75th MANAversary

by Charles Cohon, President and CEO, MANA

The year was 1947. Harry S. Truman was president, the World Series was televised for the first time (the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games), and Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier. And on October 17, 1947, the Manufacturers’ Agents National Association joined the community of not-for-profit trade associations.

Fast forward to July 1949, and MANA members discovered the first 24-page issue of The Agent and Representative magazine (eventually renamed Agency Sales) in their mailboxes.

Digging through the first few issues of The Agent and Representative
reveals how much MANA has changed and also how much it has remained the same.

In those first few issues, we find sentences like, “I know it’s customary for men who call themselves and believe themselves to be ‘practical men’ to pooh-pooh anything savoring of academic classification in salesmanship.” No thought of women as salespeople or as customers in those earliest editions. But in today’s MANA, woman-owned firms are common, and Michelle Jobst currently serves as MANA’s first woman Chairperson of MANA’s Board of Directors.

Another glaring change since 1949 is that, although manufacturers were invited to advertise in our magazine, the articles in that 1949 issue focus solely on the needs of manufacturers’ representatives. Today Agency Sales strives to be relevant to manufacturers and manufacturers’ representatives. And, also for the first time, a manufacturer (Charlie Ingram of Eriez Magnetics) served on MANA’s Board of Directors from 2017-2021.

What hasn’t changed? The very first issue of The Agent and Representative reminded reps to get written agreements by telling the story of a manufacturers’ representative who failed to get a written agreement and was fired so the manufacturer could cut the customer’s price by the amount of the rep’s commissions.

Thank you to our members who made this 75-year journey possible and entrust MANA’s staff and Board of Directors with the responsibility to continue MANA’s proud legacy.

Charles Cohon, CPMR, is CEO and president of MANA. In 2016 Cohon earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation after completing American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) coursework and testing. Cohon also earned an MBA with honors and with concentrations in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and was founder and owner of a very successful Illinois manufacturers’ representative firm for nearly 30 years before joining MANA.

Fill in these details and we’ll send you a link to run a FREE trial rep search!


Prefer not to share your info? Go directly to MANA’s RepFinder® database without registering!

Fill in these details and we’ll send you a link to run a FREE trial manufacturer search!


Prefer not to share your info? Go directly to MANA’s LineFinder® database without registering!