2021 ERA Conference - Speaker Biographies

ERA Virtual Conference Speaker Biographies

Biographies are listed alphabetically by last name and include the session(s) in which each speaker participates. Click on the session name to link to it’s description.


Alan Ahern
President, Crowley Associates

How to Collaborate Effectively While Everyone is Working Remotely

Alan Ahern is president of Crowley Associates, a manufacturers’ representative since 1992.

In 1994, Ahern relocated and established Crowley Associates into the Metro New York/New region. Three years later, he purchased Crowley Associates and became president. Through organic growth and multiple acquisitions, Ahern expanded the company operations into five territories with 27 employees.

Ahern has extensive industry knowledge and has deployed highly advance technology in hardware, cloud solutions, ETL, CRMs, digital marketing and advance Analytics into Crowley’s go-to market strategies.

Prior to Crowley Associates, Ahern was the vice president and an equity owner of Solarmetrics, a solar photovoltaic and power distribution company.

Ahern holds an industrial electronics degree coupled with sales and marketing disciplines and is a fiber optic fusion splice trainer and Light Brigade graduate. He is chairman of three manufacturers’ rep councils, a member of three other councils and a member of two distributor rep councils. Ahern is the chair of the ECIA Independent Manufacturer Rep Council on serves on the IECA Board of Directors.

Craig Anderson, CPMR
President, Sumer Inc.

Services Selling: New Revenue Areas in Subscriptions, Software and Solutions

Craig Anderson, CPMR, is president of Sumer Inc., a manufacturers’ representative in the Illinois and Wisconsin marketplace.

Anderson has worked in the electronics industry since 1981. Prior to joining Sumer, he worked as a Systems Engineer for Motorola’s Communications Group in Schaumburg, Illinois.

In 1983, Anderson joined Sumer as a third-generation member of the family business. He has held responsibilities as an account manager, VP of operations and in 2000 he became the president of Sumer.

Anderson has been active in several industry organizations including ERA, RMA and ECIA throughout his career.

Bernard Baumohl
Chief Global Economist at the Economic Outlook Group

General Session: The Changing Economic and Business Landscape: Preparing for a Post-Covid World

Bernard Baumohl is chief global economist at The Economic Outlook Group. He 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. In addition to his current post as chief global economist, Baumohl is on the faculty of the New York Institute of Finance and has previously lectured at NYU and Florida Gulf Coast University. He is a member of the monthly Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel and his projections on the economy and geopolitical trends are frequently cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week, Financial Times, and on National Public Radio. He also served as a regular commentator on TV’s Nightly Business Report. Baumohl is author of The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and Investment Opportunities (Pearson Education). The best-selling book is in its 3rd edition and has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Russian and German.

Carl Bellanca, Jr.
Senior Vice President/Head of Sales – Americas, u-blox America Inc.

Services Selling: New Revenue Areas in Subscriptions, Software and Solutions

Carl Bellanca is a veteran of the electronics components industry with 25 years of experience in various sales and management positions across its value chain — in distribution, as a manufacturers’ representative, and as a supplier. Bellanca brings with him deep insights into products and markets relevant to electronic industry and wireless IoT. Following two decades as VP sales and co-owner of Ontec Electronic Marketing Inc. in Rochester, New York, he held the position of regional sales manager for the Wireless Connectivity Solutions group at Future Electronics. Bellanca has been VP Sales – East at u-blox America since 2018 and in 2020, was promoted to Sr. VP managing the entire u-blox Americas organization. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

Ken Bellero
President, Schaffner EMC Inc.

Using Data in Real Time to Drive Sales

Ken Bellero is president of Schaffner EMC Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the international leader in the development and production of solutions, which ensure the efficient and reliable operation of electrical and electronic systems.

During his 20+ year tenure at Schaffner, Bellero has served as the vice president of sales for the Components Division, national sales manager, eastern regional sales manager and inside sales manager.

Previously, during his 30+ years in the electronics industry, Bellero also worked for Newark Electronics as a branch manager and outside sales manager in New Jersey for 12 years. He started his electronics career at Alpha Wire as an inside sales associate.

Jeff Bergstein
Owner, Jeff Bergstein Consulting LLC

Incubators to Accelerators, Start-Ups to Scale-Ups: Sound Strategies for Calling on Developing Accounts

Jeff Bergstein is owner of Jeff Bergstein Consulting LLC. Bergstein has an extensive experience in the electronics industry, including 36 years with Arrow Electronics where he held a myriad of sales, management and executive positions in sales, marketing and supply chain. At Arrow, he spearheaded a $100 million sales operation, was responsible for major OEMS and export/brokers, and conducted sales training and negotiation courses for Arrow’s sales team. Bergstein implemented many value-added and supply chain programs that resulted in millions of dollars in upside revenue at companies like Honeywell Security and Symbol Technologies.

