Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

The NAW Certificate in Distribution Professional Management is a breakthrough program that offers three separate, one-week, on-campus sessions: Optimizing Distributor Profitability, Generating and Managing Growth and Distributor Capability Development. These sessions are designed to help companies retain and develop their key employees. This is an ideal program for managers who seek to complement their professional development. While sessions may be taken individually, participants must attend all three sessions to earn their certificate.


“The week I was fortunate to spend at Texas A&M for the NAW Certificate in Distribution Professional Management: Session 1 Optimizing Distributor Profitability was rather eye opening in a few areas. The instructors’ knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge to actual day-to-day scenarios was incredibly helpful and insightful. I was able to garner a new perspective on my business and, more importantly, on how to improve the profitability of the business. Probably the most impactful takeaway was how the faculty ensured that we put together an actionable framework to take back to our organizations. For me, this really helped to close the loop on the knowledge I gained. At other seminars or trainings, we would spend the week covering good material. However, when you get back to the real world with emails, voicemails and the day-to-day firefighting, it was too easy to not put into action the things you learned. I really feel this helped this program stand out above the rest. I look forward to the next session and the knowledge that follows.”

David Ryan, General Manager, Polymershapes

NAW Certificate Session Dates at Texas A&M University

Stay tuned for dates to be set in 2021 for all three sessions:

  • Session 1: Optimizing Distributor Profitability
  • Session 2: Generating and Managing Growth
  • Session 3: Distributor Capability Development.

Questions? Contact NAW’s Alexandria Crenshaw at

Program Fee: $5,890 per person per Session (includes program materials; excludes travel and lodging to Texas A&M University). If you are interested in registering more than three individuals or prefer to pay by check, please contact NAW’s Alexandria Crenshaw at (202) 263-4074.

Each session is tailored for the continuing education needs of your future distribution leaders

Through the education alliance between the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence and Texas A&M University’s Industrial Distribution Program, NAW offers this cutting-edge, distribution-focused educational program that is customized to distributors.

The NAW Certificate in Distribution Professional Management consists of three one-week sessions targeted to distributors who desire an update on the latest knowledge in wholesale distribution, with a strong emphasis on practical application within the distribution field.

The three sessions will provide an overview of the most important concepts in distribution today. The sessions will be delivered at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, through an active learning process consisting of both lecture and hands-on exercises. Completion of the three sessions will provide participants with the educational foundation they need to enhance their value to their company.

Sessions may be taken individually. However, the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence will issue a NAW Certificate in Distribution Professional Management ONLY upon completion of all three sessions.

Sessions are:

  • Optimizing Distributor Profitability  
  • Generating and Managing Growth
  •  Distributor Capability Development

There is no time limit for completion, and sessions may be completed in any order that best suits the participant. Class size in each session is limited, so early registration is strongly recommended.

Key Takeaways from Each Session

  • The impact of operational decisions on profitability and shareholder value
  • Best practices in each of the functional areas of distribution
  • Dimensions of profitable growth in distribution
  • Strategies to optimize pricing
  • Channel partner relationships and compensation
  • Strategies for sales force development and management
  • Strategies for talent acquisition, development and retention

Who Should Attend*

  • Operational leaders in functional areas
  • District and Region Managers
  • Branch and Sales Managers
  • Potential candidates for management
  • Inside Sales and Outside Sales Professionals
  • Operation Managers

*These sessions are designed specifically for individuals with degrees other than industrial distribution or experienced non-degree professionals.

Expected Program Outline (sessions may shift on the schedule)

Session 1: Optimizing Distributor Profitability

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Distributor Valuation and Shareholder Value Optimization Key Factors for Capital Investment SOURCE – Process Assessment Demand Forecasting and Replenishment Key Action items and Implementation Roadmap
Overview of Financial Statements Understanding and Controlling Operating Expenses Supplier Stratification and Supplier Performance Management STORE – Process Assessment Conclusion: Questions and Discussion
Power of Small Numbers Distributor Profitability Framework STOCK – Process Assessment Critical warehouse practices, lean fundamentals and quality metrics
Key Financial Ratios – 4 Drivers and 14 Metrics 7 Process Groups and 47 Processes Inventory Management Model SELL – Process Assessment
Net Present Value Linking Processes to Shareholder Value Inventory Stratification and Demand Classification Customer Stratification

