Someone You Should Know – Bill Romick
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 Bill Romick, vice president, Business Development, at DNA Group, Inc., located in Raleigh, N.C.
The Representor asked Bill a few questions about the electronics industry and his experiences with ERA. Here is what he had to say.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I manage the northeastern U.S. territory for Aces North America and the DNA Group, Inc., based in Raleigh, N.C.
My wife of 36 years and I are natives of Ohio and have been residents of North Carolina since 2004. We have two adult children. I studied industrial electronics during my high school years and business at the University of Akron.
What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?
Weekends are filled with family and church activities. When not in my office chair, you may find me on my BMW motorcycle exploring twisty mountain roads (Blue Ridge, Smoky or even the Black Hills of South Dakota) or just looking for a new, long way home. Occasionally, I find time to punch some holes at the target range, shoot a round of sporting clays, drown some worms with my fishing gear or slow down for a round of golf.
How long have you been an ERA member and how long in the electronics manufacturing business?
I started my first “real job” in the electronics industry with ITT Power Systems in Galion, Ohio, in 1978. One of my project assignments was the power supplies for Amdahl — yes, that long ago.
I first heard about ERA in 1983 from Gene and Sandy Lowman of Electrical Systems Company, the first manufacturers’ rep company I ever met. I eventually saw the light and joined the Lowmans’ rep company and ERA in 1987. I joined DNA Group in 1995, making this my 30th year as an ERA member.
How did you become interested in being a manufacturing executive in the electronics industry?
I credit my fascination with electronics to two of my uncles — one was an appliance technician and the other a field engineer with United Telephone. I got hooked building my first Heath-Kit and learned how to apply technology from outstanding industrial electronics instructors in school. I found my passion in working in the field. As a field repair technician, I found success asking customers a lot of questions. I started returning from service calls with purchase orders, and the company owner put me on the road full time. I had the privilege to learn the rep business from Gene Lowman, who also made his son Sandy and I study the Jack Berman Institute of Agreeable Selling.
What have you found to be most rewarding about being in the manufacturing business and/or the electronics industry?
Winning the SECOND order! I will not be bashful — we all love to win. The most rewarding aspect of prospecting, digging, nurturing, listening, presenting, explaining, solving, adjusting and representing in our industry is winning my customers’ confidence to win the second order.
Briefly describe your company.
DNA Group, Inc. is the North American sales and marketing team for our Asian factories, disciplined in HMI (human-machine interface), connectivity, smart illumination and contract manufacturing. Our business practices are complimentary to and dependent on the manufacturers’ representatives we hire to acquire new customers and deepen our existing customer relationships.
What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your company made?
Our founder and CEO, Eric Vaughn, named Michael Owens president and COO in 2017. Our smart illumination team has pioneered applications of UV light spectrum LEDs for indoor agriculture and sterilization of air and water. In conjunction with our rep council, we have developed an innovative plan to fund pioneering sales activities, and we have put the “mutual” back into mutual action planning.
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?
I find that I still draw on something I learned from the Jack Berman class I attended at an ERA meeting early in my career at least once with every new customer, and frequently in my routine interactions with reps and colleagues. I encourage all ERA members to continue building great value from the ERA teleforums, local chapter meetings, national conferences, networking events and workshops.
Are you active on social media? Do you follow ERA? Have ERA updates via social media been helpful to you?
I am active on LinkedIn for business, and our company is active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have had to face the reality that I am an “old guy.” (My son told me “old guys” use Facebook only a month before a new customer made the same observation!) The ERA team has provided great opportunities to learn how our customers use and respond to social media.
I think Scott Lindberg and John Hutson are a bit overboard on their social media posts though! (You can get me back later, guys.)
What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
I held an Ohio Peace Officer Certification from 1982 to 1990. I joined the Wayne County Sheriff’s Reserves in 1981 and later served the city of Orrville as a part-time patrolman through 1990.