The Future of the Electronic Components Industry

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Robert Willis, one of the industry’s most dedicated leaders, announced his retirement from the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA).

From his early days at Motorola to his tenure at EIA as sector President of ECA, Bob (as most of us know him) successfully leveraged his professional experience and cross-industry relationships to continually grow global IP&E awareness. In 2011 as ECA and NEDA merged, Bob became ECIA’s resident technologist serving the broader technical needs of IP&E, semiconductor and a new generation of products addressing system solutions.

While Bob may be leaving ECIA, the organization remains dedicated to serving the engineering community. John Denslinger, ECIA President and CEO recalls Bob’s greatest accomplishments and shares with us the future of ECIA.

ECN: Who will be filling the CTO position?
JD: With Bob’s retirement, I have no immediate plans to fill the position as it currently was structured. Our Standards group headed by Ed Mikowski will continue as before with over sight provided by Robin Gray, COO. As for Statistics, ECIA has employed the services of the long term Chairman, Jim Bruorton who reports directly to me. I expect our activity will greatly expand under Jim’s leadership. All technical & industry events have been folded into our Events Marketing Director, Debbie Conyers.

ECN: What would you say Bob Willis’s greatest accomplishment for ECIA was? What about the industry as a whole?
JD: Bob joined the electronics industry association world when it was EIA about 20 years ago. He was instrumental in taking the components sector of EIA to a stand-alone association renamed ECA. The undertaking was no small task in my estimation. Later he was a party to the merger of ECA and NEDA to form ECIA. At every step along the way, Bob worked diligently with member companies reassuring each of the opportunities afforded by such moves. He will likely be remembered most for his leadership on CARTS: advancing the industry’s technical achievements.

ECN: What does Bob’s retirement mean for ECIA? Will you plan to make any changes or take any new approaches?
JD: ECIA Executives are presently developing a comprehensive strategic plan for 3-5 years out. The output will largely determine what if any changes are necessary. At this point, it is too early to judge.

ECN: Can you describe the current state of the electronic component industry?
JD: The industry itself is quite robust. On the manufacturing side, M&A is very apparent in the semiconductor world with at least 4 major deals announced or concluded. Distribution in general continues on a steady growth path fueled by new products and services aimed at providing customers with overall solutions rather than merely components. That trend is likely to accelerate.

ECN: What’s the biggest challenge the industry currently faces.
JD: The industry is continually challenged by a number of external forces, such as, regulatory, environmental, counterfeiting, currency exchange rates, natural disasters, and new competitors to the market. ECIA is positioned to work on common problems drawing on the input and expertise of our member companies.

ECN: What does ECIA hope to accomplish for the rest of 2015?
JD: 2015 ECIA effort, as in 2014, continually focuses on building-out a full portfolio of services to member companies. This year we also dedicated ourselves to regenerating & expanding the scope of our Statistics program, and to the implementation of a ECIA Regional Conference Series.  I am delighted to report each exceeded our expectations.

ECN: What does the future of ECIA look like?
JD: ECIA is growing by every metric: membership, revenue, programs, services, actively participating companies, etc. And it should be duly noted, our ECIA authorized site for reliable sourcing of authorized products has become the de facto #1 standard preferred by customers. Our Board remains aggressive as they plan 2016 and beyond, the future of ECIA looks bright.

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