Inside sales rep, service division, Electrical Equipment Company (EECO)
By Joe Nowlan
Wren Wyatt hardly went directly from college to the electrical industry. In fact, as he puts it, “I actually had a rather eclectic employment history” before he arrived at the Electrical Equipment Company (EECO).
After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2006, he worked for an aerospace hardware distributor; in communications at a Richmond, Va., law firm and taught English while living in South Korea for a year, among other positions.
“I’m a little bit all over the place, but that’s okay,” Wyatt laughed.
He was friends outside of work with Chase Vaughan, marketing coordinator at EECO. One day Vaughan was explaining how EECO was looking for someone to fill a particular position. They wanted someone who could work with customers and get their hands dirty while at the same time crunch numbers and do data base analysis.
“Most of my jobs up to then had been in cubicles and sitting down at a desk from 8 to 5,” Wyatt said. “So the notion that I could integrate my data skills and have the opportunity to go outdoors and be visiting customer sites really appealed to me. So I interviewed with them and they made me an offer the next day….It’s been a great company to work for.”
He will be the first to tell you that when he first came to EECO he knew virtually nothing about the electrical industry. But Wyatt has always enjoyed learning and picked up the electrical industry fairly quickly.
“Now I feel I can at least speak intelligently enough that I don’t embarrass management here,” he laughed.
But his responsibilities can change often, Wyatt said, sometimes on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s a pretty wild job when you have that many hats to wear,” Wyatt said. “I guess you could say that there’s never a dull moment here.”
Wyatt described EECO as the largest Rockwell Automation distributor in Virginia. Wyatt likes his job and its challenges but is open minded about what the future may hold for him at EECO.
“I’ve never been one of those people that will say in 2018 I want to have this job title and in 2023 I expect to have that job title,” he explained, adding that he is happy with the challenges he is currently facing.
“I’ll be happy in any job where I can keep on learning.… I’m focused on doing a good job today, this week, this month. I like to stay flexible,” he said.
He has been married to his wife Andrea for two years. In fact he was hired at EECO six weeks before their wedding.
“I said, ‘I’d love to take this role but, just so you know, I am going to need a 10 day vacation pretty quick,'” he laughed. “But they understood completely and were very accommodating.”
Wyatt had been a regional implementation specialist before being named an inside sales rep for EECO’s service division, having been promoted to that position in late 2013.
Wyatt is also attending graduate school towards his post-baccalaureate certificate in management. “It’s kind of a diet MBA,” he laughed.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. For me, make sure you know what your time horizon looks like. You want to be able to manage your own career and your own development at your employer. But you have to understand that the employer has objectives as well. If you are hired, and six months into it you’re ready for that promotion to VP of sales—you’re going to be a little frustrated when you understandably don’t get that VP role six months in.
If you are able to gut it out, show your value—if it’s a good company that you’re working for, they’ll recognize that and you’ll profit and will benefit the company. If not, then maybe you need a company with a different culture and need to adjust your own time horizon.
That’s a long way of saying be patient.
Q. Why are you so passionate about the electrical industry?
A. It’s cool stuff that we deal with here. I will bet you that in this industry, in 15 or 20 years, it will be dominated by the kids who loved Legos and erector sets. We have folks that have engineering backgrounds and stuff like that. But there’s some pretty cool, nifty stuff. I went to the Rockwell Automation office with some coworkers. I’m a huge Star Trek nerd, so forgive me, but in that office it looked like I was standing in engineering on the Starship Enterprise.
We keep people employed. We keep the country running. That’s what drives me.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at email@example.com.Tagged with tED