(October 28, 2015, East Lansing, Michigan) Michigan State University was the site of the National Automatic Merchandising Association Executive Development Program for the 16th year October 18-22. Thirty top performers from vending; coffee, tea and water service; and micro market companies met in the Henry Center for Executive Development for an intensive program designed to “accelerate careers for high-potential leaders,” according to NAMA.
In 1999, NAMA established the NAMA Endowed Professor in The School of Hospitality Business, a position held by Dr. Mike Kasavana until his retirement last year. The current NAMA professor is Dr. Michael McCall, director of The School.
The program consisted of numerous intensive sessions taught by professors at MSU from the departments of Marketing (Dr. Harrell), Communication (Dr. Donohue), Supply Chain Management (Dr. Whipple), and Accounting (Dr. Spieir-Pero), and from The School of Hospitality Business (Drs. Kasavana, Knutson, Schmidgall, and Cichy). Industry executives and MSU Alumni Mr. Jim Proebstle (BA ’66, MBA ’68) and Mr. Dan Mathews (BA ’66) also presented.
The daytime sessions were wide-ranging, covering all the important aspects of their businesses. The participants learned about strategic leadership, financial analysis, business analytics and leveraging customer data, performance-driven sales management, strategic marketing, and customer value pricing, V-Commerce and emerging technologies, communication and negotiation strategies, supply chain management and process improvement, and effective personal leadership. There was also a session on “Introducing Gen C: NAMA’s Choice Generation.”
Dr. Ron Cichy served as the program’s academic coordinator, and worked closely with the participants on the “Spartanland, Inc.” case study which was the study focus each evening. For the case study, the group worked in teams divided into Human Resources, Finance/Information Technology, Sales and Marketing/Purchasing and Pricing, and Operations (Inventory and Warehousing/Equipment and Design). The final day, each team reported on its work, revealing the many hours they had devoted to the case study and the practical application of their subject.
“The individuals who attended this program have vast leadership potential,” says Dr. Cichy. “They came to work and learn, and they poured everything they had into the case study.”
A dinner and special graduation ceremony on the last evening brought pride and a sense of accomplishment to the participants. “It was a privilege to have been in the program,” said Jeff Davies, assistant division controller for Canteen Vending Service in Elizabethtown, PA. “Your institution is top-notch, and I have already recommended the program to my boss and others within the Compass/Canteen family.”
Getting started the Sunday after the miracle finish of the Michigan State vs. Michigan football game on October 17, the NAMA EDP attendees got a taste of the Spartan Spirit that pervaded campus and the city of East Lansing for days afterward. “It was an exciting time at MSU last week,” said Ann Porter, regional coordinator for G & J Marketing and Sales, in Palm Harbor, FL. “It was wonderful to see the pride in the school, from the Dean of the College of Business [Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who welcomed the group on Monday] to the students we met.”
Other participants were effusive about the applicability of what they studied to their careers and in the workplace. “I have already identified and met with five up-and-coming leaders in our organization that will benefit from a ‘lite’ version of leadership and personal development that we learned about,” said Leigh Magadanz, customer service manager for G & J Marketing and Sales in Palm Harbor, FL. “I will be setting regular meetings with them throughout the coming year to discuss these ideas and others – I was reminded that I need to offer a structured form of coaching and create learning experiences for my own group of leaders here in the office.”
Founded in 1936, NAMA is the association representing the $25 billion U.S. vending and refreshment services industry. It is led by Carla Balakgie, president and CEO, and Dan Mathews, COO, a 1966 graduate of MSU’s The School of Hospitality Business.
Executive Development Programs at Michigan State University are led by Dr. David Frayer, director. Assistant director Kristen St. Marie, who helped coordinate the NAMA program, is a two-time graduate of The School, with a BA (’87) and an MS (’99).
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