E-Marketing Coordinator, Werner Electric Supply
By Joe Nowlan
Stacey Cooper received an anecdotal introduction to the electric industry before she even started considering a career.
The introduction was at the family dinner table. Her father is an engineer at Werner Electric Supply in Appleton, Wisc.
Stacey held some summer jobs in the Werner warehouse. While the warehouse routine could be repetitive, she kept learning.
"[I saw what] kind of things they were sending out and what the product managers were working on, how we were sending out stuff that was going to help customers do their jobs and the types of projects they were working on. It was pretty amazing," she said.
She attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism. Stacey made a pragmatic decision to work towards a second BA in arts and sciences with an emphasis on graphic design.
"I started college just as journalism was really moving online," she said. "By my second year there, it was quite apparent that the more you can do online—as far as posting pictures, and editing directly on a website—then the more useful you would be."
She loved learning about HTML and the technical side of things.
"From there I really got into web development. My first two jobs out of college were in web development. To be useful here, I knew I needed to learn that skill. And then I learned that I liked that skill a little bit better [than journalism]," Stacey explained.
Since coming to work at Werner, Stacey has been closely involved in e-commerce development. Like many B2B companies in the electrical industry, Werner Electric was slowly moving into e-commerce, in part because many of its customers were themselves leery of it.
In time, however, both Werner and its customers made the adjustment. It was worth the effort as from 2013 to 2015, Werner reports that new business via its online store increased by 900%.
"Part of that was the work of the marketing team, our IT team, our product file team and our web team," Stacey explained. "And a lot of it was just that our customers were ready for it. They were ordering online in other places and they understood how helpful of a tool it could be."
In their spare time, Stacey and her husband, Caleb, love to travel and get away as much as possible.
"We travel a lot, as much as we can. He likes to run but I like to do more biking. He is training for a marathon. But I can't run with him. He runs too far," she laughed.
One of the goals is to visit each of the 50 states and all of the national parks where they plan to share in their mutual love for hiking and camping.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. I would say the thing that has helped me most is getting out and meeting the customers. The more that you can interact directly with customers and ask, "Hey, what are your concerns? What does Werner help you with? What should we be doing differently?" That has been the most beneficial as far as learning how to respond and how to be helpful in my job.
I think it was one of the biggest contributing factors to the improvements on our website. You better believe I get things fixed or changed pretty quickly after standing in front of a customer and they tell you what their pain points are.
Q. What do you think is the biggest opportunity within the industry?
A. I think it is going to be, and we are starting to see a little bit of this now, integrating technology with our customers; connecting our business systems so we can work with them more efficiently. I think that is one of the bigger opportunities Werner has to create more loyal customers. That's a big opportunity from a marketing perspective.
And the Internet of Things, there is a lot we are doing here at Werner to try to help support those ideals and that automation piece so people can be connecting their plant floors with the rest of the company in order to make better production decisions. The Internet of Things is the most popular buzzword right now.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at email@example.com.