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 it’s description.

Chris Aarons
Lecturer, Marketing, The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Busines

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

Chris has 25+ years of experience in marketing and communications and thrives on solving complex problems for his technology clients. He has helped leading companies like Amazon, AMD, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Dell, Dolby Labs, LasikPlus, Microsoft and Toshiba, and numerous start-ups, find creative solutions to their toughest challenges.

Aaron’s quest to stay at the forefront of marketing has led him to author two books, with 2017’s The Digital Helix: Transforming Your Organization’s DNA to Thrive in the Digital Age, becoming a Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller. In addition, Aaron’s passion for learning and helping others succeed has made him one of the highest-rated instructors at The University of Texas, teaching digital marketing, leadership and strategic communications.

Through all of the changes in marketing and technology, Aaron has been consistently able to identify and build the best practices needed to keep his clients ahead. He instructs, leads and inspires groups with his energy and knowledge while also elevating the teams he works with by showing them what is possible for their brand and market. He excels at helping brands strategically assess the situation and bring the right ideas and frameworks together to propel groups to new heights.

Alan Ahern
President, Crowley Associates

Technology Swap Shop for a New Day

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

In 1994, Alan relocated and established Crowley Associates into the Metro New York/New Jersey region. Three years later, he purchased Crowley Associates and became president. Through organic growth and multiple acquisitions, Alan expanded the company operations into five ERA territories with 27 employees. Ahern has deployed highly advanced technology such as hardware, cloud solutions, ETL, CRMs, digital transformation and advanced analytics into his go-to market strategies.

Ahern holds an industrial electronics degree coupled with sales and marketing disciplines and is a fiber optic fusion splice trainer and light brigade graduate. Prior to Crowley Associates, Ahern was the vice president and an equity owner of Solarmetrics, a solar photovoltaic and power distribution company.

Ahern is chairman of three manufacturer’s rep councils, as well as 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 and serves on the IECA Board of Directors.

He is active within ERA working on project-based objectives.

Ellen Albright
Director, Marketing & Communications, E-T-A Circuit Breakers

Syncing Marketing Efforts Between Manufacturers’ Reps, Manufacturers and Distributors

Ellen Albright joined E-T-A Circuit Breakers in 2003 and is currently the marketing and communications director. In this role, she focuses on all North American marketing activities including new product introductions, website management, digital advertising, events and social media. She manages E-T-A’s marketing tech stack which includes Marketo marketing automation platform to support activities like lead nurturing, lead scoring, automated lead routing and more. Over the past two years, she added additional tools to the stack to improve digital customer engagement including an outreach sales engagement platform and a custom-built interactive virtual sample kit.

Outside of the office, she volunteers her time to support non-profit organizations implementing marketing strategies. She is also the proud mom to a very energetic 7-year-old daughter and a 1-year old COVID puppy.

Jeff Bade
Director of IT for Budde Marketing Systems, Inc.

• Supplier Workshop Feb. 28: (Rep-Focused) POS Dashboard Forum: Best Practices and Updates for 2022
• Supplier Workshop Mar. 1: (Manufacturer & Distributor-Focused) POS Dashboard Forum: Best Practices and Updates for 2022

Jeff Bade started in the electronic components industry in 1995 working at Richco Plastics in its engineering department. Soon after, he started working with POS data and Budde Marketing Systems Inc. when he was introduced to Mike Budde Sr. Bade has utilized changes in technology to improve the way clients see and use data by learning to take client feedback and apply it to their data to create innovative solutions. Bade has been the director of information technology at Budde Marketing Systems, Inc. since 2013.

Bernard Baumohl
Chief Global Economist, The Economic Outlook Group

General Session: The Great Transition

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.

Chris Beeson
Group Senior Vice President-Electronics, RS Components, Electrocomponents

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

Chris Beeson is group senior vice president, electronics, and key executive F1 member for Electrocomponents plc, a British- based distributor of industrial and electronics products and solutions. In this fast-paced industry, he has a verifiable pattern of providing success while achieving revenue, profitability, development of staff and business development growth objectives as a leader in global transformation of business models.

