Representor Spring 2020 - Rising Stars

The steps to success — fostering relationships and staying involved

by Diana Nawrocki
President and Owner
ESA Technical Marketing
Note: Since the original writing of the article, ESA merged with Control Sales and Nawrocki is now the Executive Vice President partnering with Kingsland Coombs President of Control Sales Inc.

To gain a better insight into how young professionals in the electronics industry have turned challenges into opportunities and ensured continued success, The Representor interviewed Diana Nawrocki, President and Owner of ESA Technical Marketing.

Nawrocki shared key challenges she encountered as she embarked on her career journey in the electronics industry and steps that she has taken to establish a successful career. Here is what she had to say.

Please provide a little background about yourself.

My father is the reason I started in this industry back in May 2001. When I first joined ESA Technical Marketing, my dad and his partners had me working insides sales so I could learn the business. Soon after, I was promoted to outside sales. I worked with the local OEMs and distributors. I was able to travel to factories overseas where I learned more about how our products were manufactured.

On a personal note, my family is very involved in the swimming community. I swam at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill. After college, I participated in various triathlons. In 2010, I conquered Ironman Wisconsin. I have completed a few 70.3 triathlons since then. Currently, I volunteer as a USA swim official at local swim meets. I have two daughters, ages 10 and 12, who are competitive swimmers as well. They swim for the Academy Bullets on the local and national platforms. I also am a 10-year survivor of stage 2 breast cancer, and melanoma. Those experiences helped me grow as an individual.

My husband, Adam and I have been married for 17 years. He was my college sweetheart. Adam is a sales manager for Vasco Healthcare covering GE Healthcare for the North Central region.

The relationships I made at my local ERA chapter, CPMR, and Women in Electronics help me to continue to grow my knowledge within this industry.

What made you choose this industry as your current career path?

Since I was a child, I watched my dad work in this industry. He really enjoyed what he did and he was successful at it too. I liked the idea that I could follow in his footsteps. I always hoped to be as successful and knowledgeable as he was in this industry. My dad spent 36 years at ESA Technical Marketing before retiring last year.

As a young professional, what are some of the main challenges you encountered as you embarked on your career journey?

Since we have more of a niche line card, we have to work harder and do thorough and effective prospecting to find new customers and generate new business.

What are some steps that you have taken to overcome these challenges and to ensure that you can establish and nurture a successful career?

I am looking to invest in Repfabric or Empowering Systems for 2020. In January 2021, I plan to keep on track with CPMR for the 201 class. The relationships I have made at my local ERA chapter, CPMR, and Women in Electronics help me to continue to grow my knowledge within this industry.

As you developed in your career, what were some training tools that you found beneficial to your professional growth?

Early in my sales career, I took the Dale Carnegie Sales Course, more recently I find the teleforums from ERA and attending CPMR 101 to be helpful in sharpening my sales skills. I enjoy going to conferences and learning new ways to grow my business. I continue to apply the tools that I have learned from ERA and CPMR 101.

What are some industry networking events that you have attended that would be beneficial to other young professionals in the industry?

I attended the ERA Conference and am the VP of Fiscal for the Board of Directors of the Chicagoland-Wisconsin Chapter. Being involved with ERA has helped me develop lifelong relationships with people I would also consider friends. As we all know, this is a small industry compared to others. Therefore, it is hard to find someone that understands the stress we all go through as reps. I recommend that people get involved with their local ERA chapter. I also attend my chapter of the Women in Electronics group which has been another way to grow and gain new relationships with local women in the industry.

Do you think that there is enough new talent entering the electronics industry and what could make this field more attractive to future young professionals?

I think there are a lot of new engineers in the field; however, not as many are going into positions in sales. We all need to seek out millennials and Gen Z professionals to enter our rep firms so that we can help narrow the age gap we are experiencing.

How do you see your profession and the industry evolve 10 to 20 years from now?

Good question, we all wonder how this will play out in the future. Communication with our customers is harder than ever, but by continually showing value, I am able to break through. Customer touch via social media will continue to grow, but even as the industry evolves, face-to-face relationships are paramount to keep a competitive edge.

Professionally, what keeps you up at night?

The fear of a line going direct. I am also concerned with keeping my staff motivated to grow my business to the next level.