Becoming the gold standard

Campus chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon shines at national convention



A UW-Eau Claire student organization reached a milestone over spring break when it garnered national recognition and awards for its work.

The Eau Claire chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon — a sales management and marketing organization that provides workshops, fundraising, training, internships, networking and other valuable resources for students  — represented the university at the PSE’s 60th national convention held March 20-25 in Milwaukee.

Members of the Blugold chapter were nominated for six awards at the convention:

—    Top Project Manager in the Nation: Jared Sweeney, finalist

—    When Challenger Award: Jared Sweeney, finalist.

—    Top PSE salesperson in the nation: Joseph Schreiner, finalist.

—    President’s Merit Award: Elizabeth Verkuilen, nominee.

—    Pro-Am Sell-A-Thon: Jared Sweeney, Top-10. Danielle Siegle and Alex Krasne, Top 27 out of 100 competitors.

Jared Sweeney, the 2015 vice president of marketing, won first place in the Top Marketing and Sales Project category. He oversaw a marketing campaign for the annual Christmas Village Lightshow that resulted in 14 local business sponsorships for the event and generated $3,200 in revenue.

The PSE convention granted the Blugold chapter gold status, a top-tier ranking, and ranked it sixth among over 60 chapters across the nation. The convention based rankings on recruitment, philanthropy, workshops, marketing projects and other business metrics, PSE President Daniel Klagos said.

Eau Claire achieved these milestones despite competing against many older, more established chapters and universities with larger enrollment, he said.

“In the sales arena, I think we do play above our league,” said Jerry Kollross, a senior lecturer in the sales management and marketing department and a faculty advisor to PSE. “ … The value proposition has always been there, it’s just that we’re getting recognized for it.”

Kollross attributed the success of the program to a high level of student participation in PSE and said two factors help make the Eau Claire chapter stand out from the competition: the business communication program within the college of business that “gives a head start” to Eau Claire students and cultural features of the region manifested in its graduates.

“We get a lot of hungry students,” Kollross said. “ … (It’s) that whole cliche Midwest work ethic, a lot of companies recruit the Midwest specifically for that. You don’t have to tell our kids to work hard.  It’s not like that everywhere.”

Klagos said PSE is the fastest growing organization of its kind in the country and the Eau Claire chapter serves as a prime example of this phenomenon. In the span of two and a half years, the Eau Claire PSE numbers jumped from 22 to the current membership of 93 students, a number that accounts for more than a fourth of all sales management and marketing students on campus.

This surge in membership opens up many opportunities for the Eau Claire PSE, Klagos said. Now recognized as one of the top chapters in the nation, he said going forward their goal is to tackle more ambitious projects, develop market research and attain the number one spot.

Klagos said the success of PSE is reflected in the futures of the students and participation in the program provides invaluable experience and credentials for its members.

“When (you) can go into a job interview and when you can elaborate on what you’ve done for the organization and how they’ve grown and how they’re getting nationally recognized,” he said, “ … you’re really separating yourself from the competition.”