Higher Education, Manufacturing, and Marketing, PR & Advertising

College names sales lab after businessman

March 14, 2018
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Robert Kaiser
Robert Kaiser. Courtesy WMU

A business school in the region has received a gift from a businessman to upgrade its sales lab.

The gift will fund the renovation and expansion of the Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business sales lab, as well as ongoing costs, such as technology upgrades and student hiring.

The Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab will serve students in the sales and business marketing major.

The amount of the donation will not be disclosed, per the donor’s wishes.

The lab upgrade, worth about $500,000, includes doubling the square footage to more than 1,600 feet, creating a new façade, replacing all furnishings and renovating existing meeting spaces and role-playing facilities and adding two role-play rooms and a board room.

There will also be a technology upgrade to include a cloud-based video learning system and new software.

With the upgrade, the facility can host seminars and possibly a regional sales competition.

The lab is an important tool for the sales and business marketing program’s curriculum, which has been recognized by the Sales Education Foundation as one of the top programs in the country and is ranked No. 1 in the nation by Study.com.

"Thanks to the vision and generosity of Robert Kaiser, our students are able to hone their talents in a laboratory facility designed to help them excel," said Satish Deshpande, dean, WMU Haworth College of Business. "We look forward to seeing our program flourish with the Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab as a vital part of the sales and business marketing program."

Students are using the lab now, as the interior is completed except for finishing touches. Construction will be completed on the façade during spring and summer, with an official grand opening planned for the fall.

Robert Kaiser

Robert Kaiser is the owner and CEO of Gallagher-Kaiser Corp., an automotive paint shop supplier with multiple manufacturing facilities in Detroit and its corporate headquarters in Troy.

After graduating from WMU with a degree in industrial marketing in 1978, Kaiser went on to work in the family business.

The company expanded its capabilities when Kaiser purchased Universal Piping Industries in 2010.

Today, Gallagher-Kaiser builds paint shops for General Motors. The company has won four consecutive General Motors Supplier of the Year awards.

"Over the years, I have been fortunate to be in a position to give back to many organizations and to make contributions that result in impactful change," Kaiser said. "Perhaps one of the greatest opportunities is the chance to give back to where it all started. It's an honor to help advance the education of my fellow Broncos — the next generation of business leaders."

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