Summer 2017 Someone You Should Know
With so many ERA members, it is not easy to get to know every rep, manufacturer and distributor in the business.“Someone You Should Know” is The Representor department that gives readers the chance to learn about fellow ERA members, including how their time is spent both in and out of the office.
Meet Tim Doran, CPMR, president of Doran Associates, a second-generation, family-owned and operated company located in Beaverton, Ore.
The Representor asked Tim a few questions about his time in the rep business and his experiences with ERA. Here is what he had to say.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a second-generation owner of the Northwest rep firm Doran Associates, founded by my parents Bern and Fran in 1968, and managed until recently by my brother Bill who retired in 2016. I joined the family business in 1985 after graduating from Portland State University with a B.S. in Business Administration. My wife Julie and I met in marketing class, and we recently celebrated 32 years of marriage. We have two beautiful daughters. Christine is 26 and Michelle is 25.
What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?
I enjoy hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, primarily in the Oregon Cascades mountain range. We also often find ourselves working on our vacation home in Central Oregon. I am a fan of the Trailblazers, Seahawks and the football team of Oregon State University, the school my daughters attended.
How long have you been an ERA member and how long in the rep business?
My parents joined ERA in 1969, and my father was with a Chicago member rep firm even prior to that. I have been a rep providing electronic component solutions to OEMs in the Pacific Northwest for 32 years. I was recently honored to be elected vice president of the ERA Pacific Northwest Chapter.
How did you become interested in being a rep in the electronics industry?
Honestly, I did not plan to follow in my parents’ footsteps. Business schools often focus on preparing you for big business. Also, I had grown up seeing my folks struggle to get the rep firm off the ground. I later realized that because they were the entrepreneurs, I was fortunate enough to be able to join a thriving family business. I now feel a strong obligation to continue their legacy.
What have you found to be most rewarding about the rep business?
I like the independence and the ability to use creativity. I thoroughly enjoy helping customers find solutions, whether or not it is on our line card. I always want them to be glad they came to us with their requirement. I enjoy watching the evolution of customers’ ideas into a real product, and being a part of their design can be very exciting.
Briefly describe your rep firm.
We are a five-person sales team with offices in Portland and Seattle. We focus on helping OEM engineers with their electromechanical component design requirements. We excel in customized, modified and value-added solutions. Each of our salespeople has attained either CPMR or CSP certification, and we all enjoy our strong and long-term relationships with our customers, distributor partners and principals. We have a fantastic team!
What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your company made?
As catalogs become obsolete, we now carry Web-connected tablets so we can link to our principals’ websites while with customers, bringing up spec sheets, checking stock, pricing, etc. We also connect live with our CRM while in the field via our mobile phones or tablets, and often conference in applications engineers so we can answer customers’ questions immediately. We have come a long way since I joined the industry when we used three-part carbon paper memos to mail questions to our principals.
What have you learned and/or what contacts have you made through ERA that have had the greatest positive impacts on you and/or your business?
We have learned a great deal from the sessions at the ERA conferences, the regular teleforums, the articles in The Representor and the Quick Connections newsletter. We have used ERA’s legal advisors over the years, and again recently with our transition into ownership. We have also adopted ideas from other members. I have a network of ERA member reps throughout the country whom I can contact for advice or discussion on specific issues. There is a lot of value from a membership in the ERA.
Are you active on social media? Do you follow ERA? Have ERA updates via social media been helpful to you?
I do follow ERA on LinkedIn and always find valuable information in the posts. We are increasing the use of social media as a marketing tool. We have implemented some of the LinkedIn tips learned during Wayne Breitbarth’s wonderful session at the 2017 ERA Conference, and one of our team members is writing a blog highlighting how our principals have helped customers.
What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
I play the guitar for relaxation and was once in a garage band, and yes, I can play Stairway.