Baker College students advance to BPA National Leadership Conference May 10-14

Business News |Mar 1, 2017|3 min read

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Two students at Baker College’s Muskegon campus placed in six competitive categories, including four first-place finishes, at the Business Professionals of America (BPA)-Michigan Association 2017 Postsecondary Leadership Conference, held Feb. 11 at Davenport College in Grand Rapids.

Both students qualified to compete at the BPA National Leadership Conference, May 10-14, in Orlando, Florida.

The students competed in business and technology workplace skills events:

  • Leah Devore, of Muskegon, won first place in Federal Income Tax Accounting; first place in Fundamental Word Processing; and third place in College Payroll Accounting.
  • Brent Goodman of Cadillac, won first place in Computer Network Technology; first place in Systems Administration using Cisco; and second place in PC Servicing & Troubleshooting.

This will be the third national BPA convention for Devore, a senior who will attempt to regain the national BPA championship that she won in 2015 for Federal Income Tax Accounting. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration accounting.

Goodman also competed at the 2016 national BPA convention. He is a senior and is earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology and security.

“The BPA competition is a measure of each student’s intellectual prowess as well as their dedication to excellence,” said Lee Coggin, J.D., Baker College of Muskegon president. “When our students place at the top, it reflects brightly on them, on Baker College programs and on faculty members who make it a priority to mentor the students and prepare them for the competition.”

Mark Verhoeven, BCS, MBA, BPA team advisor and program director of networking and security at Baker College of Muskegon, said, “This year our team was small, but mighty. Both students work full time, take classes and then had to find additional time and energy to prepare for the competition. They are an inspiration to our program and our school.”

Verhoeven, one of only two advisors in Michigan to have attained the BPA Local Chapter Advisor certification, was recognized at the postsecondary conference for five years of service as an advisor.

Nearly 170 students competed at this year’s state conference on behalf of eight Michigan postsecondary education chapters, and 105 students qualified for the national competition. Approximately 6,000 high school and postsecondary education students are expected to attend the national leadership conference.

The four-day national conference is comprised of various events, including: competitions, leadership development workshops, networking, certification options in multiple software programs, national officer elections and nationally known speakers. The theme of this year’s convention is: Spread Your Wings!

BPA has more than 45,000 members through chapters in 25 states and Puerto Rico and is known as the premier career and technical student organization for students pursuing business-related careers.

For more information about Baker College business and computer technology programs, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at or 231.777.5200.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including applied technology, business, education, engineering, health science, information technology and social science. Baker College has on-ground campuses throughout Michigan and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For information, visit or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook,