Industry Leaders Honored At The ARA Conference
Jim Thrift Receives The Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) was pleased to present this year’s Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award to ARA’s former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Relations Jim Thrift. This award is presented annually to an individual whose talents and accomplishments have fundamentally advanced the agricultural retail industry and have been acknowledged by their industry colleagues over the course of their career. The award is named after a former President and CEO of ARA who passed away in 2009.
Thrift officially retired from ARA in the summer of 2012 after serving the organization for nine years. During this time, he utilized his more than 40 years of agriculture industry experience to assist ARA members with specific business and regulatory challenges. He also led many of ARA’s recruitment efforts which led to significant growth for the association during his tenure.
Prior to joining ARA, Thrift held various executive management, marketing, and sales positions within the agriculture industry, primarily at American Cyanamid and BASF. He also served as a trustee on The National Cotton Council Foundation, the ARA Board of Directors, The National Corn Growers Industry Relations Group, U.S. Grains Council Executive Committee and the Stewardship Committee of the National Aerial Applicators Association. Thrift also received numerous awards that include the Industry Meritorious Service Award from the American Soybean Association and the Distinguished Service Award from ARA. In 1997, he was named to the Alpha Zeta Centennial Honor Roll of 100 individuals who have a career of outstanding support of U.S. Agriculture.
Ken Manning Receives ARA’s Distinguished Service Award
The ARA Distinguished Service Award honors an individual member of the association who has gone above and beyond the traditional responsibility to support the ag retail industry and the association, making the industry better for all. At the ARA Conference, ARA presented this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Ken Manning, Senior Vice President of Northwest Operations for the Agribusiness Division of Wilbur-Ellis Company.
Ken was an active ARA board member from 2002 – 2011. He also served as the organization’s chairman in 2009. During his years on the ARA board of directors, Manning’s leadership and industry expertise helped the organization reach many public policy achievements and development of other services for ARA members. Manning served on several committees, a few of these included Conference Planning, Membership & Member Services, Public Policy and Communications.
At the ARA Conference, special recognition was paid to Manning for his leadership as Board Chairman during a difficult time for the association when the previous ARA President & CEO Jack Eberspacher passed away. Manning led the organization through those challenging months and helped the association find new leadership. ARA appreciates Manning’s leadership and years of service to the agricultural retail industry.