Engineering students design suite management system for Olympia Entertainment as part of CECS's senior design competition

May 16, 2011

Screenshot of the suite management system designed by CECS students for Olympia Entertainment

DEARBORN / May 16, 2011---A group of four University of Michigan-Dearborn engineering students have created an interactive web-based tool for managing suite sales at major entertainment venues.

The team built the system for Olympia Entertainment--which operates Joe Louis Arena, Comerica Park, the Fox Theater, Cobo Arena and other venues around Detroit--as part of the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s annual senior design competition.

The students worked under the direction of Bruce Maxim, associate professor of computer and information science at UM-Dearborn, for their course work in senior design courses CIS 4951/4961 and CIS 4052/4962.

“This is the type of work that our CIS students have become noted for,” Maxim said. “Giving back to the community by doing meaningful projects for real clients in all sorts of organizations, including many non-profits.”

Student Scott Hoffman, who designed the system with his classmates John Papke, Alexander Paull and Nicolas Smith, said Olympia Entertainment plans to use the system before the start of the next hockey season. It will likely be a gradual roll-out, starting at Joe Louis Arena, but eventually used the company’s other venues as well.

“We are excited to be able to implement the program that the students developed,” said Sara Daniel, director of ticket and premium sales for Olympia Entertainment. “This will be a great tool for us to use next season and will help us become more efficient. It will streamline the process for selling the suites and will be an asset to us for reporting and being able to project sales. We appreciate the work and the time they spent listening to our vision and the program they came up with far exceeds anything I could have imagined.”

The system manages the entire suite sales workflow, from reserving a suite for a client and recording food and beverage requests, to tracking payment information and management reporting. The application supports multiple venues and events, giving sales staff the flexibility to customize rental packages for each client.

The team of students worked on the project for two semesters, using the first four months to shape the project’s scope and requirements and the past four months to implement the system.

The students were thrilled to contribute to a local organization that maintains a positive impact within the community and the city of Detroit while building a solution that delivered both high business value and project experience.

“We were tasked with building a system that essentially did not exist commercially,” said Papke. “In addition to the front-end scalability involved with the application, the accommodations we had to provide in order to support multiple entities were simply unheard of. Packaging that level of capability into a quality product and implementing it all using the latest in development technologies was a monumental effort for us.”

Hoffman said the team had not built such a large application using those technologies before but he was impressed by his team members’ ability to quickly adapt and solve tough problems.

“The experience of working with three other students on a large-scale project and seeing the whole application evolve from a set of requirements to a finished product was very valuable. Moreover, knowing that our system will actually be used by Olympia Entertainment confirms the project’s success and imparts a personal sense of accomplishment.”


About UM-Dearborn
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The University has nearly 8,900 students pursuing more than 90 bachelor's, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business and education.  A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.


Beth Marmarelli