ERA Conference Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies

Listed alphabetically by last name. Click on presentation title to link to session description.

Alan Ahern
President, Crowley Associates

Breakout Session
Data Analytics: Converting Information to Revenue

Alan Ahern joined Crowley Associates, a manufacturers’ representative, in 1992.
In 1994, Ahern established Crowley Associates into the Metro NY / NJ region. Three years later, he purchased the company and became president. Through organic growth and multiple acquisitions, Ahern expanded the company operations into five ERA territories. He has extensive industry knowledge and has deployed highly advance technology in hardware, cloud solutions, Infor CRM and AI.

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

Ahern holds an Industrial Electronics degree coupled with sales and marketing disciplines and is a Fiber Optic Fusion Splicer Trainer and Light Brigade Graduate. He is chairman of two manufacturers’ rep councils, as well as a member of two other councils. Ahern also is a member of two distributor rep councils. He is the manufacturers’ rep director for the ECIA, as well as a member on the ECIA Representative Council.

Don Akery
President, TTI Americas, TTI Inc.

Breakout Session
Thriving in the 2020s: Progressive Strategies for Talent Recruitment, Retention and Development

Don Akery began his career with TTI in 2013 and currently serves as president, TTI Americas, providing leadership and management for North and South America. Prior to stepping into this current role, Akery held the leadership role of senior vice president Global Business Operations. Akery’s distinguished career in the electronics industry spans more than 30 years.

Akery is a graduate of National Louis University and attended Georgia Southern University to study business management.

Alma Arroyo
Regional Sales Manager, Ohmite Manufacturing

Breakout Session
Thriving in the 2020s: Progressive Strategies for Talent Recruitment, Retention and Development

Alma Arroyo is a regional sales manager at Ohmite Manufacturing, a manufacturing company that has been around since 1925. Arroyo started her career in the automotive industry after graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been in the electronics industry since 2000 when she joined Ohmite as part of the ISO team and held the position of quality manager before taking on her role as a regional sales manager. She has an extensive quality and manufacturing background which has assisted in continued sales growth in her region.

Arroyo enjoys working in the fast paced, constantly changing world of electronics and understands the importance of working in a team environment to support the reps, distributors and end customers.

Chris Beeson
Chief Development Officer, Master Electronics

Breakout Session
Get in on the Design Conversation or Miss Opportunities: Learn How to Use the Right Content to Build Your Brand and Your Sales

Chris L. Beeson recently joined the Master Electronics leadership team as their Chief Development Officer after serving many years in senior executive roles within the electronics distribution business segment. In this fast-pace industry, he has a verifiable pattern of providing success while achieving revenue, profit, development of staff and business growth objectives as global transformation becomes the norm. Beeson has more than 30 years of experience in the electronics industry and has had the opportunity to serve in many key roles and capacities during his career. Beeson was a member of the Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) Executive Committee and is involved in many industry organizations, including the Electronics Component Industry Association (ECIA) and numerous supplier representative councils. Beeson and his wife Jodi now reside in the Phoenix area.

Ken Bellero
President, Schaffner EMC Inc.

Breakout Session
Profile of the Successful Rep-Manufacturer Relationship

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

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

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

Joe Braun
Partner / Field Sales, EK Micro

Breakout Session
RDM (Rep, Distributor, Manufacturer) Pulse Check

Joe Braun, CPMR, CSP, has been in the manufacturer’s rep business for 23 years. He has had the position of field sales rep, a one-man-band rep firm, and for the past 12 years has been a partner at EK Micro in the Chicagoland area. Braun has been an ERA member since his inception into the rep business and has honed has since completed COLT (Chapter Officers Leadership Training), CPMR and CSP training. He continues to serve the industry as an active member of the Chicagoland-Wisconsin ERA Chapter and has been a Board Member as Treasurer and VP of Membership for the past four years.

Braun holds a B.S. in Marketing with Sales Emphasis from Northern Illinois University College of Business.

Steve Cholas
VP Business Development, Big Zeta

Breakout Session
The Disruption Opportunity

As an industry expert in digital engagement, sales and marketing, Steve Cholas has developed strategic programs for distributors and suppliers globally. With over 30 years of experience, Cholas is a marketer companies rely on to develop partnerships and strategies to achieve tangible goals.

Cholas’ passion for the electronic industry has allowed for him to direct leading media, UI/UX and design tool brands in the electronics industry such as EET, EDN, EEWeb, Electronic Products, EBN, 21ic (China) Aspencore and Transim.

