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8 Retailers Attend NHPA Management Program After Receiving Scholarships From STIHL Inc.

The 2021 class of the NHPA Retail Management Certification Program at the Visit #3 class sessions that were held in Indianapolis in December. STIHL Inc. provided 8 students in the class with a $5,000 scholarship to attend.

Eight home improvement retailers from across the nation recently graduated from the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s (NHPA) Retail Management Certification Program (RMCP) after each received a $5,000 scholarship to attend the program from Virginia Beach-based STIHL Inc. RMCP is a college-level course developed by NHPA and teaches future leaders within the independent home improvement retail industry advanced retail management and leadership skills that will help them advance their careers.

To graduate from the program, students make three separate trips to Indianapolis, where NHPA is based, over a six-month period to learn from university instructors, industry experts and alumni instructors. Students must also plan and implement a major business improvement project and a final application assignment to provide a return on the company’s investment in participating in the program. 

The eight students who each received a $5,000 scholarship from STIHL Inc. to attend include: 

  • Chase Crawford, Manager, Karl’s Hardware Do it Best, Rosamond, CA
  • Skylar Stevenson, Vice President, Stevenson’s Ace Hardware, Crawfordsville, IN
  • Summer Perez, Manager, Matt’s Building Materials, Pharr, TX
  • Mose Yoder, Retail Sales Director, Keim Lumber, Charm, OH 
  • Tina Green, Operations Specialist, Nation’s Best Holdings, Dallas, TX  
  • Gina Bankosh, Assistant Manager, Stanford Home Center, Pittsburgh, PA 
  • Matt Nichols, Vice President, Branch Operations, Koopman Lumber Co., Whitinsville, MA
  • Geoff Saunders, Store Manager, Gold Beach Lumber, Brookings, OR

“On behalf of myself and Koopman Lumber, I want to express our sincere appreciation for the generosity of the scholarship provided by STIHL to attend the Retail Management Certification Program through NHPA,” says Matt Nichols, vice president of branch operations for Koopman Lumber. “I have been extremely impressed with the content and presentations from the course, and we are confident that the business improvement project we are working on will result in a companywide implementation of a formal training program. The support from STIHL is very much appreciated.” 

Nichols also received top honors in the class by receiving the Marcus Moran Jr. “Best in Class” Award, which is named after the former CEO of Aubuchon Hardware who helped NHPA develop and launch RMCP in 2013.

It was a great honor for me to be chosen as one of STIHL’s scholarship recipients for the 2021 class, and I want to express my sincere appreciation for their generous contribution,” says Tina Green, operations specialist for Dallas-based Nation’s Best Holdings. “RMCP is a phenomenal program, and what I have learned thus far has been invaluable. I am thrilled that I now have a more refined skill set and will be able to be a more effective leader.” 

“An essential element of STIHL’s success over the years is our network of more than 10,000 authorized local dealers. We recognize the vital role that these local businesses play in their communities, as well as in the satisfaction of our customers,” says Roger Phelps, corporate communications manager for STIHL Inc. “We always look for ways to help these businesses improve and become more profitable, which is why we are so pleased to sponsor NHPA’s Retail Management Certification Program and provide grants that enable hardware retailing employees to strengthen their management capabilities and gain valuable information and insights.”

“We’re delighted that STIHL provided these scholarships for students to attend RMCP,” says Scott Wright, executive director of NHPA’s Advanced Education Programs. “This is just one of the many ways they continue to support the future success of the independent home improvement retail channel.” 

STIHL Inc. will be providing scholarships for the 2022 RMCP class that starts in July. For more information about RMCP or scholarship opportunities visit www.yourNHPA.org.


About the North American Hardware and Paint Association 

Founded in 1900 by a group of retailers, the North American Hardware and Paint Association is a not-for-profit trade association whose mission is to help independent home improvement and paint and decorating retailers in the U.S. and Canada become better and more profitable retailers. Governed by a board of independent retailers, NHPA fulfills its mission by providing information, communication, training programs and networking opportunities for the industry it serves. For more information visit www.yourNHPA.org.


About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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