ARA Management Academy

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ARA Management Academy

Program Overview

Ag retail managers and leaders need a toolkit that includes new trends and best business practices to lead to effective decision making, value creation and differentiation from competitors. During this three-day academy, Drs. Joan Brett, Scott Downey, Allan Gray, Mark Manfredo and Doug Olsen will aid you upgrading your management, leadership and decision making capabilities through presentations, case studies, interactive exercises and small group discussions. You’ll enhance your understanding of core business functions, explore management challenges and establish relationships that will improve business results.

The academy includes a broad-based selection of managerial courses chosen specifically to meet the needs of managers in the agricultural retail industry. The program is especially beneficial for salespeople, agronomists and agronomy managers who expect to take on more responsibilities in the future, as well as experienced managers interested in refreshing best practices. While it is not required to attend as a team, past participants have found it beneficial to attend with others from their organization.

For questions about this program, team pricing or more information on who should attend, please contact Betty Jones-Bliss at or 217-549-2883.

The ARA Management Academy is a great opportunity for growth. I know I will be able to take what I have learned and implement actionable insights immediately into my work, and I look forward to returning to additional programs to continue my education to benchmark, refresh and hone my abilities. – Jackson Allen, Assistant Manager, BRANDT, Inc.

Key Benefits

During the academy, you will:

  • Increase your understanding of core business functions and how to leverage the links between them;
  • Explore management challenges with the goal of uncovering business opportunities;
  • Strengthen your leadership qualities and learn to improve business results through effective communication and relationship building;
  • Network with peers from different markets across the country;
  • Debate and discuss industry issues with well-known management faculty.

Program Content

Future Drivers of Change: Implications for Business Strategy

Drivers of change in agriculture have significant implications for the U.S. input supply channel. During this session, you’ll analyze changing markets, consumers and customers and determine what actions agribusinesses should consider in response to these trends.

Examining Profitability: Your Role and Impact

Understanding financial statements and the profitability linkage model are essential in today’s industry. This session will examine how financial statements provide valuable data for decision making purposes and how the profitability linkage model evaluates your company’s position and performance within the industry.

Creating Value for your Customers

Standing out from the crowd is easier said than done, but this session will provide you the opportunity to hear from Southwest producers, discover what it takes to create value in the marketplace and differentiate your organization from the competition.

Implementing Organizational Leadership Strategies

In an environment of constant change, thriving can be difficult. That’s why this session will focus on exploring ways to embrace organizational transitions, overcoming resistance to change and developing the skills needed for adaptive leadership.

Services Excellence and Blueprinting

Service blueprinting allows you to clearly visualize your service processes and delivery from the customers’ point of view. During this session, you’ll learn how this technique can result in service improvement and innovation for your organization.

Program Partners

The center offers this program in partnership with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business.

Program Agenda

*A printable pdf of the agenda is available for download here.

Schedule at a Glance

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

8:00 a.m. MST
Program Overview and Introductions

8:45 a.m. MST
Organizational Leadership
Dr. Joan Brett

12:15-1:00 p.m. MST

1:00-5:00 p.m. MST
Service Blueprinting: Visualize your Service Processes and Delivery from the Customer Point of View
Dr. Doug Olsen 

5:00 p.m. MST
Networking Reception

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

8:00 a.m. MST
Financial Management: Examining Profitability, Your Role and Impact
Dr. Mark Manfredo

11:00 a.m. MST
Group Photo (Outside)

11:30 a.m. MST
Lunch – McCord 106

12:30 p.m. MST
Future Drivers of Change: Implications for Business Strategy
Dr. Allan Gray

5:00 p.m. MST
Depart for Networking Dinner

Thursday, February 2, 2023

8:00 a.m. MST
Financial Management: Examining Profitability, Your Role and Impact
Dr. Mark Manfredo

10:30 a.m. MST
Connecting Sales and Marketing
Dr. Scott Downey 

12:00 p.m. MST
Lunch – McCord 450

12:45 p.m. MST
Conversations with Arizona Growers
Dr. Scott Downey

3:00 p.m. MST
Now What? Action Steps After the Academy
Dr. Allan Gray

4:00 p.m. MST
Safe Travels!

