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Heartland celebrating successful appearance at state business competition

April 24, 2017

National business student organization Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) recently held its state competition April 7 and 8 in Effingham, Illinois. Fifteen students from Heartland’s PBL chapter competed in 27 events that resulted in 16 top-three finishes and 14 national competition qualifications. The event hosted 150 students from 12 colleges and universities across the state.

“We are proud of this group’s accomplishments,” said PBL advisor Linda Lambert. “The results are from a collective effort of our faculty and students with support from our administration and business partners. They all helped our students be more, do more and achieve more.”

Best Year Yet

This marks the third year Heartland has competed and according to Lambert, this is the largest group to participate and the most awards won. To compete, Phi Beta Lambda students enter a variety of business events such as public speaking, computer applications, and personal finance and present their work to judges who then select winners.

First Row, Left to Right: Debbie Carne; Tiara Johnson; Maddie Inselmann; Darin Trout

Second Row, Left to Right: Margaret Schaufele; Abigail Jackson; Karrissa Meredith; Truong (Jack) Luu; Ryan Shoemaker

Third Row, Left to Right: Lucas Gray; Mitch Walden; Orlando Garza; Spencer Redman; Mica Sire

Not Pictured: Stefan Mangina

Life Lessons

The process from prep to competition can be significant, but Lambert says it’s a great way to bridge the classroom to the real world. “Competing gives students the opportunity to take what they are learning in the classroom, whether it be computer software or public speaking skills, and apply it. They receive constructive feedback and get to be around like-minded people with similar goals. Overall, it lets them see the bigger of picture of what they can do and who they can be.”

Another life lesson from the competition was getting rewarded for putting in extra work. Each year, the competition includes a community service event. According to Lambert, many chapters don’t submit a project for the event because of the amount of work involved, which includes planning and executing the event as well as writing an extensive report and presenting.

This year, Heartland students entered two community service events from the past school year. Suit Up provided approximately 300 individuals from HCC, Bloomington Area Career Center and Labyrinth with professional business attire donated by Heartland employees and local businesses. Students also held a March of Dimes walk which raised $5,800 for the charity. The projects took first and second place. “This event is a great teaching tool because it shows students you can get rewarded for going the extra mile,” said Lambert.


A first or second place finish is required to qualify for the national PBL competition which takes place in Anaheim, CA June 24-27. Twelve students plan to compete in 14 events in Anaheim.

“Listening to Heartland’s name being announced 14 times was exciting,” Lambert said. “I am over the moon with excitement and flat out proud of what our students have accomplished.”

State Event Top-Three Winners

Administrative Technology: 1st Debbie Carney

Business Communications: 1st Debbie Carney

Client Service: 1st Debbie Carney

Community Service: 1st Maddie Inselmann and Abigail Jackson

Community Service: 2nd Orlando Garza, Darin Trout, Mitch Walden

Computer Applications: 1st Tiara Johnson

Computer Concepts: 2nd Truong Luu

Impromptu Speaking: 3rd Spencer Redman

Job Interview: 2nd Darin Trout

Management Concepts: 1st Margaret Schaufele

Personal Finance: 2nd Margaret Schaufele

Public Speaking: 1st Darin Trout

Public Speaking: 3rd Abigail Jackson

Sales Presentation: 2nd Micah Sire

Small Business Management: 1st Truong Luu

Small Business Management: 2nd Stefan Mangina

Help Raise Funds

Students competing in the national competition are in the process of raising funds. Donations are now being accepted online. You can also contact Chris Downing in Heartland’s Foundation office at 309-268-8587 or email

Written by: Becky Gropp