Honoree Headshot

Glenn Samala

SparkFun Electronics

Location: Niwot, CO
Founded: 2003
Industry: Tech - Electronic Components

Glenn Samala is all about having fun - and making sure that everyone else is, also.

Samrala, CEO of SparkFun Electronics, said that the mission at SparkFun is to make emerging tech available to the masses.

“Whether that is a budding engineer like Mars making augmented reality glasses with our parts, or the recent NASA Mars mission who publicly mentioned purchasing from SparkFun. Our customer base is deep with engineers/entrepreneurs and wide with various companies like NASA, DoD, Space-X, and Army Electronic Proving Ground, to name a few - our reach and impact make us the best in our field.” He added, “We are a well-known brand in the tech community, and many depend on us to make their ideas a reality.”

And Samala knows the excitement of helping dreams come true.

SparkFun, a 100% bootstrapped business, was started by Samala’s friend, Nathan Seidle in his CU dorm back in 2003. What started out as a young engineer simply wanting to gain access to hardware to hack, learn, and post about it, turned into one of the more successful tech stories in Boulder.

Little did Samala know that one day, he would be leading SparkFun to unsurmounted heights.

After working for Arrow for close to 20 years at various senior level positions, Samala was recruited by SparkFun in 2016 to take them to the next level.

“Nathan wanted to get back to his roots in engineering and SparkFun was starting to mature beyond the startup phase,” Samala said. “The opportunity to take a young company like SparkFun and help lead them to the next phase was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up.”

With a proven track record of driving change at large and small private and public companies, Samala’s shared leadership style and inclusive approach set the stage for true transformational change.

“I have done this time and again throughout my career,” he said. “From consolidating a service organization valued at $1.3B in revenue to helping a team navigate from startup to enterprise, I have proven my ability to lead through a number of situations.”

Samala added that beyond all the accomplishments he is most proud of is how the organization has managed through the changes made in the past few years.

“Win the hearts and minds of the organization and be authentic with your intentions,” he said. “Listen and learn the business and don’t make any assumptions about the business or culture until you’ve truly gotten your hands dirty in the muck of things.” He added, “When I can look back a few years at certain stages in my career and I can see that I made a difference in a business’s trajectory; or most importantly, a difference in someone’s path. That is when I see success.”

Samala added that the most valued currency that you can accumulate to be a successful leader is not what you may think.

“It’s not the title or pay,” Samala said, “but rather, it is the lessons learned along the way

Presented by:

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Honoree quote

"When I can look back a few years at certain stages in my career and I can see that I made a difference in a business's trajectory; or most importantly, a difference in someone's path. That is when I see success."