2011 Enterprise Plan Competition a great success

This year’s Enterprise Plan Competition was fabulous!  For the first time, finalists presented in the newly opened Pomerleau Alumni Center.  Each of the five presentations was really well attended – in fact,  we had an overflow crowd watching from the hallway for most of the afternoon.  The best way to summarize the event is simply to reproduce the press release the College put out after the event, so here goes:


Christen Perreault of Sturbridge, Mass., takes top honors & $5,000 prize

Saint Michael’s College Enterprise Plan Competition yields “The 5 best plans in 12 years of the contest, without a doubt.”  

A fully thought-out, sophisticated, workable plan for a gourmet cafe called THINKING OVER to be located in Niantic, Connecticut, “dedicated to delicious high quality food, community, and the importance that both play in our everyday lives,” took top prize at the 12th annual Saint Michael’s College Enterprise Competition held in the Pomerleau Alumni Center on April 29. The winning plan was written and conceived over the course of the past semester at Saint Michael’s by Christen Perreault under the guidance of her professor Dr. Karen Popovich.

Ms. Perreault, a senior business administration major, the daughter of Paul and Cecile Perreault of Sturbridge, Mass., won the $5,000 top prize for her plan. The prize was donated by the originator of the competition, Peter Worrell, graduate of the Saint Michael’s class of 1979, former trustee of the college, and managing partner of the Bigelow Company LLC of Portsmouth, N.H.; and by his wife Dr. Kareen Kendrick Worrell of the Saint Michael’s class of 1977.

“These were the five best plans in 12 years of this competition without a doubt,” Mr. Worrell said.

Some 27 plans were entered and read by the Saint Michael’s College faculty in business administration and accounting. The 27 were narrowed to 12 finalists described as “just decimal points apart,” and then five final finalists were selected to make half-hour presentations before a panel of judges on April 29, when the winners were selected. The competition challenges students “to develop and market sustainable business plans to a panel of business leaders serving as competition judges,” said Dr. Robert Letovsky, chair of the SMC department of business administration and accounting.

2nd & 3rd place winners

2nd place and $3,000 went to KIZOS, a plan to develop a summer camp, after-school program for children, created by Nina S. Hurley of Jericho, Vt., Meredith B. Austin of Essex Junction, Vt., and Adam G. Reczek of Andover, Mass.

3rd place and $2,000 went to THE MEADOWS, a plan for a golf center to be located in Hinesburg, Vt., with day and night facilities, driving range and more, created by Nicholas J. Anti of Wilbraham, Mass., Matthew T. Geary of Wellesley, Mass., and Abby B. Middleton of Portsmouth, N.H.

“Today is a time of flourishing entrepreneurship,” said Peter Worrell

In presenting the awards, Peter Worrell stressed the importance of entrepreneurship in our uncertain world. He said more companies have been formed in this recent climate of economic challenge, than ever in history. Recent studies, he said, indicate that the traits of successful entrepreneurs are authenticity, fairness, zest, leadership and persistence; not creativity or risk taking.

 “And these plans, all five of the finalists, showed traits of successful entrepreneurs, especially persistence,” Mr. Worrell said. “I am proud of every one of you, and I salute you.”

THINKING OVER wins top award: “It’s family, friends and food!”

Ms. Perreault’s business plan was remarkable for its thoroughness and detail. The 81-page document covers mission, location, facilities, products, competition, sourcing, market segmentation, target market, demographics, management structure, personnel, startup costs, opening-day balance sheet, marketing strategy, including positioning, pricing, promotion, sales, and a thorough financial plan with a loan amortization schedule, break-even analysis, sales forecast, P&L statement, 12-month cash flow charts, and on and on, even including recipes, and cost of wholesale food items, one by one.

This young CEO, Christen Perreault, worked out a very appealing, very well planned compay, designed, she wrote, for consumers with hectic life styles who desire balanced alternatives . . .THINKING OVER provides simplicity through seasonal, nutritional, reasonably priced lunches and gourmet-to-go dinners . . . [located for easy] exit and reentry of Interstate 95 on the way home from work.”

