tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet AD’s Ricki Weisberg Ndege

By Joe

In April, the editors of tED magazine sent out a call for
the industry’s “rising stars”—electrical professionals 34 years old or younger
who have the initiative, drive, integrity, and creativity to move the industry
forward in the decades to come. The call drew nominations from all segments of
the industry—distributors, suppliers, rep firms, software/services providers,
and VARs. Here on, we will post a new, full interview with one of
these impressive young people weekly; coverage of all of the honorees can be
found in the July 2012 issue
of tED
. Watch for information about our next “30 Under 35” competition in
early 2013.

Ricki Weisberg
Ndege’s family founded Affiliated Distributors (AD), yet, while she grew up
around the company, she never saw herself working there.

Weisberg Ndege’s grandfather, David Weisberg, founded
the company in 1981; and her father, Bill, is chairman and CEO, but she admits
today that while growing up, she didn’t really know that much about AD.

“It is hard
to explain to a child what a ‘marketing group’ does,” she said. “When I started
to work at AD I was excited to take on the project to create an animated video that could simply describe what it is that we do at AD.”

graduating from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. she went in a
vastly different career path than electrical—working for Women for Women International, a company she describes as “an
international organization helping to create jobs for women living in
post-conflict countries.”

She worked
in communications and fundraising there for a little over six years, she

“It was
an awesome experience,” Weisberg Ndege said. “When I joined the
company, I was the fifth employee there. And when I left, there were 50 people
working there. It was a very entrepreneurial organization, and it showed me how
to work in a fast paced environment. These were very important skills,
especially when I came to work at AD.”

From there
she went to work for Survivor Corps., an organization that worked on trauma
recovery and job creation for landmine survivors. And from there, she shifted
her communications skills to Green For All, a company that was helping to drive
the clean energy economy.

“I am a
very mission-oriented person. I really get passionate about helping people,”
she said. “That’s what gets me excited.”

working overseas in Uganda with Women for Women International, she met her
husband, Moni. In Uganda, he was a third generation auto mechanic, she
explained. (Her married name is pronounced “En-DAY-gay”).

applied to the best mechanic school in the U.S., which is only a few miles away
from AD’s headquarters [in Wayne, Pa.],” Weisberg Ndege said, referring to
early 2011 when the couple moved back to the area from Washington. “At that
time, AD was re-building its website. My father said they could use a little
help. So I came in as a temp to work on the website, the animated video and to
launch our social media platforms. Then in February [2012], they offered me a
permanent position.”

As director
of communications and corporate marketing, Weisberg Ndege, who is 32 years old,
is required to wear many hats and enjoys the variety of responsibilities. She especially
likes working with independent distributors—a group she calls “the
lifeblood of America.”

companies are giving back twice as much to local charities, per employee,
compared to national chains,” she said. “Plus, they invest in the local economy
60 per cent more than the national chains. I am really interested in how we can
create local economic stability. And I see wholesale distribution as a concrete
way of doing that. That’s why I am passionate about working at AD.”

Like many in
the electrical-related industries, she is keen on seeing younger employees join

“In the
electrical industry in particular, there is really a lot of room for
innovation,” she said. “If you like to come up with new ideas and ways to solve
problems, this is a really good place for you…. Social media and the clean
energy economy [for example] are going to be huge for younger employees. Our
generation has a unique voice and a fresh point of view. And from what I have
seen so far of the electrical industry, the leaders are willing to listen.”

Follow Ricki on Twitter @RickiNdege 

Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at .

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