Electrifying Sales is what we’re all about here at Willow Electrical Supply. And today it’s time to recognize one of our top performers Mike Czykieta, our new Counter Sales Manager. Associates such as Mike are the secret behind our success, and we believe they should be celebrated and recognized. I was able to chat with him recently about working in electrical sales, here’s what he had to say.
What’s the best part about working for an electrical supplier? How long have you been with Willow Electrical Supply?
You are on the front-line of everything new that is coming into the electrical field and with technology advancing so fast this makes it quite exciting. Beyond that helping a customer with a project from start to finish and seeing the project come alive makes it worthwhile. This January I celebrated fourteen years at Willow altogether, and eleven years at the Chicago branch where I learned most of things I know now.
What’s the worst part about working for an electrical supplier? What do you see changing in the near future in this industry?
The amount of knowledge one needs for this industry is immense, and keeps on changing as the technology advances. Depending on if you’re Chicago or the suburbs the electrical code might be different which makes it more troublesome for everyone involved. LED is the new craze, and I don’t see the industry getting away from this. In addition, manufacturers are trying to limit the number of SKU’s, and make products more universal. More often LED fixtures come with select able Kelvin temperatures and bathroom fans with switchable CFM settings. Similarly, this makes it easier on production, the distribution and the customer installing the product.
What makes Willow Electrical different from other electrical suppliers in the greater Chicagoland?
The vast variety of material and the sheer amount of material that we actually keep in stock is quite impressive. By the same token, our main warehouse in Schiller Park, IL is one of the largest supply houses in the state of Illinois which makes a big difference.
What does your workday look like? What’s the hardest part about your job?
I get here just before opening at 6AM, and check my email. During the day I take orders via phone, email, and walk-ins. The most difficult part about this job is that you’re only as your counter-parts in the industry. Likewise, if the vendor can’t get back to you with a lead time or price on a specific item quickly it will affect your customer’s experience. As a matter of fact, this could be frustrating when you’re striving to provide the best and the quickest service in the industry.
People say that once you get into the Lighting & Electrical industry you never leave. Do you agree with that statement?
I will have to agree with that statement. When I got into this industry I started part-time, and it was only supposed to get me through college. Since then, I got married, gone through two house remodels and have been gifted with fatherhood. With that in mind, I am still here. Conversely, the industry is evolving and you have to adapt to keep up with the times in order to provide your customer with the best possible service. Although I can’t talk about other electrical suppliers, working at Willow Electrical makes me feel like I’m part of the family.
Why should people buy from Willow Electric?
We have competitive pricing and a full fleet of trucks allowing us to deliver the same day anywhere in the Chicagoland area. On the other hand our extensive hours of operation, and the multiple locations make a big difference. To summarize, we make it easy for the customer to get the product and continue with their work relatively quickly. Overall our staff is friendly, knowledgeable and can assist customers in English, Spanish, Polish, Czech and Ukrainian.
What do you do in your leisure time?
While out of work I spend the bulk of my time with my wonderful wife Anya, and my one year old son Adam. All in all, I like to spend my free time staying active by playing soccer and biking. Furthermore, Anya and I love to travel, and do our best visiting a new place each year as part of family tradition. Henceforth, this year we’re going to visit England. Granted, life is too short and you have to seize the day!