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Catching Up with the 30 Under 35: Adam Messner

We’re catching up with our previous “30 Under 35” winners to see where they are now and how their perspective has changed since being named one of the rising stars of the electrical industry.

Today, we talk with Adam Messner, a 2013 honoree.

Adam Messner

What is your current position?

Founder & CEO of LiveWire Supply – unchanged

What has been the reaction from co-workers and people in the industry to your “30 Under 35” award?

I received several congratulatory messages from colleagues, employees and family. It was humbling to be part of such an accomplished group of young professionals.

What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?

There is tremendous opportunity for young professionals inclined toward innovation and disruption. E-commerce is finally ramping up, ERPs are getting more intelligent and automated sales tools are becoming more powerful – become a technology guru and you can create your own career path. Combine a passion for technology with an aggressive yet personable disposition and there are no limits to what you can accomplish.

What recruiting advice would you give companies when it comes to hiring great, young talent?

Typically, keeping young talent engaged is a problem. The reason for this is that many recruits feel they’ve been mislead about potential within the organization. Be honest about the job and potential within the organization and be crystal clear about what’s expected of all employees. When bright young employees turnover or don’t deliver many employers write them off as being impatient or lazy; the blame should really fall on the employer for not properly setting expectations or for hiring the wrong person.

What do you see in the future of electrical distribution when it comes to technology and business practices?

First, some thoughts on how decision makers should approach technology…
Especially when it comes to technology, decision makers must set strategic initiatives with measurable goals that include firm deadlines; in the electrical industry, this rarely happens. Then, they underfund the ideas and production drags on way too long because they didn’t totally understand what they were building or because they fall into the feature creep death spiral. Any one of these issues usually leads to project failure.

Second, without company-wide buy-in, deployment does not go well. Implementation is usually the hardest part of technology projects and this frustrates decision makers – they expect a new technology to be quickly on boarded by employees and work completely out of the gate. The best way to ensure timely adoption is to ensure employees believe a technology will make their life better – make them believe it! Change is hard for most people; but the promise of extra time and more money can inspire. Then, make sure you deliver on your promises.

Lastly, make sure your technology ‘solution’ is solving a real problem. If your sales guys are producing don’t force feed a new CRM system. If finances and inventory are in order, don’t overhaul your ERP. For some reason, when it comes to technology, decision makers find a technology they really like and then create a place to plug it in. When a tech project is part of a strategic objective all users buy in you’ve got a chance.

Incorporation of Tech in the electrical industry boils down to:

  1. ‘The Internet of Things’
  2. E-commerce
  3. Consolidation
  4. Automation (i.e. biz processes and manufacturing)
  5. Energy Efficiency

 

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