Our History

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Charles Kettering with the electric self-starter.

Photo courtesy General Motors

Our History

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 Company, 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 1974, NMA and the International Management Council created the Institute of Certified Professional Managers located on the campus of James Madison University.

Since 1988, NMA has sponsored a speech contest for students in grades 9-12. 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!

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