Inside Sales, Medler Electric
By Joe Nowlan
Jared Babcock had just graduated from college when he first heard about the electrical industry in 2012.
“I was working two jobs part-time [while] going to grad school. I wanted to get into something a little more stable,” Babcock explained. “I saw a warehouse job posted that was close to home so I applied for it. I never thought it would be somewhere I would go [full-time] but I kind of liked it.”
That particular warehouse was Medler Electric’s, at its Alma, Michigan location. Babcock soon took to the challenges and opportunities the job offered.
“It was nice to learn something different…. It was a big learning step because I wasn’t from the electrical field or anything,” he said. “I didn’t go to school for it. But I embraced it.”
Babcock appreciated the warehouse camaraderie and the help he received from mentors who showed him the right way to do things. He took to the industry and was soon promoted—to counter sales for a year, followed by five months in the central quotes department before moving to inside sales at the Alma branch.
It was after his first promotion that he began to think that Medler Electric could become more of a career than just a stopping point.
“The first opportunity I got to move up … that kind of sealed it. I was in the warehouse for about a year and obviously I didn’t want to do that forever,” Babcock explained. “I was kind of waiting for my opportunity. I didn’t think it was going to be that quick but I got it. And pretty much took off from there and have really grown to like it.”
Babcock kept working towards his MBA, receiving it from Central Michigan University in 2014. He also takes advantage of various educational opportunities such as the EPEC courses offered by NAED.
“I just finished [EPEC] silver and I am starting the gold,” Babcock said, knowing all too well that learning never stops in the electrical industry.
“Part numbers change weekly, it seems,” he said. “And they come out with a better product weekly.… It is just a learning experience every day.”
Not long ago, Babcock was the new guy being mentored. These days he’s the one doing the mentoring.
“I try to help out new kids and teach them the right way,” he said. “I just basically pass off what I have learned to them, pass that knowledge on and keep it going.”
Overall business at Medler Electric has “been pretty good so far this year. It’s been pretty steady and we seem to be doing better each year,” Babcock said.
Babcock was born and raised in Alma. His father is a mechanic and his mother is a nurse. His dad’s being a mechanic was a definite influence on Babcock while growing up.
“I still like to work on cars,” he said.
Babcock and his fiancée, Ashley Byers, plan to marry in 2016.
He also finds time to coach freshman football, which, he laughed, can be another form of mentoring.
“There are quite a few similarities,” he said. “They correlate pretty well.”
Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. My best advice would be to go at your job full speed. Don’t be afraid to make any mistakes. Everyone has to learn it and I’m sure a lot of people weren’t born into this industry knowing everything. Use your resources – whether it be a magazine or a computer, or your colleagues. There is a vast availability of knowledge. Just do your best at everything you do. And ask questions too. I think asking questions is a big thing. You learn something every day from asking questions.
Q. You’re one of the youngest people to be recognized this year. Do you ever run into difficulty commanding respect in the company? If so, how do you manage that?
A. No, I have not run into any of that. Everyone works as a team. They help me along. Sometimes there may have been a little jealousy but obviously I have worked for it. Other than that, I think everyone is on the same page. I think I get just as much respect as … someone who has been here for 30 years.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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