069. Hero – Matt Hussey, Low Voltage Motor Control Center Product Manager at Eaton

Chris: 00:55

Welcome to EECO Asks Why. Today we’re having a hero episode where we get to sit down with Mr. Matt Hussey, who is the Low Voltage Motor Control Center Product Manager at Eaton. How are you doing today, Matt? 

Matt: 01:05

Good, Chris. How’s it going? 

Chris: 01:06

Doing good. And looking forward to talking with you. You’re a leader in industry right now. You’re in front of the intelligent motor control center world. You got a lot of things happening. So really looking forward to having this conversation with you. I know our listeners will get a lot of value. We love to start these hero episodes off with just a little bit about your journey to the role that you’re in now. 

Matt: 01:27

Yeah, so actually I grew up in the Pittsburgh area. Childhood , lived and revolved around Steelers, Penguins, Pirates. So it was kind of really Great home for me to grow up in. I actually went to school in the Pittsburgh area as well as really getting a first chance to kind of, to work at Eaton there. And then after that, really had a lot of cool opportunities working in the Carolinas, North Carolina, South Carolina in the Chicago land area where it got a chance to kind of see parts of the upper Midwest and then, really been in the Raleigh area here for the past five years now. So it’s been quite a tic-tac-toe if you will. 

Chris: 02:13

No doubt. And I know you said you went to school in Pittsburgh as well. Where’d you go to school? 

Matt: 02:18

Yeah. I went to the university of Pittsburgh and it’s kind of cool. My siblings went to Ducane and then my youngest brother went to Pitts one of their branch campuses. So I think coming up right around that same time with one of my younger siblings, kind of had some influencing factor, but back to the time too, where also starting to come up on a lot of the big East basketball too. So I always was drawn to the sports there as well. 

Chris: 02:45

No doubt, man. So you’re a sports guy. You mentioned Steelers, Penguins and the Pirates there. I mean, Pittsburgh is a great town. So who’s your college team? 

Matt: 02:53

Yeah, it’s definitely the Pitt Panthers. It was kind of funny after I started working in South Carolina, Pitt had moved to the ACC conference. And so it was a whole new rivalry to build upon, but yeah, we spent a lot of time in that era it was the big East and certainly a lot of good schools, competing in the early two thousands there. It was a great time. We spent a lot of time going to the arena there.

Chris: 03:20

Absolutely. Well, Matt, you’re dealing with a lot of different types of industry in the role that you’re in. You’re supporting pretty much manufacturing across the country. What are you hearing or what are you seeing as some of the greatest challenges right now that the end users are facing?

 Matt: 03:37

It’s kind of interesting cause I think I find myself in that even within our company is there’s an evolving workforce where I’m part of that early stage millennial era and certainly a lot of the senior expertise that has gotten me to where I am today is in the process of retiring or moving on.

And I think a lot of our customers and industry are experiencing a lot of that same knowledge base retire or move on. So, it’s a big deal on how we’re interacting with the equipment to what sort of expertise resides there.

So I think, even some of the more fundamental principles that are the foundation for a lot of what we know today, we went through an era there where we didn’t have to question that because you had a whole group of individuals that knew that. Now you’re going to have to relearn a lot of those fundamental things. Yeah. So that’s kind of setting a new base point of what we need to learn. 

Chris: 04:37

No doubt. We’ve heard that several times as well, where that knowledge base is retiring. And, there’s no backfield and that it just creates so many challenges. I’m not surprised at that you’re seeing that as well. I guess maybe a question is what do you think we could do or have you done, or are you seeing, being done to improve that? 

Matt: 04:58

Yeah. I made a mental note to myself as I was working at various teams within Eaton to just be a sponge for as much as I could. Soak up the experience and really try to understand the reasoning behind it.

It’s not hard, over time to pick up the pieces and building blocks, it’s probably more harder to outline the why. And some of the inherent understanding that came behind a lot of that. I think other things are, we’re also in an era where presented with a lot more newer methodologies and techniques.

Certainly the technology industry has greatly changed that. So I think in the other, another lens you might look at, we can also bring a lot more, different and new insight to it. So I think it’s an important marrying of the two to kind of always kind of have an eye of how might something be different or how could we utilize this to our advantage? So, as much as, we can learn from the past, I think there’s even one greater opportunity to also kind of see how we can incorporate some new things. 

Chris: 06:08

No doubt. Absolutely. We have a lot of listeners out there. Matt they’re early in their careers are trying to figure out their path or they just want to progress. If you were to give us some advice, maybe it was advice you got getting in or it’s things you’ve learned since you’ve been in your career that you would want to pass down. What would that be for someone that wants to come into the electrical industry? 

