Josh Davis, 31
The Will Group
Josh’s career at The Will Group started when he was studying at the University of Tennessee. While he was certainly no stranger to the Illinois-based company—started by his father in 1986 and named after his grandfather—it was a full-time internship that marked his official entrance into the business.
“In 2009 I started spending my summers at The Will Group and with our partners in China,” Josh explained. After graduating in 2011 (earning a degree in Finance with an emphasis on international business), Josh went to work for an OEM lighting manufacturer in California before returning to The Will Group in 2013—holding positions that included ship foreman, inside and outside sales, and operations manager. He was named president in 2018.
Asked what he enjoys most about the industry, Josh replied: “I love being able to offer solutions to our clients—going in and helping implement projects and being a trusted name in the industry,” he said. “The electrical industry is something that many people don’t know a lot about, but electricity and providing product support to ensure a stable infrastructure is so crucial to everything and I really enjoy being a part of it all.”
Josh believes e-commerce currently presents one of the biggest challenges to electrical distribution. “It’s the challenge everyone is facing,” Josh noted. “Our customers are deciding between going online to find the lowest prices—and then questioning the quality of the products—or stopping by one of our counters. For us, the key to that challenge is continuing to be a knowledgeable and reliable source. That will always win out; relationships will always win out. The Will Group continues to grow because of our relationships and offering those additional, turn-key solutions to prevent customers from saying ‘I can just go online and do this.’”
In the next couple of years, Josh is focused on continuing to help the company grow. “The Will Group is a $40 million to $50 million company and by working with our clients across the country I’d like to scale up and become a $100 million company,” he said. “We’ll do that by continuing to be solution-oriented, continuing to knock on doors, and continuing to look at key partnerships to help us grow.” Personally, Josh believes that continued learning is key to his growth in the company. “I will continue to educate myself try and learn as much as I can from others in the industry,” he noted.
To someone just entering the industry, Josh has this advice: “Always show up. I can look back to six, seven years ago to a sale that was a loss, but continuing to maintain those relationships—continuing to show up—later led the bigger and better deals,” he said. “And I can think of more recent deals where I had to look back at the trail of several meetings I had to go through to get to the ‘yes.’ The key is continuing to show up—doing so can be the one critical piece in a big deal.”
When he’s not working Josh is busy with his wife and new baby—a little girl born last January. He can also be found keeping fit—Josh has run a few marathons—and flying. “I’m a private pilot and I love to fly,” he explained. “Our family has an organization—Tuskegee NEXT—that gives at-risk youth aviation education and career path opportunities. I’m really passionate about that.”
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