Jude Frett, 32
Mobile Operations Manager
Van Meter Inc.
Jude joined Van Meter a little more than three years ago as a traveling commodity team member (“a wire center team member that travels,” he explained) in Richmond, Va. Soon after he was promoted to team lead and moved back to Des Moines, Iowa, to help manage another wire center team before moving to Kansas City to start a new regional facility. “With my move to Kansas City, I was promoted to traveling warehouse supervisor,” he said. “We also recently opened a location in Wichita, Kan., and I’m currently managing individuals in the Richmond, Kansas City, and Wichita facilities, with plans for another location in Alabama later this year.”
While it was an interest in B2B sales and an understanding about the importance and demand for electrical products that drew Jude to electrical distribution, Van Meter is what brought him into the industry. “I love the company and our values that we display,” he said, “and over the past three years I’ve gained an appreciation for the impact we have on construction in the areas we serve.”
Asked to identify a problem or challenge the industry is currently facing and how he is working to help solve it, Jude pointed to labor shortages and shrinking margins. “Our traveling teams focus on customized distribution solutions that reduce labor hours and increase profitability for our customers,” said Jude. “Helping team members understand the impact they are having is critical to their development and customer satisfaction. We partner with suppliers and end-users to ensure project distribution is managed efficiently.”
As for his future, Jude is focused on continuing to provide maximum value for Van Meter by improving his leadership skills and knowledge of the market. “I’d love to eventually lead our operation or manage hyper-scale project distribution,” he said, adding that keys to his future growth include a willingness to learn, grow, and take chances. “I enjoy creating meaningful relationships with supplier partners, customers, and fellow team members, which is beneficial for my company and the industry.”
To someone just entering the industry, Jude had the following advice: “Be prepared for change and understand your partners. Every situation/project/partner is unique. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and provide solutions that are mutually beneficial.”
When he’s not working, Jude spends his time exercising, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
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.
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