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About Us

Everyone needs negotiation skills

Dick Thurmond came to ODU with a vision of empowering women through negotiation skills training. We have made his vision central to our core mission. Consistent with Thurmond's vision, research shows that when women and minorities receive negotiation training it reduces salary gaps and other negotiated inequities. While negotiation education and research are traditionally housed in the marketing and management departments, the skills we offer can add value to people far beyond the business school. It is our mission to provide inclusive negotiations education to all ODU students and to people in the broader Hampton Roads area. The Thurmond School of Professional Sales and Negotiations began as the Thurmond Negotiations Lab (TNL), which was formally launched in 2019. Thanks to the generosity of Dick Thurmond, the TNL grew into the Thurmond School in 2022.

Our communities

The Thurmond School of Professional Sales & Negotiations serves four communities: (1) The local community, (2) Old Dominion University students, (3) Business professionals, and (4) Academic scholars of negotiations and interpersonal selling. In addition to college courses, we offer corporate education programs customized to business professionals and general community education programs available to anyone. Additionally, we host events like the ODU Sales Slam Competition that provide students with hands-on sales practice. Finally, we promote and disseminate research related to our mission.

Contact Us

Please direct all inquiries to ThurmondSchool@odu.edu.

Our Faculty

Aaron Arndt

Aaron Arndt


Aaron D. Arndt (Ph.D. - University of Oklahoma) has been at Old Dominion University since August, 2008. His primary research interests are personal selling, sales management, retailing and negotiations. He has published over 30 research articles in journals such as the Journal of Retailing, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, the Journal of Business Research and the International Journal of Research in Marketing. He has won several awards for his research and teaching. His research on customer stereotypes about service providers has been featured in the Virginia Pilot and Hearsay with Cathy Lewis.

Rhett Epler

Rhett Epler

Faculty Researcher

Rhett Epler (Ph.D. - University of Wyoming) started at ODU August, 2021. He teaches and researches marketing and sales topics. Dr. Epler has published in high quality journals such as the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, and the Journal of International Marketing.

Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett

Faculty researcher

Andrew Bennett (Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University) is an Assistant Professor of Management at Old Dominion University whose research focuses on employee well-being and negotiations. He has taught courses in negotiations, communication, and management skills for seven years, and has been awarded two grants for developing educational materials about negotiations. Andrew has over a dozen research publications, including in top scholarly outlets such as the Journal of Applied Psychology and Journal of Management, and his research has also been featured in popular media outlets like the BBC and FastCompany. In addition, he has led negotiations training for multiple Global 2000 companies and worked on projects for national and local non-profits as well as the US Army.

Sales Advisory Board

  • Dick Thurmond, William E. Wood & Associates (now Howard Hanna)
  • Gay Borum, KMBS
  • Alexis Borum, ADP
  • Chris Bugg, Decisions
  • Allen Campbell, Givens
  • Mike Coleman , CV International
  • Payton Hererra, Novatech
  • Rikki Ingram, Smithfield
  • Nate Maudlin, Trader Interactive
  • Socko Pearson, Eggleston
  • Manuel Vazquez Ederra, Federated Insurance
  • Jason Madzuma, United Rentals

BRING Committee

  • Andrew Bennett—Department of Management
  • Kathleen Slauson-Blevins—Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
  • Rosaleen Keefe—English Department

We would like to thank the BRING committee members for their service!

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