Representor Fall 2022 - Rising Stars


Leaning on mentors and experienced reps to build a solid foundation

Wyatt Gifford
English Technical Sales

Wyatt Gifford, Field Sales Representative, English Technical Sales

To gain better insight into how young professionals in the electronics industry have survived and thrived, The Representor interviewed Wyatt Gifford, field sales representative at English Technical Sales. Gifford shared how he thinks there is always something to be gained by those who come before you – a lesson he’s learned in his personal and professional life.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally. 

I was born and raised in Southern California. Being the youngest of three, I grew up a team player whether I liked it or not! I graduated high school with a tough decision to make – continue playing football or pursue my education. I chose the conservative route for education. I started in the automotive engineering program at Arizona State University (ASU), thinking it would be fun to engineer and build vehicles. However, after much contemplation, I graduated from ASU with a degree in technological entrepreneurship and management. This degree is a hybrid between engineering and business. I learned how to not only engineer my own products, but how to market and sell them. However, I was never really sure where this type of degree would take me.

How long have you worked in the electronics industry?

I started as an intern in the electronics industry in 2019, and then I transitioned to full-time as an outside salesperson in January of 2020. So, I am approaching my fourth year in the industry as of 2023.

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

Prior to my employment with English Technical Sales (ETS), I was not aware of the rep industry in any way. I was referred to the opportunity by a friend of mine who, at the time, was working with one of our local design houses. For some time, I was not sure if this was the career for me. That being said, I also had no understanding of what a rep was or did. As I became more comfortable, more established and developed a good understanding of how to be a rep, I began to see this as a viable, long-term career. The freedom, the excitement, the pace – this industry is very exciting and unlike many others. I have found it satisfying for myself as I continue to develop into a more experienced rep.

What are some of the main challenges you encountered as you embarked on your career journey?

There are a lot of challenges associated with this industry. I think many of us are aware of that, but I think it is sometimes easy to forget how long and difficult the journey was for each of us. Personally, one of the most challenging parts for me was keeping my motivation. This career can be compared to something like fishing or hunting. You spend weeks, months and sometimes years, searching and chasing potential opportunities. There are no step-by-step directions to make a sale, so you have to experiment and adapt to find what works for you and for your base of customers. Even then, you can do everything right, but the timing or something else could be wrong – and you will miss your target. The reason this was so challenging is I had no idea if what I was doing was the right thing. It sometimes felt like I was wasting my time and my employer’s time. Fortunately, I have a great mentor in this industry. He often provides encouragement and feedback to my efforts. His assurance and guidance have often kept my head above water, and was more valuable than any trainings or courses on being a sales rep.

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

The shared motivation of my mentor and colleagues was a great resource to overcome this challenge. However, I have also taken a great deal of time to gather knowledge and make connections from others in the industry. As I said above, there is no guide for this career. Everyone has different techniques to accomplish success. One lesson that I learned from being the youngest in my family is there is always something to be gained from those who came before you. Currently, there are a great deal of experienced reps in the industry and within the ERA. I would recommend that any newer reps out there really listen and engage with your more experienced reps, and other reps around the country. The knowledge you will gain from them is priceless, and I believe will create the foundation for a long and successful career.

What were some training tools or networking/industry events that you found beneficial to your professional growth?

ERA is likely the most powerful tool for my growth as a rep as almost all of my industry contacts have come through engaging with ERA. Many of the most powerful tools and strategies we use as modern-day reps have come from within ERA and related events.

Is there enough new talent entering the electronics industry and what could make this field more attractive to future young professionals?

Yes, I think there is enough new growth within the rep industry. I think the transition may have been slightly delayed; however, the industry has become aware, and I am seeing a massive adaptation arising.

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

In 10 to 20 years, I think the faces may look different, the tools we use will look different, and our customer base might shift to different technologies with the rise of electric vehicles, green energy and other advancements. However, I think at the end of the day, our profession will still be doing what we have always done – driving engineering designs for our customers. Unless artificial intelligence (AI) becomes able to read our thoughts and develop custom-engineered parts on the spot for our end users – until then, the difficulties of new discoveries, communication of ideas and the rationale of compromises will keep the rep industry striving.

Professionally, what keeps you up at night?

The thought that in my hunt for new opportunities, I have blindly passed by a multi-million dollar “stag.”