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AO's National Sales Meeting - Dec 29th - 31st, 1968

Held at Southbridge High School
As told to Dick Whitney by Wade Cloyd
March 9, 2010

I recently have been talking to Wade Cloyd, and he mentioned his involvement in coordinating AO's first National Sales meeting in Dec 1968.  Wade worked at American Optical Southbridge from 1958 (when he was hired by Victor Kniss) until 1979.  During the later part of his career he was Director of Corporate Communications.

In the Summer of 1968, a decision was made to hold AO's first National Sales meeting in Southbridge. Wade was responsible for this meeting, and it was soon determined that the only time when enough hotel rooms and meeting space were available was for the period between Christmas and New Years. Needless to say, this time slot was not a popular choice for such a meeting, and December weather in New England can be (and was) a challenge.

Hotels throughout the area were booked, as 500 Sales people from around the country were being housed. The Southbridge High School Auditorium was used as were the school cafeteria facilities and even the National Guard Armory for a nightime meal.

The event was a first to use multimedia, with 5 different projectors being utilized. For the introduction of Bill Tillyer to speak about the new Masterpiece lens, they projected  Whistlers Mother which had been altered to put his face on the image, which was not an easy task in those days.

I asked Wade about the picture of the "Coffee, tea or me" girl in the booklet. Naturally, she caught my attention and was wondering if she was an AO employee. He said that she was not, as she was a model hired for the show. He said that on one of the follow-up days she was to appear, an ice storm preventing her from being there. In her place, Dick Metcalf took her place and was booed when he walked across the stage!


Shown below is information from the booklet commemorating this event.



AO's first National Sales Meeting - 1968
24mb pdf file
(Held at Southbridge High School)
Book provided by Wade Cloyd

Another Southbridge December Sales meeting in Southbridge - Dec 1947!

More AO Recollections

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