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 Chris Bailey, a 2014 honoree.
What is your current position?
My current position is Director, Business Development & Product Innovation at Hubbell Lighting.
What has been the reaction from co-workers and people in the industry to your “30 Under 35” award?
The reaction has been positive and supportive.
What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?
As a manufacturer of lighting and electrical products, electrical distribution is a critical element of our success. Developing professional relationships with key channel partners, such as electrical distributors, is essential to ensure our products reach their intended consumers. Moreover, as more and more electrical distributors bring on lighting and lighting control subject matter experts, the role of electrical distribution is expanding far beyond financing and logistics. This shift from “general practitioner” to “specialist” provides an amazing opportunity for young professionals to contribute at a level previously reserved for veteran associates. As such, my advice would be to identify an area within the electrical domain (ex: lighting controls) and master it.
What recruiting advice would you give companies when it comes to hiring great, young talent?
Young talented individuals want to see a clear path forward within a prospective company. They want to make a difference, feel their efforts are worth something, and be provided with challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. Be prepared to look past the short-term and into the long-term strategy for potential young candidates.
How important was your mentoring (and reverse mentoring) when it comes to furthering your career?
Being mentored was a critical element of my personal and professional development, one which continues today. I’ve been extremely blessed by being surrounded by talented individuals who still find time to serve the future leaders of our company by offering their advice, guidance and insight. Now it’s my turn to serve. Recently, I began mentoring a few individuals in our organization. What I have already learned is that there is almost as much to gain as mentor as a mentee.
What advice would you give to company leaders (c-suite) about working with Millennials?
(See response to fourth question) Millennials want to leave their fingerprints on this industry. Moreover, they want to make a difference, be challenged, take risks and work for an organization that recognizes their initiative.
What do you see in the future of electrical distribution when it comes to technology and business practices?
The future of electrical distribution will be centered around technology and services. As electrical devices increase in complexity and connectivity, customers will begin to look for partners who can not only reduce their first and operational costs, but those who can enhance the functionality and experience within the build environment.
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