2022 ERA Conference - Breakout Sessions

ERA Conference Breakout Session Descriptions

Sessions are listed in alphabetical order by title. Click on speaker/panelist name to view biography.

NOTE: All sessions are offered TWICE; first on Monday, Feb. 28, and repeated on Tuesday, March 1 – except for the Digital Marketing Tools session, which is offered twice on Tuesday, March 1. Session times are CST.

Back to the Future: Succession Planning, Selling & Merging for Sales Leadership

Presenter: Bryan Shirley, CEO, BCS Consulting Services

Mon., 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.; Tue., 9:45 – 11:00 a.m. CST

Ideally, a succession plan should fit into a larger defined strategic vision. What do you THINK your company will look like in five to 10 years? What do you WANT your company to look like in five to 10 years? More importantly, what do other people think that your company will look like? If these visions are not aligned, your company could be in jeopardy to lose key employees and vital manufacturer partners. Planning for tomorrow is at the heart of any company’s plans for future success in. This tactical and informational session will help you assess your own company’s succession plan, and will help you make effective improvements for your business’ continued success.

Best Practices on Tracking Offshore Business and Recovering Revenue

Moderator: Mike Budde Jr., Vice President, Budde Marketing Systems Inc.
Panelists: Mike Calabria, President & CEO, Abracon LLC; Adam Grigor, President, Tech-Trek Ltd.; Sue Lau, Director of Global Supply Chain Operations, Avnet; John O’Brien, CPMR, Vice President, Coakley, Boyd & Abbett

Mon., 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.; Tue., 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. CST

A great majority of business being done today is designed in one location, perhaps purchased in a second location, and manufactured in a third location. How does a company who does legitimate design work, or order management work, get fairly compensated for the work that they do? How does a company rationalize POS revenue vs. shared revenue within their own company? This issue applies to manufacturers’ sales reps, manufacturers and distributors. This session panelists will discuss strategies in tracking revenue, and suggest best practices for fairly rewarding each player for the work that they have done.

Challenges, Vulnerabilities and Considerations for a Pandemic World: A Legal Perspective on FAQs

Presenters: Adam Glazer, Partner, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC; Adam Maxwell, Litigation Attorney, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC

Mon., 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.; Tue., 8:15 – 9:30 a.m. CST

This session will address legal challenges and considerations in a pandemic persistent world. Frequently discussed topics that will be addressed are: mandated vaccinations, COVID restrictions, sales calls at customers house, travelling with a principal in your car, and more. Employment law will also be addressed. What can you mandate as an employer and what can’t you mandate? How do you adhere to the law while also making your employees feel safe? How do you navigate the fine line of obeying the law and how best to align that with the safety of your employees? Gain valuable guidance and insights from this session presented by lawyers from long-time ERA consultants from SFBBG.

Digital Marketing: Broaden Your Reach with Use of Digital Marketing Tools

Presenters: Chris Aarons, Lecturer, Marketing, The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business; Alex Gabbi, Lecturer, Marketing, The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

This session not presented on Monday; presented twice on Tuesday
Tue., 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.; Tue., 9:45 – 11:00 a.m. CST

The pandemic has really turned the world of sales on its head. How do you reach customers when they are being bombarded? What are the best digital marketing strategies available today? Every marketing plan today MUST include a digital strategy. If you want your business to grow, you need to incorporate the right digital marketing tools. Digital marketing tools are designed to help you create awareness and boost your business. Digital marketing has become one of the most effective ways to communicate because you can connect with your customers in their preferred communication channels. However, the broad range of digital marketing options can make it overwhelming for you to know where to focus. This session, presented by two marketing professors from the University of Texas, will help you learn new ways to gain access and mindshare, influence, prospect and build relationships.

Electronics’ Got Talent: Recruitment Strategies for Attracting and Hiring Top Employees in 2022

Presenter: Carla Mahrt, President, JJM Search

Mon., 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.; Tue., 9:45 – 11:00 a.m. CST

Many companies are currently struggling with finding and reaching potential employees with just the right skills and experience. How do you communicate your opportunity in this new world? This timely session, led by respected industry recruiter, Carla Mahrt, will provide you with recruitment best practices that your company can implement to attract top talent effectively. Where do you find talent? How do you search? How do you get prospective employees to take a second look at your company’s opportunities? How do you effectively interview, especially remotely? What tools are available? The electronics industry has opportunity! Attend this session to learn how to align your opportunities with the talent that’s out there.

