With so many ERA members, it is not easy to get to know every rep, manufacturer and distributor in the business.“Someone You Should Know” is The Representor department that gives readers the chance to learn about fellow ERA members, including how their time is spent both in and out of the office.
Meet Ken Bellero, president of Schaffner EMC, headquartered in Edison, N.J. Ken has been involved in the industry for 30 years and with ERA for 15 years. The Representor asked Ken a few questions about his time in the manufacturing business and his experiences with ERA. Here’s what he had to say.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have been happily married to my beautiful wife for 32 years and have two adult children who make me proud every day. My son turns 30 soon and works as an operations manager for a chemical manufacturing company, and my daughter recently changed her career path and is now very happy working as a beautician in a high end salon in New Jersey. I have been working for Schaffner EMC, Inc. for 15 years and have been president for the past three years. It was an excellent career choice and is a job that I truly enjoy.
What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?
My wife and I love to vacation in California or anywhere there is a winery. We are constantly working toward crossing “must do’s” off our bucket list. Our next vacation will hopefully be a trip to Tuscany in Italy. I also wish I had more time for golf which has been a passion since I was 12 years old. The most important thing is spending quality time with my two “furry daughters,” Dixie, our English setter, and Honey, our dachshund, who keep me active daily.
How long have you been an ERA member and how long in the manufacturing business?
My first job in the industry was with Alpha Wire exactly 30 years ago, and then I spent 13 years with Newark Electronics as a branch manager in New Jersey. I have been an ERA member since I joined Schaffner 15 years ago and have enjoyed working with many great reps.
How did you become interested in manufacturing for the electronics industry?
Quite honestly, it was by accident. As a communications major in college, I originally intended to make a career in the radio and television broadcasting field. But after we found out that we were expecting our first child, it was necessary to find a “real” job. Alpha Wire had a position in customer service that provided some stability. It was then that I decided to focus on a career selling electronic components as this industry would be a better choice as I began to raise a family.
What have you found to be most rewarding about being in the manufacturing business?
The most rewarding aspect of this business is the people I have met and places that I have seen. I had never imagined that I would travel around the world for business, especially to places like China, Thailand and Istanbul, and meet so many interesting people who have truly changed my life in a positive way. I am also very proud of building such a great Schaffner team of succesful people who really enjoy working with each other.
Briefly describe your manufacturing firm.
The Schaffner Group is the global leader in the development and production of solutions which ensure the efficient and reliable operation of electronic systems. Our broad range of products and services include EMC/EMI components, harmonic filters and magnetic components as well as the development and implementation of customized solutions. Schaffner components are used in energy-efficient drive systems and electronic motor controls, in wind power and photovoltaic systems, rail technology, machine tools and robotics as well as power supplies for numerous electronic devices in sectors such as medical technology or telecommunications.
What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your firm made?
At Schaffner, we constantly strive for excellence in quality in the products and processes from all of our manufacturing facilities in the world. My goals locally in the U.S. are to continue building a strong distribution channel that will support and develop new opportunities for our company as well as working very closely with our rep partners to ensure that goals are met for both of our organizations. I am very positive about our rep organization in the U.S. and proud to say that I have some of the best reps in the business. I am confident that we would not have the success at Schaffner without their support and cooperation as part of the team.
Recently, Schaffner purchased two power magnetics companies in the U.S., MTC in Virginia and Trenco in Ohio, to strengthen our position as a total solutions provider in the world of power quality. These acquisitions have provided many new opportunities for growth for the company and have also provided more products to our key customers in the U.S.
What have you learned and/or what contacts have you made through ERA that have had the greatest positive impacts on you and/or your business?
Getting to know some key rep owners like Paul Nielsen, Mark Conley, Robert Logan, Kathie Cahill and Dave Norris, who are actively involved with ERA, has helped me tremendously to run my business in a way that supports the rep community. They have been a big influence in my life and are not only great business partners but good friends as well. Sharing ideas with them on best practices in our industry and being involved with ERA conferences have helped me to manage my position as president at Schaffner and have helped my road to success as a leader.
What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
Prior to my entrance into the electronics industry, I worked for several years at the House of Music, a major recording studio in West Orange, N.J., setting up sessions and driving (yes, in a limo) some talented musicians and performerss, such as Meatloaf, Cher, Billy Idol, Kool and the Gang, Deodato, Chuck Mangione and the R and B band from the 80s, ConFunkShun.