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Charles Kettering founded this organization. Now it helps businesses adapt to virtual teams

Brian Berg
Brian Berg

The coronavirus pandemic is no match for the Dayton region's innovative spirit. The Dayton Daily News is profiling small businesses in our region as they navigate through these challenging times. To nominate a small business, email

Business Name: NMA – National Management Association

Location: 3055 Kettering Blvd., Dayton

Leader: Executive Director Brian Berg

Years in operation: 95 Years

Describe what your business does: NMA … The Leadership Development Organization is a professional association dedicated to growing the next generation of leaders. In today's complex global economy, strong, principled leadership is needed more than ever before. NMA is dedicated to the growth and development of its members by empowering them with the leadership skills needed in today's workplace and beyond.

NMA is a chapter-based organization, which is sponsored by the businesses they belong to. The chapter’s goal is to provide curriculum, training and a structure operated like a business to allow leadership skills to develop.

With a National Resource Center in Dayton, NMA is a national, nonprofit association with nearly 10,000 members. Often dubbed a leadership incubator, our members are employed by some of the largest companies in the world in the aerospace and defense industries, manufacturing, utilities, government, and health care.

What inspired you to start this business? NMA…The Leadership Development Organization was originally founded in Dayton in 1919 as the Dayton Foreman's Club by Charles Kettering, a prolific inventor who held 186 patents. Among his most noted inventions include the electric starting motor and ignition system, leaded gasoline, and the coolant Freon. Kettering was the founder of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co., more commonly known as Delco.

While at Delco, Kettering noted the need for continuing education among his management staff and created the Foreman’s Club of Dayton. As that organization began to swell with members from different management and supervisory levels, the name was changed to the National Management Association in 1925.

In 1974, NMA and the International Management Council created the Institute of Certified Professional Managers located on the campus of James Madison University. ICPM and NMA offer international certification to become a certified manager and a certified supervisor.

Since 1988, NMA has sponsored a speech contest for high school students. After competing on the local level, the contest culminates at the NMA Annual Conference, where finalists present their speeches to a panel of judges.

For over 100 years, NMA has been dedicated to developing the leaders of tomorrow!

How has your business embraced innovation? With the recent pandemic requiring many businesses to have their employees work from home, one of our leadership development courses (Building Virtual Teams) has proven to be of great value.

NMA has been a front runner in training individuals on the organization and management of virtual teams over the last six years.

What's your biggest challenge right now? Like most other businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced NMA to prioritize our operations on strengthening our organization and continuing to support our membership. As our members gradually return to the workplace, or, conversely, as many continue to telework, we are working tirelessly to maintain and enhance our offerings for personal and professional growth through monthly webinars, virtual meetings and professional development offerings.

What's your biggest opportunity right now? Individuals, due to the stay-at-home work environment, have additional time to complete some professional development to increase their value and position themselves for a leadership role.

What do you want readers to know about your business today? NMA, working with businesses can help supplement training and human resource development. You can join NMA as a chapter or as an individual. Please contact us at