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2019 - 2020 State Officer Team

RAJ PATEL

PRESIDENT

Honored to be serving as the 2019-2020 Nevada DECA State President, Raj Patel is ready to elevate Nevada DECA to new heights. He is a fourth year DECA member, two term state officer, experienced competitor, and rising leader. He attends West Career and Technical Academy in the Biomedical Sciences program, with a passion for business.

During his first year in DECA, he focused his time and energy in developing as a leader and competitor, eventually capping off his first year with a 5th place finish at the 2017 International Career Development Conference in Principles of Finance with the support of his chapter.

The support he received was the key to his success, so he decided to give back to the members of his chapter by becoming a chapter officer. As a chapter officer, he was able to raise money to help members attend conferences. At his next state conference, he decided to run for the VP of Career Development position, using his competitive edge to give back to the state.

His passions extend past competition to creating success for each and every member, whether by hosting competition preparation calls before ICDC, helping with Chapter Leadership Council calls, or visiting chapters.

When not in DECA mode, Raj is a committed student, aspiring chef, and longtime swimmer. He hopes to dual major in business and medicine in college to eventually start his own medical practice. He also loves to cook at least one night a week and has swam both competitively and recreationally for the past 8 years.

In the future, Raj hopes to excel at ICDC to bring home some DECA glass! He believes that this upcoming year, Nevada DECA can grow to new heights with the help of a new cohort of state officers.


REX BURNHAM

VICE PRESIDENT OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Rex Burnham and is a third year DECA student, the current Nevada DECA Vice President of Career Development and a rising junior at the Davidson Academy. Rex has been very successful in competition, winning first place in ASM for the past two years, second place in BTDM, a finalist slot in the Helena Lagos scholarship and placing as an international finalist at ICDC. Rex’s top three college picks are Dartmouth, Columbia and Duke, and he hopes to major in economics and eventually work as an investor. Rex aims to find a job that is both sustainable and benevolent, leaving a positive impact on the world while also supporting himself in the process. In his free time, Rex tutors students with learning disabilities and climbs on a local competitive team, as well as skiing in the winter. 

“DECA is more than just an organization - It’s like a family to me. Every year, I get to meet new people, visit fantastic locations and share amazing experiences with fellow students who are all here for the same reason I am. I recommend DECA to any student, whether they are extremely interested in business or simply want to meet new friends and attend amazing events."


JIANPENG CAI (KENNY)

VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING

Kenny Cai, a senior at West Career and Technical Academy in the Digital Media program, is honored to serve as your 2019-2020 Vice President of Marketing. He is not only excited to grow and learn as a state officer, but he is also thrilled to be on this journey with all of the members to strengthen Nevada DECA.

DECA has allowed Kenny to overcome his fear of public speaking and nerves when meeting new people. He learned to feel confident in front of crowds, develop strong work ethics, and network with some of the most influential people around the world who left a positive impact on the way. By being an officer, he hopes to give back to DECA by creating opportunities for members of this organization to learn and grow. With his passion in graphic designing and video editing, Kenny hopes to strengthen the exposure this organization can receive from multiple social media platforms.

Outside of DECA, Kenny is involved in a number of extracurricular activities. He is in the Mu Alpha Theta at WCTA; being a part of it, he has been able to improve his math and critical thinking skills when approaching difficult problems. He also tutors students at his school who may need guidance with algebra or geometry. Kenny has enjoyed playing chess from a young age, and is a devoted member of the Chess team. Aside from activities within WCTA, he’s an active volunteer at Springs Preserve and Las Vegas Chinese School. In the future, he hopes to work in the programming field with a degree in computer science.

Beyond excited, Kenny Cai hopes to create something wonderful with the members of DECA this year!


JUSTIN FERGUSON

VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE

Justin Ferguson, Nevada DECA’s Vice-President of Finance, is a third year DECA member and a junior at the Davidson Academy. He won second in Principles of Finance his freshman year and placed third in both his events, accounting applications and financial consulting, at SCDC 2019.

His trip to ICDC during his freshman year was the first time he encountered the thrill of international competition and the shockingly delicious fried chicken found in the Southern states. He hopes to more share more ICDC experiences with Nevada DECA members in the future.

To Justin, DECA represents a unique opportunity to exercise and develop vital business-related skills that will be needed in any industry or field. He believes that the intellectual and emotional intelligence required to succeed in DECA are the same skills vital to success in the workforce.

When not fulfilling his DECA responsibilities, Academics are incredibly important to Justin. He dedicates time to his studies, but after school, DECA is his priority. As the Vice-President of Finance, he works frequently with his fellow officers to help Nevada DECA succeed.

Justin plans to attend a college specializing in business and finance. He wants to achieve a degree in finance and go on to a graduate school of business. The University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University are among his top choices for college.

In his free time, Justin plays baseball for his local high school and shreds jazzy tunes in the Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra. He enjoys following the stock market on a daily basis and encourages members to contact him if they have any questions or ideas relating to finance.


CAROLINE HSU

VICE PRESIDENT OF HOSPITALITY

Caroline Hsu, a senior in the Business Management program at West Career and Technical Academy, is honored to serve as your 2019-2020 Nevada DECA Vice President of Hospitality! She looks forward to see Nevada DECA “reach for the sky” in the next year alongside her fellow state officers.

Caroline joined DECA her freshman year, and instantly fell in love with the organization. She previously served as her chapter’s Vice President at Large and Vice President of Marketing, and has learned valuable public speaking and communication skills that have allowed her to flourish. skills, Through DECA, Caroline found herself, as well as friendships and memories that will last her a lifetime.

When Caroline isn’t dedicating her time to DECA, she’s on the tennis courts as the Palo Verde HS Varsity Women’s Tennis Captain, and currently holds two state titles. She is also a devoted volunteer for “Aceing with Autism,” a program where volunteers teach children with mental disabilities how to play tennis and help them receive financial aid. Caroline is also a member of the National Honor Society and National Business Honor Society.

When Caroline was little, her father once told her, “It isn’t about the challenge; it’s about rising above it,” which inspired Caroline to never give up and to always strive for the best. She strives to abide by this motto every single day.

Caroline hopes that she can share the exhilarating feeling she felt when she first joined DECA with all Nevada DECA members, and welcomes you aboard to an amazing year!


AKAASH KRISHNAN

VICE PRESIDENT OF LEADERSHIP

Akaash Krishnan, a senior at the Davidson Academy, is excited to serve as your Vice President of Leadership. He hopes to bridge the gap between state officers and chapter members by elevating the leader and encouraging DECA students to be the change that they seek.

Akaash joined DECA during his sophomore year. At SCDC 2018, he was astounded by the sheer magnitude and palpable energy of Nevada DECA. Determined to play a bigger role in DECA, he took on the role of his chapter’s VP of Operations, before deciding to run for state office. From being elected to VP of Leadership and becoming the state champion of HTDM, SCDC 2019 was nothing short of an exhilarating conference for Akaash. DECA has been a truly transformative experience for Akaash by giving him the chance to not only gain meaningful experience in the world of business, but also helping him pursue leadership opportunities to engage with his local community.

Outside of DECA, Akaash is a devoted member of his school’s Speech and Debate team, and supports younger students as a Peer Advising Liaison. You can also find him rock climbing at local gyms -- or climbing just about anything he can get his hands on -- and doing handstands. Feel free to challenge him to a handstand competition the next time you see him.

Whether it’s a question about DECA or a conversation about life, Akaash would love to talk! Feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.