Construction Market Specialist, Border States Electric
By Joe Nowlan
Amanda Wolf began working part-time at Border States in 2004 while still in college at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., where she was studying interior design.
She was waitressing at the time and her then boyfriend [now husband] was an electrician. He suggested she look into the lighting industry and an open, part-time position with Border States.
“So I got the job, and it was awesome. It was perfect for going to college. It was very flexible with my time and I was also getting experience,” Wolf said.
In addition, she was able to intern as a lighting specialist for three months as a requirement of the design program, allowing her to gain additional knowledge outside of the showroom.
“During my internship is when I really fell in love with everything to do with distribution outside of just the showroom,” she explained.
She graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in interior design. Why interior design?
“I’ve been rearranging furniture since I was four years old,” she laughed. “I have always been an extremely creative person.”
While some of her Border States work today requires a certain amount of creativity, most of her time is spent in the corporate end of things, she explained.
“My main responsibility is to work with our vendors to make sure that we have good relationships with them,” she said. “It is a collaborative effort…. I’m kind of like the liaison for our branches and our vendors to make sure that we’re getting everything we are supposed to be getting….This job stretches me and pushes me to a different place than I tried before. So that is nice. It gives me a challenge.”
Wolf is a frequent contributor to the Border States blog, something the company is tapping into more often as a teaching tool.
“We definitely want to be a ‘go to’.… So if people are trying to find an answer to something, we’ll be one of the options that come up,” Wolf explained. “So then hopefully they will come our way for their products or solutions.”
She was born and raised in Minnesota, near Minneapolis. After she married, she and her husband, Shawn, stayed in the Fargo area and he now also works for Border States as an account manager.
They have two children: a four-year-old son, Tyler, and a two-year-old daughter, Boston.
Wolf also has a burgeoning hobby-business as a photographer—portraits, kids photos and weddings, among other subjects. Despite her schedule, she’s able to devote some of her time to it.
“I stay really busy with the business but limit it to about once or twice a week, in the evenings,” she explained. “I’m a people person, and this business allows me to meet new people and share the creative side of me with them.”
While she loves photography, she admitted that doing weddings carries with it a certain amount of pressure.
“I do lose a little sleep the night before,” she laughed. “But I love a wedding. So much work goes into it. Then it all comes together that one day. I love everything about a wedding.”
Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. I would say that there is so much more available than you would ever imagine. There are endless possibilities and a multitude of different opportunities within electrical distribution.… Stick with it. Get involved and be a part of those opportunities.
Q. Why are you so passionate about the electrical industry?
A. To be honest, I am probably just a passionate person in general. I get excited about life. So that is just a part of who I am. But with that being said, I wouldn’t be where I am today if [Border States] didn’t take me in and teach me so much. They simply have helped mold me into who I am today with their training and opportunities. They believe in me.… So there is no reason I shouldn’t be passionate about the industry.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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