Beeson has more than 30 years of experience in the electronics industry and has had the honor to serve in many key roles and capacities during his career. Beeson has been a member of the ERA Executive Committee and while also involved with numerous industry organizations, including the ECIA, with a role on the distribution council and supplier representative councils. He and his wife Jodi now reside in the Phoenix area.

Lori Bruno
Vice President and Distribution Sales Manager, Luscombe Engineering of San Francisco

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

Lori Bruno 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.

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

Best Practices on Tracking Offshore Business and Recovering Revenue

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, Budde 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.

Budde’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, Budde remains active with speaking at events for NEMRA, AHTD and NEMA amongst other industry organizations.

Michael Calabria
President & Chief Executive Officer, Abracon LLC

Best Practices on Tracking Offshore Business and Recovering Revenue

Michael Calabria is a proven sales and marketing executive with 35 years’ experience. 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, Calabria led 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 and chief executive officer and serves on the board of directors for Abracon LLC. Calabria also serves on the board of directors for Micro-Technologies, a Costa Rica-based manufacturing, design and delivery solutions provider. He received his bachelor’s degree in science from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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

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

Tobi Cornell graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Christian University in 1994 and entered the electronics industry that same year working for manufacturer’s rep firm DJ Sales in Dallas, Texas.

Cornell worked in inside sales for 2½ years covering the Houston market, and then moved into outside sales in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The manufacturer’s rep firm, Kruvand, acquired DJ Sales in 1998, and there Cornell took on the distribution manager role in addition to account responsibility. Cornell was named vice president of distribution for Kruvand in 2015, to continue to foster and grow close relationships with our channel partners in the industry.

Recently, Cornell was elected president of the Southwest Chapter of ERA, and continues, along with all of Kruvand, to be proud supporters of the electronics industry events and organizations, including ERA, ECIA, WE, EDS and more.

Robert Derringer
Director of Global Channel, Crouzet North America

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

Robert Derringer’s career in the electronics and industrial components industry spans four decades and a wide variety of responsibilities. Currently director of global channel for Crouzet North America, Derringer joined the industry in 1988 as western regional sales manager for Aries Electronics and has worked for Amphenol RF and Dialight Corp. He has had the opportunity to lead direct sales teams and manufacturers’ representatives, customer service and product management organizations, marketing teams, value-added assembly operations, business development efforts and even environmental compliance teams.

If you ask him about his biggest sale, he’ll gladly share his contribution to winning a $750,000 order for an engineered RF solution. His greatest joy, though, comes from mentoring others along their career development path. Derringer enjoys reducing inefficiencies so that he and his colleagues can work on more challenging and fulfilling tasks that add real value within the supply chain.

Derringer is avid about his health and fitness and is equally fond of spending time with his wife, his children and grandchild and his stepdaughters.

Zachary DeVillers, CPMR, CSP
Director of Sales and Marketing, Brainard-Nielsen Marketing

Syncing Marketing Efforts Between Manufacturers’ Reps, Manufacturers and Distributors

Zachery DeVillers is the director of sales and marketing 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 2012, DeVillers worked in sales and management positions at various ECIA member distributors. His background with distribution helps provide keen insight on how reps and distribution must work together, collaborate and be intentional with customers. As the rep model has had to pivot the last couple of years, he has integrated proactive marketing combined with data analytics to help his employees successfully drive new opportunities.

Additionally, DeVillers serves on the Chicagoland-Wisconsin ERA Chapter as the director of marketing. He achieved his CPMR certification in 2015, and his CSP certification in 2014. In his free time, you can find him at the top of the Peloton leaderboard or mountain biking. DeVillers will be taking over as president of Brainard-Nielsen Marketing in May 2022.

Jason Dorsey
President and Co-Founder, The Center for Generational Kinetics

General Session: Crossing the Generational Divide

Jason Dorsey is a pioneering Gen Z, Millennial and generations speaker and researcher. He is on a mission to separate generational myth from truth through data to solve strategic challenges for leaders. Dorsey has headlined events around the world and appeared as a generational expert on more than 200 TV shows such as “60 Minutes”, “20/20”, CNN, CNBC, “The Early Show”, “The Today Show,” along with the cover of the New York Times.

