ERA Water Cooler Teleconference Series

ERA Water Cooler Teleconferences

Every Other Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. EDT … NO NEED TO REGISTER

This teleconference series provides an open forum to both ERA members and non-members. Participants can join in on the conversation and contribute to different topics by sharing challenges that ALL of us face today.

These calls are facilitated by ERA CEO Walter Tobin and will be targeted for 1 hour in duration.

The next teleconference is May 11, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. EDT

Topic: New Employee Initiatives in a Virtual World

Facilitator: WaterTobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Carla Mahrt, President of JJM Search, Gary Zullo, Sales Director for Arrow Electronics; and Shane Zutz, Vice President, Human Resources, for Digi-Key Electronics.

The discussion will focus on:
• Employee recruitment
• Hiring and onboarding
• Training and retaining
• Q&A

For additional details or questions, please contact

Teleconference Participation Information

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+1 323-419-5946 United States

Conference ID: 123 373 84#

Water Cooler Audio Library

Miss the last call? Listen to past Water Cooler conferences in our Audio Library:

April 27, 2021, audio recording

Reopening Rules of Engagement

This panel-led discussion focused on possible customer and state rules for face-to-face meetings and what you can expect as you navigate today’s business environment.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators:  Ken Bellero, President of Schaffner EMC; Joe Braun, CPMR, Partner and Field Sales Representative for EK Micro; Adam Glazer, partner at Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer and ERA Legal Counsel; and Craig Sanderson, VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management at Sager Electronics.

Share on

April 13, 2021, audio recording

Cybersecurity — How to Keep Your Company Safe in an Unsafe World

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Bob Kill, President and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota; John Connelly, Vice President of Consulting for Enterprise Minnesota; and Scott Singer, President of CyberNINES

Share on

March 30, 2021, audio recording

Strategies for Success for Manufacturers’ Rep Firms of All Sizes
This moderator-led deep-dive discussion of the breakout session featured at the 2021 ERA Virtual Conference focuses on best practices, new opportunities and customer segments.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Dave Norris, president of Norris & Associates; Tim Kilfoil, president of JF Kilfoil Company; Jim Gleason, managing partner of FJM Inc.; and V.J. Ladd, co-owner of Apogee Solutions Group.

Share on

March 16, 2021, audio recording

Post Pandemic Planning: Reopening in the New Abnormal
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on what this industry will look like as it starts to open back up. The panelists discussed various topics including potential travel, customer visits, training, safety requirements, and budget planning.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Jennifer Eby, Founding Partner of MaRCTech2, Inc; Al Wright, Regional Sales Manager for Laird Performance Materials and Mike Smith, VP of Sales for Hughes Peters

Share on

February 23, 2021, audio recording

Video Recording

ERA 2021 Virtual Conference ‘Boot Camp’
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on how to get the most out of YOUR ERA Virtual Conference experience. The session covered the navigation, speakers, content, exhibitors, sponsors, games, and more.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Craig Anderson, President and Owner of Sumer Inc. and Conference Committee Chair; Neda Simeonova, Communications Director for ERA, and Erin Collins, Events Coordinator for ERA.

February 9, 2021, audio recording

Branding Your Company Through the Use of Interactive Video
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on using interactive training videos to brand your company and differentiate from competitors. The panelists discussed the various options in using video, the use of social media tools, cost-effective software tools, and using analytics to measure results.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Rob Tavi, Managing Director of IBS Electronics, Inc; Alan Ahern, President of Crowley Associates and Tom Griffin, CPMR, Managing Director of Catalyst Unity Solutions.

Share on

January 26, 2021, audio recording

Are We Working at Home or Living at Work? Time Management and Task Prioritization Tips
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on tips and tricks for time management. Learn how to take back control of your schedule, best practices for starting your day on the right foot, email prioritization, and managing projects while working at home.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Monica Highfill, Vice President Sales – Americas for KEMET Electronics Corporation; and Mark Zack, Vice President Business Development for TTI Inc.

Share on

January 12, 2021, audio recording

Supply Chain Challenges in the New Abnormal
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on the alignment of the supply chain from the customer up to the manufacturer. Listen in for more on forecasting and the outside challenges as well as automation tools that help enable supply chain velocity.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: John Beaver, President at GSA Manufacturers Rep Firm; Robert Derringer, Director, Global Channel for Crouzet North America; and Mike Rankins, Director of Supply Chain for Digikey

December 15, 2020, audio recording

Planning and Goal Setting in 2021
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on learning from 2020 as we plan to thrive in 2021. 2020 was a pivotal year as everyone adapted and met the needs to survive in the virtual world. 2021 will bring about more challenges. The panelists discussed budgeting goals, performance development and training, forecasting, succession planning, talent acquisition, market analysis, and more.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Tony Roybal, President, Americas Electronic Components of Avnet; Mark Conley, President and CEO of O’Donnell Associates North.

