To coincide with our annual Women in Industry issue, Supply House Times will spotlight a new PHCP-PVF supply chain female executive each day during the work week in the month of March. If you would like to be included or know of someone who should be included in our 2019 presentation, email Chief Editor Mike Miazga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Position: Director of Sales, Pacific Mountain Region (23 years)
How did you get in the industry?
I graduated with a degree in journalism, and got my job at Uponor by answering a printed ad in the want ads (yes, it was a very long time ago!). The company was called Wirsbo at that time, 23 years ago, and it was looking for a marketing coordinator. I snail-mailed in my resume along with various writing samples of magazine and newspaper articles I had written. I was so excited when I got called to interview for my first real, full-time job!
What do you like the most about your job/company you work for?
I’ve obviously seen a lot of changes over 23 years here, but one of the things that does not change is Uponor always has been a fun, dynamic place to work. I’m surrounded by fun, passionate people who care about what they do and care about each other, and that spurs all of us on to be the best. I have always felt such a connection to our customers as well, which makes it fun every day to make calls and better understand how we can support them. They take such pride in what they do, have so much energy and drive, and feel such a strong connection to our brand. I think that’s a rare thing at a company and I try not to take it for granted.
How important do you feel it is to attract young professionals into this industry?
Attracting young professionals to our industry is crucial. Our population is aging, of course, but our industry is aging faster as we do not have a good pipeline for injecting new, young blood into plumbing. A lot of the young people today don’t see this industry as very exciting, but it’s always changing, the people are genuine and fun, they value hard work and loyalty, and it’s incredibly stable. The needs for plumbing and heating definitely are not going away! There are so many different opportunities and areas of the industry for young people to work in. There definitely is something for everyone whether it’s installation, marketing, sales, business development, project management, operations or whatever may interest you.
How important do you feel it is to attract women into the industry?
I’ll speak for the sales side of the industry, as there are not a lot of female salespeople in plumbing, or at least not in rough plumbing, although the number of women thankfully is growing. For those of us who are out in the trenches every day calling on contractors, wholesalers and engineers, I can say it’s a great industry for professional women to consider. It’s constantly changing, you get to interact with so many great people, and if you’re lucky enough to sell a product you believe in, you get to feel like you’re making a difference to people and their businesses. Women may feel more tested and challenged in the beginning of their careers in this industry, as you have to work harder to prove yourself to your male colleagues and counterparts. You also have to get used to not being intimidated by being the only women in the room or at the meeting table discussing issues with your customers. However, once you gain the respect, it is such a rewarding and fun place to be. It gets you away from the rigid corporate environments so common today and in front of some great people running great businesses who are, in many cases, interested in becoming true partners with you.