ERA Conference Speaker Biographies

2022 ERA 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 its description.

Matthew Amato

Global Marketing and Public Relations Manager, IBS Electronics Group

Technology Tools: What’s Hot

Matthew Amato is a highly seasoned digital marketing professional with over 15 years of experience working in B2B and B2C markets and is currently the Global Marketing and Public Relations Manager for IBS Electronics Group. Under his leadership, the company’s marketing and branding strategy has undergone a significant revolution that has taken the industry by storm, resulting in increased visibility and credibility globally. As a result of his contribution and strategic yet cost-effective digital marketing implementation efforts, the company has doubled its revenue in a few short years by successfully increasing brand awareness, customer acquisition and customer retention for IBS Electronics Group. He is always looking for new and unique experiences to mature his skillset and imagination to dream up campaigns uniquely designed to enhance the customer experience and maximize revenue growth.

Tony Aug
Co-founder and CEO, Nimble Gravity

Information Technology: The Fast-Changing World of Data Sharing Under Ever-Changing Laws

Tony Aug is co-founder and CEO of Nimble Gravity, a strategy, digital, software engineering and data science consultancy. He was previously the vice president of R&D and CTO of digital for Arrow Electronics, a global technology company. In that role, Tony was responsible for digital product development and engineering and big data analytics for Arrow. An industry veteran, Tony has also held a number of engineering, supply chain and IT leadership roles at Sanmina, a leading electronic manufacturing services company. In 2009, Tony co-founded TimZon (now SnapEngage), a live chat software company and a graduate of the TechStars startup accelerator program. Tony graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in electrical engineering.

Dayna Badhorn
Regional President, Americas, Avnet

Manufacturers’ Sales Reps Issues and Challenges: What Keeps Most Reps Up at Night?

Dayna Badhorn is regional president of Americas electronic components at Avnet. In this role, she leads all activities tied to Avnet’s electronics components business in the Americas where she oversees operations and sales teams supporting business in the region.

Since joining Avnet in in 1998, Badhorn has held leadership roles in sales, technical support, supplier management and business development. Most recently, she served as global vice president, strategic planning and corporate marketing, where she worked across global business units to identify growth opportunities to enhance Avnet’s overall business portfolio, financial strength and market value.

Badhorn previously served as vice president, strategic planning for the electronic components global business, where she led the digital transformation initiative and several other global growth programs. Before this role, she launched and oversaw Avnet’s emerging business teams to find, evaluate and develop new profitable business opportunities, particularly in the startup space. She serves on the board of CoValence Laboratories and is committed to community service and leadership development through her work with Homeward Bound. She was featured on CRN’s 2021 Women of the Channel List for her work accelerating channel growth. Badhorn earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Jim Banovich
CEO & President, Marsh Electronics

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

Jim Banovich formally joined Marsh Electronics, a regional distributor of electronic and electromechanical components solutions, in 1994 as a major account manager. In 1998 Marsh regained its independence, and during this time Jim became a shareholder of Marsh and served as vice president of sales and marketing. In 2019 Jim transitioned to CEO and president of Marsh Electronics. Today, Jim is focused on Marsh’s growth, continued enhancement of the company’s value proposition, and preparing the company for its next generation of business.

Jim is an active participant with NEDA and ECIA in various council memberships. In January 2023, Jim was recognized as one of the Titian 100 Wisconsin Top CEOs. He also serves as a board member for the Titan 100 Wisconsin organization and MRA-The Management Association. Jim is an active member of Vestige and Executive Agenda in the Milwaukee, Wis., chapters. In his free time, Jim enjoys fishing, boating and the Northwoods of Wisconsin with his family.

Jim is a graduate of Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) with a BSEE degree.

Anna Baldwin
Principal, SSCA

Leadership is an Inside Job

Anna Baldwin is a principal at SSCA who brings award-winning strategy experience to her clients. As former chief operating officer of Native Foods and Innovative Dining Group, Anna has a unique ability to combine large-scale business strategies with the intricate tactics needed to lead people toward the business goal.

Anna leveraged her management skills into B2B and retail sales management with Verizon Wireless, where she empowered an underperforming sales team to identify what fuels them, proving they were valued and appreciated. Anna locked in a synergy between company culture and goal achievement, and the team rocketed from the bottom 10% of national sales to the top 1% nationally in less than one year.

Anna maintains a deep understanding of the relationship between behavioral science and business success. She brings her real-life experience of coaching and mentoring senior leaders and leading teams to get results. She designed and executed a wide range of programs as a C-Suite leader and consultant, including brand revitalization, performance management, B2B sales training, leadership development, licensing, strategic planning, large system implementations, and conflict resolution. She is relatable and grounded and has herself implemented much of what she recommends.

