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Why BSE? Find your strengths here

Jess LahrBe part of a supportive, tight-knit work family

Jess Lahr has exceptional project management skills, which is one reason why Border States was excited to hire her.

The company brought Lahr on while she was still finishing college. She had an incredibly positive attitude, and it was clear to many she’d fit in well with the employee-owner culture.

The feeling was mutual.

“Working at Border States isn’t just another job you put on your resume,” says Lahr, Border States Office Associate in Pewaukee, WI. “It’s a place where you’ll develop your career, grow professionally, and be part of a family.”

It’s also a place built on camaraderie. Border States makes it easy for Lahr and her co-workers to give back to the community and do team-building through activities like softball games.

“Border States is my family outside of my family,” Lahr says. “You can trust your fellow employee-owners and develop friendships.”

Lahr’s co-workers care about what’s happening in her life. They especially enjoy hearing about her 9-year-old daughter’s hockey adventures.

“I absolutely adore my daughter and love watching her play,” says Lahr, originally from Sauk Rapids, MN. “We’re in an ice arena for every practice and every game from September through March.”

Learn the business, find your strengths

Lahr initially started as a Lighting Project Coordinator in Brooklyn Park, MN. Like many new employee-owners, she was excited to immediately gain more industry knowledge, and the company has given her many opportunities to learn since. She especially enjoys taking part in fun and engaging trainings through the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED).

“NAED trainings are amazing, and my supervisor is supportive in letting me complete of couple of them each year,” she says. “Though I initially didn’t have a lighting, utility or electrical background, NAED played a huge part in helping me learn as much as I could about our business.”

Learning through osmosis is also key. Lahr appreciates the strong institutional knowledge that lives within many of the employee-owners she works with.

Shape your role

As an employee-owner, you can shape your own future by growing within the company. Border States values the insight of employee-owners, and encourages them to share ways to improve the business.

Lahr, for example, recently led an effort to develop a customized SharePoint site for her branch, which everyone now uses as a main communication hub. It even ties into the company’s unique and engaging intranet site, Borderline.

“We just launched the branch SharePoint site in September, and it’s gotten a great response,” she says. “I worked very hard on that project. It’s my baby.”

Great opportunities, a sense of purpose

Lahr describes the Border States work environment as “amazing,” and is constantly in awe of the opportunity that exists throughout the company.

“There are so many career opportunities,” she says. “I can’t believe we have more than 100 branches across the country.”

Lahr likes being part of a 100 percent employee-owned company, where she has a voice and sense of ownership. She also appreciates the strong leadership from CEO Tammy Miller, as well as the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), 401(K) option and vacation time. She enjoyed a recent trip to New York City.

Perhaps the largest benefit for Lahr is having a sense of purpose at a great company. “I love my job and take pride in the work I do.”