Guidelines Used by Manufacturers to Assess the ROI of Manufacturers’ Sales Reps and Distributors

Moderator: Scott Lindberg, Director of Sales & Marketing, Quell Corporation
Panelists: Bob Gourdeau, Vice President, Sales, Kyocera AVX; Bruce Kellar, Senior Vice President Sales, Sager Electronics; Mike Swenson, CPMR, President, Mel Foster Co.

Mon., 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.; Tue., 8:15 – 9:30 a.m. CST

This session will give both manufacturers’ sales reps and distributors insights regarding the guidelines that manufacturers use to assess the ROI of both the manufacturers’ sales rep and the distributor. Knowing these guidelines will help both the manufacturers’ sales rep and the distributor to be a more valued and profitable partner for the manufacturer.

Promoting and Expanding the Manufacturers’ Sales Rep Model in Today’s Business Environment

Moderator: Cesare Giammarco, Consultant, Cesare Giammarco Sales Management Consulting LLC
Panelists: Dave Foster, Director of Sales, Ohmite Manufacturing; Amy Rooney, Director, Global Accounts, RFMW Ltd.; John Sintic, Vice President of Sales North America, Laird Performance Materials; Tom Wichert, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, TDK Lambda Americas

Mon., 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.; Tue., 9:45 – 11:00 a.m. CST

The demand for sale professionals is high: most companies are looking for sales people and cannot find them. They are hiding in plain sight, in manufacturers’ reps! Manufacturers’ reps are in place now ready to sell products now and know what products to take into customers. Manufacturers’ reps hit the street running. This breakout will provide insights into the potential opportunity for manufacturers’ rep expansion and manufacturers expectations. Manufacturers’ reps will learn how best to position their organization with their current, and potential, principals. What are the skills, capabilities and technologies that manufacturers expect from their reps to best support their growth and sustain the relationship in today’s business environment? A panel made up of manufacturer and distribution leaders will share their views on these topics, providing you the opportunity to learn from these decision makers on what you can do to ensure the manufacturers’ rep sales model continues to thrive.

RDM (Rep, Distributor, Manufacturer) Pulse Check in a New Day

Co-Directors: Lori Bruno, Vice President and Distribution Sales Manager, Luscombe Engineering of San Francisco; John Simari, Consultant, Simari Consulting LLC

Mon., 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.; Tue., 8:15 – 9:30 a.m. CST

With the success of this session from the 2020 ERA Conference, the RDM Pulse Check is back by popular demand. Sales reps, distributors and manufacturers will meet separately to “take the pulse” of each group. Attendees won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind session to engage with fellow attendees AND be a part of driving future ERA priorities. These facilitator-led breakouts are intended to extract the opportunities, challenges, ideas and frustrations from each group in a safe environment among peers. These micro breakouts will allow attendees to speak freely and feel comfortable exchanging ideas.

Feedback from the discussions will be captured by table facilitators. The anonymous highlights of the groups will be shared with the entire conference audience prior to the last General Session on Tuesday afternoon.

Rejuvenating the Manufacturer-Rep-Distributor Relationship: Best Practices & Strategies for Success

Moderator: Walter Tobin, CEO, Electronics Representatives Association
Panelists: Tobi Cornell, CPMR,VP Distribution – Outside Sales DFW, Kruvand Associates Inc.; John Guetens,North American Sales Manager, E-T-A Circuit Breakers; Alex Iuorio,
Vice President Supplier Development, Avnet Inc. Jim Ricciardelli, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Digi-Key Electronics

Mon., 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.; Tue., 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. CST

We have all had limited in-person contact for the past two years. As such, have our relationships suffered? Have they gotten stale? Are we taking each other for granted? This session will address ways to hit the refresh button on the rep-manufacturer-distributor relationship. Are we just running in place until we get back to “normal”? How do you determine the state of the union of our relationship today? Why not ask the other person: are we okay? How do you fix a relationship if you don’t know it needs to be fixed? How does each of us stay honest with each other? The long term nature of our relationship may have become less important as we asses relationships in the future. Attend this session to obtain the right tools to evaluate those relationships and get things back on track.

Syncing Marketing Efforts Between Manufacturers’ Reps, Manufacturers and Distributors

Moderator: Graham Kilshaw, CEO, Lectrix
Panelists: Ellen Albright, Director, Marketing & Communications, E-T-A Circuit Breakers; Zach DeVillers, CPMR, CSP, Director of Sales and Marketing, Brainard-Nielsen Marketing; Maryellen Stack, Director of Marketing Communications, Sager Electronics

Mon., 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.; Tue., 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. CST

Syncing marketing efforts is far more beneficial than struggling on how best to work together. Put simply, synchronized marketing takes your marketing efforts to the next level while keeping the focus on your audience. Working together, you can carry your core brand message and voice through each marketing initiative and customer touch point, and it shows in each one’s success. In this session, attendees will learn how marketing and sales lead management activities between reps, manufacturers and distributors can be synchronized using helpful tips provided by this moderator-led panel discussion.