Bernard Baumohl
Chief Global Economist, The Economic Outlook Group

Navigating Through Economic Uncertainty

Bernard Baumohl is chief global economist for 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 Mr. Baumohl in 2019 as the most accurate economic forecaster.

An in-demand international speaker, Baumohl frequently makes keynote presentations for conferences, workshops and legislatures on the latest economic and geopolitical outlook. He has lectured at NYU, Duke University and Florida Gulf Coast University; and is an award-winning economics reporter with TIME magazine covering the White House, Federal Reserve and Wall Street.

Baumohl is a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel and his projections on the economy and geopolitical trends are regularly featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week, Financial Times and on National Public Radio. He has also been a regular commentator with a variety of media outlets, including TV’s Nightly Business Report.

Baumohl is author of “The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and Investment Opportunities.” He is a recipient of the John Hancock Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism and is a member of the National Association for Business Economics and the American Economic Association.

Ken Bellero
President, Schaffner EMC, Inc.

The Manufacturer-Distributor Perspective: Corporate Best Practices to Drive Partnerships

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

During his 23-year tenure at Schaffner, Ken has also 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, Ken 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. Ken currently holds the position as the Sr. Vice President/Manufacturers on the ERA Executive Committee.

Lori Bruno, CPMR
Vice President, Luscombe Engineering of San Francisco, 2023 ERA Conference Chair

Conference Opening & Welcome Remarks

Lori Bruno, CPMR, is vice president of Luscombe Engineering Co. of San Francisco. She is responsible for working as a liaison between suppliers and distributors in growing and maintaining business. Bruno has worked in the electronic component industry since the early 1990s. Prior to joining Luscombe Engineering, she worked in distribution most of her career, including at TTI and Avnet. Bruno understands the distributors’ “value proposition” and is an advocate of supporting the channel whenever possible. She holds a degree in human development from California State University – Hayward; she is also an active member of Women in Electronics and serves as national delegate for the Northern California Chapter of ERA.

Julie Carr
Distribution Sales Manager/Partner, MacInnis Co.

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

Julie Carr is the distribution sales manager and partner with MacInnis Co., a Northeast-based manufacturers’ representative firm, and has been with the organization since 1995. Prior to joining MacInnis Co., Julie started her career in distribution holding multiple sales positions at Reptron and Cronin Electronics. She is the acting vice president of membership with ERA’s New England Chapter and is also very active in Women in Electronics starting as a founding member and currently on as co-chair of hospitality/ events committee member and co-chair of the New England Chapter. She is a graduate of Assumption College and is a lifelong resident of the greater Boston area.

Ellen Coan, CPMR
Vice President, Operations, C C Electro Sales, Inc.

First-Timers Orientation

Ellen Coan, CPMR, joined her family’s firm after completing her BSEE at Purdue University. She earned her 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, Inc. – a firm started by her mother, Carol Cohen, in 1981. C C Electro Sales markets and sells world-class manufacturers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia with three offices. Ellen handles IT, HR, Finance, FAE, as well as outside sales for key customers.

Ellen has been an officer in the local Indiana-Kentucky ERA chapter for many years. As a White Pin member, she helped initiate the ERA Mark Motsinger Internship Program as her passion is to promote the rep model to new talent. In 2021 Ellen joined the ERA National Executive committee as senior vice president of education overseeing the ERA Virtual Sales Training and ERA Conference and introduced the ERA NEXGEN Special Interest Group for new rep members to network nationally.

Tobi Cornell, CPMR
Vice President, Outside Sales, Kruvand Associates Inc.

Building Next Generation Talent: New Rules for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Employees

Tobi Cornell graduated from Texas Christian University in 1994 with a BBA, and entered the electronics industry that same year working for a manufacturers’ rep firm, DJ Sales in Dallas, Texas. Tobi worked in inside sales for 2 ½ years covering the Houston market, and then moved into outside sales in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for DJ Sales. In 1998, Kruvand Associates acquired DJ Sales, and Tobi took on the distribution manager role in addition to account responsibilities. Tobi was named vice president of distribution for Kruvand in 2015 and continues this role today, with a mission to continue fostering and growing close relationships with our channel partners in the industry. In addition, Tobi also maintains responsibility for select accounts in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Recently, Tobi was elected president of the SW Chapter ERA, and is proud to support the ERA at the Conference in Austin each year. Other honors include holding the position of chair for the 2023 ECIA Exec Conference, WE Career Corner Lead, and attending EDS on behalf of Kruvand.

