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Engineer Spotlight: Paul Sanford

1/31/2022

ByLauren Willman

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT STANDARD ELECTRIC, AND WHAT DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN? 

When I first started at Standard Electric, I was our Brady Product Specialist. I worked in that role for close to 5 years. After 7 total years in our industry, I had a growing interest in learning more about our different products and wanted a new challenge. This past summer, I took on the role of the Schneider Business Development Specialist for Southern Wisconsin. So far, it has been a great learning experience and I am excited for the future of selling and supporting Schneider Electric.

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN ENGINEERING?

Growing up, one of my older brothers was studying to be an engineer at Marquette University. He came back to live at home for a little while before starting off his career at Kimberly Clark. I looked up to him and was interested in what he was studying and he would show me a lot of what he was working on. Although I didn’t major as an Engineer in college, it has always been a part of my life and has interested me for a long time.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS INDUSTRY?

It sort of fell into my lap, from my position at Brady Corporation. I was in constant contact with distributors all over the country and learned a lot about how this industry operates. The interest has grown more and more throughout my time meeting people and traveling to customers’ locations all over the regions we sell to. I enjoy getting to know our customers and their stories, I find it very interesting.

WHAT TRAITS DO YOU HAVE THAT HELP YOU IN YOUR ROLE?

From back in my Customer Service days at Brady, I’ve always felt great satisfaction in being able to help solve customers’ problems and through that, being able to build a relationship that is mutually beneficial. I also challenge myself to be able to adapt to a variety of situations, so that I am prepared when one of our customers is having an issue with their product and we need to be able to pivot in order to help them out.

WHEN YOU'RE WORKING WITH CLIENTS, HOW DO YOU HELP THEM IDENTIFY AND SOLVE THE PROBLEMS THEY'RE FACING?

There are a couple of things I like to make sure of when I am helping a customer in this situation. First, I make sure to listen as attentively and take as thorough notes as possible, whether we are communicating via e-mail, telephone, virtually, or in person. As an active listener, the customer starts to feel more comfortable in describing issues, or bottlenecks that may be occurring, and the more details they give you, the better chance you have at coming up with the best solution. Second, I am never afraid to utilize every resource available to me if I feel stumped. I won’t hesitate to reach out internally, or externally to come up with one, or several solutions to offer our customers.

WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU'VE LEARNED WHILE WORKING AT STANDARD ELECTRIC? 

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to value and build relationships with our customers. Whether or not you have the dollar amount of business you want right at this moment doesn’t mean you won’t have an opportunity down the road. That’s if you are able to keep communication lines open and can be there to help when it’s needed.

WHAT KIND OF THINGS DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?

I’m a big fan of all things related to Wisconsin sports and really, sports in general. I usually attend several Packer, Bucks and Brewers games every year. I also enjoy golfing in my free time and love exploring the outdoors with my wife (usually when it’s warm outside).

WHAT IS AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOU THAT MIGHT SURPRISE CO-WORKERS OR FRIENDS?

As a child, I had a ton of energy. I was too young for organized sports at the time, so my parents enrolled me in American Karate at the age of 6. I ended up being one of the youngest kids to ever receive their Black Belt at the studio I trained in (10 years old). After that, I never practiced karate again.


Standard Electric Supply Co. is a family-owned distributor, built on delivering outstanding service. For over 100 years, Standard Electric has been the best at what they do; delivering top-quality products, outstanding service, and providing value-added services to customers across the Midwest. Visit standardelectricsupply.com to see how Standard Electric can become the solution to your needs.

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