tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet City Electric Company’s Andrew Esce

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.

Andrew Esce
admits he knew very little about the electrical industry while growing up—but since
his father and two brothers worked for Grainger, he knew quite a bit about
distribution in general.

He worked at
Grainger from the age of 16, while growing up in Albany, N.Y., Esce worked in
the warehouse and later its customer service department.

He graduated
with a degree in business administration from St. Michael’s College in Vermont
in 2002. After graduation, he entered Grainger’s management development

“I spent six
months in branch management and six months in sales management. I spent time in
one of its distribution centers and later in Chicago at its headquarters,” Esce

He worked at
Grainger for four years. But by then—married and with a family on the way—he decided
a change was necessary.

“At that
time, I was traveling four days a week,” he recalled. “Once we found out we
were expecting our first child, that put the kibosh on me being gone four
nights a week.”

He met with Sandra
Rosencrans, the owner of City Electric Company. The meeting went so well that
Esce accepted a position there. Today, he is vice president of operations at the Syracuse-headquartered
company—and he’s never looked back, even though
Grainger was part of his family for quite some time.

His career
path, in a way, exemplifies one of the many characteristics of electrical
distribution that he recommends to young graduates.

“If you have
that knowledge, once you’re in, there is always an opportunity for you,” Esce
said. “And we see that every day. People change jobs. They change companies. They
may even bounce from a distributor to a manufacturer. But they typically do not
leave this industry. So once you are in, it’s kind of a happy home for a long

Part of what
keeps him enthused about his work is the time he has spent volunteering in the

“It is a
phenomenal learning experience for somebody who is young and up-and-coming in
this business,” he said. “The relationships and the networking that you establish
[with] individuals to whom I can reach out and bounce things off of—presidents
and owners, vice presidents—has just been invaluable.”

He would
like to see the industry become more effective at getting the word out about
electrical as a thriving and challenging area to work.

industry] is kind of a hidden gem,” Esce said. “It’s not something people know
a lot about. Not everyone understands the middleman, not everyone understands
distribution…. I think it’s the nature of the beast. We can do a better job.”

He and his
wife Kelly are parents of a one-year-old daughter, Reese, and a six year-old
boy, Ryan.

His hobbies
are mostly geared toward the family, he explained. With his brothers and their
families living in the general neighborhood (Syracuse), “We have great
opportunities to get together. So we spend a lot of time with friends and
family. We have a boat on a nearby lake. We’ll go out on that and spend as much
family time on it as we can.”

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

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