Inglemoor DECA: Excelling at Role-plays and Case Studies

Inglemoor DECA in Washington state has become a powerhouse in Individual Series Events and Team Decision Making Events at the International Career Development Conference. In 2011, Inglemoor qualified 40 competitors for international competition and saw 25 members attain top 10 or higher honors, including four international champions and five second place winners in three events.

After retiring from the corporate world and seeking a marketing education degree, Dennis Rockwood uses his 23 years of proven business and marketing experience in his classroom and DECA chapter. While in industry, he performed sales and marketing  functions in four industries – grocery, restaurant, consumer products and commercial products. The role-plays were real and the results were immediate, and he has developed his philosophy for business and marketing education from that experience. In his 13 years of serving as a DECA advisor, Rockwood has had more than 500 members invited to compete at ICDC and close to 200 top 10 winners. Here’s insight from Rockwood.

How do you help your members find the events that are right for them?

I do not choose competitive events for members. That is a mistake. In helping them find the “right” event, I simply give them a process in selecting one of DECA’s role-play events. I give them three criteria to consider. First, if they work in the career area of the competitive event, then I encourage them to choose that event since they have built in coaches to help. Second, if they are interested in the event as a possible career, then I tell them to choose it. Third, if they know an adult who works in the competitive event area and they can meet with them, then I tell them to choose that event.

After we go through the process, I try to ensure that one area of competition doesn’t have too many competitors. The members usually smooth out any overages in any particular events.

What is your approach to helping members prepare for role-play events?

First, I consider DECA the “varsity sport” of business. As such, I am the head coach and come up with the game plan for the year. I like the word coach. I do not hold hands. I coach, direct and provide a path to DECA success. The member must make the decision to commit. The journey of 1,000 miles does not start with the first step, it starts in the heart. I coach members to envision the end.

Around mid-November and after our fall leadership conference, members will have selected their competitive events. From then through January, it’s time to get into shape (by giving the program at least four hours per week) with a game plan that has three components:

  • Career cluster exams: Members will take three to six exams. They will work towards a 100% before moving to the next exam. This requires members to conduct independent study on the items they answered incorrectly.
  • Performance indicators: Members have assignments to describe performance indicators related to their event and give two examples relevant to their competitive event area. This can be about eight to 10 pages of material.
  • Interaction with judges: Every football coach who wants to win has great assistant coaches, and so do I. Last year, over 85 business professionals helped Inglemoor DECA members prepare for competition. Most were parents, but there are adults who give their time because they see what the program does for its members. Once the adults sign up to assist, I post their contact information, and it is the responsibility of the members to make the call. I teach a class on making “first contact” and coach my members on networking. They work with the adults outside of class and understand that it will take this work with the adults to get themselves where they want to go.

What are some "extras" that help members stand out?

I put in about 200-300 hours of my own time in any given year. I work Saturdays as we get close to competition hosting “Rocky workouts” where we work on role-plays and testing.

We also have full dress rehearsals before competition where members meet with judges and practice. It helps focus members on the details of the role-play.
If you ask my members what it takes to win, they will respond, “just two words — hard work.” There is no magic and there is no luck without hard work.

Categories: Chapters, Compete, HS Competitive Events, Profiles, Role-Play