The talented members of our Board of Advisors’ diverse backgrounds and experience contribute a wide range of perspectives that support the growth of the organization. We’re honored to have such a skilled group dedicated to the ongoing success of our corporation.
Board of Advisors
Cirtronics’ Board of Advisors offers multi-faceted guidance and expertise to support our strategic direction.
Board of Advisors
The Honorable Kelly A. Ayotte was appointed to the Advisory Board in June 2017. She brings a distinctive blend of skills and experience from her time in public service as an elected U.S. Senator, three appointments as New Hampshire’s Attorney General, as well as her highly regarded expertise in national security and advocacy for military readiness and our service men and women.
Kelly served as a U.S. Senator from 2011 to 2017. During her tenure, she chaired the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. Kelly also served on other key committees, including the Senate Armed Services, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Budget, Transportation, and Commerce Committees, where she worked to advance policies that encouraged private-sector innovation and job creation, particularly in high-tech manufacturing and STEM-related markets.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for News Corp, the Advisory Board for Blink Health, and as a Visiting Fellow for the Harvard Institute of Politics and Belfer Center at the Kennedy School of Government. Kelly is a board member of several non-profit organizations, including the McCain Institute, the International Republican Institute, and Veterans Count New Hampshire. Kelly graduated with honors from Pennsylvania State University and earned a Juris Doctor degree from Villanova University School of Law.
Kelly is a native of Nashua, New Hampshire.
John Blackford has been an enthusiastic supporter and advisor to Cirtronics for over 30 years, beginning when there were just 20 employees and the majority of business was manually-assembled printed circuit boards.
John has an engineering degree from Purdue, is a veteran of the Air Force, and has a degree in business from Harvard. He came to New Hampshire in the mid 1950s to help start a company that designed and manufactured sawmill machinery. He was involved in product development, manufacturing operations, and finance before becoming the CEO and major stockholder. Over 26 years the company grew to 100 employees, before being sold in the early 1980s.
John brought his experience and expertise to management consulting, focusing on CEOs of small owner-managed manufacturing companies in the Northeast. Over the next 20 years he served over 50 clients. Much of his work has involved long term multi-year relationships, as with Cirtronics. He has also been involved in many state-wide non-profit organizations, serving on multiple Boards of Trustees, and in several instances serving as Chair.
An avid sailor, skier, hiker/climber and a musician, John is married, has three grown children and six grandchildren. He and his wife currently live in Exeter New Hampshire at The Riverwoods Retirement Community.
Steve Burke is a director in the Tax, Trusts and Estates and Corporate Departments at McLane Middleton. For more than 25 years, Steve has devoted his practice to business, governance and tax planning, transactions, business succession and sophisticated executive compensation. He serves as counsel for the trustees of significant charitable, educational, and tax-exempt institutions, offering advice on fiduciary, governance and tax matters. Also a CPA and a CGMA, Steve represents businesses and individuals before the IRS and New Hampshire and Massachusetts Departments of Revenue.
Steve is a Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel, member of the New Hampshire Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, United States Tax Court. Certified Public Accountant, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Bar Association (Past President Taxation Section), American Bar Association (Member Taxation Section), New Hampshire Society of Certified Public Accountants (two-time Past President and Trustee), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Member of Governing Council), New Hampshire Employee Benefits Council (Past Chair). He is also a Distinguished Professor of Taxation at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
Gerardine strongly believes that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when given the opportunity.
She began her career in social work, committed to helping people reach their full potential. In 1979, after gaining experience working in electronics manufacturing, Gerardine founded Cirtronics Corporation. She knew that Cirtronics could offer high quality jobs while providing people opportunities for personal and professional development.
By attracting people who exemplified Cirtronics’ values, and creating positions that matched their individual gifts, Gerardine guided the growth of the company. This unusual approach continues to be key to our strong, collaborative environment where we benefit from the talents of each individual.
From the beginning, Gerardine infused every aspect of Cirtronics with a mission “to serve and continuously improve under the Do Unto Others philosophy.” Gerardine has always believed that we can do well by doing “good”. Our culture of service to our corporation, customers, employee owners, environment, community and suppliers shows in everything we do.
Gerardine generously served on the boards of numerous non-profits including: New Hampshire Catholic Charities, Business Industry Association (BIA) of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Vested for Growth, and Rivier University.
In 2002, in service to the corporation, employees and customers, Gerardine transitioned Cirtronics to an employee-owned company, an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program).
Gerardine’s enthusiasm about the company and belief in each individual’s potential continues to be self-fulfilling. The average tenure at Cirtronics is over 15 years. And Cirtronics feels like family to all 200+ employee-owners.
Mutual respect, transparency, access, and joy underscore Gerardine’s commitment to participative leadership. We’d say she has an “open-door” policy, but that’s not quite accurate. Her door is always open because, by design and request, her office has no doors.
After graduating from Babson College in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in finance, Tom went to work in commercial lending. Tom spent the first 14 years of his career at Indian Head Bank, Bank of Boston, and Fleet Bank. Providing funding was only part of the solution; Tom differentiated himself by leveraging his experience to provide advice and support to enable good outcomes for his clients.
