UVU To Create Professional Sales Program With $2 Million Gift From Vivint
January 30, 2014
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton
Written by: Chris Taylor
Utah Valley University President Matthew S. Holland and Vivint founder and CEO Todd Pedersen today jointly announced a new partnership that will result in the creation of a professional sales program on UVU campus, thanks to a $2 million investment from Vivint Inc. and Pedersen.
The Todd Pedersen Professional Sales Program will reside within the Woodbury School of Business’ marketing department and will operate, in part, out of UVU’s Business Resource Center, which will now bear the Vivint name.
“What is especially thrilling to me is that the request for a program of this nature came from the business community, and Todd Pedersen — one of Utah Valley’s top business leaders — stepped in and helped make it happen,” said President Holland. “The Vivint organization is known for its innovation, foresight and commitment to Utah Valley and the state. This investment is one more example of those values in action, and we look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with Todd and an organization of Vivint’s caliber.”
Vivint is the largest home automation services provider and the second largest residential solar provider in North America. In 2012, the Blackstone Group purchased Vivint for more than $2 billion, making it the largest tech acquisition in Utah history. Currently, Vivint has more than 800,000 customers and employs more than 7,000 people throughout the United States and Canada. The company has also received nationwide recognition, including being named one of Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies and ranking second in the 2013 Inc. Hire Power Awards for companies leading the nation in job creation.
“Utah has a talent pool of students with amazing sales potential. The missing equation has been a professional platform to help foster the various skills that equate to exceptional salesmanship. I am honored to help establish a sales program that will provide students with the training, education and communication skills that will benefit them throughout their entire careers,” said Pedersen.
The UVU professional sales program will help meet the growing demand in the community and state for highly trained sales professionals. The $2 million gift will immediately help establish UVU as the premier professional sales training school in the Intermountain West and likely beyond, according to Woodbury School of Business Dean Norman Wright.
“This is a game-changing gift that puts us on a path that will allow us to emerge as a top five sales program in the country,” Wright said.
UVU’s professional sales program — which will include coursework in personal selling, sales management, sales analytics and a sales internship — will focus on developing real-world skills and will also include a unique sales research component. To that end, Vivint’s investment will, in part, establish a sales and marketing research center and laboratory that will incorporate the latest eye-tracking equipment and facial coding technology, the only of its kind in the region.
The laboratory will be located on UVU campus in the Vivint Business Resource Center, which is also home to the state’s top small business development center and the state’s only manufacturing extension program.
“The Business Resource Center is a fitting and ideal location for the research center and embodies what Todd Pedersen and Vivint are all about,” said Steve Roy, associate vice president of economic development at UVU. “Students will be able to network and conduct market research with business owners and entrepreneurs in a business start-up and incubation environment. It adds a real-world dimension that is difficult to simulate.”
The gift will also create a research director position, establish a scholarship program and help fund an additional faculty member. It will also help students participate in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition and similar competitions. The program will train an estimated 200 students, help support 50-plus internship experiences and provide more than 50 merit and need-based scholarships over the course of the next half decade.
With the help of a $20 million gift from the Woodbury Corporation in 2007, UVU’s AACSB-accredited Woodbury School of Business has rapidly grown to become one of the largest and top schools of business in the state. The professional sales program’s growth follows on the heels of UVU’s personal financial planning program, which recently emerged as a top five program in the nation.
The professional sales program will officially launch in fall 2014 and will begin accepting applications this spring. Students interested in the program can contact Paul Dishman, chair of the UVU marketing department, at 801-863-8098.