Iowa Manufacturers Collaborate to Retain Next Generation Sales Talent
Pella Corporation and Vermeer Corporation Partner with Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business to Prepare Undergraduates for In-State Sales Careers
One-third of students graduating from an Iowa public four-year university are likely to leave the state to begin their careers, according to an Iowa Workforce Development college student survey. Two of Iowa’s premiere manufacturers, Pella Corporation and Vermeer Corporation, are joining forces with Iowa State University to keep graduates in state and prepare them for a career in sales.
The two manufacturers are sponsoring the university’s Ivy Sales Forum, a collaboration between academia and industry organizations – a first program of its kind in Iowa.
Open to any major at Iowa State University, the professional sales certificate program, offered by the Ivy College of Business, is designed to provide students with industry-based case studies and experience.
“We’re investing in the next generation of sales talent here in our home-state,” said Nicolle Picray, Brand Communications and Public Relations Manager, Pella Corporation. “We believe that our focus on the development of young professionals is part of what makes Pella a great place to establish a career in sales.”
Research studies suggest that approximately 80 percent of marketing majors accept a sales position upon graduation and notably, 60 percent of all business students will take a job with at least some sales-related duties after graduation. This was the case for Jack Wilgenbusch who participated in Iowa State’s sale certificate program and completed an internship with Pella Corporation.
“Being a part of this program and having the ability to obtain hands-on experience has helped me gain a vision for my career,” says Wilgenbusch. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet local business leaders and gain contacts that will help me make decisions upon graduation. I’m excited about my future here in Iowa.”
The two corporations are doing more than just sponsoring the forum, they’re getting involved too. Austen Bonnema, commercial business manager at Vermeer Corporation, spent time with the students teaching concepts and getting the students on Vermeer equipment to help demonstrate the entire sales cycle. “This partnership is a valuable opportunity to support up-and-coming sales leaders and introduce them to our organization. The program teaches students the personal skills of knowing how to connect with people but also goes into the technical aspects of developing long-term business partner relationships. It’s exciting to help them develop their sales skills and share the many opportunities a role in sales can lead to within Vermeer,” said Bonnema.
The Ivy Sales Program will move to a state-of-the art space located within the new 45,000 square foot expansion to the Gerdin Business Building, home to the Ivy College of Business. Scheduled to be open in January 2021, the new space will include a dedicated suite for sales education and real-life practice. The program is part of the Department of Marketing and is led by Raj Agnihotri. It is the only accredited program of its kind in Iowa.
About Pella Corporation
Pella Corporation designs and manufacturers windows and doors for residential homes and commercial applications. The company is headquartered in Pella, Iowa and employs more than 7,000 people with 17 manufacturing locations and more than 200 showrooms across the country. For more information, visit pella.com.
About Vermeer Corporation
Vermeer Corporation delivers a real impact in a progressing world through the manufacture of high-quality underground construction, surface mining, tree care, environmental and agricultural equipment. With a reputation for durability and reliability, that equipment is backed by localized customer service and support provided by independent dealers around the world. To learn more about Vermeer Corporation, visit vermeer.com.