SIFE Team Ranks in Top 12 Nationally

Jun 11, 2012
  • Business

COPY BY:    Jean Walker, 806-651-2515,


CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team advanced from the first round of national competition into the Top Twenty at the SIFE USA National Exposition in Kansas City, Mo., May 23-24, eventually placing in the Top Twelve of more than 550 active SIFE teams in the United States.  

WTAMU’s SIFE received the special honor of being named one of eight finalists in the Step Up for Small Business Competition sponsored by Sam’s Club. With a $1,500 grant from Sam’s Club, SIFE worked to improve the business and environmental sustainability of the new commercial kitchen at the WTAMU Enterprise Center. Bobby Martin, representing Amarillo Sam’s Club, and Melissa Kalka, kitchen manager at the WTAMU Enterprise Center, accompanied the team to a special awards presentation and dinner hosted by Sam’s Club during the National Exposition.

Jean Walker, faculty adviser for the SIFE team, also received the Jack Kahl Entrepreneurial Leadership Award for the Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow of the Year. Walker, the Miller Professor of Entrepreneurship in WTAMU’s College of Business, has been the faculty adviser and team coach for the University SIFE team since 1994.   

Ana Ramirez and Bethany Wilcox were invited to the Women in Business Forum and Luncheon, where they had the opportunity to network with women representing many Fortune 500 corporations.  

Marco Jimenez, Daniel Dixon, and Cody Brooks represented the WTAMU team at the Top to Future-Top Forum with corporate officials present to judge the final competition.

A major focus of the competition was a two-day Career Fair conducted by more than 50 national companies who specifically recruit SIFE students including AT&T, Microsoft, Pepsico, KPMG, Coca Cola, Edward Jones, Unilever, Hershey’s, ConAgra Foods, Home Depot, Kraft Foods and E&J Gallo Winery. Ivan Cardenas, a senior from the 2011 WTAMU SIFE team who was recruited by Digital Solutions International at last year’s national competition, was there recruiting for DSI this year.  

Speakers on the national competition presentation team were Manuel Garcia, Alex Long, Navdeep Uppal, Erin Stodghill, Jordan Cox, Juan Carlos Ramirez, Cedric Nguimatsa, and Emilee Cavaness. The media presentation was created by Yu-Hsian (Jimmy) Tseng.

SIFE members attending the national competition are listed by hometown and major.

Emilee Cavaness, accounting major
Jordan Cox, broadcasting major
Manual Garcia, finance major
Cedric Nguimatsa, marketing major
Angelica Pallares, graduate student in accounting
Ana Ramirez, management major
Juan Carlos Ramirez, engineering major
Gus Trujillo, management major
Bethany Wilcox, entrepreneurship major

Cody Brooks, finance major
Kalee Carey, communication major
Braegar Sprague, graduate student in business

Diana Figueroa, animal science major

Daniel Dixon, finance major

Juan Gallardo, secondary education major

Alba Soltero, accounting major

Daniel DeLeon, business management major

Caitlin Kenny, international business major