Branch Manager, Gexpro
By Joe Nowlan
David Mahoney was born in Burlington, Vt. He and his family later moved to Syracuse, N.Y. He remained there until earning bachelor and master’s degrees from Syracuse University.
In Syracuse the winter snow starts early and stays well into spring. But today he is the branch manager of Gexpro’s Bay Area branch in Union City, Calif.
Mahoney laughed when it is suggested that he planned this all along—a career that let him trade Syracuse winters for California?
“I visited San Francisco while in college and I made a commitment to myself that I would do everything in my power to try to make it out to California with a job if I could,” Mahoney said. “Fortunately when I was accepted to the distribution leadership program, one of the options was in the Los Angeles area.”
He has a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and the master’s degree in neuroscience—not your typical electrical distribution academic background.
“I thought for some time I was going to stay in academia. That’s why I went for my master’s,” he said. “But the research component became heavier and heavier. I realized that hanging out in a lab with no windows for umpteen hours a day is not really what it was cracked up to be.”
After finishing at Syracuse, Mahoney was deciding on where to look for a job. A friend from high school and college (Rob Logan of Gexpro, a member of last year’s “30 Under 35” honorees) suggested the electrical industry.
“At that time he was in a leadership development program at General Electric [when] I was graduating,” explained Mahoney. (GE Supply was acquired by Rexel in 2006 and its name was changed to Gexpro.)
Logan put Mahoney in contact with one of the company’s recruiters, he interviewed for a position and “really liked what I saw in the company.”
As part of Gexpro’s training, Mahoney worked in various roles at several California locations including Bakersfield, Palm Desert, and San Diego.
“You get an opportunity to go to different locations. So I did a pricing rotation, a sourcing rotation, a project management rotation, among others,” Mahoney explained. “You get a fairly well-rounded understanding of the different functions within the business.”
As he recalls it, it didn’t take him long to stop missing snow and winter.
“[Weather-wise], I turned soft pretty quickly,” he laughed.
As branch manager of Gexpro’s Bay Area location, he explained. “I have full P & L responsibility. We are a roughly $100 million sales office…. We’re basically segmented into our commercial sales team and our industrial sales team. Our commercial business is roughly 85% of our overall volume.… [And] roughly 15% of our business is the industrial base.”
He had his wife Glenda are the parents of two year-old twin girls— May and Maggie.
When he can find time, Mahoney likes to run marathons. He is eyeing next year’s Half Moon Bay Marathon, not far from where he lives.
“I grew up running and I have always enjoyed it. With the addition of the twin girls, though, and work—that’s gotten in the way of running slightly,” he laughed.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Putting in the hours and getting an opportunity to see the different aspects of the business before deciding the direction they want to go in is important. I was fortunate that I had the ability to get a taste of the different functions within our business. As a result of that, it allowed me at the end of the program to make what I think was a good decision in terms of the direction that I was going to go in within the company. I think it requires a lot of hard work, obviously and long hours put in to develop that sense of, “Here is where I’d like to see myself have a fulfilling career.”
Q. If someone approach you during your freshman year of college and said that someday you be working in the electrical industry, what would your reaction have been?
A. I’d say there is no way! (Laughter) I would not have seen myself working in electrical distribution. But frankly I couldn’t be happier that this is where I landed. I have met a lot of great people. And seeing the impact that we have on the buildings we are assisting our electrical contractors in creating is a pretty neat thing.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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