Ira Boots, Berry Plastics chairman and chief executive officer and a member of the USI Board of Trustees, suggested a student-engagement project as part of his involvement as Executive-in-Residence. The challenge, the Community Engagement Business Plan Competition sponsored jointly by Berry Plastics of Evansville and the College of Business, was to develop a complete business plan for a new pizza container that improves upon the cardboard box.
Three teams were selected as finalists:
Experts in various disciplines at Berry and a team of College of Business faculty members mentored the students during the 10-week program. Faculty members who assisted with the project were Dr. Mohammed Khayum, dean; Dr. Chad Milewicz, assistant professor of marketing; Bryan Bourdeau, instructor in business management; Jeanette Maier-Lytle, instructor in accounting; and Dr. Andy Yu, assistant professor of management.
At the final presentations, Boots said, "It is exciting to share resources between Berry Plastics and USI. I consider this a great development for the community."
Berry Plastics made four $1,000 gifts to the USI Foundation in the names of the four students on the winning team. These dollars will be used to benefit College of Business students.