Her vision statement says the business “aims to support the local economy, believing that delicious, local, seasonal food will enhance the lives of all who enjoy it . . . [and that the company] will work to revive the village community through local food and  . . . commitment to community.” THINKING OVER’s slogan: “It’s family, friends, and food.”

Competition Judges

Nancy Edwards Cronin, principal partner of ipCapital Group, which is an adviser to energy and environmental companies, chemical manufacturers, electronics, medical devices, semiconductors and others, regarding strategy. Ms. Cronin earned a BS in engineering from Cal Tech, and an MS in engineering from Harvard.

Bob Dillon, CEO of Hubbardton Forge, one of the premier lighting makers in the country, located in Castleton, Vt., known for its environmentally responsible manufacturing methods. Mr. Dillon has 30 yeas experience in the home furnishings industry, including senior leadership with Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers in Maine, Holly Hunt in Chicago, and Stickley in Manlius, N.Y.

Carolyn Edwards, president and CEO of competitive Computing (C2), of Vermont, an 18-year old technology consulting firm specializing in internet business solutions. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont.

Sean Gammon, CEO of Members Advantage Community Credit Union, a position he took in 2002, and since has tripled the membership base and increased assets almost 500%. He holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Vermont.

Gerry Murphy, a 1988 graduate of Saint Michael’s College, with over 20 years experience in the securities industry. He is managing partner of GMM One Partners of Boston, a consultancy focused on small and midsize financial software companies.

The other two finalists in the five-team group selected to make presentations of their plans were:

CHICAGO CARP FISHERY, a plan created by Derrick C. Cumberbatch, Ryan G. Gannon, Mark W. Stone, Robert F. Welsh, and Christian M. Zizza.

SENSIBLE PHARMACEUTICAL SOLUTIONS, a plan created by Gael K. Shungu, Brendan J. Sullivan, Kayla J. Leonard, Sarah M. Kidd, and tyler Z. Gillingham.


















Joseph M. Flaherty ’09/Wright Express Corporation

Joe Flaherty is a Strategic Portfolio Analyst with Wright Express Corporation in Portland, ME.  He began working with the company as a summer employee, then transitioned to full-time work at Wright after graduating.  Joe manages a number of the company’s highest profile customers for its corporate payment solutions line of business.  His team designs and implements financial process controls, focusing on billing and payment remittance processing measures for the Wright’s largest customers.  As well, Joe and his team concentrate on credit line management, reducing receivable delinquencies and maximizing client revenues by reducing financial risk while emphasizing customer retention.

Dan Baginski ’10/Deloitte & Touche LLP

Dan Baginski graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Michael’s in 2010 with a BS in Accounting. Since graduation Dan has been working as an auditor with Deloitte & Touché LLP in Stamford, CT focusing primarily on private equity clients. In January of 2011 Dan passed his final section of the CPA exam. In addition to working, Dan is pursuing his masters in accountancy at the University of Connecticut.

Matt Benedetto ’12/ Eastern Collective

Matt Benedetto came to SMC with a business already up and running.  Started in 2003 as East Coast Headware, the company initially offered a line of custom hand crochet beanies for skiers.  As Matt began to gain a reputation in the freeskiing community, he branched out into products such as gloves, sunglasses, and apparel.  In 2008, he came to Saint Michael’s, and brought the company, now known as  EC Headware, with him.  The company has been featured several times on national broadcasts of outdoors events.  This past summer, Matt again rebranded the company, to Eastern Collective.  The company was recently featured on Newschoolers.com, a major skiing web site:


Matt is looking ahead past graduation this coming Spring, and is evaluating several new options and directions for this already successful business.

You can read more about the company at http://www.easterncollective.com/

Matt Stone ’10/Dale Carnegie Training

Matt Stone ’10 works with Dale Carnegie Training in Portland, ME.  He started as an intern  in order to take DCT courses, and is now a “Performance Consultant” doing  sales and marketing for Carnegie’s training programs. Matt also works part-time for Citadel Communications, a Portland radio station, assisting account reps on various aspects of their sales calls.

