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> Hope is not a strategy

Representor Winter 2021 – From the Top

by Chuck Tanzola, CPMR
The Fusion Sourcing Group Inc.
ERA President
ctanzola@fusionsourcing.com

It’s a new year — time for new resolutions. As we turn the calendar page, there seems to be a universal determination to put 2020 behind us; an aspirational hope that life will return to normal in 2021; and a renewed realization based on the start of the new year that hope is not a strategy.

So, as my term as president of ERA moves toward its natural conclusion, recognizing the fatigue of talking about COVID-19, and at the risk of “waxing philosophical,” with my last From the Top column, I’d like to leave you with four thoughts from various sources that have served me well as the basis of a life strategy. I hope they do the same for you.

1. Put yourself on the other side of the table. At various times over my business career, I have been in the position of having to evaluate if the deal I am working on is fair — is it reasonable? The best advice I was given was to answer the question, “If you were sitting on the other side of the table, and positions were reversed, would you sign the deal?” This can apply to contracts between reps and manufacturers, deals between a rep and a distributor partner, or a distributor and manufacturer. (On a larger scale, I think this applies to the current, caustic political environment in our country today.) Relationships and being connected make it much easier to accomplish this. That’s why the theme of the upcoming ERA Virtual Conference — “Stronger Together: Reconnecting & Reinventing for Success” — is so appropriate.

2. If you think you’ve done it well enough, do it a little more. This is a lesson from a father to his son. The son was given the task of sanding some wood to be applied in the remodeling of a dinghy; and as 10-year-olds are prone to do, after a quick, minimal sanding, the son pronounced the job done to his father. With the wisdom of a father, the wood was returned to the son with the instruction, “If you think you’ve done it well enough, do it a little more.” Again, and again, and again the process repeated … can you say infinite loop? While this may simply have been a strategy to keep the son occupied and out of the father’s way during the remodeling project, it also conveyed a drive for excellence from the father to the son. As a note, I regularly see examples of this drive for excellence in our industry. One such being the production of the annual ERA Conference. (Yes, this is a second shameless plug for the upcoming, first-ever, virtual ERA Conference scheduled for March 1 – 3.) On a personal note, this has been perhaps the most influential lesson in my life – thanks, Dad! I’ve tried to pass it along to my son (again, and again, and again …).

3. Of those to whom much is given, much is expected in return. I first heard this statement, attributed to Sir Edmund Burke, from my high school Political Theory teacher, Dr. Vincent Buscareno. Initially, I interpreted this through the filter of an over-confident, brash 18-year-old; believing that the “much is given” part of the statement was referring to some extra special ability inherent in students in advanced placement classes (which Dr. B’s class was). As I’ve been humbled over the years, I have since come to the realization and belief that I have received far more than I have deserved from those around me — I’ve been given much. Either way, this statement has always led me to feel a responsibility to give back. I suspect that same feeling is inherent in the 50-plus volunteers that have been working so diligently to put together the upcoming ERA Virtual Conference (March 1– 3). Yes, that’s yet another shameless plug, but also a shout out to the entire conference committee and especially the Conference Chair Craig Anderson and Co-Chair Bryan White, who are devoting extensive hours to giving back. Thanks, guys!

4. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. This lesson (based on Ecclesiastes 4:12) became a personal goal as a result of a Promise Keepers event I attended several years ago. I have been fortunate to have many mentors that came before me who have “taught me the ropes.” At the event, I was challenged by the speaker to recognize the need for those who build into my life; as well as being willing to build into the lives of those who come after. It is something I try to do regularly. The cord of three strands principle not only applies generationally but across our industry as well. We are much stronger together! You will recognize that theme of the upcoming ERA Virtual Conference (March 1– 3). Okay, that’s my fourth, and final (probably not) shameless plug. I encourage each of you to build your three-strand cord. It is important Now – More Than Ever! (By the way, that’s the theme for the EDS Summit and my first shameless plug for that event, scheduled for Aug. 30 – Sept. 2 in Las Vegas. Does it strike anyone as ironic that what might be the first in-person event of the year would be held at the Mirage?)

