Construction Sales Account Manager, Siemens
By Joe Nowlan
It was while he was a junior majoring in Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M that Eric Kersey had his attention drawn to Siemens—by a guy named Barack Obama.
“I was watching CNBC and President Obama was speaking at a Siemens wind turbine blade plant in Iowa. It was the first time I came up to realize about Siemens and how innovative and forward thinking they were,” Eric explained. “This got me researching the company and digging into it a little bit.”
Call it perfect timing or fate, but a couple of weeks later Siemens was among the companies attending a job fair at A&M.
“I wound up interviewing with them and was offered an internship,” he said. He started that internship in 2011.
Careful research is also how Eric became an industrial distribution major in the first place. Looking around at other colleges and majors, he saw something he liked at A&M in its mix of engineering and business courses.
“I liked that it wasn’t necessarily an engineering degree as far as being in electrical engineering or mechanical engineering specifically. It gave you enough business skills to take on a role working for a distributor or a manufacturer,” he said. “The diversity of the program and the support that the program got from industry was very attractive.”
Upon graduation, Kersey started full time with Siemens in one of the company’s many entry level development programs.
“Siemens has what they call a sales development program which at the time was an 18 month program. I spent about a year in Atlanta doing some extensive training in products, learning about marketing, learning about all the tools and resources that are available to us in the field,” Eric explained. “Upon completion of that, an opportunity came up here in Austin where I’ve been for about three years now.”
His focus is primarily on construction sales. Its day-to-day challenges appeal to him.
“I wear many hats. I do a lot of sales quotations. A lot of customer support tasks and project management. I cover 200 miles of territory from Waco to San Antonio. So I’m on the road quite a bit,” Eric explained. “I’ll be out going to a job site or I could be going to a contractor. Every day looks different.”
Eric still attends job fairs, but this time to speak on behalf of Siemens, often going back to A&M to do so.
“Going back to A&M and talking to the college students is a wonderful opportunity Siemens has provided. I love helping people and putting people in places where I think they will succeed, whether or not it’s in sales,” he said.
Eric also helps young people succeed in another way. In his spare time he helps coach a nearby sixth grade football team.
And Texas heat be damned, he also likes training for triathlons and half marathons.
“I did my first triathlon when I was living in Atlanta. I like being outdoors and exercising so the triathlon was a great way to enjoy both. To me, being active and staying healthy and involved in the community are important to success and happiness.”
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Whenever I get the opportunity to interview individuals, I always tell them that you own your career. What I mean is that no one knows what you want to do except for you. Unless you are speaking up and letting others know what you want to do, then no one else is going to do it for you.
With that said, always have a five- and 10-year plan with goals in place and how you are going to get there.
Q. You’re one of the younger 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. It can be a challenge. Right now is the first time ever in the business world that there are [as many as] five generations in the workforce.
It’s difficult because we all have had different upbringings and experiences. But to earn respect you have to give respect. I think by being coachable, willing to learn, and being an active listener are ways to give respect to those who are more seasoned. Each of us has something to offer and we can learn from each other if there’s mutual respect between you and your co-workers as well as customers.
There’s also an actionable piece of respect that goes back to what you learned in elementary school. Do what you say you will do. Put something back where you found it. Very basic things like that and you can quickly gain the respect from your elders.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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