Matt Cohen
VP Sales, C C Electro

Breakout Session
Best Practices in Creating Goals and Managing Your Team to Exceed Them

Matt Cohen, CPMR, attended Purdue University majoring in Electrical Engineering Technology with additional studies in Purdue University’s Krannert School of Business Management. He relocated to the Detroit area in 1989 to further develop C C Electro’s presence in the Michigan market and because his Mom/President & Founder of C C Electro, Carol Cohen, told him to. Cohen’s previous work experience includes UPS package placement engineer, electronic component distribution(MAR Electronics); and in the OEM sector selling building automation technology. His C C Electro responsibilities include corporate sales strategies, management of Michigan regional offices and development of key accounts throughout C C Electro’s organization. Matt is a CPMR graduate, ERA’s 2017 Chairman of the Executive National Board Nomination Committee, former ERA Michigan Chapter Delegate and current ERA Michigan Chapter President. Matt enjoys hanging out with family, hitting golf balls, exercising, boating, sun, sand, surf and broad genres of music. He also greatly appreciates and reflects on those who have served and are serving in the military.

Troy Daugherty
Global Channel Director, Laird Thermal Systems

Breakout Session
Data Analytics: Converting Information to Revenue

Troy Daugherty joined Laird Thermal Systems as the global channel director in November 2019. Prior to joining Laird Thermal Systems, Daugherty held various operational, marketing and channel management positions at Honeywell, Sensata Technologies and Texas Instruments.

He holds an M.S. degree in Management & Administration from the University of Texas Dallas and an MBA from Cameron University. Prior to joining the industry in 2001, he served for 12 years as officer in the United States Army.

Travis Erpenbach
District Manager, Carton-Bates Company

Breakout Session
On-Boarding a New Distributor and Manufacturers’ Rep: Establishing the Foundation for Success

Travis Erpenbach joined Carton-Bates Company (CBC), a subsidiary of WESCO Distribution Inc. in 2016. In his current role as district manager, Erpenbach has responsibility for the overall strategic direction, P&L and sales leadership of one of CBCs largest regions. He began his tenure with CBC as a manager of strategic programs where he built CBCs Strategic Alliance Program for System Integrators. This program expanded the reach and capability of CBC into fully integrated automation projects. At CBC, he enjoys leading a sales team and launching new sales processes that focus on growth.

Prior to CBC, Erpenbach 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, Erpenbach oversaw the successful launches of several distributors, manufacturers reps, sales processes, and contract manufacturers.

In earlier years, he has held various roles with OEMs that mainly focused on process improvement, product launches, and manufacturing engineering.

Erpenbach earned a B.S. in Industrial Management from Missouri State University, and later earned an MBA from LeTourneau University. He is Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean, and PMP Certified.

Bob Evans
President & CEO, EK Micro

Breakout Session
Profile of the Successful Rep-Manufacturer Relationship

Bob Evans spent his first 15 years in the electronics industry with a connector distributor/contract manufacturer serving the Chicago & Milwaukee metroplex. While there, he held positions in sales, sales management and general management. Evans joined EK Micro in 1993, taking over ownership in 1996, and is currently president. He serves on the ERA Board of Directors as senior vice president, Industry Practices and is also very active in the Chicagoland-Wisconsin Chapter of ERA.

David Fitzgerald
Owner, WESCO Sales Group Inc.

Breakout Session
Profile of the Successful Rep-Manufacturer Relationship

David Fitzgerald is an owner of WESCO Sales Group Inc., an electro-mechanical manufacturers’ representative firm based in Seattle, Wash. Fitzgerald has more than 30 years of sales and marketing experience with a focus on delivering engineered solutions to a myriad of markets and customers. Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to work with, and in, manufacturing facilities around the world. During his time in electronics, he has been a member of ERA and has chaired the ERA Manufacturers Committee — both as an OEM manufacturer and now as a representative. Currently, he is the president of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of ERA and sits on the ERA Executive Committee as the vice president – at large.

Fitzgerald’s love of sports and coaching kids has him on the basketball court and lacrosse field during most of his spare time. His family, including wife Tracey and 13-year-old son Kyle, are avid boaters and skiers, and they love exploring the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. He has participated on various boards for Seattle/Magnolia Little League and the Magnolia United Lacrosse Club. He has also provided time and energy as a past member of the Our Lady of Fatima Parish School Board.

Fitzgerald looks forward to continually working with ERA because he values the time and access to the great minds in the electronics industry.

David Foster
Director of Sales, Ohmite Manufacturing

Breakout Session
Get in on the Design Conversation or Miss Opportunities: Learn How to Use the Right Content to Build Your Brand and Your Sales

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. Foster’s career spans across active, passive and electromechanical technologies. Today he is director of sales for Ohmite Manufacturing, a leading provider of resistive products.

