Parks presentation nets college students second place

Okanagan College students hooked themselves a second place finish with their recent presentation on B.C. Parks

Okanagan College students hooked themselves a second place finish with their recent presentation on B.C. Parks at the Tourism Industry’s 2011 Student Case Competition in Vancouver.

“It was a really tough competition,” said Laura Thurnheer, a professor in Okanagan College’s School of Business.

“The students spent weeks preparing for this.”

The six teams, all post-secondary students specializing in hospitality and tourism, prepared some of their material in advance — all focused on B.C. Parks.

Once the competition got underway, the teams received their official task: craft a 15-minute presentation on how Tourism B.C., Tourism Info-Centres and B.C. Parks can work together to market specific regions. The teams then had five hours to prepare and rehearse.

“Once we were in lockdown we realized we had lots of material we couldn’t use, but it was great to see how we pulled it all together as a team. It showed us how we could push past our comfort zone,” said Nathan Milligan, who along with Jena Huber, Shelby Franson, and Jordan Lacroix, made up the college’s team.

Following the competition, the students attended the full conference, all paid for by industry.

“It’s great that the college gives us this opportunity, and it was great to meet all these other people from the industry,” Milligan said.

The team’s strong showing is the latest example of how hospitality and tourism students at Okanagan College take advantage, and excel, through a wide-range of opportunities.

Business students specializing in hospitality and tourism also had an opportunity to attend the three-day B.C. Hospitality Industry Conference and Expo held earlier this month also in Vancouver.

This year faculty selected Stephanie Belland, a fourth-year student who already holds a diploma in hospitality management, to be a delegate.

The conference included sessions on everything from a panel discussion featuring Liquor Control Licensing branch manager Karen Ayers, to a debate over which industry is best “optimizing revenue” — hotels or airlines.

“These are high level discussions, and important complex ones for our industry,” Thurnheer said.