Jeffrey Parker, 32
Profitability Leader/Finance Digital Ambassador
Rexel Energy Solutions
Parker was in the cooperative education program in his high school, studying electricity, when he found his way into electrical distribution. “I was 17 and my options were to stay in the field and not get paid, or to accept the first job available,” he recalled with a laugh.
Parker started at Rexel Energy Solutions (RES) [then Munro Distributing] picking orders in the warehouse and worked his way to warehouse lead. “A mentor of mine, Jose Amaral, worked closely with me, showing me more of the business and how to manage inventory on a national level,” said Parker. “I moved to the counter and then to the purchasing department, which led a project management role. Most recently I moved into the role of profitability leader where I focus primarily on inventory health, protecting company margin levels, training and coaching team members for designing the best solutions for our partner’s problems, and really taking care of the RES team’s needs to support them and make sure they’re capturing more of the business.”
And while the need to earn a living put Parker on this career path, what keeps him there is a passion—for creating, for teaching, and for helping to create a better world. “What appealed to me the most, in the beginning, was the idea that I would be helping people design a set of products that would best suit the application,” he said. “It allowed me to express my more creative side as well as apply my passion of teaching to products and a solution. I’m also excited by the mission of saving the planet through clean energy—not only lighting, but also on all the new measures we’re looking into like water/gas/EV charging to help truly create that sustainable world.
“It’s powerful on a personal level to think about, but I’m at 15-year man at the time of this writing, so basically, half my life has been dedicated to this industry and our mission,” he continued. “I met my wife Sandy here, I bought my first car here, and really kicked off my adult life in this industry.”
Parker singled out the COVID-19 crisis as a current industry challenge. “I was actively engaging our team members, customers, and vendor partners when I started seeing the first articles back in December/January to determine where we had weakness or potential issues in the supply chain,” he explained. “This helped RES ultimately be way ahead of the curve and now better support projects as states begin to open up.”
As for his future at RES, “The key for me really to be able to grow and thrive is to leverage the extensive training RES has provided me over the years and look to the other banners available in order to help determine where my abilities would help the overall family the most,” he said. “Ultimately, I see myself as the president of a banner and look to show anyone you can really start from the bottom, and—through hard work, passion, being receptive of others, and dedication—make it in this industry.
“Developing our people is one of my primary goals and remains a passion,” added Parker, who also serves as president of RES’s Toastmasters Club. “In this position I can continue that in a different way—one that not only benefits the business, but also the individual.”
When asked what advice he would give to a young person just entering the industry, Parker replied: “Stay hungry, learn from everyone, and question everything. Some of my team members have been in this industry as long as I’ve been alive, and they have a wealth of knowledge we should incorporate into our own personal blender to make our own and adapt to our style. Listen then speak, don’t just wait for your time to talk, truly listen to what team members and customers are saying.”
Outside of RES, Parker moonlights as a cartoonist and comic book artist, J.A.Parker. “I make all of my work digitally on an iPad and post all my art on twitter @japarkerart and full comics on my shop gumroad.com/japarker,” he said. “Making comics for me, is such a positive and healthy outlet. Having that cathartic avenue really loops back into my work/life balance and allows me to provide next-level customer service.”
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