Introducing Spark: The EDS Professional Development Group

Spark is a unique summit within the EDS Summit—created to introduce new, talented people into EDS and give them tools to help grow their careers. Participating in Spark benefits everyone: your people, your business, EDS and the electronic components industry.

Aimed at our industry’s next generation of professionals, the Spark program includes:

  • A special introduction to EDS—how it functions and how to best use it
  • A schedule of career-building seminars on industry, sales and business topics led by leading experts.
  • Networking events where Spark attendees can connect with their peers.

There will also be ample time available for Spark participants to take part in business meetings and attend industry-wide events during the EDS Summit. There is a limit of 2 attendees per company.

Contact Gretchen Oie at 312-648-1140 or for more information. All Spark attendees receive a special EDS Spark registration rate of $500.


Maximum number of attendees: 40. Limit 2 per company. We suggest your attendees have less than 5 years in the industry. $500 per person includes sessions, meals and networking.

Tuesday, May 7th

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm   Meet and Greet. Introduction of attendees.
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm   Cross Learning Seminar. How do manufacturers, distributors and reps work together? How do they sell?
Walt Tobin, ERA and Bill Bradford, ECIA
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Panel with past Spark participants
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm  All Industry Reception (special raffle for SPARK participants)
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Spark Reception and Dinner

Wednesday, May 8th

7:00 am – 8:00 am   Breakfast and networking
8:00 am – 9:30 am   Digital Marketing
Brian Krause, Molex and Kevin Hess, Mouser
9:30 am – 10:00 am   Networking Break
10:00 am – 12:00 pm   Build Your Brand
Jennifer Smith, JMS Synergy
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm   Luncheon and Guest Speaker on Emerging Markets
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm   Networking Break
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm   The Art of Negotiating Effectively
Barry Wright, Grosvenor Training

Thursday, May 9th

6:45 am – 7:00 am   Meet in the Spark Lounge
7:00 am – 8:00 am   ECIA and ERA Breakfast Meeting
8:00 am – 12:00 pm   Open time to attend company meetings
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm   Luncheon and networking break
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm   Randy MacLean, WayPoint Analytics
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm   Wrap Up
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Reception


Speaker Profiles

Bill Bradford – President and CEO of ECIA

Bill Bradford has over 30 years of experience in the electronic components industry, having led the global sales organizations for Freescale, ON Semiconductor and Entropic Communications.  He also served as President and CEO of Minco Technology Labs, a Hi-Rel die processing, assembly, test and distribution company.  He began his career in sales at Texas Instruments, followed by Cypress Semiconductor.

Dr. Bradford has a BSEE from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, an MS in Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and an Executive Doctorate in Business from Georgia State University, having conducted research in leadership and sales analytics. He is an ICF certified executive coach and has been a mentor and catalyst for startups at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology and Design Center.

In January 2018, the ECIA Board of Directors named Dr. Bradford the Association’s President and CEO, succeeding the retiring John Denslinger.

Kevin HessSenior Vice President of Marketing, Mouser

Kevin directs technical business opportunities and leads development of marketing strategies, advertising and promotional activities. Overseeing new product introduction and technical content development, Kevin helps orchestrate new releases and launch efforts. Directing Mouser’s online assets, Kevin helps define Mouser’s global marketing communication efforts through branding, PR and media outreach, advertising, Internet marketing and direct mail. Kevin began in Mouser’s warehouse over 25 years ago after earning a B.S. in Business Logistics from Penn State University.

Brian KrauseVice President of Marketing and Communications, Molex

Part of the interconnect industry for over 30 years, Brian is responsible for the Molex global brand, website, advertising, public relations, and commercialization and product promotion.

His Global MARCOM organization promotes Molex to major industries through advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, trade shows and seminars. Brian’s Global Product Commercialization organization works with product managers worldwide, meeting Molex sales channel marketing needs, including product release packages, web publishing, conference calls, sample kits and newsletters.


Randy MacLeanPresident of WayPoint Analytics

Randy advises corporate executives on advanced analytics and profit best practices.  His company’s system is the best cost and profit analysis system available, used by the top distribution companies.  He's the inventor of Quantum Costing,  the best-selling author of three books on profit analytics, and a popular speaker at industry events.

Jennifer SmithJMS Synergy

Jennifer is an independent consultant with 28 years of involvement in the global manufacturing industry. Her career includes knowledge, skill and experience in technical sales and customer support, global training and development, global change initiatives and process improvements.   

Jennifer is a Ph.D. student at Benedictine University, holds a graduate degree in Organization Development and is Green Belt Six Sigma Certified.  She is an active member of The National Academy of Management and The Midwest Academy of Management.  She is a member of the Benedictine University Graduate Business School’s adjunct faculty, where she teaches on the topics of Organization Behavior and Organization Development

Walter E. TobinChief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President, ERA

Walt is an electronics industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and executive/corporate management positions. His prior management positions include nine years as corporate vice president of Future Electronics, 12 years at Pioneer-Standard (acquired in 2003 by Arrow Electronics) and 15 years at Arrow Electronics. Tobin holds both a B.S. and MBA from Boston College and is a former U.S. Army Captain.   

Barry WrightSenior Director, Grosvenor Training

Barry brings his warm, dynamic, and entertaining teaching style to the arena of sales management, negotiation, and leadership training. After his remarkable success as one of the U.K.'s top sales people, and ten years of sales success behind him as a "quota-buster" in the highly competitive office equipment/supplies industry with Xerox, Pitney Bowes, IBM and VGC Corp., Barry transitioned his skills of sales and leadership expertise to coaching and training others. As a lively presenter, coach and role model for leadership, Barry is guaranteed to keep everyone engaged.