July 08, 2001 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Chad Trisler, a 2001 graduate of La Grande High School, had almost given up hope.

He was just minutes away, however, from a red-letter moment in his life.

Trisler was at the national Future Business Leaders of America conference in Orlando, Fla. He had finished competing in the marketing concepts competition two days earlier and was now at an awards ceremony.

The top 10 finalists in the FBLAs marketing principles competition were being announced in random order. The top 10 were being called to a stage where the final placings would be announced.

Nine names had been called and Trislers name was not among them.

I didnt think I made it, Trisler said.

Fortunately he was wrong.

Trisler was the last student called to the stage.

Minutes later it was announced that Trisler had placed fourth in the nation.

I was amazed, he said.

Trisler placed on the basis of his performance on a 100-question exam that covered marketing concepts. It focused on what are known as the four Ps of marketing price, product, place and promotion.

Trisler said that taking the test was intimidating because he was in a room packed with people he had never seen before. One hundred were taking the marketing principles class. Hundreds more were taking other tests.

Trisler had an hour to complete his test and he completed it in 40 minutes.

I though I had done OK but I didnt think I had done exceptionally well, Trisler said.

He credits Molly Brog and Teresa Dowdy, the advisers of LHSs FBLA chapter, with playing important roles in his success at nationals. Trisler noted that a marketing class he took from Brog provided him with a foundation that helped significantly.

Dowdy said that Trisler did an excellent job of preparing himself for the exam.

He went beyond what a normal student would do, Dowdy said.

Trisler said that he enjoyed his experience at the FBLA conference, which 5,000 students attended and concluded on July 3.

It was an exciting, festive atmosphere, Trisler said.

He noted that there were many excellent workshops. Trisler said that the conference would have been worth going to even if he had not done well in his competition.

This was Trislers second trip to FBLA nationals. He also went last year as member of his chapters business plan team.

Trisler, who graduated with a 3.80 cumulative grade point average, will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall. He will study business and political science. He is the son of Brad and Jeanne Trisler of La Grande.

This is the second straight year an LHS student has placed at the national FBLA conference. Last year Melissa Forester, a 2000 LHS graduate, placed 10th in the business communication competition. In the late 1990s LHS also made a mark at nationals when Lindsay Baxter and Cassie Hibbert placed second in desktop publishing.

Trisler has been a member of LHSs FBLA chapter since his sophomore year. He was a state District 8 Vice President in 2000-2001. Dowdy said that Trisler has been a very loyal and dedicated member of LHSs chapter. Whenever his chapter held a work session Trisler would be the first to arrive and the last leave, Dowdy said.

This was a great way for him to go out, Dowdy said. He has been a phenomenal member.