Specification Sales, SCI Lighting
By Joe Nowlan
Ryan Weiss was working in real estate in California in 2008, a time when that profession was going through some difficult times.
“I was considering going back to school or changing careers,” he said. “I was looking for something completely different.”
Looking back, that real estate slump turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“I was introduced to the electrical industry by my father-in-law. He had an extensive career in the industry,” Weiss explained.
“[He] had a Sylvania rep who was calling on him at the time. The rep asked if he knew of any sales guys looking for an opportunity and he gave them my name. And off I went.”
Weiss soon realized that the position could be more than just a job but an actual career. The quality of people he found himself working with swayed him.
“It wasn’t long after I got in that I realized the people I was surrounded by—at the distribution and contractor level—are great people,” Weiss explained. “And to me, that is how I judge what I want to do and where I want to spend my time.… It didn’t take long to realize this was an industry that was comprised of just really solid people.”
It was also an exciting time to join the industry. The boom in sales of LED lighting was just beginning.
“I was on the heels of what I call this LED revolution and it was very exciting,” he said. “It was shortly after I got in that the LED lighting technology and controls took over [the marketplace]. So I felt that I was about to be a part of a major exciting change.”
Last year, Weiss moved to SCI Lighting where he is in specification sales. He really enjoyed his time with Sylvania and appreciated the education and foundation they provided.
“I am proud to say I worked for them,” he explained, but felt like he needed a change.
“It was just a matter of making a move ultimately to challenge myself…. You have to put yourself in a position where you always have to be learning,” Weiss said. “Looking into the future of where this is going – LED lighting and controls – I wanted to put myself in a situation to not only be successful … but to provide a total lighting and controls solution for my potential clients.”
He now lives in Long Beach, California, and calls on downtown Los Angeles, West LA and the South Bay area of the city.
“In specification sales, I focus more on the design side of the business.… My client base now consists of architects, electrical engineers and lighting designers,” Weiss explained.
Weiss graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in political science. He also played baseball in college—first base, designated hitter and some outfield.
He and his wife, Bonnie, have a two-year-old son, Teddy. They also have two dogs, Leroy and Vinnie.
While California has five major league baseball teams, Weiss has one favorite.
“I grew up a Dodgers fan. My father has been a Dodgers fan his whole life. So that’s my team,” he said.
Q. What advice you have for other young professionals in the industry?
A.The advice that I would give to anybody younger than me is to just immerse yourself in the technology. Immerse yourself in the products. Continue to learn. Continue to train. Continue to challenge yourself.… but at the core, you have to focus on your customers and clients. You have to keep their best interests in mind, no matter what.
Q. If someone approached you during your freshman year of college and said that someday you would be working in the electrical industry, what would your reaction have been?
A. I would have said, “What is the electrical industry? What does that mean?” But once you are in the electrical industry, you’re in. Everyone knows everybody.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tagged with tED