Business-Biology teamwork provides new opportunities for students and faculty

Since the Fall of 2008, Department Chairperson Robert Letovsky has collaborated with Prof. Valerie Banschbach, former Chairperson of the Biology Department and now Director of the newly-established Environmental Studies Program.  Their work together began with the launching of a new First Year Seminar, Solving Environmental Problems. This course was a rework of a seminar entitled “Sustainable Development”, originally developed by Letovsky and Prof. Reza Ramazani of the Economics Department.  That version of the seminar was considered a Social Sciences based-course and used a combination of case studies and readings to address environmental issues.  Prof. Banschbach redesigned the seminar so that it could be included in the Lab Sciences portion of the Liberal Studies Curriculum.  This meant designing several laboratory experiments and assignments that focused on environmental issues.  One of the labs Prof. Banschbach introduced into the seminar had students fermenting raw sugar cane and corn to produce ethanol, an additive to gasoline that has been the subject of considerable debate among environmentalists, public policy analysts and economists.  To prepare for the lab exercise, Prof. Banschbach prepared detailed instructions on the fermentation process, and Prof. Letovsky wrote a background paper introducing students to the business, economic and political aspects of the debate surrounding food-based biofuels.  At the conclusion of the experiment, students had acquired a first-hand look at the relative efficiency of producing ethanol from sugar, and the relative inefficiency of corn-based ethanol.

This work subsequently lead to Prof. Banschbach and Letovsky submitting two papers which were accepted in academic journals focused on science education. The first article, “The Use of Corn versus Sugarcane to Produce Ethanol Fuel: A Fermentation Experiment for Environmental Studies” appeared in the January, 2010 issue of The American Biology Teacher. The second article, “The use of corn and sugarcane to produce biofuel” in Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching” was published in the Proceedings of the 32nd Conference of the Association of Biology LaboratoryEducators (ABLE), after Prof. Banschbach presented the laboratory as a major workshop at the Annual Meeting of ABLE at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.  Both articles contained detailed instructions prepared by Prof. Banschbach for educators on how to set up and conduct the experiment. 

The second venture in which business, biology and environmental studies were brought together by Profs.  Banschbach and Letovsky began in the Spring of 2009.  For the entire semester, Prof. Letovsky’s section of the Business major capstone course, Business Policy and Strategic Management, met with a section of the Biology major’s Senior Seminar, taught by Prof. Banschbach.  The aim of these meetings was to form mixed business-biology teams who would prepare business plans for “green” business ideas, and submit them to the College’s Enterprise Plan Competition.  This interdisciplinary collaboration began with five joint sessions, where business students presented the basics of various aspects of business to the biology majors, and the biology majors presented the scientific issues behind major environmental problems.  The students were then formed into teams of 3-5, and over the course of the next several weeks, prepared business plans based on a “green” concept of their choice.  Ultimately, the combined business-biology sections generated five of the 30 plans submitted to the 2009 EPC, with two of them being selected to be among the five finalists.  One of these two, consisting of BU majors Cinzia Coppola and Brendan Clark, together with Biology major Mallory Norton, was selected as the winner of the 2009 event for their plan for a multi-purpose composting facility (see photo below). 



The business-biology project continued for the Spring 2010 and 2011 semesters, with teams from this initiative making into the EPC finals both years.  Profs. Letovsky and Banschbach have shared their experiences in this interdisciplinary project in three different venues.  A paper, “Developing ‘Green’ Business Plans:  Using Entrepreneurship to Teach Science to Business Administration Majors and Business to Biology majors” will appear in the Journal of College Science Teaching, this comingAugust. In the summer of 2010, Prof. Banschbach discussed this capstone collaboration in a panel session of the National Meeting of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences in Portland, Oregon.  And, Profs. Banschbach and Letovsky have also followed up on that panel by submitting the presented work to form part of a special issue focusing on innovations in environmental capstones in the new Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.