I love seeing smart kids that are go-getters. Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT) hosted the 6th annual Avnet Tech Games where Arizona college students compete for scholarships in contests like building a solar-powered water pump or engineering the fastest computer. Some even competed in virtual games from locations around the world.
When I walked into the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) on game day the atmosphere was electric with the excitement and energy of the 190-plus competing students. There was good rock-and-roll music soaring over the buzz. The students are bright. They are talented. They are always intense. They are loud. They care about what they’re doing. Geek is a good thing. If you have not heard about UAT in Phoenix check’em out at IT/Tech school rocks.
The kids played hard, dressed in school colors, with one team in suits and ties. Northern Arizona University participated for the first time, along with ITT Technical Institute and our local community colleges. I loved the spirit of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona when they won -- but in rare sense of sportsmanship, without boos.
Since the beginning, Avnet has given out more than $250,000 in scholarships. More than 1000 students have competed, and some of them have found jobs at Avnet or our partners as a result of the games. Teachers like Bassam Matar and Tim Frank have partnered with Avnet employees to help students learn what a business is really looking for when hiring students fresh from college.
So why do we bother? Because 10 years from now we will be counting on these same students to design such things as low-energy street lighting, market our products, process our orders, and build our computers. We bother because we will need them and we want to help them be their best and protect the future for all of us.
We call it investing, because that's what it is. We're putting in something now in the hopes it will get bigger and better over time. As with all investing, there is a risk it won't pay off. But I'm betting it will. These are the kids who will make a difference and create the future. If you have tech/engineering college kids check us out.
Follow on Twitter at #ATG2011.