 Matt: 06:30

I would say the biggest thing would be, really don’t let what you do as a, or what you’ve achieved as a degree, or your current role really define what it is you do. To be quite honest, I graduated from the university of Pittsburgh with a mechanical engineering degree and a minor in nuclear engineering. And here I am in the electrical industry. And I think back on a lot of the different roles I’ve had. At certain points, I was involved in activities for industrial engineering to even on a side of, commercial development, where you’re out in front of customers trying to solve applications.

Those are tremendous deal of interpersonal skills. So. I think, certainly a lot of what you learn and, and experiences, not really dictated so much by, what you might’ve have as a background, but always look for an opportunity to kind of build upon that and grow.

It’s been really cool to kind of see it from all these different lenses. You, you certainly learn. New angles, if you focus on one thing or another and commit yourself to it. But I would say don’t try to approach it as a singular piece that you can contribute on. You have a lot more potential than you think.

Chris: 07:43

No doubt. And so I didn’t realize that, Matt. So your degree’s actually mechanical. You’d say with a nuclear, also?

Matt: 07:51

Yeah. At Pitt there is a program that while you’re majoring in your engineering degree, you can achieve a certificate or a minor in nuclear engineering. So it was a really cool to have some really cool professors that spent years in the industry.

So you got to see what all goes on there and I would say some really involved engineering that is built on a lot of foundational principles that are useful for a lot of different things. 

Chris: 08:21

Absolutely. Absolutely. And Matt, we always like to take an opportunity in these hero episodes. There’ve been people who have shaped our careers. Every one of us. There’s been different touch points. People have paid it forward. If you had a mentor or some influencers that have helped you would you mind giving a shout out or giving our listeners an idea of the types of roles that they were in and how they impacted you?

Matt: 08:45

Sure. I go back back, you know early on I was the youngest of four kids and my older siblings were 10 plus years older than me. So while part of the millennial era, they were part of that growing up in the eighties era. So they certainly shaped a lot of my youth. Then unfortunately, and a lot of cases, I was the small one out in a lot of situations, but they definitely help, bring an era of trying to keep me in line as I grew up.

If I think back on my career, I would say each one of my managers have all, really brought a different piece. I remember first moving to Chicago, I was in more of a commercial type engineering role where I’m interfacing with a lot of people.

And prior to that, my engineering role was in a plant. And so I maybe went from an email volume that would be 50, 70, a hundred over a few months span to then being front and center on a customer service role where, thousands of emails are sent out. It was a big adjustment for me, as you can imagine.

But I think having that sort of patience and then, really kind of, refocusing around that, really kind of opened up, what I would see a typical engineer presented with. So those are some of the kind of things that jump out to me.

You can open your eyes and to a lot of really cool industry applications. After that, it kind of went to, support a lot of national coverage to go to various sites and things like that. And, really brings a lot of different skill sets together.

Chris: 10:20

Yeah, absolutely. Matt, I got kind of a different type of question for you when you’re the happiest at work and you feel like you’re in that moment of flow. What are you doing? 

Matt: 10:30

I think um, well, what really jumps out is whenever you can be involved with a particular client or something like that. And, they’re trying to accomplish a particular problem and there’s the right sort of hardware in place to do it, or potentially understanding an issue where we can work as a company to grow to create that next thing. I think that confluence of seeing an application and be able to provide a solution for it, whether it’s for an upcoming project or years down the road. Something that would be very meaningful for someone. I think that being able to articulate that and relate that into something that sees that end result come into play. It really is that special moment for me. 

Chris: 11:21

Well, I really appreciate that, Matt. That helped paint a much better picture of what brings you that joy. And you’re involved in so many things that are changing so fast, how do you keep on top of it? And what are you studying right now? What are you curious about? 

Matt: 11:36

Yeah. So I would say, outside of work things that kind of interest me you know, kind of a home bartender and things like that. So, it’s one of the things I do to unwind and. Yeah, that’s amazing. You’ve only got a few ingredients to play around with, but they all kind of have to come together. So there’s really a gratifying aspect to it where, just a few ingredients when, we got the right sort of technique and everything like that come together in a really see that light up someone’s face after they drink it or, the other hobby I get into is barbecuing. I smoke a lot of barbecue. It was something that whenever we moved down to North Carolina, it was something that I wanted to take on. It’s another thing that satisfies that sort of engineering mindset, but then also, sense of accomplishment. So those things help bring it together. 

You know, professionally I’m involved in a lot of the IEEE. I’m a senior member within there. And so I get a chance within that to actually participate in a lot of industry applications. So it’s really good. In the past several years where I’ve gotten a chance to go to a conference that is entirely individuals and a pulp and paper industry or the petrochem industry, or, electrical safety community to, see and understand the sort of environments that are present in each one of those. Really encompasses a lot of learning from it. So I think each day there’s always some aspect of trying to learn something new. 

