Students win national tech award

January 21, 2020

National tech awardeesFour CALS students were recognized with the prestigious Low-Code Innovation’s “Highest Return on Investment” award for an employee-facing smartphone app design. Kate Collins, ag bus senior from Adel, was part of the Landus Cooperative app project team recognized with a global award. Category winners hailed from Brazil, Philippines, and Australia. 

In photo at left are (l to r) Laura Mincks, senior, ag and life sciences education, Columbus Junction; Josh Carlson, senior, ag studies, Gowrie; Josh Halbur, junior, ag systems technology, Breda, and Collins.

What started as a summer internship project building a smartphone app to help a local cooperative team turned into a globally recognized accomplishment for the return on investment it delivered to the company.

As part of the cooperative’s annual summer internship program, the four students developed software requirements, oversaw spring planning and design, tested the app, and calculated the approximately $100,000 return on investment. 

During the project kickoff last summer, the interns learned that harvest is arguably the busiest time at a farmer-owned cooperative. 

With another big harvest looming, Landus Cooperative tasked interns Mincks, Carlson, Halbur, and Collins with finding a way to streamline the process for setting and communicating harvest hours to its more than 7,000 farmer members across more than 50-grain locations in 26 counties. 

The cooperative intern team partnered with the internal technology team and built the app using the OutSystems low-code application development platform. The app was launched in August. 

“The result of the project was phenomenal,” explained Brett Bell, who oversees operations for the cooperative’s grain and agronomy business. “Our location managers could make a decision to change hours with the click of three buttons on their smartphone and post the new hours to our website, send out text and app messages, and update our app for our growers. 

Landus Cooperative estimated a three-year ROI of more than $100,000 intangible staff-time cost savings plus intangible benefits of customer satisfaction through the faster transmission of accurate information. It was recognized with a “Highest Return on Investment Innovation Award,” which celebrates apps that make companies dramatically more proactive, and productive, while enhancing their business with an unparalleled ROI.

The project was recognized by OutSystems at its 2019 Low-Code Innovation Awards ceremony, which was held at its NextStep conference series held in Denver and Amsterdam. Winners were named from the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions and represent a wide variety of industries and innovative low-code use cases. 


Story and photos: Landus Cooperative
January 8, 2020