Power Consulting Specialist; Schneider Electric
By Joe Nowlan
Anthony Fuller started hearing about the electrical industry—or at least one aspect of it—as a child growing up in the Detroit area where his grandfather was an engineer for General Motors.
Like a lot of young boys, he had a curiosity about electricity, usually a cool thing for a young boy.
“The logical and analytical aspects of electricity and engineering in general drew me to it. To constantly ask questions and try to see how things work and why they work,” Anthony explained.
While in college, he worked a co-op job at DTE Energy. After graduating from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., Eaton recruited him locally as a field service engineer.
“I worked there commissioning and troubleshooting electrical switchgear,” he said. “After about 2.5 years I moved to another position in more of an operations role where I did project management and technical assistance for engineers.”
From there, Anthony went to Portland, Ore., where he was the lead engineer in Eaton's Power Center primarily designing medium voltage switchgear. He was pleased to get a chance to move back to the Midwest a few years later, this time to Cleveland as engineering manager of Eaton's Cleveland Satellite facility.
Earlier in 2016 Anthony was surprised to get a call from the man who originally hired him at Eaton and who was now working for Schneider Electric.
“I wasn't really looking for anything but he said 'I have this really great opportunity for you. I'd like to work with you again,'” Anthony explained.
His current title at Schneider is power consulting specialist. His territory extends from the Dakotas over to Ohio and Kentucky.
“I'm kind of like the bridge between the sales force and the organization that goes out to the customers and sells our power systems engineering offering,” Anthony explained.
At Schneider he is able to tap into his 10 years of experience, especially his time spent as a field engineer.
“If you've seen the different equipment in action, you can speak intelligently to your customers. 'Hey, this is what I have seen in so many different situations and here is what is going to make your life easier,'” Anthony explained. “You're not just trying to sell them something out of a brochure. You are speaking from your experience.”
Anthony found the time to earn his MBA from the University of Michigan while he was still working full-time.
“That took me a while. I didn't do the normal MBA program that folks do in 18 months. I took a class here and a class there. It took me six years or so to complete that,” he said.
Anthony and his wife Katie have three children: an eight-year-old son named Albin; another son, Colin, who is seven; and daughter, Carli, who is four.
His children take up a huge amount of his spare time rather than a specific hobby.
“One of the things I've been very lucky to do is to be involved with extracurricular activities for the kids, spending time with them and helping them to have fun outside of the normal school day,” he said.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
Always keep learning. If you are a young professional, do not just go into work, do your job, and then go home. Find something to continually improve yourself as you develop your career. It will greatly benefit you in the later stages of your career if you can do that up front. The longer you wait to go back to school or learn something else then the harder it is going to be to pick up those skills later on.
Q. What has changed the most in the industry in the past five years?
I think it is the advancements in technology. Look at the type of equipment in the industry that we have now compared to what we used just a few years ago. There is such an emphasis on technology and communication and utilizing a lot of the things connectivity-wise. Wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and WiFi; the different types of microprocessors. Things like that, where in the past we were using electromechanical relays, for example—technology that was designed 50 to 80 years ago. We have really made that leap just in the last few years especially since I started my career.
But despite these technological leaps, there is a great need for electrical engineers out there. I cannot tell you how difficult it was to find engineers that actually had a power background coming out of school. They were few and far between.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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