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2021 30 Under 35 Profile: Jimmy Allen

Jimmy Allen, 24
ALDP Commercial Engineer

Jimmy started his career at Atkore after graduating from the University of Illinois in 2019 with a degree in Material Science & Engineering. “I started in the Atkore Leadership Development Program, which is a two-year rotational program,” he said. “My first year I was at the corporate office in Harvey, Ill., working in customer experience-related projects. In my second year I was rotated into our plastic pipe division.”

Jimmy noted that while changing locations is usually part of the program, COVID-19 altered that, and he remained in Harvey. “Because of the timing of the pandemic, nobody in my class was relocating,” he said. “But after a few months I got an opportunity to work on an integration for an acquisition of FRE composites, which is our new line of fiberglass conduit and fittings. I was able to relocate to Montreal and lived there for four months in the spring, heading up our integration efforts. It was an amazing opportunity for me.” In July 2020 he was offered his current position.

“One of my fraternity brothers had been working at Atkore at the time, so I took the opportunity to speak with a recruiter at a career fair,” said Jimmy. “The rotational program appealed to me, along with the commercial opportunities within the business. The ability to combine those with my engineering background has been a good fit for my skill set.”

Asked what keeps him interested in the industry, Jimmy said “The future of the industry is super bright. The distribution of energy is always going be there, and there will be constant growth and change. There’s a lot of opportunity all throughout the industry.”

Jimmy pointed to the labor problem as big challenge everywhere, but certainly in construction and manufacturing environments,” he said. “I was lucky to be part of an NAED Construction Task Force last year. We talked about the biggest challenges and how we can solve them. In my subgroup we talked about modular construction and where that industry might go and the current supply chain—how it all fits together. Those conversations were very interesting. I think  we will be forced to change some of our practices and get on the leading edge of some of the groundbreaking technologies—in the way we do payment and how we send products to a job site. It’s all very interesting stuff to look at.”

As for his future career goals, Jimmy hopes to grow within Atkore. “I just started my new role as a product manager and I’m enjoying it,” he said. “I see myself growing within the company. On a personal level I’d like to gain more financial acumen, take some business courses, things that I didn’t do in my undergrad. I think those would be helpful steps. But I definitely enjoy management and leading others, so I definitely see myself in leadership.”

Asked what he would tell someone just entering the industry, Jimmy said “The industry is pretty mature in the way that business has been handled—it’s been the same way for a long time. I would tell someone new to it to not be afraid to challenge some of those norms. This industry can be slow changing at times, but we shouldn’t be afraid of change—so ‘be fearless’ would be my advice.”

When he’s not at work, Jimmy might be found on the greens. “I’m a pretty avid golfer. If I didn’t live in Chicago, I’d play more often…but it’s the way I spend most of my free time in the summer. I’m also a frequent moviegoer and I like to read. Nothing super interesting, but keep myself entertained,” 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 mbyers@naed.org.


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