Dorsey is President of The Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK), the leading generational research, strategy and consulting firm. CGK works with more than 100 clients annually to solve tough generational challenges—in areas from sales and marketing to recruiting and innovation. CGK’s PhD-led team has conducted more than 65 generational studies on four continents in multiple languages. They’ve advised on multi-billion-dollar acquisitions and coached clients in employee retention and customer growth.

His latest bestselling book is Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It, which was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Forbes listed it as a Top 10 Business Book of 2020.

Dorsey is also a Millennial, married to a Gen X’er, and they have a Gen Z daughter!

Frank Flynn
President, Sager Electronics

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

Frank Flynn joined Sager Electronics in 1983 and was appointed president in 1999. Prior to this appointment, Flynn served as chief operating officer, chief financial officer, vice president of finance and director of corporate development. Among his many accomplishments, he is credited with the acquisition of CalSwitch, an electromechanical West Coast distributor. Flynn later led the acquisitions of three regional power supply distribution companies and a custom battery specialist.

In 2011, ECIA bestowed its highest honor, the Gail S. Carter Award, to Flynn in recognition of his contributions to the industry. Flynn was named ECIA’s Board Chairman in 2021 and is a member of the ECIA’s Board of Directors and Distribution Council. He was previously the president of NEDA and served on the Electronics Distribution Show (EDS) Board of Directors. Flynn holds an applied baccalaureate degree in economics from Harvard University and a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance and marketing from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

David Foster
Director of Sales and Marketing, Ohmite Manufacturing Co.

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

David Foster is a long-time student of the electronic industry. He began his career as a purchasing agent for a small medical manufacturing firm in Boston and quickly moved into sales and marketing. Foster’s career has transversed across active, passive and electromechanical technologies.

Today he is director of sales and marketing for Ohmite Manufacturing, a leading provider of resistive products. Foster earned his bachelor’s degree from Emerson College, Boston, and a master’s degree of business administration from City University, Seattle.

Alex Gabbi
Lecturer, Marketing, The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

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

During his 25-plus-year career, Alex Gabbi has planned, funded and successfully launched five startups in the consulting, enterprise software, hardware and consumer product spaces. In addition, over the course of 10 years, he served in various sales leadership capacities at Arrow Electronics, where he also played key roles in various corporate transformation projects.

In all his companies, Gabbi was known for recruiting and leading sales and marketing organizations that were recognized for best-in-class performance spanning multiple years. He has provided marketing consulting services to a wide variety of industries, including electronics, consumer products and medical technology.

In addition to his extensive business experience, Gabbi also has more than 15 years of instructional experience in entrepreneurship, business operations, strategy and marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as executive director of Wonders & Worries, a Texas-based non-profit organization focused on helping children who have a parent with a serious or life-threatening illness.

Alex is also a published author of The Journey, an avid world traveler and proud father of three. Alex lives in Austin, Texas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration/international business and finance and a master’s degree in business administration in information management/technology strategy, all from The University of Texas at Austin.

Cesare Giammarco
Consultant, Cesare Giammarco Sales Management Consulting LLC

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

Cesare Giammarco has been in the field of sales and sales management since 1971, with 35 of those years in the electronic component 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

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

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.

Rich Greaves
Senior Partner, Empowering Systems, Inc.

Supplier Workshop: New Ways to Grow Your Business

Scott Mayo and Rich Greaves co-founded Empowering Systems in 1994. Their company helps manufacturers and manufacturers’ representatives automate their sales processes with technology solutions. Today, Empowering Systems continues its focus on sales analytics and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions providing cloud-based business applications, planning and implementation services, as well as online training and technology support for manufacturers and representatives. With 30-plus years of experience in the software industry and 25 in the rep industry, they focus on helping customers take advantage of best-in-class solutions to achieve success in their businesses. With 20 years as an ERA Recognized Resource, both Mayo and Greaves are big supporters of ERA and its mission.

