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  Fall 2004

 
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Also in this issue -- Dangerous Angles
 
   
 

Ann DeMarle

THE EXPERT:
Ann DeMarle
Director, Electronic Game & Interactive
Development and Multimedia & Graphic Design

THE FIELD:
Electronic Games

THE TREND:
Hollywood hype. As the gaming industry continues to grow at a phenomenal rate (15 to 20 percent in sales per year, according to DeMarle), gamers are getting a bigger -- and better -- bang for their bucks. Faster computers and increasingly sophisticated software engineering have created fantasy worlds where hyperreality rules. “Put the stunning visuals together with better and better sound effects,” says DeMarle, “and you’re approaching movie quality.” But game creators aren’t stopping there. With Hollywood actors and music from the likes of Peter Gabriel, coming back to regular reality may be harder than ever.

THE EXPERT:
Steven Shepard
Champlain Trustee,
Master’s Degree Faculty and
President, Shepard Communications Group

THE FIELD:
Demographics & the Workplace

THE TREND:
Empowered employees. Shepard has been studying the newest generation to enter the work force, the so-called Millennials (those born roughly between 1982 and 2003), and he’s issued some comforting conclusions for society at large -- and a stark warning for the corporations who hire them: ignore their needs at your peril. Shepard makes the case that generational types come in cycles and this new one shares a value set with the World War II “Greatest Generation.” Following on the heels of sarcastic, alienated Generation X, the Millennials, Shepard says, are civicminded, team-oriented, optimistic, moral. “They need to be motivated—and challenged,” he says. “They’re very energetic and they’re looking for strong meaning in what they do. They’re willing to work very hard, but they also want balance.” Unlike generations before them, Millennials are unwilling to sacrifice their families for their jobs and they feel they have the power as a generation to have it their way. Successful managers, Shepard believes, will adapt in profound ways. “They will ensure that everyone contributes and that everyone in every job feels like part of the solution. They will move towards a far more collaborative management style,” he says, one that relies heavily on technology. “Companies that fail to see the need for accommodating the changing demands of the work force will fail,” says Shepard. But to those who wring their hands over who we’re leaving this world to, he has an easy answer. “We’re leaving it in the hands of a generation ideally suited to succeed.”

Joe GaetaniTHE EXPERT:
Joe Gaetani ’06
Student

THE FIELD:
Snowboarding

THE TREND:
Spins… and pink? For snowboarders, a day on the mountain is one of big air—and big risks. Consider a few of the hippest tricks, according to Gaetani. There’s the Frontside 540 Indy, which involves spinning off your heels and doing a 540-degree midair rotation during which you grab your back hand between your feet (that’s the Indy). When that gets old there’s the Backside Rodeo. “You come in off your toes but spin backwards over your front shoulder like an inside-out spin. They look really cool,” says Gaetani, “It’s almost like you get flat in the air.” Gaetani and his friends, who’ll be premiering their second ski and riding video at Champlain this fall (view a trailer at www.rightproductions.com), are into the tricks for the challenge and the rush of adrenaline. “I’d be so bored without it in the winter,” Gaetani says. “It keeps me living.” But there’s one trend Gaetani cites that he’s not into -- yet. For the truly daring rider: pink outerwear.

THE EXPERT:
Fran Stoddard
Producer & Host of Vermont Public Television’s “Profile” and Media Communications Faculty

THE FIELD:
Media

THE TREND:
Local air. In an age of big media consolidation, it’s the little guy around the corner who’s making the waves in broadcasting. “People are so desperate to make money,” Stoddard says of the national media corporations, “that there’s not a lot of risk-taking. It’s expensive to take risks.” Enter low-power radio and regional television programming. With new legislation before Congress (co-sponsored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy), there’s hope of loosening tough FCC restrictions on low-power radio, opening the airwaves to community stations and a diverse mix of local voices, music and news. And filmmaker Jay Craven, in partnership with Vermont Public Television, is taking a chance on “Windy Acres,” a six-part comedy series set in the Northeast Kingdom, to air on VPT -- and public stations all over the Northeast -- this fall (the show, starring alumnus Rusty DeWees ’84, premiered at Champlain earlier this month). This groundbreaking project, Stoddard hopes, is only the beginning of similar regional offerings nationwide, expanding our understanding of ourselves and each other. “Now we get to see the lives of New Yorkers and Californians. It’s limiting. You just don’t get that much reflection of who we are.”

