Wichita State News
Photo: WSU Foundation
Representatives of Allegro Development, Wichita State and Koch Industries.

WSU's Koch Global Trading Center gets $2.3 million in software

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Allegro Development, a Dallas-based enterprise that helps companies trade and track commodities, has donated a software package valued at $2.3 million to Wichita State University’s new Koch Global Trading Center.

WSU students will use the software as a tool to better understand the complex process of trading commodities, tracking their movement from the point of production to the point of consumption, and measuring risk throughout the process, said Michael Hinton, Allegro’s chief customer officer and senior vice president of products and solutions.

“Currently, most students fresh out of college are not prepared to manage the complexities of a commodities system that involves end-to-end trading, risk and logistics,” Hinton said. “Our goal is to eliminate some of the learning curve that the industry absorbs and prepare these students for real-world scenarios.”

Wichita State is the first university with which Allegro has partnered.

“Allegro will evaluate the WSU partnership to use it as a possible template for other universities that are committed to commodity trading curriculums,” Hinton said.

Real-time intelligence

The software, called Allegro 8, provides real-time intelligence for improved decision-making in a process called commodity value chain risk management. Companies use the software to help ensure that they are managing their commodities as efficiently as possible to produce less risk and greater profit. Allegro will donate 50 software licenses to WSU as well as ongoing support and maintenance. The first-year value of the gift is $2.3 million, with support and maintenance valued at $381,000 a year, Hinton said.

Timothy Craft, an associate professor of finance at Wichita State, has been working with Wichita-area businesses to prepare the curriculum for the Koch Global Trading Center.

“Part of the mission of the center is to expose our students to energy and commodity trading,” he said. “Allegro’s gift is an integral part of that. Using their solutions software, we are developing a new trading class where students will be able to trade different assets, such as oil, and then track, settle and evaluate the risk of that trade. We could not offer this course without their software.”

Allegro’s Hinton cited a recent survey of energy-related companies that showed their No. 1 concern is the availability of well-educated workers ready to step into jobs from which many baby boomers are retiring.

“Educating college students on the impact technology will have in the energy industry will help them become employed faster because of the skills they will learn,” Hinton said. “The Millennials have been more exposed to technology than any other generation. They are the future of the energy industry.”

Allegro is a leading provider of commodity value chain and risk management software. Based in Dallas, it has offices in Calgary, Houston, London, Singapore, Sydney and Zurich.

The Koch Global Trading Center will be equipped with real-time quotes, international data feeds and analysis software to prepare business students for careers in the financial and commodity markets. It seeks to educate students from all disciplines about the impact trading activities have on each aspect of a business.

The 800-square-foot facility will be located on the main floor of Clinton Hall. It is slated to open this summer.

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