August 31, 2016 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center
New Mexico State University’s College of Business has named Christopher Plouffe as the next holder of the Robin T. Peterson Endowed Chair in Marketing, following the retirement last month of the chair’s namesake.
Peterson was the first to hold the chair, which was created in his honor in 2008 through a gift from College of Business alumnus and entrepreneur Brad Gordon.
Plouffe brings to NMSU a background in marketing and professional selling. He received his Ph.D. in marketing from the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. He also holds an MBA and an Honors Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
He spent several years in the high-tech industry at Hewlett-Packard, initially in marketing and public relations. He finished his career at HP selling mainframe class commercial and technical super-computers across a wide variety of industries, including retail, government, telecommunications, and oil and gas.
In 2012, Plouffe joined the Fisher Institute for Professional Selling as the incoming director, and joined the Department of Marketing at the College of Business Administration, University of Akron as an associate professor. Prior to that post, he held academic positions at Florida International University, Florida State University, Washington State University and University of Georgia.
College of Business Dean James Hoffman said Plouffe’s track record in building professional selling programs is a key strength, as the college is planning to develop its own center for professional selling.
“He has a lot of knowledge in that domain, and he’ll help us get our professional selling program launched,” Hoffman said. “And with his outstanding research record, he’ll be able to further strengthen the Marketing Department.”
Plouffe was co-founder of The Sales Institute at the College of Business at Florida State and built the successful program in professional sales at Washington State. He was also involved with setting up the sales program at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
A professional sales program at NMSU would benefit students in many ways, Plouffe said, setting them up for highly rewarding careers.
“Everywhere I have been, you find the same thing, over and over: Many marketing graduates find themselves in a first job that is sales, business development, or customer account management,” he said. “The problem with that, of course, is that most of these graduates are not well prepared for this, as they have not had any formal training in the sales process.”
These lucrative professional sales positions aren’t retail jobs – they include opportunities like selling equipment to doctors and dentists, selling 10,000 ATMs to a major bank; leasing commercial real estate; being an executive recruiter or “headhunter” and many other possibilities that require a specialized skillset and strategy.
Plouffe, a native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, who earned his U.S. citizenship in 2013, said he was attracted to NMSU and the Southwest for both professional and personal reasons.
“NMSU has a leading reputation as an institution that values and supports research and thought leadership as well as teaching excellence, both of which are very important to me,” he said. “The abundant sunshine and tons of outdoor recreational activities to choose from are also very appealing, because I love golf, skiing, hiking and camping.”