May 2, 2016

Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo

Cal Poly Students Take Fourth Place at National Marketing Competition

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA) Team earned fourth place at the annual National Agri-Marketing Association student marketing competition in Kansas City, Mo., April 13-14.

Cal Poly was one of 30 university teams from from the U.S. and Canada to compete in the two-day competition, in which students market a variety of products, including agricultural harvesting technologies and new varieties of produce.

For the competition, students chose a product and developed a plan to successfully bring it to the marketplace. The in-depth marketing plan had to include a market analysis, business proposition, financial evaluations and action plan.  

The Cal Poly team worked with Cal Poly alumni-owned CalPure, an avocado oil company based in Oxnard, to find a market for the avocado seeds left over from the oil production process. The students formulated an avocado seed tea and branded it as “Love, Avocado.” They also developed a three-year plan to launch and market the tea.

A five-page executive summary of the plan was submitted to the National Agri-Marketing Association. In addition, the team gave a 20-minute presentation in three rounds of competition. 

Cal Poly’s team included Shane Gillard from Atwater, Calif.; Blair Brookes, Kelseyville, Calif.; Haley Seeger, Visalia, Calif.; Morgan Levy, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Seth Borges, Visalia, Calif.; Corinne Madison, Acampo, Calif.; Tyler Harris, Weaverville, Calif.; Bethany Couchman, Modesto, Calif.; Jynel Gularte, Gonzales, Calif; and Emily Sipes, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

“The competition is an incredible opportunity for students to develop their critical-thinking skills and invest themselves in a rewarding team project with real-world implications,” said Professor Lindsey Higgins, the team’s coach. “I’m continually inspired by the caliber of Cal Poly students and just how hard they will work for something like this.” 

The competition is part of the National Agri-Marketing Association’s annual conference and trade show. Financial support from the Dow AgroSciences Aid-to-Education fund and a grant from the CHS Foundation helped pay the Cal Poly’s team expenses.

“Every team participating in the marketing competition does an excellent job of developing a thorough marketing plan, a process that takes most teams the majority of the academic year to complete,” said Randy Happel, NAMA Careers Committee chairman. “Those teams that advanced to the finals truly did exceptional work on their projects. Each year, I am amazed by the talent of these teams. They’re truly an awesome group that we hope will continue in ag marketing as they begin their careers.”

Cal Poly has won the competition 11 times in the past 38 years, including in 2014 and 2015.

About the National Agri-Marketing Association
NAMA ( is a nationwide organization of agri-marketing professionals. More than 1,300 students belong to NAMA chapters at leading universities and colleges.   

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranchland, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.

Photo info: Cal-Poly-NAMA.jpg: (left to right) Professor Lindsey Higgins, Shane Gillard, Blair Brookes, Haley Seeger, Morgan Levy, Seth Borges, Corinne Madison, Tyler Harris, Bethany Couchman, Jynel Gularte, and Emily Sipes.

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