Melissa Coley, Interstate Electrical Services Corp. : NEREJ

Name: Melissa Coley

Position: Assistant project manager

Company: Interstate Electrical Services Corp.

Location: Windsor, Connecticut

What was your first position / job in the A / E / C industry? I worked as a nanny for the manager of an electricity supply house. He asked me to come work for him because he needed someone he could trust, and told me he would teach me everything he could about the industry.

Why the A / E / C industry? At first, I didn’t know anything about the trade and I was nervous about getting started. But once in the industry, I really liked it. I appreciate that it’s a routine within a non-routine. The same procedures are used but the tasks are so different that there is always something new.

Tips / Keys to Success: Don’t be afraid. Have “thick skin” and hang in there for at least a year. The first year in the industry can be tough. There is a lot of changing, learning, and adjusting, but over time you will find your way and develop your skills, knowledge and value. And one day you will have a revelation: “Ta-da !! I understand!”

If you had to choose one word to explain why you do what you do, which one fits you the most? And why? Challenge. You are still learning something new every day, and you are always solving some sort of problem. Both are very rewarding.

Patricia D. Rutt