Someone You Should Know – Tobi Cornell
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 Tobi J. Cornell, CPMR, VP Distribution – Outside Sales DFW for Kruvand Associates Inc., headquartered in Dallas.
The Representor asked Tobi a few questions about her time in the electronics rep business and her experiences with ERA. Here is what she had to say.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I graduated from Texas Christian University with a BBA in Marketing and started working for a manufacturers’ rep firm in Texas, DJ Sales. I began my career in inside sales, then moved to outside sales after two and a half years. Kruvand Associates bought DJ Sales in 1999 and I’ve been with them ever since. It’s been an amazing journey working for Kruvand these past 20 years and I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful people along the way.
On a personal note, I am married with two wonderful young boys and live in the Dallas area.
What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?
I love spending time with my family! During the school year we’re quite busy with activities at school, as well as karate after school, and this new school year will bring more music into our household as our oldest son takes up the euphonium. Both my husband and I play instruments too. My husband plays the French Horn and I play the clarinet. I love to watch football, have a terrific love of books, for exercise I love to walk and go to Jazzercise, and as a family we all love books and movies of all types. I also enjoy going to see plays and musicals with my husband, or all four of us depending on what it is. We’re also blessed to have a lot of family close by.
How long have you been an ERA member and how long in the rep business?
I’ve been in the rep business for 25 years and have been an ERA member for that entire time.
How did you become interested in being a rep in the electronics industry?
My father was in the rep industry, which is how I became aware that it even existed at all. He started out in distribution, then became a rep, and when he retired, I was just getting out of college, so I interviewed at a rep firm and rest is history. I have stayed in this industry because I love it!
What have you found to be most rewarding about the rep business?
There are a few things that I really love about the rep business. The first is the people. I have been so fortunate to meet the most amazing people. I feel as though we’re all a giant family … the reps, distributors and manufacturers … the longer we’re all in this business together, the closer we all get. It’s been the most rewarding factor to me. The second thing I love about this business is that it is different every single day. You will never get bored … things evolve, change, technology and customers change … there is something new to challenge you each and every day.
Briefly describe your rep firm.
Kruvand is a large rep firm covering the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, and we also cover Mexico. We are approximately 35 employees and our lines are mostly electromechanical in nature.
What recent innovations, best practices and/or changes has your firm made?
Our best investments have been in our people. We’ve hired a new field salesperson in Dallas to cover an account base there, and another in Houston, who will cover accounts and assist in working closely with our channel partners in both Houston and Austin. We also are focusing on our social media presence as a company, and as individuals within our firm.
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’ve met so many people through ERA and grown my relationships with those I already knew by being part of the organization. I have especially loved participating in the planning with the ERA Conference Committee several times in the past. Working on that has brought me so much insight into ERA and its commitment to its members and to this industry. I’ve really gained so much from being a part of that, as well as being a part of the Southwest Chapter of ERA and serving as its secretary.
Are you active on social media? Do you follow ERA? Have ERA updates via social media been helpful to you?
Yes, I am active on social media, and try to post something every day. I do follow ERA, and yes, the posts are very helpful!
What is one interesting fact that people may not know about you?
In addition to playing the clarinet which a lot of people may not know, I also lived in Okinawa for a year when I was younger. I grew up with my mom and stepdad, and he was in the United States Marine Corps, which allowed us to be stationed in some pretty cool places!