Wendy Covey
CEO, Trew Marketing

Transforming Your Brand into a Trusted Resource

Wendy Covey is CEO of a successful technical marketing agency, as well as an author and podcast host…and she holds a Texas fishing record. Through her company, TREW Marketing, Wendy has helped hundreds of engineering and technical companies become trusted advisors, grow sales pipelines and increase market share through content marketing. Wendy’s book, “Content Marketing, Engineered”  – and her podcast of the same name – helps technical marketers looking to adopt or improve their content marketing programs. Wendy gained national recognition when she was named one of WSJ’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America.

Cheryl Cran
Founder, NextMapping™/

The Future of Leadership (Hint: It’s Human!)

Cheryl Cran is the founder of NextMapping™/, creator of the NextNow podcast and the CEO of parent company
Synthesis at Work Inc. Named #1 Future of Work influencer by Onalytica, and in the top ten future of work experts by GoCatalant.

Cheryl is the author of 10 books including her newest, “Super.Crucial.Human” and her bestsellers, “NextMapping – Anticipate, Navigate and Create The Future of Work” and “The Art of Change Leadership – Driving Transformation In a Fast Paced-World.”

Cheryl’s thought leadership on the future of all things including work, society and life has been featured in publications such as Fast Company, Huff Post, Forbes, Metro New York, Entrepreneur Magazine, Reader’s Digest, CBS Online, NBC Online, and more. For over two decades Cheryl has built a reputation for delivering extraordinary value for clients that include Amazon, Upwork, AT&T, Gartner, Scottish Water, ExecOnline and more.

Cheryl helps leaders and teams to increase perspectives to expand opportunities, to identify patterns of success, and to learn and grow at the speed of change. NextMapping™ was developed as our proprietary business solution brand that encompasses all of Cheryl’s work and research on the future of all things including work and the ‘future ready skills’ needed by leaders and teams to navigate change in the workplace. Cheryl is not a futurist that just shares trends, she is a pragmatic optimist who is a future of work (all things) expert helping her clients to create the future now by leading the changes needed to get there.
It’s time to not just hear about the future but to create change and use models and tools developed including our proprietary NextMapping™ process to get there!

The common theme in all of Cheryl’s life’s work is to change the world through business.

Heather D’Amico
Marketing Manager, Brainard-Nielson Marketing

Manufacturers’ Programs: How to Communicate & Implement Various Corporate Programs to Drive New Demand and Incremental Sales

Heather D’Amico is the marketing manager at Brainard-Nielsen Marketing, a manufacturers’ rep firm specializing in the sales of electro-mechanical components serving Illinois and Wisconsin. Prior to joining BNM in 2020, Heather previously worked for manufacturing companies, including OTTO Engineering. Her experience working for manufacturers provides insight on how sales reps must proactively market target customers. As the creative director at BNM, Heather develops and executes in-territory marketing strategies for the manufacturers on BNM’s line card. She is thrilled anytime a marketing effort can help open the door for her sales team to meet with a customer and find new opportunities. Heather has an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. She is eager to begin her Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Rep (CPMR) certification in January 2023. In 2010, Heather helped co-found the Michael P. Savoca Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness and funds on behalf of pulmonary fibrosis.

Bob Dumas
President, Bob Dumas Marketing & Consulting

The Mind of the Engineer: What Do They Really Want?

Bob Dumas has an extensive career in B2B media sales. He started in the media business with CMP Media in 1985 as a classified media sales rep and then display sales rep. Bob became part of United Business Media in 1999 when UBM acquired CMP Media. At UBM, Bob held positions such as European Sales Director, Global Sales Director, Assoc. Publisher, Publisher and Brand Director. Bob became part of the AspenCore Media Co. when Arrow bought UBM Electronics in 2016 and became managing director of Aspen Core in 2018. In July 2019, Bob joined EETech Media as VP/Global Sales Director for 2+ years then helped launch the DaaS Group at EETech in late 2021.

Bob recently resigned from EETech and formed independent media rep firm Bob Dumas Marketing & Consulting.

Bob grew up in Queens, New York and learned sales as a vendor at Shea Stadium selling hot dogs at NY Met games in the summer and hot chocolate at NY Jet games in the winter. He married his high school sweetheart in 1981. Together, they have five kids and three grandchildren and live on Long Island.

Bob was a CYO basketball coach for 25 years and little league baseball coach for 24 years. He was awarded the CYO Role Model of the Year award in 2013, and is also an accredited actor and aspiring screenwriter.

Travis Erpenbach
Director, Sales Operations & Supplier Relations, Carlton-Bates Co. 

