Representor Spring 2023 - Someone You Should Know

Someone You Should Know: Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker

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 Chris Tucker, product marketing manager for Cornell Dubilier Electronics.

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

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am married to my lovely wife, Marlene. During the week we live in Easley, S.C., near Cornell Dubilier Electronics (CDE) headquarters in Liberty, S.C. We travel three hours back on the weekends to our hometown Rocky Top, Tennessee (near Knoxville). I currently manage the South Carolina CDE product marketing team that handles aluminum electrolytic and transmitting mica products.

How long have you been in the manufacturing business?

My career started 22 years ago as a supplier to my current company, CDE. When I joined CDE, it was an opportunity to learn more about our industry’s sales and marketing side. In my previous experiences, I had primarily been in plant management and operations. Before joining CDE, I worked for Becromal in their U.S. and European facilities until finishing the last six years residing/working in Akureyri, Iceland – located 60 km outside the arctic circle.

How did you become interested in the electronics industry?

Growing up, I enjoyed taking everything apart that used any form of electricity! It left me with a fascination with learning about circuits. My first job out of school was for a company that designed, sold and installed controls used in utility grids for the Tennessee Valley Authority on distribution and transmission delivery. That experience solidified my interest.

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

Our ability to understand, translate, design, manufacture and service the needs of all our customers. We work with the leading DOD contractors in some of the most rewarding projects of great magnitude. We also enjoy working with customers repairing vintage equipment and running across our still-working capacitors. Personally, these are very proud and rewarding engagements.

Briefly describe your organization.

CDE is a 114-year-old privately owned and operated company and is a powerhouse in research and development. Our ability to solve a problem in the modeling stage and lab before it becomes a problem in the field is paramount to our reputation. Cornell Dubilier’s name and reputation resonate as a global leader in designing and manufacturing high-performance capacitors in military, industrial and green energy applications.

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

Our most recent innovations have come from designing and manufacturing pulse power modules to support fusion power research. This is the advantage of being privately owned and operated: it promotes innovation at its cutting edge. Regarding best practices, CDE has acquired two legacy companies over the past three years to support our position in commodity and custom film markets. These acquisitions have brought new people and resources to our company. We have seen production lines moving to different CDE locations, foreign and domestic, based on our Center of Excellence model. We developed the Center of Excellence model by partnering with a world-class Operational Excellence company, synthesizing LEAN manufacturing, Six Sigma and Toyota Kata. Our managers drive continuous process improvement daily with their teams, and I feel it gives us an edge. This edge has allowed us to continue innovating and synergizing our product lines and capabilities across multiple locations.

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?

For me, the ERA Conference is the most rewarding and forward-paying event that I participate in. The ERA conference allows us to spend time with the reps and distributors we work with. Better yet, we get to meet and collaborate with other industry professionals we do not engage with routinely. I am incredibly grateful to the speakers, teachers and industry experts, such as the published economists and futurists the ERA procures for their events.

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

I am not active on social media, but I have a LinkedIn account maintained by our social media director. My ERA updates include ERA emails, the website, and The Representor magazine. I recently served on the ERA Conference keynote speaker committee. I found the committee assignment brought me closer to the ERA, its staff and its volunteers, who share and practice my same professional interests.

What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?

My main passion, above all, is remodeling/restoring my old family property in Tennessee. I enjoy restoring and maintaining vintage boats, cars and motorcycles. My wife and I are certified scuba divers and enjoy downhill and Nordic skiing.

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

I played guitar professionally for 11 years in a regional cover band. I am a retired Wood Badge-trained Boy Scout master, retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Power Squadron, and retired civilian left-handed rifle coach for the Dept. of the Army.