Center for Sales Excellence

The mission of the Center for Sales Excellence is to prepare students to have a sales mindset as adaptive problem-solvers and relationship builders.

With the collaboration of corporate partners, the center provides premier sales education, a linkage between the sales profession and academia, and a resource to companies and sales professionals.

The Center for Sales Excellence in the School of Business at RMU is a stand-alone entity that focuses on initiatives such as:

  • Development and constant improvement of Sales Curriculum
  • Cultivating sales learning partner relationships       
  • Awarding student sales excellence 
  • Supporting student travel to sales competitions 
  • Developing industry supported student workshop series 
  • Conducting student sales simulations
  • Hosting sales symposiums and competitions


Sales Certificate Program

View Program

The Sales Certificate program was developed to meet the needs of industry. It is a cutting edge 15 credit program designed to provide students with the necessary skill sets to be successful in a sales and/or sales management positions. The certificate program specifically exposes students to various aspects of sales terminology, the psychology behind sales and its impact on sales personnel, management of brands/categories of products, sales analytics, consultation and relationship building, and entrepreneurial thinking. This certificate is for anyone who wants to develop specialized knowledge and skills in sales and can provide 

There are additional employment opportunities when combined with many different majors.  Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared for entry-level sales positions in a B2C or B2B industry equipped with the tools necessary for success.

Past Events

Celebration of Sales Week at RMU

Professional Selling is an exciting and dynamic field. The Center for Sales Excellence is happy to celebrate this field with the first annual Celebration of Sales Week, March 22-27, 2021.

The week’s virtual events include:

Tuesday, March 23: Shared Experiences:  What to Expect from Internships and Mentorships

  • Dave Miller (’02 RMU Grad), W.K. Merriman
  • Caitlyn Boring, AWS Mentee
  • Zackary Kutchma, AWS Mentee

Wednesday, March 24: Shared Professional Experiences: What We’ve Learned in Sales

  • Fred Byer- National Sales Manager Eastern US Gorilla Glue Company
  • Joe Mannix- National Sales Manager Western US Gorilla Glue Company
  • Al Pasquarelli- Direct Public Sector Waste Management (‘87 RMU Grad)

Saturday, March 27: Center for Sales Excellence Annual Collegiate Sales Competition, sponsored by PITT OHIO

Meet the Director

Manna, DeanMeet Dr. Dean R. Manna, Director of the Center for Sales Excellence 

Dr. Dean Manna has been at Robert Morris University for 45 years. His teaching expertise is in the area of Marketing and Sales. He has also been consulting and conducting training seminars for thirty-five years in the area of Emotional Intelligence related to Professional Selling and Sales Management.

He published a complete instructional manual on Client Centered Selling for use in the classroom and corporate training. His teaching specialty is in the area of Professional Selling and Emotional Intelligence at the undergraduate level. 

Dr. Manna’s primary research interest is on Emotional Intelligence and its effects on productivity and morale in the public and private sectors. He has made several presentations at various regional, national and international conferences.  He also has over twenty publications in various academic journals. He has extensive sales experience in the real estate and construction industries.

Dr. Manna has a BSBA degree from Gannon University, an MBA from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a University Professor of Marketing in the School of Business at Robert Morris University.

As the Director for the Center for Sales Excellence. Dr. Manna believes that the Center for Sales Excellence is essential for the growth and development of students who have a strong desire to enter into the sales profession. Through the center’s initiatives and the sales certificate program, Dr. Manna believes that RMU students will know how to think like a client centered problem solver – he’s committed to this focus.

Meet the Faculty

The teaching faculty consists of the director and two other full-time faculty members.

James R Shock, DBA

Dr. Shock brings a wide variety of business experience to RMU. Early on in his marketing career, he was responsible for OEM sales of medical products. Throughout his marketing career, selling was an integral part of his everyday business, selling new product ideas to management, going through a selling situation with customers on new products, or as part of a team selling situation to large buyers.

His corporate experience was also global in nature, dealing with selling situations in other cultures. As part of his multi-cultural background, Dr. Shock lived in Switzerland for a few years and received his doctorate in business administration from the Grenoble Ḗcole de Management in Grenoble, France.

Dr. Shock currently teaches two courses as part of the Certificate in Sales: Managing and Selling of Brands, and Consultative Selling.

Jill A. Kurp (Maher), Ph.D.

Jill A. Kurp (Maher), Ph.D. is the Department Head of Marketing and a University Professor of Marketing in the School of Business where she teaches in the undergraduate marketing and MBA programs.  Dr. Kurp obtained her Ph.D. in marketing from Kent State University in 1999.  She has conducted and published consumer-oriented research in the Journal of Advertising Research, the Journal of Advertising, and the Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising.  She has presented her research at several national conferences.  Dr. Kurp worked in Sales as a was Sales Manager for Bank One, Akron, NA where she managed the sales process for over 60 bank branches for traditional retail bank products and investments.  She developed promotional sales programs and incentive packages and initiated marketing and advertising plans to promote market presence and increased sales.  She implemented a sales investment program resulting in a 37.5% growth rate within the first eight months.  She has experience conducting direct marketing and sales training courses. She teaches the Psychology of Sales course in the certificate program.

Advisory Board

The external advisory board has 11 members, a number of whom are alumni of the university. (asterisk* denotes alumni)

Sharjeel Faroog*
Client Executive
Amazon Web Services

Kevin F. Bove
Financial Advisor
HB Retirement

Paul Trunzo*
Senior VP Sales
Hussey Copper

Chris D. Manna*
Radiology Account Manager
Samsung Neurologica

Charlie Foy*
President/Sales Director
Hytorc Penn Ohio

Mike Cunningham
District Manager

Scott King
District Manager; Western PA/Eastern OH

Samantha Blandina*
FSOP Area Sales Manager
ABARTA Coca-Cola Beverages

Rachel Rzymek
AE Work
Business Development Associate

Julia Hazlet
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Enterprise Holdings

Michael J. Ceravolo
Chief Commercial Officer
Beemac Logistics, LLC

Gregory McDonald
Sales Director, Business Sales
FedEx Services

Mark Carlisle*
Consumer Solutions, Construction Marketing
United States Steel Corporation