From the Navy to a 25-Year-Career in the Electrical Industry, and Counting

A City Electric Supply employee shares his journey to success

MAITLAND, FL — Shortly after his contract ended with the U.S. Navy, David Snyder decided not to renew his contract. While one of the reasons was family, the other was the drive for professional growth. “I started adding it all up and thought, ‘I want to have more control,’” David said. “The career path was very structured, and I realized I wanted to go further, faster.”

Today, David is a Controller for the City Electric Supply (CES) accounting division in Florida — a position he was successfully able to attain through hard work and determination. It all began when David interviewed with CES for a job opportunity. “When I went into the interview, I was willing to drive a truck,” said David.

But once he shared that he’d pursued a degree in mathematics from Jacksonville, Florida, while in the Navy, the branch manager had other plans for him. “After talking with the branch manager about my education and background, he said, ‘I don’t know if you’ll drive the truck,’” said David.

Instead, David was sent to chat with District Manager Brian Romeril. “From the moment Brian started talking, he laid out the vision for my future,” David said. “He wanted me to start as a clerk, but in a few years, he envisioned me running my own branch. That got me really excited, but I couldn’t believe it.”

While he didn’t know the first thing about electrical supplies, David quickly put in overtime to learn the ins and outs of the business, which included stocking shelves on Saturdays and talking with the branch team to gain knowledge about the industry. After just three months, he began managing the same district office where he started as a clerk. For the first time since he joined the Navy, David felt in charge of his career. “Early on at CES, I thought my career path would take me from the district office into a branch,” David said. “It felt like anything was possible. All you had to do was just work hard.”

The opportunity that kickstarted David’s career at CES couldn’t have come at a better time. David was working at a restaurant with the hopes of one day becoming a manager. His wife wasn’t on board with that plan. “My wife immediately thought about all the nights and weekends I’d have to work,” David laughed. “She called her dad, Barry Forde, who worked on the financial side of CES in Orlando. He just kept telling me about the opportunity. I was hooked.”

It didn’t take long for the Chief Financial Officer at the time, James Henderson, to take notice of David’s background in mathematics. Henderson believed he’d be a better fit supporting the financial operations than working inside a branch. Another opportunity was also presented to David — the chance to join the accounting team. “Brian said I would be going over to the dark side,” David joked. “I really weighed both opportunities, but it came down to where my real strength was. It wasn’t in sales; it was in finance.”

So, that’s exactly what he did. David joined Henderson in Orlando and was promoted to controller in just a few months.

Today he helps oversee 110 branches across Florida with Paul Sanchez. Two decades and a long list of accomplishments later, it’s clear David made the right move.

One of the great moments David was able to experience in the company was the growth that occurred in Florida in 1995. “A lot of growth happened in Florida, and I had a front-row seat to it all,” David said. “Every time we added a new location, I would oversee it as the controller. We added locations in central Florida, in the Florida panhandle, in Georgia. And I took on as many as I could.”

It was apparent that there was no limit to how big City Electric Supply could get. In a little over two years, CES doubled the number of U.S. locations, and that meant more branches on David’s list. “Anywhere you turned, there was a new accounting division or a new district being opened,” he added. “And these new divisions meant new branch managers, new controllers, new AP managers, new credit managers, new branch employees. We couldn’t hire people fast enough.”

As for future plans, David still feels there are a lot of opportunities at CES. “I’ve been a controller here for most of my career,” he said. “I still haven’t accomplished everything I can accomplish at City Electric Supply. There is still room to grow, still more things to do.”

David’s advice to new employees in a nutshell? At CES, the sky is the limit. “Your future is more in your control than you might think,” he added. “There’s no limit to your career, no limit to your earnings. The only thing standing in your way is the level of dedication you’re willing to put in.”

For David, that’s the most rewarding part — the ability to help make that impact in the lives of other CES employees.  “I can look around at those I’ve hired and see where they’ve gone and what they’ve accomplished with their opportunities. I’m sure I saw the same things in them that James Henderson and Brian Romeril saw in me 25 years ago,” he said.

When it’s all said and done, he’d like the David Snyder legacy at CES to be the following. “I just want people to say that they could always count on me,” he said. “I want them to say that I was honest, that I was trustworthy. To me, if they say that, I would definitely have done well.”

CES employs more than 3,000 people in over 500 branches across the U.S.

From the Navy to a 25-Year-Career in the Electrical Industry, and Counting

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