tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet Brady’s Edwin Ojeda

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.

In college
Edwin Ojeda majored in international political economics with a minor in
Spanish and economics.

senior territory manager at Brady Corp.—jokes that back then he hoped to become
the governor of Puerto Rico one day. A native of that country, he and his
family moved to the Chicago area when he was eight years old.

instead landed at Brady thanks to a job fair he attended at Marquette
University in Milwaukee. He was impressed by the Brady people he met.

was the only company there that I felt really showed specific interest in
people,” Ojeda explained.

eventually offered him a corporate communications internship. During his internship,
which began in March 2003, Ojeda soon displayed an ambition and enthusiasm that
impressed his colleagues and even the company’s CEO.

And this attitude
led to his emailing the CEO (Frank Jaehnert) and asking him if they could meet
for lunch.

“Here I
was three months into my internship, but I sent an email to the CEO,” Ojeda
chuckled. “It said something like, ‘I know you don’t know me. I’m an intern
down here in corporate communications, and I’d really like the opportunity to
go to lunch with you and just pick your brain on how to become successful and
find out what your roadmap was, so I can take the bits and pieces of it for
what I want to do.’ ”

Video: Meet tED’s 2012 30 Under 35 winners 

Looking back
today, Ojeda is grateful that Brady is the type of company where such a bold
step was welcomed and not frowned upon or dismissed.

is a big organization,” Ojeda explained, “but they still have that
mom-and-pop kind of culture. We had a great lunch. He was very inspirational.
It really drove me to keep asking these high level people to go to lunch with

It is
obvious from talking to Ojeda where he gets his work ethic and general approach
to life.

mother [Deliz Santiago] worked three jobs, 70 to 80 hours a week. She busted
her tail to provide for us,” he said. “She definitely is the biggest reason for
my ambition and drive and why I cannot allow myself to get too comfortable with
what I’m doing.”

While hardly
a grizzled veteran at age 29, Ojeda does have some thoughts on attracting young
employees to the electrical industry.

would say the No. 1 thing that drives me daily is one word: innovation. This
isn’t an industry where you just sell the same product that does the same stuff
year after year,” he said. “If you want to come into an industry that is
changing every day, that is innovative, that has the opportunity to develop
products that could potentially change the world and the way things are done …
that is the industry we work in.”

This year
has been an eventful one. In May Ojeda received his MBA degree. But in January,
he and his wife, Aimee, welcomed their first child, a daughter—and the story
comes with a twist.

The baby was
due Feb. 7. A huge Wisconsin football fan, Ojeda, with his wife’s enthusiastic
approval, attended the Rose Bowl game, played in early January in Pasadena,
Calif. However, the baby decided to make an early appearance and Ojeda was
unable to return in time for the delivery.  

technology came to the rescue. The hospital allowed Ojeda’s mother-in-law to bring
an iPad2 into the delivery room as Ojeda watched it in California with another

“So I
watched the birth while my mother-in-law held the iPad for me. I got to root my
wife on and see my daughter being born. Obviously, it was not what we planned,
but we’ll have quite a story to tell our daughter someday,” he laughed.

By the way,
her name is Charlotte Rose Ojeda—guaranteeing the Rose Bowl game will also have
significance in the Ojeda household.

When his
daughter Charlotte was born in January, Ojeda produced a birth announcement
with his daughter in front of a Brady BBP31. printer with the
birth statistics on the screen.

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

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