President Matthew Holland and Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen announced a partnership last Thursday for the purpose of establishing a professional sales program at UVU.
Pederson revealed his investment of $1 million as well as a matching donation from Vivint to the university, a complete gift of $2 million.
“I’m so excited that two of the largest and most dynamic institutions in Utah are combining together to start this program,” President Holland said during a press conference. “The power of this partnership is that it allows us to immediately make this program regionally distinctive and well on its way to being nationally distinctive as well.”
Vivint has grown exponentially since its establishment in 1999, formally known as APX Alarm. From humble beginnings as a door-to-door salesman living in a single-wide trailer, Pedersen turned APX Alarm into Vivint- the largest home automation services provider in North America. Vivint currently has more than 800,000 customers and 7,000 employees.
In 2012 Vivint was acquired by the Blackstone Group, a multinational financial services and investment banking group, for more than $2 billion. The acquisition marked the largest technology buyout in Utah history.
Vivint was named one of Forbes Most Promising Companies in 2013 and achieved a second place ranking in the Inc. Hire Power Awards for companies leading the nation in job creation.
The Todd Pederson Professional Sales Program will include coursework in personal selling, sales management, sales analytics, and a sales internship. Vivint’s investment will establish a sales and marketing research laboratory that will feature unique eye-tracking equipment and facial coding technology.
The sales research lab features video analysis, which provides sales students with immediate feedback on their performance skills. The video analysis also includes a presentation analysis, which gives an unbiased response to the probable interpretation of the student’s verbal and non-verbal cues.
The sales program will begin accepting applications this spring and is set to launch in Fall 2014. The timeliness of the creation of this program was due to the investment of Vivint as well as the public demand for sales professionals.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16 percent growth in sales jobs in Utah, meaning approximately 17,000 new positions between now and 2020. The Utah Department of Workforce Services projects a growth of 25 percent in sales jobs in 2014 alone.
“This is incredible. This program will provide students a place to jump-start their careers through expanded support, a new research lab, and add more internship and scholarship opportunities,” student body president Jono Andrews said. “These students are going to have specific training and gain the skills they need to find a career.”
The $2 million gift will also create a research director position, establish a new scholarship program, and help fund an additional faculty member.
The program will train more than 200 students, provide more than 50 internship experiences, and 50 need-based and merit scholarships over the next five years.
The business programs at UVU are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a recognition held by less than 15 percent of business programs in the world.
The school’s personal financial planning program is ranked as one of the top ten programs in the country with a 100 percent job placement rate.
“UVU and Vivint have created a partnership that will fulfill the community’s increasing demand for trained sales professionals,” Norman Wright, dean of the Woodbury School of Business, said. “The Woodbury School of Business is already one of the fastest-growing business schools in the state; this new program will distinguish UVU as one of the foremost business schools in the west.”
Students interested in the professional sales program can contact Paul Dishman, chair of the UVU marketing department, at 801-863-8098.