Welcome to Dealerscope’s annual 40 Under 40 report of the CE industry’s rising stars.
Each year, our readers nominate their most impressive young employees as a way of highlighting the intelligence, acumen, drive, experience and fresh ideas they bring to an industry that needs those qualities now more than ever.
“We have a lot of ideas that the older generation might not have,” said Joe Romeo, 26, a sales representative in the consumer imaging group at Canon USA and one of this year’s winners. “Younger people just have a mentality to take more risks and be more creative than someone who’s been using the same business plan for years.”
As anyone involved in this industry has found out, sometimes painfully, most business plans that worked a few years ago are no longer relevant. The emergence of social networking has added a whole new challenge to marketing; new technologies, products and consumer frugality have changed merchandising strategies; and the need for retailers and manufacturers to reach a more diverse customer base continues. It often takes people who have grown up with those changes and have immersed themselves in the latest trends to achieve the industry’s new goals.
“Having younger minds with different approaches – people who use technology in a way that’s different from someone who is 65 or 70 years old – is vital,” said Michael Bridwell, 36, marketing communications manager at Digital Projection International. “Only through youth can you get that. It just brings a whole different perspective to the game.”
There also hasn’t been a better time for CE manufacturers, vendors and retailers to hire young people for full- or part-time positions and internships. CE companies have spent the last year cutting costs and jobs to firm up their foundations. Most are now looking to tackle their marketing, merchandising and margin challenges. New graduates, prospective interns and young people hungry for opportunities (see our “The Social Network” column by Courtney Manlove, one of last year’s 40 Under 40 winners and a recent graduate who landed a sweet job at Monster) can help, and they come at the right price.