Building Next Generation Talent: New Rules for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Employees

Travis Erpenbach joined Wesco | Carton-Bates Company (CBC) in 2016. In his current role as senior director of sales ops and  supplier relations, Travis has responsibility for the overall strategic direction for corporate growth initiatives, sales enablement activity and supplier strategy. He began his tenure with CBC as a manager of strategic programs where he built CBC’s Strategic Alliance Program for System Integrators. This program expanded the reach and capability of CBC into fully integrated automation projects. Travis later moved to a role as district manager for the TOLA Region prior to accepting his current position. At Wesco | Carlton-Bates, he enjoys leading the sales teams to higher levels of performance and launching new processes that focus on growth. Prior to CBC, Travis spent 15 years with Honeywell in various roles in program management, distribution management, regional sales management, and culminating in the role of national director of channel sales.  He enjoyed his time working with an extensive network of manufacturers’ reps and distribution partners across North America. While at Honeywell, Travis oversaw the successful launches of several distributors, manufacturers reps, sales processes and contract manufacturers.

In earlier years, Travis has held various roles with OEMs that mainly focused on process improvement, product launches and manufacturing engineering.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Missouri State University, and later earned an MBA from LeTourneau University. Travis is Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean, and PMP-certified.

Brian Flynn
Vice President of Sales, Sager Electronics

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

As vice president of sales at Sager Electronics, Brian Flynn leads an organization of over 175 sales engineers, field and inside sales representatives, and the company’s e-sales, partnership program and sales operations departments. With over 25 years of experience, Flynn is well versed in all areas of the business. As part of the CalSwitch assimilation team in 1999, Flynn played a vital role in Sager’s growth in the West. He served in sales leadership roles in this territory as well as in the Great Lakes and South Central before moving into a corporate role. As a member of Sager’s executive leadership, Flynn has been instrumental in each of the company’s acquisitions since CalSwitch, and he is credited with driving Sager’s sales strategy, while achieving monumental sales growth for the company.

Dave Foster
Director of Sales, Ohmite Manufacturing

Manufacturers’ Sales Reps Issues and Challenges: What Keeps Most Reps Up at Night?

David Foster is a long-time student of the electronic industry. He began his career as a purchasing agent for a small manufacturing firm in Boston, and quickly moved into sales and marketing. David’s career has transversed across active, passive and electromechanical technologies. Today he is vice president of sales and marketing for Ohmite Manufacturing, a leading provider of resistive products. David earned his bachelor’s degree from Emerson College, Boston and an MBA from City University, Seattle.

Cesare Giammarco
Consultant, Cesare Giammarco Sales Management Consulting LLC

Let’s Talk About Trust: It’s Difficult to Define, It’s Hard to Earn, It’s Easy to Lose

Cesare Giammarco has been in the field of sales and sales management since 1971, with 35 of those years in the electronic components industry. In those 35 years, he has instituted, managed and integrated manufacturers reps globally into multiple organizations.

Starting in 1984 with Elmwood Sensors, a privately-owned global manufacturer of temperature sensing products, he led successful integration of the rep sales model through four acquisitions of this business, culminating with Honeywell Sensing and Controls in 2002. He retired from Honeywell in 2015 as North American sales director. Since then, he has worked as an independent consultant for global manufacturers, assisting in instituting and supporting manufacturers’ reps as their primary sales channel. He is also a special consultant to ERA on best practices to further facilitate the rep sales model.

Cesare has been recognized over the course of his career for innovative and mutually beneficial sales rep management practices and procedures that reinforce the rep model with manufacturers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration from Bryant University. He resides in Cranston, RI, with his wife Angela. They have three children and two grandchildren.

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

Two Sessions in One: Who Cares If You Are an Employee or Independent Contractor, and Other Key Contract Considerations

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.

Holly Good
Director, Global Distribution Sales, Cornell Dubilier Electronics

The Manufacturer-Distributor Perspective: Corporate Best Practices to Drive Partnerships

Holly Good is director of global distribution sales for Cornell Dubilier Electronics, a leading manufacturer of power capacitors. Holly has been with Cornell Dubilier for 11 years, where she previously held roles in product marketing management and inside sales leadership.

Prior to joining Cornell Dubilier, Holly worked in electronics distribution, managing the New England sales territory for Carlton Bates Co. She had various roles in sales and operations with Sager Electronics, and provided sales and distribution support for manufacturers’ representative, Norris and Associates. Holly is a founding advisory board member with Women in Electronics and is active with the ECIA and ERA.

Holly has a B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University and is a certified speaker and trainer with the Maxwell Leadership team.

John Guetens
North American Sales Manager, E-T-A Engineering Technology

First-Timers Orientation

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

John Guetens is the North American sales manager for E-T-A Engineering Technology. Headquartered in Altdorf, Germany, E-T-A is a leading supplier of circuit protection technologies with sales subsidiaries located internationally.

