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I had the privilege of knowing Dick for the past 25 or more years. He was a quiet giant in the field of career development, well known for his work in developing what became known as the Knowdell Card Sorts. Dick touched the lives of countless people around the world through his work and, more importantly, through his selfless humanity. He will be missed.

~Denise Hughes

Dick Knowdell, International Career Leader, Card Sort and JCTC Coach Certificate Developer Passes December 13, 2021
Recipient of NCDA’s Centennial Award, APCDA’s and the California CDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, author and trainer, Dick Knowdell 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 Planning Network, and JOURNAL of Career Planning and Adult Development he was recognized for creating easy to use products and practitioner training worldwide.

Born November 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 Tsi 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 forty 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 counselor convinced him he was “college material”. He earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at San Jose State University. His education and work experience provided a lens which championed all work as dignified and honoring 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 across the world.

He is acknowledged as one of the first full-time career development entrepreneurs, career coaches, and career conference developers. His International Career Conferences were some the largest in the world for many years. Appointed by President Clinton to the Board of Examiners for the US Foreign Service he authored six books.

Dick died peacefully in his sleep at home. He always said he wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. He got his wish. His family asks that friends “do a kindness for someone in memory of Dick since he was always trying to help and support others”.