Project Manager/Lighting; Viking Electric Supply
After graduating from high school, Brian Maly worked in retail and later construction. A career wasn’t in his focus yet when a friend of his made a suggestion.
“I was working construction until I found a better job. And a friend of mine that worked at Viking Electric suggested I come work for them. They’re a good company, he told me, and I could start at the city desk,” Brian explained. “I was hesitant because I didn’t know anything about the electrical industry.”
But he interviewed with Viking in 2015 and got the job.
“Then I just kept working hard to learn the material as best I could and as quickly as I could,” he said. “I started to complete training and certifications and then just went from there.”
Once he got his feet wet and looked around the warehouse, Brian had much the same reaction as other first-year electrical employees.
“I looked at the sheer volume of different electrical components and said, ‘I am never going to learn this,’” he laughed.
But he was determined to learn as much as possible. Looking back, Brian believes that his time working construction before he started at Viking helped him somewhat in his adjustment.
“I believe that my time spent on the job sites and working with various contractors helped me a little bit here at Viking,” he explained. “And helped me understand their obstacles and what they faced and how we can better serve them.”
Brian is completing his college studies, attending the University of Wisconsin at Stout online.
“It’s general business courses: finance, accounting, some project management courses,” he explained. “I attend that school entirely online. So on weeknights and weekends I complete the courses on my laptop. And then I plan to still complete my Six Sigma certification, hopefully next year.”
His desire to keep learning is especially essential in his current position of project manager/lighting.
“Once the quotations specialist and the contractor along with our reps have created a usable bill of materials and price quotes, then we try to hand off the project to the project managers where they will finalize details on all the materials,” Brian said in describing his role. “So we try to get all the contact information, remove all delivery obstacles and then work with the factories and the reps to expedite the materials so it’s delivered within the allotted time to the job site.”
While he’s enjoying the constant learning challenge that comes with lighting, Brian admits the learning curve never ends for him.
“Lighting controls are one thing that I’m still trying to piece together and better understand,” he said. “I’m starting to understand what features are offered within the various manufacturers. So there’s a lot I’ve got to learn.”
Brian and his wife Kelsey recently adopted a rescue dog.
“We hang out with her family quite a bit because they live only two-and-a-half miles away from us. We can do a lot of things with them,” Brian said. “They also have a couple of jet skis that we’ll use on the local lake.”
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. The biggest thing that I did right out of the gate was to seek some direction and guidance from people that have had success. See what worked for them. Right after I came to Viking, I sat down with my manager and his manager and created a career development plan based around my goals and what positions I’d like to obtain in the future. And we outlined what kind of training opportunities I could participate in to reach those goals.
And that helped establish a guide for me to always fall back on and make sure that whatever my actions were, that they would fall in line with that development plan. So I think that was a great tool.
I also immediately started asking for all the training opportunities that Viking had at its disposal along with shadowing people in higher positions. That gave me a little more perspective and insight into the industry and its people in a short amount of time.
Q. You’re one of the youngest people to be recognized this year. Do you ever run into difficulty commanding respect in the company? If so, how do you manage that?
A. While my team of fellow project managers and quotations specialists manage projects instead of people, it is still crucial to treat others as an effective leader would. But being new to the industry and being much younger, I don’t have the personal experience or wisdom that a lot of the more seasoned veterans have. A great method of gaining others’ wisdom, which I’m always working to improve, is listening more than talking because that’s how you’re going to learn a lot more.
Regardless of the industry, we all face difficulties and obstacles in our jobs, and it can be easy to judge or become upset with others. I believe it’s imperative that I avoid frustration and instead work to understand their perspective on the situation in which I may not have been aware. We’re all just trying to do what we can for the betterment of our company and for our customers. I hope that if I am accountable for my actions, work hard, and treat others with respect, then I can earn the respect of others and help bring more enjoyment to the workplace.
Tagged with 30 under 35, viking electric