ERA Virtual Sales Training - Speaker Biographies


Speaker Biographies

ERA thanks the following speakers for contributing to this training program.

Speakers are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Brad Burroughs
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
Ohmite Manufacturing

Brad Burroughs has over 25 years of experience in the electronics industry since. Currently, Brad is the eastern regional sales manager for Ohmite Manufacturing, a leading provider of resistive products for high current, high voltage, and high energy applications for over 92 years.

Prior to that he has held various roles including sales engineer for Molex, from 2011 to 2018, manufacturers’ rep for DyneAMark, from2002 to 2011, sakes engineer for BITS, a rep company, from 1997 to 2002 and a distributor manager for All-American Semiconductor, from 1996 to 1997.

Louis Copley
Avnet, Inc.

Lou has been working in the electronics distribution industry for the past 33 years. He started his career as an Inside Sales Rep. with a small Philadelphia based distributor (Tri-Com, Inc.), who also builds custom cable assemblies. Lou joined Avnet’s Time Electronics division in 1996 as an Account Manager and since has held sales, sales management, supply chain management and branch management positions up and down the East coast. Lou currently serves as Avnet’s Americas Sales Director – East, leading his team’s efforts in Demand Creation, Supply Chain Solutions and Sales. Lou currently resides with his wife and 3 children in Orlando, Florida and just recently celebrated his 25 year anniversary with Avnet.

Charlene DeCesare
Certified Sales Leader, Lead Consultant
RAIN Group

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

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

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

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

Zachary DeVillers is director of sales at Brainard-Nielsen Marketing in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Brainard-Nielsen Marketing is a manufacturers’ rep firm specializing in the sales of electro-mechanical components serving Illinois and Wisconsin. Zach is directly responsible for the sales and marketing activities within the firm. In addition, he serves on the Chicagoland-Wisconsin ERA Chapter as the director of marketing. Zach achieved his Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Rep (CPMR) certification in 2015, and his Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification in 2014. His use of software, content marketing, and line card synergy has created success for his employees in prospecting new accounts.

Lisa Dietrich
Distributor Manager & Owner
Conley & Associates, Inc.

Lisa Dietrich is the distributor manager and owner of Conley & Associates, a manufacturers’ rep firm that has been servicing Florida/PR since 1968. Lisa has 20-plus years of sales experience in the electronics industry. At Conley & Associates, she started working as inside sales and now manages distribution.

She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Sunshine Chapter of ERA as VP/Treasurer.

Lisa graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business/Marketing.

Lisa’s hobbies include horseback riding and being outdoors.

John Drabik
Senior Vice President Sales and Product Marketing – Americas
TTI Inc.

Industry veteran, John Drabik, joined global electronics distributor, TTI, in 2020, and today leads the sales and product management organizations as Senior Vice President of Americas Sales and Product Management. With John’s knowledge and industry expertise, he is poised to lead the sales and product teams into the future while providing exceptional service to TTI’s customers and supplier partners.

John began his career in 1997, with capacitor manufacturer KEMET Electronics Corporation, where he held positions as Vice President Sales and Senior Vice President Global Sales and Marketing. Following his employment with KEMET, the next six years positioned John in multiple leadership roles within Arrow Electronics. Prior to coming to TTI, his key leadership position was that of President, Americas Components.

Bob Gourdeau
Vice President of Sales – Americas
AVX Corporation

Bob Gourdeau is an electronics industry veteran 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 AVX. Originally from New England, Bob moved his family to the Southeast in 1994 and currently resides in South Carolina.

Bob graduated from Assumption college with a B.A. in Management and holds an MBA from New Hampshire College. Bob is an avid Boston sports fan, especially the New England Patriots and of course the Clemson Tigers. He and his wife have four children and four grandkids. In his spare time, Bob enjoys travelling, golf and coaching his grandkids.

Byron Holloway
Sales Manager & Senior Application Engineer
Fralia Co. & Associates

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, manufacturers’ representative, and as a manufacturer.

He holds a BSEE and has been a Microsoft-certified trainer for M.S. Office products.

Brooks Mattice
General Manager
TMC (A Mel Foster Company)

Brooks Mattice is general manager of TMC, a manufacturers’ representative based in Indianapolis covering the Eastern Great Lakes Region of MI, IN, KY, OH, Western PA, and WV. A division of Mel Foster Company, TMC focuses on high-tech products – semiconductors, interconnect, passive electronics, electro-mechanical components, electronic systems and services. Brooks graduated from Purdue University in 1995 with a BSEE Degree and has been with TMC ever since. Over the course of his career in sales, he has cultivated some of TMC’s largest customers. Today, in addition to maintaining account responsibility, he manages the division’s day-to-day operations, and especially enjoys coaching and developing the team at TMC. He is set to graduate from MRERF’s Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representative (CPMR) program in January 2022.

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

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, Kate 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, Kate’s passion for relationship building and consultative selling were refined equaling more than 20 years of experience.

Kate also has been involved with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Center Grove Education Foundation. With Habitat for Humanity, she was a family services volunteer and financial trainer providing a financial foundation for new homeowners. Kate was also a part of the first-ever all-women build in Johnson County, Indiana.

Kate 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.

Sam Richter, CSP, CPAE
Founder and CEO of SBR Worldwide/Know More

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

Walter Tobin
Electronics Representatives Association

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.

Jeffrey Weber
Senior Designer
Laird Connectivity

Jeffrey Weber is a senior designer with over 20+ years of experience in web, mobile, email, print, environmental design and brand identity. He has worked with a wide range of companies, from major corporations to agencies and start-ups in healthcare, finance, architecture, and manufacturing. Jeffrey joined Laird Connectivity as the marketing team’s Senior Designer in September 2020.

Jeffrey has a BA in Graphic Design from Columbia College Chicago. He enjoys a nice espresso, grilling and collecting Japanese whisky.

Neil Wood
Coach, Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Facilitator
RAIN Group

Neil Wood is a coach, keynote speaker, trainer, and facilitator. He specializes in effective communication and better teaming to help people reach their potential.
Neil has spoken to more than 50,000 people over the last 20 years. His high-energy and interactive presentations are based on extensive research, his own business development and leadership experiences, and experiences of the thousands of successful people he has met and interviewed in the last forty years.

Neil excels at developing professionals and helps them exceed their goals and overcome obstacles. Neil believes success depends on flexibility, adaptability, loyalty, and pursuing one’s purpose.

Neil is an author, Air Force Veteran, and Olympic Trials qualifier. His expertise in visualization, goal setting, discipline, and positive thinking helped him expand his own comfort zone, something he strives to bring to clients.

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