Director, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship
Born Pittsburgh, PA. Early life in Oakmont before attending Grove City College, Grove City, Pa. Graduated English Major in 1965. Air Force ran an information office that included the investigation and tracking of UFOs. Married Nancy Valoon Cook (Slippery Rock) in 1967 (Clearly the most fortunate day of my life.) Offered and accepted a sales rep job with Scott Paper Company in 1967 (When asked "Where would you like to work?" I replied, "Anywhere but Pittsburgh." I was promptly assigned to Detroit.) Later we would have a son Andy born in Detroit.
Moved from Detroit to Flint, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, back to Detroit in a period of two years until I was welcomed into marketing at Scott's Headquarters outside Philadelphia. A daughter Candice was born while in Philadelphia.
Was promoted to "Promotions Development Manager" working with brands to balance their overall marketing strategies. In essence we were all trying to figure out how to get the maximum benefit from three pots of money-Consumer Advertising, Trade Promotion and Consumer Promotion.
Another fellow and I were offered the chance to start a new business within the structure of Scott Paper. One year later we had developed Underoos, the Kids' Underwear that's Fun to Wear. Essentially, we negotiated the rights to all of the Super Hero characters, Major League Baseball, the NFL, Disney and Saturday morning cartoon characters to put Logos or characters on children's sets of underwear. Scott abandoned the idea (later successfully taken to market by Union Underwear.)
Promoted to National Training Manger and became an instructor in Xerox Professional Selling Skills/Coaching, KISS and the Scott Process System of Selling.
Promoted to Customer Development Manager and conducted various programs to foster better relationships with all major national accounts. Part of the process was to conduct a week long Leadership Seminar in which I addressed various styles and effectiveness of leading. We also brought in financial and political heavyweights from Wharton and Washington to speak on current trends and issues.
I went to Houston as District and later Regional Sales Manager for the South West. After five years in Houston, I left Scott and in partnership with a past National Sales Manager for Unilever, we opened a food brokerage company. We started with seven people and over two years grew to 55. We were the fastest growing brokerage in the country, representing a host of major national consumer packaged goods brands.
In 1986 my friends at the Safeway chain called to tell me that a guy had made a presentation on a promotion using Postage Stamps and manufacturer's coupons. Together we started a company and figured out how to make the promotion work for consumers, retailers, manufacturers, brokers and the United States Postal Service. We were successful in selling the promotion with retailers across the country and working with hundreds of CPG organizations in building joint executions. The promotion eventually succumbed to various forces of Sarbane Oxley, decline of U.S. Postage Stamps, expiration of patents and the consolidation of retailers, manufacturers and brokers.
In 2006 I formed MarketFinders to advise and participate as organizations take ideas and products into markets. I work with various organizations in understanding their future, establishing strategies and plans and assisting in achieving results. I worked with Texas A&M University in developing strategies and "future" work for their Office of Technology Commercialization. In 2007 I began doing mentoring work at the University of Houston. In 2009 I became Director of Mentoring Programs for the WCE and continue my consulting work in helping take ideas to market.
- CBB 528A
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