Currently, Bergstein is very involved in the startup technology community in the five boroughs of New York in various roles, including mentoring startups, judging startup competitions and serving on a number of advisory boards.

Bergstein also serves on the board of directors for the Metro New York Chapter of ERA and has an MBA in marketing management from Pace University.

Wayne Breitbarth
CEO, Power Formula LLC

The Five Best LinkedIn Strategies for Generating Qualified Leads

Wayne Breitbarth is CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker, and author and a globally recognized industry leader in LinkedIn training, marketing, and consulting.

Breitbarth has shared his expertise with 100,000+ business professionals through private business consulting, dynamic presentations to worldwide audiences, and his critically acclaimed book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success,” now in its fourth edition. He has been featured in Forbes Inc., Wired, and American Express Open Forum and seen on NBC and Fox Business.

Breitbarth works with companies to develop a comprehensive strategy for using LinkedIn to increase sales, raise brand awareness, recruit employees and reduce recruiting fees, and discover new markets for products and services. He also works with universities (students/staff/alumni), not-for-profit organizations, associations, executive peer advisory groups, and individuals.

Breitbarth’s clients include organizations of all sizes, including IBM, Abbott Labs, Aflac, the American Marketing Association and Northwestern University.

He is a CPA, received an accounting degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MBA from Marquette University, and has received recognition for his public service in the Milwaukee community, where he resides with his wife of 39 years.

Kevin Brown
Motivational Speaker & Author

Keynote Session: The Hero Effect – Being Your Best When It Matters The Most!

Kevin Brown’s unconventional path to business and personal success has taught him that winning in business and in life requires anything but conventional thinking. With a streetwise aptitude and a never quit attitude, he worked his way from the front lines in business to the executive boardroom. For nearly two decades, Brown was a sales and marketing executive that helped grow a little-known family business into an industry giant with annual revenues reaching two billion dollars. After a career in franchising, Brown decided to retire from corporate America and pursue his passion for bringing The HERO Effect message to as many people and organizations as possible. Brown is on a mission to help people and organizations embrace a simple philosophy that separates world class organizations and high-performance people from everybody else. He is passionate about helping people expand their vision, develop their potential and grow their results.

Mike Budde, Jr.
Vice President, Budde Marketing Systems Inc.

Using Data in Real Time to Drive Sales

Mike Budde, Jr. is vice president of Budde Marketing Systems Inc., the industry leader in channel data analysis and data management services. Building upon the company’s foundation of providing quality point-of-sale (POS) data management, Mike continues to promote innovation among Budde Marketing’s always expanding team of data experts. Budde Marketing provides services to manufacturers and reps primarily in the electronics components industry as well as in the high-tech, hardware and electrical industries, among others.

Mike’s experience in leadership and team management has supported steady company growth each year since joining the family-owned business.

Along with contributing to industry workshops and speaking at ERA events, Mike remains active with speaking at events for NEMRA, AHTD, and NEMA amongst other industry organizations.

Michael Calabria
President & Chief Executive Officer, Abracon LLC

Successfully Managing and Motivating Your Remote Sales Team

Michael Calabria is a proven sales and marketing executive with 35 years experience at a $23 billion, Fortune 150, high-tech company. He has successfully executed change management through re-engineering organizations, divisional spin-offs, integrating acquisitions and merging operations.

During his 35-year career at Arrow Electronics Michael lead various departments and sales operations including vice president of sales, vice president of marketing, vice president of product management, vice president of military semiconductor marketing and vice president of headquarter sales and customer marketing.

Calabria served on the board of directors for the Electronic Distribution Show Corp. from 1995 to 2001 and later from 2006 to 2012. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Electronics Distributors Association.

Since 2015, Calabria has held the position of president, chief executive officer and serves on the board of directors for Abracon LLC, a leading global manufacturer of frequency control, timing, antennas, inductive and magnetic, filtered connectivity and RF solutions.

Calabria also serves on the board of directors for Micro-Technologies a San Jose, Costa Rica-based manufacturing, design and delivery solutions provider with an expansive and unique set of capabilities designed for vertical integration of production necessary for the uncompromised pursuit of manufacturing perfection.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Sate University of New York at Oswego.