Foster earned his bachelor’s degree from Emerson College, Boston, and an MBA from City University, Seattle.

Heather Fulara
Head of Supplier Management, IP&E, Newark element14

Breakout Session
The Disruption Opportunity

Heather Fulara is the head of supplier management of Interconnect, Passive, and Electromechanical Components for Newark. Her career in the electronic components industry has been focused on connecting industry-leading manufacturers to innovators through multi- channel sales and marketing programs. Fulara has also held positions in marketing, sales, product management and operations within the heavy-duty automotive manufacturing industry.

She completed her MBA from Loyola University with Dual Concentrations in International Business and Marketing and is the recipient of the 2019 Avnet Female Leader of the Year Award. She is an active member of the SPARK Development Committee and on the Board of Directors for Illinois Leadership Seminars, a youth leadership development program. In her free time, Fulara enjoys spending time with her son, husband and dog and taking in the Windy City.

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

Breakout Session (Tuesday session only)
The Disruption Opportunity

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. He has also led a major corporate transformation project at a Fortune 150 company. 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 10 years of instructional experience in entrepreneurship, business operations, strategy and marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, a top 10 business program in the USA.

He is also a published author (The Journey, November 2014), avid world traveler and proud father of three. Gabbi lives in Austin, Texas and has a B.B.A. in International Business/Finance and MBA in Information Management/Technology Strategy, all from The University of Texas at Austin.

Emma Gaedeke
Co-founder, Upright

Breakout Session
Website Development for Reps: What Your Digital Image Says About You and Your Products

Upright is a New York City-based studio that supports businesses through web design, branding, content marketing, and corporate innovation. With diverse backgrounds in the startup tech community, Upright provides resources for companies to expand their growth through technology. Upright understands the manufacturer rep model and its interaction with their manufacturers and distribution partners and has already engaged with several of the ERA Members. Our strength is helping small to medium sized businesses craft their digital image for today’s environment. Emma Gaedeke co-founded Upright with three other partners in November 2017. Her background is in content strategy and content marketing.

Danielle Gaglioti
Co-founder, Upright

Breakout Session
Website Development for Reps: What Your Digital Image Says About You and Your Products

Upright is a New York City-based studio that supports businesses through web design, branding, content marketing, and corporate innovation. With diverse backgrounds in the startup tech community, Upright provides resources for companies to expand their growth through technology. Upright understands the manufacturer rep model and its interaction with their manufacturers and distribution partners and has already engaged with several of the ERA Members. Our strength is helping small to medium sized businesses craft their digital image for today’s environment. Danielle Gaglioti co-founded Upright with three other partners in November 2017. Her background is in web design and business innovation.

Dr. Robert Genetski
Economist and Investment Advisor, Founder and President of Classical Principles

General Session
How Tariffs, China & The 2020 Election Will Impact the Economy

Dr. Robert Genetski is one of the nation’s leading classical economists. He is known for using humor and anecdotes to make complex economic issues easily understandable. For five consecutive years named him one of the top-five speakers in the field of economics and finance.

Genetski has written 5 books on classical economic principles. His latest book, “Rich Nation, Poor Nation,” provides detailed evidence showing why some nations prosper while others fail. For the past 25 years he has provided economic and financial advice through his consulting firm —

He has appeared on CNN and Fox News and in nationally syndicated radio and TV programs. His articles have appeared in Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Investors’ Business Daily.

Genetski taught economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and at New York University. He has held various positions in the financial industry including Senior VP & Chief Economist for Chicago’s Harris Bank, money manager, investment advisor and director of investment research.

Cesare Giammarco

Breakout Sessions
Best Practices in Rep Compensation: Driving Behavior to Achieve Mutual Success
Mergers, Acquisitions and Line Conflicts: Optimizing the Integrated Sales Organization

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.

Giammarco 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.

Giammarco holds a B.A. in economics and an MBA from Bryant University. He resides in Cranston, R.I., with his wife Angela. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Adam J. Glazer
ERA Legal Counsel, Schoenberg, Finkel, Newman & Rosenberg LLC

Breakout Session
Tales From the Front (Of the Courtroom)

Adam J. Glazer, Esq., maintains a national litigation practice, including representing sales representatives from diverse industries. He is a partner in the law firm of Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC (SFNR) in Chicago, known as the “go-to” firm for sales reps. SFNR 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 through litigation, arbitration or otherwise.

