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Lee Martin, second from left, and his fall 2019 project management class show off their exhibit in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Pride of the Southland Band.

Engineering Vols Honor UT Band via Project Management

Professor Lee Martin’s Project Management class in industrial and systems engineering celebrated the 150th anniversary of UT’s Pride of the Southland Marching Band with the creation of an exhibit that shows off the band’s history and legacy. The display is viewable in the Student Union until December 4.

The project was unveiled at the band’s Sesquicentennial Gala held on November 1 and was moved to the Student Union in celebration of the homecoming football game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The exhibit features four display cases, several walls of photos, and an interactive kiosk on the first floor of the Student Union, plus 10 large-scale photos and an audio narration—by Martin himself—in the skywalk between the two parts of the building.

Martin played trombone in the Pride during his years as a UT student and has maintained active support of the band as an alumnus. He was able to bring this personally relevant project into his class with real budgets, logistics, and hard deadlines.

“Involving engineering students with publicizing the traditions of the Pride of the Southland was a real ‘two-fer’,” said Martin. “It combined real-world experience in a project of lasting value for the engineers and a fitting tribute to the band’s impact on campus.”

Preparation for the anniversary project started in fall 2017 and continued throughout three fall project management classes. The fall 2017 class developed a proof of concept for an interactive kiosk and gained funding for the project. The fall 2018 class developed the kiosk.

The fall 2019 class began working on the physical presentation of the exhibit at the beginning of their semester. The 45 students divided into teams for leadership, style, production, story, and assembly. They found it to be much more than “just another class project.”

“To me, it was a life lesson,” said project co-lead Ashley Chen. “It taught me that without taking initiative, success is near impossible. Dr. Martin took the initiative to gain this real-world problem for our class. Jake Isaacs, my co-lead, took the initiative to help lead in order for our team to be successful. Our team stepped up to the plate and went above and beyond.”

The class worked through unexpected obstacles in executing the project, and the experience made for stronger relationships and as they fine-tuned their process and united to meet their deadline. Their finished exhibit in turn showcased the excellence, tradition, and discipline that makes the Pride consistently one of the best marching bands in the nation.