tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet Intermatic’s Adrienne Sander

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.

For all
intents and purposes, Adrienne Sander came from a family of engineers.

Her father
graduated from Youngstown State with a Master’s degree in electrical
engineering and her sister graduated from Akron University with a B.S. in
mechanical engineering.

herself earned her bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from
Ohio University. While still in school, she started at General Electric in a
co-op position, based in Louisville, Kentucky, working in its appliance

“I was
designing and testing refrigeration assembly parts,” she explained. “But I use
air quotes when I refer to myself as an engineer. Although that was what my
degree was in, I went into sales pretty quickly after college.”

started in sales at GE Grasslin Controls, a German-based controls company. In
2007, Intermatic—a manufacturer specializing in energy management solutions—purchased
Grasslin Controls.

“We are mostly
known for our time clocks, weatherproof covers, and photo controls,” Sander
explained. “It touches on residential, commercial and industrial…. our
products evolve with NEC, UL and ASHRAE changes and we are constantly
redefining our product offering to include energy saving solutions like occupancy
sensors and wireless options.”

Thirty-two years
old, Sander is the Northeast regional manager and is in daily contact with
distributors, manufactures representatives and contractors in several states.
Her territory includes Ohio, Virginia, and the entire Northeast corridor.

Like many in
the electrical industry, she finds that one of the enjoyable challenges of her
job is that it’s always changing.

“It is evolving
and one of the things that is the focus today for Intermatic that perhaps wasn’t
there five to 10 years ago, is that we concentrate on end users by offering
unique pull through programs, education on products and trend awareness to
drive our business forward,” she said.

She is aware
of the concerns throughout the electrical industries about attracting and
retaining young employees. It wasn’t very long ago that she was in that very

“When you
think about it I don’t know how people really do find their way into
electrical, at least to a certain extent,” she said. “I wish someone had mentioned
this industry to me [earlier]. There are a lot of opportunities and room for
growth in this industry.”

If today’s
graduates can keep an open mind, Sander is confident they can find rewarding
and challenging careers in the electrical industry.

graduates usually don’t have the industry experience,” she said. “So for a new
grad, there is a lot of opportunity to move up.”

She and her
family—husband, Jeff, and two children, Charlotte and Rylie—had been living in
the New York area before relocating to West Chester, Ohio (a Cincinnati suburb)
last year.

“It’s good
to be back in Ohio, and to be back near family,” Sander said.

She finds a
relaxing escape, albeit briefly, by taking yoga classes when her work-parenting
schedule permits.

“I don’t get
to do it as often as I would like,” she laughed. “Maybe once or twice a week.
It’s definitely a juggling act.”

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

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