David Tozi, 35
Regional Sales Director, Industrial & CIG
David joined the industry at the age of 20, “not knowing anything about electrical or even what electrical distribution was,” he recalled. “I had a friend who was working for [an electrical distributor] that had an open position for an entry-level warehouse/driver at a local branch. It was a full-time job and a good hourly rate for me at that time, so I jumped at the opportunity.”
David moved up through counter sales to assistant manager and then to manager. In 2020 he joined WESCO as a general manager and, in February of this year, was promoted to regional sales director for Industrial & CIG business for Northern California, Western Nevada, and Hawaii.
“What has appealed to me from the beginning is our customer base—our contractors, end-users, and government customers are some of the most down-to-earth, salt-of-the-earth type people that you could ever meet,” said David, adding that the people he works alongside of are another reason he enjoys being in the industry. “Much like our customer base, the people who work in electrical distribution are some of the best people I know.”
David also enjoys the opportunities the industry offers “to grow and build not just a career, but a really good career,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of industries that you can come into and truly start as an entry-level employee and work up into careers that you can be proud of.
Asked about a challenge the industry is currently facing, David pointed to recruiting and retaining young talent. “Most people don’t graduate from high school or college and think ‘I really want to go into electrical distribution,’ so the question becomes how do we get the message out that this is a great industry to be a part of with plenty of professional opportunity?” For his part, “I tell those I meet—anyone really, but especially those who are just starting their careers—about the industry and paint a true picture of the abundant opportunity within it,” he said. “I also try to help create a culture, at least over the portion that I have influence in, that top talent not only wants to come work for, but also wants to continue working for. This informs everything from how I treat my team to the ways I show appreciation, to the individuals I look to bring in—all of it is geared toward creating a culture that top talent is attracted to and wants to stay with.”
Looking ahead, David has two career goals: “The first is to really get a handle on my current position and build up my region and a team in the Industrial & CIG space that does not exist today into something that is reputable and is known as a leader in our space and market vertical with our customers and suppliers,” he said. “I expect that would take a good 3-5 years.”
Beyond that, David said he will start looking at the next step in his career progression, “whether that be a vice president position or some other move that continues to help my personal and career growth” and is preparing for that by “soaking up everything I can in my current role. I am stretched daily, so I am continuing to try and learn everything I can about our customers, verticals, suppliers, manufacturers, and industry to continue my growth. I also plan on learning from those I report to and my peers. Working at WESCO affords me the incredible opportunity to work with some of the best in our industry and I have peers who have been in the industry for a lot of years and have so much knowledge that it provides an incredible opportunity for me to learn by asking them questions, leaning on them for guidance, and simply observing how they operate in their careers and areas of responsibility.”
David believes the key to his future growth in the industry is remaining hungry to learn. “No matter what level of leadership you find yourself in or aspire to get to, the moment someone starts to think they have ‘arrived’—feels like they know all there is to know or feels like they are only to give answers and never ask any questions—growth stops,” he said. “My hope is that if I’m blessed to continue to grow in my career to levels I aspire to, that I stay just as hungry to learn as I was when I first entered the industry. Just because by title and responsibility I may be considered the leader, I want to always be willing to ask questions, to lean on my team, suppliers, and customers’ expertise, knowledge, and experience to continue to grow in my own leadership and career. I believe that if I do that, no matter where or when the opportunities come, growth will remain constant.”
To someone just entering the industry, “I’d tell them that if they are looking for an industry that you can truly come in knowing nothing about and can create an amazing career, then you’ve found the right industry,” said David. “This is a big industry with many different paths you can take. If you stay hungry to learn and work hard, this is an amazing industry to be a part of and you can build a career that you can be proud of and can provide incredible opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. I’d also tell them to enjoy the ride. Don’t be in too big of a hurry to move up the ladder. Each position will teach you something that will help in the next position, or help you work with or better understand others that you will work within the supply chain. Each role is a chance to continue to grow and develop in your knowledge, experience, and expertise, which will continue to serve you as you build your career.”
David considers being a husband and a father his most important role. “That takes up a lot of my time outside of working hours,” he said. “I also work hard to invest in myself and my leadership. I am an avid reader of personal growth, leadership, and business books, and am about halfway through the completion of my MBA. As far as personal hobbies and interests, David is very involved in his local church and loves working out and fitness, “trying to stay away from the ‘dad bod,’” 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.
Tagged with 2021 30 Under 35, 30 under 35, people