Retired executive hired to market Mesa State College

A retired corporate executive who oversaw the operations of Swiss Army and Marmot markets a brand of a different sort in his new role with Mesa State College.

Rick Taggart has been named acting executive director of marketing and student recruitment in an organizational change that brings together the offices of marketing and publication and admissions at the Grand Junction-based college.

Taggart recently resigned as president of Victorinox Swiss Army. He also served as president of Marmot before the sale of that company to Timberland and was co-owner of Pyramid Printing.

In addition, Taggart taught marketing as an adjunct professor at Mesa State, a job he’ll now resume as part of his duties at the college.

“We’re very excited to have someone with Mr. Taggart’s breadth and depth of experience in marketing, branding and strategic planning joining the Mesa State management team,” said Tim Foster, president of the college. “We look forward to him bringing his wealth of knowledge from the private sector to this institution as it continues to grow and evolve.”

Taggart said higher education played an important role in his career and he’s looking forward to helping students pursue their educations. “Mesa State has always felt like my home since my days as an adjunct professor.”

Foster said recruiting and retaining students has become increasingly important at a time of cuts in state funding. Enrollment and retention has helped Mesa State provide a quality education at an affordable price, he said. “It’s not the only thing, but it is a significant part of that balancing act.”

Foster added: “We believe Mr. Taggart will help us continue to advance and evolve in the highly competitive arena that is higher education.”

Taggart was given the title acting executive director to comply with hiring procedures that allow the college to quickly fill positions, but then go through the lengthy job search process within two years.

Taggart recently retired as president of Victorinox Swiss Army after a three-year stint with the company. He also served as president and CEO of Swiss Army from 1995 through 2001.

Between 2001 and 2008, Taggart was co-owner of Pyramid Printing in Grand Junction. He served as president of Marmot from 1983 to 1985 and negotiated the sale of the Grand Junction company to Timberland.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Syracuse University and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Phoenix.