New Book Remembering Dick Knowdell

Dick Knowdell, International Career Leader, Card Sort and JCTC Coach Certificate Developer passed away December 13, 2021.

NEW: A 52-page tribute from those in the field who knew Dick, "In Loving Memory of Dick Knowdell" can be viewed here.

Watch an interview with Dick about his major contributions to career development here.

An NCDA Fellow and recipient of NCDA’s Centennial Award, Dick was also the recipient of APCDA’s and the California CDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, while contributing to the field as author and trainer. 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 (who 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.

Employed in several Silicon Valley company Employee Assistance departments, Dick was very proud of his influence over several years at Lawrence Livermore Labs. He started a private counseling practice while there and transitioned to full-time private practice and consulting. 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. 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”.

Dick Knowdell was a founding member of the Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA) and his wisdom guides APCDA today.  His influence on the association was profound and his contributions were many, earning him the status of Lifetime Legacy Partner.  Please see his bio on the Legacy Partner page.  He attended every in-person conference APCDA has held, representing his company, Career Development Network.  His life was long, active, and full of important accomplishments.

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Kathryn Troutman   on Tuesday 12/21/2021 at 08:53 PM

I remember meeting and talking to Dick and Bobbi for many years of NCDA and other conferences. He was always training, traveling and talking about his card sort and the conferences. I will miss him and he contributed so much to the careers industry and our work.

Amy Mazur   on Friday 12/24/2021 at 05:33 AM

What I remember most about Dick was his level of energy and optimism. He would come to Boston periodically to offer Trainings for the Career Counselors' Consortium Northeast, and the level of energy he exuded from the start of the day until the end of the day was remarkable. He was so committed and passionate about his work and about sharing what he knew. And he will be missed.

Ahmed Mostafa   on Sunday 12/26/2021 at 10:23 AM

It was shocking to hear this very sad news; I kept reading the e-mail i got from Barbara several time hoping that I miss something, and what I understood is wrong, but the reality is he is gone. Richard Knowdell gone with his buddy but he will remain in our mind and heart.

I met Dick early 2009 when I attended his JCTC/JCDC workshop in San Jose, and I remember that, part of my career plan I came-up with out of this program is to work with him. 2010 we had the chance to have him in Egypt, 2011 I developed the Arabic version of his Card Sort, 2012 I became his assistant and did the first workshop with him in April. Since that time he became my Boss, Mentor, and my great supporter. I still can't digest the idea that Iā€™m not going to work with him again, or not going to travel with him again. It is hard for me to accept this reality, but all what I can do is to keep what I have learned from him and to extend his mission to everywhere I go. I owe him a lot, and it's the time to pay him back all the good things he did for me.

Jennifer Rogers   on Friday 12/31/2021 at 11:38 AM

I'm so sad to learn the news of Dick's passing! He 'got me at his first card sort.' I've been a fan and using his career values card sorts since the beginning. I met him at an NCDA conference in the mid-1990's and it struck me then how genuine and generous he was.

I'd love to connect with Michael Robinson to learn of his plans for the career research company!

My sympathies to Dick's family, friends and colleagues. We are all experiencing this loss.

Sally Gelardin   on Wednesday 01/05/2022 at 01:40 PM

Dick was a mentor and friend. I met him in 1995 at my first NCDA conference in San Francisco. As a former President of the California Career Development Association, I served on the Executive Committee of the International Career Development Conference, that he founded. I have used his card sorts effectively with a variety of ages and stages, from youth to elders in assisted living. Thank you, Dick!

Raymond Ayinde   on Saturday 01/08/2022 at 05:02 PM

What a sad news. I met Dick in 2018 when I invited him over to Nigeria. He taught me how to use his card sorts effectively. During his visit to Nigeria he demonstrated his card sorts to over 300 final year university students. I love his energy.

He was a generous man, we ate at different restaurants, became friends and partner.

I will miss you so dearly.

Rest in peace Dick. šŸ˜­šŸ˜­

Carry Shen   on Monday 01/17/2022 at 11:25 PM

I have been met Dick in NCDA and APCDA conference several time. I always remember he and his career card and warm smile. He is such a kind man and always give us guidance when he could. I will miss him.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.