In his role Guetens is responsible for E-T-A’s regional sales team, manufacturer’s rep network and distribution channel. During his 17 years at E-T-A, he has also held the roles of regional sales manager, distribution sales manager and channel sales manager.

Over the course of 30+ years of experience in the electronics industry Guetens has held inside, outside and general manager positions with distributor Wesgarde Components and served as a manufacturers’ sales representative with Berkshire Electronics before joining E-T-A in 2006.

Guetens is a graduate of Clarkson University and resides with his family in Connecticut.

John Hutson, CPMR
President, MacInnis Group

Manufacturers’ Sales Reps Issues and Challenges: What Keeps Most Reps Up at Night?

John Hutson is president of MacInnis Group, a manufacturers’ representative firm in the Northeast. Huston 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 bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a master’s degree from Wesleyan University. During his free time, Hutson enjoys skiing in the winter, golfing in the summer and travels year-round.

Bruce Kellar
Senior Vice President of Sales, Sager Electronics

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

Bruce Kellar, a thirty-eight year veteran of the industry, joined Sager Electronics in 1996 and led the charge in establishing Sager’s West Coast presence. Tapping into his keen sales, marketing and people skills, he was instrumental in Sager’s acquisition and assimilation of Cal Switch in 1999. Promoted to vice president of sales in 2007, Kellar helped devise and execute Sager’s customer-focused sales strategy. Named senior vice president of sales in 2016, Kellar played a pivotal role in Sager’s acquisition and integration of PowerGate LLC, a regional power supply distributor headquartered in North California, and Norvell Electronics, a regional power supply distributor and value ad operation based out of Carrollton, Texas. Today, Kellar leads a sales organization of 200 sales professionals and sales engineers with the goal of differentiating Sager by becoming a leading distributor in power products together with Sager’s strong interconnect and electromechanical product offering.

Prior to joining Sager, Kellar was with Acacia/Deanco for 18 years as vice president of sales and marketing. A native of Southern California, he attended Fullerton College.

Tim Kilfoil
President, JF Kilfoil Co.

Technology Tools: What’s Hot?

Tim Kilfoil is president of JF Kilfoil Co., 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, Mich. 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 and CEO, Endries International

Technology Drivers for 2023 and Beyond

Michael Knight was named president and chief executive officer of Endries International in November 2022 and before that held various leadership positions at TTI, Inc., for 18 years.

Knight has worked in the electronic components industry since the mid-1980s. In addition to his various positions at TTI Inc., he has 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.

Adam C. Maxwell
Litigation Attorney, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC

Two Sessions in One: Who Cares If You Are an Employee or Independent Contractor, and Other Key Contract Considerations

Adam Maxwell is a Chicago-based litigator who has successfully handled jury trials in courts across the nation. He has over a decade of employment-related litigation and advisory experience behind him, which is why companies and individuals regularly call on him to handle their contractual employment disputes. Maxwell is often the first call when a dispute erupts, and for good reason: he is a natural problem solver who leverages his business degree and experience to blend forward-thinking guidance with legal strategy to obtain exceptional outcomes.

Independent sales reps regularly call on Maxwell because he has recovered millions of dollars in unpaid commissions and other compensation from public and private companies. Among the employment, business and commercial disputes he handles are the defense of former employees against misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duties claims, the voiding or enforcing of post-employment non-compete and non-solicit obligations, and the obtaining of injunctions to stop unlawful conduct on an emergency basis.

Chris McChesney
Global Practice Leader, Execution, FranklinCovey

The 4 Disciplines of Execution

Chris McChesney is the co-author of the best-selling book in the world on strategy execution.

He is the global practice leader of execution for FranklinCovey Co. and one of the primary developers of The 4 Disciplines of Execution. For more than a decade, he has led FranklinCovey’s ongoing design and development of these principles, as well as the consulting organization that has achieved extraordinary growth in many countries around the globe and impacted hundreds of organizations. Chris has personally led many of the most noted implementations of the 4 Disciplines, including the State of Georgia, Marriott® International, Shaw Industries, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company®, The Kroger® Co., The Coca-Cola Co.®, Comcast, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Gaylord Entertainment. This practical experience has enabled him to test and refine the principles contained in The 4 Disciplines of Execution from the boardroom to the front line of these and many other organizations.

Chris’s career with FranklinCovey began by working directly with Dr. Stephen R. Covey and has continued for more than two decades to include roles as a consultant, managing director, and general manager within the organization. Chris launched the first 4 Disciplines of Execution Practice in FranklinCovey’s Southeast Region, and today has seen it expand around the globe.

