John Finnegan, Sr. Sales Director – East, Rittal North America, LLC
We build our corporate culture on team spirit and this would not be possible if we did not put importance on building long-term relationships with our team. It is because of our talented team that we have seen continuous growth and will continue with a bright future. Our team is #RittalResilient #RittalStrong and together, We are Rittal!
John Finnegan has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance from Wittenberg University. Upon graduating in 1997, John began his career at Rittal as an Industrial and IT Account Manager. Since then, John has held multiple roles throughout his career at Rittal, including IT/OEM Account Manager, Regional Sales Director, and his most recent role as Senior Sales Director for the East Region. John loves spending his free time with his family and dog, Palmer.
Question and Answers
Q: What has been a significant highlight of working at Rittal?
- I don’t consider Rittal to be a job. To me, it has been a professional home. I began working for Rittal in June after I graduated from college. I’m blessed to have had such a continuous and consistent career here.
Q: What’s the coolest project you’re currently working on?
- A major energy company is developing battery storage farms to enhance reliability and control at the grid level. This has turned into a major opportunity for Rittal that involves many people within our commercial sales team. This is why it is so “cool” to me. I’m very proud of the total team effort between account managers, system consulting resources and the global accounts team. Multiple individual contributors meshed into a team and are performing. It’s awesome to witness and a real benefit to the customer!
Q: Who/what inspires you?
- My Dad was a significant inspiration to me in his lifetime. He worked hard, stayed humble, yet had plenty of time to be a Dad. Now the opportunity to provide for my daughter and family is a daily inspiration to me.
Q: Do you have any advice for new hires?
- Two pieces of advice.
- Put yourself in as many opportunities to learn as you possibly can and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Professional inexperience might convince someone skill, and giftedness are all that matter. Realize now the impact of attitude in your life. A specific mentor in my life helped me realize this as a young professional. It is something you are in complete control over.
Q: What does true leadership mean to you?
- To me, being a leader involves humility, integrity, accountability, and empathy. Working to inspire someone to achieve something they might think isn’t possible and helping them with the vision, is being a leader. It is far different than being a manager.
Q: What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?
- Six months after our daughter was born, my wife and I lost both of our fathers within six weeks of each other. I became a dad and lost my Dad in a short period of time. These trying times gave me a tremendous amount of perspective in life.
Q: How do you balance your career and family?
- I work to enjoy what needs to happen, not what I want to happen. The weekends are for sporting events, errands, and church. I used to play a lot of golf but do not anymore. However, my day will likely return, with lessons again! I read when I can while traveling. Time away from my family, traveling is not all alone time. It gives me a few minutes of alone time and allows me to break from work.
Q: What is the proudest moment in your professional career? Your personal life?
- I’ll answer the most important question first. My family (my marriage and daughter) make me most proud. Professionally, I’ve seen some people come into Rittal across my 23 years and succeed. Some have adopted across products, came in with an IT background, and learned IE or vice versa. I’d summarize this as mentoring, and I’ve enjoyed this aspect immensely.
Q: What do you do for fun?
- Individually, I play golf (when I can) and walk our golden doodle, Palmer. I’ve learned to play tennis with my wife, I stink. Lately, my daughter and I have started to tackle 1000+ piece puzzles. The dog helps too, and we end up 5-7 pieces short! My family has become addicted to college football. It is almost a religion here in the South! I stick to my roots…..O…..H!
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
- I lived a period of my childhood in Northern VA. My Dad was an FBI Agent, and he used to teach new agents at their HQ facility. New FBI agents live away from their families for 12-16 weeks going through initiation. He rotated weekends where he lived with the new agents in their housing facility. I occasionally got to “bunk” with him. It was like being in college at 10!
Q: What is the best vacation you’ve ever had?
- My wife and I visited Hawaii for our honeymoon. It’s amazing to think you are in the United States while visiting. Throughout my life, I’ve taken several trips to Ireland to visit my family. I’m 100% Irish in heritage. Those trips make me feel as if I have traveled “home.”