ARA Management Academy to sharpen leadership skills

November 24, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Leaders within agronomic organizations can sharpen their management and decision-making skills at the 2016 Agricultural Retailers Association Management Academy Feb. 2-4 in West Lafayette.

The academy, a partnership between ARA and Purdue's Center for Food and Agricultural Business, is a broad-based selection of managerial courses chosen specifically to meet the needs of managers in the agricultural retail industry. Key themes are strategic thinking, marketplace trends and competitive positioning, financial management, creating sales and marketing value, and implementing organizational leadership strategies.

"Today's ag retail industry is changing rapidly," said Allan Gray, director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business. "The markets around us are changing rapidly, as is the competitive nature of the industry. We see a lot happening that causes the ag retail sector to really have to think about professionalizing the way overall operations are managed.

"That's what the ARA Management Academy does. It helps managers think about their roles, how they improve the overall business, and how they interact with other parts of the organization, such as human resources or finance. The academy focuses on that integration."

The program is led by experts from Purdue and Indiana universities. They include Purdue Agriculture's Gray, who also is the Land O'Lakes Chair of Agribusiness and a professor of agricultural economics; Scott Downey, associate director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and associate professor of agricultural economics; and Michael Gunderson, associate director of the Center for Food and Agricultural Business and associate professor of agricultural economics. Also leading are Purdue Polytechnic Institute professor Rodney Vandeveer and Bob Grimm, clinical associate professor of management for Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Some of the program's key benefits include:

* Understanding core business functions and the linkages between them.

* Exploring management challenges and discovering retail business opportunities.

* Strengthening leadership and working more effectively with upper management.

* Networking with peers from across different markets.

* Debating and discussing industry issues with top agribusiness faculty.

"ARA Management Academy focuses on helping managers become more strategic, no matter the type of management role they're in, so they can help lead their organizations into the future," Gray said.

Academy registration is $2,195 per person for ARA members who register by Dec. 24. After that, the member rate increases to $2,395 per person. The rate for non-ARA members is $2,695 per person.

Find more information and register at

Writer: Jennifer Stewart-Burton, 765-496-6032, 

Source: Allan Gray, 765-494-4323,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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