As I bring this article to a close, two thoughts came to mind: 1) In the future, Neda Simeonova, who edits The Representor, will have a better chance of getting this article submitted on-time (thanks for your continued patience Neda!); and 2) I look forward to seeing you virtually in early March and in-person in Las Vegas in late August, and I hope 2021 fulfills all your aspirations!

By the way, have I mentioned the upcoming ERA Virtual Conference yet? More importantly, have you registered? As always, I can be reached at ctanzola@fusionsourcing.com and welcome your comments and feedback.

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> What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger

Representor Winter 2021 – Executive Commentary

by Walter E. Tobin
ERA CEO
wtobin@era.org
T: 617-901-4088

We listened and calibrated our products as we went along, all to make ERA better and stronger … to become an even better resource for our members …

I never really understood this saying. I thought it was a bit self-serving. Like we were super-humans who survived where perhaps others died. How could that be fair? Why should we survive when others did not? Were we better than they were? Smarter? I think not.

Why should other organizations or associations be so badly affected by something so evil that their very survival was at stake, forced to close their doors while others lived on? Were they worse managers than we were? I never understood this saying until 2020.

COVID-19 is an unbiased killing machine. It does not care if you are rich or poor. It does not care about your race, wealth, house of worship or political beliefs. It attacks — some worse than others, some survived the attack and others succumbed. Folks died and companies/organizations collapsed.

There was simply no rhyme or reason to it. We all took precautions that we were comfortable in taking and yet, these same precautions protected some but not others.
At the start of the pandemic, ERA looked internally and asked: “What do our members NEED from us? What do they WANT from us?”

What new activities or services do we have the budget and expertise to take on? How could we step up or pivot (the word of 2020) while trying to survive?

We first looked within ourselves and then took an honest assessment of our talents and capabilities. We matched our resources against the “wishlist” of what we were hearing from our members or what we felt we needed to do NOW to help our members (and non-members) get through each day.

Off we went, pivoting from our Teleforum series to our Water Cooler initiative, and also launched a podcast, ERA Talks. All in an effort to provide several different platforms for our members to share common fears, questions regarding software and hardware options, how to communicate best practices to our customers, manufacturers and fellow reps or channel partners so that they could get things done in this “New Normal” world.

We listened and calibrated our products as we went along, all to make ERA better and stronger … to become an even better resource for our members than pre-COVID.

Guess what happened? The industry responded. Attendance of our Water Coolers grew each week, the number of downloads of our Podcasts grew with each release, our membership grew even at a time when we had put our membership drive on hold to not come across as “tone-deaf.” We went with a softer approach in soliciting new members while companies were closing and many were losing their jobs.

As we began to develop a cadence, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and how our messaging seemed to support what the industry was seeing — the manufacturers’ rep model “rose like the phoenix” in supporting the customers in their local territory. The reps maintained their existing “book of business” and developed NEW opportunities at both existing and new companies. They never missed a beat. Their customers were grateful that the reps were there to support new designs and partner with their channel partners to ensure that the supply chain was in place.

However, another challenge reared its ugly head in the June-July time frame — our annual conference, scheduled for March 1-3, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Surely COVID would be gone in nine months … “We all want to get back to Austin, to see each other again …” was the battle cry.

Unfortunately, the news was not getting any better, and we would NOT risk the health of our members or our staff in any way just to hold a conference.

So, another pivot! We reached out to the ATT Center in June and inquired about canceling our in-person conference that was nine months out! They thought we were crazy. Surely the virus would be gone by then; it will be okay to travel to Texas by February … back to normalcy, etc.

However, we wanted to be cautious and safe and concluded that the ONLY way to guarantee that we would have a conference was to do it virtually! Thus, our first-ever virtual conference will be held on March 1-3, 2021. Are you registered?

We have never planned a virtual event, but our ERA National team said: “Let’s do it!” And here we are — well-into the planning process with speakers hired, the virtual platform secured, breakout sessions finalized. Here we go!

