Representor Spring 2020 - Someone You Should Know

Someone You Should Know: Kurt Devlin

Kurt Devlin
Director of Channel Management, North America
Laird Performance Materials

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 Kurt Devlin, Director of Channel Management, North America for Laird Performance Materials.

The Representor asked Kurt a few questions about his time in the electronics manufacturing business and his experiences with ERA. Here is what he had to say.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Canberra Australia and migrated to southern Florida in the late 60s with my parents, brother and sister. After growing up barefoot and suntan, my family moved to the “Republic of Texas” in the late 70s where I have lived ever since. I obtained my B.S. in general business with a minor in marketing from Sam Houston State University. My first job out of college was selling oil and gas tubing to the major service companies Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes.

After I learned how to smile and dial, I moved to outside sales at MEMEC United-Unique Technologies, which was my first electronics industry job. I spent the next two years at Nu Horizons Electronics. The next phase of my career was moving to manufacturing where I spent 14 years at Vishay Intertechnologies as a regional sales manager and director of sales. After another four years with Ohmite Manufacturing as director of sales for North America, I moved on to Laird Performance Materials in 2019 as the director of channel management for North America.

What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?

I enjoy golfing and spending time with my family and friends. However, I am a genetically inclined Australian that was predestined to drink fine red wine. There is nothing like a great Australian Shiraz on a Friday afternoon in The Woodlands in Texas, sitting by a pool or pond, either one is good.

How long have you been in the manufacturing business?

Too many years … 16 to be exact.

How did you become interested in the electronics industry?

I first got interested in electronics when I was 10 years old. I disassembled my brother’s Sansui Hi-Fi home stereo and then I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be in the industry when I started to see what was happening during the dot-com boom and even after the bust.

What have you found to be most rewarding about the business?

The people in this industry are techies at heart and love the latest and greatest technologies that change our lives day-to-day, just like I do. Those same people have become friends, coworkers and true long-term collaborators.

Briefly describe your organization.

Laird Performance Materials is an engineering-driven company that solves our customers’ EMI, thermal mismatch and mechanical constraints. We design, develop and deliver industry-leading solutions that protect electronics, enhancing performance and reliability for our customers.

What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your organization made?

Over the past two years, Laird has transitioned from a Tier 1 centric support company to a much more diversified manufacturer focused on a broader customer base. From a product perspective, Laird is always launching new technologies that solve many of the current issues created by smaller, faster and thermally challenging product designs.

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?

I would be plagiarizing if I didn’t give credit to my friend, Jeff Ray of TTI, who said: “It’s a small industry, people never leave, they just change business cards.” Team building and networking around ERA have helped us find many suppliers that enable much more efficient business processes today. I found many of the suppliers I use today through ERA, Budde Marketing to name just one.

Are you active on social media? Do you follow ERA? Have ERA updates via social media been helpful to you?

I have limited activity on social media, except for LinkedIn, where I follow ERA which has been very helpful during this COVID-19 pandemic that has engulfed the world. As we become a more digital-driven age, I will utilize many of the avenues that social media provides to market and sell Laird products.

What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?

I come from a famous golf family.