On September 16, 2009, six leading industry wholesalers participated in the inaugural meeting of the ASA Certification Task Group, a group created to evaluate the development and implementation of a national certification program for branch managers.

As part of the American Supply Association Strategic Plan, the Board of Directors charged the association to develop a national certification program for PHCP and PVF wholesalers. Using the recommendations of the Board as a guideline, the members of the task group discussed and debated the overall merits of such a program. 

The primary question addressed was around what position ASA should build a national certification program.  It was agreed that certifying the branch manager is the most logical position for which to build a certification program that will make an impact and have successful participation.  The branch manager is widely recognized as the core of a wholesaler’s financial success.  The task group will focus its efforts in the coming months on developing a prototype certification program.

ASA’s research has shown that many wholesalers have looked into developing some type of certification program in an effort to enhance their own operations.  Taking this into consideration, the task group felt that it made sense for ASA to become the leading industry authority in overseeing and implementing this new program.  The advantage of this is to provide the industry with an independent assessment of the knowledge and skills required to effectively run a wholesaler branch. 

“Association-sponsored professional certification programs have become increasingly popular in recent years. Such programs serve a multitude of purposes for an association’s stakeholders. They help employers judge the skills of existing or potential employees, as well as provide professionals the ability to differentiate themselves from others in the profession in order to advance their careers,” shared Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president.  “Certification will provide a valuable tool to wholesalers through elevating professional standards, improving performance, identifying individuals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to the practice, and heightening a firm’s credibility within the industry.  I was impressed by the insight and enthusiasm shown by the members of the task group; this is an exciting time for ASA in looking at the potential of this program and what it can contribute to our industry in years to come.”

The ASA Certification Task Group will meet again in conjunction with the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees meeting in early November in Chicago, with hopes of having a preliminary program for the ASA Board of Directors’ approval in early 2010.  For more information on the task group, please contact Mike Adelizzi atmadelizzi@asa.netor 312.464.0090, ext. 201.