As the saying goes: “If you build it, they will come.” So, we encourage you to sign up and be proud of your association who built this conference from ground up. We are the “Little Engine that Could,” so to speak, but think of ourselves as a giant locomotive, trust me!

EDS Update

ERA has partnered with ECIA and GEDA to reschedule EDS to late August 2021. The decision was driven again out of concern for the safety of our staff and attendees.

What does all of this mean to you? YOUR ERA will emerge from the horror of COVID an even-stronger organization! We were battle-tested and faced the challenges of 2020 with thoughtful analysis and honest introspection, and we decided, “We can do this!”

None of any of this would have been possible without the support of you, our members, and the trust that you have given to ERA! We work hard every day to never let you down … that would be worse than letting COVID win … Learn new ways of doing things.

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ERA Quick Connections – February 2021, V2

February 2021, V2

ERA’s Quick Connections is issued twice a month. ERA invites you to share recent newsworthy items and calendar dates with your fellow members at info@era.org.

Monthly POS Reports

Budde Marketing, which provides monthly POS Index reports to ERA members, issued its latest summary, running from January 2018 through December 2020. Visit era.org to view the new index. According to the new report, December 2020 POS activity bounced back from a very soft November, improving by 5 percent in distributor POS. However, the year saw a decrease of 5.3 percent against 2019. December is always a slow month, and December 2020 actually outperformed December 2018 and December 2019. Overall, it was far from a stellar year; however, the industry didn’t see many of the challenges of other industries that were affected by the pandemic. For details on Budde Marketing’s services, visit BuddeMarketing.com.

Industry News

Global information technology (IT) spending will reach $3.9 trillion in 2021 as the pandemic continues to catalyze digital transformation around the world, according to Gartner. Every sector in the IT market will see growth in the next 12 months, with enterprise software seeing growing by 8.8 percent this year due to the ongoing need for remote work setups. Read more at SiliconAngle.

The White House has ramped up efforts to help the U.S. auto industry fight a growing shortage of semiconductor chips that has forced production cuts worldwide. The administration is launching a comprehensive review of critical supply chains to identify vulnerabilities and take steps like spurring increased U.S. domestic production. Read more at CNBC.

The global microcontroller market is expected to reach 20 Billion by 2027. The growth is driven by the widespread use of components in smart building automation systems such as HVAC control, fire protection, lighting systems, and security and surveillance technologies, that are integrated with microcontroller units. Read more at ElectronicEngineeringJournal.

B2B sales leaders have moved from being “forced” to adopt digital in reaction to the widespread shutdowns in the early stages of COVID-19 to a growing conviction that digital is the way to go. Only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated. Read more at McKinsey.

ERA News

The week of Feb. 22, all registered attendees will receive an email invite to join the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference. The email sender is conference@era.org. This email includes an authorization link to claim your account that when clicked will log you into the conference platform. Please note that the email invitation will be sent to the email address that was submitted with your online attendee registration. More conference details will be available shortly. For more information about the upcoming conference, visit ERAConference.

Join ERA on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 4:00 p.m. EST, for the upcoming Water Cooler session. The topic, “ERA 2021 Virtual Conference ‘Boot Camp’ — How to Get the Most out of the Conference!” will be facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO, and co-facilitated by Craig Anderson, President and Owner of Sumer Inc. and Conference Committee Chair; Neda Simeonova, Communications Director for ERA, and Erin Collins, Events Coordinator for ERA. For details, visit WaterCooler.

The Winter 2021 issue of The Representor is now live on the ERA website. Don’t miss the cover story, “Finding new opportunities during unusual times,” by Kingsland Coombs, CPMR, CSP, president of Control Sales, and Greg Miner president and CEO of Thorson Rocky Mountain. Read more at TheRepresentor.

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> 2021 ERA Virtual Conference Highlights

Jan. 14, 2021
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

We are excited to share the 2021 ERA Conference Digital Brochure, an interactive resource designed to provide you the latest program, session and speaker updates on the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, scheduled March 1-3.

This dynamic brochure allows you to preview the latest highlights from the upcoming conference, including general session and breakout session topics, and exclusive videos from our prominent speakers.

