The Phoenix Challenge College (PCC) is a national competition that starts with a year-long problem-solving project with participation from over 25 colleges and culminates in a formal presentation to a panel of industry judges at the annual FTA Forum. The intent of the PCC is to engage college-level students in creatively solving a current, industry-relevant flexographic problem which would allow them to practice and showcase their research, problem-solving, design, and print production skills. The goal is to inspire academic programs to grow and improve their level of instruction and research.
Appalachian State University has competed in the past and won. In 2017, App State won the overall competition. In 2021, they won 2nd place and in 2022, they won 3rd place. This year, our Graphic Communications Management students again won 1st place in Overall Excellence nationally. The student team consists of Dylan Connell (team leader), Mattie Felker, Heather Byron, Rebecca Hartung, McNeil Johnston, and Sean Byron, with Tom Reeves as the Faculty leader.
There were other winners from the event included:
Concept & Design – Illinois State University
Execution – Central Piedmont Community College
Research – Cal Poly
There were Presentations were made by all schools on Friday, April 15, and the judges announced the respective award winners on Saturday evening, April 16. The winning team (ASU) will then present to members of the industry who are present at a joint event being held in Columbus. That will happen on Tuesday, April 18.
Our participation in this annual collegiate competition is heightened because the Phoenix Foundation was formed in 1998 by Ron and Katherine Harper, founders of the Harper Corporation in Charlotte, NC. In addition, Ron Harper donated $1,000,000 to the university, and the university named the building our program is in after his wife, Katherine. Most recently, the Phoenix Foundation donated a Mark Andy 2200 flexographic press to our program to improve the quality of instruction in our labs.
About Graphic Communications Management
Appalachian State University's Thomas W. Reese Graphic Communications Management Program prepares you for entry-level supervisory and staff positions in graphic communications. The Graphic Communications Management (BS) – Cross Media Production degree, in particular, focuses on applying graphic messaging across different channels/platforms such as web, email, print, cover wraps, etc. to communicate to various markets. You can also choose the Print / Packaging Production concentration within the program. As a student, you'll be eligible to apply for scholarships in excess of $20,000, and you'll have the opportunity to participate in Career Connections, the program's job fair for majors.