Like so many other Plymouth State University students, Kai Fowler ’13 arrived knowing about hard work. This served him well in the Nantucket Island restaurant jobs he took on beginning at age 12 but hadn’t fully prepared him for the larger world he aspired to.
“I was thinking of attending culinary school but ultimately came to the conclusion that it was the business aspect I most enjoyed,” says Fowler. “I worked hard and wanted to be rewarded for it.” He became intrigued by the University’s renowned professional sales program after attending a campus networking event as a guest.
“I got talking with Professor Nadeau, the program coordinator, about the doors that professional sales certification would open,” says Fowler. “He said sales was the best avenue into a business, but I didn’t know how to navigate the corporate world or even what it looked like.”
Nadeau would quip that everyone in the sales program comes with a PhD—they’re all poor, hungry, and driven. “It’s real,” says Fowler. “PSU gives you the tools for a ticket to a better life, but you have to put the time in. I would not have had these opportunities without Plymouth, which is why I’m so passionate about giving back. It’s one of the first things I wanted to do once I got a job.”
Fowler threw himself into the program, attending every event he could. He improved his public speaking and presentation skills as an admissions representative, gained experience as a marketing intern with the Central NH Chamber of Commerce, and contributed on campus through Habitat for Humanity and the Marketing Association of Plymouth State (MAPS).
As graduation approached Fowler had multiple job offers and ultimately chose Gartner, the global research and advisory firm, bidding adieu to snowy Plymouth for sunny Fort Myers, FL. Fowler’s nine years at Gartner have been punctuated by multiple awards amassed in five roles and three divisions. As area vice president of America Large Enterprise (ALE) Invest he currently leads a region with over 25 account executives, team leads, and area sales managers responsible for generating $30 million in revenue, and partners with the world’s leading investment firms.
“I can say with confidence that I would not be where I am today without the foundation that Plymouth gave me. My professors invested in me without seeking anything in return, and that’s what inspires me to build our program to be the best sales program in the country for years to come, for the best quality students.”
Fowler was the first full-time PSU hire at Gartner and has since helped sponsor some 20 fellow alumni. His alma mater’s reputation has gone from “Plymouth who?” to a well-respected and known quantity. He proudly tells others that his smaller school has a world-renowned sales program.
“The humbleness, the appreciation, the drive—it’s different at Plymouth than you see at large universities. Plymouth State students are trying to make a better life for their families and they’re looking to PSU, to me, and to other alumni to help them. Nothing is better than to see them succeed.”
Fowler combined his encouragement of PSU students with his appreciation of Professor Nadeau’s mentorship by establishing the Robert Nadeau Professional Sales Scholarship. His generous contribution
shines a light on worthy students striving for excellence in the Professional Sales Program and within the Plymouth State community.
“It’s all about growing the program for the future and building Plymouth State’s reputation as being the best,” he says. “Knowing that we’re making a difference and impact for students who need it is worth more for me than anything I could ask for. Coming from that background, with that same drive and hunger, I want to help others who need it. If we as alumni don’t step up to return that appreciation to our programs and professors, who will?”