From Driver to Branch Manager: Brandon Bonta Continues Building His Career at CES

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Brandon Bonta has been climbing the ranks since he started with City Electric Supply (CES) as a driver. Now, less than five years after he joined the company, Bonta has already made a name for himself as a branch manager of CES Valparaiso.   

Frank Farkas: Family Friend to Career Mentor 

Brandon Bonta was halfway finished with his selling and sales management degree when he decided to take a semester off from college. Bonta decided to use this opportunity to gain different experiences in the workforce. He didn’t know it was going to be the beginning of a successful career.

Bonta was introduced to City Electric Supply through current CES Commercial Business Expert Frank Farkas, whom Bonta has known for the majority of his life. 

“I first met Frank through church in sixth grade. Frank and my mom would co-chair activities together,” said Bonta. 

During his semester off from school, Farkas reconnected with Bonta, and Bonta was given an opportunity to work at a new CES location that Farkas was managing at the time.

CES Valparaiso store was being opened and was in need of a driver, and Bonta decided to take on the role. The transition seemed like the natural thing for Bonta, who at the time, saw himself reenrolling in school. But Bonta soon realized that CES was where he wanted to be.

“When Frank approached me, I thought CES would be great to work part-time while attending my classes, but I started having a lot more success here, and wanted to see where this takes me.”

And he hasn’t looked back since.

Learning the Ropes and Climbing the Ladder

While driving for CES Valparaiso, Bonta quickly learned the ropes and inner workings of branch operations. 

“CES Valparaiso only had me, Frank, and another team member working when I started,” explained Bonta. “I was able to cross-train and maximize my time at work. Being exposed to so many things really set me up for success.”

Bonta spent a year and a half as a driver before moving into a counter sales position. But one of his favorite positions where he grew the most was as an operations manager. 

“Being an operations manager, I really got to dive into the meat and potatoes of managing inventory for sales, following up with customers to make sure the branch was hitting those delivery dates, and more.”

After excelling as an operations manager, Farkas and CES District Manager Jeff Williamson offered Bonta the sales role. In November of 2023, Brandon Bonta was officially promoted to branch manager of CES Valparaiso. Now, Bonta reflects on his time at the company to where he is now.

“I remember taking orders off card tables when our showroom was being built. To see where Valparaiso is now as a branch manager, it’s a full circle moment for me,” said Bonta. “I was brought into this industry green, and it’s a great feeling to work for a company that has invested in me and given me this opportunity.”

Mentorships Paving the Way 

Knowing Frank Farkas from a personal turned professional standpoint, Bonta credits him with teaching him what he knows. 

“Without a doubt, Frank has been one of my closest mentors. From learning how to deal with various situations to placing orders, he has been there with me every step of the way,” explained Bonta. “But he’s always pushed me to learn on my own as well. He really instilled the customer-first mentality in me.” 

“I have witnessed Brandon’s work ethic since day one. I told him, when you’re ready, I have the perfect job opportunity for you,” said Farkas. “To see him striving so quickly and at such a young age, to have this happening, it’s an exciting feeling for me too.” 

Growing Personally and Professionally

Bonta has already been receiving lessons that he has carried into his title of branch manager and beyond. Bonta reflects on his time as a sales representative as the role that helped him mature and understand the industry from a business perspective. 

“I learned that having a relationship with customers doesn’t just get you the order. It gives you the opportunity to quote the order. I learned throughout my time in the sales role about understanding the value of customer relationships and building strong networks,” said Bonta.  

“When you’re working on quotes with customers, you have to put in the effort to ensure the end result brings customer satisfaction. But how they are treated is ultimately what it comes down to,” explained Bonta. 

Bonta is also getting married next spring. 

“I started dating my fiancée shortly after joining CES. We started talking one night and didn’t realize it was three o’clock in the morning,” said Bonta with a laugh. “It sounds cheesy, but it was love at first sight. The night we met, everyone thought we had been dating for years.” 

A Word of Advice and Looking Back on a Leap of Faith

Looking forward to the future, Bonta is grateful he took every learning opportunity at each position to set him up for success. 

“It’s been really exciting becoming a branch manager, but looking back from where I started, I can honestly say I have done it all throughout each position. I have great pride in being so young and accomplishing what I have.” 

With so much excitement in recent months, Bonta understands that there’s still a wide range of learning opportunities on the way. 

“I understand I still have a lot to learn and accomplish. It’s accepting that I don’t have all the answers, but I will find the person who does and get the job done.” 

But Bonta encourages everyone to compartmentalize and focus on the moment. 

“It’s a matter of making your plan. There will always be things on your list. Be efficient and effective at work, and make sure everything is done right. Then, when you go home, be the best you can be for your family.” 

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