Bob Gourdeau
Vice President, Sales, Kyocera AVX

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

Bob is a veteran of the electronics industry with over 37 years of experience. The first half of his career was spent in distribution, while the last 21 years have been spent on the manufacturing side. He has held various management positions in sales and marketing. His time has been spent with major companies Avnet, Arrow, Future, BCcomponents, Vishay and now Kyocera-AVX. Originally from New England, Gourdeau moved his family to the Southeast in 1994 and currently resides in South Carolina.

Gourdeau graduated from Assumption College with a bachelor’s degree in management and also holds a master’s degree in business administration from New Hampshire College. He is an avid Boston sports fan, especially the New England Patriots and of course the Clemson Tigers. He and his wife of 35 years, Susan, have four children and four grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, golf and coaching his grandkids.

Adam Grigor
President, Tech-Trek Ltd.

Best Practices on Tracking Offshore Business and Recovering Revenue

Adam Grigor is the president of Tech-Trek Ltd, a manufacturer’s representative with coverage across Canada. Grigor started at TTL in 2001 in distribution sales support in Ottawa, Ontario, moving back to the Toronto area in 2006.

Throughout his career, he progressed through the roles as account manager, area sales manager and general manager before taking the role of president in 2018. He holds an honor’s degree in political science and business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

Grigor sits on the ERA Board of Directors and is involved in the leadership of the Canada chapter of ERA.

John Guetens
North American Sales Manager, E-T-A Circuit Breakers

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

In his role, John Guetens is responsible for E-T-A’s regional sales team, manufacturer’s rep network and distribution channel. During his 15+ years at E-T-A, he has also served as 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 manufacturer’s 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.

Byron Holloway
Sales Manager, Senior Application Engineer, Fralia Company & Associates

Technology Swap Shop for a New Day

Byron Holloway is the sales manager/senior application engineer at Fralia Company & Associates, a manufacturers’ representative firm based in North Texas. He has been involved in the electronics industry since 1993 and has worked in all facets of the industry as a customer, distributor, manufacturer’s representative and as a manufacturer.

Holloway holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and has been a Microsoft-certified trainer for Microsoft Office products.

John Hutson, CPMR
President, MacInnis Group

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

John Hutson is president of MacInnis Group, a manufacturers’ representative 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.

Alex J. Iuorio
Senior Vice President, Global Supplier Development

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

Alex J. Iuorio is a 40-year veteran of the high technology distribution industry. He has held various positions within Avnet and prior to that with Hall-Mark Electronics, which was acquired by Avnet in 1993.

Beyond Avnet, he served as senior vice president of strategic business development for software solutions provider Azerity.

Today, as senior vice president, global supplier development, Iuorio leads the supplier and business development organizations within Avnet, coordinating all global initiatives with respect to those responsibilities and Avnet’s supplier partners.

Iuorio holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois, with fields of concentration in mathematics, economics and political science. Here resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife of 35 years, Barbara.

Crystal Kadakia
Management Consultant, Kadakia Consulting

General Session: The New Normal: A Digital Workplace Culture

What is the possibility of different? That is the question Crystal Kadakia has been asking organizations to consider around the world through her keynotes, books and consulting work. It’s a question that encourages us to abandon the traditional approach of “dealing” with change in exchange for embracing that which makes changes different.

With a focus on reframing and operationalizing culture, technology and generation changes, Kadaki steps beyond the traditional future of work conversations to inspire leaders to transform their businesses to thrive in this newly disrupted world.

She has shared her message around the world for companies such as FedEx, Intel, Indeed, Nobu Hospitality and Wells Fargo. She has earned several accolades over the years including two-time TEDx speaker, Power 30 Under 30, CLO Learning in Practice and ATD One to Watch award.

Kadakia began her professional career in chemical engineering before turning to the field of organizational change, empowering her to provide globally relevant workplace insight.

In addition to her work as a professional speaker, Kadakia has consulted for a diverse range of organizations including General Mills, Southern Company and Sierra Club. Her best-selling book, The Millennial Myth: Transforming Misunderstanding into Workplace Breakthroughs, offers audiences a way to transform the five biggest stereotypes in the workplace.