December 1, 2020, audio recording

Startups, Incubators, and Accelerators: How Best to Navigate this Complex but Necessary World!
This ERA Water Cooler session focused on the world of startups and the best practices for reps and distributors to support their needs. The panelists discussed evaluating the criteria for continued support, the process of vetting startups, as well as how and where to find startups.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Stacey Weismiller, Program Manager for Second Muse and Jeff Bergstein, President of Jeff Bergstein Consulting

November 17, 2020, audio recording

Media Expert Panel – Tips for Trusted Industry News Among the Chaos
Sifting through news today can be overwhelming. Where do you turn to for trusted resources? How can you speak up and be “heard?” This Water Cooler dives into timely accurate news sources as well as news board suggestions. Learn how to verify news while removing bias as the panel of media experts unpacks the news content analysis.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Steve Cholas, Vice President/Business Development for Big Zeta; Barb Jorgenson, Editor-in-Chief for Aspencore (formerly EPSNews); and Bolaji Ojo, CEO of DataSights GmbH, media executive.

November 3, 2020, audio recording

Staying Connected to Your Employees
Over the course of the year, how we stay connected to employees has changed drastically. In this water cooler session, learn about communicating with staff, keeping up morale, maintaining a personal touch, and promoting balance while sustaining expectations and productivity in the remote work environment. The discussion also includes how to manage performance reviews virtually, onboarding tips and challenges, and finding new talent remotely.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: John O’Brien, VP for Coakley, Boyd and Abbett; Gary Zullo, Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical and Interconnect for Arrow Electronics; and John Guetens, North American Sales Manager for E-T-A Circuit Breakers.

October 20, 2020, audio recording

Refreshing your company’s website and digital image is more important now than ever before. Learn valuable tips, where and how to start improving your digital image during this conversation from two experts from Upright, an ERA Recognized Resource. This in-depth discussion touches on topics such as what are people looking for in your website, how to enhance your company’s digital image and add calls to action, how to evaluate the effectiveness of your website, social media best practices, and ways to improve your SEO.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Emma Gaedeke, Co-Founder and Director, Upright Labs for Upright and Danielle Gaglioti, Co-Founder and Innovation Lead for Upright

October 6, 2020, audio recording

Two manufacturers share their views on the pandemic. Learn what manufacturers expect from their reps and from the channel, as well as what they think reps could be doing better. Gain valuable manufacturer’s insight on other topics, including how to be creative with building (digital) relationships, how best to approach virtual opportunities, and the manufacturer’s outlook on travel and the return of face-to-face meetings.

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Gary Mountford, Vice President, Head of Sales Americas, C&K Components and Kris Whitehouse, Vice President Sales Americas, Omron Electronic Components

September 22, 2020, audio recording

Two reps share their experiences in finding new opportunities and maintaining business in today’s challenging business environment. The discussion included tips on how to engage new customers, how to add more value than ever to existing customers, tricks for reaching someone you don’t know, how to lead targeted conversations with solutions, and what successful things they are doing now that will carry over into the post-COVID world.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Kingsland Coombs, CPMR, CSP, President, Control Sales and Greg Miner, President and CEO, Thorson Rocky Mountain

September 8, 2020, audio recording

A valuable conversation with attorney Andrew Bell, from long-time ERA counsel resource, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell and Glazer LLC, covering updates and details surrounding current legal and tax topic such as PPP loans, economic nexus laws, succession planning, and valuing/selling/buying a rep company. If you would like to contact Andrew regarding a legal question, his contact info follows:

Phone: 312-648-2300

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO

Co-Facilitators: Andrew D. Bell, Attorney, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell and Glazer LLC

August 25, 2020, audio recording

An in-depth discussion on using data analytics to create actions, administer efficiencies, increase the timeliness of getting information, track split commissions, and to help connect the dots to ensure that you are getting paid. Learn about data system alignment, the synergy of CRM management systems and POS management, using data to forecast and grow your sales, and most importantly, the benefits of using data analytics to benefit the customer.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO

