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2021 30 Under 35 Profile: Cedrick Phillips

2021 30 Under 35 Profile: Cedrick Phillips

Cedrick Phillips, 35
Branch Manager
Border States Electric

Cedrick started at Border States Electric’s (BSE) Phoenix branch in early 2012 in the company’s two-year management trainee program. “A college friend of mine was a former employee-owner at BSE and was quite persistent that I get in contact with BSE and look into seeing if it would be a good fit,” recalled Cedrick. “After going through the interview process, I could tell that it was a good company, but I had no idea what exactly I would be doing. I figured I would take the job until something better came along…and almost 10 years later I’m still here!”

Upon completion of the trainee program Cedrick relocated to Nashville, Tenn., where he served as warehouse supervisor for a year. From there, he spent a few months working on a special project out of BSE’s branch support center then moved to El Paso, Texas, as a branch operations supervisor. He was promoted to branch manager there in 2016, and a year later and added the management of the Alamogordo, N.M., to his duties. In April 2020 he was promoted to his current position of branch manager for Tucson, Ariz.

“What I like most about this industry is the importance it plays in everything people do, the relationships I have been able to foster during my time, and the seemingly limitless potential to develop and learn,” said Cedrick. “BSE is an amazing and well-run company that has an added benefit of employee-ownership. I receive the support I need to carry out objectives and drive growth.”

Asked about a challenge the industry is currently facing, Cedrick pointed to the talent being lost as Baby Boomers retire—but stressed that it is actually an opportunity for the younger generations. “This unique time where industry veterans are approaching retirement has created a great deal of opportunity for talent development,” he explained. “In many instances, our industry is not well known and often takes active recruitment and education of what we do to gather interest from potential candidates. In light of this, I actively talk about what it is that we do and work to educate as many young professionals as possible. Additionally, I am always very focused on the development of current employee-owners.”

Cedrick recalled how, shortly after starting at BSE, he was introduced to a book called Becoming the Obvious Choice. “It is an extremely short read but has played a major role in my career growth to date,” he said, noting that his current career path is one that he initially had no interest in. “Upon completing the management trainee program, I had little interest in the sales side of the organization and saw my path leading me to a career in operations. As a branch manager, I have the privilege of still dabbling in operations, but I also lead the sales team—and I love it! Being open to taking on new challenges and always having a passion for continued learning will be key for future growth.”

As for that future growth, Cedrick said: “My goal is to focus on growing the business at my branch and continue identifying ways to drive value to our customers, our vendors, and to BSE.  In every role I have had, I like to say I am getting a million-dollar education from the experiences—and while I am soaking it all in, I believe it will position me well for future opportunities.”

Asked what he would say to someone just entering the industry, Cedrick replied: “This industry is full of people who have been doing what they do for a long time, and our industry affords all the opportunity to pursue and fulfill your professional and personal aspirations. Opportunities are endless and even though we may not be well known to most – I would consider electrical distribution a ‘hidden gem.’ Find a mentor, or few, and never stop learning.”

When he’s not at work, Cedrick enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family and traveling.  “I am also a foodie and love participating in community events focused on providing opportunities to the underserved community,” he said.


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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