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Dick Knowdell delivers presentation
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International careers leader Dick Knowdell passes Dec. 13

Dick Knowdell, recipient of the NCDA’s Centennial Award, APCDA’s and the California CDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, author and trainer, has passed. He impacted millions within the career development field as a career coaching innovator. Known for his Card Sorts (Motivated Skills, Career Values, Leisure/Retirement, Occupational Interests and Career Development & Job Search Profile), the Career Development Network, and Journal of Career Planning and Adult Development, he was recognized worldwide for creating easy-to-use products and practitioner trainings.

Born Nov. 12, 1934 in San Francisco, CA, he is survived by wife Barbara Knowdell and nephew Chris Knowdell of Sacramento. A dedicated mentor and generous international colleague, he was a dear friend and training partner with Bobbi Floyd and Rich Feller. Tim Hsi and Amy Lew, Michael Robinson (recently purchased Dick’s Career Research and Testing Company), Amhed Mostafa, Ashraf Jamie and Vera Chapman were a few of his 8000+ Job and Career Transition Certificated Career Coaches.

Dick lived in Woodside, CA through high school and served as a US Air Force medic transporting the wounded during the Korean War. Relieved from active duty in 1964 ,he retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1984 as Chief Master Sergeant.

Dick was very proud of having worked in more than 40 jobs during his lifetime (including plumber’s helper, cigarette salesman, post office worker and HP employee). Attending San Jose Community College on the GI Bill, a counsellor convinced him he was “college material.” He earned a Master’s in Counseling Psychology at San Jose State University. His education and work experience provided a lens that championed all work as dignified and honouring of each trade and worker. He pioneered the idea of a job and career transition coach, and Job and Career Development Coach Certification in 1979. That training is available virtually worldwide.

Employed in several Silicon Valley company employee assistance departments, Dick was very proud of his influence at Lawrence Livermore Labs. He started a private counselling practice while there and transitioned to full-time private practice and consulting. He is one of the first full-time career development entrepreneurs, career coaches and career conference developers. His International career conferences were some the largest for many years. Appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton to the Board of Examiners for the US Foreign Service, he authored six books.

Dick died peacefully in his sleep at home. He said he wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. He got his wish. There will be no service of any kind, per his wish. He will be cremated, and his ashes scattered at sea by the Neptune Society. His family asks that friends “do a kindness for someone in memory of Dick since he was always trying to help and support others.”

View an interview with Dick about his major contributions to career development here. For those who wish, please write a short tribute (by 1/5/22) to be compiled within a Dick Knowdell Memorial Book. Reply to this email – or send to Rich.feller@colostate.edu

Rich Feller Author
Rich Feller is Professor of Counseling and Career Development at Colorado State University, Past-president of the National Career Development Association, OneLifeTools co-founder, YouScience consultant and JCTC Coach Certification training senior trainer.
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Rich Feller Author
Rich Feller is Professor of Counseling and Career Development at Colorado State University, Past-president of the National Career Development Association, OneLifeTools co-founder, YouScience consultant and JCTC Coach Certification training senior trainer.
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