We understand that you might have a lot of questions about the format of the upcoming conference. After all, this is the first time the ERA Conference will be held virtually. This brochure includes a brief overview of the virtual platform and its unique features, and an FAQ summary.

The conference is less than two months away, so don’t wait to register or sign up to be a sponsor!

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> Cornell Dubilier Acquires Capacitor Division from NWL

1/11/2021
Source: Cornell Dubilier Electronics Inc.
https://www.cde.com/news/2020/12/cornell-dubilier-acquires-capacitor-division-from-nwl

Cornell Dubilier Electronics Inc. announced that its subsidiary, CD Snow Hill LLC, has acquired the capacitor producing assets of NWL Inc. Now possessing greater capabilities in custom high-voltage film capacitors for pulsed power and power conversion applications, the company is poised to expand its solutions for industrial, military, and medical customers.

“NWL has long been an industry leader in the design and manufacture of high voltage AC and DC film capacitors for applications where we see opportunities for growth,” said Jim Kaplan, CEO of Cornell Dubilier. “This acquisition greatly expands our capabilities in custom capacitors needed for high-power lasers, military propulsion systems, inverters and more.”

According to Robert Seitz, President of NWL, the sale of their capacitor operations will allow NWL to focus on its other core business segments: transformers, electrostatic precipitators, and power supplies. Cornell Dubilier plans to assume operations at NWL’s former plant in Snow Hill, N.C. Employees of the Snow Hill operation, many of them highly experienced, will be employed by Cornell Dubilier, ensuring the same high-level of service enjoyed by NWL’s customers over many decades.

With the addition of custom, high-voltage DC and AC film capacitors, CDE now offers one of the most extensive portfolios of power capacitors available to the global marketplace. The added capabilities complement the company’s core strength in power capacitors across multiple dielectric technologies including aluminum electrolytic, film, mica, and supercapacitors.

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> New ERA Member Resource – Manufacturers’ Rep Toolkit

January 11, 2021
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

ERA is pleased to announce a new members-only resource that aligns the many tools available to ERA members with the distinct manufacturers’ rep value that these tools support — a Manufacturers’ Rep Toolkit.

ERA has developed these many different tools — videos, white papers, PowerPoint presentations — over the past few months. Each one addresses the many different value propositions of the Manufacturers’ Rep Model. We thought it would be helpful to put all of these tools into one Toolkit, available as a downloadable PDF, PowerPoint file and an interactive digital flipbook.

The Manufacturers’ Rep Toolkit was developed by ERA Special Consultant Cesare Giammarco to provide members easy access to the ERA tools designed to build on and validate the specific elements of the rep value proposition. These different products are copyrighted documents of ERA and available ONLY for the use by ERA members.

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> ERA Announces Passing of Bobby Hudson

December, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

ERA is saddened to report the passing of Bobby Hudson on Nov. 29, 2020. He was 92.

Hudson owned the rep firm of Arva-Hudson in Bellevue, Wash. He served as an officer in the Cascade Chapter (now Pacific Northwest). Hudson was a national vice president of ERA and became a White Pin member in 1982. Hudson is survived by his wife Gloria of 55 years.

Condolences can be sent to Gloria Hudson, 44035 Royal Troon Drive, Indio, CA 92201.

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> 2021 EDS Summit Moves To August 30 – September 2

December 23, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The EDS board has announced its decision to move the 2021 EDS Leadership Summit to Aug. 30 – Sept. 2, 2021. The summit will be held at the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas.

According to the EDS board, “Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our fellow industry leaders. With experts now expecting the new Covid-19 vaccines to be generally available in the U.S. by June of next year, the EDS board has decided to move next year’s 2021 EDS Leadership Summit .”

The philosophy of EDS is to foster a valuable exchange of ideas and form new business relationships through high-level strategic meetings.

“Now, more than ever — we need stronger relationship building, less distraction and better decision making. We need to create connections with peers, products and corporate visions,” the EDS board stated.

More details about the 2021 EDS Summit and registration information will be made available at www.edssummit.com.

