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tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet Everlast Lighting’s Brandon Marken

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.

Brandon Marken had a professional goal well before he became vice president of sales at EverLast Lighting.

“I’ve always wanted to be in a position where I could have a leadership role and be involved in the sales and marketing of an organization,” he explained.

When he first entered the workplace, Marken worked in the alternative energy field, he explained.

When Marken met with Full Spectrum Solutions (parent company of EverLast), he was impressed with what they were doing with energy efficient lighting. Looking back, he saw the writing on the wall, as far as rising energy costs were concerned.

“I figured there are two ways we go about this problem of energy costs. One way is renewable—wind, solar and the like. The other way is efficiencies. It seemed to me that both were going to be pretty big in the new energy economy,” Marken said. “So the idea of getting linked up with a company that was working in energy efficiencies and being so innovative and on the cutting edge really kind of turned me on. [That] is how I got into the electrical industry.”

Marken succinctly sums up the challenges of his current role at EverLast and the lighting-related industries in general.

 “We are giving businesses a chance to remain competitive,” he said. “The idea of energy efficiency is the way that U.S. companies can stay competitive.”

He has lived in Michigan his entire life. He grew up in the Detroit suburb of South Lyon and went to college at Grand Valley State University and then to the Gainey Business School at Spring Arbor University.

As a boy, Marken observed how his father ran his own business.

“He sold windows, doors and building supplies to the housing industry,” he said. “So he was working with window reps and distributors and I kind of got a glimpse into that early on.”

EverLast Lighting has customers in a variety of markets—the military, government municipalities, universities and the private sector. The diverse lineup of customers, Marken explains, is crucial to EverLast’s success in an industry that has never been more competitive. Yet it is precisely that competition, he added, that holds great potential.

“It is the most exciting problem that we have. [And] the greatest opportunity. The challenging market conditions really breed opportunity, and really demand leadership and innovation,” he said. “People are so eager to reduce their bottom line and they know that lighting is a main avenue to do that. It is a catalyst for development and change.”

Marken and his wife, Jaci, are expecting their first child in February. His enthusiasm and passion for the electrical industry is palpable. And his sales pitch to new graduates for the industry gets right to the point.

“The electrical industry is the infrastructure to the energy economy,” Marken said. “And the energy economy is a driving force behind almost all new technology and new growth in our economy.”

“So if you’re looking for a burgeoning industry and growing market in the energy sector, the electrical industry is the catalyst for all of it.”

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

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