Technology Swap Shop for a New Day

Presenters: Alan Ahern, President, Crowley Associates; Byron Holloway, Sales Manager / Senior FAE, Fralia Co. & Associates

Mon., 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.; Tue., 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. CST

Back by popular demand! This year’s swap shop session will identify technological trends that have taken place the past two years, and the tools and best practices that surround them. To stimulate a collaborative discussion on how technology can help make you and your team more efficient, this breakout session will review the results of a recent ERA member survey. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn what technical tools your industry peers are utilizing today: what’s working, what’s not – what’s new, what’s hot!

The Current State of the North American Electronics Market: What Challenges Are We Facing and What Opportunities Are Up For Grabs

Moderator: Chris Beeson, Group Senior Vice President-Electronics, RS Components
Panelists: Frank Flynn, President, Sager Electronics; Dan Kilstofte, President & CEO, Harper & Two; George Lee, President, American Bright Optoelectronics Corp.

Mon., 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.; Tue., 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. CST

The North American electronics market is estimated to grow significantly in the next few years. This moderator-led panel discussion, comprised of a manufacturers’ rep, a manufacturer and a distributor will address such questions as: What future threats are looming? What opportunities lie ahead? How can you distinguish between the two? Attendees of this session can plan to come away well-armed with a roadmap and compass to help them navigate 2022 and beyond.

Trendspotting: Technology Trends That Will Drive the Future of the Electronics Industry

Presenter: Dennis Reed, Senior Research Analyst, Edgewater Research Company

Mon., 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.; Tue., 8:15 – 9:30 a.m. CST

While Covid-19 has disrupted lives and pressured supply chains, it has also created an unprecedented appetite across multiple technologies as education and work shifted home from schools and offices, and as factories deployed technology and connectivity to keep workers safe. The drive for work/educate from anywhere has pushed devices to become smarter, and the proliferation of 5G is expected to enable new use cases with Internet of Things (IoT). More devices with more connectivity has meant greater power consumption, stressing energy supplies. Governments are increasingly pressing green initiatives in response which will continue to alter the landscape from the factory floor to our commutes to the office. In partnership with the ERA, Edgewater Research will present a backdrop of the supply situation and how to capitalize on these megatrends in 2022 and beyond.

Virtual Selling is Here to Stay: Techniques for Remote Sales Success

Presenter: Dan McQuiston, Visiting Professor of Marketing, Purdue University

Mon., 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.; Tue., 9:45 – 11:00 a.m. CST

We are now irrevocably immersed in the world of virtual selling. There is no doubt: it’s here to stay! Salespeople who have adapted their approach to this environment have been far more successful than those who waited for (and perhaps wanted) things to get back to normal. We can all agree that virtual selling is a whole new style of sales. This session will teach you how to get better at remote selling, how to be better equipped to gain access to new customers, and how to best maintain relationship with your current customers. Presented by Dan McQuiston, a recently retired marketing professor, this session will examine current research on selling in this virtual environment and provide recommendations for modifying a sales approach to be more successful in this new arena.

What’s Going On? How to Retain Great Employees in Today’s Business Environment

Moderator: John Hutson, CPMR, President, MacInnis Group
Panelists: Robert Derringer, Director, Global Channel, Crouzet North America; Greg Thompson, CPMR, Managing Partner, South Atlantic Component Sales Inc.; Gary Zullo, Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical and Interconnect, Arrow Electronics Inc.

Mon., 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.; Tue., 8:15 – 9:30 a.m. CST

Congratulations! You have found and onboarded a quality employee. Now comes the question: how do you keep them? It’s not just about the money anymore. It’s about benefits, work life balance, feedback, company culture, etc. This session will address how companies are changing to improve productivity and job satisfaction. This moderator-led panel discussion will tackle such challenging questions as; How do you determine an individual’s work-life balance preferences, and how do you reconcile those against the needs of the business? How do you balance the new employee empowerment with the needs of the business? How do you successfully create and maintain a company culture when everyone is working remotely?

NOTE: All sessions are offered TWICE; first on Monday, Feb. 28, and repeated on Tuesday, March 1 – except for the Digital Marketing Tools session, which is offered twice on Tuesday, March 1.