tED’s 30 Under 35: Meet Sylvania’s Matthew Allbritton

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.

When he
attended college on a track scholarship, Matthew Allbritton specialized in
events that placed a premium on speed.

At Pennsylvania’s
Shippensburg University, he ran in the 200 meter, 400 meter, and 4 X 400 meter

While speed
is crucial for success in track, Allbritton has taken a necessarily less-rapid,
more pragmatic approach in his sales career to acquire the unique selling and
product skills he taps into today as a senior sales representative with Osram

graduation, Allbritton’s first jobs were at Newell Rubbermaid and later for
Bayer Paint before joining American Woodmark, a manufacturer of custom
carpentry, where he worked for seven years.

“One day, I
randomly Googled ‘sales jobs’ and Sylvania popped up,” he said. “I read the
criteria for the position and applied.”

A few days
later he received a call inviting him in for an interview. Allbritton and
Sylvania were mutually impressed and he accepted the position in 2011. While he
admits he knew only a little about the overall electrical industry at the time,
he found he was able to pick up the necessary knowledge—especially about
Sylvania’s LED line of products.

“I certainly
knew about Sylvania as a brand name itself,” Allbritton explained. “But from
there I was able to catch on quickly with what they wanted me to do.”

At the time,
most of the newer LED products had not been fully introduced to Sylvania
customers, he recalled. Allbritton was determined to stay ahead of the
knowledge curve on that particular product line.

“If I could
talk about [LED] with folks, I saw I would have an upper hand,” he said. “So I
went in and figured out my role, what I had to do…. I soon saw that it was
all about relationships with my customers.”

As a senior
sales representative, Allbritton calls on one particular distributor, Rexel. His
area includes more than 30 Rexel branches, he explained.

“I deal with
one of Rexel’s largest offices—its mid-Atlantic office,” he said. “I help with necessary
training and in bringing a new product to market. I will also support their
sales guys with their calls…. If they need some product help on a sales call,
I can go out with them and talk about our products. That’s where I can come
into play to help them close the sale.”

lives with his wife, Kelly, in Columbia, Md. While no longer running track and
field specifically, he is still very active. The two bike frequently and get to
area beaches on weekends. They recently visited Costa Rica, and plan to hit Key
West later this year, he said.

He avidly
followed this summer’s Olympics, especially the track and field events—a sport
that is seen all too rarely on television these days.

Like many in
electrical sales, Allbritton is constantly learning with LED-related products
among the many items being re-invented and updated. In addition, he stresses
the importance of knowing how his customers’ companies run and anticipating their

“You need to
know how a [customer’s] company operates in order to do your job successfully,”
he explained. “Sales is sales. But how a company gets things accomplished …
once you can figure that part out that is often times the key to being

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

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