Chris: 13:08

Now with your involvement with IEEE, is that an organization that you would recommend for engineers that are getting into the industrial industry to get involved with and to learn more about? And are there others that you participate in that either now or in the past that you are recommending also? 

Matt: 13:26

For sure. It’s a great community. Certainly as I was talking about earlier, some of my. I’m still in the formative years, if you will. And so there’s a lot of industry expertise out there and it certainly provides a lot of networking opportunity.

Like I said, it in our industry, it’s a grouping of a lot of electrical professionals and, within it I focus on the industry applications society, which you get to see a lot of end-users and people that are applying this equipment and the challenges they face. And so it builds a lot of capability to interface and network and really see the challenges that they deal with on a monthly, daily basis. 

Chris: 14:12

So Matt, I see a lot of times with you, you’re very active from a social standpoint on LinkedIn. And one thing I wanted to bring up since I had you on this episode was factory floor Friday. And we’ve talked about this in the past. I love it. I support it. Always look forward to see what’s coming out from you and from your team members there at Eaton. So how did that maybe give us that story? How did that get started and how has it evolved and what do you think you see it going in the future?

Matt: 14:42

Yeah, it was kind of a skunkworks thing that, a set of us kind of all came together. We were all thinking about how do we engage with industry. And certainly, as many more of the interface between customers and manufacturers and suppliers are increasingly more digital.

So, we’re looking at, how do we as we’re building out a marketing collateral and things like that, how do we engage with them? And, I think as a whole, we’re fortunate enough to reside and the manufacturing facilities that are building our equipment each day. And, I would say every week, we come through our manufacturing floor and walking down the aisles and seeing the equipment, you can almost see the thoughts of an end-user reflected on the equipment. What things that they’re considering during the design phase.

And so, really just trying to, how do we show the sort of things, the decisions and capabilities that, end users are looking at for equipment and really share that with others. There might be one customer that, Hey, this was the sort of features that I incorporated over here.

And I was using it to solve this type of goal. I think it really became something that, I don’t know that we could have anticipated, but it really provided a lot of learning. Not only from, different manufacturers and things like that. Hey, this is something I can take back home with me.

I think we’ve also even seen how it really kind of helps learning within our own salesforce. The individuals there, we spend a lot of time towards training and a lot of these are kind of classroom environments and it’s, really an offloading of information focused amount of time, but, we all know the real learning occurs on a more daily level situations come up.

So, I think, looking back, I’m not sure, we would’ve said we, we planned it around that, but it it’s really kind of reflecting upon it. That’s, seeing how it’s been able to connect us in a lot of different ways. 

Chris: 16:48

What’s been the most successful post and what have you learned or, what have you been surprised about, about it?

 Matt: 16:54

it may seem a bit redundant, but I mean, the fact that LinkedIn as a platform connects a lot of different people together, you shouldn’t be surprised that you see some of the benefits of that. I I’ve seen everything from, an employee that currently works with us connecting with sales person that works with us in a different state.

And they had previously worked together at a different company. Connecting just from the fact that they were interacting on a particular post too. Like I mentioned another salesperson, learning something that they didn’t realize was there to another end user seeing an application on like, wait a minute. I, I could use that over here. Could you engage with me on that? And here it’s connecting us to a lot of different teams to interact with that. 

I think the most successful ones that we’ve seen have been around the ones where we’re showing a collaboration of, not only what sort of solutions we provide, but other solutions that also help, solve specific industries challenges, and really tap into not only an Eaton network of professionals, but also other industry professionals where it’s really connecting, not just a audience that may only be looking at Eaton material, but also audiences that see other material as well. It, it really is that, pollination that drives a lot of that activity. 

Chris: 18:25

Matt, hats off to you. I mean, I always look forward to the factory floor Fridays and when they come out and they’re always have just great pictures, great content. It was great learning opportunities. So hopefully you guys keep that going. Cause it’s definitely taken off very well from what I can see on LinkedIn and the comments and the followers that you got on that. So just hats off to you. And I did have one more work question. From a highlight of your career standpoint, what would be something that you could look back on and say, man, that was really cool at this point in your career?

 Matt: 19:02

Honestly I think back on one of the more pivotal moments and actually while it doesn’t sound really cool, it’s probably one of them were highlight failures that I’ve experienced. Way back it was, had a chance to work in design and applications of our equipment and really incorporating a new product feature there. And so we had the chance to develop something that could be used in electrical equipment. And through that process, you know when we we’ve spent a lot of time developing a solution that we thought would benefit the end application and back then I was, very limited and come to find out it was for a motor control center at a time that I had no idea what a motor control center was. 

