OFB Marketing and Broad Electroniccs America
43 years in the industry
Black Leaders In Consumer Tech Award Winner 2021
Tell us about your career so far.
What started as a part-time college job in 1978, evolved into roles as an independent sales rep, regional sales manager for Precision Power, Kenwood USA and Rockford Fosgate which led to executive positions with United Entertainment Media and Toucan Industries. In 2003, we formed JDM Motorsports followed by OFB Marketing in 2008, both sales and marketing companies and in 2020 was appointed President of Broad Electronics America.
Describe your current role.
As President of two companies, both CE focused, we are in the trenches everyday promoting sell- through with retailers while also developing, sourcing and delivering private label programs for mid-size resellers. Experiencing products and marketing concepts as they come to fruition, meet successful adaptation and acceptance with consumers culminates career learned skills.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, how is the CE industry doing both historically, and also in the past year?
I have wondered why the black, brown faces I have met in retail were not in the manufacturer or dealer meetings my career progressed. They were as capable as me any of my peers. The CE Industry is made up of thousands of small businesses and implies many opportunities exist therefore representation should be natural. Diversity requires efforts and risk, but like many sectors, we extend and inclusivity to consumers, yet fail to appreciate how diversity can yield enhanced market opportunities and results.
The past year would be a poor measure of the CE industry’s diversity achievements. Again, a lot of small businesses were in a survival mindset due to the evolving nature of the COVID pandemic and accompanying uncertainties. We heard loud and clear the angst of people excluded from the American promise. I hope witnessing the strife encourages decision makers to undertake true efforts that deliver the promise of equality for all. Let us look at our progress after 2022. We will have many opportunities to restructure all aspects of work-life and incorporating diverse views and people will be an accelerator for companies seeking breakthroughs.
What could the CE industry do to improve on diversity and inclusion?
Don’t talk about it, BE about it! Be uncomfortable about not seeing diversity in your hiring, thinking and approach to solutions. Lastly, call out and challenge your team when you feel exclusion setting the agenda. Be uncomfortable with your comfort; examine it and act upon it.
What would you tell non-black professionals in the CE industry who want to support the inclusion of black people in the industry?
First, become a mentor. Maybe is you kid’s sports league or school, on a business trip or living your everyday consumer life, when you see someone that causes you to ask yourself, ‘what’s her/his story’, take that moment and engage. Keep doing this until you become comfortable and at ease hearing the story of others. You’ll discover talent and develop business opportunities.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My marriage to Marie. Nothing in my career is possible without her.
What technology are you most interested in at the moment?
Software platforms which aid brands, resellers and consumers connect. This is as important to resellers as the newest handset, TV or computer. Tremendous energy has been exerted telling us the consumers buying habits have shifted, establishing new connection points to maintain incumbent relationships is fascinating in its potential. The events of 2020 are an accelerant in the technology of communication and commerce.
What’s the top trend in CE for you right now?
Retail fragmentation. The consumer is challenging the CE Industry to find, engage and inspire them where they choose. All technology needs a motivated consumer to succeed. Remember Beta? It was better and failed with consumers.
What’s your favorite gadget right now?