Bruce Kellar
Senior Vice President of Sales, Sager Electronics

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

Bruce Kellar, a 43-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 senior vice president of sales in 2012, Kellar helped devise and execute Sager’s customer-focused sales strategy and has played a pivotal role in Sager’s numerous acquisitions over the past seven years in support of the company’s power systems program. Today, Kellar leads a sales organization of 200 sales professionals and sales engineers. 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.

Graham Kilshaw
CEO, Lectrix

Syncing Marketing Efforts Between Manufacturers’ Reps, Manufacturers and Distributors

Graham Kilshaw is chief executive officer of Lectrix, a rapidly growing strategy and marketing firm for the electronics industry. They focus on sales-driven marketing strategies to link together manufacturers, distributors and representatives in order to optimize the power of audiences across the entire sales channel.

From his 20 years of experience, Kilshaw has developed a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the global electronics industry. He is a blogger, author and past speaker at ERA, ECIA, EDS and Engineering the Conversation. In his rare spare time, Kilshaw is lead vocalist for a Philly rock band and loves to fish, ski and read.

Dan Kilstofte
President & CEO, Harper & Two

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

Dan Kilstofte has been a manufacturer’s representative for semiconductor and technical solutions selling for 36 years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from University of California at Santa Barbara and a CPMR certification from Indiana University. Kilstofte has had the privilege to work with many leading-edge product lines and customers during his tenure in the industry. He is extremely proud to be the leader of Harper & Two for 33 years, a rep company in synergistic multi-line selling in Southern California.

He has been married to the same beautiful woman, Shari, for the last 32 years. They raised their three children, twin sons Max and Miles and a daughter, Matteo, in Santa Barbara. He has an English Pointer named Macy who loves hunting birds on the beach. In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey, golf and skiing, all followed by a good cocktail.

Michael Knight
President, Exponential Technology Group, Senior Vice President Corporate Business Development, TTI Inc.

General Session: A Linear Approach to an Exponential Curve is an Accident Waiting to Happen

Michael Knight is president of the Exponential Technology 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.

Sue Lau
Director of Global Supply Chain Operations, Avnet

Best Practices on Tracking Offshore Business and Recovering Revenue

With more than 20 years in the semiconductor distribution industry, Sue Lau has been instrumental in building Avnet’s capabilities in tracking & recovering offshore business. She was part of the original team that built the offshore program at Avnet, and spent eight years across Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, India and Taiwan to set up processes and systems, while leading the offshore team. Lau has also been instrumental in working with Avnet’s suppliers and customers to build, improve and implement their offshore best practices program. Lau currently focuses on building the next generation of capabilities with Avnet’s suppliers on their global offshore programs.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in supply chain management from Arizona State University and master’s degree in global business administration from the University of Phoenix.

George Lee
President, American Bright Optoelectronics

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

George Lee grew up in Taiwan where he finished his four-year college education and completed a two-year military service. In 1987, Lee came to the United States to pursue advanced technical degrees, obtaining a master’s degree in physics at Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in engineering from Texas A&M University. The focus of his graduate studies was on solid state electronics and semiconductor fabrication.

In 1995, Lee co-founded American Bright with the Taiwan-based company, Bright LED Electronics Corp. Lee and the American Bright team successfully helped the Bright LED group grow business in a variety of industries across North America.

Scott Lindberg
Director of Sales & Marketing, Quell Corporation

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

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 he is co-president for Quell Corp., a manufacturer of EMI filters and transient protection products for connectors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prior to his current role, Lindberg was area sales manager and vice president of worldwide sales and marketing operations for Microsemi’s power products group, later moving into the role of vice president 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 served on the ERA National 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.

Carla Mahrt
Founder and President, JJM Search

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

Carla Mahrt is founder and president of JJM Search, a global executive search firm. JJM Search is part of MRI Network, leaders in the search and recruitment industry for more than 40 years. Mahrt has a unique ability to connect and build long-lasting relationships which she utilizes to bring together bright people with great companies in the electronics industry.

Mahrt began her career in electronics more than 20 years ago working for Vishay Intertechnology, Raychem Corp. and Tyco Electronics. Mahrt served on the board of directors for the Electronic Distributor Show (EDS) where she also served as president of EDS in 2007. Mahrt has also received NEDA’s Distinguished Service award for her work on NEDA’s board of directors. She has been a presenter at EDS, ERA and ECIA conferences and currently serves as a consultant for ERA and service partner for ECIA.