Chris and his wife Constance are the proud parents of five daughters and two sons. His love of family is combined with his passion for boating, water sports, coaching, and trying to keep up with his children.

Known for his high energy and engaging message, Chris has become a highly sought-after speaker, consultant, and advisor on strategy execution. He regularly delivers keynote speeches and executive presentations to leaders in audiences ranging from the hundreds to several thousand.

Tom Muldowney
Vice President, Business Development, GALCO

Manufacturers’ Programs: How to Communicate & Implement Various Corporate Programs to Drive New Demand and Incremental Sales

As a veteran leader in distribution, Tom Muldowney has worked with OEMs, EMS providers and factory automation system integrators. Currently as vice president of business development with Galco Industrial Electronics, Tom has a front row seat as manufacturing plants in North America take advantage of new automation equipment and software. His distribution and management background has led to multiple consultant projects within supply chain services and is currently a board member for TPM Logistic Services. In his spare time, Tom enjoys motorcycling and photography.

Holly Myers, CPMR
Vice President, Genie Group

First-Timers Orientation

Holly Myers joined Genie Group as the vice president of sales and marketing in 2018. Genie Group is a master distributor and buying group based in Brentwood, Tennessee. She started her career in the industry in 2005 as the sales and marketing manager at Wallace Electronic Sales, a manufacturers’ representative in the Southeast.

Holly served as the chair of the 2017 ERA Conference Committee, and as co-chair of the 2019 ERA Conference Breakouts Sub-Committee, and served as a committee member on the 2023 ERA Conference Keynote Sub-Committee. She was the recipient of the 2015 Jess Spoonts ERA White Pin Scholarship Award.

Dave Norris
President, Norris & Associates, Inc.

A View from the Top: Ask Me Anything, with Walter Tobin

Dave Norris is founder and president of Norris & Associates, a nine-person manufacturers’ representative firm based in Boston, covering the six New England states.

Dave has served as chairman of the ERA Executive Board, president of the EDS Show Corp., board & executive committee Member of ECIA and has chaired both ERA and ECIA Conferences.

Dave serves on many rep councils and is a member of EDIC, a leadership group of executives from distribution, manufacturers and representatives.Dave began his career in the electronic components industry at Northeast Representatives, leading the organization prior to launching Norris & Associates in 1988.

In his free time, Dave enjoys woodcarving, nature photography and choral singing, celebrating over four decades of singing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops.

Father of five and grandfather to six, his life is full of many blessings.

Morgan Norris
Senior Brand Strategist, TREW Marketing

Transforming Your Brand into a Trusted Resource

Morgan helps highly technical companies define their corporate brand, identify their differentiators, and communicate their value to customers through brand storytelling and content. For the last decade, she’s worked with clients to align corporate leadership, build stories that engage customers, and create a foundation for consistent content. Morgan also helps executives build thought leadership platforms across channels, and trains marketers to write content that converts technical audiences in her annual course, Content Writing, Engineered.

Jennifer Paukert
Vice President of Sales, Master Electronics

The Manufacturer-Distributor Perspective: Corporate Best Practices to Drive Partnerships

Jennifer Paukert serves as vice president of sales for Master Electronics. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing Master’s sales efforts and business development strategies. Prior to this position, she served as regional sales director for the Central region of the U.S.

Paukert joined Master in 2011 as a field sales account manager and has since held a variety of sales roles throughout the years including direct responsibility for Master’s top customers, as well as running Master’s value-added manufacturing division.

Paukert has extensive executive-level leadership training and coursework completed at Harvard Business School and leads two of Master’s employee resource groups.

In her free time, Paukert, a Minnesota native, enjoys spending time at her cabin with her wife and four children.

Meridith Elliott Powell, CSP, CSAE
Business Growth, Leadership & Sales Expert – 2023 ERA Conference Keynote Speaker

THRIVE: Turn Uncertainty to Your Competitive Advantage

Voted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, Meridith Elliott Powell is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and business strategist. With a background in corporate sales and leadership, her career expands over several industries including banking, healthcare and finance. Meridith worked her way up from an entry-level position to earn her seat at the C-Suite table. She is Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by less than twelve percent of professional speakers, and a member of the prestigious Forbes Coaching Council.