Glazer has litigated sales rep claims of every stripe, from breach of contract actions to claims brought under various states’ Sales Representative Acts to common law claims. He has successfully tried actions to verdict to recover rep commissions, including recovering punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

A frequent consultant to sales rep associations including ERA, Glazer is also a regular speaker at annual 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 SFNR, 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 he also arbitrates and mediates business disputes. Glazer maintains a general commercial litigation practice with a focus on litigating sales rep claims and other business-related actions.

John Hutson
President, MacInnis Group

Breakout Session
Technology Swap Shop Update 2020: What Are You Doing Differently?

John Hutson, CPMR, is president of MacInnis Group, a manufacturers’ representative in the Northeast. He joined MacInnis in 1992. Prior to that, he held a sales engineer position at Tyco Printed Circuit Group. John has held numerous New England Chapter level positions, is presently chapter president, and has held various roles on the ERA conference committee, including 2019 ERA Conference Committee Chair. He has a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. from Wesleyan University. During his free time, John enjoys skiing in the winter, golfing in the summer and travels year-round.

Steve Karr
President, ArKco Sales Inc.

Breakout Session
Get in on the Design Conversation or Miss Opportunities: Learn How to Use the Right Content to Build Your Brand and Your Sales

Steve Karr is president of  ArKco Sales Inc., a second-generation rep firm founded in 1977. ArKco is headquartered in Mahtomedi, Minn., and has nine employees providing electro-mechanical component and sub-assembly solutions with core competencies in thermal, power, EMC, specialized interconnect and HMI products. Offering professional sales, marketing and relationship management services to our customers, principals, and distributor partners through

“Global Platforms. Local Solutions.” is ArKco’s mission. Karr joined ArKco in 1994 as a field sales rep. He has over 25 years of experience in field sales including rep firm management and co-owns ArKco Sales with his father, Bob, who is the original founder. Karr earned a B.A. in Management from St. John’s University, an M.A. in International Management and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

Roy Kell
Sales Director, DNA Group

Breakout Session
On-Boarding a New Distributor and Manufacturers’ Rep: Establishing the Foundation for Success

Roy Kell is Sales Director for DNA Group. In this capacity he manages manufacturers’ representatives in the Southeast territory, and additionally has responsibility for Strategic Customers in all locations. He has nearly 40 years in technology organizations, serving in management roles at large companies as well as smaller and start up companies. Kell has managed both rep and direct sales teams at Rosemount Aerospace (now United Technologies), Eaton and Honeywell as well as creating and managing sales teams at Control Solutions and Bias Power. He served as a rep at Sumer Inc. in Illinois for seven years, covering strategic accounts. Previous industry roles include program engineer, marketing, program management and product planning. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. in Business from Troy University. Kell is also retired from the United States Navy, having served as a naval flight officer and aeronautical engineer.

Graham Kilshaw
CEO, Lectrix

Breakout Session
Get in on the Design Conversation or Miss Opportunities: Learn How to Use the Right Content to Build Your Brand and Your Sales

Graham Kilshaw is the CEO of Lectrix, the 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. Lectrix clients include Schaffner, CTS Corporation, Ohmite, Quell, and Sheetak among others. The company is also an industry media publisher. 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 Philly rock band, the Altacockers, he loves to fish, ski and read.

Michael Knight
President of the TTI Semiconductor Group and Senior Vice President of Corporate Business Development at TTI Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary

General Session
The Electrifying Future of Transportation

Michael Knight is President of the TTI Semiconductor Group and Senior Vice President of Corporate 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.

Toby Lasley
VP of Sales and Marketing, ION Associates

Breakout Session
Data Analytics: Converting Information to Revenue

Toby Lasley is VP of sales and marketing for ION Associates. His primary responsibility is driving revenue in Latin America. Lasley has been with ION Associates since 2000 and has held a variety of roles including inside sales, account management, and currently leading the sales team in Latin America. Toby is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin.

Joel Levine
President & CEO, RFMW Ltd.

Breakout Session
Mergers, Acquisitions and Line Conflicts: Optimizing the Integrated Sales Organization

Joel Levine is president of RFMW, a member of the TTI Family of Companies. Levine has honed his organizational development and strategic planning skills with 50 years of RF & microwave industry experience, relationships, and product knowledge primarily focused on specialized sales, marketing and distribution strategy.

Levine co-founded RF Gain Ltd. In 1979. The company specialized in RF and microwave semiconductors and electron tubes which evolved into Richardson RFPD, a division of Arrow Electronics.

