President, CEO & Owner; Metro Wire & Cable
By Joe Nowlan
The electrical industry—and specifically Metro Wire—is something that has always been part of Devin Ezop's life. His parents founded the company in 1976.
“But my parents never pushed me to get into this business. I ended up going to college and majored in business,” Devin explained. “I got an internship with our local utility company [Detroit Edison, now DTE Energy] here in Detroit. I worked there as a co-op during college. When I graduated, I continued to work there for a little bit as well.”
After a few years, he decided to take his experience and move it to Metro Wire. But not before some preparation, he noted.
“I had to go through a rather rigorous interview process with my dad,” he said, laughing a little. “But I really had to come up with some business plans and what my thoughts and ideas were for the business and the growth of it. After a couple of months of interviewing in preparation I started at Metro in 2007. In October 2016, I [bought] out my parents.”
Family or not, Devin started in the warehouse. From there, he worked in sales. From day one, he learned a great deal.
“Outside of the warehouse—where I was seeing how the orders were processed and delivered to the customer—I'd say I learned the most in the sales capacity because you are interfacing with your customers,” he explained. “You have the sales aspect where you get the orders and get the business. But then you parlay that with the warehouse and see that it's one thing to take an order, but can you fulfill that order? If you have a customer who says they want something tomorrow, are you capable of getting it to them tomorrow?”
Customers are often a primary source of education for Metro Wire employees, Devin said.
“We are in front of our customers a lot. Our big mantra here at Metro Wire is 'What can we do to make your job easier?' When we ask that, we actually get quite a bit of information. What we do then is to separate ourselves from our competition and make our customers' job easier. That's how I'm always learning, is from our customers.”
Devin and his wife, Nora, have two children—Finn, who is 3 years old, and Audrey, who will soon celebrate her first birthday.
With running Metro and a young family, Devin has only a little time for any hobbies.
“If I am not at work I am either up in northern Michigan out on the lake. We live by a lake here in Detroit. So I will be out on the water,” he said. “I like to play tennis if I have time for it. In the winter, I am out ice fishing.”
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. I think the biggest thing is to just listen. I think a lot of people my age come into the industry from college…but experience is everything. You can learn best practices and theories in college, but when you get into it, listen to your elders and to the people that are going to be, essentially, your mentors. They have a wealth of knowledge. So learn from them—and then once you have done that, start applying your thoughts and what you have learned to the mix.
Q. What you think is the biggest opportunity within the industry?
A. I would say servicing customers better. I compete against [bigger companies] and feel that the biggest opportunity for somebody like myself and our company is to out-service my competition by finding the things that my customers want, that helps them to be successful and make money—which, in turn, will help [my company] make money and succeed.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tagged with 2017, 30 under 35, tED