Representor Summer 2023 - Someone You Should Know

Someone You Should Know: Cole Sikes

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 Cole Sikes, vice president, global distribution & EMS, Abracon. 

The Representor asked  Sikes a few questions about his time in the electronics components manufacturing industry and his experiences with ERA. Here is what he had to say.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I reside in Chandler, Ariz., with my wife, Allison, and two dogs, Benny and Blue. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Arizona State University and although I am not a practicing engineer, I leverage the analytical thinking, data-driven mindset and root-cause approach to problem solving obtained from my engineering background every day.

How long have you been in the manufacturing business?

My career started 10 years ago with onsemi, a leading manufacturer of intelligent power and sensing semiconductor technologies. I held multiple roles during my time at onsemi, all channel-facing and focused on accelerating the adoption of new technologies across the mass market customer base. These roles included leading the global channel marketing organization and responsibility for the high-service and specialty distribution segments.

I am thrilled to have joined Abracon in March 2023 where I have global responsibility for the distribution and EMS segments, and am focused on driving market outperformance while forging strong partnerships and delivering world-class solutions to our customers and partners.

How did you become interested in the electronics industry?

I was a tinkerer growing up. I was always attempting (not always successfully!) to disassemble things, understand how they work and find ways to improve them. Somewhere around 12 years old, this turned into a fullblown hobby of building my own computers and maximizing performance via overclocking and water cooling. This eventually led to my interest in electrical engineering, then into the world of electronic components.

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

Three aspects stand out to me. First, the relationships and deep connections built with my colleagues that will last a lifetime. Second, the freedom to develop new ideas, seeing them through execution, and directly measuring their business impact. Lastly, seeing the innovative technologies we bring to market that solve challenging customer problems and improve the world around us.

Briefly describe your organization.

Headquartered outside of Austin, Texas, Abracon is a trusted supplier of leading-edge and innovative electronic components including frequency control, timing, power, magnetics, RF and antenna solutions. We service world-class companies across the data communication, transportation, industrial, medical, consumer, aerospace and defense industries. Abracon accelerates customers’ time-to-market by providing unmatched product solutions, technical expertise and service excellence.

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

Abracon is constantly innovating, whether it be bringing new technologies to market or developing new programs and processes to improve our customer and partner experience. On the technology front, we recently announced a solution partnership providing turnkey IoT solutions by combining Abracon’s high-performance antennas with u-blox’s IoT module solutions. Regarding customer experience, we recently announced a new partnership with Octopart, unlocking a fast and effective way to source Abracon products via a new inventory search tool embedded into the Abracon website.

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?

ERA brings together a wealth of industry experts across its community of members, executive committee and available consultants. The numerous programs ERA provides not only facilitate continued connections between colleagues, but also foster the development of new relationships which has provided immense value tome personally. I am already looking forward to the next ERA Conference!

What are some things you enjoy outside of the workplace?

When not at the workplace you’ll likely find me traveling with my wife or exploring the outdoors. Whether I am hiking, fishing, hunting, kayaking or playing golf, I am always looking for an adventure!

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

One of my hobbies is collecting Scotch Whisky, traveling to the distilleries and learning the history behind them. In fact, my wife and I were married in Edinburgh, Scotland and my wedding band is made of wood from a Balvenie Whisky barrel.