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> ERA Announces Updates to Chapters of the Year and COLT Programs

December 21, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

ERA is pleased to announce updates to the Chapters of the Year and COLT (Chapter Officers Leadership Training) programs.

Due to safety restrictions for in-person meetings in 2020, many ERA Chapters have transitioned their in-person chapter activities to virtual events. To reflect these changes, the new Chapters of the Year program is introducing new recognition categories — Education, Membership and Networking. ERA will be inviting chapters to nominate their member activities in the coming weeks.

ERA also announces that the 2021 COLT Program is moving to a virtual platform and will be available free for any chapter members who wish to attend. As such, Chapters of the Year award recipients will no longer receive a scholarship to the COLT Program. In its place, each Chapters of the Year award recipient will receive one conference attendee registration for the ERA Conference in 2022. The registration will apply to a selected member of the awarded chapter and is not transferrable outside of the chapter.

All Chapters of the Year award recipients who have not been able to use the COLT scholarship from previous years, also will be awarded an ERA Conference registration for 2022. The following chapters are eligible to receive this from prior years: Empire State, Chicagoland-Wisconsin, Florida-Sunshine, Southwest, and Arizona.

Stay tuned for more information on the Chapters of the Year new categories entry form coming up at the beginning of 2021. More information on COLT 2021 to come as well.

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> Andy King to Retire from Arrow Electronics Inc.

Dec. 17, 2020
Source: Business Wire

Arrow Electronics, Inc. announced on Dec. 15, 2020, that Andy King is retiring from the company as president of the global components business, effective Dec. 31, 2020.

“I look forward to seeing the business continuing to thrive and innovate under David’s direction.”

“Andy has been an instrumental part of driving the growth and success of Arrow during his 34 years at the company,” said Michael J. Long, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Arrow. “He has been a valuable member of our leadership team, and we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Following Mr. King’s retirement, David West, senior vice president of worldwide supplier marketing and engineering for Arrow, will be named president of the global components business, reporting to Mr. Long. “David has held wide-ranging leadership positions during his 22 years at Arrow, overseeing all critical aspects of our components segment,” said Mr. Long. “I look forward to seeing the business continuing to thrive and innovate under David’s direction.”

Arrow Electronics guides innovation forward for over 175,000 leading technology manufacturers and service providers. With 2019 sales of $29 billion, Arrow develops technology solutions that improve business and daily life.

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> Business and Sales Expert Phil M. Jones to Speak at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference

Dec. 8, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The ERA Conference Committee announced that Phil M. Jones will present the March 3 General Session “Exactly What to Say … Now” at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, scheduled March 1-3.

As the business world is currently looking to pivot, reinvent and evolve, it is not always clear “Exactly What to Say” or how to sell virtually to get through these difficult times.

With his content rich presentation, Jones will draw from personal experience and the experience of the thousands of people he has worked with to deliver a comprehensive, yet entertaining training that empowers people to sell more effectively, especially during this time of virtual meeting and social distancing. Jones will help attendees find the language to retain clients, determine if they should be “selling” at this time, un-paralyze their team, grow the confidence to ask what they want, uplift their skills to create and convert more opportunities, learn how to successfully navigate customer indecision, and control conversations and turn more “Maybe’s” into “Yes’s.”

Jones entered the world of business at the tender age of 14. With nothing more than a bucket and sponge, he went from single-handedly washing cars on weekends to hiring a fleet of friends working on his behalf. At the age of 18, Jones was offered the role of sales manager at a U.K. fashion retailer Debenhams — making him the youngest sales manager in the company’s history. His early career continued as he worked with a host of Premier League Football Clubs to help them secure sponsorships and licensing agreements, to then being a key part of growing a £240 million property business.

After several years of being one of the most in-demand young sales leaders in the U.K., Jones decided it was time to dedicate his future to helping others to succeed. With this as his core mission, he has gone on to deliver over 2,500 presentations in 57 countries across five continents, training more than two million people (both sales and non-sales professionals, leaders and experts) to learn how to have more influence, confidence and control when steering their conversations.

