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 Jeff Richards, a 2014 honoree.
What is your current position?
Outside Sales Engineer/ Drives Specialist, Eaton Corporation
What has been the reaction from co-workers and people in the industry to your “30 Under 35” award?
They have all been very supportive and congratulatory.
What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?
Always continue to network, ask a lot of questions, be outgoing, and take advantage of every training opportunity, both formal and informal.
It is a fast growing and interactive industry that is a great fit for hardworking, energetic individuals.
What recruiting advice would you give companies when it comes to hiring great, young talent?
Have a strong training and development plan/program, that way you have a set “path to success” for prospective employees.
How important was your mentoring (and reverse mentoring) when it comes to furthering your career?
It was huge. By having a mentor, I was able to have a point of contact at my local sales office that I could rely on, and who was a shareholder in my early career development. I would not be where I am at today without my mentors.
What advice would you give to company leaders (c-suite) about working with Millennials?
Have patience and understanding. Understand that their mode of communication is different, and know when you should embrace their mode of communication with your own. I.E. texting at work… This may be a great tool to use to communicate with them one-on-one, but urge them to call/email when it comes to customer interaction. Also, they will not have the attention to detail that many other generations have.
What do you see in the future of electrical distribution when it comes to technology and business practices?
Technology is already a huge part of the business and will continue to develop at a rapid rate. It looks like in a few more years, all invoicing, staging, and order processing will be automated. It already is for the most part at the manufacturing level; I see this carrying over to distribution.
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