Someone You Should Know: Matt Cohen, CPMR
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 Matt Cohen, CPMR, VP Sales & Marketing for C C Electro Sales Inc.
The Representor asked Matt a few questions about his time in the electronics rep business and his experiences with ERA. Here is what he had to say.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I studied Business Management and Electrical Engineering Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette and Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1989, I accepted a full-time position at C C Electro Sales Inc. to cover southeast Michigan. Shortly thereafter, I met my wife Diane who was born and raised in southeast Michigan. We have three children: Zach, Hannah and Luke.
What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?
Listening to live music, seeing new landscapes and hitting a golf ball long and straight.
How long have you been an ERA member and how long in the rep business?
Since I started at C C Electro Sales in 1989.
How did you become interested in being a rep in the electronics industry?
I’ve always been interested in tearing apart electronics’ modules and putting them back together. I remember the look on my Mom’s (Carol Cohen) face when she walked down to the basement and saw an antique radio in pieces and my pre-teen face concerned with how I would get it back together. I suspect that might be where my interest in electronics began. Relative to the rep business, it’s in my bloodline. My Dad worked at a distributor (Radio Distributing; now PEI Genesis) in the early 70s and then when he passed away, my Mom asked for and was given his OSR job in 1973 to support us. She left there and established C C Electro Sales in 1981. As a result, I grew up hearing about circular connectors and the industry in general while eating dinner. As time moved on, I was stickering catalogs, operating the Telex machine and doing other odd jobs for C C Electro Sales through high school. So, I think I was subliminally sold throughout my life on becoming a rep in the electronics industry.
What have you found to be most rewarding about the rep business?
I get to see a lot of leading-edge innovations in development and it continues to fascinate me. I couldn’t imagine being in a lab working on one specific market segment’s family of widgets. I enjoy tackling a wide variety of problems to advance technology, quality and supply chain. I also enjoy telling my friends and family when they come to me with a problem on an electronic gadget that can’t be fixed today, that it’s job security for me!
Briefly describe your rep firm.
C C Electro Sales was established in 1981. Our World HQ is in Indianapolis. We cover Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We have 11 people on our team now and looking to add. We sell to the consumer, medical, automotive, industrial and military market segments.
What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your firm made?
Our VP of Operations & Outside Sales Rep (OSR), Ellen Coan, engineered an intern program that landed a candidate, and her 10-week program proved very effective. He is now a full-time OSR and a key piece of our team. We also brought on another next-generation employee that has streamlined our administration needs to the point where she has asked for and has been given the additional role of OSR. We also created three databases that have leveraged our ability to throw a lot of opportunities at the wall. Our team can manage all three databases with near automation and remarkable flexibility.
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 have been to many national conferences and until recently, I was able to blend into the crowd while I absorbed everything from Tim Coakley to Ray Hall. As time has progressed to the Walt Tobin era (pun intended), I find myself exposed and in a position to TRY and give back. The bottom line is that ERA has given way more to the development of me as a rep and C C Electro Sales as a rep firm than I will ever be able to pay back.
Are you active on social media? Do you follow ERA? Have ERA updates via social media been helpful to you?
Yes, yes and yes. As part of our company’s content marketing strategy, I look to the ERA website for items to leverage. I’m passionate about educating the world that a rep’s line card is THE toolbox for advancing technology. We bring technology to market more efficiently than any other sales and marketing discipline. But the world needs to clearly understand what a rep is and does; ERA publishes a lot to be shared on that topic.
What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
During high school, I worked at the same grocery store in Indianapolis (Atlas Supermarket) as the former Late Night host, David Letterman. He was long gone when I started working there. Rumor has it that he was fired for building a canned goods display that went to, and was wedged into, the ceiling; so no one could remove a can for purchase. His mother continued to shop there long after he became famous. So my connection is that I bagged groceries for David Letterman’s Mom and carried them out to her car. I think she may have even tipped me a time or two — $0.25 went a long way back then!