ARA Management Academy

Sharpen skills in management, leadership and decision-making through faculty-led presentations, interactive exercises and peer discussions.


January 28-30, 2025

Registration Fee:

ARA Members



Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona


For more information about this program or questions about registering as a team, contact:

Taryn Nance
(765) 714-2771


Registration fees are due upon receipt and cover all program materials. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Once full, names will be added to a waiting list. Please review our cancellation policy.

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 Taryn Nance at or (765) 714-2771.

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.

Educational Credit

You can earn CEU and CCA credit at this program.






Program Agenda

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

Schedule at a Glance

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

8:00 a.m. MST
Welcome, Program Overview and Introductions
Taryn Nance / Raghu Santanam

9:00 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 Customers’ Point of View
Dr. Doug Olsen 

5:00 p.m. MST

5:00-6:30 p.m. MST
Networking Reception – McCord Hall Room 450 (Oasis Room)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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

11:30 a.m. MST
Group Photo (Outside first floor atrium)

11:45 a.m. MST
Lunch – McCord Hall, Room 106

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

5:00 p.m. MST

6:30-8:00 p.m. MST
Networking Dinner – Pedal Haus Brewery

Thursday, January 25, 2024

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

10:00 a.m. MST
Connecting Sales and Marketing
Dr. Scott Downey 

12:00 p.m. MST
Lunch – McCord Hall, Room 450

12:45 p.m. MST
Conversations with Arizona Growers: Arnott Duncan and Brian Rhodes
Dr. Scott Downey

2:00 p.m. MST

2:15 p.m. MST
Review Learning, Value Co-Creation
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!

Program Location

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


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hyatt Place Tempe/Phoenix/University for Monday, January 22 through Thursday, January 25. Visit this link and use the Group Code – G-ARA2 – to receive the special room rate of $169/night. You can also call (888) 591-1234 to reserve a room within the block using the specific property name and group code. If you need additional dates or further assistance, please contact Becky Bowers, Director of Sales at (480) 219-5753. Check-in is 4:00 p.m. MT and check-out is 12:00 p.m. MT. The room block cut-off is Friday, January 12.

Hyatt Place Tempe/Phoenix/University

601 E. Sixth Street, Tempe, AZ
(480) 207-1578

Getting Around Tempe and ASU

The Hyatt Place Tempe and ASU are conveniently located within a 15 to 30 minute drive via taxi or rideshare from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

Walking distance from the Hyatt Place to McCord Hall at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business is less than 1 mile (see map); walking time is 15 minutes or less.


Please plan to eat breakfast before attending the program. Lunch will be provided along with coffee, soft drinks and refreshments each program day.

Tempe has a lively dining scene. Notable callouts within a short walking distance of the Hyatt Place Tempe 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.


Taryn Nance
(765) 714-2771 

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.

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