Regional Customer Service Manager, Van Meter Inc.
By Joe Nowlan
For Tim McClimon, what started out as a part time job eventually turned into a career.
He was a student at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, in 2002 when he sought out some summer employment.
“The only business I knew of was this Davenport-based distributor of electrical and mechanical supplies. I stopped down there to see if they were hiring any summer help and lo and behold they were,” McClimon said. “I was doing deliveries and working in the warehouse as a 20-year-old kid.”
McClimon continued working there part-time while attending college. When he graduated in 2004, the company offered him a full-time position.
“And I’ve been in [electrical] ever since,” he laughed.
The introduction to the electrical industry he received was one he found both fascinating and work-intensive.
“I did deliveries and helped out in the warehouse for much of my part-time work, and had pretty good understanding of the operation [from] doing that,” he said.
Once he came on full time, McClimon moved from the warehouse to the sales counter and on to other responsibilities—making for a crash course in electrical distribution.
“When I look back on that first year, maybe my first 18 months … I probably never learned as much, certainly in my professional career, and maybe in my entire life, as I did in that [time],” McClimon explained. “It was pretty gratifying, but it was also challenging.”
In 2007, McClimon went to Van Meter Inc. He worked in its inside sales department and later was promoted to account manager before moving to their corporate offices to work in purchasing and commodities.
He was a commodity specialist for three years. In December 2013, McClimon was promoted to his current position as regional customer service manager. He oversees operations in Davenport and Muscatine.
“As an organization we split the state of Iowa into three regions…. And each region has two customer service managers,” he said.
Ultimately, our responsibilities are the day-to-day transactions and the day-to-day operations of our local branches.”
Like many of his colleagues in the “30 Under 35” series, McClimon is constantly staying on top of industry developments. He has completed the NAED’s EPEC Level I and has also attended classes in the University of Industrial Distribution.
“If an organization is going to…extend a learning opportunity to me, I would be foolish to turn that down,” McClimon explained. “Personally, that has always been a goal of mine—to continue to challenge and learn and grow.”
McClimon grew up in Dyersville, Iowa, “famously known as the home of the Field of Dreams,” he said.
He met his wife, Meagan, while a student at St. Ambrose. They have two children: Tayva, five years old, and Grayson, two years old.
When the Iowa weather permits, McClimon enjoys getting out to play golf.
“Here in the Midwest, we are probably limited to about eight or nine months of golf a year,” he said. “So in the spring, summer and fall, I usually find some time at least once a week or perhaps twice a week to get in a round or two.”
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the industry?
A. One thing I’ve always taken to heart is if the organization is willing to put enough trust in me to offer me some opportunities and new responsibilities – I’ve never turned one of those down in my career. And a lot of those opportunities are what has built the foundation for me in distribution.
So my advice would be if you want to get into an industry that has the potential and the ability to provide you with not just a job, but a career – and work for an organization that is going to help you learn the business and grow personally and professionally while offering you opportunities to continue to take on more and learn more – the best advice I can give you is to take those opportunities and run with them. Learn from them and continue to grow and develop. Be a lifelong learner.
Q. What has changed the most in the industry in the last five years?
A. I think what has changed the most in the last five years, and what’s going to continue to be the largest change factor in our industry, is the evolution of the next generation coming in and the current generation retiring and moving on. That is certainly a concern that I think we all need to be cognizant of.
We should all be on the recruiting path to get the best talent we can into this industry. The past five years, and I think it is pretty consistent with what’s going on in the industry, we’ve seen dramatic changes to the people in our organization. A lot of mind share and a lot of experience and expertise has walked out the door. And then we have seen a lot of good, new and young talent come in the door. And we have to continue to prepare them to be successful when the next group of people retires.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tagged with tED