People

2014 30 Under 35 Profile: Kristine Gough

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Kristine Gough
31
Purchasing International Supply Chain Manager, EverLast Lighting

By Joe Nowlan

When Kristine Gough started her career with EverLast in 2006, she found out immediately that there would be constant learning. And she was fine with that.

“I started learning about lighting right off the bat, learning about all the different types of lighting such as residential lighting, commercial lighting, tubes and energy efficiency; [in addition to] natural daylight and how that can affect human factor,” Gough said.

Actually Gough started her career at a sister company of EverLast—Full Spectrum, she explained. The company wasn’t very big then which enabled her to learn about a number of areas of the industry.

“It was a pretty small company at the time so all of us, as you do in a small company, worked in different departments and picked up where you needed in order to make each other go,” she said.

Gough has an extensive background in foreign languages (German, Spanish) and international business, she explained, which soon led to her “helping with the purchasing side of the international sector.… I have studied multiple languages and lived overseas. So that side of the culture and the communication was second nature to me.”

Gough graduated from Hope College in Holland, Mich. She was a double major in German as well as in international studies.

“I studied in Germany for a semester at the University in Freiburg and also took Spanish classes in German.  I lived in an apartment with students from all over the world using German as our common language, I was dreaming in German and everything I was doing was in German,” she laughed. “I didn’t speak English for about five months.”

She was born in Trenton, Mich., and she and her family live in Brooklyn, Mich.

Her current position (purchasing international supply chain manager) requires her to fulfill a number of responsibilities.

“From when I was little, I’ve always enjoyed puzzles…. [And] that is really what my days consist of – working on different projects and trying to figure out how all the pieces are going to come together and how everyone is going to play a role,” Gough explained.

Gough takes great satisfaction in seeing, virtually every day, the end results of some Michigan-area projects to which EverLast has contributed.

EverLast played a key role in the re-birth of Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center. In addition, a stretch of highway leading to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport has benefitted from an extensive re-lighting project to which her company has contributed.

“It is very exciting. We have an impact on not just the community but at the state, country and global level.” she said. “We try to stay as close to home as we can to help support small businesses like ourselves [and] push the envelope of different jobs and opportunities.”

Gough and her husband Bryon have two sons, Parker, five years old, and Brecken, 18 months old.

She manages to find time to do a certain amount of community volunteering and nonprofit work.

“I got very involved in nonprofit groups when I was in college,” she explained. “It is very important to me to be involved. It’s something I’ve always been a big advocate of.”

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

A. Work hard. Stay focused. And keep dreaming. Try not to get down if you don’t understand something. There’s always room to grow. There is always room to learn more…And go to bed every night thinking ‘I have done the best that I can. Now what can I do better for the next day?’

It’s always been a focus of mine to reach into that balance of work and life, and to always try to say ‘I’m going to work hard but I’m also going to play hard.’  My husband and I are trying to instill that in our kids and other people. Yes, it is very important to work hard and yes, it is very important to have a family… and to have all these things. But the balance of all that is the key.

Q. Why are you so passionate about the electrical industry?

A. I think I’m so passionate about it because I really see the difference it makes. It can be anything from money a customer has saved per hour or per day or per year—or a return on an investment in less than a year that it took to replace all these lights—to just visual and emotional effects that you feel under better lighting. I know that [firsthand]. We have great lighting in my building. But when I go somewhere that maybe doesn’t have as good a lighting system, I notice it. I can tell a big difference. And that is just me. Hearing from all our customers—from somebody who buys a desk lamp to the main store manager of a huge box store that says all their employees feel better because of the [newly installed] lights there. Not only that but also the energy savings. We are saving energy. We’re saving demand and electrical usage which is all good for a green environment.

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

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