Teri Ivaniszyn, Vice President, Distribution, Operational Excellence & Trade Compliance, Digi-Key Electronics
BA Business, 1994 University of Michigan
BA Communications, 1994 University of Michigan
Teri Ivaniszyn is vice president of operational excellence and trade compliance for Digi-Key Electronics, headquartered in Thief River Falls, Minn. With 26 years of experience, she is skilled at ensuring operational excellence while focusing on improving bottom-line growth. Since joining Digi-Key in 2013, Teri’s expertise and leadership have been essential to driving enhancements to many of Digi-Key’s operational processes, including establishing the largest Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in the United States and the first small-package FTZ with major carriers, Custom Border and Protection (CBP) and government entities. She has also guided the company’s implementation of enhanced component traceability processes, and more recently, maximizing employee health and safety by setting up COVID-19 safety programs including contact tracing and more.
Teri is the chair of the Electronic Component Industry Association (ECIA)’s Supply Chain Board, and a member of the Quality Conference Board.
Tell us about your company and how they support your involvement with ECIA.
Digi-Key Electronics has always been a big supporter of ECIA. An opportunity arose about five years ago for a Digi-Key representative to join the Global Industry Practice Committee (GIPC), and our CEO Dave Doherty recommended it to me as a great opportunity to get involved.
The opportunity was perfect for me because it allowed me to learn more about the electronic component industry, as well as learn about best practices and operational excellence from peers in the industry. Joining this committee was an excellent fit, as I could jump in and be part of making a positive difference immediately – not just within my own organization, but across the entire industry.
Working with ECIA has been amazing. I have not only learned more about the industry and been able to make a difference in the industry, but I have made some lifelong friends along the way. Everybody who is involved really wants to do the right thing and do what’s good for the industry and for their people. To me, it’s been a very rewarding experience.
Describe a recent project with ECIA (in which you were involved). What were you most proud of or what is most notable about this project?
Being involved in ECIA has perhaps never been more impactful – or more important – than throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other members, Digi-Key’s main priority throughout this health crisis has always been our people, and making our work environments as safe and clean as possible.
Last spring, I led an ECIA committee focused on protecting the health and safety of employees throughout the industry. We developed a list of best practices and procedures that members were implementing within their own companies, so they could be shared with others. For example, a team of Digi-Key engineers developed a UV sanitization tunnel to disinfect the 8,000+ plastic totes used to move products around our warehouse.
We shared all the specs with other members, in case there were others who would also like to develop and implement something similar.
Initiatives like this are always so rewarding because they involve people, and keep them safe and healthy.
Describe your biggest career challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be one of the biggest challenges throughout my career, but has also given me the opportunity to practice and deepen my empathy and listening skills while making difficult decisions.
Digi-Key has seen record sales in the last 18 months as a result of the proactive planning for inventory that we increased several years ago. During this time of growth, we’ve simultaneously needed to take steps to protect the health and safety of our workers, including setting up social distancing, requiring personal protective equipment, installing automated contact tracing systems and more.
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do was balance asking our employees to put in overtime while keeping them safe throughout a dangerous public health crisis. We had many listening sessions with employees to determine the best path forward. We used contract help to alleviate some of the workload for existing employees, working closely with human resources and the local community to come up with new solutions for a better outcome.
Filed Under: Engineering Diversity & Inclusion