Robert Haney’s Secrets of Success
City Electric Supply (CES) Regional Manager Robert Haney has been in the electrical industry for over 22 years. Recently, he shared the secrets of his success and how he got his start in the business.
The Early Years – Getting Started
Growing up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Robert began his career at 18 years old, working for a large electrical contractor.
“I didn’t know a whole lot. I started out carrying all the pipe and the conduit,” he said.
One day, after a hard day’s work, he noticed a man pulling up to the jobsite in a truck. What happened soon after was a moment that changed the trajectory of his career.
Robert called the number on the truck and asked if they were hiring, and the rest was history.
He began his new job in an entry-level position and worked his way up.
“I learned as much as I could in those early years, and I took every opportunity I could get.”
But, shortly after, Robert took a quick detour in his career journey.
“I joined the Navy and was stationed overseas for four years,” he said. “It was a fun experience, and I traveled all over Europe.”
After his stint in the Navy, Robert continued his journey in the electrical industry.
Patience, Perseverance, and Building Relationships
“I began working for City Electric Supply in Charleston, South Carolina.”
At CES, Robert started as a branch manager. Coming from a mostly commercial background, tackling residential work was a big transition for him.
“It was a hurdle for me because I didn’t have the experience of the vendors for residential-type projects at the time.”
Building industry connections was critical for Robert. Through patience and focus, his relationships with customers have lasted for over two decades and counting.
“It’s all about establishing relationships. Get in line now, start building relationships, and 15, 20 years down the road, you’ll be that guy that customer goes to every time.”
Challenges and Lessons Learned
After moving around a bit and gaining more experience, including a promotion after three years in Charleston that led him to the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area, Robert was offered the opportunity to return to Charleston to become a district manager in 2012.
“This was a significant turning point in my career. I strive to grab every opportunity that comes my way.”
Robert is the first to tell you that one of the biggest goals is continuing to get more younger people into the electrical industry.
“I want the next generation to know just how much they’re able to accomplish in the field. They can create a long and prosperous career for themselves,” he said.
Robert has used his experience to inspire and motivate others. At a company conference last year, CES Connect 2022, a branch manager Robert had known from his time in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area approached him to share how his advice had helped him succeed in his branch.
“The first few years of opening your branch come with a lot of work. But once you get that branch going, once it gets in a groove, you’ll be proud of what you’ve helped build,” he said.
Staying Power and What Keeps Robert in the Business
Robert’s staying power in the business over the years can be attributed to the people he has met.
“Anybody that knows me knows I’m very sentimental. My fondest memories are probably spending time with the late Tom Mackie. He was truly inspiring.”
Tom Mackie, the founder of CES, had a huge impact on Robert’s life.
“Spending time with the founder of the company. The person who helped turn it into what it has become was truly incredible.”
Robert’s drive to succeed was also a significant motivator for him.
“I’m always focused on thriving, whether it’s within the industry or my region. The excitement of the variety of work I experience every day keeps me going.”
Advice for Young People
Robert’s story demonstrates how important it is to follow every opportunity by focusing on the future and building relationships. Success requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to persevere.
“Be patient. Pay your dues. And learn as much as you can. It really is true what they say, ‘The harder you work, the better you’re going to get.’”
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