Nate the Engineer part II: Glenn the CEO

Let's welcome Glenn Samala to his crazy new family.

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In the 13 years I’ve been CEO of SparkFun, I’ve watched the company grow incredibly quickly, and my time spent designing new products, playing with new technologies and laying out new boards has dwindled to zero. A little over a year ago, I wrote about how it was time to hand the reins to a professional so I could get back to what I love best: building crazy things.

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Elmo was my second AVC entry way back in 2010

Finding the right CEO for SparkFun was an exhaustive process spanning months of time, hundreds of applicants, dozens of meetings, phone calls and presentations, and countless questions. I am excited to announce that we’ve found a unicorn, and his name is Glenn.

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Not an actual unicorn

Glenn Samala’s chops come from 20+ years in the technology and manufacturing space. His expertise ranges from Operations, to Global Business Development, to Product Marketing. Glenn has led organizations through the challenges that accompany huge organic growth, and the cultural challenges that come with strategic acquisitions.

Prior to joining SparkFun, Glenn was Senior Director/General Manager of Global Business Development for Arrow Electronics. Do you know Arrow? They’re gigantic. Glenn’s responsibilities included Brazil operations, North American operations, enterprise sales and annuity services.

How do you convince an amazing person like Glenn to leave an excellent position at a large company with countless resources? Some people love a challenge, are always trying something new, and have a tendency to tinker with things until they hum. Glenn and I are alike in that way; we can’t help but fidget. He loves working on businesses the same way I love making components on a PCB look good. Don’t fight how you’re wired.

Glenn shares my excitement to challenge the norm. We share the same values for privacy, respect for human rights, and the humility to say “I don’t know.” He is not Nate 2.0; he is in fact something better: An experienced professional who is infinitely curious with a passion to lead.

To be very clear, you haven’t seen the last of me. I’m planning on taking some time to re-play Zelda until my thumb is sore from mashing buttons. I suspect I’ll make it approximately 72 hours before I start taking something apart. Tons of projects have been waiting patiently on my shelf (starting with my Autonomous PRS entry for our eighth AVC in September). I’m eager to learn some new tools (can you believe I’ve never laser cut an enclosure before?), design some new products, write and update a few tutorials, and speak about SparkFun every chance I get. I’ll fall asleep trying to come up with new and better ways to make electronics fun and accessible for everyone.

I’m very glad Glenn has decided to join us, and I know you will be too (and you can learn more about him here).

I want to thank all the people that provided support, feedback, and guidance over the past dozen years. I’m fortunate to have such a supportive network of friends. I am so excited and I can’t wait to share what comes next.


Comments 13 comments

  • Already projecting:

    Nathan soldering

    Engineer at <3

  • I hope to see some more Nate and Pete live Q and A about engineering small electronics!

  • Awesome post Nate! I’m happy for you and the team at Sparkfun. You have created a unique environment, culture and a creative way of thinking.I am really proud to know an individual that can step back and enjoy life from a different seat.

    Welcome Glenn, you found a good family.

    Keep on Truckin!

  • Do you know Arrow? They’re gigantic.

    Yeah, I know Arrow. Based on my experience at a former employer, if they don’t think they’ll get at least $100,000 a year in business out of you, they’ll barely give you the time of day. (They’ll quite literally give you Digi-Key’s website and gladly suggest you go there instead of bothering them.) I most sincerely hope that Glenn leaves that attitude behind.

    Speaking of Digi-Key, there’s an interesting video of Adafruit founder Limor Fried interviewing Digi-Key CEO Dave Doherty.

  • Almost full circle Nate:-) Having followed Sparkfun from the start, it’s been a beacon that I share with others constantly. The personality of Sparkfun shines through and here’s to Glenn adding to the mix.

  • Welcome aboard Glenn!

  • Can’t wait to see the future direction of Sparkfun. I have been a long time customer and plan on being one for many years to come. Word of advise on laser cutting. Calculate how much the beam removes from the material or all your holes will be over sized =).

  • Congrats to you both. Looking forward to what new things may come from each of you.

  • What’s Nates new title ?

    Also, a typo on his Bio page “Nathan successfully sold BachPCB to OSH Park” , missing “t” in Batch

  • And here I thought that email from Nate had gone into my spam folder… Ha ha!

    Welcome , Glenn!

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