Session 2: Generating and Managing Growth

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Distribution Growth Dimensions Generate Growth – BROADEN Managing Growth Framework Pricing Strategy by MARKET SEGMENT Managing Profitability in the E-commerce and Digital Age
Generating Growth Framework Generate Growth – ADD and REACH OUT Economic Drivers Pricing Strategy by CUSTOMER and INVENTORY type Conclusion: Questions and Discussion
9 Growth Strategies and 5 Growth Drivers Generate Growth – EXPAND and BUILD Resource Drivers Customer Item Visibility
Generate Growth – LEVERAGE Generate Growth – INNOVATE Pricing Optimization Framework Pricing Rules and Roadmap
Generate Growth – PENETRATE Generate Growth – DIVERSIFY 5 Key Pricing Drivers Managing Profitability in the E-commerce and Digital Age

Session 3: Distributor Capability Development 

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sustaining Growth Framework Channel Compensation Framework Sales and Marketing Framework Strategic Planning and Talent Practices Conclusion: Questions and Discussion
Assumptions about Opportunity and Capability Channel Goals and Drivers Sales Force Design Talent Planning and Acquisition
Root Causes Channel Capability Sales Force Development Talent Management, Development and Retention
Best Practices Value Proposition and Cost Drivers Sales Force Management Talent Tools (39 unique tools)

Robert Borsh

Robert Borsh

Associate Professor of Practice, Industrial Distribution Program, Texas A&M University

Bob Borsh is a seasoned business professional with more than 35 years in manufacturing sales and industrial distribution senior management. He has held various positions including salesman, sales manager, district manager, regional vice president, vice president, president and CEO. During the tenure at his entrepreneurial international distribution company, Bob was the proud recipient of the “Aggie 100” award for three consecutive years and placing 13th in the final year as the fastest growing Aggie-owned business worldwide.

Kevin Friar

Kevin Friar

Senior Lecturer, Industrial Distribution Program, Texas A&M University

Kevin Friar joined the faculty of Texas A&M’s Industrial Distribution Program in 2017 and teaches in both the undergraduate and master’s programs.

Prior to his current role, Kevin spent 28 years in industry working for Ecolab in its Energy Services division, Nalco Champion.  He began his role as a field engineer and over the year held various leadership positions covering sales and marketing both domestically and internationally.  His leadership roles serving the oil and gas industry gave him vast experience in emerging markets globally.  From 2009 until his retirement at the end of 2016, he held the Executive Vice President position with responsibility for the global oilfield chemicals business unit of $2.5 billion and 2,500+ employees.

Jay Johnson

Jay Johnson

Lecturer, Industrial Distribution Program, Texas A&M University

Jay Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in distribution. He has worked in industries such as electrical, building materials, fluid power and power transmission, with positions in sales, sales management, and general management. He has participated in research projects in the building materials, electrical, PVF, HVAC, fluid power, plumbing, chemical and transportation industries. Jay uses his industry experience, education and continued research to deliver undergraduate and industry presentations in financial management, sales, sales management, inventory management and customer service.


Col. Ret. Mark Johnson

Associate Professor of Practice, Industrial Distribution Program, Texas A&M University

Before joining Texas A&M, Col. Ret. Mark Johnson served as the Director of Cyber Solutions for Camber Corporation from, and as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Before that, he was Director, Joint Information Operations Warfare Center (JIOWC), at the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Subordinate to the U.S. Strategic Command, the JIOWC is the lead USSTRATCOM component for Information Operations and Strategic Communication in support of U.S. national security objectives. TheJIOWC’s 450-plus personnel support the development of global effects and provide IO/SC planning in support of USSTRATCOM mission areas of strategic deterrence, space and cyberspace operations. Mark served in the U.S. Army from 1979 to 2008, retiring with the rank of Colonel. Prior to his active duty retirement, he was the Deputy Commander, Joint Information Operations Warfare Command. He is a Master Parachutist.

