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Golden Calf Company

How Knack Helped a Young Developer Win a Congressional Competition

Dagmar Anna and team at the Congressional App Challenge

Dagmar Anna Beckel is an exceptional person. She won the Congressional App Challenge, and helped her mom build an inventory database for the only dairy parts manufacturer of its kind in the U.S. Plus, she’s achieved both of these accomplishments while balancing the demands of being a high school student. 

Needless to say, Dagmar Anna has a bright future ahead of her in software development, and she’s just getting started. That’s why we recently connected with Dagmar Anna and her mother, Dagmar, to learn how they’ve built two unique web apps with Knack.

Building an Inventory Database for Golden Calf

Dagmar Anna first started learning software development in 2nd grade. She began learning computer science principles and later learned programming languages like React Native and Python.

When Dagmar wanted to build a new inventory database for her manufacturing business that services the dairy industry, she knew it would be a great opportunity for Dagmar Anna to continue developing her software development skills.

Rather than hiring developers, or an agency, Dagmar chose to build the inventory system with Knack. Using Knack’s pre-built inventory database, they created a robust inventory system to track the components that comprise the colostrum management systems and tools they manufacture.

They transferred their data from Quickbooks to their own database and gained better insights into their inventory. In addition, Dagmar Anna built the ability for them to store images of the parts in the database, so they could share better data on the parts and tools they have.

By having better data, they easily shared diagrams, documentation, and detailed images with employees in different regions. This knowledge sharing helped employees with various levels of familiarity get up to speed with the information they needed to work on assembling their systems and tools. Furthermore, it helped them set up and organize their expanded warehouse efficiently.

Our company is like the typical American dream story. We started in our garage, then moved into a 8,000 sq ft facility. Then two years ago, we bought a 60,000 sq ft building. But at that point, we were keeping our inventory in QuickBooks, which is very limited in what we can do and how we share information. To facilitate our move and setting up new inventory locations we ended up building a database in Knack based off of one of the pre-built inventory management apps.

Winning a Congressional App Challenge

After helping her mother build a detailed inventory system for Golden Calf, Dagmar Anna learned about the Congressional App Challenge from her 8th grade teacher. In this competition, students have the opportunity to create and submit apps that represent their district and win the opportunity to present to Congress. Dagmar created a team with two of her classmates, Casey Haugen and Peter Wise, and last year they won with a mobile game app. This year they wanted to challenge themselves to a new style of app development.

Like any great entrepreneur, Dagmar Anna chose to solve a real problem in her community. Many high school students need to conduct volunteer work for clubs and college applications, but it can be difficult for them to find volunteer opportunities and log their hours efficiently.

With this challenge in mind, Dagmar Anna and her team developed the idea to build a marketplace that connects students looking for service opportunities with members of the community who need volunteers. Also, the app would enable students to log their hours, so they could track them from a convenient location.

Dagmar Anna’s CW App Team spent most of her summer working on the plan, and their hard work paid off when they were chosen to present the idea in Washington D.C. at the House of Code event. 

Dagmar Anna at the House of Code Event

Creating a Volunteer Marketplace App

Because she was already familiar with Knack, Dagmar Anna shared it with her friends. As it presented a great opportunity for her to learn app infrastructure from a pre-built environment, they chose Knack to develop their application.

By leveraging Knack’s no-code building blocks, they quickly launched a calendar where community members can post opportunities. They also built emailing, user management, and login functionality from Knack’s pre-built solutions.

Because the target audience was community members who weren’t likely to leverage mobile solutions, it had greater adoption since it was an accessible web app. Additionally, it performed an important function of connecting people in a rural community.

Not only did the app earn Dagmar Anna and her team a chance to present at the House of Code event, they were also invited by the US Department of Education to present at the National Stem Festival. Despite her successes, she’s not slowing down, and she’ll continue to work on building more features to her application with Knack’s help.

Knack gives Dagmar Anna a more rounded experience. Not only can she program an app, but she can work in an environment that was predefined by someone else. She can work with data sets and understand the relationships within that database and how you organize it. To me, that is the biggest value for the student team and what they were able to get out of this project.

What’s Next for Dagmar Anna and Dagmar?

Dagmar will continue to enlist Dagmar Anna’s help in expanding their inventory system with Knack. Some ideas that she’d like to build into the solution include expanded performance, process, and maintenance optimization by leveraging Knack’s tools.

Dagmar Anna is working on expanding and improving her application with the goal to earn a chance to continue in the Congressional App Challenge for a third year. No matter what happens with the app challenge, she has a bright future ahead of her in software development, and the world is a better place because of it.