Finance and Sales


W.C. Cowling (1881-1956) 

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1914-1937
Major roles: Manager Traffic Department, Sales Manager
(image: p.o.6108)

William Cowling hired into the Ford Motor Company Traffic Department in 1914. In 1920, he was made manager of the Traffic Department which was soon to include the DT&I railway. Cowling worked to speed up shipments and was also successful in reclassifying many Ford products which resulted in reducing freight and shopping costs for the company. In 1931, Cowling was made Sales Manager for the company and oversaw all the sales branches and dealers. Cowling was known for travelling all over the country to work with branch personnel and setting up large sales meeting gatherings for dealers to go over sales techniques and Ford products. Cowling resigned from the company in 1937.

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Norval A. Hawkins (1867-1836) 

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1907-1918
Major roles: Manager of Sales and Distribution
(image: Acc. 1660 box 139)

Norval Hawkins began working for the company in a consulting role as early as 1904, joining Ford full time in 1907 as Manager of Sales and Distribution. Hawkins worked to systematize sales through improving sales and production estimates, cost accounting, and standardizing forms. He also developed a method of making shipping more efficient and less costly by reducing the space vehicles took up and packing more cars into a single shipment. In 1908, he started the Ford Times magazine and authored several articles on products, selling tactics, and updates on sales. Hawkins expanded the network of dealers and branches set up under James Couzens and established sales territories across the US. He also worked to improve the network through adding field agents to monitor dealers’ sales tactics, building conditions, and service offerings. Hawkins stressed more aggressive sales techniques and often went on the road himself to assess local markets. Hawkins left the company in 1918.

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A.M. Wibel (1886-1965)

Years at Ford Motor Company: 1912-1943
Major roles: Head of Purchasing
(image: P.O.3396 Acc. 1660 box 137)

A.M. Wibel began work at Ford Motor Company in the Purchasing Department in 1912 procuring machine tools. Around 1916, he became Assistant to the Head of Purchasing for the entire company and his role expanded from machine tool purchasing to purchasing everything from raw materials to ships. In 1941, he was promoted to Vice President in Charge of Purchasing and played a major role in cost estimating for contract negotiations with the government during WWII. Wibel left the company in 1943.

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  • Last Updated Mar 27, 2024
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