NORTH CANTON  One of the two companies created in this year’s Hoover Senior Business Management class at North Canton City Schools has earned a place in the National Student Leadership Summit competition in Washington D.C. on June 18-22. This is the third consecutive year one or more teams from Hoover have competed in the prestigious awards program. 

The two companies opened during the yearlong curriculum included Enpower, Inc. and Pawsitively Remembered. Students from both companies competed recently in Junior Achievement NextGen Business Challenge at Mount Union College.

Pawsitively Remembered took first place taking home a $750 team bonus and Enpower won second place with a $500 team bonus. Both teams then competed in the Junior Achievement Field Day in Cleveland where they once again won first and second places with Pawsitively Remembered bringing home $1,000 and Enpower winning $500.

Pawsitively Remembered has advanced to compete in the nationals. They are one of only 15 teams from across the U.S. this year to experience the honor.

"Pawsitively Remembered produces and sells engraved dog tags and remembrance windchimes for family pets that have passed and Enpower engraves money clips, key chains, necklaces and wallet inserts," said Mike Grady, program instructor. "While both teams were excellent this year, Pawsitively Remembered was selected to compete by persons from Junior Achievement National who reviewed the company’s reports and viewed a commercial the students produced."

All of the students are involved in the companies in different capacities. There is a sales, marketing and social media team, project managers, production people and a finance department.

At the beginning of the school year, students run for CEO. When the CEOs are selected, he or she selects students for each company. When the teams are in place, everyone brainstorms for the name of the company and the product or service line.

Students from the Pawsitively Remembered team include: Jonnie Taylor, CEO; Jake Nidy, vice president of sales; Natalie Scheffler, director of marketing; Eli Hayhurst, vice president of human resources; and Jason Morgner, vice president of production. This five members will travel to D.C.

Other management team members include Brock Bender, Brandon Obermiller, Anthony Berardelli and Tyler O’Lear. Grady said the group will be judged on a number of criteria.

Students will be rated on their stage presentation and sales pitch in front of hundreds of people in the audience including the other competing teams. They will also be looked at for their trade show booth, how they answer questions and the results of a 30-minute interview. Each student has the potential to be awarded a $4,000 scholarship to the college, university or technical school of his or her choice.

"The teams are different each year. This year’s team stands out because of how well they work together. Plus, Jake and Jonnie are great presenters and form a great rapport with their customers," Grady said.

The success of Pawsitively Remembered has been proven by the sale of the company to a local business owner who specializes in counseling people who have trouble with the passing of their favorite pet.

Taylor and Nidy are both excited to be competing at the national level and say all of the team members have worked hard throughout the year. Jake has a personal stake for the competition.

"My mother used to teach the business class before Mr. Grady so I have a lot to live up to with the competition," Nidy said. "I think our chances of winning are really good. We’ve been refining our techniques over the past several competitions and have become more confident in our abilities."

Taylor said his team is set apart from others competing for a number of reasons. First is the talent and skills of the team members. Second, is the products they produce. He said there is an emotional element with the company’s products.

"Because of the emotional aspect of the remembrance windchime, people make a personal connection with our products. Plus, all of our team members believe in the product and the mission of the charity we donated to," Taylor said.

The company donated part of their profits to Pawistive Ohio. Jonnie said they have donated enough money throughout the school year to help provide 770 pounds of dog food to be distributed to those in need to feed their pets.