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Press Releases

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tom James Company Announces $5,000 Donation to Perdue School


Perdue Award
From left:  SU competitors Marielle Lugo, Amanda Abbott, Ryan Baroody and Justin Smith, Tom James 2010 Rookie of the Year Amanda Erpenbeck, SU competitor Makenzie Callaway, Tom James Senior Vice President of Sales Ash Deshmukh, SU competitor Adrianne Foster and Tom James Baltimore Sales Manager Chris Wolf.

SALISBURY, MD---After months of vigorous preparation, select students recently competed to represent Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business Sales Program at the National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) this March in Atlanta.

Local and national companies including Enterprise Holdings, Sage Software, Western Pest Control, Choptank Transport and the Tom James Company provided judges to determine the top six students.

The Tom James Company’s senior vice president of sales, Ash Deshmukh, flew to Salisbury to help the students polish their skills for the national competition. He said they were the type of students he searches for to help the Texas-based suit manufacturer grow. In the past he has turned to colleges and universities for staffing, hoping new recruits could bring fresh ideas to the company.


Perdue Award
From left: First-place winner Amanda Abbott, Western Pest Services Staffing Manager Jeffrey Palko and second-place winner Makenzie Callaway.

He brought with him Tom James’ rookie of the year, Amanda Erpenbeck, who provided a final strategy session with the students the day before the event.

Today, some 58 percent of Tom James company’s new hires are recent college graduates. In turn, the company is giving back to institutions that have trained many of those recruits. Deshmukh announced a $5,000 donation from Tom James to the Perdue School.

Out of the donation, $2,000 is earmarked for student scholarships, while another $500 will fund Perdue School sales activities and conference travel expenses. The remaining $2,500 will help establish an advanced personal selling class within the school and go toward initiatives to enhance the sales curriculum.

During an inspirational lecture to those who competed in the event, Deshmukh let the students know, “We are betting our future on you. You cannot be successful in sales based on the product. Who you are speaks much louder than what your product is. We are not in the suit business; we are in the people business.”

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The company also awarded a $2,000 suit to the winner of this semester’s SU qualifying event, senior Amanda Abbott of Cambridge, MD. Abbott and senior Makenzie Callaway of Audubon, NJ, who placed second in the SU qualifier, are slated to compete in the NCSC in March, with expenses paid by Western Pest Services of Philadelphia, a division of Rollins, Inc. Western Staffing Manager Jeffrey Palko served as a judge for the Salisbury event.

Six students, dubbed the “Salisbury Six,” will represent SU at the Atlanta event. Along with Abbott and Callaway, they include seniors Ryan Baroody of Cobb Island, MD; Adrianne Foster of Cordova, MD; Marielle Lugo of Silver Spring, MD; and Justin Smith of New Windsor, MD.

Inaugurated in 1999, the NCSC is the world’s oldest and largest sales role-play competition. Students at the event not only eye for prizes, but have the opportunity to network with recruiters and officials from Fortune 500 companies.

Dr. Howard Dover of SU’s Management and Marketing Department will coach the Salisbury team at the competition again this year. The Perdue School’s emerging Sales Program is expanding as more students and businesses are recognizing it as one of the few of its kind in the mid-Atlantic.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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