ACU’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization came in second place for the nation’s top CEO chapter at the organization’s national conference in Orlando, Florida, last weekend.
Fourteen students and Dr. Jim Litton, faculty sponsor of ACU Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, traveled to the annual event after learning they had been recognized as one of the top three chapters in the nation and a finalist for an award.
“Way before the conference, we submitted a video to compete for Chapter of the Year,” said Rudy Garza, president of ACU CEO. “We came to find out a few weeks later that we had been selected as one of the three finalists.”
Garza, junior marketing major from Corpus Christi, made an additional presentation at the actual conference to determine the eventual winner. Bryant University in Rhode Island took first place, but the Wildcats beat in-state opponent Texas A&M University for second place.
“Rudy did a great job of getting our name out there and making this program something to really be proud of,” said Shane Birchfield, member of ACU CEO. “Rudy works on a weekly basis to make this program worth our while.”
This is the fourth year ACU has had a CEO chapter, but it was their first time to attend the conference. More than 40 schools and 1,000 students from across the country participated in the conference.
The format of the event was not unlike the average ACU CEO small group Chapel. Entrepreneurs spoke to students about their climb to success in business, something Garza offers his members on a weekly basis.
“Every week, we bring in a guest entrepreneur, and I just interview them about how to get from where we are as students to where they are as business owners,” Garza said. “Its all about letting students see what being an entrepreneur in their space is like.”
Since Garza took over as president, he has dramatically increased the size of the program. The organization went to more than 200 members from 30 members.
Nearly 10 percent of the ACU student body has attended an ACU CEO event, Garza said. Still, Birchfield believes the success of the organization rests not in its size but in the quality of the material presented to students.
“I am in it because I really like how it lets students see the thought processes of these entrepreneurs,” said Birchfield, junior management major from Lubbock. “It gets me in the right mindset for what I want to do in the future.”