Co-Facilitators: Michael Budde Jr., Vice President, Budde Marketing Systems, and John Mitchell, Founder, Repfabric

August 11, 2020, audio recording

An energetic and insightful conversation with Linda Clemons, Sales and Body Language Expert (and top rated speaker at the 2019 ERA Conference) who tackles the timely topics of virtual call etiquette and how to keep people engaged during video conferencing. Linda gives valuable tips and takeaways regarding how to present your best self virtually, how to read body language and how to “see” what your customers are really thinking during video calls. Also discussed are extra verbal suggestions, how to set the tone to keep customers engaged, how to open a “cold” video call, and most importantly how to constantly add value during this time when we cannot meet in-person. You can learn more about Linda on her website at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO

Guest Speaker: Linda Clemons, Sales and Body Language Expert

July 28, 2020, audio recording

Gain valuable insight on what ERA National has been up to since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This special update features reports from the ERA Executive Committee, covering current ERA goals and initiatives, chapter activities, events updates, manufacturer and distributor perspectives, as well as various ways that ERA is working to support its members during these challenging times.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO

Co-Facilitators, ERA XCOM: Ken Bellero, Schaffner EMC; Cameron English, English Technical Sales; Bob Evans, EK Micro; David Fitzgerald, WESCO Sales Group Inc.; Tom Griffin, Catalyst Unity Sales; David Norris, Norris & Associates Inc.; John O’Brien, Coakley Boyd & Abbett Inc.; Craig Sanderson, Sager Electronics; and Chuck Tanzola, Fusion Sourcing Group Inc.

July 14, 2020, audio recording

A give-and-take conversation with call attendees asking questions about what’s on their minds. An open discussion amongst the group giving their perspectives and opinions on topics such as expectations on when in-person sales calls will begin again, how ERA Chapters are working to staying active, cybersecurity, hiring the next generation, delivering sample sales kits, and how lack of travel has impacted efficiencies.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO

June 30, 2020, audio recording

An interactive discussion featuring Microsoft experts from Cloud 9 Infosystems Inc. focusing on an overview of Microsoft Office 365 and its uses, the difference between One Drive, SharePoint and Teams and the benefits of all, collaboration and sharing of files, security features and how third party apps work within the Microsoft Office 365 platforms.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Stephanie Tierney, ERA Membership Director

Co-Facilitators: Chetan Malavia, CEO, Cloud 9 Infosystems Inc., Richard Barclay, Sales Director, Cloud 9 Infosystems Inc., Ashwin Ganesan, Associate Cloud Engineer, Cloud 9 Infosystems Inc., Dennis Swenson, Principal Consultant, Cloud 9 Infosystems Inc.

June 16, 2020, audio recording

Perspectives from a Rep, Manufacturer and Distributor regarding what they think tomorrow will look like for themselves as well as the customer, how they have recently enhanced their digital online image, preparations they are making for a potential second wave of COVID-19, new and effective ways that they are communicating with their customers, and their plans for upcoming in-person meetings.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Bryan Teen, President at Tech Marketing; Steve Nolan, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc., and Sean Sisson, Vice President North America & Latin America at RUTRONIK Electronics Worldwide

June 2, 2020, audio recording

An insightful conversation with rep and manufacturer focusing on how they are using social media now more than ever to reach people more efficiently, best practices they have implemented with virtual product training and demos, their thoughts on adapting to the new “fact-to-face” way of communicating, and benefits they are experiencing from less cost and time from not being out in the field.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Holly Good, National Distribution Manager at Cornell Dubilier Electronics and Bruce Scoggin, CPMR, Territory Manager at Electro-Rep Associates Inc.

May 26, 2020, audio recording

A dynamic and spirited discussion around how electronics professionals are utilizing LinkedIn in today’s environment. Featuring in-depth perspectives from a rep, manufacturer and distributor on LinkedIn best practices in promoting product knowledge and brand, who to follow on LinkedIn, the benefits of using free vs. paid LinkedIn Premium services, and how to use LinkedIn for lead generation.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Guest Facilitator: Gary Lee Smith, CPMR, President of G.L. Smith Associates
Co-Facilitators: Zach DeVillers, CPMR, CSP,
Director of Sales for Brainard-Nielsen Marketing Inc., Maryellen Stack, Director of Marketing Communications for Sager Electronics and Ken Bellero, President of Schaffner EMC Inc.

