ASA University is excited to announce the first graduate of the Master of Distribution Management program, a comprehensive leadership curriculum to develop top talent. Joe Ward, a sales representative with Pipe Valves in Columbus, Ohio, has developed a passion for building quality customer relationships during his 15 years with the company. When asked about his experience with the MDM program, Joe said, “I’ve come out of this program a new and improved person. The information is great and you can’t get anything like it anywhere else.” When asked how MDM has benefitted him, Ward replied, “I have been able to see things from the business side of distribution and it has helped to make me a better salesperson. I put thought behind my ideas and how I present myself, which has made me a more valuable asset to my company. The personal growth I’ve gained through this program was seen not only by those I work with, but even my wife. She saw the difference in the confidence that I gained and positive attitude that I
have adopted.”

Ward felt that his mentor, Joe Jacob, who is the president of Pipe-Valves, was a great help to him throughout his MDM journey. Ward said, “Joe [Jacob] made for a great sounding board. He helped keep me on track, encouraged me to keep going and inspired me with a positive attitude throughout the program.”

When asked about how he felt about the MDM program, Jacob replied, “ASA’s MDM program was helpful in enlightening Joe to see the ‘bigger picture.’ He has been one of our top sales representatives, but has never worked in a management capacity.  Without taking him out of the field, the MDM program allowed us to introduce Joe to many of the concepts that owners and managers in PVF distribution face on a daily basis.” Jacob went on to share, “Our goal with Joe is not to take him out of sales, but to broaden his knowledge of distribution and business management so that he continues to grow as a salesperson. The training has made him more aware of not only our business and management needs, but that of our vendors and customers as well, helping Pipe Valves become the most valuable partner in the supply chain. Joe ‘gets it’ and is an ambassador of that message.”

The MDM Graduate Review Committee is responsible for granting the MDM Certificate to a candidate through formal analysis. Ward presented his final capstone project to the GRC – here’s what a few of them had to say about the first MDM graduate:

George Yezbak, retired industry veteran, said, “It is an honor to have Joe Ward as the first graduate. His humility, honesty and genuine personality will be a terrific role model for others to follow. I appreciate that he recognizes and was willing to share what the program has done for him both personally and professionally. It was particularly rewarding to hear that other people recognized a change in him.”

Annamaria Nagy of Hajoca Corp., said, “Joe’s execution of his capstone project included many of the key competencies of the MDM program – strategic decision-making, planning and organizing, improving communication, building trust, gaining commitment, and managing conflict. These are skills he’ll continue to hone and use throughout his career.” 

Ward’s MDM experience and successful completion of the program further demonstrate the benefits of participating in this one-of-a-kind program. ASA University looks forward to sharing the success stories of MDM graduates throughout this year and the years to come. Congratulations Joe Ward, from all of us at ASA!