Seth Mattison
Founder and CEO, FutureSight Labs

Keynote Session: The Emerging Future: Building Future-Ready Organizations and High Performing Cultures to Compete and Win in The Decade Ahead

Seth Mattison is an internationally recognized thought leader, advisor, and top rated keynote speaker on talent management, change and innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and the future of work. His research, case studies, and thought leadership focus on inspiring audiences while sharing actionable strategies to drive meaningful outcomes for individuals and their organizations.

Seth also coaches high performing leaders with practical, life-tested ideas, concepts, and frameworks to elevate their impact and create lasting legacies. Over the past decade, Seth has shared his insights with thousands of business leaders around the globe for many of the world’s most recognizable brands including Mastercard, Johnson and Johnson, IBM, The Dallas Cowboys, AT&T, PepsiCo, GE Energy, E&Y, Caterpillar, and The Walt Disney Company, to name a few.

In addition to speaking, Seth is the founder and CEO of FutureSight Labs, an org design and transformation firm that supports many of the world’s most inspiring leaders by helping prepare themselves and their organizations for the future of work through research, training, advising, coaching, digital tools, and thought leadership.

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

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

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.

Scott Mayo
Senior Partner, Empowering Systems, Inc.

Supplier Workshop: New Ways to Grow Your Business

Scott Mayo and Rich Greaves co-founded Empowering Systems in 1994. Their company helps manufacturers and manufacturers’ representatives automate their sales processes with technology solutions. Today, Empowering Systems continues its focus on sales analytics and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions providing cloud-based business applications, planning and implementation services, as well as online training and technology support for manufacturers and representatives. With 30-plus years of experience in the software industry and 25 in the rep industry, they focus on helping customers take advantage of best-in-class solutions to achieve success in their businesses. With 20 years as an ERA Recognized Resource, both Mayo and Greaves are big supporters of ERA and its mission.

Daniel H. McQuiston, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Emeritus Marketing, Lacy School of Business, Butler University

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

Dr. Daniel McQuiston is professor emeritus of marketing at the Lacy School of Business at Butler University. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University and received his Ph.D. in marketing from The Ohio State University. McQuiston has previously served on the faculty of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He has won several teaching awards at Ohio State, Indiana University and Butler University as well as from several different executive development certification programs.

McQuiston has served as faculty and taught numerous marketing, executive education, executive development and business analytics and information programs at the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, Indiana University, Helsinki School of Economics and the English Language Institute of China.

McQuiston is well-versed in the manufacturer’s representatives function as he assisted in the development of the CPMR program and has taught in every CPRM session since its beginning in 1989. In addition, he has made presentations at a number of rep association conferences and has consulted for both rep and manufacturing firms.

John Mitchell
Co-Founder, RepFabric

Supplier Workshop: Repfabric CRMsync Presentation

John Mitchell owned a 10-man manufacturer’s rep firm for 12 years, thriving off commissions only. After living through the pain of using ineffective tools, frustrations meeting manufacturer expectations, difficulties managing overwhelming numbers of tasks to win deals, and fighting manufacturer data in all kinds of formats, he created the solution the industry sought with Repfabric, a leading rep management platform. Mitchell was formerly with Accenture in supply chain and ERP system implementations, as well as product management for SAP’s webMethods system integration platform prior to his rep business. His expertise in managing rep companies makes him a highly sought-after advisor to help others grow their companies with advanced technology.

Mitchell is a recognized resource and regular speaker at the Electronics Representatives Association, Power-Motion Technology Representatives Association, the 2017 Artificial Intelligence Summit and is a regular lecturer at the University of South Florida School of Engineering.

John O’Brien, CPMR
Vice President, Coakley, Boyd and Abbett, Inc.

Best Practices on Tracking Offshore Business and Recovering Revenue

John O’Brien, CPMR, joined Coakley, Boyd and Abbett, Inc. in 1994 as an inside salesperson. In 1995, he moved to Connecticut as an outside salesperson and in 1999 he became general manager. In 2002, O’Brien returned to the Massachusetts offices and became vice president, and received his CPMR designation.

