Manager, Industry Marketing; Crescent Electric Supply
By Joe Nowlan
Abby Bertsch was still in college (Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa) when she first came in contact with Crescent Electric Supply as an intern.
"A classmate of mine had held that same internship before I did. She referred me for the position and I knew it would be a great fit," Abby said.
It turned out she was right—and Abby's interest in both the company and the electrical industry was piqued.
"As an intern, I enjoyed the environment at Crescent Electric and it being a family-owned and professionally managed company. It was a great entry into the business and the industry," she explained.
After graduating college in 2013, Abby worked for a local industrial manufacturer for 18 months as its marketing project manager.
In 2015, though, she heard about a position that had opened at Crescent Electric.
"So I took the opportunity to come back and work for such a great organization," Abby said.
As manager of industry marketing, Abby's learning curve is never ending. It's a challenge she enjoys.
"I'm a huge advocate for continuous education. As our industry is evolving I think it's important to make sure organizations like Crescent Electric are enriched in the latest technologies and trends," Abby explained.
One slow-but-steady trend she has observed recently is an increase in the number of women she meets in the electrical industry.
"I think for a long time this industry has been perceived as male-dominated," she said. "Seeing more women in the electrical industry is very important for my generation and future generations to follow, knowing that there is a place for them in this industry. This is a fun place to go to work."
While she is in the marketing end of the company, Abby knows she has to be knowledgeable about Crescent Electric's various capabilities and product line offerings.
"Every time I get a chance and especially when an email comes through with new product information, I read and review the new product(s) so I can fully grasp their features and benefits," she explained.
Her product education has allowed her to grasp what Crescent's sales team needs when they are on sales calls.
"Speaking with account managers and hearing about their interactions with customers has allowed my team the ability to develop marketing collateral that can better serve our sales team's needs." Abby explained.
Abby works out of Crescent's East Dubuque, Ill., office, about three-and-a-half hours from Chicago.
She was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, as was her husband, Blaine. A member of her college golf team, Abby gets out to play golf with her husband whenever they can.
"We try to play quite a bit, the two of us. I grew up around that sport and love the game," she said. "So it's enjoyable to play the game together."
While hitting the rare bad shot isn't enjoyable, Abby takes a refreshingly calm method to the game.
"I said to my husband, 'We are never going to play in the Masters. We're not going to be professionals. So let's just go out and have fun.'"
Q. What advice you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. My advice would be to keep learning and keep asking questions. Don't be afraid to ask those questions. Just work hard and keep a positive mindset and attitude and you will get along well with everybody.
People who have been in our industry for many years will come and ask the younger generation questions the same as I would ask questions. That's what being a team is all about. Make sure that you have that open communication and don't be afraid to ask questions or to communicate openly. Our business cannot move forward without really having a defined set plan and goals.
Q. If someone approached you during your freshman year of college and said that someday you would be working in the electrical industry, what do you think your reaction would have been?
A. I probably wouldn't have believed them. Growing up in Dubuque and going to school here, the last thing on my mind was actually staying in Dubuque! Fortunately for me, by staying I was able to meet my husband and commit to staying here. Having the opportunity to work at Crescent Electric and in this industry has been amazing and rewarding. So if someone did tell me that, I'd be glad that they did because it has definitely been beneficial to me and my career.
I have my friends say "Oh, you are marketing light bulbs? You are creating advertising for light bulbs?" It is so much more than that. Anyone can walk into any building and see lighting fixtures, breakers, and wiring; but learning how they are all connected and work together is the most fascinating part. Now that things are going digital and powered by the internet, it adds a whole new component and opportunity to the electrical industry. It is amazing to see that transformation.
Watching all of it change is fascinating; sitting back and listening to product experts discuss new products and their features coming out in our industry. The electrical industry is definitely not a boring industry! If anything, it is really captivating and keeps you on your toes. Making the decision to rejoin the industry and work at Crescent Electric has been the most challenging yet rewarding decision I have made thus far in my career.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.