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Sunday, December 9 , 2018, 4:59 pm | Fair 64º


Dos Pueblos Students Put Marketing Skills to Work at Trade Fair

Participants of the high school's Virtual Enterprise program bring home four awards, including first place in the New Schools category for salesmanship.

When David Medina strikes out on his own, he wants to start up a service that helps people maximize their money.

“A lot of people are just shooting in the dark,” the Dos Pueblos High School junior said. “And they just want less work, more money.”

That statement alone is probably enough of a sales pitch to get people interested in his future service, but wait, there’s more: Thanks to the Virtual Enterprise program at Dos Pueblos High School, Medina and 20 other students have the skills not only to think of a business, but to market their idea and sell their product. They, along with other ROP Virtual Enterprise students from other schools, got their chance to hone their skills at a trade fair in Bakersfield last weekend.

“It was amazing to watch our DP students step up and compete. So many of them blossomed and found their voice as salespeople who pitched to adults and peers alike and cut deals with other schools,” said Scott Yamahata, business and technology teacher at Dos Pueblos who headed up the Santa Barbara Regional Occupational Program-sponsored Virtual Enterprise program at the school. It was the DP students’ first trade fair competition.

Last weekend’s trade fair included two days of intense competition, wheeling and dealing, brainstorming, presentations and teamwork. The DP students came home with four awards, after competing with more than 100 other schools at the event.

At the trade fair, the students were charged with the task of developing a product or service that they then had to develop and sell to other people at the competition. Everyone was given a certain amount of virtual cash to spend, and the teams were judged on their performance.

DP came in first in the New School category for salesmanship, scoring 179 out of 180 points. Their virtual product? Green Inc., a service that helps people transition into a more environment-friendly lifestyle through the use of renewable products and technologies.

“Our positioning statement is, ‘Providing an eco-friendly alternative for an active lifestyle,’ and our slogan is, ‘If not you, then who?’” Medina said.

“I was told that the judges came into the offices raving about the passion and knowledge of our DP students,” said Yamahata, who said Medina “was so intense into his sales pitch that he started selling to me and would not stop.”

The DP students took second place for their Web site after their competition dropped to ninth place during the presentation of their site, which was designed by students Sean Wilczak and Matt Sims. Wilczak and Green Inc. CEO Anthony Turk handled the presentations.

The students even had to handle a little controversy in the marketplace when Green Inc. won the first round of the market plan competition but then was moved into another group for the second round. But Medina and partner C.J. Nelson scored highest in both groups, according to Yamahata, so it was a moot point. They came in eighth after one of the judges gave them a score 30 points lower than the other judges’ average score.

Also, despite an oversight in the trade booth competition (Yamahata left an important item behind), the DP competitors came in 10th in that event.

Outside of the awards, the experience and confidence of competing in a virtual marketplace was what the students came away with.

“Me and C.J. have been really interested for a while in entrepreneurship in general,” said Medina, who’s looking into further honing his sales skills in other trade shows and taking the class again for his senior year.

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