He served 10 years in various positions for the New England ERA Chapter and has since joined the ERA executive committee where he currently serves as president. O’Brien chaired the ERA Conference Program Committee in 2008 and continues to serve on the 2019 Core Committee and Sub Committees. O’Brien received the Ray Hall Spirit of ERA award in 2020 and has also served for six years on the EDS Board.

Dennis Reed
Senior Research Analyst – Technology, Edgewater Research

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

Dennis Reed is a senior research analyst in technology for Edgewater Research. Reed started in the industry in 2005 at FTN Midwest Research on the technology and semiconductor team. In 2006, he was a founding member of Cleveland Research Co. and continued to develop an extensive network of technology industry professionals in the semiconductor, distribution, memory and HDD industries throughout the world. Reed worked at KeyBanc Capital markets in New York on teams covering consumer staples and paper and packing companies. Reed has a wide array of experience working in various roles with Travelers Insurance, including market research and various product roles supporting business unit growth in targeted end markets. Reed is a 2002 graduate of Ohio University with a major in sports management.

Kate Rhoten
Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) & the Institute for Professional Advancement (IPA)

Supplier Workshop: Education, Certifications & Joining the Digital Age

Kate Rhoten, CPSC, is executive director of the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) & the Institute for Professional Advancement (IPA). MRERF partners with associations within the manufacturing representative business model in a variety of industries to provide educational materials and professional development programs delivered by IPA.

Before joining MRERF & IPA, Rhtoen worked in various fields ranging from computer video peripheral equipment to financial services to consulting in software for the public education sector. Throughout her career, her passion for relationship building and consultative selling were refined, equaling more than 20 years of experience.

Rhoten recently completed the nonprofit management graduate certificate from the University of Colorado Denver. She earned two bachelor’s degrees, Journalism – Mass Communications and Speech Communication. She enjoys lifelong learning, traveling by RV, hiking and exploring local craft beer on her journeys.

Jim Ricciardelli
Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Digi-Key Electronics

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

Jim Ricciardelli, executive vice president of digital business for Digi-Key Electronics, has been instrumental in developing and executing e-commerce sales and digital marketing strategies at Digi-Key since 2015. With a unique combination of deep B2C internet experience and B2B multi-channel experience, he is responsible for digital strategy development and execution, building and leveraging strategic alliances as well as recruiting, hiring and leading world-class talent.

Ricciardelli also collaborates internally to drive company transformation and growth. Prior to joining Digi-Key Electronics, he worked for more than 25 years in various leadership roles within the electronic distribution and e-commerce industries including, the early pioneer of search engines and web portals.

Ricciardelli graduated from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics, as well as the Harvard Business School General Management Program and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College’s Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business.

Amy Rooney
Director, Global Accounts, RFMW Ltd

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

Amy Rooney (formerly Hain) is director of global accounts for RFMW, a pure play distributor of RF & Microwave components. She has 24 years of experience in the electronics industry, having worked in manufacturing and distribution environments and handling strategic customer accounts. Rooney has been an active member of ERA for four years, participating in the annual conference planning committee for three of the four. She is chapter lead for the Illinois & Wisconsin chapter of Women in Electronics.

She is a lifetime learner, a firm believer in growth mindset, a passionate advocate for people and causes important to her, and an implementer of the atomic habits required to get things done. In her spare time, Rooney is an aerialist and is happy to share her thoughts on how lessons learned in the circus arts apply to the business world.

Bryan C. Shirley, CPMR
CEO, BCS Consulting Services

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

Inspiring people with creative collaboration, Bryan Shirley excels at bringing teams to significantly higher levels of efficiency, productivity and success. Shirley has been presenting since 1992 to various associations, sales organizations, manufacturers and manufacturers’ trade associations. His high energy and open approach cause all participants to engage with solid candor. He continues to explore new and fascinating methods for the ultimate goal—to boost sales.

