Angela Holowka, 27
Integrated Products Group Manager
United Electric Supply
Angela has been in the industry for five years—but it wasn’t necessarily the career path she planned. “I stumbled into it completely by chance,” she recalled. “I met United Electric’s recruiter at a career fair in Baltimore and the only reason I decided to go up to the table was because they were displaying a map of Delaware, which is where I grew up. I had no idea what electrical distribution was.”
She explained that the recruiter described the different customer segments and product groups, “and the industrial automation department was what really caught my attention. I was graduating with a mechanical engineering degree, not electrical, but the idea of working on projects with all different kinds of customers to help them with modernizing and innovating their systems or processes sounded interesting.”
After starting as an applications engineer with United Electric’s industrial automation team in 2015, Angela became the interim manager in 2018, and was promoted to department manager at the beginning of 2019. “When I started, I was excited to know that I would be able to approach problems and projects with a creative/outside the box style of thinking,” she said. “My favorite part of my job is still working on projects or applications where a customer gives me the requirements and I get to come up with a unique solution.”
Angela noted that one of the big challenges she sees for electrical distribution is also the same for the industries it services, especially industrial automation: How to remain relevant and competitive in this age of fast-changing and disruptive technology. “If someone is comfortable with something and it has been working well for years, there is going to be a reluctance to change. But if we are unwilling to adapt, we will go obsolete,” she explained. “In my role, I am focused helping customers understand new automation technology, helping them see how it can benefit their business, and helping them learn how to use or implemented it without causing too much pain or disruption.”
While she hasn’t quite identified what the next step will be in her career, “I want to keep expanding my technical knowledge to remain a resource for customers—never stop learning,” she said. “I really enjoy working with our industrial automation team and I want to continue to find ways to contribute to its growth and success.
When asked what she would tell someone just entering the industry, Angela responded: “Even though electrical distribution is not some flashy startup, there is so much room and need for innovation in this industry, if you take the time to understand how the business works now, there is going to be an opportunity to shape how it is going to look in the future. The industry will be evolving and adapting, but electricity is not going away.”
Each year tED magazine recognizes 30 of the industry’s best and brightest under the age of 35. Please visit tedmag.com/30Under35 for nomination information and updates about the 2021 program. Questions can be sent to tED Editor Misty Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tagged with 2020 30 Under 35, 30 under 35