Dr. C. Dan Litchford Jr.
Professor, Professional Sales 1969 - 2012
I began my years at Weber State University in the Academic Year of 1969-70 and retired in the Academic Year of 2011-12. During those 42 years I witnessed many changes as we moved from a College to a University. These are highlights of my years with Weber State University and are part of the History of the evolution of the School of Technology to the current title. I hope they are helpful in your sabbatical project. I talked with Dr. Eichmeier and found that we were covering many of the same things so we agreed to go this current direction. These are my memories and he will send you his so between the two of us we should have covered the creation and growth of the current Professional Sales Department.
Evolution of Name Changes of the Department.
I began as a part-time instructor teaching 10 quarter hour courses in the Distributive Education program with Steve Eichmeier who created the program there. We were housed in the Old Technical Education building with the north end rooms set up like a grocery store with 6 cash registers and checkout lanes and classroom seating. It looked like a grocery store from the outside and all the shelves were full of items that different companies had donated for training purposes. The students completed a National Cash Register Company Certified Cashier-Training program. Graduates were hired at Smith’s Food King and many other stores. Dee Smith served on the Advisory committee for the program and had instructed all Smith Stores to hire only graduates from this program. I traveled to Kalamazoo Michigan University to become certified to teach the program. Steve Eichmeier gave me that responsibility as he continued to build programs for our department and ended up hiring 4 more instructors through vocational grant moneys to direct a Food Service and Restaurant Management Program, a Meat Cutting Program, a Fashion Merchandising program, a Retail and Direct Sales Program and an Insurance Sales certification program. The Cosmetology Training program was added to the Department so the north end of the bottom floor housed all the chairs and equipment for that 2000-hour certification program. All of the specialty areas had Advisory Committees made up of industry people who regularly met and monitored the direction of the various programs.
School of Technology was the School's name so the program underwent a name change from Distributive Education to Distributive Technology to be consistent with the College name. After a year of part-time teaching I wrote for a Vocational funding grant that provided funds so that I was hired as a full-time faculty member.
Sales and Service Technology
Steve Eichmeier was moved to become the Director of the Campus Career Center. I served as the Department Chairman until I went on sabbatical leave to Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg Virginia for the next 1 ½ years to complete a Doctorate in Vocational-Technical Education/ Distributive Education Teacher Education.
Vocational Director for Campus
Upon completion of my degree I returned home and returned to teaching when Dale Cowgill was the Dean of the School and Joseph Bishop was the President of the University. Wendell Esplin had been serving as the Dean. President Bishop fired all the Deans on campus and brought in his own people which created much controversy. All of this occurred while I was away. Howard Johnson has been serving as the Vocational Education Director overseeing all the two-year vocational programs in Technology & Health Sciences. He tragically passed away in October while getting wood for the winter. Because of the problems on campus no one had been hired to replace him. Weber was supposed to be evaluated for accreditation that Spring to continue to receive state vocational funding which was thousands of dollars for the campus. I had been interviewed by Dean Cowgill about my intentions and goals after completing my Doctorate because at the time a Master Degree was required for most of the technical programs and there were few in the school with EdD or PhD degrees. I remember him telling me about the mess with Vocational Education Funding because there was no one to handle the accreditation process which would occur that spring. Cowgill advised me to not even consider that position because of the mess it was in and I agreed.
The very next day I was visiting with the personnel manager at ZCMI in downtown Ogden about students we had working there when a call came from campus to have me return immediately and meet with my Dean. I was told by the Dean that in today’s President Council, the VP, Dello Dayton, had recommended replacements for the Vocational Director. There were Wendell Esplin, our former Dean, and Paul Butterfield, the former Dean of Continuing Education, but President Bishop said no to his recommendation and announced that he was appointing Dan Litchford to fill that position. Cowgill was upset, but reminded me that I could always say no but that I would be saying no to the President, so I reported to Dello Dayton’s Office. He was still so angry from the meeting that he was still shaking and he told me what my responsibilities would be and the urgency concerning the up and coming accreditation. I was stunned and shocked because this was the first I had heard about any of it. The next day I was no longer teaching Sales and Service Technology but was directing the vocational education programs for the year. The most stressful year of my life would be an understatement. I was replaced the next year when President Bishop left and Dello Dayton appointed Paul Butterfield to be the Vocational Director. I then returned to teaching in my old department.
First Faculty Member from School of Technology to be Chairman of Faculty Senate
For years, the School of Technology has had representation on the College Faculty Senate. An Executive Committee is selected by members of the faculty from the entire faculty population. The Fine Arts areas have always had more faculty and as a result the Chairman for this committee would be elected from one of their departments. Never has anyone from the School of Technology been voted in as the chairman of this committee. I was the first and I was not even on campus at the time of the election. I was recovering from surgery at the McKay Dee Hospital when the year’s election process was held. For whatever reason this year, because I was a member of the faculty from the School of Technology that served on the Faculty Senate, my name was on the ballot when the Executive Committee Chair was selected. I was visited by the Dean of our college and a member of the School of Education at the hospital to inform me that I would be serving as the Chair of the committee in that coming year. I was the first and I had no idea I was even being considered for the position. It was a tough year indeed because none of the other schools wanted Technology to have that kind of influence over the politics of the campus. I served for one year and then was not elected again when a faculty member from the Math Department had one more vote than I did. The liberal Arts faculty celebrated and I was more than happy to retire. It did open the door for others from the Vocational-Technical faculty to serve in coming years.
4-Year BS Degree in Technical Sales
The proposal for, and approval of, a four-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Technical Sales was a major change in direction for the department. I worked with John Burkes who was serving as our department chairman to prepare for approval of the proposal for this first four-year degree. It was a real battle to get it through the different levels of the University and required approval of the Marketing Department of the School of Business and Economics. After finally winning approval we went to the meeting of the Board of Regents in St. George that year and presented it to them for approval. Because this had never been done anywhere else in the state of Utah, and at the time there were no such degree types anywhere else in the country, the effort was a significant change and required tremendous work and research and selling skills to get it approved. After the Board of Regents approval, Weber State University began offering courses in this option and gained wide acceptance and support from the business and industry. Graduates with this degree were recruited all over the country, and now today Professional Sales four-year programs are found in several other Universities across the country. It was a highlight of my career to have played a part in this accomplishment.
Technical Sales Minor and combination degrees
When a Technical Sales Minor was created, students began to combine a Technical minor with Majors in Health Sciences, Computer Sciences, Electronics, and Automotive degrees giving students a unique set of qualifications for the many employment opportunities that existed.
Professional Sales Department and Sales Excellence Training Center
The last name change was to Professional Sales, and Allan Hall Sales Excellent Training Center was funded and began to work with Business to conduct Specialized Sales training at Weber State University. The Professional Sales Department continued to expand and grow in influence with tremendous support from the business world.