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 Anthony Buonocore, a 2014 honoree.
What is your current position?
I am still president of Westway Electric Supply.
What has been the reaction from co-workers and people in the industry to your “30 Under 35” award?
The reaction has been terrific. I have had people throughout the industry reaching out to congratulate me. I was very surprised by the reach of the award.
What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?
I would tell them to focus on something new. Whether it be e-commerce, energy efficient technology, or some other new facet in the industry; it would be wise to become proficient in something that the older guys in the industry don’t already have great knowledge in.
What recruiting advice would you give companies when it comes to hiring great, young talent?
I would recommend looking to hire an applicant that is coming from another company that is doing things differently than your company. It is nice to be able to mold someone into what you are looking for, but there can also be great benefits in bringing someone into the circle with new ideas and practices.
How important was your mentoring (and reverse mentoring) when it comes to furthering your career?
I purchased Westway from Nick Di Medio in 2008. By that time, Nick and his son had already been selling online for 7 years, which was way before most of the industry. I learned quite a bit from Nick on how ecommerce works and its potential for growth. I was able to take it to the next level by involving really smart, young people outside the industry who specialize in Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search, Conversion Analysis, and other methods to maximize the return we were getting from our website. It gave us a foothold to compete against the big boys.
What advice would you give to company leaders (c-suite) about working with Millennials?
To keep an open mind when they see a different way of doing things.
What do you see in the future of electrical distribution when it comes to technology and business practices?
Massive companies like Grainger and big box stores like Home Depot have spent huge amounts of resources in building their e-commerce presence. I expect mid level electric supply houses will soon begin to follow suit. I anticipate that in the next 10 years we will begin to see mergers and acquisitions within the industry strictly based on e-commerce benefits. I believe that as the mid level supply houses get more involved in trying to grow their websites, they will receive advice from their developers and web marketers as to the benefits of acquiring smaller companies with strong web presences. Beyond receiving the knowledge and practices that the smaller companies used to grow their websites, they will also enjoy the immediate boost in organic traffic and search engine positioning by properly mapping out 301 redirects of the acquired website to their own website. I suspect we will see mid level supply houses be able to effectively position themselves against the giants in the industry through a series of buyouts and effectively redirected
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