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tED's 30 Under 35: Meet Brady's Edwin Ojeda

Published 6/16/2014 10:24:25 PM

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By Joe Nowlan

In April, the editors of tED magazine sent out a call for the industry’s “rising stars”—electrical professionals 34 years old or younger who have the initiative, drive, integrity, and creativity to move the industry forward in the decades to come. The call drew nominations from all segments of the industry—distributors, suppliers, rep firms, software/services providers, and VARs. Here on tedmag.com, we will post a new, full interview with one of these impressive young people weekly; coverage of all of the honorees can be found in the July 2012 issue of tED. Watch for information about our next “30 Under 35” competition  in early 2013.

Edwin Ojeda

In college Edwin Ojeda majored in international political economics with a minor in Spanish and economics.

Ojeda—a senior territory manager at Brady Corp.—jokes that back then he hoped to become the governor of Puerto Rico one day. A native of that country, he and his family moved to the Chicago area when he was eight years old.

Ojeda instead landed at Brady thanks to a job fair he attended at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He was impressed by the Brady people he met.

"Brady was the only company there that I felt really showed specific interest in people,” Ojeda explained.

They eventually offered him a corporate communications internship. During his internship, which began in March 2003, Ojeda soon displayed an ambition and enthusiasm that impressed his colleagues and even the company’s CEO.

And this attitude led to his emailing the CEO (Frank Jaehnert) and asking him if they could meet for lunch.

"Here I was three months into my internship, but I sent an email to the CEO,” Ojeda chuckled. “It said something like, ‘I know you don't know me. I'm an intern down here in corporate communications, and I’d really like the opportunity to go to lunch with you and just pick your brain on how to become successful and find out what your roadmap was, so I can take the bits and pieces of it for what I want to do.’ ”

Video: Meet tED's 2012 30 Under 35 winners 

Looking back today, Ojeda is grateful that Brady is the type of company where such a bold step was welcomed and not frowned upon or dismissed.

"[Brady] is a big organization," Ojeda explained, "but they still have that mom-and-pop kind of culture. We had a great lunch. He was very inspirational. It really drove me to keep asking these high level people to go to lunch with me."

It is obvious from talking to Ojeda where he gets his work ethic and general approach to life.

"My mother [Deliz Santiago] worked three jobs, 70 to 80 hours a week. She busted her tail to provide for us,” he said. “She definitely is the biggest reason for my ambition and drive and why I cannot allow myself to get too comfortable with what I'm doing."

While hardly a grizzled veteran at age 29, Ojeda does have some thoughts on attracting young employees to the electrical industry.

"I would say the No. 1 thing that drives me daily is one word: innovation. This isn't an industry where you just sell the same product that does the same stuff year after year,” he said. “If you want to come into an industry that is changing every day, that is innovative, that has the opportunity to develop products that could potentially change the world and the way things are done … that is the industry we work in."

This year has been an eventful one. In May Ojeda received his MBA degree. But in January, he and his wife, Aimee, welcomed their first child, a daughter—and the story comes with a twist.

The baby was due Feb. 7. A huge Wisconsin football fan, Ojeda, with his wife’s enthusiastic approval, attended the Rose Bowl game, played in early January in Pasadena, Calif. However, the baby decided to make an early appearance and Ojeda was unable to return in time for the delivery.  

Modern technology came to the rescue. The hospital allowed Ojeda’s mother-in-law to bring an iPad2 into the delivery room as Ojeda watched it in California with another iPad.

“So I watched the birth while my mother-in-law held the iPad for me. I got to root my wife on and see my daughter being born. Obviously, it was not what we planned, but we’ll have quite a story to tell our daughter someday,” he laughed.

By the way, her name is Charlotte Rose Ojeda—guaranteeing the Rose Bowl game will also have significance in the Ojeda household.

Ojeda_daughter

When his daughter Charlotte was born in January, Ojeda produced a birth announcement with his daughter in front of a Brady BBP31. printer with the birth statistics on the screen.

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Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at jcnowlan@msn.com .

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Impressive article by Edwin Ojeda.

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