Zarsky Lumber awards scholarships to UHV students after class project

When Will Sager was taking accounting courses at the University of Houston-Victoria, he saw tremendous value when he completed assignments about real-world companies as part of his coursework.

Will Sager

Because of that, when Zarsky Lumber Co. leaders began contemplating a new logo, Sager, Zarsky’s accounting manager, knew where to turn.

“We thought we would reach out to UHV to see if it was something students would be interested in doing,” he said. “We wanted to give them real-word experience.”

Ziad Swaidan, a UHV marketing professor, assigned students a project to create a Zarsky logo and tagline in all the classes he taught in the spring. More than 100 students completed the assignment.

A panel made up of Zarsky Lumber President Phillip Steffy; Beverly Tomek, UHV associate provost for University College; Sheila Kilgore, Victoria ER marketing director; and Christy Henry, Homewood Suites director of sales, picked out the top two logos. The company awarded scholarships to the students that designed them. James Greene, a Master of Business Administration student from Katy, was awarded $1,000. Stephanie Cano, a Bachelor of Business Administration student from Richmond, was awarded $500.

Ziad Swaidan

“We tried to pick two logos that were clean and unique so people would recognize the company,” Sager said. “If we change our logo later on, we see many possible applications for these logos.”

Based in Victoria, Zarsky Lumber Co. has eight locations in South Texas offering lumber, doors, hardware and more. Swaidan said the students had to thoroughly research the company and understand its mission, objectives and competitors. They also had to explain how the logo would benefit the company.

“It was an exciting, important, hands-on project that fit well with what I teach in my marketing classes,” Swaidan said. “It provided community engagement and gave students a practical example of the type of work they may be asked to do.”

Farhang Niroomand

Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration, said one goal of the school is preparing students for situations they could face in their jobs. While business simulations can be helpful, getting to work with actual companies is advantageous.

“We are grateful to Zarsky Lumber Co. for allowing our marketing students to perform this hands-on work,” he said. “While the project was challenging, the students found the work stimulating, largely because they knew it could be useful to a real company.”

Sager, who graduated from UHV in December with a BBA in accounting, said the company logo has stayed the same, but if Zarsky decides to make a switch later on, they will consider what the students designed. They also will review the marketing research the students complied.

“It was neat to see what information they were able to find,” he said. “We are thankful the university was willing to work with us and glad to give this opportunity to the students.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro