnet, Inc., a leading global technology distributor, announced the 2014 winners of the Avnet Tech Games. Close to 200 students from Arizona community colleges and universities competed head-to-head for top honors in the Avnet Tech Games Arizona onsite competition on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe. In addition, college students competing on a national level in the Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games had their work displayed and winners were announced during the awards ceremony at the onsite competition. Thirty winning students collected $1,000 each in scholarship money.

A panel of judges including technology executives, engineers and other business leaders selected the winners based on the students’ ability to meet the technical requirements of a task, apply innovative approaches to the solution and demonstrate professional skills. Nearly 76 teams of students competed in the onsite and virtual Avnet Tech Games, including 8 Arizona community colleges and universities: Arizona State University, ITT Technical Institute, seven Maricopa County Community Colleges, Northern Arizona University, The University of Advancing Technology and University of Arizona.

The winners of the 2014 Onsite Avnet Tech Games are:

Cisco Networking Expert Battle
South Mountain Community College
Faculty Coach: Tom Polliard
Student Team Members: Huy Mai and Justin Woys

Desktop Domination
The University of Advancing Technology
Student Team Members: William Hartman and Kelly Stahlberg

Digital Design Dilemma
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Bassam Matar
Student Team Members: Michelle Smekal, Niccolo Horvath and Neel Mistry

EMC Green Data Center Challenge
Arizona State University
Student Team Members: Haylee Hilgers and Jason Hyacinthe

HP Build the Fastest Computer
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Troy Gerloff, Blake Knoll and Jeremy Morgan

Java Blitz
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Rameen Kaliqu
Student Team Members: Zachary Peshke, Samuel Slater and Larry Standage

Robot Race Obstacle Course
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Richard Dale, Spencer Hall and Federico Ortega

Solar Scrimmage
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Justin Arispe, Drew Carlson and Jennifer Hooker

Since the inception of the Avnet Tech Games in 2006, nearly $300,000 in scholarship money and prizes have been awarded to hundreds of the approximately 2,680 students and 215 faculty members who have participated in the competitions.

“The Avnet Tech Games provide a great opportunity for students to test their technical and strategy skills by applying what they have learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios,” said Joal Redmond, vice president of public relations for Avnet, Inc. “Students also had the opportunity to improve their communications skills by participating in a networking workshop and then practice those skills by meeting with Avnet and sponsor executives during a networking hour. Students win, schools win and business wins with the Avnet Tech Games.”

The annual multidisciplinary technology competition, composed of eight separate events, required students to work in teams to test their knowledge, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and technical skills. During the event, students showcased how they can make a difference in advancing business and improving quality of life by participating in competitions such as creating a solar-powered water-pumping system, racing to build a computer using refurbished parts and troubleshoot issues in the Windows 7 operating system.

2014 Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games
The Virtual Avnet Tech Games were introduced in 2010 to expand the breadth of the onsite event by allowing students to compete on a national level. More than 115 teams competed in the Virtual Avnet Tech Games competition. The winners were:

Android App™ Showdown
ITT Technical Institute
Student Team Member: Bryan Geesey

Green Video Competition
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Dustin Allen, Kendra Charnick, Joel Parker and Brian Weeks

JDA Supply Chain Challenge
Southern Methodist University
Student Team Members: Aaron Barnard, Matt Mulholland, Tushar Solanki and Meredith Titus

“Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s virtual and onsite Avnet Tech Games, especially our winners,” added Redmond. On behalf of Avnet, thank you to all of our sponsors, business partners and volunteers for helping to make this year’s event a success.”

Avnet Tech Games 2014 sponsors included signature sponsors CA, Cisco, CDW, Datalink, DPAIR, EMC, HP, JDA, Kyocera, Microchip, Nimble Storage and Sungard.

Re-careering - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Unemployed Workers Become More Competitive, Re-careering

Re-careering vs. Education: Unemployed workers can go back to school or re-shape their skill to enhance job prospects

When Ronald Schilling, 54, of Black Canyon City lost his job as a truck driver in July 2008, the future looked bleak.

“I just didn’t see myself at the age I am, getting a job driving a 12-foot box truck and busting my butt for $8 or $9 an hour,” he says.

His uncle suggested he go back to school. Now, Schilling is in the honors program at Glendale Community College with a 3.9 grade point average and is on track to enter nursing school.

Schilling is one of a growing number of returning students who are re-careering after losing jobs, and many are getting training and education to increase their chances in the competitive job market.

Mature students are on the rise in higher education. Between 2000 and 2009, the enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 27 percent, but enrollment of ages 25 and up rose 43 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The majority of online students at Thunderbird Online are ages 38 to 42, says Joe Patterson, assistant vice president and executive director of Thunderbird Online at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Still, the idea of going back to school can be daunting, especially because of time and cost. Tuition can range from $299 for a two-week bartending course through ABC Bartending and Casino School in Tempe, to more than $86,000 for a 60-credit master’s degree in business administration degree from Thunderbird.

One way to mitigate the cost, say those in higher education, is to take non-degree courses. This can keep up your skill set to ensure “life employability,” said Scott Schulz, director of career and employment services at Glendale CC, one of the Maricopa County Community Colleges.

Online programs allow students to take classes when it’s convenient, and offer accelerated degree programs. Thunderbird Online offers executive certificates for three eight-week accredited non-degree classes, all the way to a full M.B.A in a year. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers multiple ways to earn an M.B.A., including online.

No longer is there a stigma to online education, Patterson says. Even top-tier universities such as Stanford and Cornell offer e-learning.

Whether on campus or online, academic classes are more than ivory tower ideas.

Instructors usually are also connected to and working in their industries, so they not only know what’s needed in the job market, they can make important referrals. Networking with other students is essential, too. You never know who might pass along that integral inside job tip.

Volunteering is another way to get a foot in the door. Schilling, the trucker-turned-nursing student, volunteers each week at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital in Phoenix. And Mark Scarp of Scottsdale, a newspaper columnist who was laid off in January 2009, parlayed his 20 years of volunteering with the Society of Professional Journalists into a job as membership director with the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

While it’s a good idea to invest in continuing education, career counselors say to assess your strengths, weaknesses, passions and goals first, and keep in mind the idea of career management rather than simply career advancement.

“I think we’ve all heard the term ‘climbing the career ladder,’” Schulz says. “I think what it’s changed to is a career lattice or career web. It’s not as linear. You may have to move sideways or diagonally to get to that next opportunity.”

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Where to take classes if you’re considering re-careering:

Anthem College, (602) 279-9700, www.anthem.edu
Apollo College, (602) 864-1571, www.apollocollege.edu
Arizona State University, (6020 496-INFO, www.asu.edu
Collins College, (602) 997-2166, www.collinscollege.edu
DeVry University, (602) 870-9222, www.phx.devry.edu
Grand Canyon University, (877) 860-3951, www.gcu.edu
Maricopa County Community College District, (480) 731-8000, www.maricopa.edu. Campuses include Chandler-Gilbert Community College; Estrella Mountain Community College; Glendale Community College; GateWay Community College; Mesa Community College; Paradise Valley Community College; Phoenix College; Rio Salado College; Scottsdale Community College; and South Mountain Community College.
Northern Arizona University, (800) 426-8315, www.nau.edu
Midwestern University, (623) 572-3215, www.midwestern.edu
Thunderbird School of Global Management, (602) 978-7000, www.thunderbird.edu
University of Arizona, (520) 621-3237, www.arizona.edu
University of Phoenix, (866) 766-0766, www.phoenix.edu
Western International University, (602) 943-2311, www.west.edu

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011