According to General Session Sub-Committee Co-Chair, Bryan Teen, CPMR, President of Tech Marketing, “Phil Jones is an expert in business and sales, and his presentations offer a practical but informative approach to achieving a unique level of trust in the fastest amount of time. He has a unique philosophy of using specific word choices to teach his audiences “Exactly What To Say” in order to influence, persuade and drive outcomes. Phil has helped teams and sellers all over the world discover the secrets to growth and success, and we are extremely excited to have him speak at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.”

Watch Phil M. Jones’ video preview of his general session presentation, “Exactly What to Say … Now,” scheduled March 3 at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.

For more information on the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference or to register, visit https://era.org/era-events/era-conference/.

About ERA
The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> ERA Water Cooler: Startups, Incubators, and Accelerators: How Best to Navigate this Complex but Necessary World!

Dec. 8, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Dec. 1 ERA Water Cooler, “Startups, Incubators, and Accelerators: How Best to Navigate this Complex but Necessary World!,” is now available on the ERA website.

This ERA Water Cooler session focused on the world of startups and the best practices for reps and distributors to support their needs. The panelists discussed evaluating the criteria for continued support, the process of vetting startups, as well as how and where to find startups.

This ERA Water Cooler session was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO and co-facilitated by Stacey Weismiller, Program Manager for Second Muse and Jeff Bergstein, President of Jeff Bergstein Consulting.

Visit the Audio Library to listen to all past ERA Water Cooler sessions.

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> Chief Global Economist Bernard Baumohl to Present at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference

Dec. 2, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The ERA Conference Committee announced that Bernard Baumohl, Chief Global Economist at the Economic Outlook Group, will be the Tuesday, March 2, 2021, General Session speaker at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, “Stronger Together: Reconnecting & Reinventing for Success,” scheduled March 1-3.

Baumohl’s session, “The Changing Economic and Business Landscape: Preparing for a Post-Covid World,” will highlight how the global pandemic, climate change and growing geopolitical tensions are fundamentally changing how we live and conduct business. At this pivotal moment in economic history, Baumohl will shine a light on key economic questions, including: What will be the main drivers of the U.S. and international economic activity? How will the new U.S. President impact business activity and conduct foreign policy? What economic indicators should you monitor most closely? Finally, so as not to be blindsided again, which economic and geopolitical threats are most likely to erupt and derail the next business cycle?

Baumohl is well known for being ahead of the curve in assessing the direction of the U.S. and world economy. His ability to correctly predict the economy’s path was recognized by the Wall Street Journal, which ranked Baumohl the most accurate economic forecaster for 2018.

A sought out international speaker, he frequently makes keynote presentations before conferences, workshops and legislatures on the latest economic and geopolitical outlook.

According to General Sessions Sub-Committee Co-Chair, Craig Sanderson, VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management for Sager Electronics, the committee felt it was very important to select an economist as one of the General Sessions speakers for the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.

“I am very pleased and genuinely excited that we have selected Bernard Baumohl to join us and provide conference attendees with his experience, knowledge and insight,” Sanderson said. “Baumohl will help us navigate and understand how the economy will impact our ERA world. Moving from the uncertainty of the past few years to a clearer view of the years ahead is something that we can all look forward to hearing from Baumohl. His extensive resume and past observations will enable Baumohl to provide a thinking man’s view and will make his session a must-attend for the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.”

For more information on the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference or to register, visit https://era.org/era-events/era-conference/.

About ERA
The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> ERA Mourns the Loss of Murray Toback

December 1, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

ERA is saddened to announce the passing of Murray Leonard Toback of Deer Park on Nov. 9, 2020. He was 81.

Prior to starting his own rep firm, MLT Associates Inc., Toback worked for P. Saftler & Associates and served on the Electro Show Board. He held various posts on the Metro New York Chapter of ERA and served as president and later delegate to the ERA National Board of Directors. Toback became an ERA White Pin member in 1993.

He is a beloved husband of nearly 58 years to Marilyn, cherished and proud father of Gregg (Patricia), Karen (Rick) and Barry (Martina), and devoted grandfather of Caitlyn, Grady and Tyler.

