Doug Borchers Interviewed by tED Magazine

Q & A with Doug Borchers:

Briefly tell us about your own career track - where and when you started, key positions you've held along the way, and the position you hold today.

After I graduated from college with an electrical engineering degree, Eaton became the right choice. Over the next 10 years I was given all types of opportunities to grow and challenge myself in applications, technical sales, large accounts, and branch management. I was then placed in a junior executive management training program and treated well - I couldn't have asked for anything better. In 1997, a vice president of sales and engineering role presented itself with a distributorship in the Dayton market with which I had worked closely for a number of years. The company was growing, and the owner was looking for someone to help continue that growth. It was the right place at the right time, and 16 years later every day is still exciting, and - ususally - lots of fun.

What personal and professional characteristics or traits do you believe led to your own career success, and why?

I tell this to every one of our people: Winning in sales in not about being flashy, highly intelligent, low priced, or anything else. It's about one word: trust. I've never tried to dazzle customers with fancy or overengineered solutions that weren't necessary. My style was to do a lot of listening and devising solutions that worked for their applications. One successful project leads to another, and trust builds more and more with each success. At Dickman Supply, we work hard every day to continue to earn our customers' trust, and this happens by being dependable, reliable, and competent and knowing where to get answers for customers.

Overall, what would you say are key traits required to successfully move up the ladder in today's distribution industry?

The three key traits I feel are most important are dependability, responsiveness, and creativity. The person willing to get up at the crack of dawn and go hard until sunset for his or her customers has the opportunity to set him - or herself apart from the competition. Customers see it and know it and they want to associate themselves with people who are hardworking, creative in solving problems, and responsive to their requests. It also helps to be a positive person who others want to be around. Those traits have remained the most important from the day I got into the business until today and will for many years to come.

What advice would you offer young people today just starting out in the electrical distribution field who want to move up the ladder?

We have a number of young people in our organization for whom we have very high expectations, and it's because they're willing to work hard, are eager to learn more, and are effective at building relationships. If you can find people like this, teaching them the technical side of the business is the easy part. I'd tell young people to take every opportunity they can to learn from everyone around them - ask questions, visit customer sites with sales and technical specialists, and don't be afraid to be the object of the good-natured kidding that goes around. Be known as a fun person who's always willing to learn and others will go out of their way to help you. Communicate your goals regularly and you'll be surprised by how many people will want to help you get there. NAED has outstanding resources in the Learning Center, not only for the technical side of our industry, but also for the business side.