CityElectric43

Celebrating 43 Years in the Electrical Industry

City Electric Supply Nashville North District Manager Linda Mai celebrates over four decades of accomplishments in what is perceived to be a male-dominated industry.

NASHVILLE, TN – In high school, City Electric Supply Nashville North District Manager Linda Mai took classes that would send her on a path to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), but she decided to follow her passion for the electrical industry instead. The famous saying, “believe you can and you’re halfway there” is the perfect depiction of the mindset Mai had when she embarked on her new career path in the electrical industry over 40 years ago.

“She’s a hard-working, humble person. She’s not just a role model for women in the industry — she’s a role model for everyone at every level of this business,” said CES Co-Chief Operating Officer John Gray.

Earning that type of recognition from a COO and the amount of success she’s achieved thus far in her career has been no walk in the park. She’s had to work hard and overcome obstacles, and it all began just a few days into her first job at an electrical supply company when a male coworker said, “I don’t know why you’re here.” He wondered what her place as a woman could possibly be in the male-dominated field of electrical supplies.

As Mai looks back on that moment, she claims it only increased her desire for success and energized her to continue on her career path. “Once he said that, it only pushed me. I said, ‘I’m fixing to show you,’” said Mai.

And that’s exactly what she did. Mai took every opportunity presented to her to learn and grow in the industry.“I went to every class offered,” said Mai. “I could build switch gears he didn’t even know existed. By the time I left, he’d grown to respect me.”

In 1981, Mai reached a major milestone in her career by becoming the first female Branch Manager for an independent electrical distributor. And in 2010, she became a Regional Manager. “I owe a lot to my father,” said Mai, “who taught us to always give 110% to our jobs and to everything we do in our lives.”

Mai’s drive and skill captured the attention of CES Co-Chief Operating Officer John Gray, who spent five years trying to convince her to join the City Electric Supply Team. “I first met Linda in 2008 and was so convinced she was the right person to open our Clarksville branch that when she turned me down, I changed plans and decided not to open Clarksville until I could convince her to join us,” said Gray.

“I just didn’t know if I wanted to change. I was scared to try something different,” explained Mai. “But I eventually decided to move to CES because I’m an independent person, and at CES, your branch is your branch. They give you the opportunity to take care of your store the way you need to take care of it.”

And while she didn’t know it then, that position turned into a 10-year career with the company and counting. Mai helped grow sales, which are expected to be about five times higher this year than when she first started, and was promoted to her current position as Nashville North District Manager. And she couldn’t be happier with what she’s achieved at City Electric Supply.

“I like going to work every day and learning new things, meeting people, helping people,” said Mai. “I like the challenge of trying to figure out how to be the best branch we can be. I like helping people and being able to put a job together. It feels good getting that done for customers.”

“As busy and successful as that branch is, her focus is taking care of her customers,” said Regional Manager Stephen Baker. “She makes them feel like they’re coming into a place they want to be every morning.”

The passion for the electrical industry runs deep in Mai’s family. Not only did she marry an electrician, but she has a nephew, Michael Mai, and a niece, Mary Wallace, who both work for City Electric Supply as well.

When asked about her advice for individuals interested in getting into the industry, Mai said, “Always give it your best. Learn everything you can. Set goals and chase after them with everything you’ve got.”

Her next goal? To open more branches and increase business by 50% in the next five years. No matter what happens in the next five years, there’s one guarantee — Linda Mai is going to give 110%.

Her next goal? To open more branches and increase business by 50% in the next five years. No matter what happens in the next five years, there’s one guarantee — Linda Mai is going to give 110%.

City Electric Supply (CES) is a family-owned electrical wholesale distributor headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

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