Huntington High School’s two Virtual Enterprise course teams made a splash at their first trade show, wowing a crowd of about 2,000 at LIU Post.
Huntington’s ABODE and Poppy firms were impressive while going about marketing their virtual products. ABODE manufactures clothing that is designed and catered to local destinations throughout the world. Poppy is a bagel chip company that takes stale bagels and reverse engineers them into bagel chips.
The Huntington students came to the Brookville campus decked out in attractive business apparel and turned in a great showing while honing their business skills.
“It was a full-day trade show where students interacted and made sales transactions with over 100 other firms,” Huntington business teacher Paige Tyree Furman explained. “Each firm also participated in the business plan competition where the executives pitched to a panel of judges for ten minutes, and then answered a series of questions. The business presentation left me speechless. Our students delivered the most compelling and engaging pitch and the judges seemed thoroughly impressed. At the end of the month, we will find out whether or not we qualify for nationals and I think we have a really good shot.”
A team from ABODE presented their business plan to a panel of three local business owners and professors. “Their presentation was eloquent, informative, thorough and concise,” Huntington business teacher Suzi Biagi said. “I have never been so proud of my kids, said Suzi Biagi.”
ABODE’s presentation team consisted of CEO Ethan Mulroy, COO Lena Annunziata, Director of Marketing Lia Shechter, Director of Human Resources Luke Farrell and CFO Cameron Mills.
“The trade show was great,” Mr. Mills said. “Our firm did an excellent job at making sales, connections with other firms and branding ourselves. Everyone was very comfortable with talking to employees of other firms and the guests that attended. I strongly believe that this experience has prepared us for our trade show in April and more importantly, for our futures in general.”
ABODE’s motto is: “A little piece of home wherever you go.” Team members enjoyed the trade show and found it to be valuable.
“It was so much fun and a great experience,” said junior Holly Wright, ABODE’s social media director. “I’m so glad I am taking this class.”
Senior Anthony Martin, ABODE’s head of purchasing, also found the trade show to be worthwhile. “It was a great learning experience for everyone,” he said.
Huntington’s two Virtual Enterprise company teams have rapidly acquired business strategies that they are putting to good use. “The ability to compete in a real world environment allows for students to learn essential business skills, including presentation and salesmanship, said senior Luke Farrell, ABODE’s director of human resources.
ABODE has been listed in the VE Top 50, “a composite method to identify the top firms nationally by measuring engagement and achievement of targeted initiatives throughout the year,” according to a nationwide brief issued by the program.
“The trade show at LIU Post was an amazing and unique experience that I will never forget,” said junior Tyler Rund, an ABODE marketing executive.
Huntington freshman Richard Zboray attended the trade show as a guest participant. “It was a fun experience and unlike anything that I’ve ever done before,” he said. “I can’t wait to be old enough to take the class myself. Being able to solicit sales and build revenues for ABODE was great and because I was a guest I was allowed to use a virtual credit card and make virtual purchases of my own.”
Poppy’s business plan presentation was close to flawless and clearly impressed the judging panel for its thoroughness. Poppy’s team left the trade show feeling invigorated.
“Being in Virtual Enterprise and going to these trade shows, I feel as though I have learned better communication skills and have been able to see how a business works in real life ,” junior Madison Lange said. “Being able to have this hands-on experience at Huntington High School is such a great opportunity. I feel as though every student should take this course because it not only teaches you about business, but also teaches life skills you will need in the future.”
Poppy’s executive team include John Panos (chief executive officer), Yaidelis Acevedo (chief operating officer), Emerson Forbes (vice president-administration), Graham Young (chief financial officer), Riva Bergman (vice president-design/IT), Matthew Girimonti (vice president-marketing) and Madelyn Reed (vice president-human resources).
“I had a great experience at the trade show,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “I am so proud of the marketing and design departments for placing second in the branding competition. We still have a lot of work ahead of us for the next competition, but I’m confident we will continue to succeed.”