Tobi Cornell, VP Distribution, Kruvand Associates, Inc.
Tobi Cornell Graduated from Texas Christian University in 1994 and entered the electronics industry that same year working for a Manufacturer’s Rep firm, DJ Sales (Dallas, TX), in an Inside Sales position. She went into Outside Sales after 2 ½ years there, and the firm was acquired by another Rep firm, Kruvand Assoc (Dallas, TX) in 1999. She has continued in field sales at Kruvand for these past 22 years with an account base in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. She was appointed VP of Distribution during this time to continue to foster and grow close relationships with channel partners in the industry. She looks forward to continuing at Kruvand in this amazing electronics industry for many years to come!
Tell us about your company and how they support your involvement with ECIA.
Kruvand is a Manufacturer’s Rep firm located in the Dallas, TX area serving the states of TX, OK, AR, LA and the country of Mexico. We have just under 40 employees located in the US and Mexico territory that we serve. Our involvement with the ECIA began early on as one of the original reps to join the organization, and we conducted local Dallas chapter events for a while, as well as supported the Regional Events in Dallas when those were held in various markets. We also always attend the ECIA Executive Conferences in the Chicago area each year. My company is very supportive of my individual involvement with the ECIA’s various task force activities, which over the years have included me working with the groups that helped create the new Design Reg form, the planning of Regional ECIA meetings when they were held in Dallas, and most recently the DR Task Force to research the Design Registration program/system in our industry.
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?
The most recent project that I’ve been involved with the ECIA organization has been the DR Task Force. I began working with this task group when it formed in early 2020, and spent that full year working with the ECIA team as well as our other task force members who came from Distribution, Rep firms, and Manufacturing companies. Together our team came up with survey questions for the industry, took the first long draft of surveys ourselves, paired down that research and survey, and then helped recruit others to take the revised surveys. Finally, we analyzed all the data we received back and categorized it for the ECIA Board’s review. It was a full year of a fantastic working relationship with so many amazing people in our industry. We were able to share our thoughts and ideas with each other from our own perspective job functions, and truly analyze the results that we received back from the entire industry surrounding this very fascinating and polarizing topic. We had amazing direction from the ECIA team in organizing this data, and it has brought me closer to so many incredible people in our industry. When 2021 came around, I elected to stay with this DR committee as it entered the second phase of research, and we welcomed many new members to the task force this year from different Distributors, Manufacturer’s Reps, and Manufacturers. I must say that having the history participating in the first phase has made this second phase very satisfying, as I get to see something that has been discussed for one full year move on to the next full year of evolution…and it continues to be very eye-opening! It’s also exciting to see new eyes review this data, and have those new perspectives and ideas shared within the DR Taskforce this year. By the end of the year our project will come to a close with what should be a fascinating and amazing outlook of the future of the DR Program in the Electronics Industry. I’m looking forward to seeing what the end result is!
What first drew you to the industry?
My knowledge of the industry came from my father, who was a part of it for over 25 years. I was getting into the industry right as he was retiring from it. What made me stay…well, that is what and where the draw really is! I am thrilled with the idea of working on something new every day, with getting to sell and represent cutting edge companies in their respective fields, with getting to call on customers who are designing the latest and greatest end product for their markets, and with the true partnership our industry offers with one another. Every day in our industry is different and new…you will NEVER get bored! I’ll finish with the most important draw…the people. The people in our industry are amazing, and there are so many lifelong friendships and knowledge to gain and share with each other…so much to learn and such wonderful friends to make and hang on to along the way.
Describe your biggest career challenge.
I think the biggest career challenge would be facing years of drastic change. Whether it be a market segment decline, a large product line loss, or a natural disaster. I think right now we’re seeing the biggest career challenge in history as we all face and deal with COVID and how it has changed our lives. It is the biggest challenge I’ve faced, yet it’s also an opportunity to grow, to rethink how we do things, and to come out of this stronger on the other side.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be bolder and more confident at the start. That is a hard thing to embrace as a young employee…to speak out and be confident when you’re also trying to learn and figure things out. I would also say it’s ok to make mistakes…that’s how we learn and become stronger and better people.
Filed Under: Women in Engineering