Hayden FBLA students place at national competition
Steamboat Springs — Janna Hoza, Jess Martin and Dusty Zabel made $3.3 million managing a warehouse from a Hayden High School classroom.
Billy Zehner, Jake Magee and Mitch Vedepo made $1.2 million.
To Routt County business owners intrigued by these numbers and this group’s savvy: too bad.
Zabel will be a freshman studying business administration at Fort Lewis College next month. Martin is a senior in high school. Hoza is a junior, and Zehner, Magee and Vedepo are sophomores.
When the six Hayden students split into two teams of three to qualify for the Future Business Leaders of America national competition, they were clueless as to what it took to run an online business.
“The first 10 games, we would be in the hole,” Hoza said about the simulated contest. “Then we would get a little profit. The score we got to qualify for nationals was $3.3 million.”
They’re quick learners.
“We needed to know what and when to order. We needed to keep our customers happy. We needed to control the fleet,” Hoza said, listing off things she and her teammates had to consider when trying to make a profit.
“You control a business,” Zabel said. “The workers will go on strike if they aren’t happy, but you don’t want to keep them too happy or you won’t make money.”
After a month of trying to qualify in instructor Kipp Rillos’ classroom, the two teams qualified for nationals with their million-dollar results, which they made on the online business simulation computer game.
Colorado sent two teams to the FBLA Nationals from June 27 to July 3 in Nashville, Tenn. Both teams were from Hayden.
“We got recognized at the meetings,” Vedepo said.
When asked if teams from across the country were curious as to where Hayden was, Zabel said, “We get that when we go to Grand Junction.”
FBLA is an extracurricular class offered at Hayden, and Vedepo and Hoza admitted they joined because friends did. Zehner joined for other reasons.
“Everyone said it looked good on your college resume,” he said.
Vedepo, Magee and Zehner placed fourth at nationals. Hoza, Martin and Zabel placed 10th.
“We were all cheering for each other,” Zabel said.
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