President, Midland Winlectric
By Joe Nowlan
Earl Semadeni first heard about the electrical industry when he was getting out of the U.S. Army in 2013.
“I went to a hiring conference through a junior military officer placement company,” he explained. “Winsupply was there and they hired me. I ended up in Odessa, Texas, training at Odessa Winlectric and was later asked to fill the role of Midland Winlectric President.”
Semadeni was hired to be president of one of Winsupply’s companies. It is typically a one-year training program, he said.
“They had just started focusing on junior military officers transitioning out of the military,” Semadeni explained.
He started at the Midland store in August, 2013. He took over as president in March, 2014.
“That’s how this company is structured… They have stores tied to various industries and hired me to be a president at one of them based on my military and leadership experience,” Semadeni explained. “It just so happened that they had an opening here in Midland, Texas. I was already here. And I was training in the industry, so it was a good fit.”
Semadeni grew up near Tucson, Ariz. He graduated from the University of Arizona where he majored in public administration with an emphasis in criminal justice.
“I went directly into the military after that. I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army,” he explained. “I went to airborne school. I went to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division… I moved to Fort Hood and went to Iraq with the First Cavalry Division. I transitioned out as a captain.”
The Midland store hadn’t been performing to company expectations. Semadeni and his staff turned things around quickly. First year sales increased by 50 percent, Midland officials reported. In addition, after-tax profit increased by 58 percent.
“A lot of it was processes, efficiencies that weren’t necessarily in place. Customer relationships had not really been fostered or maintained in the previous years,” Semadeni explained. “Quite honestly, a lot of it was just improving the availability of inventory.”
Semadeni draws a bit of an affectionate comparison between his work in the electrical industry and the Army—especially the constant learning curve he follows today.
“The Army attitude of how in a new job, you get 30 days and then after that it’s your fault,” he laughed. “You are always falling into jobs that aren’t necessarily in your trade. It is a matter of getting into a situation, analyzing the most crucial pieces of it and figuring out how to learn it, or who knows the most about it and then leveraging that so you can make decisions.”
Semadeni and his wife, Brittany, have been married for five years. They have a dog named Jayden.
“She is a little mutt. The smartest dog I’ve ever seen in my life,” Semadeni laughed.
Among Semadeni’s hobbies are collecting and working on old vehicles, especially trucks.
“I have a passion for old vehicles. I collect junk trucks, work on them and try to fix them up. Right now I have some 1950s International Harvester pickups. I have a ’52 and a ’51 as well as a ’61 International Scout,” he said.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Keep learning and work on relationships. It is about service, not price… I would say in terms of the electrical industry, I am still very much a novice. I don’t even know what I don’t know at this point. My technical ability and that scope is not where I want it to be, but after two years, I am getting there. The relationship side of it is how I’ve gotten where I am. My customers teach me. They are the ones that have taught me the majority of what I know and they understand my technical ability. They got me through it and if that relationship wasn’t there, it wouldn’t work.
Q. What do you think is the biggest opportunity within the electrical industry?
A. Right now, I would have to say LED lighting just because it is just starting to really come into its own and expand into applications that nobody had thought about. [LED is] relatively well understood, but it’s still got a long way to go towards being refined. I think there is a lot of long-term opportunity in that.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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