Product Manager—Power Conversion & Renewable Energy Fuses; Eaton
By Joe Nowlan
When Kevin Calzada graduated from college in 2010, he had a degree in mechanical engineering and a desire to work for a manufacturing company.
“I was a mechanical engineer and had a lot of background from some internships I did in manufacturing,” Kevin said. “I was looking for a manufacturing company I could become a part of, primarily from an engineering standpoint.”
He joined Eaton full time after graduation. He admits today that being in the electrical industry wasn’t necessarily where he saw himself for the long run. Soon he began to see things differently. It was his experience in Eaton’s leadership development program that convinced him.
“It’s great for somebody coming out of school that isn’t really sure what they want to specialize in,” he explained. “They give you the opportunity to try your hand and gain experience in several different roles. I learned a lot more about the industry from an electrical engineering standpoint. I have really made a home here. Five or six years ago I never would’ve seen this coming.”
As he made his way through the different segments of Eaton, Kevin loved the fast-paced learning curve.
“They assume that you will get up to speed very quickly in a fast paced environment with several very different roles and responsibilities,” he explained. “What I really enjoyed about it was I got a chance to learn what I would love doing—and maybe what I didn’t love but still needed experience in.”
While first impressions can be important, in this case Kevin is glad he had his eyes opened and his first impression of the electrical industry corrected.
“My initial perception of the electrical industry as a whole is that it was a little bit more established, that it hadn’t changed a lot in quite some time. But there is so much more to it than I would’ve realized from my mechanical background,” he said. “There is so much new technology and innovation out there and it’s great to be a part of it.
Kevin’s current title is product manager–power conversion and renewable energy fuses. In that role, he was in charge of launching the Bussmann electric vehicle fuse line earlier this year. The fuses are aimed specifically at the rapidly-growing electric vehicle industry.
“As more and more vehicle systems become electrified, batteries are getting larger and voltages and currents are continually increasing making circuit protection of the utmost importance. In the Bussmann division we are combining our 100-year legacy in circuit protection to a brand to a new and innovative industry.” Kevin explained.
Kevin and his wife Amy have three children: Braden, 4 years old; Isabel, age 3, and Sam, 1.
Kevin was born and raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and grew up a Cubs fan. Now working in St. Louis, he is surrounded by Cardinals fans. But for once, the lifelong Cubs fan is enjoying life as in 2016 the Cubs finally won their first World Series since 1908.
“Historically it has been a little painful living here, but finally it paid off,” he laughed.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. A couple of things. One of the mindsets that I adopted from day one is to ask questions and learn. It’s easy for people to come out of college—especially from a particularly well known university—with big heads. But I just took the mindset that I was going to learn as much as I can from people who have been here for a long time.
At the same time, while learning and asking questions, it’s also important to be assertive and bring up new ideas. You never want to be complacent and keep things the way they are. Be assertive but not overwhelming to people that are out there. Learn what you can from people who have this experience. The perfect balance of those two things is really what will take you a long way. Some of the best successes that I’ve had I attribute largely to people whom I have talked to who are industry experts and know their stuff.
Q. You and many in the electrical industry seem genuinely enthusiastic about your work and about the industry overall. Why do you think that is?
A. I have noticed that general enthusiasm. It’s difficult for me to explain the “why” for everyone but one of the things that keeps me enthusiastic is my product line of circuit protection solutions. We are providing solutions that contribute to people’s overall well-being and safety. That’s what Eaton does; we make what matters work, and not just work, but work safely.
A lot of times people will look at circuit protection simply as code-compliance and something that you need to do to get to an end means. But that is really not what it is all about. It is really about safety and about helping people go home to the ones they love. That’s what keeps me motivated because at the end of the day, I know the products and solutions we offer are improving people’s lives.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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