Steve Cholas
VP Global Business Development, Big Zeta

Onshoring: Myth or Reality?

Steve Cholas is VP global business development of Big Zeta (BZ), a provider/builder of custom and standard B2B engaging environments, technical products designed by creators, developers, engineers, for the electronics industry. With 100+ combined years of B2B experience, BZ helps make digital goals a reality through strategy, execution, and transformation.

Cholas is a sales and marketing expert with 35+ years of experience in the electronics industry who has developed successful strategic programs for distributors and suppliers globally. His hands-on experience in developing industry-recognized research (Mind of the Engineer, EET Embedded, Supplier Interface) has provided the basis for many global brands in developing successful “Go-To-Market” strategies.

Cholas has been instrumental in establishing and directing many of the industries global media brand icons, such as EET, EEWeb, Electronic Products, EDN, Embedded, 21ic (Chinas largest tech portal), Planet Analog, EBN, along with all their subsidiary brands. He is a global leader in bringing to market the first media platform to integrate digital design and sourcing tools for increasing user site engagement (i.e., PCBWEB, PartSim, Schematics, Engage and Product Advisor).

Ellen Coan, CPMR
Vice President Operations, CC Electro Sales

Successfully Managing and Motivating Your Remote Sales Team

Ellen Coan, CPMR, joined her family’s firm after completing her BSEE at Purdue University and later an MBA from Indiana University while learning the rep business the first few years of her career. Along with her brother, Matt Cohen, she is a second-generation rep owner of C C Electro Sales, a firm started by her mother, Carol Cohen, in 1981, promoting world class manufacturers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, west Pennsylvania and west Virginia with three offices. Ellen works from the Indianapolis HQ with Carol and a staff of five. She handles IT, HR, finance, FAE as well as outside sales for key customers.

Ellen has been active in the local Indiana-Kentucky ERA Chapter for many years, organizing meetings, managing finances and serving as chapter delegate on the ERA Board of Directors. As an ERA White Pin Group member, she helped initiate the Internship Scholarship as her passion is to promote the rep model to new talent.

Ellen and her husband enjoy their four children and watching their careers and families grow while cooking, hiking and photographing it all around the world.

Mark Conley
President, CEO, O’Donnell Associates North Inc.

Guidelines Used by Reps and Distributors to Assess a Manufacturers’ ROI

Mark Conley joined O’Donnell Associates North in 1980. He became president/CEO in 1991 after a five year buy/sell agreement with Timothy O’Donnell, the founder of the company. Conley has served on the ERA Board and Executive Committee, including president of ERA. He is a recipient of the Ray Hall Spirit of ERA Award and is a member of the ERA White Pin Group

Conley also served on the EDS Board of Directors for six years, is a member of the ECIA Board of Directors (since the founding of ECIA) and is a member of multiple rep councils, including two major global distribution companies.

Charlene DeCesare
Certified Sales Leader, Lead Consultant, The Rain Group

Virtual Selling: How to Survive and Thrive in the Virtual Sales World

Charlene DeCesare is a trusted sales advisor who has been helping teams develop a relationship-based approach to selling high-value services for 25 years.

She co-founded the multi-million-dollar company, EdAssist, now owned by Bright Horizons. Prior to that, DeCesare spent 10 years at Gartner leading an international sales team and helping the most respected technology companies in the world extend their brand message. DeCesare was also a membership growth leader at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), and the vice president of sales and marketing at Boardroom Events.

She has a B.S. in communications from Emerson College and an MBA in sales and marketing from Rivier University. DeCesare is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a nationally certified Brain-Based Success coach. Recently, DeCesare also attained the national-level credential of Certified Sales Leader (CSL).

Jennifer Eby
Vice President, MaRCTech2 Inc.

How to Collaborate Effectively While Everyone is Working Remotely

Jennifer Eby is founding partner and vice president of MaRCTech2 Inc., a small manufacturers’ representative company, which started in the Pacific Northwest expanding into Northern California. Eby’s “superpower” is connecting people and building relationships. Her expertise in the organization is networking, building trust, team leadership and managing the relationships with customers and principals.

As a solutions expert, she is respected and trusted in the field of technology, including Hardware NPI, printed circuit boards, electronics and plastic. Eby has been building her network for over 30 years and has strong relationships with OEMs, contract manufacturers and product development companies.

Rewards come from seeing the success of others and helping their businesses grow. Putting people together for mutual success is so gratifying. In her spare time, Eby loves personal development, meditation, spiritual growth and being connected to her friends and family.

