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Professional Sales Program


Sales Track Professors

There are many professors within the Marketing Department at the College of Business who direct and teach the sales track courses. These professors combine their business experience with their teaching and research to ensure that students are the best prepared college graduates for a career in sales.

Robert M. Peterson, White Lodging Professor of Sales, Director of the Sales Program
Dr. Peterson holds degrees from Indiana University, George Washington University and the University of Memphis. He was a salesperson for many years selling printing and financial data prior to earning his doctorate. Rob served on the board of the National Conference in Sales Management for seven years and is a current board member of the Sales Education Foundation. Rob is also the editor for The Journal of Selling & Major Account Management, a journal published by NIU's Professional Sales Program.

Dr. Peterson earned the American Marketing Association 2002 Innovative Teacher Award, the Innovative Sales Educator Award from the University Sales Center Alliance 2006, the 2010 Hormel Meritorious Teaching Award from the Marketing Management Association, and the most recently the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award by the Sales Special Interest Group of the American Marketing Association.

Rick E. Ridnour, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Professor of Sales
Dr. Ridnour received his Ph.D. at Iowa State University. He possesses a strong practitioner background in banking, real estate, and manufacturing. He has conducted numerous executive development programs in selling, presentation skills and customer service.

Dr. Ridnour was awarded the 1992 "Teacher of Excellence" award by the College of Business, which recognized his effective combination of theory and practice and business education. He also was one of three NIU faculty members selected to receive an Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award in 2001. Ridnour was inducted into the NIU Northern Star Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2004, he was one of three NIU professors to receive Northern's coveted Presidential Professorships.

Mark Groza, Assistant Professor
Dr. Groza received his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His dissertation examined how salespeople can best utilize marketing resources to achieve superior performance.

Dr. Groza has received numerous teaching and research awards. In 2011 he received an American Marketing Association best track paper award; in 2012 he was awarded the UMASS Isenberg School of Management Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching and Outstanding Doctoral Student Research Awards; he received first place in the 2012 Mary Kay Doctoral Dissertation Competition held by the Academy of Marketing Science; in 2013 he received the overall best paper award at the National Conference in Sales Management.

Charles H. Howlett, Instructor
Mr. Howlett offers realistic career insights from over 20 years of sales management experience with Lilly USA where he consistently built, coached and lead teams to achieve positive results. His analytical strengths of data analysis, strategy development, and field implementation provide real-world perspective, while his forte of developing team culture, maximizing individual representatives' strengths, and motivating teams to exceed expectations provide practical guidance for the sales program.

In addition to his teaching duties, Chuck partners with company representatives on the Professional Sales Program's Sales Advisory Board to seek enhancements in curriculum and networking opportunities with sales students. He received his undergraduate at Iowa State University and EMBA from Northern Illinois University.