February 6, 2004
Organizers, spectators, participants and others interested and involved in the upcoming Biathlon World Cup now have an attractive new website to access the latest information on the international sporting and cultural event that will take place in Fort Kent during the first week of March.
University of Maine at Fort Kent student Gintaras Lenkutis, an e-commerce major from Vilnius, Lithuania in his senior year, with the assistance of UMFK web designer Neal Jandreau, developed the concept for the new website and completed the design work.
The site, found at www.fortkentbiathlon.org, took Lenkutis and Jandreau three weeks to create, and in the short time it has been "on-line" has earned rave reviews.
Prominently featuring a photo which shows a side profile of a large bronze moose statue at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent with the 10th Mountain Division Lodge in the background, the home page of the website also includes the official competition logo, as well as the logos of the official sponsors.
Visitors accessing the site can view competition and cultural event schedules, venue maps, learn about the sport of biathlon, view photos of the Maine Winter Sports Center and Fort Kent, find driving directions, and also learn about the latest weather information.
The site also allows visitors the opportunity to get involved with the events, including a link that area residents can use to sign up to volunteer.
Visitors to the site looking for event souvenirs also have the opportunity to purchase items on-line.
Other features include media guides, the latest news on events, and a link for competition results that will be posted on the website after each day's events.
"I am very proud of the work Neal and I have done on the website. I have gained a great deal of hands on experience while creating the website and working with Neal Jandreau. This assignment has helped me implement the knowledge that I have gained during e-commerce and computer science classes taught by UMFK professors Tony Gauvin and Ray Albert," said Lenkutis.
The biggest challenge for the UMFK e-commerce student was finding the time to work on the site. Lenkutis is currently carrying a heavy student schedule of 19 credits hours, and is completing an internship under which he is assisting in the coordination and operations of the Biathlon World Cup souvenir shop in downtown Fort Kent.
"I hope the website will accommodate supporters needs before and during the event," said Lenkutis.
According to at least one source, the work Lenkutis has put into this project has achieved far more than his intended goal of "accommodating supporters' needs".
"When Gintaras first showed me the Biathlon web site that he and Neal had been developing, I was amazed at the professional quality of the site. It is graphically pleasing, easy to navigate and puts all the desired information just a few clicks way. It measures up against some of the very best available on the World Wide Web," said Tony Gauvin, UMFK assistant professor of e-commerce.
In addition to being pleasing to the eye, the new Biathlon World Cup website is extremely user friendly.
Drop down menus give visitors a chance to access all the pages from any location on the website without hitting the "back" button. Users can also log on to sponsors websites by just clicking on their logos.
"I hope that people will realize the benefit, even in a small town, of not only having a web presence, but for it to be done in as professional a manner as possible. I am not just referring to the way it is graphically presented, but also to how the information is written and organized within the site," said Jandreau.
It appears the UMFK web designer's hope has already been realized by many in the community. Organizers of the World Cup in Fort Kent are certainly taking notice.
"We are extremely grateful for the dedication, talent and professionalism of these two individuals. The site was built in a matter of weeks and resembles the work that would normally have taken months to complete. It is the dedication of people like this that will make this event in our community shine in the international spotlight," said Kelly Martin, volunteer coordinator for the World Cup.
UMFK campus officials echo Martins comments and further acknowledge the outstanding work of one of their own.
Gintaras's work is a validation of what I and others at UMFK were trying to establish with the new e-commerce program. I am proud of what he has accomplished. He is a great student and these recent efforts are testament to his desire to exceed at everything he attempts. His future accomplishments will speak well of UMFK and the town of Fort Kent. I am also very pleased at the way Gintaras, as well as other UMFK e-commerce students, have been able to a have positive impact on the economy of Northern Maine," said Gauvin.
Lenkutis's work on the World Cup website and on other projects may very well help launch him into his future career.
According to Martin, her brother, who recruits computer programmers in Connecticut, has seen Lenkutis's work and is so impressed he is helping him line up work after graduation.