In 1997, Levine joined Penstock, a specialty distributor, as its executive vice president and COO. The company was acquired by Avnet and in 2001 become Avnet RF and Microwave where Levine served as president.

Believing in a focused and technically competent RF & microwave distribution strategy, in 2003, Levine co-founded and served as president/CEO of RFMW Ltd., a specialty electronics distribution company focused on RF and microwave suppliers and products and deploying a highly experienced, skilled and technically competent team assisting customers with component selection as well as component engineering support. TTI, Inc. acquired RFMW Ltd. in 2018.

Scott Lindberg
Vice President, Quell Corporation

Breakout Session
Best Practices in Creating Goals and Managing Your Team to Exceed Them

Scott Lindberg, CPMR, 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 15 years as a manufacturer. Today, he is vice president for Quell Corporation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a manufacturer of EMI filters and transient protection products for connectors.

Prior to his current role, Lindberg was area sales manager and VP of Worldwide Sales for Microsemi’s Power Products Group, later moving into the role of VP of Sales and Marketing Operations for Microsemi Corporate. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin, where he teaches multiple CPMR certification courses, including Line Profitability Analysis, Rep Compensation Methods, Understanding Your Manufacturer and more. He has been a member and officer of the CPMR Board of Governors and a member of MRERF’s executive committee.

Lindberg also has served on the ERA Board of Directors and Executive Committee for a number of years. As an innovative sales and marketing consultant for manufacturers and manufactures’ representatives, he is a regular presenter at the ERA Conference and for other national associations.

Jackie Mattox
Founder and President, Women in Electronics

Breakout Session
Thriving in the 2020s: Progressive Strategies for Talent Recruitment, Retention and Development

Jackie Mattox is the founder and president of Women in Electronics (WE), a national non-profit dedicated to developing professional and personal leadership skills for women in the fast-paced electronics industry. She is also the national director of distribution at Bivar, a leading specialty manufacturer of Enclosure Hardware, LED Indicators, and LED Lighting products and solutions, in Irvine, Calif.

Mattox began her career in electronics during college at a small rep firm where she worked her way into the roles sales and distribution manager and also took a passionate interest in key account management. She has a B.A. in Communications from California State University Northridge.

Mattox has always had a heart for people and especially for women’s issues along with a dedication to education and leadership development. She was very active with her children’s education and helped with the startup of a charter school in Orange County, Calif. Mattox believes that leadership starts in the early years when we are first defining how we feel about ourselves. She believes that being evolved enough to know your own weakness is your biggest strength. This philosophy carries over into the WE organization where leadership development starts from within. Mattox has a heart for personal and professional leadership development, as she believes they are both equally needed in order to maximize a person’s full leadership potential. She values time with her loved ones, the experience that travel brings, and her time at home in the city of beautiful Laguna Niguel, Calif., with her friends, family, three children and two dogs.

Jeff May
President and Founder, Logix Sales & Marketing Inc.

Breakout Session
Profile of the Successful Rep-Manufacturer Relationship

Jeff May is president and founder of Logix Sales & Marketing, Inc., a manufacturers’ representative firm with six offices in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mexico. May has 28 years of sales and management experience as a manufacturers’ representative for major electronic, electromechanical, semiconductor, power and RF / microwave component companies.

May has two years of electronic and electromechanical program management at Texas Instruments / Raytheon. He is a B.A. graduate in Materials, Logistics and Operational Management from Michigan State University.

Logix has been very successful, and we contribute our success to hard work, being technical, focusing on engineering activity and persistence. The success of any organization is dependent on its people. Logix is comprised of uniquely motivated and highly technically trained sales and management individuals committed to success. The vertical markets we address are the military, industrial, automotive, consumer electronics, white goods, medical, telecommunications, datacom and renewable energy industries. Logix specialize in providing unique solutions based on our synergistic line card. Our approach to customers and our distribution partners is as a technical consultant with primarily engagement at the engineering design level.

Phil Meiss
Sales Engineer, President, Victory Sales

Breakout Session
Mergers, Acquisitions and Line Conflicts: Optimizing the Integrated Sales Organization

Phil Meiss graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with an Electrical Engineering degree. Meiss spent five years with Texas Instruments, three years with LSI Logic, and has been with Victory Sales since 1994.

Mallerie Merchant
Sales Manager, R.C. Merchant & Co.

Breakout Session
Thriving in the 2020s: Progressive Strategies for Talent Recruitment, Retention and Development

Mallerie Merchant is a sales manager at R.C. Merchant & Co., a manufacturers’ rep  in the Great Lakes region that focuses on the electronic component and electrical power quality markets.

