People

tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet Electrical Equipment Company’s Chase Vaughan

By Joe Nowlan

 

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 tedmag.com, 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.

 


 

When people
refer to the quality of life available to those in the electrical industries,
Chase Vaughan’s experience illustrates their point.

 

Before
joining Electrical Equipment Company (EECO), Richmond, Va., Vaughan was
managing a Dollar General store.

 

“I was
putting in 60 to 75 hour weeks. If somebody called in sick, your replacement
roster was very slim,” Vaughan said. “So it was often the store manager who
would have to cover. I was also going to school full-time, but eventually quit
because I couldn’t keep up with it.”

 

Vaughan was also
helping to raise a newborn with his girlfriend. He knew a change was needed.

 

He applied
for a position at EECO. Looking back, Vaughan cites the quality of life as a
major factor in his accepting the position he did—in EECO’s motor repair
facility. However, the decision gave him a work schedule that afforded him
sufficient time to attend Virginia Commonwealth University and eventually earn
his marketing degree.

 

“I really
wanted [more of an] 8-to-5 job, Monday through Friday,” Vaughan said. “The work
fascinated me. I’ve always enjoyed working on cars and fixing things. Getting
that job opened my eyes to a whole new world.” 

 

Vaughan later
became a product service representative in EECO’s electrical supply department,
a role that targets accounts for storeroom management. There, he gained
experience and knowledge about serving customer needs.

 

“I needed
exposure to the products that our customers buy,” Vaughan explained, “and there
was no better opportunity than to get into their storerooms and see all the
ways they use these products.”

 

With the
experience he accumulated at ECCO—coupled with the marketing degree he had
earned—Vaughan moved on to a position in marketing. Today he is EECO’s marketing
coordinator and oversees all brand initiatives.

 

“I am very
active in what we do concerning promotions with suppliers,” Vaughan said. “I
make sure that the sales team has a good message that caters to the types of
customers we serve.”

 

He
enthusiastically endorses electrical as an industry for new graduates to
pursue.

 

“It’s a fun
and challenging way of life…. There are opportunities and they can be very
rewarding,” he said. “Anybody who is pursuing the electrical industry … is making
the right choice.”

 

But Vaughan
does suggest they get into it soon. Things are changing, he advises, at least
to the extent that there are mergers and acquisitions taking place. Mergers in
electrical wholesale aren’t necessarily creating job cuts, Vaughan explained,
but he does emphasize to young graduates that now is a good time to make
electrical their career choice.

 

He has three
children, all boys: Malachy (seven years old), Ashton (two), and three-month-old
Kellan.

 

Vaughan is also
an avid hockey player. A goalie, he once had the opportunity to be the backup
in a professional, albeit minor league, game.

 

“It was
actually an emergency contract,” he laughed. “One of their goalies was hurt and
another one got sick. Those minor league teams tend to have local contacts on a
just-in-case basis. And I was their local contact. So I can say that once upon
a time I did play ‘pro’, although all I did was sit on the bench.”

 

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

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