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Scott Sherwood says farewell to MSU Denver

The director of the Center for Professional Selling retired in June.

By Lindsey Coulter

July 30, 2019

Scott SherwoodScott Sherwood, the recently retired director of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Center for Professional Selling, is approaching his post-professional life academically – with a reading list.

“I found a list of 50 books you must read before you die,” Sherwood laughed. “Right now I’m reading about two books a week, so I thought, ‘That’s only a year.’ Then I noticed it was volume one of four. I’ll have to live forever just to catch up on my reading!”

Sherwood, who retired in June, became an educator after 35 years in sales, management and marketing — and his education and career trajectory have made him especially relatable to students. A first-generation college graduate, Sherwood initially attended two years of college before being drafted during the Vietnam War, though a medical deferment kept him stateside.

“But I also wasn’t mature enough to be a college student,” Sherwood said. “It took me another 10 years to go back to school. I ultimately graduated from college 17 years after earning my high school diploma.”

Along the way, he worked for electronics distributors, eventually becoming worldwide account manager for a semiconductor manufacturer, developing global business relationships, managing an international sales force and watching the industry evolve.

“After a while, it wasn’t fun anymore,” Sherwood said, “and I had always had an interest in teaching math.”

Having studied applied mathematics at the University of Colorado Denver, where he later earned his MBA, he began teaching remedial math at the Community College of Denver and accepted a part-time position with the MSU Denver Marketing Department.

“I actually did both jobs for 3-4 years,” he recalled. “One year, I taught 22 classes. After serving as an MSU Denver affiliate, I got the rare opportunity to pursue a full-time position, which turned out very nicely.”

Since then, Sherwood has taught business communication, principles of marketing, retail marketing and much more, but the personal-selling course became his baby. He proudly watched demand for the course grow from one offering a year to three sections per semester. Sherwood grew the program in faculty and in academic opportunities, pursued MSU Denver membership in the University Sales Center Alliance and developed partnerships with companies such as Arrow Electronics, Denver Channel 7/Scripps and Comcast Business. These efforts eventually led to the development of an ambitious, agile and forward-thinking sales curriculum and the Center for Professional Selling.

“I enjoy the challenges of personal selling because it’s a lot more complex than people think. You have to understand your employer, your customers, your competitors, their customers, their customers’ competitors. You have to be a specialist in a wide range of things or a broad geographical area,” Sherwood said. “We understand that students aren’t going to go into a new job and be superstars the first day, but they’re going to be great candidates and great people to train. I’ve had recruiters tell me that they would hire every student on our team because of their maturity, experience and great work ethic.”

Noting the talents and contributions of Marketing colleagues such as Clay Daughtrey, Ed.D., professor; April Schofield, newly appointed director of the Center for Personal Selling; Sally Baallbaki-Yassine, Ph.D., associate professor; and Mick Jackowski, Ph.D., associate professor; and newly hired lecturer Tom Miller, Sherwood is confident the department will continue to thrive.

“I know that the CFPS will go on,” Sherwood said. “There’s going to be an infusion of new people, new ideas and new directions.”

In the meantime – in addition to tackling his 200-tome reading list and maintaining some professional connection to the department – Sherwood plans to golf, write and maybe try a new musical instrument.

“Swallow Hill offers harmonica classes,” he said. “Maybe that is my musical instrument, or just something to entertain myself.”

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