Commonwealth Students Critical to Success



By Andrea O'Neill '06

Jeff Maag ’98 (Bl), Regional Sales Manager of HVAC Distributers, INC., knows what it takes to form the relationships critical for a successful business. He also knows that Commonwealth students have what it takes to be successful.

Maag recalls being interested in sales long before it had a dedicated course track. He chose to major in Marketing, where he said he was able to take some sales courses, but he has seen the difference the Professional Sales track has made in the preparation of current students, especially those who consider sales a career vs. those who fall into sales.  
“The past few expos and [ZIPD] conferences have clearly shown the specific skillset the students have,” said Maag. “There is a trepidation with sales, where students think of a used car or door-to-door salesman. But [really] you are out engaging with customers through business transactions.”

Maag proudly shares that since the introduction of the Sales major, student professionalism and confidence have been as impressive as their work ethic and communication skills. The recent integration of Commonwealth University has opened the opportunity for Maag to recruit from Mansfield and Lock Haven.

“We look for work ethic and a willingness to learn. If you have the right attitude, any personality can succeed in a sales role,” said Maag. “[The university] does an excellent job preparing these students for whatever path they want in business. It is an excellent group of students to recruit from.”

Maag says that the team environment in the branch and account manager trainee programs at HVAC Distributors provides the mentorship and guidance critical to nurturing the deep relationships required with regional businesses. As the company’s customer demographics also change with new grads and retirements, such programs provide the best opportunity for advancement within the company.

“It is a perfect learning environment for those starting out,” explained Maag. “We have seasoned employees helping out newcomers and incorporating their viewpoints to create the culture of the next generation.”