Brian Flynn
Vice President of Sales, Sager Electronics

Successfully Managing and Motivating Your Remote Sales Team’

As vice president of sales for Sager Electronics, Brian Flynn leads an organization of 175 inside and outside sales representatives and is responsible for driving his team to achieve Sager’s sales goals. With 20+ years of experience at Sager, Flynn is well-versed in all areas of the business, from distribution to sales. Many of his years at Sager were spent in sales operations where he is credited with refining and implementing many of the company’s sales processes and reporting. Upon joining sales, he lead a number of Sager’s service centers in multiple regions before returning to corporate to join the company’s executive leadership team.

Adam J. Glazer, Esq.
Managing Partner, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC

Nefarious Business Experiences: Protecting Yourself in Today’s Work Environment

Adam J. Glazer, Esq., maintains a national litigation practice, which features the representation of sales representatives in the electronics and other industries. He is the managing partner of the law firm Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC (SFBBG) in Chicago, known as the “go-to” firm for sales reps. SFBBG is a national leader in providing legal services to reps concerning the sale or acquisition of a rep firm, estate and succession planning, contract drafting and negotiation, and particularly the recovery of unpaid commissions.

Glazer has litigated sales rep claims of every stripe, including breach of contract actions, bad faith claims, actions under state Sales Representative Acts, and common law claims. He has successfully arbitrated and tried cases to verdict resulting in the recovery of millions of dollars in rep commissions, and awards of punitive damages, attorney’s fees and interest.

A frequent consultant to sales rep associations, including ERA, Glazer is also a regular speaker at rep conferences, and authors articles on sales rep law for rep publications.

Glazer graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law, where he served on the National Trial Team, and now serves as an adjunct professor.

Before joining SFBBG, Glazer worked for two of Chicago’s largest law firms and in-house for an international insurance group. He has tried cases across the country, and maintains a general commercial litigation practice, but one with a special focus on protecting the rights of independent reps.

Jim Gleason
Managing Partner, FJM Inc.

Strategies for Success for Manufacturers’ Rep Firms of all Sizes

As an entrepreneur and organizational development professional, Jim Gleason acquired FJM in 2014 after working and growing the business as a manufacturers’ representative with the firm. Since then, Gleason has used his small business experience and organizational development background to position the company as a regional solutions provider through organic business development, strategic business partnerships, and exit strategies for rep businesses.

Gleason serves as president of the Empire State Chapter of ERA is a member of the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) and Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA). He belongs to several local networking groups including mentoring young entrepreneurs and helping small business connect with capital and resource partners.

A lifelong upstate New York resident, Gleason now lives in the Finger Lakes Region with his family. He enjoys attending and coaching the many sporting events his children participate in and cheering for the Bills, Sabres and Mets. When not working or with family Gleason enjoys boating, fly fishing, hiking and the many outdoor opportunities that can be found in upstate New York. Gleason also maintains a longtime music hobby and can be found playing around the Finger Lakes.

Tom Griffin, CPMR
President, Catalyst Unity Solutions

Services Selling: New Revenue Areas in Subscriptions, Software and Solutions

Tom Griffin is president of Catalyst Unity Solutions, a 20-person manufacturers’ representative based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, serving the Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and western Pennsylvania territories. Formed in 1988, Catalyst Unity Solutions represents world class semi-conductor passive and electromechanical companies.

Griffin serves on many rep councils for his principals. He is past chairman of the 2016 ERA Conference and services as the Senior VP of Education for the ERA Executive Committee.

Harinderpal (Hans) Hanspal
Founder and Principal, Thing Company LLC

Onshoring: Myth or Reality?

Harinderpal (Hans) Hanspal is a technology industry veteran and entrepreneur with 25+ years of driving technology-enabled business and product transformations in technology, telecom, media and entertainment, industrial, and manufacturing companies.

Hanspal is the founder and principal at Thing Company LLC, an advisory and management consulting firm. He is also an advisor and investor in several industrial, manufacturing, IoT, and tech startups and leads Seattle’s 4000+ member IoT Hub Meetup group. Hanspal was previously the head of platform monetization for GE Digital’s Industrial IoT Platform, Predix. Before GE, he was a co-founder and COO at Nurego, an Industrial IoT Monetization SaaS startup that was acquired by GE in 2017.

Earlier in his career, Hanspal held sales, product management, customer success and corporate strategy leadership positions at several enterprise software and hardware companies, including Pivotal Software, VMware and EMC Corporation (now Dell EMC).