Participant Specifics

*Consistent with CDC guidelines for colleges and universities, ASU strongly recommends everyone wear a face covering when inside university buildings. Face coverings are required in certain indoor settings, including the classrooms and meeting rooms being used for the ARA Management Academy. Please plan to wear a face covering during the academy except when eating or drinking.

Thank you in advance for your support and observance of ASU’s policy. More information about ASU’s face covering policy can be viewed here. Updates will also be posted to this site as you plan your visit to Tempe.

Program Location

Arizona State University
W.P. Carey School of Business
McCord Hall Room 422
450 E. Lemon Street
Tempe, AZ 85281

Registration for the ARA Management Academy will open at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 25 on the fourth floor of McCord Hall. The registration desk will be straight ahead and to the left when you exit the elevator. Event signage will be posted outside of McCord Hall and staff will be available to help with navigation.


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Residence Inn Tempe Downtown for Monday, January 24 through Thursday, January 27. Please contact the Residence Inn Tempe Downtown at (480) 967-2300 or visit this link to make your reservation. Be sure to mention you are with the ARA Management Academy group to receive the $201/night room rate. Check-in is at 4:00 p.m. MT and check-out is at 12:00 p.m. MT.

Residence Inn Tempe Downtown
510 South Forest Avenue, Tempe, AZ
(480) 967-2300
Maps and Transportation

Getting Around Tempe and ASU

The Residence Inn Tempe Downtown and ASU are conveniently located within a 15 to 30 minute drive via taxi or rideshare from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

For perspective, the Residence Inn Tempe Downtown is less than 5 miles from Sky Harbor (see map). Walking distance from the Residence Inn Tempe Downtown to McCord Hall at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business is 1 mile and can be shortened by cutting through campus (see map).

Restaurants and ARA Management Academy event locations are all within a convenient walking distance from the hotel and around Tempe’s general downtown area. Renting a car is not recommended unless personally preferred.


Please plan to eat breakfast before attending the program. Lunch will be provided January 25, 26 and 27, along with coffee, soft drinks and refreshments throughout each program day. An onsite welcome reception will be held the evening of Tuesday, January 25 at McCord Hall, along with a dinner at Pedal Haus Brewery on Wednesday, January 26.

Additionally, Tempe has a lively dining scene. Notable callouts within a short walking distance of the Residence Inn Tempe Downtown include:

What to Wear

Attire for the conference is business casual. January in Arizona is typically cool with morning lows in the upper 30s to low 40s and afternoon highs in the mid 60s. Layers are recommended for the classroom.


Materials will be provided for you through a dedicated website.

Program Payment/Cancellation

Payment for the program is due upon registration. Please refer to our cancellation policy for full details and information.

For more information, contact:

Betty Jones-Bliss
Associate Director
(217) 549-2883

Program Cancellation Policy

If a participant is unable to attend a Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business program, the participant may choose to: 1) transfer their registration fee to another participant within the same company, or 2) choose to receive a credit for the same program or another program that takes place within the 12 months following the originally booked event. However, a request to use a credit must be received no less than 30 days prior to the program start date, otherwise the credit will not be valid. No refunds will be issued regardless of cancellation date.

The Center for Food and Agricultural Business reserves the right to cancel a program due to low enrollment or other circumstances which would make the program non-viable. If a program is cancelled, registrants will be offered a full refund. Should circumstances arise that result in the postponement of a program, the Center for Food and Agricultural Business has the right to either issue a full refund or transfer registration to the same program on the new future date. The Center for Food and Agricultural Business will not be responsible for reimbursement of any participant expenses related to the cancellation or postponement of an event.

Should circumstances arise due to COVID-19 that result in the postponement of / or change to an online program, the Center for Food and Agricultural Business has the right to either issue a full refund or transfer registration to the same program on the new future date.