Donations may be made in Toback’s name to The American Heart Association at www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=3930&pg=entry.

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> TTI’s Michael Knight to Deliver the First General Session at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference

Nov. 24, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The 2021 ERA Conference Committee announces that it has selected Michael Knight, President of the TTI Semiconductor Group and Senior Vice President of Business Development at TTI Inc., to present the first General Session — “Musings on the Future of the Electronics Industry and the Electronic Component Supply Chain that Enables It” — on March 1, at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, which runs March 1-3.

Knight, a perennial speaker at the ERA Conference and expert with more than 25 years of experience in the electronics field, will deliver a thought-provoking session on the evolution of the electronics industry.

According to Knight, the modern electronics age began to crystalize in the 1920s and since then it has evolved in what appears to be a linear fashion. In the process, life for a growing number of people on the planet has evolved from one driven by the pressures of scarcity to one that is transformed by abundance.

“As we move into this decade, it will become ever more apparent that technology is moving along an exponential curve and that the possibilities ahead of us will dwarf the advances and progress behind us,” Knight explains. “Inherent in all of this is a change to virtually everything. Many industries are already in the throes of upheaval and disruption, and our industry’s turn is soon to come. With current industry trends and operating modes in mind, this presentation is an attempt to construct a three-point harness that we can all use to buckle-up for the exciting ride ahead of us.”

According to General Sessions Sub-Committee Co-Chair, Craig Sanderson, VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management at Sager Electronics, attendees can look forward to Knight’s extensive industry experience, in-depth research and visionary outlook at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference.

“Through his presentation, Michael will help us explore and reconsider the critical aspects of the global supply chain, which is so important but often taken for granted by our industry. His thoughtful information is sure to be of great value to ERA members as we transition from a tumultuous year toward a promising future,” Sanderson said. “On behalf of the General Sessions Sub-Committee, I want to stress that the opportunity to hear about this important topic will be of interest now, more than ever, to ERA members, including the component manufacturers, distributors, and of course, the manufacturers’ representatives.”

For more information about the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, visit https://era.org/era-events/era-conference/.

About ERA
The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> ERA Podcast — A Peek Behind the Curtain of the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference

Nov. 20 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

A group of more than 50 talented and enthusiastic industry reps, distributors and manufacturers who serve on the 2021 ERA Conference Committee, or one of its four sub-committees, have been working tirelessly to develop a dynamic and fully immersive educational and networking experience, bringing you the best topics by the best speakers.

In this latest episode of ERA Talks, Erin Collins, Events Coordinator for ERA, as well as Conference Committee Chair Craig Anderson, CPMR, President and Owner of Sumer Inc., and Conference Vice Chair Bryan White, CPMR, VP of Catalyst Unity Solutions, discuss details about the new virtual format of the 2021 ERA Conference and what attendees can expect during the three-day educational and networking virtual event, scheduled March 1-3, 2021.

Tune in to get a peek behind the curtain of this must-attend industry event of the year.
All ERA Talks podcasts are currently available on the ERA website. You can also subscribe to our podcast channel on one of the following podcast networks — Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and now on iHeart Radio.

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> ERA Water Cooler: Tips for Trusted Industry News Among the Chaos

Nov. 20, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Nov. 17 ERA Water Cooler, “Tips for Trusted Industry News Among the Chaos,” is now available on the ERA website.

In this program, three media experts discuss how to verify news while removing bias in a news content analysis. The panelists unpack how to find trusted industry news across many platforms.

This ERA Water Cooler session was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO and co-facilitated by Steve Cholas, Vice President/Business Development for Big Zeta; Barb Jorgenson, Editor-in-Chief for Aspencore (formerly EPSNews); and Bolaji Ojo, CEO of DataSights GmbH, media executive.

Visit the Audio Library to listen to all past ERA Water Cooler sessions.

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> Now Available: 2021 ERA Virtual Conference Sponsorship Opportunities

Nov. 19 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) invites you to become a sponsor of the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference, “Stronger Together: Reconnecting & Reinventing for Success,” scheduled March 1-3.

