Dealerscope 2019 40 Under 40: Tony Blodgett, Séura
For a look at the rest of the 2019 40 Under 40 honorees, be sure to check out our 40 Under 40 homepage.
Name: Tony Blodgett
Job Title: Sales Manager
Years in the Industry: 8
Major Accomplishments that you’re proud of: I've had the opportunity to be part of a Seura Team that has grown from 15 total employees to over 100, driven by the talents of our Marketing, Engineering and Production Teams and the vision of our Co-founders and Owners Gretchen and Tim Gilbertson. I'm proud to have contributed to our growth and success by leading our Teams' initiatives in an industry that in only a short time I've come to know and love, specifically serving as a trusted resource for design technology to help expand the experiences Seura and our industry bring to our end users.
What do you like best about your job?: I most enjoy the relationships I've developed and continue to develop within Seura, with our Representatives, other Vendors, and with our Reseller Partners. When such a large percentage of our time and focus is on work, is there a better way to reward our efforts than by fostering true friendships through the partnerships that make us all successful?
What do you like least about your job?: Time away from my family is what I like least about my job. We have become a hockey family - my three boys Braeden (11), Gavin (8) and Kelton (7) all play, and my wife Jenny lives at the rink as a team manager and hockey mom. I coach and contribute as a member o the local hockey association's board, so even though I might have to miss out some I make the most of it when I am at the rink. I'm not sure if it's my wife's least favorite part of my job, though - if I've managed to string a couple weeks together not traveling she'll often ask in a demanding way, "Don't you have a trip coming up soon?!" "Yep, right after New Year's Day. Merry Christmas to you, too." Ha!
Favorite hobby: Outside of work my hobbies revolve around sports, and right now that typically means my kids' sports. I love coaching my kids in hockey, baseball, football and golf. We also hunt and fish, although my dad is the fisherman of the family. I "like" to fish, but I "love" to hunt.
Last book you read: The Hunting Rifle by Jack O'Connor. A classic, but reads like a textbook at times.
Who is your hero and why?: My mom is my hero. She is the most giving person I know yet receives far less than she deserves, and without complaint. She is the hardest person in the world to shop for but that is a tribute to her value on time and experiences versus materialism. My mom exudes kindness and if you met her you'd instantly consider her to be a friend. She shows that at the end of the day it's not what you work for, it's who you work for.
Favorite consumer tech device: My favorite product in this industry is the Seura 86" Ultra Bright Outdoor TV. I always need music and/or the TV on - often both! During the summer my family lives outside given all winter we live inside a hockey rink. (Note: I LIKE Wisconsin Winters, as long as the temp is below freezing to give us good snow and ice!) We are either playing sports or sitting by the fire while also listening to Bob Uecker call a Brewers game. Now, we get to actually WATCH the Crew! While still listening to Bob Uecker call the game, of course.
What you’d be doing if you weren’t in tech: My background is politics, but I prefer to say "legislative engineering". I worked at the Wisconsin State Capitol before moving up to Titletown, USA, where my wife is from originally and where Seura's factory is located. Thankfully, I bleed Green and Gold. If I wasn't working in this industry, and specifically for Seura, we may very well be back in Madison and I would be working for Legislative Council providing support for legislation involving municipal taxation. Hmm....
What’s the biggest problem the industry faces today, and how would you fix it?: The industry survives by often responding to demand. Now, that's not inherently a bad thing - we aren't looking to provide products and solutions people don't want - but end users are missing the opportunity to become AWARE of products they WOULD demand if they knew they existed. So, the industry is held back by end users' and specifiers' lack of awareness. We need to drive awareness of who we are and what we do to our specification and trade partners, so they in turn will drive more demand to us. As I often say, people don't know the products within this industry exist because they don't know the industry itself exists.
What’s your outlook for the CE industry for the next five years?: I think the industry has tremendous opportunity to adapt as a service-oriented industry. The industry has increased its focus on elements of a home that have evolved to be utilities such as networking and lighting. Leveraging the industry's expertise in those areas is, in my opinion, a key to establishing the necessity of a low voltage subcontractor right next to the electrician. I'd discuss further how to get there, but this is a magazine not a book!