Kettering University’s DECA team received top recognition during the 2018 International Career Development Conference (ICDC) earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
Eight Kettering students earned finalist medals for being named finalists in their events. Kyle Redies ‘22 earned second place in the Advertising Campaign event, and Troy DeLong ‘18 was one of five national DECA Scholarship winners. Kettering students were among nearly 1,800 college students representing 33 states and Canada who attended ICDC April 11-14.
In addition to student acknowledgements, Dr. Michael Smith, Dean of the School of Management at Kettering, was named one of three Administrators of the Year for his support of Collegiate DECA.
“It’s really about supporting our students in their pursuit of excellence. I love seeing our students doing well. I love being a part of that,” Smith said. “This is a real opportunity for our students to excel and be recognized for excelling. They are performing at the top 1 percent, which is an exceptional level performance. The level of engagement and leadership that our students get to experience and display is remarkable.”
The DECA Collegiate Division includes more than 15,000 members in 275 colleges and universities. DECA is designed to prepare students to be emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.
A total of 16 Kettering students attended the international competition after qualifying during the state competition in February.
Redies, a Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering double major, participated in DECA in high school and joined as soon as he got to Kettering. As a freshman, Redies felt proud to earn second place at an international level during his first collegiate event.
This is the best he’s done in any DECA competition so far.
“I’m happy to have quantitative results in growth. I’ve been able to improve year after year,” Redies said. “I would say the most important skills you can take from DECA is probably a greater understanding of management skills, financial skills and marketing of a product. Whether you’re an Engineering major or any other major, there’s skills from DECA that can be turned around in the real world.”
Students can immediately use all the skills during their co-op. Students in DECA gain public speaking skills and knowledge to help with project analysis and marketing a product. Even though Redies’ co-op is for engineering, his company saw these skills in him and also allowed him to get experience in sales.
On top of that, DECA helps establish leadership positions, networking opportunities and travel opportunities.
“The knowledge I was able to gain with the mix of engineering and business and the opportunity to grow exponentially outside of bookwork kept me interested in DECA,” Redies said.
Because Kettering students are already involved in a professional work environment from the time they set foot on campus, sometimes before, they often know how to present themselves professionally, which helps them excel in DECA.
“The team did very well, as I expected them to do. What I was most proud of was how the A Section and B Section students took it upon themselves to really work together. They competed together, they collaborated together. And I think that made them a stronger team,” said Dr. Ken Williams, assistant professor for Kettering’s School of Management and DECA faculty advisor. “I think that having so many first timers shows how DECA is more than just business and entrepreneurship. It’s about developing our students as leaders and professionals.”
DeLong was honored to be a finalist and one of five national DECA Scholarship winners during this year’s competition. DECA has been something he’s been involved with since a junior in high school. As a Mechanical Engineering major, DeLong knows being involved in DECA will give him a leg up in his career after graduation.
“I like the challenge. You only know the general area of what you’re competing in when you show up, but you don’t know what you’re going to be doing until you sit down. You have 30 minutes to get ready to present,” DeLong said. “DECA has something for everybody. You learn to pitch a sale, calculate out the numbers and market your ideas. The biggest thing you take away from DECA is real world talking experience.”