By Heather Jones
The purpose of the award, according to the chamber, is to recognize a business or other entity that has demonstrated innovative and user-friendly application of Web site technologies to promote their operational goals, and that has had a positive impact on the Lubbock area.
“The chamber looks for a Web site that has impact on the community, is easy to navigate and serves its market well,” Vice President of Business Development for the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Mary Jane Buerkle said. “We wanted to recognize members of the chamber through how they implement technology in their Web site.”
“While any Web site can look nice,” Bill Curnow, an application infrastructure architect for PCCA said, “our site was recognized for the interactive features we offer our members and customers.”
The PCCA website was activated for general use in 1996, and it averages more than nine million hits a month. The Web site includes information regarding PCCA’s current line of products and services as well as historical information about the cooperative. The site has had four facelifts in 10 years, Curnow said.
“Every version of the Web site is more technologically advanced, more interactive and more visually appealing,” he said. “We now have more online interaction communicating with our members than ever before.”
The Web site contains several secure applications that allow PCCA’s member- owners, denim customers, warehouses, cotton shippers and media outlets access to information specific to their dealings with PCCA. Cotton merchants and shippers are able to schedule their shipments using a live, interactive shipping calendar, and members are able to view data on their ginned cotton, payments and their equity position with the cooperative.
PCCA’s Web site is managed completely by PCCA’s Information Systems Department which currently has a staff of 24 people, each of whom have contributed to the success of the Web site in their own way, Curnow said.
“The secret to our success has always been the programmers who write our applications,” he said. “Of course, none of this would be possible without a solid infrastructure, and we are fortunate enough to have one of the top network departments in Lubbock, if not our entire service region.”
The Web sites entered in the contest are turned over to a panel of judges who base their evaluations on a point system, Buerkle said.
In past years, we used members of the chamber,” she said, “but this year we put together a sub-committee of people from around Lubbock to judge the applicants.
According to the application, judging criteria includes elements such as, but not limited to, an appealing web design and layout, ease of navigation, location of Web site development, maintenance and tangible impact on the company and the city of Lubbock.
The judges, although anonymous, had great things to say about PCCA’s Web site. They said it had a very clean design, an uncluttered layout and was very easy to use.
In order to be considered for the award, applicants had to be a member of the chamber, have a local presence in Lubbock and the South Plains area, and the Web site had to have been operating for 12 consecutive months.
Curnow explained the design and creation of the site was a team effort, and he is very proud to work with such talented fellow employees.