Don Hnatyshin
Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, Molex

Onshoring: Myth or Reality?

Don Hnatyshin leads Molex’ global supply chain, operational excellence and procurement organizations and oversees the Molex global shared manufacturing plants in China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Since joining Molex in 2018, Hnatyshin has led Molex’s intelligent digital supply chain transformation focused on industry-leading customer service, accelerated product development and innovation.

Hnatyshin has nearly 35 years of experience in supply chain and procurement, including serving as senior vice president, chief supply chain and procurement officer at Jabil, where he was responsible for global procurement and supply chain transformation.

Prior to his career at Jabil, Hnatyshin was corporate vice president at Future Electronics where he led the company’s Asia business region. He has also held executive positions at Alcatel and Newbridge Networks. His early career included being a manufacturers’ rep for several industry leaders including TI, Xilinx and Foxconn.

Hnatyshin has served on several advisory boards, supporting many top OEMs and disruptive start-ups in the electronics ecosystem.

He earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing degree from John Abbott College.

John Hutson
President, MacInnis Group

Incubators to Accelerators, Start-Ups to Scale-Ups: Sound Strategies for Calling on Developing Accounts

John Hutson, CPMR, is president of MacInnis Group, a manufacturers’ representative in the Northeast. He joined MacInnis in 1992. Prior to that, he held a sales engineer position at Tyco Printed Circuit Group.

Hutson has held numerous New England ERA Chapter level positions, is presently chapter president, and has held various roles on the ERA Conference Committee, including 2019 ERA Conference Committee Chair.

He has a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. from Wesleyan University. During his free time, Hutson enjoys skiing in the winter, golfing in the summer and travels year-round.

Ian Johnson
VP of Business Development, Catalyst Unity Solutions

Using Data in Real Time to Drive Sales

Ian Johnson has 37 years of experience in electronics sales and marketing, including 26 years in varied channel sales and management roles for most strategic business models. These models include regional, national and global companies with varied emphasis on OEM demand creation, high service and complex-global account service models.

Currently, Johnson is VP of business development at Catalyst Unity Solutions, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based manufacturers’ representative with emphasis on OEM end customer product solutions. The business development role includes responsibilities for channel partners, NPI positioning within key vertical markets and applications via varied marketing approaches, including digital. As an manufacturers’ representative, Johnson has worked for some outstanding organizations with different approaches of end customer engagement and channel management for key brand names and technologies.

Phil M. Jones
Bestselling Author and Speaker on Persuasion, Influence and Sales

General Session: Exactly What to Say … Now

Phil M. Jones, Bestselling Author and Speaker on Persuasion, Influence and Sales. 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.

Tim Kilfoil
President, JF Kilfoil Company

Strategies for Success for Manufacturers’ Rep Firms of all Sizes

Tim Kilfoil is president of JF Kilfoil Company, a third-generation manufacturers’ representative agency based in Cincinnati, Ohio. After starting as an account manager with JF Kilfoil in 1994, he moved to open an office for the company in Cleveland, Ohio. He later opened locations in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids and Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Today, he is focused on growing JF Kilfoil’s relationships with high-quality manufacturers on the supplier and customer side, as he looks to expand the base of services and geography the company offers. As a strong believer in the representative model, he continues to invest in those areas he feels manufacturers’ representatives hold advantages over direct selling

Michael Knight
President, TTI Semiconductor Group & Corporate SVP Business Development

General Session: Musings on the Future of the Electronics Industry and the Electronic Component Supply Chain that Enables It

Michael Knight is president of the TTI Semiconductor Group and corporate senior vice president of business development at TTI Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. Knight has worked in the electronic components industry since the mid-1980s. Prior to joining TTI Americas, he worked for a number of distributors and component manufacturers, including a manufacturers’ rep firm in Northern California. He has held a variety of national and global leadership roles in sales, marketing, operations and general management in both private and public companies. In the late 1990s, Knight launched a successful tech start-up in the semiconductor materials space that was sold in 2003, after which he joined TTI who had been a distributor for him in the early 1990s.

V.J. Ladd
Owner, Apogee Solutions Group

Strategies for Success for Manufacturers’ Rep Firms of all Sizes

V.J. Ladd is co-owner of Apogee Solutions Group, a cross-industry manufacturers’ rep firm serving the electronic and electrical markets in New England. Ladd and his former colleague and friend recently started their firm after lengthy careers working directly for a manufacturer.

