Behind the Win: OSU-OKC Governor’s Cup Team Welcomes, Overcomes Challenges
OSU-OKC’s 2014 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup team smiles with their first-place trophies. The team won first in the Small Business Division. From left: Mayra Tello, Jennifer Bradley, Shane Barlow, Mario Young, Amanda “Amanduh” Sandoval and team advisor Amber Hefner.
Five OSU-Oklahoma City team members and faculty advisor sit, waiting anxiously for their name to be called during the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Competition. Heads bowed. Eyes closed. Was their presentation good enough? Was it a winning business model? These are questions that course through their minds as they hear third place called. No win. Second place called. Still, no win. Then, after several nervous glances and what seemed like an eternity of silence, the OSU-OKC Governor’s Cup team was announced as the first-place winners for the second year in a row for the Small Business Division.
Students Shane Barlow, Jennifer Bradley, Amanda “Amanduh” Sandoval, Mayra Tello, Mario Young and faculty advisor Amber Hefner stood cheering and clapping as they realized their business model, X-pert Shot, was more than good. It had been great.
“When they announced our team’s name we were in shock,” Sandoval said. “I felt like crying. One girl looked like she was going to faint. You just can’t believe it’s happening.”
X-pert Shot was a business idea originally developed by team captain Barlow. The plan calls for a large, members-only gun range for training and recreational purposes. He admits, however, that the final business model the team accomplished was far beyond his wildest dreams. “I can’t stress enough how much work the team did to put it all together. My work seemed insignificant compared to what they did,” he said.
Working together toward a common goal was something each of them was determined to do. Through all of the struggles, months of hard work and scheduling conflicts, they managed to pull together, find their strengths, and present a winning business model. “It is difficult at a two-year college to meet up with everyone when the majority of us work, have families, have other lives besides living on campus,” said Barlow. “Communication was huge from the very beginning.”
Each team participant has a unique history on how they arrived to OSU-OKC. Second-year Governor’s Cup participant Mayra Tello and her family moved to America when she was 9 years old. College was always in her future, she knew, because she wanted to break the family cycle and be the first generation to attend college. “It meant a lot to me to go to college because I have a little sister. I want her to follow in my steps,” said Tello.
Amanduh Sandoval will also be the first generation to graduate college. In fact, she was only the second in her extended family to graduate from high school. Sandoval knew she always wanted to go to college, but without the financial means to attend, she had to work two jobs and apply for grants and scholarships. “I have scholarships and advisors that have helped me and I appreciate that from OSU-OKC. College was one of my biggest goals in life and I want to make my family proud,” she said.
Originally from a small town in Texas, Jennifer Bradley moved to Midwest City when she was young. Like Sandoval, she always knew she wanted to attend college, but couldn’t figure out exactly what she wanted to do. Bradley started out at OSU-OKC as a nursing major, but eventually decided to take a break. “I needed some extra time to figure out what it was I really wanted to do and how I wanted to help people,” said Bradley. While working full time, she decided to come back to OSU-OKC and major in dietetic technology.
Soon after high school, Mario Young got married and had children. He spent nearly 15 years in retail and retail management to support his family. Young knew, however, that getting a degree was important. “While I have a lot of experience in retail, I’ve been passed over for people who have their degree, but not necessarily the experience. I knew a degree was going to be required in order to advance,” he said.
Shane Barlow spent eight years in the Marines, one tour in Iraq and another to Afghanistan, and figured the military would be his place of retirement. When he realized that was not the future he desired, he decided to attend OSU-OKC because of the highly recommended Veterans’ Services Center. “I had my choice of colleges because of the GI Bill, but I decided to come to OSU-OKC,” he said. “The first time I came to OSU-OKC, the Veterans’ Services Center walked me through everything: enrollment, getting financial aid, paperwork signed, getting books, everything. The next thing I had to do was show up on the first day of class.”
Even through the various trials and obstacles each team member had to overcome, Governor’s Cup became a priority and a common goal in their lives during the spring semester. All of them believe that OSU-OKC helped them to prepare and to deliver the best business model they could.
Thanks to faculty advisor Amber Hefner, business administration division head Patti Ripple, accounting and economics instructor Tony Smith and the entire OSU-OKC executive team, the Governor’s Cup team was able to sharpen their skills based on feedback, which ultimately led to winning first place.
“It was a pleasure to serve as the advisor for another great team of Governor’s Cup students,” said Hefner. “Being a part of the Governor’s Cup team requires a significant time commitment from everyone involved so I was ecstatic to see the students’ time commitment rewarded with a first-place win.”
Members of the Governor’s Cup team believe another contributing factor to the win is their various strengths and skills. No one was strong in the same areas. “I enjoyed having the chance to participate with a lot of different people,” said Young. “We are various ages, we are all from different towns, different backgrounds and places in our lives. It was something really special.”
Plans for the future vary, but one thing is certain for each of them: winning the Governor’s Cup impacted their future.