Al Stearns founded Utility Sales Associates in 1991, after a successful career as a Regional Sales Manager in the overhead and underground line construction segment of the Electric Utility Market. Originating in Illinois and Wisconsin, Utility Sales Associates currently represents quality industry-leading manufacturers all over the Midwest, from Nebraska to Ohio. The company’s success and growth come from the investment in training our team, building strong relationships with our partners and being proactive in introducing, demonstrating and utilizing the most up-to-date technology available.
Sales Managing Partner
In 1996 Steve Cohen came on board as an Office Manager and since transitioned into sales, which lead him to become the VP of Sales. With his acquired experience, Steve manages the sales team and is responsible for establishing sales target to meeting Utility Sales Associates objectives. His knowledge on building strong relationships at the contractor level and delivering their demand towards the stocking distributors is an attribute for the company. Steve feels that Utility Sales Associates is well positioned for the future, continuing to build market penetration and expansion as the company continues to attract industry-leading manufacturers to our line card. The continual implementation of cutting-edge technology increases both personal and company-wide productivity while improving the speed and clarity of communications between network providers, contractors, distributors, and manufacturers.
Telecommunications Sales Manager
In 1998 Curt joined TTC (now the Communication Test Division of JDSU) as Midwest District Sales Manager. Prior to Utility Sales Associates, he was JDSU, now Viavi Solutions, Account Manager for AT&T-Midwest. Curt is an expert in every facet of the Telecommunication network, Outside Plant, and Customer Premise environment. He understands how to install, test, and troubleshoot fiber-based and copper-based services. Curt recently transitioned his responsibility with AT&T in Illinois and Wisconsin as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2 independent telephone companies in Wisconsin to assist with training and supporting our Territory Managers as our Telecom Sales Manager.
Territory: Northern Illinois – Power
John Erl’s twenty-year career in the Utility Industry really started in a quest to become a lawyer, working for four years as a Deputy Court Clerk, and then changing goals and returning to school to study business. A sales position at Reliable Products (now McLean Power Systems) leads to a Regional Sales Manager position at American Innotek before joining Utility Sales Associates in 2001 as an Account Manager.
John arranges field trials to get products approved and specified by investor-owned Telecommunication Utilities in Northern Illinois and Northern Indiana. “I am supported in the difficult task of sales cycle management by the most progressive sales agency, utilizing cutting-edge technology. Our “hands-on” and “future-focused” approach has put us and will keep us, in an enviable position to service both our principals and our clients.
In 1999 Vicki Everett began in the electrical industry and has worked for distribution, contractors, and a rep agency. She joined Utility Sales Associates in 2014 and brings with her 15 years of industry experience mostly working with tools and equipment as it relates to electrical and mechanical contractors. Her industry and market experience make her a natural fit for Utility Sales Associates.
Territory: Minnesota, Iowa, North & South Dakota
Jody Frey is located in Minneapolis and covers all markets in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Jody graduated from the United States Military Academy and spent six years in the United States Army. Upon leaving the service, Jody entered the telecommunication industry. As a design engineer for Quest, a sales engineer for Acterna, and a call center consultant, Jody developed a comprehensive background in all aspects of the telecommunications industry.
Lydia Lott enjoyed a 20-year sales career in the telecommunications industry before joining Utility Sales Associates in 2016. Her career was spent with ILECs & CLECs selling Dark & Lit Fiber along with voice services. Lydia currently covers the state of Indiana for Utility Sales Associates. “Helping customers find solutions to their concerns is what makes being in sales so rewarding.”
Territory: Western Michigan
Chris Noora is originally from West Michigan, and prior to returning to the west side of the state he has spent time in the construction and telecom industries. Chris received his Bachelors in Business from Albion College where he was a two sports athlete. Chris brings with him a great deal of sales success in multiple industries and plans to continue to grow and develop at Utility Sales. His success is based on his ability to communicate with multiple types of people and problem solving. He joined Utility Sales in August of 2015. Chris and his family reside in Grand Rapids.
Territory: Southern Illinois & Eastern Missouri
Jennifer Barkalow joined Utility Sales Associates in late 2016 and is responsible for the customer’s needs in Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. Jennifer is a graduate of Lindenwood University with a degree in Corporate Communications. She comes to Utility Sales Associates with 20 years of success in outside sales. Her past experience has been in multiple industries, the most recent being in the industrial/manufacturing vertical. She has always had an emphasis in providing excellent customer service to her customers which have lead to lasting relationships. Jennifer is excited about continuing her success/career with Utility Sales Associates. Jennifer resides in the St. Louis, MO area.
Territory: Illinois & Wisconsin – Telecom
Upon graduating from Western Illinois University in 2007 with a degree in Psychology, Ryan Smith continued his education by earning an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. Prior to Utility Sales Associates, he spent 5 years with WESCO / CSC where he started out as a Business Development Representative. Uncovering American Recovery and Reinvestment Act opportunities throughout the country and communication opportunities on a national scale within the Utility sector. After 2 years of that, he moved up to a Technical Sales Specialist role within the OSP Utility Communications division and did that for 3 years. He is bringing his experiencing helping customers with their OSP needs to find them their best solution.
Territory: Western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma
John Tice locates his office in Tecumseh, Kansas. From there, John covers all markets, with emphasis on Independent Telcos in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. John comes to Utility Sales with an undergraduate and graduate degrees in CIS and Management along with 5 CISCO certifications and 2 B.I.C.S.I. certifications. John has an extensive sales background in Telecommunications and Information Technology having spent over 30 years with Southwestern Bell, SBC, AT&T, and Centurylink.
Territory: Eastern Michigan
Debbie Williams is responsible for the Eastern Michigan territory and Northern Ohio Territory including Cleveland & Youngstown. She came to Utility Sales in September 2005 from the transportation/logistics Industry bringing her 15 years of experience in development of new and existing business, project and operations management. Her skills organizing and managing details are an asset to Utility Sales. “I enjoy working with a great team that is supportive and all the camaraderie, which makes for a great working environment.”
Territory: Wisconsin – Power
After departing his 4-year establishment with Hi-Line Utility Supply, Lance Wollin joined Utility Sales Associates in 2011 as an Account Manager. Lance has accomplished in the utility industry for 10 years as a distributor salesman covering the state of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Lance’s success has been in developing and end-user relationships with Power Utility IOUs, Municipalities, CO-Ops, and Utility Contractors.
Territory: Minnesota, North & South Dakota
Robb Ziegler graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a business degree in 1996 and jumped right into a career in sales. Prior to joining the Utility Sales Associates in 2014, he worked in the industry as a Central Regional Manager for American Polywater Corporation. He enjoys working with customers in multiple markets and helping them to find solutions in conjunction with the manufacturers that we represent.