Class projects this spring by three Pamplin College of Business student teams earned top marks from GE and other business clients as the best website and software development projects in a senior capstone course taught by business information technology (BIT) professor Alan Abrahams. The students were among 10 group projects and 40 individual projects undertaken in the class, Business Analysis Seminar in IT, that were displayed in this spring's BIT Senior Showcase Day. 

Abrahams said Charlotte, N.C. marketing firm Red Ventures will sponsor this fall's showcase, on Nov. 29, noon to 1:30 p.m., in the Pamplin Hall atrium.

The winning team for each client project was picked by the clients themselves: GE, which also sponsored the spring event, and Floyd, Va. businesses Rolling Fork Farms and Wild Hill Burial Boxes, both owned by David and Agatha Grimsley, who run them with the help of Agatha’s father, Alan Kaplan.

The project for Rolling Fork Farms, a vegetable and grass-fed livestock operation, was won by Matt Smith, of Durham, N.C.; Marlon Guinto, of Chesapeake, Va.; William Gvoth, of Chesapeake, Va.; and Erich Lutz, of Alexandria, Va., who called themselves “Team Voldemort.”

In their feedback, the Grimsleys praised the work done by all the teams on their businesses. Of Team Voldemort’s winning effort, the clients noted: “We really like their virtual farm tour page.” Also cited were the colors used, “overall aesthetic,” the “friends” section for links, the products page, and the bulk order form. The Grimsleys added, however, that they would not be blogging — “there just aren’t enough hours in the day!”

The project for Wild Hill Burial Boxes was won by Danny Doss, of Marion, Va.; James Evans, of Radford, Va., Jesse Wilkinson, of Blacksburg, Va., and Adey Atalay, of Chester, Va., in Team Jedi, who made an impression with the “overall presentation,” but “especially the assembly instructions.”

The GE project, designing a site to sell the MicroGen home generators, was won by Chelsea Lawrence, of Norfolk, Va.; William Hayashi, of Chester, Va.; Trey Hayden, of Sterling, Va.; and Damir Uzunic, of Norfolk, Va., in Team Dragon. Company officials commended the “presentations and content/deliverables,” which demonstrated the team’s “strong understanding of the case.” GE comments included: “We liked the color scheme of the system and were impressed by the working e-mail functionality during the demo.”

GE also offered an evaluation of all the groups. “The quality of work that is showcased by these BIT seniors has continued to impress us throughout the semester,” noted Vishnu Thyagarajan, IT program manager of capital markets and corporate insurance at GE.

“Each group has successfully tackled a real-world problem of digitizing a manual process by using today’s technologies and standards. The solutions from this year’s class brought a fresh take on the case study by integrating newer modular-development tools with standard analysis and design methodologies for system development. It has been a pleasure to work with these BIT seniors and to be a part of the next generation of IT leaders.”

The client projects, Abrahams said, allow the students to use the software discussed in the course, which provides a comprehensive study of Decision Support Systems (DSS) as managerial tools, particularly in an e-commerce environment. “It emphasizes problem solving through integrating various quantitative techniques and practical application of e-business technology,” said Abrahams, who has been teaching the course for four years.



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