Ladd is a graduate of Bentley University and he resides just outside Boston with his wife and three kids. He is an avid hockey player, golfer and thoroughly enjoys time at the beach with his family.

Scott Lindberg
Vice President, Quell Corporation

Guidelines Used by Reps and Distributors to Assess a Manufacturers’ ROI

Scott Lindberg has extensive experience on both the rep and manufacturer side of the relationship, having spent more than 20 years as a rep (and rep firm owner) and the past 16 years as a manufacturer. Today, Lindberg is vice president for Quell Corporation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a manufacturer of EMI filters and transient protection products for connectors.

Prior to his current role, Lindberg was area sales manager and VP of worldwide sales and marketing operations for Microsemi’s Power Products Group, later moving into the role of VP of sales and marketing operations for Microsemi Corporate.

He is a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin, where he teaches multiple CPMR certification courses, including “Line Profitability Analysis,” “Understanding Your Manufacturer” and more. He has been a member and officer of the CPMR Board of Governors, member of MRERF’s executive committee, and has served on the ERA Board and Executive Committee. Lindberg has presented at past ERA National Conferences as well as many other national associations sharing his innovative sales and marketing approach.

John Mitchell
CEO, Repfabric

Using Data in Real Time to Drive Sales

John Mitchell, CEO of Repfabric, delivers advanced technology solutions to cure many of the challenges today’s salespeople face.

He owned a 10-man rep firm in Florida specializing in semiconductors and electro-mechanical components for 12 years. Prior to his years in the rep firm, Mitchell was a leading specialist in process efficiency at Accenture and Software AG for clients such as eBay, Bank of America, Western Digital and Jabil. He sold his rep firm in 2016 to pursue the culmination of his experience as a salesperson, rep owner and software process expert.

In addition to rep trade organization meetings, Mitchell has spoken at the 2017 Artificial Intelligence Summit, and he is a regular lecturer at the University of South Florida School of Engineering.

Andrew Moeller
Vice President, Sales Components – NA East, Arrow Electronics

Incubators to Accelerators, Start-Ups to Scale-Ups: Sound Strategies for Calling on Developing Accounts

Andrew Moeller leads the Arrow Electronics components organization as vice president, sales components – NA east and is responsible for the 21 branch offices east of the Mississippi.
His 20+ years of industry experience within the Arrow organization is comprised of increasing responsibilities while delivering on customer service excellence and supplier expectations.

Gerald Newman
Partner, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC

Nefarious Business Experiences: Protecting Yourself in Today’s Work Environment

Gerry Newman is a practicing attorney in Chicago and is Of Counsel to the law firm of Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC. The firm engages in the general practice of law and has been counsel to ERA and other trade associations in various industries since 1947.
Newman graduated from the University of Illinois, with a degree in engineering, and from Northwestern University School of Law.

He has written many articles dealing with manufacturer-rep issues and has conducted numerous seminars for trade and professional associations on rep-principal issues. He has also prepared and reviewed numerous rep contracts and has counseled many rep clients on business succession plans and Non-Competition Agreements.

In addition to sales rep matters, Newman’s areas of expertise include corporate mergers and acquisitions, real estate, estate planning, intellectual property and trade association activities.

Dave Norris
President, Norris & Associates

Strategies for Success for Manufacturers’ Rep Firms of all Sizes

Dave Norris is president of Norris & Associates, a New England rep firm founded in 1988. He is currently chairman of ERA having progressed through all the chairs of the ERA Executive Committee and has served as president of the EDS Board, as a board member and executive committee member of ECIA and as conference committee co-chair of the ERA Conference. Norris is also a member of EDIC, an organization membered by industry executives from distribution, manufacturers and representatives who meet annually to discuss best practices, industry forecasts, threats and opportunities.

Norris is the father of five and grandfather of six, an avid woodcarver and forty-year member of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Sylvain Olier
Industrial Director of Global Partnerships and Alliances, Sensata Technologies

Services Selling: New Revenue Areas in Subscriptions, Software and Solutions

Sylvain Olier is director of global partnerships and alliances at Sensata Technologies. His mission is to develop the optimal partner ecosystem to support the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) growth initiative at Sensata Technologies.

He has 20+ years of experience in the smart factory, smart building, data center and clean energy segments, held leadership roles in R&D, product management and partner ecosystem development, and lived in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

His passion is to develop innovative solutions and engagement models involving digital transformation to better serve customers and partners in smart cities applications.

He holds a dual degree in electrical engineering and computer science, and a master’s degree in management.

