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2018 30 Under 35 Profile: Andrew Taddoni

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Andrew Taddoni, 35

Andrew Taddoni
35
Product Manager, Commercial & Industrial; Leviton Manufacturing

Andrew Taddoni began his career in the metalworking industry at MSC Industrial Supply. For his daily commute, though, he’d drive by the Leviton building in Melville, N.Y.

“Leviton’s was a building I passed by twice a day. I always admired the look of the building, it was eye-catching” Andrew said. “When I saw a position open up there, I applied for the job. I had a great interview and I immediately accepted the position.”

He joined Leviton in 2015 as the industrial product manager.

“It was challenging and exciting coming here because product management is defined differently, depending on what company you are with and what industry you are in,” Andrew explained. “Just look up ‘product management,’ on a job website and you will get different versions of what companies are looking for in the product manager role.”

At MSC, he was involved in category sales growth, vendor relationships, and building relationships with the sales team.

“When I came to Leviton it was fun because while I still manage a portfolio of products, they are very, very different,” he explained. “The role of a product manager in this company is to also grow the categories you are responsible for, but also lead project teams to introduce new products into the market.  The success comes from understanding the market needs. My role is the industrial world, focusing on manufacturing plants. An example would be food processing facilities. As a product manager we travel across the U.S, and visit customers to better understand the electrical devices their facilities needs.”

Andrew has especially enjoyed working with Leviton engineers on product development and related projects.

“I get to work very closely with the engineering team. They do an amazing job of bringing to life the new ideas and products we come up with,” he explained. “There is a lot of trust involved. I love the travel piece of this job. Getting out to our customers, seeing their challenges and then working with engineering on little tweaks to the design is a lot of fun. It’s also very exciting when a new product starts to come together.”

This year, Andrew has been going for his product management certification. The course included three days of training with other product managers outside of his industry.

“I think in order to learn you have to experience and absorb as much as you can, you have to be passionate and you have to want to do it,” he explained. “It was good to sit in a room with different minds from completely different industries with unique roles.”

Andrew and his wife Meg were married in 2017.  We both have busy work schedules, Andrew said, but they love being active and staying fit.

“We spend a lot of time working out and living a healthy lifestyle. It is a good stress reliever for me, and it’s an added bonus that my beautiful wife enjoys doing this,” he explained. “We love the beach. I always say to people if I didn’t live on Long Island, I would need to be near some body of water because I find it to be calming.”

 

Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?

A. My advice would be to come in with an open mind and be a sponge. Talk to engineers about everything that you don’t understand. Ask as many questions as you can until you do understand it.

Then I would say to travel, travel, travel—it’s the most effective way to learn about products and an industry. It has been the best way for me to connect ideas – you need to get into a facility and go see customers. The facilities I go to are not always the prettiest places in the world but what you see is so valuable.

I’ve been to meat processing facilities, that make you never want to eat chicken again after visiting, but you see these devices that Leviton manufactures in their true application, and you understand the environments they need to be able to survive in. That has helped me learn the industry better than just sitting down and studying.

Then, find a good mentor. I have been very lucky here to have my boss, Maria Acosta, who has been an inspiration. She has taught me so much in the short time I have been at Leviton and is someone that I really trust.  She put her confidence in me from day one and is always encouraging me to go out and travel. Early on, especially for younger people, it is really important to have strong leadership.

 

Q. What industry-related books, websites, blogs, social media do you follow regularly and why (aside from The Electrical Distributor and NAED materials)?

A. The majority of what I follow is centered around our key competitors, believe it or not. I’ll check their websites, social media pages. I think it is important to stay on top of what the competition is doing. But that also provides a good education on what people are focusing on and what the latest buzzwords are.

I listen to a lot of product management podcasts. You can just search “product management” and dig into a lot of different people from different industries and what they are saying. That has helped me find a few books that I have enjoyed reading, really more related to innovation and how to be a better thinker.

One topic that comes from all these podcasts that I’ve latched onto is the Internet of Things, IoT. It is not directly related to product management but there are specific podcasts on that topic. You can really go down a fun path if you identify a topic and you find an accomplished speaker that you enjoy listening to. You hear some of the ideas that these individuals come up with. There are so many people in this world with incredible minds that you can feed off of.

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Joe Nowlan  is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at jcnowlan@msn.com.

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