TCU Member wins top Business Professional award


Let's say you own a large company and a crisis occurs where changes to the computer networks are necessary in order to keep your business up and running. Would you know what to do? Most likely you would rely on your Information Technology (IT) professional team to help solve the problem and keep the company on track. That is exactly what a member of Tri-City United's IT team does for both the school district and at South Central College (SCC) competing with his Business Professionals of America team.

For the past six months at TCU, college student Hunter Baker, 20, has worked with the district's Director of Technology, Carl Menk, in managing and administering computer network systems, providing desktop support and audio-visual setups. He grew up in Owatonna and is a graduate of Cleveland Public Schools. He has also worked as a part-time summer support technician with Menk for Le Center and Cleveland Schools over the past five years.

Baker said that while attending SCC, a good friend of his who was the president of the Business Professionals of America chapter, convinced him to join for the networking and travel benefits. That was 18-months ago and the rest has been history. On February 21-23, Baker's team won first place for their work in the Network Design events at the state leadership conference in Mankato. There are two competitions each year, first at the state level where BPA teams from around the state compete. Baker's team and the other winners then move onto the national leadership conference that will be held May 8-12 at Disney World in Orlando, FL. 

Baker said the competitions are much like real life. The team is given a fictitious scenario where they are working for a company and changes to its network are required. His team has to work out a solution and present it to a board of judges. They are then asked questions about their solution and graded on their responses. And the best team wins.

"I think a lot of our success can be accredited to both our experiences and enthusiasm for IT," Baker said, explaining that each member of his team has backgrounds with different applications of IT. "I gained much of my experience from both my classes at SCC, and from the excellent guidance and mentorship of Carl Menk at TCU."

After graduation this spring, Baker said he will continue working at TCU and hopes to move into a full time position.

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