News Archive

In Remembrance of Chris Kimbell


Chris KimbellThe SMTA was saddened to learn on Wednesday of the death of our Austin Chapter President, Chris Kimbell. Chris had planned to attend the Leadership Forum this weekend and was scheduled to conduct a breakout session with Leslee on Vendor Days. Chris worked to rejuvenate the Austin chapter many years ago and his work is still providing benefit to the technical community in Austin through the CTEA. Chris was tireless in his support of these activities. We can't remember Chris not having a smile on his face. When our staff would go to Austin for their Vendor Day, Chris and his wife, Diane, were always wonderful about inviting us to their home, or taking us to dinner. A good friend, Greg Caswell, wrote to me, "One of the reasons Chris was successful in his position with VirTex was the rapport he developed with all of his customers. Invaluable in today's economy. He was unselfish about opportunities that he came across that his company could not handle, because, in his opinion, solving the customers need came first." Brad Heath, President of VirTex Assembly, sent me the following message: There are two types of sales people I have seen be very successful. One is highly polished, very detail oriented and has all the right answers exactly when you need them. The other is a really good guy who connects with the right people and makes you want to do business with him. You know he will take care of you. Chris was a world class example of the latter. He made more cold calls and visits than any sales manager I ever met. Chris opened up Houston for us this way, penetrating the "good old boy network" down there into an active sales territory. When Chris came to VirTex, he had been doing outsourced offshore assembly sales for a company that had a unique business model of US based component sourcing and offshore production. That idea was the initial spark that became VirTex's model of right-shoring. As an expansion of that original idea, VirTex now has assembly plants in Texas and Mexico, as well as partners in Taiwan, China and India. This has been instrumental in allowing us to create jobs in the US while partnering offshore. On behalf of the SMTA Board and our staff we want you to know that we share this loss with our leaders in Austin and with our many colleagues in Austin. The SMTA family has lost a strong leader and a good friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Chris' family at this difficult time. JoAnn Stromberg SMTA Administrator


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