Learning & Development Manager, CapitalTristate
Megan Kinkopf was studying hospitality and tourism management at Purdue University and the electrical industry was nowhere near her career path.
She graduated in 2012 and went into the hospitality industry with a catering job she liked despite the often-hectic schedule.
“I loved managing events for my clients and enjoyed the fast-paced atmosphere, but I was looking for something that created a better work-life balance,” Megan explained.
Her husband, Michael, was by this time working in sales for CapitalTristate and Megan was intrigued by what she was hearing.
“The training coordinator’s position in the workforce development department became available at CapitalTristate,” she said. “At the time I was looking to transition roles, so I jumped all over the opportunity because I saw the benefits and how great the company was treating my husband.”
Unlike many in the electrical industry, Megan didn’t start in the warehouse. Nonetheless, she found herself on a challenging learning curve—a challenge she found herself enjoying.
“Joining as a training coordinator was a great opportunity for me,” she explained. “I learned quickly from being in that position because, in order to support the training needs for our people, I had to learn what they do in their roles first.”
Upon her transition to the learning and development manager role a year later, Megan took this same approach.
“My team and I work very closely with our managers,” she said. “We have many conversations with them to get an exact picture of just what training is essential for certain job functions, so we can implement realistic training for associates’ career path planning.”
Megan must be on the forefront of the latest training offerings.
“What is cool about our company culture is that they are knocking on my door requesting training,” she said. “People know they need to stay on top of product knowledge and their skills because of the fast-changing technology. It is a great relationship because instead of ‘forcing’ people to attend training, they are choosing to better themselves. That makes our interaction with them so much more rewarding.”
CapitalTristate realized quickly that Megan’s background in hospitality management would also be an asset to the organization.
“I’ve been able to expand my responsibilities to manage internal company communication efforts, coordinate company meetings and events, and support other various corporate needs,” she said. “My department sees us more as an employee support team, not just the training team. We take pride in owning that responsibility.”
In the past, Megan has attended the NAED Women’s Forum and is pleased to see more women entering the electrical industry.
“I’m seeing more women choosing to build their careers with us,” she explained. “It’s a strong industry and we are a growing company with many opportunities. I enjoyed the forum and make it a priority to encourage the company to continue investing in sending other women each year.”
Being originally from Indiana, Megan and her husband enjoy the scenery Maryland has to offer. They especially like living close to the Chesapeake Bay and the state’s capital. They love to travel and play with their rescue dog, Ted, a Shiba Inu.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Work hard and don’t be shy about stepping up to challenges. Your age doesn’t matter but what you bring to the table does. If you can help the company be successful, your age and experience level will not hold you back. Be focused and take advantage of opportunities and challenges that show off your strengths. It’s great exposure and will lead to more doors opening for you in the future.
Q. What do you think is the biggest opportunity within the industry?
A. The e-commerce business is just waiting to take off. A lot of time, energy, and investments are being placed into our online digital sales and there are a lot of resources being allocated to assist.
In the industry, there is a lot still to be done. I don’t know how or what the best approach would be, but as millennials continue to enter the trade we need to adjust to their buying habits as they are completely different from someone who has been in the industry for 30 years. Our customers are going to start to expect more from a digital solution standpoint.
On the training side, digital is sneaking itself into many of our conversations and training plans. “Digital” is now a standard competency for our sales and management roles. I find myself recommending many training programs and resource material to associates regarding e-commerce sales and technology skills.Tagged with 2018, 30 under 35