Merchant is a fourth-generation owner of R.C. Merchant and is passionate about the future of the electronics industry and the innovation on the rep function.

Merchant holds a B.S. in Business and Entrepreneurial Management from DePaul University.

Holly Myers
Vice President, Genie Group

Breakout Session
Technology Swap Shop Update 2020: What Are You Doing Differently?

Holly Myers, CPMR, 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, Tenn. She started her career in the industry in 2005 as the sales and marketing manager at Wallace Electronic Sales, a manufacturer’s representative in the Southeast.

Myers served as the chair of the 2017 ERA Conference Committee and is the recipient of the 2015 Jess Spoonts ERA White Pin Scholarship Award.


Connie Podesta, Keynote Speaker
President and Founder of Connie Podesta Presents LLC

Keynote Session
Stand Out from the Crowd … Out-Think, Out-Lead and Out-Sell the Competition

Connie Podesta is a game-changing, revenue-building, sales-generating ball of fire whose rare blend of laugh-out-loud comedy, killer take-away strategies and interactive, no-power-point delivery style have made her one of the most unique and memorable speakers on the stage today.

President and founder of Connie Podesta Presents LLC for 25 years, Podesta helps visionary organizations defy conventional thinking and challenge the status quo so they can re-think “business as usual.” Podesta attracts clients who want to: increase revenue and sales, rev up performance, attract new customers, lead more effectively, stay healthy and enjoy life more.

Podesta is a Hall of Fame speaker and award-winning author of seven books. She is a former radio/TV personality, an expert in the psychology of human behavior as it relates to sales, leadership, change, accountability, and engagement. Plus (what we all could probably use in today’s crazy world )… a comedienne!

Her impressive client list includes more than 1,000 organizations in almost every industry, Fortune 500 companies, as well as small businesses and associations.

Patrick Powell
President and Co-Owner, Spectrum Sales

Breakout Session
On-Boarding a New Distributor and Manufacturers’ Rep: Establishing the Foundation for Success

Patrick Powell is president and co-owner of Spectrum Sales, a manufacturers’ representative in the heart of America with a diverse offering from LCDs and passive electro-mechanical to semiconductor products. After graduating from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, he spent 12 years as an engineer in both the aerospace and medical device markets.

Powell joined the manufacturer’s representative world in 1995 and has never looked back, spending time as an account manager, FAE and ultimately taking over the helm of Spectrum Sales. In his spare time, Powell is a mediocre golfer and lead singer in a classic rock and blues cover band. He once wrestled a spider monkey to a draw so is 0-1-1 lifetime.

Bob Rathsburg
Managing Partner, Rathsburg Associates Inc.

Breakout Session
Mergers, Acquisitions and Line Conflicts: Optimizing the Integrated Sales Organization

Bob Rathsburg is the managing partner at Rathsburg Associates, a third-generation family owned and operated manufacturers’ representative firm. Rathsburg is based in Chicago, Ill., and has been with Rathsburg for 14 years. With a proven background in Business Management, Rathsburg, along with his business partners, Rachel Rathsburg and Amy Rathsburg, has been able to successfully grow Rathsburg to become a leading representative firm, with coverage in 31 states across the Midwest, Central and New England portions of the U.S.

The company celebrates its 73rd  year of operation in 2020 and Rathsburg is looking forward to seeing the family firm blossom into the next generation.

Jeffrey P. Ray
Vice President – Corporate Product & Supplier Marketing, TTI Inc.

Breakout Session
On-Boarding a New Distributor and Manufacturers’ Rep: Establishing the Foundation for Success

Jeff Ray is a senior level electronics executive with a proven track record of developing winning sales, marketing and product management strategies globally. Couples creative thinking with established work processes to yield best-in-class new product introduction and supplier marketing results. Ray is currently the vice president of corporate product & supplier marketing for passive components and discrete semiconductor at TTI Inc.

Prior to joining the TTI management team in 2007, Ray served as the global distribution and EMS sales manager for Littelfuse Inc. While at Littelfuse, Ray also managed North American customer service, pricing and previously served as the Southeast/Midwest regional sales manager. Prior to joining Littelfuse, Ray spent nine years as a general manager of regional sales offices in Raleigh, Pittsburgh and Cleveland for Sager Electronics.

Ray holds a B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Ray is a native North Carolinian but currently resides with his family in Keller, Texas. His personal interests include college football, golf, landscaping, cooking (especially grilling) and spending time with his family.

