Catching Up with the 30 Under 35: Shawn Kleven

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 Shawn Kleven, a 2014 honoree.

Shawn Kleven

What is your current position?

Currently in the same position as I was when part of the 30 under 35.  Inventory Supervisor. 

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

Not surprisingly, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  I think the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is that people realize through all of the individuals who have held this honor with BSE that this really is a great place to work and start a career.

What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?

I would just remind young professionals that the opportunities in this industry are endless.  By staying patient, learning as much about you can about electrical distribution early on, and putting in the hard work, young professionals in this industry will no doubt have unlimited opportunities to make a great career.

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

The biggest attributes I can think of are a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn.  I know many new employees come in blind with limited knowledge of our industry.  Those that have been successful and have advanced their career are the ones that have put themselves out there and hit the ground running with learning as much as they can those first few years.

How important was your mentoring (and reverse mentoring) when it comes to furthering your career?

There are so many knowledgeable long term employees not only with Border States, but all throughout the industry.  The easiest way for me to learn the industry has been to keep an ear open to those that have the experience and learn as much as possible from them.  It has been extremely beneficial to blend the knowledge learned from traditional training avenues with real life examples and knowledge from those in the industry.  I’m extremely grateful for those opportunities.

What advice would you give to company leaders (c-suite) about working with Millennials?

We need to obviously harness their high levels of competency in technology and continue to find value add in that area.  This generation is one that has shown it has a great ability to find ways to be able to do things quicker and easier, and we need to take advantage of that with company processes.  At the same time, we will need to continue to educate the value of relationships at all levels.

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

I do think that technology will continue to provide additional avenues for ease of business, more efficient processes, and quicker access to information, but ultimately I still see the electrical distribution industry as a relationship business.  There will be plenty of opportunities to implement new technology to gain competitive advantages, but we can’t lose sight of creating and sustaining those relationships.


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