CRS engages in a variety of activities including retail and sales education programs, conferences, seminars, student competitions, and conducting research in areas that affect the retail and sales industries.

Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming "Meet the Experts" events!

Past Activities

The CRS 2018 Collegiate Challenge

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The Management of Sherwin-Williams, The Americus Group, Eastern Division, took the concept of “The Apprentice” television series and applied it to a collegiate competition in retailing. The competition involved regional college students. The challenge was for the teams to create a plan that focused on increasing sales in the residential repaint segment. The teams were judged based on the written plan, a store visit, and the presentation of the plan. Students prepared the project during the fall and/or spring semesters and presented their plans at the competition held Nov. 6, 2018 at Penn State Lehigh Valley. The competition was co-sponsored by The Council for Retail and Sales (CRS), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring together retail academicians, students and practitioners.

“Student involvement in these competitions prepare them for the exciting world of retail,” said James R. (Doc) Ogden, chair of the CRS, noting the talent and determination of the participants.

The judges of the competition were from Sherwin-Williams: Mike Williams, Northeast PA district manager, Chris Crocker, Northeast PA district sales manager, Jeremy Schmoyer, Eastern Division collection manager, Monica Schwab, Eastern Division marketing specialist and Jessica Furtado, area human resources generalist

“Involvement in student competitions allow us to see a different perspective to opportunities that we think about on a daily basis,” Williams said.

Five teams competed in the competition. The first place winners were from Penn State Scranton. The team took home a traveling trophy to be housed at their campus until next year’s challenge. These winners also each received a $250 scholarship from Sherwin-Williams.  Sweet Briar College took a close second place and each team member received $100 from Sherwin-Williams.

“This was a good experience that taught me a lot about how to present and research and figure out solutions to a problem I may not fully understand at first,” said Angelica Kalsi, first-year student at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “I think it was a good experience in leadership and in working with a group.”

While the judges deliberated, Elly Martin, North Area recruiter for Sherwin-Williams, spoke to students about career opportunities at the company and how to develop their resumes and prepare for an interview.

Previous sponsors of the competition have included:  Walmart, Z-CoiL, Sorrelli, Target, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, and Stuff’n Mallows.

If you have any questions, please contact Denise T. Ogden , Ph.D., from the Council for Retail and Sales at Penn State (


The Business of Entertainment Symposium

The VIP All-Access Business of Entertainment Symposium proved to be full of edutainment (education + entertainment) on the business aspects of the unpredictable entertainment industry, including Broadway and cinema. The event was held October 12, 2018 at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus and hosted by the Council for Retail and Sales, a division of LaunchBox. Student from various colleges and people from the area as well as six states were present for the event.

Susie Krajsa, President of Broadway Across America (BAA) provided a behind the scenes look at how the subscription part of BAA operates. The theatre show, Hamilton, led to the “Hamilton Effect.” Krajsa explained that subscriptions to BAA rise considerably when Hamilton is part of a season’s line up.

Angela Shelton, movie actor, director and producer, spoke about her feature film, Heart, Baby! which brings light to an untold, historical true story. The film is premiering in New York City on November 16.

Pat Addiss, a theatre producer who is currently producing the off-Broadway hit, Desperate Measures, was interviewed by Liz Keptner, the Multi-media Innovation Center Director at PSULV. Addiss spoke about the struggles and successes of being a producer. She stated that producing live theatre is addicting.

Jack Maxwell, host and professional actor, made the audience laugh and cry when he shared the story of how a poor kid from Boston became an actor. Despite having had a chemo therapy treatment a few days before, Maxwell was in full energy mode and finished to a standing ovation.

Three breakout sessions were conducted by Frank Megna, director, actor and writer from Los Angeles who spoke about how directors work with the “suits” or business people. Lauren Yarger, a critic who reviews Broadway and Off-Broadway theater in New York and professional theater in Connecticut, discussed the changes in the profession. Bryan Tuk, an entertainment industry attorney, spoke about copyright laws and how important it is for entertainment professionals to hire a lawyer.