Darryl Revenew
Director, Americas Sales, Eaton

Breakout Session
Profile of the Successful Rep-Manufacturer Relationship

Darryl Revenew is Director of Sales for North and South America for Eaton’s Electronics Division. In his current role, Revenew has responsibility for regional, distribution and inside sales, customer service and field applications engineering. He has held various roles within Eaton from channel manager to regional sales manager.

Prior to entering the electronics components world in 1998, Revenew was a manufacturing engineer with Motorola and Cisco working to mass produce the latest and greatest new products with exceptional quality levels. He served as one of the first two Six Sigma Black Belts for Motorola’s Paging Division in South Florida.

Revenew holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Buffalo and MA in Applied Statistics from the University of Georgia. Anyone who knows Revenew, knows his passion for technology and data.

Sam Richter
Founder and CEO of SBR Worldwide/Know More

General Session
The Secrets to Sales Growth
Breakout Session
Sales Intelligence Secrets to Find More Leads, Provide More Value and Make More Money

Sam Richter is an internationally recognized expert on digital information and is considered the father of modern-day sales intelligence. His award-winning experience includes building innovative programs for start-up companies and some of the world’s most famous brands.

Richter is founder and CEO of SBR Worldwide/Know More. Through his in-person keynote presentations and online programs, Richter has trained leading organizations and entertained tens of thousands of people around the world. His programs promise to be the highest-content, most take-home-value presentations attendees have ever experienced.

Richter is the author of the bestselling book, “Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling,” considered the preeminent publication on finding information online and using it for sales success. Take the Cold was named “Sales Book of the Year” by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, and it was also named a “USA Book News Winner” and a “Sales Book Awards Silver Medalist.”

Richter lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota with his wife and two children, and he enjoys volunteering his time working with non-profit organizations and mentoring individuals in his community.

Mark Robinson
VP Americas Sales, II-VI Incorporated

Breakout Session
Mergers, Acquisitions and Line Conflicts: Optimizing the Integrated Sales Organization

Mark Robinson is VP Americas Sales at II-VI Incorporated (Two-Six). II-VI is a global leader in supply of engineered materials and optoelectronic components. Robinson has led sales organizations throughout his 40-year career. He is an advocate for the rep model and for reps to be treated as business partners. Robinson has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Cambridge University, England.

Chris Rooney
Principal, Tecumseh Consulting

Breakout Sessions
The Disruption Opportunity
Thriving in the 2020s: Progressive Strategies for Talent Recruitment, Retention and Development

Chris Rooney is a principal with Tecumseh Consulting, an eCommerce advisory services firm. Rooney has over 20 years of experience working at the intersection of marketing, strategy and technology. He has worked as a consultant to both start-ups and Fortune 500 corporations, been a thought leader in the digital agency space, and built multi-million-dollar entrepreneurial organizations from the ground up. Prior to joining Tecumseh Consulting, he served as president and founder of Digital Bridge Solutions, a full-service digital development agency creating online content and commerce experiences for mid-sized enterprises.

Rooney is an accomplished speaker and author, having delivered dozens of presentations at technology and manufacturing conferences across the country and published several blogs and articles on topics ranging from diversity and inclusion to eCommerce trends. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Lake Forest Graduate School of Management business school programs. Rooney is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he holds both a B.A. in Psychology and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Hannah Rosenberg
Managing Director, The Blockchain Institute

Breakout Session
Blockchain Update: What Does It Mean to You and Your Company?

Hannah Rosenberg is an e-commerce developer, economist, educator and entrepreneur with a degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Rosenberg has been involved in the Bitcoin/Blockchain space since 2012. She is the founder of Velas Commerce, a cryptocurrency integration and consultancy business, the managing director of the Blockchain Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to blockchain education and is the organizer of Chicago’s largest blockchain community group, the Chicago Bitcoin and Open Blockchain Meetup.

Rosenberg teaches blockchain courses at both the Blockchain Institute and at UIC’s College of Business Administration.

Craig Sanderson
VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management, Sager Electronics

Breakout Session
RDM (Rep, Distributor, Manufacturer) Pulse Check

Craig 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. Sanderson currently serves on ERA’s Executive Committee as Sr. Vice President/Distribution.

Ali Sebt
IoT Consultant

General Session
The Disruption of IoT: How the Forces of AI and Blockchain are Changing IoT and the New Opportunities that are Being Created
Breakout Session (Monday session only)
The Disruption Opportunity

Ali Sebt has more than 30 years of experience in the high-tech industry with roles in engineering, marketing, business development, and global executive leadership. As IoT Consultant, his passion is to provide vision and thought leadership for development of solutions for the evolving AI-enabled IoT economy.