Sam Richter, CSP, CSAE
Founder and CEO of  SBR Worldwide/KnowMore

How to Search LinkedIn Like a Pro! Introduction to a Cutting-Edge LinkedIn Search Tool Via ERA

Considered a leading authority on sales intelligence and digital reputation management, bestselling author and Hall of Fame speaker Sam Richter, CSP, CPAE, delivers his top-rated, incredibly dynamic, highly entertaining, and extremely high-content keynote presentations and workshop sessions to audiences worldwide. Sam was named one of the World’s Top 50 Sales Keynote Speakers, one of the Top 15 Virtual Presenters, and one of the Top 25 Most Influential Sales Leaders. Learn more at

John Rozanski
Senior Director of Global Supplier Relations, PEI Genesis

The Manufacturer-Distributor Perspective: Corporate Best Practices to Drive Partnerships

John has 30+ years of sales management and supplier relations experience in the electronics industry. He has worked for Philips Electronics, TTI, and is currently the senior director of global supplier relations for PEI-Genesis. He holds an MBA in finance from John Hopkins University and lives in Towson, Md.

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

The Manufacturer-Distributor Perspective: Corporate Best Practices to Drive Partnerships

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.

John Simari
Consultant, Simari Consulting

Let’s Talk About Trust: It’s Difficult to Define, It’s Hard to Earn, It’s Easy to Lose

John Simari held a range of sales and marketing positions at Texas Instruments (TI) prior to his retirement in 2016 after a 37-year career. For most of that time, Simari was a key contributor to TI’s worldwide distribution program.

He has held positions as worldwide distribution director, America’s distribution director and worldwide account manager for distributor and OEM accounts.

He is an active participant in ERA’s Industry Expert program and has made contributions to several recent ERA Conferences.

Simari has been an active contributor to industry activities, having served for eight years on the ECIA Board of Directors and Foundation Board. From 2015 to 2022, he was also a Business Leadership Center instructor at the SMU Cox School of Business in Dallas.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Dallas. He lives in The Colony, Texas.

Deb Gray Speer
Global Distribution Sales Manager, Fair-Rite Products Corp.

Manufacturers’ Programs: How to Communicate & Implement Various Corporate Programs to Drive New Demand and Incremental Sales

Deb Gray Speer is an accomplished professional with over 25 years of experience in sales management and business development. As the global distribution sales manager for Fair-Rite Products Corp., she has made significant contributions to the industry. Her expertise lies in advancing and executing tactical growth strategies, leading high-performance teams, expanding market share, driving revenue and boosting profitability.

Speer excels in building and maintaining exceptional relationships with a diverse range of clients. Her ability to collaborate effectively with cross-functional stakeholders and anticipate client needs has allowed her to develop and deliver valuable solutions to multi-channel clients. Her passion for this aspect of business has been a driving force in her successful career as a sales management/ business development professional and has been a key strength throughout her career.

Maryellen Stack
Director of Marketing Communications, Sager Electronics

Social Selling & Social Buying: What Is It & How Can You Make it Work for You?

Maryellen Stack is the director of marketing communications for Sager Electronics. She works closely with the company’s executive council to define, articulate and drive the Sager brand and its specialized group, Sager Power Systems, in the electronic components marketplace. Stack also plays an instrumental role in the company’s eBusiness activities and is involved in the development of the company’s new website.

She is an active member of the industry’s various organizations, including ECIA, ERA and Women in Electronics. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Women in Electronics, where she works to support the organization’s marketing and communications efforts and is also involved with both the local New England Chapter of the ERA as well as the ERA Executive Conference planning committee and as a past panelist. Prior to joining Sager Electronics in 2000, she worked in business development for a national sports facility management firm. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science with a business minor from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Mike Swenson, CPMR
President, Mel Foster Co.

Manufacturers’ Sales Reps Issues and Challenges: What Keeps Most Reps Up at Night?

Mike Swenson, CPMR, is president of MFC Group (Mel Foster Co.), 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 Midwest.

Swenson is an active member of ERA, RMA and ECIA. 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” , “Manufacturers Assessment of ROI with Reps and Distributors” “Rep Value” and “Successfully Managing and Motivating Your Remote Sales Team.” Swenson was also Chair of the ERA Rep Contract update committee.

Awarded an ECIA Distinguished Services Award in 2022, Swenson is also a member of the ECIA Independent Manufacturer Rep Council.

He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Rob Tavi
President, IBS Electronics

Technology Tools: What’s Hot?

Rob Tavi is a graduate of California State University-Long Beach with a master’s degree in business administration and the CEO of IBS Electronics Group, a top 50 global distributor providing bespoke supply chain management. Tavi’s expertise in quality assurance, supply chain management, manufacturing and technology, combined with his leadership in the global deployment of Lean Six Sigma, has enabled IBS to provide a competitive advantage to its customers by improving time-to-market, scalability and efficiency.

Leveraging his skillset as a thought leader in addition to a mamba mentality mindset, he strives to continuously improve to be the best version of himself as the leading visionary for IBS. As an innovator born into the electronics manufacturing industry’s technology revolution, Tavi has expanded IBS over the past two decades from its headquarters in California to operations with offices in 12 countries from Asia to the Americas, generating over $80 million in annual revenue.

