The first-ever college marketing competition in Ontario took place at Lambton College in Sarnia in 1980, with professor Gerry Gravstaed leading the charge. That college had been involved with competitions in the United States, but found the U.S. teams to be inferior from those in Canada, as their education is much more general. They took the format and even used the same name: Distribution Education Clubs of America, or DECA.
Lambton began competing with a group of other southwestern Ontario colleges, which eventually included Fanshawe, St. Clair, Niagara, Mohawk, and Conestoga. Until 1985 this was the extent of the event. In 1986, the event was hosted by Mohawk College in Hamilton, which reached beyond the original six, inviting every college to come. Only four answered the call: Centennial, Durham, St. Lawrence and Seneca.
- 1980: First DECA event at Lambton
- 1986: First event beyond south-west six colleges; 10 at Mohawk
- 1986: First time OCMC name used at Mohawk
- 1988: First time entire province represented at St. Lawrence; 17 colleges
- 1989: Only deferred event due to strike; 1989 event held in February, 1990 at Cambrian
- 1995: Only time OCMC missed
- 2005: 25th anniversary!
Completely Province-Wide: The Kingston event marked the first time that the event was truly a province-wide Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition. Professor Kip Tuckwell urged every college in the province to attend and got 17, including those from Northern Ontario and every corner of the province, stretching it well beyond its base in southwestern Ontario. This was also the first time it became a two-day event.
There has been an OCMC every year since then, except for 1995. Usually, 15 colleges take part, and the event has been hosted by Cambrian, Centennial (twice), Georgian (twice), Algonquin (twice), St. Clair, Conestoga, George Brown, Durham, Fleming, Sheridan and St. Lawrence (four times).
Who Runs the OCMC? Nobody! There is no formal overseeing body for the competition. Rather, the college hosting in the upcoming year manages all the details of organizing that year’s event. Annual meetings are held with faculty from most colleges present to discuss broad issues regarding the competition.
Partly because of the structure, the OCMC has always been driven as a student-centred event, with volunteer faculty handling the organization.