Electrical reps take all sorts of different paths to get into this profession. When he was in high school, the winner of Electrical Wholesaling's 2013 GEM Rising Star Award winner wanted to be a game warden — until his guidance counselor told him that his SAT test scores were really good and that he should forget about tromping around Indiana's forests and fields as a job and start thinking about going to Purdue to learn how to be an engineer.

Fortunately for Lester Sales of Indianapolis, John Scott, the company's president and this year's GEM Rising Star recipient, didn't really care for the control engineering work he did for two years after graduating from Purdue, when he designed hydraulic electrical and pneumatic controls for GM, Ford and Chrsyler. He wanted to try something different, and interviewed with Kirby Risk Electric Supply, Lafayette, Ind., where Jim Wagoner sold him on the company and on the electrical industry.

After working as an automation specialist and managing several Kirby Risk branches, Scott met with Brian Chase of Lester Sales at a company outing. Chase saw something he liked in him, and thought he just might be the type of person who could someday take over his rep firm.

Since that time, Scott has earned the respect of many in Lester Sales Co.'s territory, which covers all of Indiana, two-thirds of Ohio and part of Kentucky, as a dynamic young manager who gets things done. He has learned from mentors in the electrical wholesaling industry like Jim Risk, Jim Wagoner and John Burke of Kirby Risk, Legrand's John Hoffman, and Margie Basney and D.B. Williams of Hoffman Pentair, Anoka, Minn. Scott says he also learned quite a bit about the business from the course he took in Texas A&M's Industrial Distribution program.

Along with learning what it takes to run a profitable company at Texas A&M and how to treat customers and employees right from his mentors, Scott says he learned from them an important factor for success in the electrical market that he always tries to instill on his own employees: “The biggest thing is having that internal drive. You can do anything you want in this field, but it all boils down to your internal drive. It is one of the few industries where you can begin working in the warehouse and end up running the company.”