People

2014 30 Under 35 Profile: Andrew Hoerner

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Andrew Hoerner
30
Energy Solutions Manager/West Coast, Rexel

By Joe Nowlan

Andrew Hoerner played lacrosse in college (Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif.). It might be a stretch to say his passion for competitive sports led him to a career in electrical … but only a slight one.

“I was interested in energy savings from college courses focusing on advanced policy and sustainability.” Hoerner said. “I jumped on board with Independent Electric Supply [now Sonepar] in their management training program, from a plug from a teammate whose father ironically now is my co-worker at Rexel.”

Working at Independent Electric in San Luis Obispo, he eventually took on a large account base doing, among other things, a lot of day-to-day procurement specializing.

“I’d been dating the same girl from high school all the way through college,” Hoerner said, “and she decided after college to relocate to San Diego, where we are both from.”

While Hoerner stayed in San Luis Obispo and his Independent Electric job, he had an eye on getting back to the San Diego area.

“[After a year or so] I then took the opportunity to join Walters Wholesale Electric, a regional company in Southern California, to be closer to her, expand our future relationship. And eventually, we did get married,” he said.

At Walters he was involved in various energy-related projects including an entire municipality roadway upgrade involving LED luminaires. While he liked the company and enjoyed the relationships, a new opportunity presented itself.

In 2012, he accepted an offer at Rexel in outside sales before being becoming an energy solutions specialist. Earlier this year, Hoerner was promoted again to energy solutions manager for the West Coast.

“With that title, they have allowed me the opportunity to cultivate and grow a team,” Hoerner explained. “So rather than just focusing on Southern California and Arizona, I have the ability to attack opportunities within Rexel’s West Region.”

Hoerner recently headed up Rexel’s first West Coast Energy Summit (“Rexel VIP Energy Experience”). Held for more than 75 customers and manufacturers, it was the west coast version of an event that has been held annually, with Osram Sylvania’s co-sponsorship, on the east coast.

“We brought clientele in—customers and coworkers—and conducted a two and half day training covering innovation, technology and finance surrounding energy efficiency,” he said. “It was very beneficial.… Overall [it] was a costly investment, but the outcome from new projects, bringing knowledge to our teams and building a lasting relationship with these selective customers has assisted in justifying this event as a possible standard for Rexel.”

Hoerner and his wife, Kati, love being back home in San Diego, along with their dog, a blue Schnoodle, Rue. In addition to the beach and the outdoors, Hoerner is still an avid sports fan and reflects on what he learned from playing a team sport.

“One of the important things for me at each and every interview I’ve had, and when talking to coworkers or prospective customers, is explaining the value of being on a team and understanding the value of working with a team,” he said. “And knowing that it doesn’t take one person to succeed. It takes everybody.”

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

A. It is very important to go out there and be educated.… You can go out there and you can make your way in the industry and make your way up very quickly as a young person who wants to try hard and really excel. But the most important thing to me is knowing that you have to be able to survive by working with your coworkers and by working with your customers and building a lasting relationship – and really building a strong relationship with your vendors and your manufacturer partners. “I learn something new every day.”

I also feel that everyone in any capacity brings value. You don’t know that a guy who has one role today, tomorrow could be in another role. Within Rexel (especially) and the electrical distribution industry, separation for success can be achieved by empowering yourself with tools that are available around you. As a young adult continuously growing in our industry, working well with others and respecting experienced veterans to provide knowledge is power. Technology through innovation is constantly evolving, but there are certain backbones of our business that will be everlasting.

Q. While the economy seems to be improving, what is one of your more successful sales strategies given the current economic climate?

A. A lot of the success that I’ve had is by making sure that you have an understanding of market conditions along with continuously gaining knowledge of products for every application. Technology is constantly evolving and understanding where the market is heading is especially important. One way to get ahead in many differ markets is to better understand how an electrical distributor can bring value as a bridge between all parties. With a manufacturer agnostic approach as a distributor and passion for the energy movement, we have the ability to offer an extremely attractive value proposition to our customer/prospect base. Throughout the development and implementation of any project, our customer’s satisfaction is number one. We want the customer to be thrilled with the outcome and want to replicate their successful project into future growth. I am proud to be a part of such a great team and to be entrenched in these exciting times.

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

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