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Catawba College PBL Students Recognized for Business Achievement at National Leadership Conference

July 7, 2021

Category: Academics, Alumni, Business & Economics, Students

co-pbl.jpgSix Students Qualified for National Competition, Two students placed in National Awards Program 

More than 12,000 participants from across the country convened online for the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) 2021 National Leadership Conference (NLC). The event, which connected middle school, high school, and collegiate level students through competitive events, leadership sessions, and networking, provided students with the collective opportunity to win more than $110,000 in cash awards. 

Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina received national recognition during FBLA-PBL’s Awards of Excellence ceremonies for the collegiate division June 26 and 27. 

  • Six students from the Catawba College Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda qualified and competed in one for more events at Nationals.  The students competing were Emma Nantz, Samual Granillo, Madison Bumgarner, Harmony Speer, Jordan Brooks, and Jacob Aiton.
  • Emma Nantz competed in Management Concepts and brought home second place. Competitors were questioned on employee motivation theories, leadership, group dynamics, the business environment, policies and strategies, planning, organizing, staffing, directing and control functions for managers. Emma also competed in Macroeconomics and brought home third place honors.  The Macroeconomics examination covered aggregate demand and supply, consumption and saving, economic development, exchange rates, government deficit and debt, gross domestic product, money and interest rate, recession and depression, wages and unemployment along with other related topics. Emma is a rising Honors Junior at Catawba College double majoring in Spanish and Business Administration.  Her advisors are Dr. Michael Wilson and Dr. Eric Hake.
  • Jacob Aiton competed in Cyber Security and earned eighth place honors.  This competition focused on defend and attack strategies, network security, email security, intrusion detection, public and private key authentication, disaster recovery, physical security, cryptography, and cyber security policy.  Jacob graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and Technology.  His advisor is Dr. Pamela Thompson.  Jacob served as a Vice-President for PBL during the 2020-21 academic year.  

“All six competitors at the National Leadership Conference qualified by being among the top three competitors in their respective events in State Competition in April,” said Dr. Thompson. “Emma and Jacob, along with all of the competitors, continue a long tradition of earning top honors nationally for our PBL Chapter and we couldn’t be more proud of our students!” Dr. Thompson received Outstanding Local Chapter Advisor recognition at the National event. 

The awards are part of the National Awards Program, better known as competitive events, FBLA-PBL’s program that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. For many students, the competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. 

The NLC featured 74 events at the high school level, 60 events at the collegiate level, and 9 events at the middle school level. Events were modified to accommodate the online experience. FBLA-PBL has forged partnerships with industry leaders to underwrite competitive events and scholarships for students achieving national ranking.


About the National Leadership Conference
Information about FBLA-PBL’s NLC programming and highlights for the online event is available at 

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) student business organization with more than 230,000 members and advisers in 12,000 middle schools, high schools, and colleges worldwide. FBLA-PBL’s mission is to inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences. The association is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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