MIAMI - The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Business Club attended the virtual Oklahoma FBLA-PBL State Leadership Conference in April. In addition to nearly 50 top-ten finishes in business competitions at the annual event, Freshman Kati Smoke was selected as the 2020-2021 FBLA-PBL State President.

Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) is the oldest student business organization in the world. Established to promote business education and leadership, Oklahoma FBLA-PBL hosts a state leadership conference each year. At the conference, students compete in dozens of events, including Marketing Concepts, Public Speaking, and Macroeconomics.

“We are very proud of our students’ success,” said Lori Hackwell, NEO business instructor and PBL sponsor. “This year our students had to overcome some unexpected setbacks due to COVID-19, but they rose to the challenge and were able to do very well at the State Leadership Conference.”

Leading the team in competition was Sophomore Alex Pike, a Canadian international student, who secured first-place finishes in Contemporary Sports Issues, Marketing Concepts, and Sports Management & Marketing. He was joined by Tulsa Freshman Grayson Lasater, who placed first in Public Speaking and second in Impromptu Speaking. Rounding out the first-place finishes was Romanian International Freshman George Blaj-Voinescu, who placed first in Network Design, and fourth in Computer Concepts, Cyber Security, and Networking Concepts.

In addition to her second-place finish in Business Communication and sixth-place finish in Cyber Security, Afton native Kati Smoke was selected as the state president. She will be tasked with helping coordinate state PBL events in the upcoming year and representing Oklahoma at the National Leadership Online Experience, scheduled for late June.

Pike, Lasater, Blaj-Voinescu, and Smoke, will be joined in national competition by sophomores Hannah Tweed, Thales Vilar, Grant Pinkston, Valerie Blasingame, and freshmen James Franklin, Jr., Kaylee Brewster, and Kimberly Lopez, who all secured top-three finishes in their individual events.

For more information on NEO PBL, contact Hackwell at

State Conference Results:

Accounting Principles

Kaylee Brewster - Third

Hannah Tweed - Fifth

Austin Osburn - Sixth

Business Communication

Kati Smoke - Second

Computer Concepts

Thales Vilar - Second

George Blaj-Voinescu - Fourth

Kaylee Brewster - Eighth

Contemporary Sports Issues

Alex Pike - First

Grant Pinkston - Third

Kimberly Lopez - Sixth

Nikita Konstantynovskyi - Seventh

Samkelo Cele - Eighth

Cyber Security

George Blaj-Voinescu - Fourth

Peyton Crawford - Fifth

Kati Smoke - Sixth

Entrepreneurship Concepts

Hannah Tweed - Third

Samantha Thompson - Fourth

Financial Concepts

Nikita Konstantynovskyi - Eleventh

Impromptu Speaking

Grayson Lasater - Second

Job Interview

Kimberly Lopez - Second


Hannah Tweed - Second

Jacob Wallace - Fourth

Grant Pinkston - Sixth

Management Concepts

Ryleigh Cisneros - Sixth

Marketing Concepts

Alex Pike - First

Valerie Blasingame - Third


James Franklin, Jr. - Third

Network Design

George Blaj-Voinescu - First

Networking Concepts

George Blaj-Voinescu - Fourth

Organizational Behavior & Leadership

Austin Osburn - Sixth

Kaylee Brewster - Seventh

Kimberly Lopez - Eighth

Personal Finance

Jacob Wallace - Fourth

Austin Osburn - Seventh

Kaylee Brewster - Eighth

Ryleigh Cisneros - Tenth

Programming Concepts

Thales Vilar - Second

Project Management

Grant Pinkston - Fourth

Ryleigh Cisneros - Fifth

Nikita Konstantynovskyi - Seventh

Samkelo Cele - Eighth

Public Speaking

Grayson Lasater - First

Retail Management

Ryleigh Cisneros - Eighth

Sports Management & Marketing

Alex Pike - First

Grant Pinkston - Fifth

Nikita Konstantynovskyi - Sixth

Samkelo Cele - Seventh

Yealex Lopez - Eighth