A UND committee announced Thursday it has selected three firms to make a case in person about why they should be picked to design the school’s Fighting Hawks logo.

Phoenix Design Works, SME Inc. and Summit Athletics Media will be invited to present to the university's Graphic Identity RFP Evaluation and Recommendation Team Monday or Tuesday on campus.

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The team has vetted proposals from firms since Jan. 15 by assigning initial scores. The three firms had the top scoring proposals, but a frontrunner is unclear because they were announced in alphabetical order Thursday.

Should one of the companies be unable to travel to UND, the next highest scoring proposal would be moved up into the top three.

The three selected firms would come to UND from the East Coast, as they are located in New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. The companies are responsible for their own travel costs.

Three Midwestern firms applied for the job, including Ad Monkeys Inc. in Grand Forks. The other two are located in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls, S.D.  

Much of the graphic identity team's meetings have taken place behind closed doors with UND asserting the review of the proposals is exempt from open meeting laws until oral presentations about them have been heard. The presentations of the selected firms will not be open to the public, but submitted proposals will become public record once the presentations have concluded.

The team will spend up to two hours with each firm, with 45 minutes reserved for the presentation and the remaining portion saved for questions and discussion.

Presentations must include certain criteria such as the firm’s past experience, how that experience would be used in UND’s case and how the graphic identity process would be managed.

“We have a really good idea about their qualifications and their experience, but it’s the scope of work we want to focus on and how they're going to address all of the items we have outlined in the (request for proposal),” UND Purchasing Director Jana Thompson said.

The university asks project managers present in order to allow a relationship to begin to build, she added.

After hearing the presentations, team members will continue discussion and then forward a recommendation to interim UND President Ed Schafer, who will make the final decision to hire a firm.

At the team’s Jan. 15 meeting, UND Vice President of University and Public Affairs Susan Walton said the university anticipates issuing a notice of intent to award a contract around Feb. 6 and expects to issue the contract around Feb. 16.

The Fighting Hawks nickname, which was announced in November, was selected to replace the school’s controversial Fighting Sioux nickname after it was retired in December 2012.

The university plans to have the logo designed this summer for implementation during the fall.

A total of 16 proposals were received following the release of UND’s request for proposal on Dec. 12. One was dropped from the running by the team for being considered incomplete.