Catching Up with the 30 Under 35: Zachary Kincaid

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 Zachary Kincaid, a 2016 honoree!

Zach Kincaid

What is your current position?

Area Manager TX/NM, Border States Electric

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

The reactions I have received from achieving this award has been really inspiring. I have had so many people personally reach out to congratulate me and give words of wisdom. To have the support from within my organization is something that makes me proud to be an employee owner of Border States. It has really made me realize how big of an achievement this really is. Overall, it’s been such a positive reaction from all angles that it really makes me proud to be one of the few that have been recognized for this award.

What advice would you give young professionals about electrical distribution?

3 things

  1. Focus on finding ways to bring value to your customers, internal and external. It’s not always about selling a product. Take time to understand their pain points and what’s most important to their business and find ways to bring value to them.
  2. Identify and understand the market trends. Know where your market is headed and what the latest trends are and be the first to get in front of those trends. Partner with your vendors to be innovative and stay in front of the trends.
  3. Lastly, always be willing to do what others are not while maintaining a positive attitude. Take on challenges, projects, and tasks that others shy away from. If you can show people that you can adapt and turn any situation in to a positive outcome while keeping a positive attitude, you will increase your business but also strengthen your skill set so that you will outperform others in your career.

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

Prove that you are a fun and innovative organization. Young talent today looks for work environments that are fun and utilize the latest technology. Be different and show that there is opportunity for young talent to move up within the organization. And lastly, take risks. Outside of technical expertise positions, take chances on people that don’t have the experience but has proven to be able to learn quickly, adapt, and carry a positive attitude. I am a prime example of that. With no industry knowledge, I was hired because of my attitude, character, and ability to learn quickly and take on challenges. It was a better fit for the culture of the organization than it was for the expertise of the position. Within 3 years I have been Branch Manager, achieved 30 under 35, and now Area Manager that leads an area of 9 locations and close to $200,000,000 in revenue. Take risks and look for those who will drive the culture you want in the organization and not so much on expertise.

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

Without a doubt, I would not have achieved what I have today without having 2 individuals to mentor me. Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do for your professional career and also for your personal life. Be humble and allow those who have been there and done that to teach you and guide you through life. If you do it on your own, you will only go as far as what you know. On the flip side, it is just as important to return the favor and look for those who are performing at a lower level than their potential and make the time to invest in them. Our job as leaders is to breathe life into people and lead them to achieve things in their life that they didn’t think were possible. It is not only very rewarding, but you will build more respect than you ever thought possible.

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

I have learned that you have to spend much more time with them through mentoring and/or coaching. They need consistent attention and guidance to push them to a new level. They also need to be kept on their toes. Find ways to keep them engaged and doing something different. They enjoy change and don’t like to be doing the same things day-in and day-out.

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

I believe with the changes in buying behavior and the fast pace of technology, that our customers will look to distributors to be more of a consultant than a supply house. More and more of the work that contractors are doing involves “smart” technology. This is evolving so quickly that our contractors will have a hard time keeping their team up to date and trained. I believe it will be our job to be the leaders in this arena and educate or consult our customers on what is needed and how to include the latest technology in what they are doing. We will need to be more involved and knowledgeable about the application of the product – more than we ever have before. This will also be the strongest way to combat the competition of the internet (i.e. Amazon, Google, ebay).


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