KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A major gift by alumnus Robert Kaiser, owner and CEO of Gallagher-Kaiser Corporation, has transformed the sales lab at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business. The renovated and expanded facility has been named the Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab.
At the lab, students participate in authentic selling scenarios in a realistic environment where they are recorded and can review their sales role-plays.
"Through multiple interactions and role-plays in the Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab, students develop a level of confidence that cannot come from classroom interactions alone," says Dr. Kelley O'Reilly, associate professor of marketing. "Because students have the ability to watch and evaluate their own recordings, they are able to refine and improve naturally. The facility opens the door to new and innovative ways for sharing best practice examples with students and provides recruiters with a sneak peek at our amazing student talent."
And that student talent has commanded the attention of recruiters for many years. This year, the sales and business marketing program boasts a 100 percent engagement rate, which means that all students are employed, in graduate school or serving in the military within three months of graduation.
Grand opening ceremony and open house
The Haworth College of Business will host a grand opening ceremony and open house at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 2, allowing campus and community members to tour the facility and learn more about it.
"We are extremely grateful to Mr. Kaiser for his investment in the sales and business marketing program," says Dr. Satish Deshpande, dean of the Haworth College of Business. "This space takes student learning to the next level. In addition, it will also open up opportunities for us to host student sales competitions, student and employer events, and corporate sales trainings for companies. Bob Kaiser has made this project possible, and our students will benefit from his generosity for years to come."
Robert Kaiser is the owner and CEO of Gallagher-Kaiser Corporation, the world's premiere automotive paint shop supplier. The company maintains multiple manufacturing facilities in Detroit, with a corporate headquarters in Troy.
After graduating from WMU with a degree in industrial marketing in 1978, Kaiser went on to work in the family business. In 1984, he began competitive offshore powerboat racing and became a national and world champion. After 14 years on the world circuit, he retired from the sport and was inducted into the hall of fame.
Under Kaiser's leadership, Gallagher-Kaiser has become a world leader in engineering, procurement and construction. The company further expanded its capabilities when Kaiser purchased Universal Piping Industries in 2010. Today, Gallagher-Kaiser builds General Motors' most technologically advanced paint shops around the world. The company has won five General Motors Supplier of the Year Awards.
In addition to his success in expanding his companies, Kaiser's business interests have extended beyond the automotive industry. With extensive real estate holdings of top properties throughout North America, Kaiser has proven to be a dynamic force in the world of business.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.