Product Manager, OneSource Distributors
By Joe Nowlan
Josh Ramirez has lived in Japan, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Hawaii. Not for work-related reasons. Actually, all this was before he reached the age of five.
“Both my parents are from Mexico and my dad joined the Marine Corps…so I had quite a lot of travel under my belt by the time I was five,” he said.
It was not until he was a student at San Diego State University that Ramirez had even heard of the electrical industry. Actually, all he was looking for was an internship—which he found at OneSource Distributors.
“I got introduced to that opportunity and jumped right in doing product data maintenance which is essentially updating and maintaining product data within our ERP system,” he explained.
While it was all new, Ramirez slowly but surely found himself getting hooked on the industry.
“It was a great learning experience,” he said. “My supervisor Bob Taylor was Obi-Wan Kenobi to me. He really knew his stuff. He had been with OneSource basically since it began and was an incredible resource for me and the organization. So I had a great, experienced teacher bringing me in.”
That has become a rewarding career despite Ramirez having had virtually no prior electrical industry knowledge.
“None at all [at the time],” he laughed. “I didn’t have my father or uncle or anyone like that who was involved in the electrical industry. Initially it was more about satisfying the [academic] requirement of having an internship.”
Ramirez has travelled to Mexico making ample use of his fluency in Spanish. He went to the Toyota plant in Tecate every week for nearly 20 months to promote OneSource’s value adds, specifically VMI.
“My intentions were to meet all relevant players from purchasing to engineers and the people on the floor in order to communicate our capabilities and how we could help Toyota with their total cost of ownership (TCO),” he explained. “It was a great experience to understand how everyone was part of the production process there.”
Eventually Ramirez transitioned to new responsibilities, up to his current role as product manager.
Before his electrical career, even before graduating from college, Ramirez was on the Olympic ladder and came close to being a 2004 Olympian—in judo. He had been training for judo and enjoying it for many years.
“I had been doing judo all my life and I had the opportunity to get that experience, traveling to Europe, Asia, and North America for competitions and training camps. Although, ultimately, I didn’t make the Olympic team, I learned so much just traveling around, meeting different people and seeing different cultures,” he said.
He and his wife, Charlotte, have two sons: Diego, age 7 and Louie, age 4. The family has what Ramirez calls “a little urban farm,” with goats, chickens and vegetables.
“My wife is pretty much in charge. We have chickens—regular size chickens and bantams. She actually shows them, she competes. I call her a chicken champion,” he laughed. “She has won something like 10 of the 12 shows in which she has competed. She definitely maintains the farm and I am in charge of the garden.”
Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Keep your spirits high. Keep your head up. Remember that it is what you make of it, whether it is professional or personal. Keep being curious. Once you gain the knowledge, do your best to apply it. After you apply that knowledge, you will gain wisdom. And you’ll keep learning from that.
Q. What has changed the most in the industry in the past five years?
A. The perspective and reception of the digital transformation. That’s what has changed the most. People are more open to going digital. And when I say digital… It is everyone, whether on their desktop or mobile phone. There are various channels of communications that exist now. The channels of communication have expanded tremendously due to technology and technological advancement. So a lot more people are looking to communicate and do business digitally or online, whether it be on their desktop or on their mobile phone. We should also keep in mind that there is a global trend of people going to mobile rather than desktop. In a nutshell, going digital is the biggest transformation that I have seen in the last five 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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