Business students place at national conference

8/1/2014 4:45:04 PM

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PBL Award Winners 2014

Hard work, a solid education and a competitive spirit all paid off for a group of Southwestern Illinois College business students who brought home a myriad of awards from the Future Business Leaders of America Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference held recently in Nashville, Tenn.

PBL is an academic organization for future business leaders. The SWIC group, known as the Abe Small Chapter, competed in scholastic and leadership events and won awards individually and as a team. 

“Each year the students work very hard to prepare for this competition,” said Abe Small Chapter Faculty Adviser Tina Dierkes, Ph.D., professor of Office Administration and Technology at SWIC. “The fact that we continue to win awards shows that our students are able to compete with students not only from other community colleges, but from large four-year universities.”

The group won the Gold Seal Chapter of Merit Award, which recognizes outstanding local chapters that have actively participated in projects and programs identified with the goals of FBLA-PBL. They also received the First Place Professional Division Membership Award for the North Central Region, which recognizes them for having the largest membership of alumni, educators and business professionals in the area. Additionally, they won third place in the nation for the most money raised for the March of Dimes, raising over $2,700.

Heather Borowiak, a SWIC student, served as the Illinois PBL state president during the 2013-14 membership year and was recognized as state president at the conference. She was also recognized as a member of the North Central Region Action Advisory Council.

Individual awards include:

  • First Place Human Resource Management Award – Natalie Wellen of Wayne City
  • Fourth Place Future Business Educator Award – Heather Borowiak of Maryville

Wellen was beyond excited to learn she’d captured first place honors at the national competition, which Dierkes thinks is a first for a SWIC student.

For Borowiak, her award was confirmation that she’s on the right career path. She hopes to teach business education. 

Other SWIC members in attendance included Eric Lassman from Shiloh. He called the conference a great networking experience and an opportunity to put his knowledge up against students from other schools – many of which were four-year institutions – from many states.

Approximately 1,700 students, advisers and guests from colleges and universities around the country attended the conference. Students competed in scholastic events, participated in workshops and elected their 2014-2015 national officers. SWIC students competed against 30-50 other competitors in each event.

PBL allows members to demonstrate and validate their mastery of essential business concepts, skills and knowledge. In addition, members participating in this program will: demonstrate their career competencies, business knowledge and job-related skills; expand their leadership skills; demonstrate their competitive spirit; and receive recognition for their achievements.

For more information, contact Dierkes at 618-235-2700, ext. 5321, or