Shirley is a graduate of Virginia Tech, a visiting professor at the University of Texas-Austin teaching a four-hour course on motivational compensation for outside sales for the CPMR program and teaches the manufacturers’ best practices course for MRERF. He is published in various industries’ sales and trade journals. In addition to serving on many Boards of Directors and Executive Committees, including the ERA executive committee, he is the former president/CEO of MANA, the former executive director of AIM/R and was the president/CEO of COLRUD Corp., a premier manufacturers’ representative organization in the Philadelphia area.

Bryan enjoys golf, snow skiing, fine food/wine and mostly enjoys connecting with people.

John Simari
Consultant, Simari Consulting

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

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 Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) Board of Directors and Foundation Board. He also is a Business Leadership Center instructor at the SMU Cox School of Business in Dallas.

Simari holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Dallas. He lives in The Colony, Texas.

John Sintic
Vice President of Sales and Customer Service, North America, Laird Performance Materials

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

John Sintic has 30+ years of global leadership in the electronics industry working for companies such as Thomas & Betts, Marshall Industries, Viasystems, TTM technologies and most recently, vice president of Sales Laird Performance Materials North America. During this time, Sintic managed directly or worked closely with Laird’s manufacturer’s rep organizations across North America.

Maryellen Stack
Director of Marketing Communications, Sager Electronics

Syncing Marketing Efforts Between Manufacturers’ Reps, Manufacturers and Distributors

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.

Scott Stockham
Chief Revenue Officer, Repfabric

Supplier Workshop: Repfabric CRMsync Presentation

Before joining Repfabric, Scott Stockham spent over 20 years in progressing roles in both sales and marketing for four different Fortune 500 companies. These companies sold brands such as American Standard, GROHE, DXV, Masco/Aquaglass, Hydromatic, Aurora, Fairbanks Morse, Myers and GE. Stockham has worked with manufacturer reps and a direct sales team throughout this time.

In his most recent role prior to Repfabric, Scott was the vice president of U.S. Trade Sales for LIXIL, a global leader in housing and building materials, products and services, bringing together the most respected household global brands in the industry. The GROHE, American Standard and DXV brands are a part of LIXIL. As the leader of trade sales, he led a $500M P&L, which utilized a combination of direct and manufacturer reps with a focus on winning in the showroom, counter, projects and ecommerce space.

Chintan Sutaria
Founder/President of CalcuQuote

Supplier Workshop: Dear Suppliers, Here’s What We Want. Sincerely, EMS Companies.

Chintan Sutaria, founder and president of CalcuQuote, got involved in the EMS industry from a very young age through his family’s business. By high school, he had rotated through almost every job involved in a turnkey PCBA production floor. After starting his career working at Top 5 consulting firms on supply chain process improvements for Fortune 500 clients, Sutaria returned to the EMS space. In 2014, he starte

Mike Swenson, CPMR
President, MFC Group

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

Mike Swenson, CPMR, is president of the MFC Group which is comprised of the following rep areas – Mel Foster Co., TMC, FH-Sales, EAS Sales and Wes Tech, 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 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.

Swenson serves on manufacturer and distributor representative councils for AE, Littelfuse, II-VI, Panasonic, Ohmite, Future and Arrow. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of Minnesota -Twin Cities.

Greg Thompson, CPMR
Managing Partner, SACS

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

Thompson is a lifelong manufacturer’s rep after starting with Conley & Associates in Florida after college.

Thompson moved to Charlotte, NC and then joined South Atlantic Component Sales (SACS) shortly thereafter, becoming a partner in 1998 after completing CPMR training. Thompson has been active in the Carolinas ERA chapter serving as president, chairman of the board and currently as the national delegate.

He and his wife will celebrate 40 years of marriage this coming summer and have three children and two grandsons. He enjoys spending time with family, church activities, family vacations, traveling to MLB stadiums, hunting/fishing, reading and following the Florida Gators.

Walter Tobin
CEO, Electronics Representatives Association

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

Thompson is a lifelong manufacturer’s rep after starting with Conley & Associates in Florida after college.

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.

Tom Wichert
Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, TDK Lambda Americas

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

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 the 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.

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

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

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 of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master’s of Business Administration from Hofstra University.