Jon Breitfuss, 33
Advance Electrical Supply
Jon joined the electrical industry in 2012 and assumed a project management role at Advance Electrical Supply in December 2015. Mid-way through 2016, he was promoted to switchgear manager of the gear department, where his team focuses on efficiently quoting, winning, and managing construction projects for Chicago’s electrical sub-contractor market.
“I entered the electrical distribution world by chance after applying to many jobs. I started as a business development rep at WESCO in 2012, which was a fancy name for a cold-caller,” Jon recalled. “I knew the only way out of that position was to work my way out. I put in a lot of my spare time into watching YouTube videos about electrical products, reading articles, and working closely with my peers. As I became more confident in what I was doing, I began to take pride in my work. This methodology ultimately led me to the position I’m in today. I continue to be amazed by the need to tackle new problems with evolving solutions and how the advancement in technology has started to impact our electrical world.”
Jon explained that one of the challenges of his role is how contractors and switchgear manufacturers are putting the onus on distributors to perform more complex take-offs on project bids and take full responsibility for coordinating important project changes. “In order to stay ahead of the pressures from both sides of the aisle, it’s important I provide full transparency to my team regarding vendor/manufacturer issues/updates and customer feedback,” he said. “From there, it is important to use appropriate data and feedback to create pathways for success as opposed to always relying on a good price to save us. Those pathways can include critical training sessions and consistent and informative meetings along with providing clear guidelines and expectations. Information is power, and it is important that I show my team that I can entrust them with that information with to be successful in their duties.”
When asked what he believes is key to his future growth in the industry, Jon answered: “Continuing to develop systems and practices that are easily adopted and applied by my team as well as enhancing my overall knowledge of switchgear in order to provide optimum solutions and offerings to Advance Electrical Supply’s clientele.”
“If you put in the work and maintain the right mindset, there are so many doors to enter and opportunities for growth within this industry,” Jon continued. “On the surface, it may just seem like a ‘job’ to many, but when you learn how all facets within this industry are connected, you’ll understand why the electrical market is such a powerhouse in the everyday economy.”
When he’s not working Jon can be found playing guitar; hiking and kayaking; competing in distance running and triathlons; and, occasionally drawing and writing poetry. “I have a lot of hobbies that I enjoy but can’t quite say I’ve mastered by any means,” he laughed.
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.
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