Ken FredericksTHE EXPERT:
Ken Fredericks
Chef, Champlain Dining Facility

THE FIELD:
Feeding Students

THE TREND:
Free-style fusion. Remember dorm food, the ubiquitous meat and overcooked vegetables languishing in industrial metal trays? Forget it. Students may still suffer over academics, but the amenities of college life have gone upscale. In Champlain’s new Student Life Complex, open for dining this fall, there’s a state-of-the-art open kitchen, fine china and seven separate platforms at which diners can interact with chefs and customize their food. No steam tables. “Students want fresh food,” says head chef Ken Fredericks. “They want to control the ingredients, not eat food that’s been sitting in the kitchen for hours.” What are they choosing? According to Fredericks, comfort food is out, fusion is in. If they want chinese chicken salad on a wrap grilled on a panini grill, he says, that’s what they get.

THE EXPERT:
Roger Perry
President of Champlain College

THE FIELD:
Higher Education

THE TREND:
Renaissance programmers. Gone are the days of the stereotypic tech geek, the guy you want when your computer crashes -- but when you’re giving a dinner party, not so much. Course requirements at Champlain and other progressive colleges and universities now include work in the humanities, communication, critical thinking, global perspectives and even social responsibility and ethical reasoning, producing graduates as conversant in the arts and sciences as they are in writing PHP code. It’s a move that’s paying off big, according to Perry. “EA loves our curriculum,” he says, referring to Electronic Arts, the world’s leading video game developer. “We offer advanced technology, but there’s also quite a bit in terms of the liberal arts. We’re arming tech majors so they can understand the story writers [who create these games], and appreciate the aesthetic point of view.” Now EA and Champlain are talking about a business partnership, supplying well-rounded techies for highly envied jobs.

THE EXPERT:
Gary Kessler
Program Director,
Computer Networking

THE FIELD:
Internet Safety

Gary KesslerTHE TREND:
Phishing for fraud. By now everyone knows to be wary of credit card fraud. The problem is, the bad guys are staying one step ahead, exploiting this climate of concern to get people to voluntarily turn over valuable information. In these “phishing” schemes, according to Kessler, people get an e-mail purportedly from a legitimate company (Kessler uses Best Buy as an example), alerting them that someone has just made a purchase in their name and requesting that they go to “the company’s” url to verify the authenticity of the order. The person gets directed to a fake but realistic-looking version of Best Buy’s website and is asked to provide information as proof of identity. “People are falling for it in droves,” says Kessler. “They think, ‘Somebody is using my card and the company is going to let me help catch them.’” The key to avoiding these schemes is simple: Don’t go there. Ever. “When you’re on the Internet, use common sense,” Kessler says. “Don’t give away information to places when you’re not sure who they are or why you’re giving it to them. You see those [e-mails], they’re all scams,” he insists. “One hundred percent are scams.”

THE EXPERT:
Peter Straube
Director, Hospitality Industry Management

THE FIELD:
Tourism

THE TREND:
Extreme vacations. One’s annual two weeks off used to mean lolling on the beach, doing a little shopping, taking in the sights. Today’s travelers, for both leisure and business, want more, says Straube. They’ve become “experience collectors.” “Now normal people have been a lot of places and they’re getting bored,” he explains. “People want something new. They want to learn something, to get a taste of an authentic experience.” Look out, Disney. Why go to the “Polynesian Resort” when you can take the kids to Bora Bora?


THE EXPERT:
Charlie Nagelschmidt
Assistant Director, Business & Management Programs

THE FIELD:
Business

THE TREND:
Caring for customers. To be filed in the “well, duh” category, businesses are catching up to the fact that service counts when it comes to luring -- and keeping -- customers. And that means more than a smile at the door. From back-end fulfillment centers to top management, companies are becoming “customer-centric,” integrating a culture of service throughout their organizations, says Nagelschmidt. “They’re managing the customer experience for competitive advantage,” he says, “because the customer holds the trump card. They can take their dollars elsewhere and they will.” For many consumers, though, the ultimate customer service is do-it-yourself. Increasingly, we’re banking, shopping (and tracking shipping) online and even scanning our own groceries. After years of shaky service, it puts the one with the wallet in control -- and the help always sees things your way.

 


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