The 2015 EDS Leadership Summit introduced an entirely new program aimed squarely at a younger professional audience. Dubbed “Spark: The Professional Development Group,” this intensive three-day program includes career-building industry, sales and business seminars; networking events with peers, as well as industry leaders; as well as a comprehensive introduction to EDS. Spark attendees were also given the opportunity to join in company meetings and industry-wide events.
“Spark is an exciting new business education program designed to introduce fresh, talented professionals, many new to the electronics industry, into the EDS community and give them tools to successfully grow their careers,” says EDS board member Fred Bell. Bell is vice-president of global distribution for Molex.
Held annually in May in Las Vegas, the Summit is widely acknowledged as the premier event for the electronic components industry—attracting approximately 80% of the target audience of companies who distribute electronic components. This year, the Summit takes place at the Mirage Hotel and is expected to draw an attendance of 2,500-3,000 mostly high-level attendees representing manufacturers, distributors and manufacturers’ representatives.
Because of its unique, meeting-based format and its positioning as a “Leadership Summit,” EDS attendees tend to be senior-level executives. “Through Spark, we’re encouraging companies to begin bringing their younger, up-and-coming people to gain experience,” adds EDS president Craig Anderson, also president of Sumer Inc., a prominent manufacturers’ representative.
For this first year, Spark attendees will number around 30. Anderson expects that number to grow for the 2016 Summit. “Once companies understand the direct value of Spark to their businesses—better-skilled, better-connected, leadership-oriented employees—they’re going to be signing up.”
The electronic components business, at the EDS level, is very interpersonal, said Anderson. “It’s literally built on handshakes. Networking is key, and that’s a big part of what Spark is about—helping younger professionals begin building strong business relationships. And the EDS Summit is the perfect place to do it.”