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UW-Eau Claire students place first in social media competition

May 11, 2012
 Social Media Competition
From left to right: Valentina Rangel, Stephanie Moran, Dr. Chuck Tomkovick, Abby Eddy and Kristen Mitrenga.
EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student team placed first in a social media competition sponsored by Halliburton, one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry.

Members of the winning UW-Eau Claire team were seniors Abigail Eddy, a marketing major from La Crosse; Kristen Mitrenga, a marketing major from Apple Valley, Minn.; Stephanie Moran, a marketing analytics major from Westby; and Valentina Rangel, a professional sales marketing major from Caracas, Venezuela.

Each team member will receive an iPad and a certificate. Halliburton also will work with students on ways to implement their ideas.

More than 70 undergraduate and graduate students representing 20 teams from Rice University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston and UW-Eau Claire participated in the competition, said Dr. Chuck Tomkovick, a UW-Eau Claire professor of marketing who worked with managers from Halliburton to develop the competition. Tomkovick also recruited students to participate in the event and assisted them with their submissions.

Student competitors were asked to develop a social media strategy for Halliburton that delivered a competitive advantage to the corporation. They submitted a three-page executive summary of their ideas to company representatives for review. The top five submissions were invited to make a 30-minute presentation to the company outlining their business case. The winning social media strategy was selected from the semifinalist group.

The UW-Eau Claire team used social media to promote Halliburton's sustainability practices to 18- to 40-year-old consumers who were already social media savvy.

"Although Halliburton is the world's leader in energy production, many people are unaware of all the positive things the company is doing environmentally around the world," Eddy said. "By using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo and other select blog sites, Halliburton can help transform its image by spreading upbeat messages to the general public about its sustainability programs and practices."

A second UW-Eau Claire team also was named a semifinalist in the Halliburton social media competition. Members of this team were seniors Andrew Gerver, a marketing major from White Bear Lake, Minn.; Megan Hetrick, a kinesiology major from Green Bay; Houa Trisha Moua, a marketing major from Junction City; Shanon Palmbach, a marketing major from Kimberly; Mark Wickstrom, a marketing major from Elm Grove; and Brady Zwiefelhofer, an entrepreneur management and professional sales marketing double major from Bloomer.

Bill Febry, business development manager for Cardinal Marketing Inc. in Chippewa Falls, helped the UW-Eau Claire students prepare for the competition. Febry also is a member of the UW-Eau Claire Marketing Advisory Council.

For more information, contact Dr. Chuck Tomkovick at tomkovcl@uwec.edu.

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