ERA 2018 Conference General Sessions

General Sessions

NOTE TO CPMRs and CSPs: Most conference programming will qualify for CEUs.


Keynote: Tools of Our Trade — Constructing a Successful Future

Speaker: Wayne Cotter, humorist and former design engineer
Wayne Cotter eagerly admits he’s a lifelong “technology geek,” and he’ll bring that love of all things electronic to ERA’s keynote about the many tools that reps, manufacturers and distributors need to succeed in this dynamic industry. Be ready to be part of this program since Wayne will be conducting video interviews of attendees at the Sunday Welcome Reception.

Profiling Tomorrow’s Customers and the Supply Chain They Will Need

Speaker: Michael Knight, senior vice president Americas, TTI, Inc.
Michael Knight, always one of ERA’s most highly-rated speakers, understands that the
nature of doing business keeps evolving, and he knows that reps, manufacturers and
distributors must retool to remain relevant. His vision of tomorrow’s customers and the supply chain they will need is based on surveys, focus groups and countless conversations with knowledgeable sources. In addition to future projections and profiles, he will provide attendees with a tool to think critically about the electronics industry’s future and how to proactively respond.

Five Steps to Better Work-Life Balance (for Leaders and Your Personnel)

Speaker: Jim Bird, founder and CEO,, Inc.
Since 1991, Jim Bird and, Inc. have worked with some of the
world’s largest organizations to help their personnel obtain greater value and balance from their professional and personal lives. In this customized workshop for ERA, Jim will deliver strategies and specific applications that conference attendees can use and bring home to their teammates. A workbook will be provided, and attendees will receive a subscription to the Work-Life Balance Dashboard, a resource to assist in meeting personal goals.

Economic Update: What’s in Store in 2018 and Beyond?

Speaker: Thomas W. Derry, CEO, Institute for Supply Management® (ISM)
This program will focus not only on an overview of the North American and global economy “from 50,000 feet” but also on electronics industry trends and specific advice that attendees can put to practical use. Recommendations will be made about the information sources that attendees should be watching on a regular basis to help them make decisions about their own companies.

An All-Inclusive Workforce: Finding, Training and Working with Today’s Talent

Speaker: Gabrielle Jenkins, Managing Partner, Resource Management of Boston

Fact: Many companies are struggling to find qualified personnel.
Fact: Women are gaining prominence in industries that have traditionally been dominated by male executives.
Fact: Older and younger workers often feel their ages are against them when seeking new jobs.
Fact: Ethnic diversity in today’s workforce is often a challenge for some organizations and some co-workers. If you are reading this and nodding your head “yes,” then don’t miss this session being developed for companies of all types and sizes. It will be loaded with insights and advice relating to all these vital HR issues.

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