In 1994 Tom left banking and spent the next 22 years working with three different middle market companies supporting their growth and creation of value, Blue Fin, Certified Parts Warehouse, and VXi.
Tom ran operational and financial functions of Blue Fin. Tom feels this marked the second half of his education via experiencing company expansion, buyouts, and reversals in the market.
After Blue Fin, Tom became the Chief Operating Officer for Certified Parts Warehouse. The company doubled sales, established its brand as a high-quality provider of spares in the lap top and retail point of sale market.
Tom joined VXi Corporation as its Chief Financial Officer, placed by one of its venture capital investors to help turn the company around. Critical to the turnaround was a change in company culture to a mindset of excellence and focus on customers and other stakeholders including employees, vendors, support providers and stockholders. During the next ten-year period, sales more than tripled, and EBITDA went from zero to 10% of sales.
In 2017, Tom formed Structure Business Advisors, LLC, a boutique consulting firm focusing on middle market companies that are transitioning from their entrepreneurial phase to a more mature phase of their business. Tom leverages his banking and management experience to support functional management team development, capital structure, brand identity, operating procedures, financial reporting, sales compensation plans and forecasting.
Upon joining the Cirtronics team in 1984, Joyce identified the family-like atmosphere and the Cirtronics culture of supporting and fostering individual growth as pillars of the company’s success. She developed hiring practices to attract people who fit the culture, and then shaped positions around the individual’s unique capabilities and interests. Her gift in realizing the potential of each individual continues through professional growth opportunities and encouraging movement within the company. By hiring people who are naturally aligned with Cirtronics’ values, we have an extraordinary retention rate, with our average tenure reaching past 15 years.
Joyce was instrumental in Cirtronics becoming an ESOP (Employee Owned Company), as employee ownership was a natural progression based on our values and culture.
In addition to her key role in HR, Joyce serves as the Trustee of the Cirtronics’ ESOP. She also serves on the Cirtronics Board of Advisors, where she champions HR, employee ownership and the importance of sustaining our unique culture as the company continues to grow.
Joyce is deeply dedicated to her family and finds true joy in spending time with them. We are so lucky that she sees all of us as family too.
Andy has a broad professional background including executive leadership, management and key contributor roles in both commercial and not-for-profit organizations. He has worked in high tech and manufacturing companies ranging in size from startups to global industry leaders. Andy has founded several companies and holds a dozen patents in sensors, systems and software. Currently, Andy serves as President and Managing Director of a global data communications trade association. He also maintains an independent business strategy and marketing consulting practice.
Throughout his career Andy has built strong, collaborative relationships crossing commercial, geographic and cultural boundaries. He has been an invited speaker at numerous conferences on manufacturing automation and open systems around the world. His formal education includes engineering and business degrees from the University of Michigan.
As chair of the advisory board, Andy provides peer leadership, drawing on his expertise in group facilitation as well as his expansive business experience. Under his guidance, Cirtronics has built a strong marketing group, directly supporting sales efforts with diverse and thoughtful marketing methods.
Erika Ferlins Mills
Erika holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Connecticut College and a Master of Arts from Harvard Business School. The daughter of Cirtronics’ founder, Gerardine Ferlins, Erika spent several summers during high school and college working at Cirtronics in manufacturing, purchasing, and sales.
Erika is currently the Director of Financial Aid and Associate Director of Admissions at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. At Middlesex, she is also an English teacher, head of house, and varsity rowing coach. Prior to working at Middlesex, Erika worked in the admissions office at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut and as a research associate at Harvard Business School, where she co-authored a number of business cases and teaching notes.
In addition to being the Secretary of the Board of Advisors at Cirtronics, she chairs the advisory committee of the Mindfulness Director Institute, and volunteers with Concord Prison Outreach. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts with her husband and three sons.
Carl has extensive experience in electronics manufacturing. He spent 17 years with Harris Corporation in San Antonio, Texas, and Quincy, Illinois. At Harris, Carl filled many roles including production supervision, new product team leadership, service, and manufacturing team leadership.
After joining DCA Manufacturing in 1999, Carl held the role of Director of Manufacturing. He and his partners purchased DCA in 2000. Carl was responsible for the overall corporate direction, as well as providing engineering and information systems support. Carl retired from DCA and sold the operation in 2017.
In addition to his role on the Cirtronics Advisory Board, Carl has been a long time Board of Directors member of the Cumberland Federal Bank.
Carl received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering at Iowa State University. He also completed a Graduate Program in Business at University of Florida/Harris Corporation and a Master’s in Business Administration at Quincy University.
Carl and his spouse, Katie, reside in Wisconsin.
What Our Customers Say
“Cirtronics listened to our needs and then aligned their systems and processes to meet them. We really appreciate the commitment, values and capabilities of their whole team.”
“Cirtronics worked in partnership with us from the design phase through direct fulfillment. They enhanced the quality of our product through Design for Manufacturability services, working through Supply Chain challenges, collaborating with us in Testing, and ensuring on time delivery.”
“Cirtronics is more than a CM, it is an extension of our business and a partner in its truest form. Their manufacturing processes and infrastructure that are tailored to each customer, and the unique Cirtronics culture are key in supporting our continued business growth.”