People

2013 30 Under 35 Profile: Treavor Peterson

Treavor Peterson
32
Strategic Services Manager, Border States Electric

By Joe Nowlan

Some “30 Under 35” honorees first heard about the electrical industry at a job fair; others hear from a family member in the industry, among other possible sources.

Treavor Peterson—strategic services manager at Border States Electric’s Fargo, N.D., corporate office—was tipped off at a hockey game. Actually, while coaching a youth team in North Dakota. A parent of one of his players brought it up during a conversation.

“I heard about it from [the parent]. I did not have a lot of knowledge about the industry before I came into it. So I came in a little bit blind,” Peterson explained, who started at Border States in 2008.

Peterson (who pronounces his first name “TREE-vor”) is 32 years old and graduated from Concordia College (2003). He earned his MBA in management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. After college, he worked in a few different jobs including a position at Microsoft.

He played professional hockey for two and a half years, as a member of the minor league affiliates of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. A defenseman, Peterson had played in the Division III level at Concordia.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, are parents of a six-month-old daughter (Nora). He is a longtime Minnesota Twins fan—despite suffering with the Twins’ struggling record this year.

Ironically, Peterson’s grandfather was an electrician and frequently bought supplies from Border States, something Peterson didn’t discover until years later.

“I knew what he did [for a living],” he said. “But I didn’t realize he dealt with Border States.”

As strategic services manager, Peterson’s responsibilities include leading a team of some 20 employees. Among other duties, his team works on developing and maintaining inventory, pricing and sourcing strategies for Border States largest customers.

“For any branch that we service, our team puts together an inventory strategy. Our team then looks at future demands in the supply chain, looks at manufacturing lead times, [for] things that we absolutely cannot be out of,” Peterson explained. “So we develop our strategy around those materials. We work with those large customers to make sure we know exactly what is important to them and what could potentially stop a job [if they run out of something].”

Colleagues have praised Peterson for his leadership and job coaching skills. Peterson credits his sports background, especially his hockey coaching experience, for instilling this in him.

“It’s probably one of the more rewarding things that I think you can do, whether you’re coaching a sports team or whether you’re coaching employees,” he explained. “To see somebody start out at one point—whether it’s a project or skills set—and end up at another point down the road, helping them get to that is a great feeling which I have very much enjoyed.”

There is also a variation on the “pay it forward” axiom at play here, too.

“I was fortunate enough to have a lot of people help me along,” Peterson said. “So I value that I’ve been able to … help others,” Peterson explained. “Mentorship is something we value and an important aspect to our culture at Border States. I’m lucky to be part of such a great company.”

Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?

A. Find your niche within the industry, find where your passion lies. And when you find what you’re passionate about, then work hard and dedicate yourself to that. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.

Q. What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in this industry?

A. I would say it is the challenges and opportunities. The industry is so dynamic and changes so fast that if you’re not able to adapt, you are going to get left behind. So what’s great for me is the opportunity to be in that type of environment where there is always a challenge, always an opportunity for Border States to better serve our customers and be able to find solutions day in and day out.

Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at jcnowlan@msn.com.

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