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2021 30 Under 35 Profile: Amanda Puckett

Amanda Puckett, 35
Project Coordinator, Grid Solutions
Border States Electric

Amanda grew up in the shadow of electrical distribution, but never thought it would be her career path. “I arrived in the industry by complete happenstance,” she said, “but I also like to think that it was in the cards for me, because my dad has been in the industry my entire life—he would take me into the office and I would wander through the warehouse—but I never grew up thinking that I was going to be in electrical distribution.”

After earning her undergrad in early childhood education, “pretty much as opposite from electrical distribution as you could possibly be,” she laughed, Amanda moved and found herself in the middle of a school year. “There were no teaching jobs at that point, so I started applying for everything I was even remotely qualified for. Service Wire took me in with no industry background whatsoever.” She worked in inside sales at Service Wire for three years before moving to Border States in 2021.

“This is a very welcoming industry,” said Amanda, when asked what appeals to her about electrical distribution. “It’s easy to find your place, even if you don’t have an electrical background. I also love that there are so many different directions to go. The opportunities are endless. Never would I have pictured my career being where it is now, and that continues to be extremely appealing. Even if you’re happy, comfortable, and content in your career, there’s always somewhere else to go.”

Asked about a challenge the industry is currently facing, Amanda pointed to the labor shortage. “We have all of these people who have been in the industry for many years, like my dad, who are going to be retiring soon. We need more younger people to come in to bridge the gap,” she said, noting that a big hurdle is the lack of awareness about the industry. “A lot of people are aware of the trade side of the industry—being an electrician or in construction—but there’s a big lack of awareness of electrical distribution. There’s just so much to the industry that most younger people aren’t aware of. I try to stay on top of job opportunities that pop up in the industry and tell friends who are looking for jobs to check out electrical distribution—it’s where they want to be!”

As for her career aspirations, Amanda is content in her current position for now. “I’ve been with Border States nearly a year and there are days where I feel like I know zero things,” she said. “I still have so much to learn and I’m trying to soak up as much information as I can in my present position. Coming from a niche manufacturer, grasping everything product-wise has been a big learning curve.”

While she doesn’t have a specific career goal in mind, Amanda is preparing for whatever the future holds. “I’ve always been interested in growth and development, personally and professionally, so I’m focused on learning everything I can so I’m ready to expand my career,” she said. “I have so many people around me who have been in the industry for forever, so many people who have so much knowledge to share. I’ve never met a person in the industry that wasn’t willing or able to share their knowledge. I try to soak up as much information as I can to help me grow, and help grow my team, my department, and the industry—and I’m definitely in the right place for that. Border States is great in terms of professional development and providing the resources to grow.”

Asked what she would tell someone just entering the industry, Amanda replied “Welcome and enjoy the ride. It’s an industry full of people who love what they do and have so much to share, so take advantage of that. Find people to mentor you and help you grow. Also, don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to the table. We learned during the pandemic that we can’t always do things the way that we’ve always done them, so being able to adapt and bring new ideas to the table definitely helps. So, enjoy the ride, but once you find your place don’t be afraid to shake things up a little.”

When she’s not working, Amanda can be often be found hiking with her rescue dog, Pearl. “I spend a lot of time with her,” she noted, “I do also volunteer when I can at the local animal shelters, which gets a little difficult for me because I want to come home with every single animal that I find.” She also enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and enjoying a book by the pool. “I try to take at least one big trip a year, if not more,” she said. “I actually like to travel by myself, so if I don’t have anybody to travel with me I’ll just take off and go somewhere alone. But a normal day for me is reading a good book at the pool—if the weather permits, which is about 10 months out of the year in Arizona—finding a new restaurant or taking Pearl to a new hiking trail.”

 

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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