College of Business teams take first, third in FSU/SouthState Bank case competition

March 5, 2024

Seen with a replica of the first-place check are FSU student Ibrahim Gillani; Charlotte Shaw, CEO and executive director of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority; FSU student Steven Martinez; LeDon Jones, executive vice president and director of corporate stewardship at SouthState Bank; and FSU students Ryan Deuitch and Daniel White. Photo by Katie Xanders/College of Business Click to enlarge.

Student teams from the Florida State University College of Business took first place and third place Saturday in the Second Annual FSU/SouthState Bank Small Business Case Competition at the Turnbull Florida State Conference Center.

FSU’s team of Steven Martinez, Ryan Deuitch, Ibrahim Gillani and Daniel White won the competition and a $1,500 first-place prize. The university’s team of Marisa Balzano, Anaya Daniel and Stephanie Remy placed third and won $750. 

A team from the University of Alabama placed second and won $1,000, while a team from Florida A&M University placed fourth and won $500.

The competition drew 17 teams from 11 academic institutions throughout the Southeastern United States. A pre-event dinner and networking opportunity featured a keynote speech from Mark Thompson, president of SouthState Bank’s Southern Banking Group.

SouthState Bank sponsored the competition, along with Alabama’s Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, or BJCTA.

Teams had four weeks to prepare presentations on how the BJCTA could increase ridership and improve operations financially and environmentally. 

Darren Brooks, MBA director and assistant dean for executive and professional programs in the FSU College of Business, said the competition aims to help students develop the technical and human skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive business environment.

“I was extremely pleased with the caliber of students competing, as well as the range of ideas that were proposed,” Brooks said. “Thank you to the student teams for a job well done. I am already excited for these universities to return for our third annual event next year.”



Chris McCoy, Department of Accounting; Daniel Broxterman, Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate and Legal Studies; Kelsey Syvrud, Department of Finance; Leff Bonney, Rockwood School of Marketing; William Woodyard, Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate and Legal Studies; Dalisha Herring, Department of Finance


Ava Ancelin, Invisors; Chuck Adcock, FSU Credit Union; Mark Hillis, retired banking executive; Nan Hillis, retired banking executive; Todd Lazenby, Victory Partners/Royal Ascot Partners; Steve Lowsky, Middle Market Strategies; Bethany Schenk, Art Originals; Brett Lindquist, The Mortgage Company; Stephanie Carrejo, Zenith Capital Partners; Derrick Rushnell, investment banking and private equity; Brock Howard, State Board of Administration; Jeremy Smith, Florida Department of Emergency Management

SouthState Bank

Travelle Hawthorne, assistant VP; Amber Adams, regional president; Tanya Isaman, senior VP; Charlie Sherrill, senior VP; LeDon Jones, executive VP; Mark Thompson, president of Southern Banking Group

Birmingham-Jefferson County Regional Transit Authority

Charlotte Shaw, CEO and executive director; Brittnee Thomas, acting planning manager; Tevarius Foster, director of customer service; Theodore Smith, board chair