His main hobbies consist in driving his three young kids to hockey games all over Massachusetts, and travel, sail and hike with them when the hockey season is over.

Melissa Reaves
Founder, Story Fruition LLC

Selling Through Storytelling: How the Art of Storytelling Can Help You Engage Customers and Improve Sales

Melissa Reaves is a Seattle-based storyteller, a professional improviser and storytelling coach for executives and entrepreneurs.

She founded Story Fruition LLC after noticing that founders were lacking stories in their pitches. “Storytelling is an essential business skill, ” she says and why she devotes her energies infusing more leaders to utilize the power of storytelling to enhance their success. “One of my proudest moments in 2020 was my client who secured $35 million from Andreessen-Horowitz after he infused true, emotionally charged customer success stories into their pitch.”

The take-away: Stories sell.

In addition to Story Fruition, Reaves is the primary pitch coach for Founders Live and Seattle U’s Business Plan Competition, and guest lecturer for Seattle University and Madrona Create 33’s incubator program. She has coached award-winning entrepreneurs all over the world.

Reaves’ own storytelling has been seen at several The Moth Story Slams (including winning), Risk! Podcast, Fresh Ground Stories, Ignite Seattle, 7×7 Mental Health Stories, Speak Up Podcast, Inside Story, Unexpected Productions, FLASH improv storytelling, The Otter Story Hour, NAMI and a story contributor on NPR.

Reaves is also the producer and director of Melanin Stories Matter, a storytelling show that highlights and amplifies the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color’s stories at a time when we need to hear them more than ever.

Craig Sanderson
Vice President Supplier Marketing & Product Management, Sager Electronics

Guidelines Used by Reps and Distributors to Assess a Manufacturers’ ROI

Sanderson has spent his entire career working for Sager Electronics. He has worked in all aspects of the company with roles that include product management, operations, sales management and marketing management. For the past 15 years, Sanderson has been the vice president of supplier marketing and product management. A member of Sager’s Executive Council, he currently has responsibility for the electromechanical business at Sager, including supplier marketing, product management and inventory.

Mike Swenson, CPMR
President, Mel Foster Company

Successfully Managing and Motivating Your Remote Sales Team

Mike Swenson, CPMR, is president of Mel Foster Company, a manufacturers’ representative firm for electronic components and embedded solutions with a focus on demand creation and customer relationships to create sales growth in the upper Midwest.

Swenson is an active member of ECIA, RMA and ERA. He has held various roles on the ERA Conference Committee, and most recently served as the conference committee chair in 2020 and co-chair in 2019. He is also a frequent ERA Conference speaker on various rep topics, including “Best-in-Class Practices with Reps, Distributors and Manufacturers,” “The Value of Representative Councils” and “Rep Value.”

Swenson is a member of IECA’s Independent Manufacturer Rep Council and serves on Manufacturer and Distributor Representative Councils for Artesyn, Littelfuse, Finisar, Panasonic, Ohmite, Digi-Key, Future, Arrow and Sager.

He has a BSB degree in marketing from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Walter Tobin
CEO, Electronics Representatives Association

Guidelines Used by Reps and Distributors to Assess a Manufacturers’ ROI
Nefarious Business Experiences: Protecting Yourself in Today’s Work Environment

Walter E. Tobin is an electronics industry veteran with 40+ years of experience in sales,
marketing and executive/corporate management positions.

Prior to joining ERA as CEO, he held senior management positions at Arrow Electronics, Pioneer-Standard Electronics and at Future Electronics.

Walter holds a B.S. and MBA degrees in marketing from Boston College. He is also a former U.S. Army captain.

Steve Turner
CEO & Founder, Turner Time Management LLC

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Powerful Time Management Strategies to Boost Your Productivity

With a background in technology and over 35 year of business experience, Steve Turner has shared technology and time management tools, techniques and tips with thousands of professionals across the country. His speaking, training and coaching has helped many organizations increase their employees’ “Technology IQ” and supercharge their personal performance.

Turner has worked with well over 150 manufacturers’ representative firms over the past 15 years. His proven ability to leverage technology (including apps, desktops, laptops and mobile devices) is of great value to anyone in need of greater sales, marketing and/or productivity results.

Matt Tyrrell
Associate, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell & Glazer LLC

Nefarious Business Experiences: Protecting Yourself in Today’s Work Environment

Matt Tyrrell concentrates his practice in a wide variety of commercial litigation and employment matters. He has years of experience handling all aspects of the litigation process in both state and federal courts, including motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, injunctive relief, written discovery, depositions, trial practice, appeals and alternative dispute resolution.

