Edwin Javier Ojeda, DRG Technologies Inc.
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Edwin Javier Ojeda, VP sales and marketing, DRG Technologies Inc.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
I could certainly write a long list here but instead I’ll focus on one that hits both challenge and reward. It’s not complex or takes a ton of development but it’s simply showing up for myself and my team every day without question. We have been challenged as leaders over the last year to find a way to keep morale up and folks excited to come to work with a mask. As we all know, not every day is rosy. Some days just flat out suck, but you have to find a way to not let that show to the team that counts on you to lift them up. This is the challenge. The reward is seeing these folks that count on you getting the lift they needed to excel in their day.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I look up to and admire all of my former managers for simply putting up with a person with tons of enthusiasm and a knack for pushing all the limits. I admire this because I feel that I have never been put in a box or pushed to not be myself. This seems to be such a critical part of the development of an organization’s culture and its ability to encourage folks to reach their maximum potential.
One person I have been following more and more lately is the founder of Touchland, Andrea Lisbona. I don’t know her personally but I admire her because her LinkedIn story seems to suggest that she put in all the hard work even before becoming the founder of her company. I’ve seen posts of her pushing pallets around and really getting her hands dirty. I also see her professionally representing women in business and showing what women are capable of. This is impactful and has left a mark on me regarding the power of women in the business world.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
This really needs to be broken up into two high points. No. 1 being when I was 19 years old and starting my internship at Brady Corporation in Milwaukee. After a few months, I sent an email to our CEO/president asking for him to go to lunch. Sure enough, he accepted and I was afforded my first opportunity to take my professional future into my own hands. This high point served as my inspiration for years to come.
This last year has also been a high point in several ways but most importantly in how our team has grown closer and more aligned during a very easy time to do the exact opposite. I myself am here in Madison while manufacturing is in Arizona and our sellers are in Mexico. What an opportunity to slack off and know contact would be limited. Instead of this attitude, the organization grew and is now on a two year trajectory to grow significantly. What an amazing accomplishment all attributed to culture and the ability to buy into it. This may be a direct reflection of the first question.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Slow down, homie; shout out to Kanye — and I don’t condone many of his actions. He’s actually quite bizarre at times, but this is the advice I would give the 21-year-old Edwin. I’ve always been overly enthusiastic and might have rubbed folks the wrong way simply because someone cannot truly be this enthusiastic. It might feel like an act but it’s not. The alternative reality of this though is struggling with patience and being able to see the long-term plan. My younger self wanted things to happen now. My younger self pushed others to make things happen now. My 38-year-old version now realizes that we are all on quite a journey. Things done correctly may take time. Things done without patience and in haste have the potential to blow up in your face as you burn many of the bridges you hope to build.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
Well, I have lived at Prentice Park Apartments, the far east side, downtown at the Galaxie and Constellation, and now in the Olbrich/Atwood neighborhood. They all had their perks, especially downtown. Personally, I just enjoy the energy that is Madison, whether by the lake, on the lake, at one of the parks, golfing, farmers market, and all the bike trails your heart could ever desire. For my family, it is quite similar, although they have not taken up golf. The ability to enjoy the outdoors whether hot or cold — playing winter, summer, spring, and fall sports — it’s all very desirable and we enjoy every minute of it.
Overall, this place just rocks; the people, the environment, the opportunities — it’s the People’s Republic!
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
At this point if you know me, you probably know I used to train and compete in jiujitsu. If you don’t know me, then here is one of my abilities! Certainly, the last year has been quite different and I have not trained, but it seems to stay in my blood. There really is nothing like preparing to compete and being the next one to take the mat. Shout out to Twisted Fitness Madison!
What are your guilty pleasures?
This, my friend, is simple — Nutella and saltines late at night. You can find me regularly dipping saltines into Costco-size Nutella tubs. They call out for me and I seldom resist the urge to answer!
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