May 19, 2020, audio recording

Listen in for perspectives from a Rep, Manufacturer and Distributor as they discuss topics focusing on the cadence they have now developed in their daily & weekly schedules, what they are doing now to prepare their companies and teams for more normal times to come, and how they are redefining the role of the face-to-face sales person and arming their outside sales team for challenges to come.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Tom Griffin, President at Catalyst Unity Solutions; Bob Gourdeau, Vice President of Sales at AVX Corporation; and Bill Gallucci, President at Peerless Electronics Inc.

May 12, 2020, audio recording

Gain valuable takeaways from this robust conversation covering several topics, including how reps are currently supporting principals and distributors; what distributors and principals are expecting from reps during these uncertain times; and what new e-marketing initiatives reps, distributors and manufacturers are implementing to generate leads.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Dave Fitzgerald, Principal Owner at Wesco Sales Group; Tom Wichert, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing at TDK-Lambda and Anthony Disclafani, Director of Sales and Product at Dove Electronic Components

May 5, 2020, audio recording

A rep, manufacturer and distributor weigh in on new collaboration and training methods, ways they are setting boundaries since most are working from home, as well as addressing what new practices they have recently implemented that they will continue to utilize moving forward, what they are doing to prepare for more normal times, and what they are implementing to help create a hygienic and safe office environment for their staff.

Download chat notes

Facilitator: Walter Tobin, ERA CEO
Co-Facilitators: Joe Braun, Partner and Field Sales Rep at EK Micro; Mike Calabria, President and CEO at Abracon, and Holly Myers, Vice President at Genie Group.

April 28, 2020, audio recording

A discussion featuring two reps and a distributor centering around new ways of communicating internally with their teams, how rep companies are communicating externally to principles, customers and channel partners, learning curves they are encountering implementing new tools and software (specifically Microsoft Teams), and methods for staying focused.

Download chat notes

Facilitators: ERA’s CEO, Walter Tobin and Nicki Weiss of Saleswise, ERA’s sales consultant and columnist in The Representor.
Co-Facilitators: Lori Bruno, Vice President Distribution at Luscombe Engineering of San Francisco, John Latimer, President at Luscombe Engineering of San Francisco and Tom Vanderheyden, Senior Vice President, Americas Sales at TTI Inc.

April 21, 2020, audio recording

A conversation with ERA General Legal Counsel focusing on details surrounding the CARES Act and the PPP and what they mean to ERA members. Also addressing essential vs. non-essential businesses, independent contractors, dealing with communication with landlords, and how workers’ comp rules apply to employees now working from home.

Download chat notes

Facilitators: ERA’s CEO, Walter Tobin and Nicki Weiss of Saleswise, ERA’s sales consultant and columnist in The Representor.
Co-Facilitators: Gerald M. Newman and Adam J. Glazer, ERA General Counsel

April 14, 2020, audio recording

Three ERA Rep members discuss what they are doing to lead and nurture their teams remotely and describe tools they use to stay in touch with customers, distributor partners and manufacturers. This conversation also features input by Rich Greaves from Empowering Systems, Inc. on how different systems can be linked to various software to help companies manage their data and teams.

Download chat notes

Facilitators: ERA’s CEO, Walter Tobin and Nicki Weiss of Saleswise, ERA’s sales consultant and columnist in The Representor.
Co-Facilitators: Richard Greaves, Senior Partner at Empowering Systems, Inc.; David Norris, president and owner of Norris and Associates; Chuck Tanzola, VP of Fusion Sourcing Group and John Hutson, President MacInnis Group

April 7, 2020, audio recording

A conversation with a Distributor, Rep and Manufacturer on tools and methods to keep employees engaged with customers, engineers and co-workers, and ways to keep everyone sane and connected while working from home.

Facilitators: ERA’s CEO, Walter Tobin and Nicki Weiss of Saleswise, ERA’s sales consultant and columnist in The Representor.
Co-facilitators: Craig Sanderson, VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management at Sager Electronics; Dave Foster, Director of Sales at Ohmite Manufacturing and John O’Brien, VP at Coakley, Boyd & Abbett

March 31, 2020, audio recording

An open forum on the challenges of working from home, taking care of yourself and team, software tools and more. Listen in for the rep and manufacturer perspective.

Facilitators: ERA’s CEO, Walter Tobin and Nicki Weiss of Saleswise, ERA’s sales consultant and columnist in The Representor.
Co-facilitators: Craig Anderson, President of Sumer Incorporated; Mike Swenson, President of Mel Foster Company and Ken Bellero, President at Schaffner, EMC.

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software