Barry Lawerence

Dr. Barry Lawrence

Program Coordinator, Industrial Distribution Program; Director, Thomas and Joan Read Center; and Director, Global Supply Chain Laboratory, Texas A&M University

As a faculty member of the Industrial Distribution Program, Dr. Barry Lawrence is involved in graduate, undergraduate and professional continuing education teaching activities, funded research projects, publications and industry presentations. His teaching activities surround classes in manufacturer– distributor relationships, supply chain management, distributor profitability and distribution strategy. Barry is a frequent speaker for distribution associations, buying groups and companies on topics ranging from distributor profitability, distribution growth and market share, pricing optimization, inventory asset management, sales and marketing optimization, global distribution and other topics. Barry is a Fellow with the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, and co-author of six books on distributor competitiveness. He has more than 10 years of industry experience in sales and retail business before joining Texas A&M.


Dr. Jia Wang

Professor of Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University

As a scholar, Dr. Jia Wang has been actively promoting individual and organizational development through culture-sensitive and evidence-based research. Her research work has been disseminated through a wide range of academic journals and international conferences. Jia currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Human Resource Development Review. With 25 years of accumulated experiences in multi-cultural contexts, she has developed and conducted numerous educational workshops to diverse groups in both the corporate and university settings.

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

The three sessions will be held at the Sbisa Conference Center on Asbury Street on the campus of Texas A&M University. Within walking distance of the Sbisa Conference Center is the Northside Parking Garage, located on the corner of University Drive and Ireland Street. See map below.

Once you have registered for these sessions, the Thomas and Joan Read Center staff will contact you with information regarding local hotels so that you can make your hotel accommodations.

The Thomas and Joan Read Center was founded in 1988 with the intent of bringing together distributors, manufacturers, professional associations and others to solve problems in the distribution industry. It is the only university center in the United States that focuses on research and education in industrial distribution. The Read Center works with industry leaders and their projects to discover new ways of productively and profitably serving the needs of the marketplace. It helps industry professionals recognize and improve their best practices, and provides solutions and methodologies to facilitate a competitive advantage.



“The Optimizing Distributor Profitability module in the NAW Certificate in Distribution Professional Management program was quite impressive. The content was very practical and applicable to the distributor business model. You can expect an immediate ROI on the information presented and the entire week was well worth the time and financial investment. Although the content was great, the delivery of it was what made it special. Dr. Lawrence and the other faculty disseminated expert knowledge that clearly showed why they are global authorities on increasing profitability for a distributor of any size. I recommend this program to anyone looking to improve his or her business. I’m looking forward to the other two modules in this program.”

Ryan Pierson, Associate Business Unit Manager – Lubricants, O’Rourke Petroleum


“I found the Optimizing Distributor Profitability course to be just the shot in the arm that I needed. The principles and skills taught are invaluable and clearly presented. Better yet, this course is the road map we received to immediately implement what we learned. I can’t wait to get back to share this with our team and start improving our EBITDA and ROI.”

Bill Davis, President, Valley Solvents & Chemicals


“The Optimizing Distributor Profitability session of the NAW Certificate in Distribution Professional Management program was a very valuable experience for me. The instructors brought their “A” game and had many relatable examples from their experience in the distribution world and their consulting endeavors. I appreciated how they kept the class in an open dialogue format – didn’t talk at us, but allowed us to be active participants. I got some solid takeaways out of this first session from an introduction to the concept of GMROII to ideas for customer stratification. The section on inventory stratification was key for me as well. Some of the metrics and best practices that I learned provided immediate takeaways that I’ll apply to my business unit and I believe they will provide immediate return on investment. I look forward to sessions 2 and 3!”

Matt Womack, General Manager – Houston, Polymershapes


“Session 1 – Optimizing Distributor Profitability was amazing. Very transformational and so very relevant to our needs in our company. Really appreciated the real-world data and case study use in teaching. Recommend more interaction and sharing of participants to gain perspective on alternate challenges facing companies.”

Kelly Wall, Senior Director of Business Development, Y. Hata & Co. Ltd.

For more details about the content of the NAW Certificate Program, contact Dr. Barry Lawrence, Texas A&M University,

For more information about the NAW Certificate awarded to participants who complete all three sessions, contact Patricia A. Lilly, NAW,