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.
Evan Regenstreif was raised in southern California’s San Fernando Valley region. He played sports throughout high school and “loved that team atmosphere,” he said.
And it’s a team atmosphere that he helps to instill at Regency Lighting where he is vice president of procurement. Headquartered in Chatsworth, Calif., Regency was founded in 1983 by his father, Ron Regenstreif (CEO) and Mike Goldstone (COO).
“It’s really the only thing I’ve ever known and the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Regenstreif. “At a very young age, I had a desire to not just work with my dad and my brothers, but also to be a part of working with the families that I grew up with and who are part of the business. I was born into it and have loved every second of it.”
As vice president of procurement, Regenstreif explained his responsibilities are “fairly widespread.”
“One of the easier ways to describe it is that if there’s a dollar to be spent or a dollar to be saved, it is usually hitting my desk at some point throughout the day,” he said.
Regenstreif is also involved with Regency Lighting’s younger employees and contributing towards their career development.
“That’s probably the most exciting part of my job,” he said, “[trying to] help people develop in their career and find where they are most gifted and where they fit into the organization.”
He is an avid supporter of getting young employees into the electrical industry. But part of the challenge, he explained, is getting employees to see where their talents are, while also helping them to develop.
Regenstreif explained that it isn’t so much a generation gap that he and Regency occasionally have to confront—but more an effort “to try and transfer the head and the heart knowledge from our experienced employees. It is vital that we continue to lead with our Mission: R.I.S.E. [Relationship, Integrity, Service and Expertise]. It’s what we believe helps us stand out among our competition.”
Regenstreif and his wife Shannon have four children. His enthusiasm for the electrical industry is palpable. But with both Regency co-founders now in their 60s, a gradual transition is occurring. A similar situation exists in several other companies—making this a great time to look at electrical as a career, he explained.
“There’s an incredible opportunity for young people to fill some upper-level management positions while at the same time being in an industry that is evolving and changing,” said Regenstreif.
He points to one specific attribute he and Regency look for in young employees.
“Are they teachable? Are they willing to receive feedback and are they willing to put in the effort to learn and to improve?” Regenstreif explained. “I would rather invest in someone who’s teachable than someone who is highly competent but thinks they know everything.”
As a still young executive himself, Regenstreif knows it is vital to create a workplace where the talented, teachable employee will thrive and want to have a career.
“I think when it is less about the product and more about the people, you are going to find employees who are passionate about coming to work every day.”
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tagged with tED