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2020 30 Under 35 Profile: Geoffrey Graham

Geoffrey Graham, 27
Account Manager
Border States Electric

Geoffrey Joined Shealy Electrical (now Border States Electric) upon graduation from East Carolina University in 2015 through its T2/Distribution Leadership Program. “Upon completing the DLP, I moved to inside sales for a few months and then eventually joined the outside sales team in the construction division in 2017,” he recalled. “In January [2020] I transitioned to the outside sales team in the industrial division.”

Geoffrey noted that when he joined Shealy what appealed to me him most about the company and the industry as a whole, was the ability to make a difference. “I see and hear so many people complain about their jobs, and how they feel what they do doesn’t matter,” he said. “Throughout the course of any project, we rely on many people to help get the job done. From manufacturers, to distributors, to contractors, to the end-user—every step of the process makes a difference and the comradery and bonds you build with people throughout the years is awesome.”

Asked what he sees as an industry challenge, Geoffrey responded “Resistance to change is a challenge our industry like many others is facing. This can lead to issues as we live in a world that is constantly evolving around us. We are being asked to change faster than ever before- whether it be offering new products, methods of doing business, or finding and implementing time-saving solutions and alternatives, adapting to change is what keeps us relevant and makes us valuable. You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Quickly processing, analyzing, and adapting to changes in market—whether it be products, practices, trends, etc.—allows us to stay at the forefront of issues and keep our competitive edge.”

However, he noted that embracing all of the change is easier said than done. “Change is costly no matter how you look it, regardless of whether it is time or monetarily intensive,” he explained. “In my position, one thing that I continually push is letting go of the mindset ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it.’ I cannot get better if I’m not willing to take risks and continue to learn how to properly blend new ideas together with tried and tested avenues of being a resource for my customers. The approach I’ve taken is one I’d recommend for anyone looking to become more change agile and is simply to learn about the new so you can fully understand the options out there. Expanding your knowledge base by being one of the first to try out the new product, taking the training course that you’ve put off, or reading up on a new topic can all be highly beneficial.”

Geoffrey believes that the biggest key to his growth is to “continue to get better every day. If it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at any one topic/subject (according to Malcolm Gladwell), I have a long way to go. I strive to be more productive and help those around me get better as well. As a company, we’re all on the same team. Sometimes you must help your teammates get better as well. I love being asked about my next career position because that’s one of the most exciting things about change: We don’t always know where we will be. With all the rapid change and evolution of the industry, my next position may not even exist yet. There may be a need for a position in the near future for a solution that is still in the works. Or there may be a need that has not yet been identified.” As for a long-term goal, Geoffrey wants to “effectively lead people and help them achieve their business and personal goals, in whatever form that may take.”


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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