Your sponsorship will support the conference’s vital educational programming and provide electronics reps, manufacturers and distributors the opportunity to connect, learn and collaborate during these new and challenging times.

To reflect the new virtual format of the event, these updated 2021 conference sponsorships opportunities offer many excellent benefits via the virtual platform as outlined in a detailed benefits grid, including:

  • The opportunity to host a virtual booth, showcase company products and services, and connect with attendees one-on-one
  • Robust virtual attendee-to-attendee and attendee-to-sponsor networking opportunities
  • Various pre, during and post-conference promotions on the ERA website, publications and virtual event platform
  • Complimentary conference registrations
  • Special mentions and acknowledgements

To reserve your sponsorship level, review the complete list of benefits and register as a sponsor, visit 2021 Sponsorships Opportunities.

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> Gerald Newman Named Recipient of the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award

Nov. 10, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

The Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) announces that Gerald Newman, a partner in the law firm of Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell & Glazer LLC and ERA Legal Counsel, is the recipient of the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award was presented to Newman during the ERA Mid-Year Board Meeting held virtually on Oct. 29, 2020, in recognition of his service to the electronics industry, manufacturers’ representatives, and ERA.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was created to recognize individuals who play an integral role in supporting the manufacturers’ representative model in the electronics industry.

For five decades, Newman has provided outstanding legal support to thousands of manufacturers’ representatives leveraging his expertise in trade association representation, sales rep matters, commission collection issues, corporate mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, business continuation and succession plans and financing, business counseling, estate planning, and intellectual property matters.

He has written many articles dealing with rep issues and has conducted numerous seminars for trade and professional associations on manufacturer-rep-principal issues and general business matters.

ERA President Chuck Tanzola, CPMR, of Fusion Sourcing Group Inc., who presented the award, said, “It gives me great pleasure to present Gerry Newman the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of and with the deepest and sincerest gratitude for his legal guidance, wisdom and friendship to the ERA community.”

ERA Chairman of the Board David Norris of Norris & Associates Inc. added, “We want to take this opportunity to thank Gerry who has made such a difference in our industry and in our profession. It is hard to measure the impact that Gerry has had on our industry during his decades of support of the manufacturers’ representatives’ role and enhancing the relationship between manufacturers and manufacturers’ reps.”

“I am truly humbled to be the recipient of the ERA Lifetime Achievement Award,” Newman said. “I was fortunate to work alongside great mentors such as Ray Hall, Tim Coakley and Bob Trinkle, who taught me about the role of the independent sales representative, the electronics industry, ERA and the strength of an active association, not just through membership, but actually participating in programs and activities. I thank all my good friends at ERA for bestowing this honor upon me. I will cherish the memories. It has been a two-way street. I’ve learned much more from you than you may have learned from me.”

About ERA

The 85-year-old Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) is the international trade organization for professional field sales companies in the global electronics industries, manufacturers who go to market through representative firms and global distributors. It is the mission of ERA to support the professional field sales function through programs and activities that educate, inform and advocate for manufacturers’ representatives, the principals they represent and the distributors who are reps’ partners in local territories. For more information about ERA, visit era.org.

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> ERA Water Cooler: Staying Connected to Your Employees

Nov. 6, 2020
Source: Electronics Representatives Association

An audio recording of the Nov. 3 Water Cooler session, “Staying Connected to Your Employees,” is now live on the ERA website. Over the course of the year, how we stay connected to employees has changed drastically. This program welcomed three ERA members discussing tried and true ways to communicate with staff, keep up morale, maintain a personal touch, and promote balance while sustaining expectations in the remote work environment. The discussion also included how to manage performance reviews virtually, onboarding tips and challenges, and finding new talent remotely.

The ERA Water Cooler was facilitated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO and co-facilitated by John O’Brien, VP for Coakley, Boyd and Abbett; Gary Zullo, Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical and Interconnect for Arrow Electronics; and John Guetens, North American Sales Manager for E-T-A Circuit Breakers.

To listen to past ERA Water Cooler conferences, visit our Audio Library.

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