The primary focus of his employment litigation practice involves employment disputes, including wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, retaliatory discharge, employment discrimination, and whistleblower claims in federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Tyrrell also counsels clients in connection with all aspects of the employment relationship, including employment agreements, severance agreements, non-compete agreements, reductions in force, EEO laws, and human resources practices.

From 2015-2020, Tyrrell was recognized as an Emerging Lawyer in the area of employment law by the Leading Lawyers Network in the state of Illinois. He has been selected to the Rising Stars list by Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine for 2014-2019.

Tyrrell received his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law where he served as Lead Articles Editor of the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal. While in law school, he was awarded the CALI award for academic excellence in legal writing and employment discrimination.

Tom Vanderheyden
Senior Vice President, Americas Sales, TTI Inc.

How to Collaborate Effectively While Everyone is Working Remotely

Tom Vanderheyden is senior vice president, Americas sales for TTI Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company and the largest global IP&E (interconnect, passives & electro-mechanical) specialist distributor. Vanderheyden joined TTI in 2007 as vice president, sales excellence responsible for sales operations, business development and corporate training. He broadened his role in 2009 assuming responsibility for Americas sales. Vanderheyden is an active member of ECIA and ERA. His career in the electronic component industry spans 36 years where he’s held leadership positions in sales, marketing, customer service and operations for OEMs and distribution, both domestic and international.

Vanderheyden is a graduate of Marquette University and holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical and biomedical engineering.

Stacey Weismiller
Program Manager, SecondMuse

Incubators to Accelerators, Start-Ups to Scale-Ups: Sound Strategies for Calling on Developing Accounts

Stacey Weismiller leads the Scale for Climatech program, focused on cleantech startups in New York state as well as working on new initiatives to grow the ever-changing market of emerging economies around hardware and scalable manufacturing.

Through these programs, Weismiller creates impact by bringing together communities that traditionally wouldn’t work together to solve problems. This work allows new, innovative companies to tap into resources right in their backyard to help solve market gaps whether this be in scaling their product, testing for market validation or finding the right company or investor to bring their ideas to the marketplace. This work also will continue to reiterate how important it is to continue to invest in manufacturing, as it still plays a critical role in the development of new economies.

Growing up in western Pennsylvania, Weismiller has a deep passion for understanding manufacturing and how it plays a role in our infrastructure, systems and innovation as a country. Prior to SecondMuse, Weismiller worked at GE within supply chain allowing her to understand more of those systematic approaches to “making” and was able to see how products and innovation collide across the globe. She also spent three years working on programs and industrial real estate platforms for the NYCEDC.

Kris Whitehouse
VP of Sales, Americas, Omron Electronic Components

Incubators to Accelerators, Start-Ups to Scale-Ups: Sound Strategies for Calling on Developing Accounts

Kris Whitehouse serves as VP of sales, for the Americas for Omron Electronic Components, with responsibility for representatives and direct sales, distribution sales, and inside sales. She has been a member of the industry for over two decades. Since joining Omron in 1995, Whitehouse has held positions of increasing responsibility, including sales engineer, catalog channel manager, distribution sales manager, and director of sales solutions. Whitehouse had served for two consecutive terms on the EDS Board of Directors. She currently serves on the ECIS Manufacturer Counsel. Whitehouse is an advocate in the mission of ERA, and in the open collaboration between manufacturers’ representatives, manufacturers and authorized distribution.

Tom Wichert
Executive VP Sales & Marketing, TDK-Lambda Americas Inc.

How to Collaborate Effectively While Everyone is Working Remotely

Tom Wichert is a 30-year experienced electronics industry veteran, who has held positions as a design engineer, program manager, business development manager and executive positions in sales and marketing.

Wichert has extensive experience in managing a complex multi-tiered sales channel (national account managers, regional sales managers, representatives and distribution), as well as international sales channels.

He sets direction on marketing strategies (marketing organization, product road map and social media) to align to company’s core market focus.

Wichert enjoys managing and mentoring people to perform to the best of their abilities. He is also experienced with Japanese business culture.

Dennis Young
Executive Vice President Sales, Sanmina Corporation

Onshoring: Myth or Reality?

Dennis Young has served as Sanmina’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Sanmina Corporation since March 2003.

Prior to joining Sanmina, Young served as senior vice president of sales from May 2002 to March 2003 and vice president of sales from March 1998 to May 2002 of Pioneer-Standard Electronics, a provider of industrial and consumer electronic products.

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