tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet Madison Electric Products’ Jackie Nelson

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, 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 Jackie Nelson graduated from Bowling Green University, she had a bachelor’s degree in technology. But she also had a concentration in graphic design and a minor in marketing—three skills that have served her well.

Her current boss at Madison Electric Products, Rob Fisher, was a colleague of Nelson’s at a previous employer. When Fisher arrived at Madison, the company did not have any in-house creative services department, she explained.

“It was all outsourced then,” Nelson said, “and it wasn’t getting the attention it needed to grow the [Madison] brand. Rob was brought on board to do the marketing, and when an opportunity presented itself to bring creative on board, he contacted me. I jumped at the chance.”

Today, as Madison’s creative services manager, Nelson oversees virtually all printed materials, she explained, citing as examples sales sheets, trade show booths, ads, catalogs, brochures, and packaging. (“I’m a stickler for brand consistency,” she said.)

There has recently been another, somewhat unique, creative task for Nelson and her department: customizing the outside of Madison Electric’s Innovation Express, a company van.

Madison bought a van and outfitted it in the back with the display shelf containing various products. An on-staff Madison electrician takes the van out to sites and meets with other electricians and explains how the new products work.

“The van itself is ‘Madison’ branded on the outside,” explained Nelson, who is 30 years old. She and her department did “a full custom wrap, which is a new thing for me, with our branding all over it, our colors, our design and all of that. So people can see it coming down the road.”

Nelson believes it is “an exciting time” to be involved in the electrical industry. And there is one particular aspect of the industry—and Madison Electric in particular—that she would emphasize to recent graduates who consider joining the industry.

“In electrical, there are a lot of family-oriented companies. Madison is very family friendly. It’s a great place to work. It is not a huge corporation, but it is very personable,” Nelson said. “I can see the door to the president’s office from where I sit. That door is always open and he is very accessible, as opposed to larger companies where you may not have that. Your voice is heard a little more here.”

She and her husband Dana have a three month old son, Joseph.

Caring for a newborn and her work at Madison Electric dominate Nelson’s time these days. But she also has an interesting hobby: jewelry making—or “metal stamping,” as she calls it. She can take a military dog tag, for example, “and hammer in any message you want to say. Or I can put a favorite quote on one. I made some for Christmas last year.”

Madison Electric need not worry about Nelson becoming a full time jewelry maker, though.

“If it was my job—well, then you could either love it or hate it. I would hate for my other creative outlets to become a chore,” Nelson said. “So I enjoy doing this for myself. It is fun to make things for myself and my loved ones.”

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

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