Sales Associate, City Electric Company
By Joe Nowlan
When Mark Borreggine started his first job in the electrical industry, he was 15 years old. As you might imagine, that first job hardly came with a corner office.
“I was in charge of sweeping the aisles, cleaning the bathrooms and taking out the garbage,” Borreggine said.
Not the coolest job going. But he found the overall work atmosphere interesting.
That job was with City Electric Company in Watertown, N.Y. He’s still there today, as a sales associate.
“When I first went in there … I didn’t know anything about [electrical] products. [If it got busy and] they called for help out at the counter, I would go up there and try to assist. But since I didn’t know anything then, I wasn’t much help,” he laughed.
Eventually Borreggine moved to the warehouse and learned quickly.
“I started seeing the products and then started asking questions about what goes with what. How does all this stuff work?” Borreggine explained.
Borreggine’s father (John) worked at City Electric and still works there as the warehouse manager. Mark actually started that first job at his father’s suggestion. Growing up, Mark felt that City Electric seemed to be a workplace his father enjoyed.
“He’d come home and talk about what was going on at work,” Mark explained.
Mark Borreggine is now 30 years old, a 15-year veteran of the electrical industry and City Electric. Looking back, he can identify when a “summer job” transitioned into a career.
“I guess once I had my first child, then things got pretty serious,” he said. “I started taking the whole thing more seriously and started asking, ‘How do I get better at this?’ ‘What can I do to give myself a leg up over my competition?'”
Borreggine realized that the key to getting better was to learn as much as possible. It is a challenge he continues to embrace. His learning curve includes earning his NAED CEP certification. He was the first employee at City Electric to earn that certification. Not only that, he explained proudly, he was the first in New York State. He is also pursuing his associate’s degree in mathematics at SUNY Jefferson.
He and his wife Jasmine have three children, all too young to start pushing a broom in the warehouse: Isabella, eight years old, Erik (5) and Matthew (4).
In his spare time, the family likes to get outdoors and hike the many trails in their New York State region.
“Our city has a collection of trails that run along a river – the Riverwalk. And we’ve been doing a lot of that lately,” Borreggine said.
When he can somehow find additional spare time, Mark plays lead guitar and sings in a rock band. He and his family also participate in the community garden in their town.
“My wife works for the Emmanuel Church and they have a community garden,” he explained, adding that many of the vegetables are turned over to the local food pantry, he said.
“We think it’s important to get the kids out there so they can see that the work they do is going back to people that need help,” he said.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Don’t be afraid to ask your superiors for training…. You’re never going to get any better if you don’t train… [Discussing why more companies don’t emphasize training, he added], the biggest fear in our industry is that you’re going to pay to train someone and then they are going to leave. They may go to your competition…and then take the training along with them. So then you’re out the money you spent on training. But I read an interesting quotation: “You’re worried what happens if you train your employees and then they leave? You should be more worried if you don’t train them and they stay.”
Q. What do you think is the biggest opportunity within the electrical industry?
A. The appeal of our industry is being able to feel like you are an integral part of the growth of your community. I’ll take my kids around town and as we go, I will point to something and say, “I sold the electrical for that.” And you point to these various places where you did that, and it makes you feel like you’re a big part of what’s going on where you live.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tagged with tED