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 Mike Cronin, a 2013 honoree.
What is your current position?
I am currently the Service Manager at Electric Supply Inc. (Tampa, FL). This is an operations position. I am responsible for all wire, conduit, receiving, and warehouse functions. I also focus on safety.
What has been the reaction from co-workers and people in the industry to your “30 Under 35” award?
From the top down, the response has been nothing but excitement and support. It is exciting to be recognized but it is also great to see our company get national attention.
What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?
Be patient. Instant gratification is a huge part of the culture for the new leaders. Enjoy and learn from the time you have with the outgoing leaders. Figure out what has worked for them and come up with new ways to make things better.
Be selfless. I started to see positive results when I stopped worrying about how everything affected me and started to think more about the customer and the success of the company.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. No company is perfect. Stop complaining about everything that is wrong and start finding ways to improve it. Let the little things go. If the issue bothers you too much, bring it up to the leadership. If you can deal with it, let it go. They have a lot of things to worry about.
What recruiting advice would you give companies when it comes to hiring great, young talent?
You get what you pay for. The best talent won’t work for peanuts. You need to be ready to pay outside your comfort zone and they need to be realistic.
Look for more than experience. I value experience but I value a positive attitude more. I look for good people. Experience will help you in the beginning but if you find a great person who is willing to learn, they will probably outshine your experienced person quickly.
How important was your mentoring (and reverse mentoring) when it comes to furthering your career?
Mentoring was huge. I was able to get regular feedback from someone who had done it all before. We tried not to make it all about work. If I was struggling in school or at home, my mentor offered advice. He knew that the better I was doing outside of work, the better my production would be inside of work.
Reverse mentoring is great. My mentor was able to get an inside view of lower/middle management’s take on the company. He was able to adjust to us.
What advice would you give to company leaders (c-suite) about working with Millennials?
Work with them, not against them. They are not a problem. They are just different. Give them the proper guidance and be open. Give your expectations early. Leave no room for interpretation. Set goals and, if possible, a promotion track.
What do you see in the future of electrical distribution when it comes to technology and business practices?
We have to keep improving. The big box stores make it too easy on our customers to get their materials fast and cheap. We have to stay close with them but also find ways to beat them with service.
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