Top Public CEO

Glenn Smith

Mouser Electronics

Mouser Electronics

1000 N. Main St.

Mansfield, TX 76063

Toll Free (800) 346-6873

www.mouser.com

President and CEO Glenn Smith runs Mouser Electronics, a fast growing industry leader in the successful portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway companies.

He joined Mouser in 1973 as a part-time warehouse employee in San Diego, California, while attending college.

And he has seen the company grow from a small electronic component distributor to become one of the world’s largest electronic components distributors with more than 2,500 employees in 27 offices worldwide and more than $1.9 billion in sales.

His biggest mentor over this career hasn’t been a single person. It is the company’s customer base.

“When I became the president of the company back in the ’80s, I found that we weren’t listening to the customers very well. And I said, ‘Well, we need to start listening to our customers.‘ And I started making sure that we did that,” he said in an interview.

“We figured out how to introduce new products to engineers without losing money on it. How do you make money on a product that has no customers, no one’s ever sold one? How do you make money on that? And we had to figure out the skillset to do that. And it was all about education of the engineer,” he said.

It’s data driven. The company has more data on 2 million engineers visiting its website around 185,000 times a day, searching on 20 million different products every day.

That lets the company figure out what engineers and researchers are doing and allows it to connect those customers with suppliers that are launching new products.

“And if you do that effectively, if you can do that right, and you educate the customer on the product, on the technologies that are available, then you’re providing value and they come back,” Smith said.

But it’s not all slide rules and pocket protectors.

Mouser has sponsored the GEOX DRAGON Formula E (electronic-powered cars) racing team and also works with celebrity engineer – and customer - Grant Imahara to build awareness and interest in engineering careers.

Smith himself recently retired from auto racing with the Porsche Club of America. He has also competed in equestrian events, competitive shooting, and 5k running events. Today he spends free time on his road bike, mountain bike, on horseback, running, at the gym, or on the tennis courts.

– Robert Francis

When was your company founded?

1963. Our roots began in El Cajon, California. We moved headquarters/operations to Mansfield in 1986 to be centrally located and near DFW Airport. In 2000, we were acquired by TTI Inc., and in 2007, Berkshire Hathaway acquired TTI/Mouser.

Employees

More than 2,500 globally.

Founder

Jerry Mouser, a high school physics teacher. I joined the company in 1973 as a warehouse employee. Having done multiple jobs through the ranks prepared me for President/CEO, understanding all of the facets of the company.

Type of Business

We are a global authorized distributor of semiconductors and electronic components for more than 750 manufacturers, including Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Intel, TE Connectivity, Molex and other global brands.

What differentiates your company from others?

We specialize in introducing new products/technologies to electronic design engineers globally, supporting the entire design chain and supply chain for the design and production of electronics.

What was your greatest challenge and how did you respond to it?

Our greatest challenge over the last five to 10 years has been globalization. Learning how to establish and run a business in different countries, currencies, languages and cultures has been both challenging and rewarding. More than half of our business today comes to us from outside the United States.

The business climate is changing rapidly. What do you foresee as challenges?

Access to labor: Employment opportunities abound in North Texas with a tight job market. To attract and retain top talent, we are expanding our benefits with the addition of an on-site gym and medical clinic, along with other perks for our employees.

Do you see the present business climate as challenging, uncertain or optimistic and why?

We are very optimistic about the present and future business climate, particularly for our industry. The digital revolution is driving worldwide demand for electronic components.

Tech trends propelling our business include 5G, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, industrial automation and transportation.

If you could make one and only one change in the present business climate, what would it be and why?

Eliminate the high tariffs. “China” does not pay tariffs; American business pay 100% of the tariffs. These are a tax on American companies, and also make it harder to profitably sell American-produced products globally. The electronic devices being tariffed cannot be produced in a high labor cost area.

The tariffs raise the cost of these small components, squeezing American company profits, and causing companies to move product assembly outside the USA to avoid bringing in the raw materials (since the final assembled product is immune from the excess tariff). It’s ineffective governmental policy because the product assembly workers are the highest skilled/highest paid jobs, while the raw components are produced by unskilled/minimum wage jobs.

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