From Graduate “Newbie” to Outside Sales in 2 Years – Colleen Hart
After Graduating from the University of Delaware in the fall of 2011 with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Colleen decided her long-term career ambitions lined-up well with the Technical Sales Trainee position United had available. As a leader in her sorority and her club soccer team, she already knew that she wanted a career that would give her opportunities to learn and grow and later lead. She also wanted to be sure that the organization she joined understood the value of each individual employee.
Working in the warehouse for the first two months of her career, Colleen learned how to pick, pack, inspect, & receive material. She also participated in the process of cycle counting to understand how United insures inventory accuracy. She quickly developed relationships with co-workers that extended beyond the work day and mastered the logistics of our warehousing operation. As she transitioned to the Counter Sales role Colleen spent company time AND personal time training herself on products and processes offered by United. She also built a few pieces of demonstration equipment for our Integrated Products Group to be taken on sales calls – then got to go on the sales call & see it used. Colleen had several mentors in this process and regularly reviewed her development with management & human resources. She even made a little commission along the way!
Only 10 months into her career at United, Collen moved to an Inside Sales Support role where she accelerated her product and application training while backing up the Inside Sales group and developing relationships with customers and vendors. She proved adept at learning and received awards for her training prowess. She even had the opportunity to teach a class to fellow employees entitled, “Introduction to the Programmable Logic Controller.”
One year and four months into her career at United, Colleen moved into the Integrated Products Group as a technical sales support person while also beginning her Business Development role. She regularly fielded quotation support requests from Inside Sales people, and tested out new software products to assess the viability of the product offering for United’s customers. In addition, Colleen drove her car to some customers that she decided were good growth opportunities for United-and she got a few orders! She also made time to assist in the training of warehouse personnel on how order entry works in our ERP system. Colleen is on target to move next to the Outside Sales role-a position she recently commented, “..that I really want to do and I feel ready for it.” Music to our ears at United Electric!
From Warehouse to Assistant Operations Manager to Branch Manager – John C. Sechrist
Almost six years ago, John C. Sechrist was attending vocational high school and already familiar with the electrical trade when he started working part-time in the warehouse at United Electric. A lot has changed since then for this native Delawarean. John has experienced, firsthand, many of the benefits United has to offer its employees. The opportunity for growth is one. From that first warehouse job, John was promoted to receiving, then counter sales,and has kept on going. By January of 2007, John had proven to United that he knew how to serve their customers, and was promoted to inside sales.
United Electric’s philosophy that every employee they hire is an investment has served John well. While working in sales full-time, John was able to continue his education part-time and he completed a degree in Business Management from Wilmington College with financial assistance from United, one of the many added benefits the company offers to its employees. After completion of his degree, John was promoted to Assistant Operations Manager. After a few years in this position, John was promoted to Branch Manager for the Aberdeen facility.
John sees his future as continuing at United. “Job security means a lot. There is nothing better out there. The benefit of being employee-owned means everyone has a hand in the future of the company. This is not like a corporate machine running…people have a hand in it.” While job security is important, John says that pride in his work is another major factor that contributes to his success at United. “There is a lot of pride in what we do here. It feels really good when you are driving down the highway and see a building that you had a hand in.”
The management team at United not only supports the efforts of every employee, their achievements are recognized and rewarded. John Sechrist explains “United Electric employees are recognized for their hard work here. We don’t just sit at our desks. Our jobs may be demanding, but with the natural progression to move up-it is very rewarding.”
From Billing to Purchasing – Lisa Allen
Lisa Allen was a senior in high school when she accepted an entry level position in the Accounting Department at United Electric. Today, Lisa is enjoying a successful career in purchasing-a position she never even dreamed of having 19 years ago. Over the years, like many of her co-workers, she has benefited from United’s practice to promote employees from within.
Lisa is just one of many employees who has taken advantage of the advancement opportunities United Electric offers. She spent her first several years learning everything about the company’s accounts receivable and payable processes. The knowledge she gained from that experience led her to the position of secretary to the Chief Financial Officer. But Lisa did not stop there. With the encouragement and support she received from the senior management team, Lisa’s enthusiasm and interest in the company continued to grow. After many years working on the administrative side of the business, she began to develop an interest in sales. United’s senior management had already recognized her potential and encouraged her to make the move. With the promise that they would support her every step of the way, Lisa was confident she was ready to move on to what she refers to as “the other side of the business.”
To ensure her success in sales, Lisa started in the warehouse (like all of United Electric’s sales staff) to learn more about the product lines and ordering processes. She worked the counter and rode in delivery trucks so that she could see firsthand how her job would directly affect the customers’ experience. After spending time as the Assistant Counter Manager, Lisa moved into Inside Sales before moving to the Purchasing department as a buyer.
Lisa has learned the many benefits of being open to change. She is certain of one thing that will never change and that is her commitment to a future at United. “Everyone who works here at United supports each other. Being employee-owned gives each of us the incentive to do well, and that’s what keeps the customers coming back. But that’s just the icing on the cake. What is really special and unique is the heart of the people here. They are like family to me.”