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Dec 12, 2018
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A panel of judges listen to presenters as they display their design project for the Victor E. Bulldog stage at Fresno State on Dec. 8, 2017. (Megan Trindad/The Collegian)

And the Victor E. stage design winner is…

Guess who has a stage all to himself?

A personalized, mobile stage is now a reality for Fresno State mascot Victor E. after a team was named the winner in the battle for a stage design.

Four finalists, three individuals and one team, remained in the “Victor E. Bulldog III Design Challenge,” but after presentations in front a eight judge panel on Dec. 8, a team of five was declared the winner.

The winning team was comprised of Thomas Bayhi, Johnny Armanino, Garry Gong, Arnold Park and Rogelio Romero.

“We felt pretty confident about it,” Bayhi said. We were getting interviewed right after we presented, so we felt like that was a good sign.” It was reassuring and exciting to have been named winners, he added.

Bayhi’s team was photographed with Victor, and their victory was announced by the Lyles College of Engineering on Twitter.

The team beat out three individual entrants: Sreekanth Rudraraju, Pasan Liyanagama Kankanamge and Bhavesh Jeevanlal.

Originally, there were five finalists, but the team composed of Miguel Ramirez, Jordan Vasquez, Christopher Smith and Aizia Thao, dropped out of the competition.

Kankanamge said that although he did not win, he is still walking away from this experience feeling very encouraged in regards to his future in mechanical engineering.

“As an undergraduate student, I was selected for the top five. So, coming that far, it proved a great challenge and a great experience,” Kankanamge said.

He also said that he wishes he would have put more thought into incorporating a space for sponsor branding on his design.

On the winning team, Bayhi, public relations major, focused primarily on the branding of the stage, leaving the engineering and design elements to his teammates.

The panel consisted of two types of judges. Matt Schulz, director of engagement for the Fresno State Alumni Association, named John Horstmann, Melody Daggs, Paula Sovino and Caren Myers and Nichole Nonini as the “guest judges.”

This group consisted of donors and supporters of Victor.

Schulz said Horstmann is an alumni who bought Victor and donated him to the Alumni Association. Daggs is Victor’s behavioral trainer. Sovino is one of Victor’s largest financial donors. Myers is the owner of Fresno Lexus and Victor’s official transportation sponsor and Nonini oversees marketing for Plato Pet Treats, one of Victor’s newest corporate sponsors.

“All those five, they are very passionate supporters of Victor E. Bulldog in different ways,” Schulz said. “It’s a way for us to honor and show appreciation for their support of Victor E. Bulldog.”

The second group, or “final judges,” consisted of Dr. The Nguyen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Jacquelyn K. Glasene, executive director of the Alumni Association; and Asheline Beeson, community relations and new media coordinator for the Alumni Association.

Beeson also handles Victor E. She is often seen with him when he’s attending events on and off campus.

The presentation process was straightforward. The groups were allotted 10 minutes for their presentation and afterwards five minutes were left for the contestants to answer questions from the judges.

Bayhi said the moment where he really felt his team really sold the judges on their idea was when his teammate Gong told the judges about wanting to make the stage more lightweight by cutting bulldog paw print designs into the metal base.

“The judges just loved that,” Bayhi said. “When they were ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ at that, I thought we had them.”

The next step will be for Bayhi and his team to begin working with Nguyen to build the stage.

The stage will debut on April 20 to 22 during Fresno State’s annual Vintage Days. It will also be displayed at the Lyles College of Engineering’s Projects Day on May 8.

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