Dedicated to empowering personal and professional branding, Tavi aims to rehumanize B2B engagement using digital technologies and marketing to bridge the gap between traditional sales marketing and future opportunities within our modern manufacturing world.

Rob Tavi is the creator and mastermind behind Real Talk, a podcast that came to life by sharing experiences in business and life to inspire and engage people from around the world by telling a story.

Walter Tobin
CEO, Electronics Representatives Association

A View from the Top: Ask Me Anything, with Walter Tobin

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 bachelor’s degree and MBA in marketing from Boston College. He is also a former U.S. Army captain.


Elisia Triantos
Area Director, Business Development, Digi-Key Electronics

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

Elisia Triantos is the regional business development director, covering the Bay Area and PNW, for Digi-Key Electronics. Elisia has over 25 years of experience in various roles in the electronic components industry.

Triantos began as DSM at a manufacturers’ rep, then spent much of her career leading outside sales reps at Arrow & Avnet before joining Digi-Key nine years ago.

Triantos understands the value of what a distributor brings to a rep model, and how developing relationships and trust between the two are critical elements for a successful partnership.

Sannah Vinding
Digital Marketing Director, Micro Commercial Components

Social Selling & Social Buying: What Is It & How Can You Make it Work for You?

Sannah Vinding is an engineer, B2B marketing strategist and innovative leader who delivers practical and proven customer-centric go-to-marketing strategies specifically in the electronics manufacturing industry. Sannah is the digital marketing director at Micro Commercial Components and has 20+ years of experience in B2B marketing, product and process innovation within consumer electronics, and the global human-machine interface industry. She is forward-thinking with a proven track record of driving results in revenue, margins, customer acquisition, global market penetration, and new product launches. Sannah has diverse industry knowledge within the semiconductor, electronics and medical industries. In addition, she is adept at transforming business data into profitable realities through marketing campaigns, project management and cross-functional team leadership.

Kris Whitehouse
Vice President of Sales, Americas, Omron Electronic Components

Building Next Generation Talent: New Rules for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Employees

Kris Whitehouse serves as vice president of sales, 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 ECIA Manufacturer Council. Whitehouse is an advocate in the mission of ERA, and in the open collaboration between manufacturers’ representatives, manufacturers and authorized distribution.

Jordan Yates
Marketing Engineer, Knowles Precision Devices

Social Selling & Social Buying: What Is It & How Can You Make it Work for You?

Jordan Yates is a marketing engineer at Knowles Precision Devices and has been there a year helping the team research and deeply understand the roles of specialty ceramic capacitors within power electronics. Before this, she was a sales engineer for an industrial automation and controls distributor and integrator, which is how she entered the manufacturing world after graduating from Texas Tech University with her degree in mechanical engineering.

Over the years, Jordan’s proclivities towards the sales and marketing side of the manufacturing and technology industries have gained her recognition in the digital space. When she’s not working at Knowles, she is creating YouTube Videos, LinkedIn posts and producing a podcast where she shares her love of engineering and all her related technical hobbies. Jordan aims to make manufacturing and engineering topics exciting and digestible.

Gary Zullo
Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical and Interconnect, Arrow Electronics Inc.

Manufacturers’ Programs: How to Communicate & Implement Various Corporate Programs to Drive New Demand and Incremental Sales

Gary Zullo joined Arrow in June 1984 and currently serves as the director of North American Sales for Arrow’s passive, electromechanical and interconnect portfolio.

Prior to this role, Zullo has held roles with increasing responsibility including director solid state lighting, general manager, area sales director and vice president of product management. He also served a two-year international assignment as the director of marketing for Arrow Nordic Components, where he lived in Stockholm, Sweden, helping integrate several acquisitions into a single operating entity.

Zullo holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s degree in business administration from Hofstra University.

Shane Zutz
Vice President, Human Resources, Digi-Key Electronics

Building Next Generation Talent: New Rules for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Employees

As the leader of Digi-Key’s human resources function, Shane Zutz is responsible for leading Digi-Key through a digital transformation that impacts 4,500 employees across the globe, as well as supporting the company’s tremendous growth and physical expansion. Digi-Key’s HR department follows an “outside-in” model, reimagining our work to create additional value for employees and customers, and making Digi-Key the best place to work whether you are in Thief River Falls, EMEA, APAC or fully remote. Shane’s leadership abilities and forward-thinking outlook are a direct result of his background in education. Before his time at Digi-Key, he spent many years as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and high school principal. He’s built high-performing teams throughout his career and is energized by empowering a culture that encourages everyone to do their best work by putting people first.