Representor Summer 2023 - Rising Stars


In-person networking and virtual resources help this rising star

Alex Monetta
Outside Sales Representative
Meridian Technical Sales

To gain better insight into how young professionals in the electronics industry have survived and thrived, The Representor interviewed Alex Monetta, outside sales representative at Meridian Technical Sales.

Monetta shared how taking advantage of myriad in-person networking opportunities, as well as learning from LinkedIn and podcasts, have helped him grow his career.

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

I am an outside sales representative for Meridian Technical Sales. At Meridian we cover the Northern California and Northern Nevada territories. Although I am relatively new to the electronics industry, I have been in sales for nearly a decade. I am a Bay Area native living in San Francisco and try to spend as much of my free time on the golf course. My wife and I also like to frequent our favorite restaurants, go wine tasting in Napa and spend time with our friends and family.

How long have you worked in the electronics industry?

I have been in the industry for three years. I started at Meridian in May 2020 during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic and I am proud to say I am still here!

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

Despite growing up in the Bay Area and being so close to Silicon Valley, I never thought of the electronics industry being a possibility for my career until I spoke with Rey Bautista, owner of Meridian. After our initial conversation, I could see a whole new world of opportunity in electronics. The ability to work in an industry that constantly pushes the boundaries and contributes to the development of cutting-edge technologies that have a daily impact on our lives excites me.

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

Hands-down my biggest challenge as I entered the industry was establishing relationships with prospective customers, the suppliers on our line card and distribution partners. While I knew starting a job in a new industry during COVID-19 would be a challenge, I was confident in my ability as a sales professional to make an immediate impact. However, I quickly realized without knowing the ins and outs of the electronics industry, I was about to take on my biggest professional challenge. Even with previous experience selling virtually, I didn’t account for how difficult building meaningful relationships would be while everyone was working remotely. So much of this industry is based on who you know and when customers only know you as a talking head on a screen or email signature, it is hard to gain trust.

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

At Meridian, we always say, “You have to be present to win.” As our world started to open back up and in-person functions became relevant again, it became a priority for me to go to as many networking events as I could and go to our local distribution branches. Honestly, any face-to-face opportunity that came up, I was going to be there. But I couldn’t wait around for my territory to “open back up.” I had to embrace the virtual world of selling and find ways to stand out. Utilizing LinkedIn allowed me to connect with people across the industry and get my name out there. Also, for any virtual call, I always start with my camera on. I really feel that if I am on camera, the meeting becomes personal and it is such a simple way to nurture a relationship.

What are training tools or networking/ industry events you find beneficial to your professional growth?

Earlier I mentioned utilizing LinkedIn to connect with people in the industry, but I also value LinkedIn as a training tool. LinkedIn Learning has some excellent online courses that laid the foundation for how I approach prospecting new customers. I also listen to a number of sales podcasts, like “The Advanced Selling Podcast.” While that is not an industry-specific podcast, the topics covered on a weekly basis have led me to look outside of my normal scope and identify any blind spots. As for industry events, I attended the 2022 EDS Summit and the 2023 ERA Conference and I thought these events were great exposure to learn more from the leaders of our industry. I am also a member of the ERA NEXGEN group and I encourage all newcomers to the industry to join this group. You can learn a lot by engaging with your peers, especially when you talk about your challenges and realize that you’re not alone. I always leave our ERA NEXGEN discussions motivated and ready to go.

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

Unfortunately, I don’t believe we have enough young talent entering the electronics industry. Across the board — from reps, distributors and suppliers — we have to do a better job of acknowledging this problem and addressing it head on. Promoting electronics education and creating awareness about the exciting opportunities and career paths available at schools, career fairs, workshops, etc., can help attract new talent. Also, creating a diverse and inclusive environment within the industry is crucial for attracting new talent. The last thing I’ll add is that the electronics industry cannot afford to be behind in adopting all the new technology out there that other industries have embraced for years. There are so many sales tools to improve sales performance and productivity. This industry can be a lot of fun, and we need to show that we aren’t stuck in our ways and are ready to be proactive instead of reactive.

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

The future of our industry is bright! A few trends that are particularly exciting for me include the expansion of energy efficiency and sustainability, AI and wearable technology. Our world is only going to get more connected, and we play a vital role in that future.

Professionally, what keeps you up at night?

I’m a forward-thinking person and constantly thinking of ways to be better at my job. As someone without a formal engineering background, I have to stay curious and be constantly learning.