Adam DeBono, 29
Inside Sales; K/E Electric Supply
By Joe Nowlan
Adam DeBono always had an interest in electrical distribution, at least from the outside looking in to an extent.
Before working at K/E Electric Supply, DeBono worked for a contractor.
"I was going to become an electrician," he explained. "But at the time it was during the economic downturn and getting into the union then as an electrician was nearly impossible. So I stuck with it and realized it was the avenue I wanted to take."
He worked in the warehouse at Dynaelectric in Madison Heights, Michigan before eventually starting on the sales counter at K/E in 2012 when he was 25 years old. His background helped him somewhat when he started at K/E's Mt. Clemens, Michigan location.
"I was somewhat familiar with most of the products," he said, referring to his early days at K/E. But he was surprised to learn just how big and far reaching the electrical distribution industry was.
"I knew the basic material but not the specialty applications," he explained. "Also, I didn't really know the way that distribution works. I didn't realize what a rep did or what a distributor does. Learning the whole inner works of the distribution world was pretty eye-opening."
An avid learner, DeBono pursued the various EPEC courses and learning levels. He recently completed the gold level of EPEC. While EPEC is intensive and time consuming, he's proud of the accomplishment and encourages others to follow suit.
"You get the books. You go through it, read the chapters. There are questions at the end that makes it all come full-circle so you know what you have read and how to apply it," DeBono explained.
DeBono has been credited with mentoring several young employees at K/E. Still young himself, it wasn't that long ago that he was the one being mentored.
"I don't want to say it is a complete role reversal because I'm still learning every day," he explained. "But it is kind of a way of giving back, I guess. I was mentored and taught to be successful. It's the only reason I've been successful. The new guys come in and I show them some of the shortcuts that I learned. It makes us better as a company overall. We are very team oriented here."
DeBono was born in Georgia and his family moved to Michigan when he was still a child. He and his family have been there ever since.
Before going into electrical work fulltime, DeBono attended Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College, both located in Michigan.
About a year ago, K/E created a new position in its inside sales department for DeBono.
"I do the everyday materials that get called in. Write up orders for those. I'll provide quotes for larger projects," he said. "The everyday materials and power are basically what I do each day."
His wife's name is Molly. They have a daughter, Aria, who is 2 ½ years old. Their second child is due later this year. It comes as no surprise then that DeBono has been busy remodeling the family basement and turning it into a playroom for the children.
Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Always pursue learning. Never be satisfied with what you have. Everybody can keep learning and I think it's really important that you pursue it. And don't be afraid to ask why. If you find the right contractor sometimes they too can help you if you ask why or how. You can't be afraid to ask. Sometimes people may think, "Well, I should know that." But it is always good to ask how things work.
Q. You and many in the electrical industry seem genuinely enthusiastic about your work and about the industry overall. Why do you think that is?
A. For myself, I think it is because it is interesting. It keeps your interest. It is not mundane or the same old-same old. It is always changing and you are always learning something different. It's hard not to be enthusiastic if you're doing something different every time.
Obviously some things are cut and dry: a fitting is a fitting. A pipe is a pipe. But there are other parts of the business where you have different avenues and you can explore and do things differently. And be better than the next guy. Competition is a pretty big part of this industry too.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at email@example.com.