Holland Board of Public Works Logo
The Holland Board of Public Works 2016 Annual Report


Most Valued Innovators

How high school students are helping to shape the future of Holland fiber.


This summer a group of seven local high school students were presented with a question: “How can Holland Board of Public Works market broadband services to residential customers?” The group was a part of IChallengeU, an intensive two-week onsite learning partnership between area businesses and OAISD. The partnership creates an opportunity for students to offer solutions to real business problems.

“We love inviting students into our company through IChallengeU,” said Lori Powers, HBPW Human Resources Specialist, “It gives BPW a chance to bring in fresh ideas, and show students the many careers available in the utility industry.” HBPW enhances the learning experience through thoughtful interactions with employees, helpful critique and encouragement, and keeping an open mind to students’ new ideas. And, there was no shortage of ideas or drive from this year’s exceptional IChallengeU team.

“When we first set out, we asked the team to come up with two hundred sticky note ideas; they came up with four hundred.”
-Becky Lehman

“When we first set out, we asked the team to come up with two hundred sticky note ideas; they came up with four hundred,” Becky Lehman Technology Director said. The team honed in on their ideas and finalized a plan with three categories.

The group presented a strong portfolio with many ideas that the HBPW can implement. They first presented to the HBPW team and then formally presented at the IChallengeU event. Local high school student Victoria Demerest said, “IChallengeU supplied me with the ability to stand wholehearted behind what I believe in. I learned that even if other people don’t believe your solution can work, you need to pitch it in a way that will make them change their opinion.”

The entire iChallengeU team embedded with HBPW won the Most Valued Innovator award, an award usually reserved for one individual. “It’s clear by the entire team being honored, that they came up with some amazing ideas,” said Lori, “The BPW is so glad to participate in this program and learn from the contributions the students bring.”