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2020 30 Under 35 Profile: Brandon Riley

Brandon Riley, 33
Regional Customer Service Manager
Van Meter Inc.

Brandon has spent 10 years in the industry, all with Van Meter Inc. His career began on the pricing team, claiming vendor rebates. He eventually took on additional pricing responsibilities along with purchasing and inventory functions before moving into the automation team as a product line specialist for two years prior to being promoted to his current role of regional customer service manager.

“A good friend had been working at Van Meter for several years and loved the company,” Brandon recalled. “The way he spoke of the people and culture caught my interest as I was just beginning my professional journey.  I had very little knowledge of the electrical distribution industry prior to applying to Van Meter, and the willingness to educate and develop people at Van Meter and throughout the industry is what really impressed me as a new hire.”

Brandon noted that what continues to appeal to him 10 years later “is the community of people throughout the electrical distribution industry, along with the changes as our industry, and world, evolve. I really enjoy the opportunity to support and encourage the next generation coming into the industry with fresh eyes as our industry changes and takes on the new challenges.”

When asked what he sees as one of the biggest challenges to the industry, Brandon referenced the knowledge loss that comes with the large number of Baby Boomers heading into retirement. “We have a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge throughout our industry that will be retiring in coming years,” Brandon explained. “It is impossible to capture all the knowledge, but our challenge will be to learn all we can from this generation. By learning from others past experiences, we can shorten our own learning curve.”

At Van Meter, Brandon said “We are working through this challenge by having open conversations with our people about retirement and succession planning within our teams.  There will be opportunities for people to step up and a chance to rethink and reimagine how certain areas of business look.”

Brandon sees continuing to challenge himself to look at things in a new way, stay informed on the current and future state of our industry, challenge himself to get uncomfortable, and learning each day from everyone he interacts with as the keys to his growth in the industry. “My career goal is to leave my company, and industry, better than I came into it,” he said, noting that this includes “helping people be their personal best, inside and outside of work hours, and driving positive change throughout our organization and industry.”

As for those just coming into the industry, Brandon has this advice: “Find a mentor within your company and find one outside your company within the industry. Seek to understand the why and challenge everything—starting with your own thoughts and ideas. Get to know as many people as you can and jump in with both feet.”

Outside of work Brandon spends time reading and listening to podcasts, “anything that challenges and creates an opportunity to reflect or ‘self-analyze’ as well as history,” he noted. He and his wife also have an energetic 10-year-old husky/lab mix “who has not lost his puppy energy and keeps us busy!”  He also enjoys playing golf, watching Iowa Hawkeye athletics, lifting weights, and trying to practice yoga more often. “Prior to COVID-19, we enjoyed traveling and going out to eat, but cooking at home has become a recent hobby due to the pandemic,” he added.


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 mbyers@naed.org.

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