Two Success Stories in South Carolina
Recently, two branch managers in neighboring locations in South Carolina shared their stories as they celebrated 10 years with City Electric Supply (CES). Their success was reached by demonstrating it’s not where you start but where you want to go that matters.
Branch Manager Robert Brooks leads CES Greenville, and Branch Manager Justin Powell leads CES Greer. They started with the company about a month apart with different backgrounds, but both found more success than they imagined.
“It makes you feel good when you choose the right person for the job, and I’ve caught lightning in a bottle twice,” said District Manager Don Corbett, who promoted them both.
Learn about their journeys and what they both appreciate about their positions today.
Brooks Brought Vast Retail Experience to CES Greenville
Robert Brooks’ entire career in the electrical industry started with CES. Previously self-employed and running his own retail business, one of his customers shared an opportunity at a local CES branch.
Brooks soon joined as counter sales at CES Greenville and then moved up to outside sales. After only about four years with the company, he took on the role of branch manager at CES Spartanburg, then returned to Greenville as branch manager in 2018.
“I had been looking for a place that afforded me a career. I had no idea it could be CES because I had no electrical experience except handyman jobs around my house. But you can learn about products, and my previous experience in inventory and business management really helped,” said Brooks.
He appreciates the flexibility CES provides to manage the Greenville branch in the way that best serves his community. He also enjoys having the support of neighboring locations.
“CES is like a silent partner—they invest in you but give you the autonomy to build your business how you want, and I like that,” said Brooks. “Also, working with so many other branches daily to manage the supply chain together makes every branch more successful. That helps us better support our customers’ businesses and livelihoods, which I take very seriously.”
Powell Brought Extensive Electrical Knowledge to CES Greer
Justin Powell said that essentially, electrical is all he’s ever known. During high school, he worked part-time for his uncle’s business as an electrician and started a full-time position the same day he graduated.
Though he pursued a career in nursing for about two years, he left college and returned to what he enjoyed most, electrical.
After nearly eight years as an electrician, his cousin offered him a new opportunity at CES Simpsonville. Justin started as a driver but soon took on new roles at the branch, including inside sales, operation manager, and outside sales.
“After being in the industry so long, I did see CES as a career, but I didn’t think I’d advance as quickly as I did. In 2019, when CES Greer opened, I interviewed and was offered the position.”
Though he joined on with a large amount of electrical knowledge, he appreciated all the training and support to grow his business knowledge along the way.
“My district manager, Don, has been one of the biggest parts of my success. He pushes us to move forward without throwing us in positions to sink.”
Customer Service, Leadership, and a Love for Bikes
Corbett said that Brooks and Powell each led their branches to become incredible success stories today. He pointed out a few of their common traits that he’ll be sure to look for in future hires.
“They’re both very passionate about something outside work; both love motorcycles. They’re also both mechanically minded and always available for their customers,” said Corbett.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can create a business from anything,” said Brooks. “We make ours through customer relationships.”
“I like to help my customers’ projects go from start to finish. Many customers know each other too, so every day feels like a bunch of friends getting together and working.”
And like Corbett, they each also praised their branch teams and have found it rewarding to support others’ careers.
“I hired a guy for the counter and watched him go to outside sales in just one year,” said Powell. “I love to help provide the same success for others.”
“I love having this solid, reliable team. We have people who have worked with CES even longer than us, and it’s great to know they’re in it for the long haul as well,” said Brooks.
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