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.