Marketing professor discusses engagement, Halloween and first sales job

by Life Editor Tyler Hargett

Since arriving in fall 2016, Timothy Butler has gone far beyond serving as an assistant professor of marketing.

Besides helping organize three career fairs on campus, he also launched the Mane Benefits program and currently serves as director of UNA College of Business’ Robert H. Steele Center for Professional Selling and Sales Lab.

However, Butler’s interesting endeavors are not limited to UNA. Here are four interesting facts about his life.

1. He proposed to his wife with an autographed picture of Nick Saban.

Butler’s wife has been a fan of Alabama football since childhood.

Butler met her at a 2007 game. That Christmas, she gave him a picture of newly-appointed coach Nick Saban running onto the field with the team.

When Butler planned to propose to her on Valentine’s Day in 2011, he sought the help of one of his students at the University of Alabama to get access to Bryant-Denny Stadium’s field during a tour.

Butler got Saban to write “Say Yes, Tiff. Roll Tide.” on the picture. After retrieving it from the seat section where she sat at the 2007 game, he proposed to her on the 50-yard line.

He said WVUA, a Tuscaloosa news station, called him for an interview. The story ended up on that night’s news show.

2. He has lived in seven states.

Butler was born in Orange, Connecticut. He said because his father worked for International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, his family moved a lot.

“The nickname for IBM at that time was ‘I’ve Been Moved’ because they transfer their employees quite a bit,” Butler said.

After his family moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and then Gilroy, California, Butler ended up back in Connecticut around his second grade year. He moved to New York after high school to attend college.

A few years after graduating, Butler moved to Kauai, Hawaii, where he stayed with a roommate who mowed actor Ben Stiller’s vacation home lawn. He said he refocused his career path to sales while living there.

After returning to Connecticut to attend junior college, Butler transferred to the University of Alabama to complete his master’s program. After finishing his doctorate, he and his wife moved to Brownsville, Texas, to work his first job as a teacher.

Finally, Butler and his wife moved to Florence in summer 2016. He said they bought a house almost immediately upon settling in the Shoals.

“When I came to Alabama and I met the people here (and) got familiar with the culture, it was just the best fit for me in terms of my personality,” he said.

3. Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year for him and his wife.

“Most people (say) Christmas is their big thing, and we decorate for Christmas (too), but Halloween is bigger,” Butler said.

The couple’s mutual love of the holiday began after they first met. Since it was in October, their first date was to Sloss Fright Furnace in Birmingham.

Butler said while his wife is a bigger fan of Halloween than him, he loves and supports her enthusiasm for the holiday. Besides buying decorations, she also creates her own.

He said since living in Texas, he and his wife have hosted an annual Halloween party.

4. His first sales job was selling gum in middle school.

Butler said his father would buy large packs of sugarless gum and give them to him to sell at school.

“That was kind of the first time I recognized a need in the marketplace and tried to fill it,” he said.

Butler organized the gum in a fanny pack, charging 25 cents per stick and $1 for a pack of five.

He said, despite a successful run, he had to stop selling the gum because of a school policy his mother pointed out.