And fortunately at time down the road, I actually got a chance to work with MCCs, I was in manufacturing at the time and connected the dots and was like, Hey, is this something that could have been utilized here?

And sure enough the team down there was yeah, that was actually something where you working on that. And I began to see some of the reasons that where it could have been done a little bit better and things like that. And so, that moment was experienced years ago, but it really formed a lot of that mindset of understanding the different sort of applications and considerations and things that come about when you’re presented with a problem to always kind of look at how it might be impacted from different angles.

And, in a lot of my roles since then, it’s always been an undercurrent of trying to keep an open eye towards when something is brought up to really what’s the meaning behind that and things like that to always keep it in the back of my mind.

Chris: 20:49

That’s great, Matt. You’re spot on with that and thank you for sharing that with our listeners. And let’s go in and take a turn off the work road. You’ve already shared a little bit, so we, we definitely know that you like your Pittsburgh teams and can support that, man. And by the way, I got a chance to go to Pittsburgh last year to the power experience center. And that was just a phenomenal trip. Very cool city man. So I can definitely see why you’re passionate about it. And so you mentioned barbecuing and bartending. What are some other hobbies you got?

Matt: 21:22

Yeah, we’ve got a w with a lot of uptime and work and whatnot. We try to unwind as best as possible. But also like to fish, being in Eastern North Carolina here, there’s lot of great access to lakes. So we have a boat that we go out on the Lake. I’m trying to go down to the coast when we can.

So it’s been really great, since we’ve lived here to kind of be able to experience that. Outside of that kind of like to unwind. Catch up with the latest TV series and whatnot. But certainly nothing better than trying to unwind in the backyard with a little bonfire and drink in the hand and a really good way to close out at night.

Chris: 22:06

No doubt. Yeah, man. No doubt and EECO, we love hearing about families and we feel like we’re one big family. What can you share with us about yours? 

Matt: 22:13

For sure. Yeah. My wife and I have been together for going on 12 plus years. So knock on wood. She, I think it’s still put up with me at this point, but it’s great. We’re good a team. Like I said, I try to do what I can on, on barbecuing, but she hands down, holds it on the rest of the cooking. I try to help her out with it when I can, but she’s also got a great green thumb with gardening and things like that.

So trying to work together as a team, but No, no kids yet, but you know both of our families are from the Northeast and Midwest. So we get a chance to catch up with them when I can I think between the two of us, we’ve got about 12 nieces and nephews, it’s quite a handful of trying to keep on track of them.

Chris: 22:59

I guess just keeping up with birthdays can be kind of tough at that point, right? 

Matt: 23:03

Yeah, for sure. 

Chris: 23:05

Well, thank you for sharing about your family, Matt, it sounds like you got just some really cool things going on. Big family. Definitely you love from where you’re at back in Pittsburgh. Hopefully you get to go up there and visit on a regular basis. I got a quick one question here is kind of a fun one. So if you had a big extra bucket of cash and you could spend it anywhere, what would you put it at? 

 Matt: 23:27

That’s a good question. I don’t, I don’t know that, we think of any big expenses, a particular time. I think as a whole, we’re a pretty reserved in that nature. Certainly an ability to go and do some, trips somewhere might be a pretty cool. Try to do it venture over see the Ireland or Scotland or things like that. Get to experience some different cultures and stuff like that. 

Chris: 23:51

Very nice man. Very nice. Definitely with you on a trip there. And my wife would probably be lobbying with you for me to go to Ireland, but she has not won that battle yet. So we haven’t been there. She has, but I haven’t. So Matt, you’re why. We always like to get to the purpose. What drives you? What’s your motivator?

Matt: 24:09

Yeah, I mean, I think day in and day out, it’s always an effort to kind of keep learning and really growing up in Pittsburgh. It’s a big Westinghouse hotbed. So I think as a whole, there’s a, I don’t know if you look into some of the Westinghouse things, but there’s a lot of quotes that he’s really about.

How do I ensure that I’m improving or, making impact to benefit someone. So I think as a whole, that satisfaction and knowing that your work is all contributing to improving something for someone else or something like that really keeps you going that, Hey, there’s something we can accomplish here.

Chris: 24:48

No doubt, buddy, Matt, I really appreciate that you took the time with us. I know you inspired some of our listeners. That you’ve got a great career. You got many great things to come in the future. I’ve enjoyed just hearing your story. Thank you so much again for your time today, man. 

Matt: 25:05

Yeah, no problem, Chris. Thanks for having me.