As President & CEO of Renesas Electronics America, Sebt led Renesas’ microcontroller business with dramatic market share growth in the Americas, and as Renesas’’ Executive Vice President, Sebt led the strategy and successful global launch of the company’s next generation embedded solution, the Synergy Platform.

After Renesas, Sebt joined VIMOC Technologies as President and CMO, where he established VIMOC’s strategy for an artificial intelligence enabled software platform addressing smart infrastructures. Most recently he held the position of Chief Corporate Development Officer at IAR Systems with a focus on establishing IAR’s IoT strategies.

Earlier in his career, he held engineering and management positions at Quickturn Design Systems, AMD and Monolithic Memories Inc.

Sebt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from California State University, Hayward, and has completed the Stanford Executive Program.

John Simari

Breakout Session
RDM (Rep, Distributor, Manufacturer) Pulse Check

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, Americas distribution director and worldwide account manager for distributor and OEM accounts.

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

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

John holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Dallas. He lives in Plano, Texas.

Maryellen Stack
Director of Marketing Communications, Sager Electronics

Breakout Session
Get in on the Design Conversation or Miss Opportunities: Learn How to Use the Right Content to Build Your Brand and Your Sales

As director of Marketing Communications at Sager Electronics, Maryellen Stack works closely with the company’s Executive Council to define, articulate and drive the Sager brand and that of its specialized group, Sager Power Systems, in the electronic components marketplace. Joining Sager in 2000, Stack has over 25 years of marketing experience, and is a current member of ERA, ECIA and Women in Electronics. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science with a business minor from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Bill Stewart
Managing Director, E-T-A Circuit Breakers

Breakout Session
Best Practices in Creating Goals and Managing Your Team to Exceed Them

Bill Stewart is the managing director for the North American Headquarters of E-T-A Circuit Breakers. Before being named the managing director of North America in July 2008, Stewart spent more than 10 years in the E-T-A organization working in sales, marketing and operations. His past roles include: E-T-A’s general manager for the U.S. where he was responsible for all U.S. sales, marketing and operations activities; E-T-A’s U.S. operations manager where he focused on the connection between customers and the people and processes that serve them; and E-T-A’s U.S. marketing manager, establishing and directing E-T-A’s U.S. marketing efforts. Stewart started his tenure with E-T-A in April 1997 as the northeast regional sales manager and partnered with sales representatives and
distributors to provide circuit protection solutions and service to customers.

Prior to joining E-T-A, Stewart was northwest regional sales manager for OTTO Engineering. Stewart earned a B.S. degree in Marketing from Winona State University.

Joel Swanson
Certified EOS Implementer, Mile One Teams

Breakout Session
Want to Grow Your Company? Get Your Company Culture Right!

Joel Swanson, a certified EOS implementer, has a passion for helping business owners get what they want from their businesses, and doing so in a way that transforms the lives of the people around them. Swanson has been running, leading and consulting for small and mid-sized businesses his entire career, and his clients consistently and confidently outperform their competitors. A lifelong learner, he has a B.A. in Computer Science, a M.A. in Theology (he says of himself “I have a bad habit of getting degrees that I don’t use”), and many shelves full of books in his office. Swanson lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three children, and enjoys hiking, reading and craft beer in his free time.

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

Breakout Session
Best Practices in Creating Goals and Managing Your Team to Exceed Them

Tom Vanderheyden is senior vice president, Americas Sales for TTI Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company and the largest global IP&E (Interconnect, Passives & Electro-Mechanical) specialist distributor. Vanderheyden joined TTI in 2007 as vice president, sales excellence responsible for sales operations, business development and corporate training. He broadened his role in 2009 assuming responsibility for Americas Sales.

Vanderheyden is an active member of ECIA and ERA. His career in the electronic component industry spans 35 years where he’s held leadership positions in sales, marketing, customer service and operations for OEM’s and distribution, both domestic and international.

Vanderheyden is a graduate of Marquette University and holds a B.S. in Electrical & Biomedical Engineering.

Mark Zack
Vice President, Business Development, TTI Semiconductor Group

Breakout Session
The Disruption Opportunity

Mark Zack is vice president, Business Development of the TTI Semiconductor Group. His career started with hands-on work designing printed circuit boards and transitioned to learning technical manufacturing processes from the ground up. Twenty years of rapid career progression with Arrow Electronics, Digi-Key Electronics and PROS have given Zack a background in global product distribution and sales that is exceptionally broad and deep. Outside of work, Zack contributes to and serves on several community and industry boards, including serving as board president for a newly launched nonprofit dedicated to providing sustainable healthcare.

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