Military Veteran Speaks At Vector Marketing Event; Impressed By Company's Culture

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Retired colonel speaks about leadership strategies at Vector Marketing conference. He sites similarities between the military and Cutco Corporation cultures.

It’s safe to say that William “Randy’ Everett knows a few things about leadership.

He served 33 years in the United States Army and retired in 2008 as a Colonel. His career included 9 years in the elite Special Forces, with served deployments to Bosnia and Iraq. His final assignment prior to “retirement” involved engagement efforts with foreign countries, promoting democratic principles within military structures.    After his military service he leveraged his experience and training and currently teaches international business at Loyola University in Baltimore.

During one of his classes, he was introduced to Vector Marketing, the direct sales division of Cutco Corporation, where he gained a new-found confidence in what is being taught by Corporate America. With that knowledge, Everett recently spoke at a Vector conference and delivered a message to Vector sales reps, managers, and parents about leadership and how it is reflected in this unique 65-year-old company.

Cutco is the largest kitchen cutlery manufacturer in North America and sells its products through a national network of college students who sell through in-home personal demonstrations.
“I noticed something in my early classes at Loyola,” he said at the presentation. “I didn’t see a significant amount of leadership training in college courses. So, I began embedding leadership principles into my curriculum with a civilian spin.”

These principles included such concepts as selfless service, decisiveness, courage, to name a few.

But it was through one of this students -- Carlos Castro -- that he was introduced to Vector Marketing.

“There was outstanding quality about him,” Everett recalled. “The students were always receptive to the concept that leadership is needed everywhere. Carlos Castro seemed to really embrace it in a very practical way.”

During his presentation, Everett recalled meeting with Earl Kelly, the Northeast Region Manager for Vector Marketing. The common message involved leadership, training and mentoring of the young sales force.

“I had stumbled into a great caliber of young people,” he said. “They had energy, focus, and dedication to not just selling knives but to leadership training. These sales reps and managers get it. They all have what it takes to succeed – initiative, organization, and discipline. These young people come from an environment that cultivates these principles.”

Cutco manufactures its cutlery products in the western New York State city of Olean, and during a visit to the plant, recalled Everett, he noticed a unique pride among the workers on the line and throughout the facility.

“A unique pride emanated from everyone I met,” he said at the presentation. “There was longevity at the company and loyalty from both sides – management and employees. I learned quickly about this company and the more I learned, the more I was impressed.”

That pride, he said, extends to the field, among the college sales reps and their managers.

“Vector management focuses on these college sales reps, many of whom have never sold anything before going through this training,” Everett said. “They are taught about sales, but they also learn many other more important things. They learn about finances, personal responsibility, and how to be leaders – all common themes that are continually stressed in the military and we try to instill at Loyola University.”

As with the military, a very definitive culture pervades the organization.

“Many of these sales reps may not stay with the company beyond college. But they will enter the workforce with important leadership and sales skills that they will use forever,” he said. “Vector continually reinforces family virtues and demonstrates leadership and the value of mentorship. Principles of leadership are like natural law. It exists, like gravity, you may forget about gravity, but gravity will not forget about you – just try jumping off a roof, you will see the results – fast.

Everett has even spoken to his own college age students about the Vector experience and encouraged them to attend a conference to get a “feel” for the virtues that Vectors instills in its sales representative.

Finally, Everett has utilized Cutco and Vector as a case study for some of his students to analyze the corporate culture that these progressive companies aspire to. By using the companies as models for students, they can learn about long term management and employee relationships along with the leadership dynamics that companies need to instill to promote growth and success.

About Cutco Cutlery Corporation and Vector Marketing
Cutco Cutlery is a 65-year-old company with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Olean, New York. Vector Marketing is the company’s sales division, coordinating all sales for Cutco Cutlery through a national network of college students who sell products through in-home personal demonstrations. More than 15 million US households have a Cutco product.

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David Reeves
Vector Marketing (Cutco)
+1 561-483-7040
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