Business Technology Supervisor; Border States Electric
Wendi Majerus had been working at a software company in North Dakota for more than 10 years and for various reasons had no interest in leaving.
But when a recruiter described an open position as “essentially your resume in the job description format,” Wendi said, she knew she had to listen.
The position was with Border States Electric in Fargo, N.D., as a digital application analyst.
“I reviewed the job description, had a few interviews, and within a week I was working on my transition plan for a career change,” she said.
Wendi started there in 2015. Border States had just invested in new software including the latest Microsoft Office 365 suite with Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business.
“They needed somebody to come in who was an expert in best practices and could formalize those best practices and create some structure,” Wendi explained.
While she possessed considerable knowledge of the technology, Wendi saw that she lacked experience and knowledge in another vital area.
“With the majority of our employee-owners working at our branches and not having any visibility into how these tools would best benefit them,” she said, “I didn’t feel that I could adequately provide best practices without knowing how they operated.”
She suggested to her manager that she visit one of the Border States branches to learn more about what they did.
Wendi spent time at the Bismarck branch. From observing and having a dialogue with employees there about what they wanted and needed, she learned a great deal.
Bismarck’s branch manager asked if she would do some basic training at the branch and was pleased with the results. That feedback reached the regional leadership level.
“They told me they’d love to have me do this at all the locations,” she said. “Long story short, 95 or so branches, 22 states, and hundreds of training sessions later, we have the basic training and education in place. My goal for this type of strategy was education on the tools and tailored training, but also to gain confidence and trust. I was no longer just ‘Wendi in IT in Fargo’.”
That extensive time and effort was not her first display of work ethic and digging in to get something accomplished.
In her mid 20’s Wendi decided she wanted to advance her education and obtain her graduate degree. During this time, she was working a fulltime job, going to graduate school, while being a single mother to two young sons.
“It was a challenge but it was very much worth it. It was not just about the education but showing my kids that you can do anything if you work hard enough,” Wendi explained. “My homework would get finished after they went to bed. At the time my youngest was not even a year old.”
Earlier this year, she was named business technology supervisor. And Wendi is engaged to a man (Tony) with whom she attended high school.
“We were classmates in high school and reconnected in our late 20s,” she said.
Between them, they have three boys: Beau (13 years old), Colton (8 years old), and her soon-to-be-stepson Jayce (also 13).
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. I have two pieces of advice. Number one, find a great mentor. That is probably the single most important thing I have had in my success – having supportive mentors. This was one of the determining factors in my decision to move to Border States, I saw that immediately in my manager, Adam Guderian. I knew I could be successful with his support and guidance. A mentor’s roles is to coach you and guide you. Find a mentor that challenges, supports and guides you. With that, you can be successful in anything. Anything can be learned as long as you have the right support system.
Number two, say yes to challenges and opportunities. If you are not getting approached for those challenges and opportunities, ask for them. Say “Yes, as long as you are there to help support me.” And if you have the combination of the right mentor and the right opportunity, you can do pretty amazing things.
Q. What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in this industry?
A. The most rewarding aspect of working in this industry is knowing that the work we do, has an impact on people’s lives. When the power goes out, a system or process that Border States provides to our customers, that are out there in the storms, or natural disasters, fixing the power so we can live comfortably in our homes. We can go to school. We go to work and earn a living. That is probably the most prideful aspect of working in this industry. It’s amazing to be one of the very many people working behind the scenes on something that has such a monumental impact on everybody.Tagged with 2018, 30 under 35