Canon Solutions America Recognized by William Paterson University for Contributions to Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales

February 20, 2024 – Simulating an environment that can emulate the landscape for a sales representative can be a challenge, but William Paterson University’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales continues to prepare the next generation of professionals with the on-going support of Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc.

William Paterson University’s Cotsakos College of Business, located in Wayne, New Jersey, started a beta program in 2006 for its own students that has now evolved into The National Sales Challenge that attracts the top international and national sales students from more than 20 colleges and universities, with corporate partners participating in the program and in the judging process.

Education—and the enhancement of the next generation of business leaders—is a strong focus point for Canon Solutions America. To that end, the company has provided support for both William Paterson’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales and the annual competition, with high-ranking and experienced sales employees offering valuable instruction to students interested in the sales profession. Additionally, Canon Solutions America personnel have also served as judges for the contest, including Michael Mellusi, vice president, Sales, Workplace Technologies and Services. A long-time contributor to the National Sales Challenge, Mellusi was recently acknowledged for his role in growing the event into a premier showcase for aspiring professional sales representatives, being presented with a plaque at the Russ Berrie Institute’s 20th anniversary dinner. A former instructor at St. John’s University, Mellusi has been with Canon since 2000 and since 2015 has held VP responsibilities, in charge of sales in the Northeast.

The National Sales Challenge, a three-day event, includes a speed selling contest, wherein student-competitors meet with executives to deliver a two-minute “elevator pitch,” and a role-play contest, where they conduct a fifteen-minute sales call meeting. Contests take place in mock conference rooms and offices that are set up so judges can observe from a control room. The “real life” environments and situations help equip students for the modern workforce

While students have gained insights by talking to experienced sales industry professionals, companies can also directly benefit from the National Sales Challenge. Two current Canon Solutions America sales representatives in Roseland, New Jersey are William Paterson graduates and alumni of the Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales.

Canon Solutions America’s involvement with higher education institutions has helped show new generations of students the exciting possibilities and professional opportunities that can come with careers in an innovative and progressive technology company.

“Canon Solutions America continues to invest in the education sector to support programs that encourage the growth of the next generation of leaders,” said Peter P. Kowalczuk, president, Canon Solutions America. “We are proud to support both academic and professional development programs, such as Future Authors Project, FIRST Robotics Competitions, University Inkjet Program, SPARC, and, of course, the National Sales Challenge.”

Representatives from William Paterson University said they are thankful for the long-running support from Canon Solutions America, and the dedication of our personnel such as Mellusi.

“We are so appreciative of Canon Solutions America for supporting the mission-critical programing of our Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales, which provides invaluable career development skills and opportunities to our diverse student body, and we are proud of the strong relationship we’ve built therein with Mr. Mellusi and his Canon colleagues. They have participated in many of Institute’s educational events, including our National Sales Challenge, graciously serving as panelists, coaches, judges, and interviewers,” said Anthony R. Bowrin, dean of William Paterson University’s Cotsakos College of Business. “In so doing, they have not only provided pivotal industry insights to the next generation of sales professionals, but also shown them the importance—in business and beyond—of community engagement.”

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