VOL. 133 | NO. 33 | Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Kele Adds Rob Benson As Chief Sales Officer
By Kate Simone
Rob Benson has been appointed chief sales officer at Kele Inc., a Memphis-based distributor of building automation products and controls solutions around the world. Benson, who will lead Kele’s sales efforts, brings with him three decades of experience with building automation products and systems at Johnson Controls.
Hometown: Franklin Square, New York
Experience: Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of South Florida, and 30 years with Johnson Controls Inc. in Florida and Colorado, serving in various roles of increasing responsibility.
Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? From a personal standpoint, undoubtedly, it would be my parents. As part of being great role models, they instilled a mentality of achieving goals in spite of challenges that exist in any undertaking. From a professional standpoint, it would be the leaders I worked with over the years. I’ve been fortunate to learn from some of the best in the building automation systems (BAS) industry. The most impactful person from a professional perspective would be Guenther Dziuvenis, who I worked for in numerous roles over many years.
What attracted you to Kele Inc.? The BAS business has evolved, and so have the needs and expectations of controls contractors. During the interview process, I quickly realized that Kele is uniquely positioned to satisfy this new, highly competitive market demand. The people, processes, infrastructure and technology in place at Kele will position us to serve BAS customers like no other, enabling our controls contractors to win more projects. The end product of our customers’ winning results is smarter, safer, more energy-efficient buildings for those who live, work and play in them. I was also very impressed by the leadership team and the employees at Kele. The organization is committed to their people and to helping the customer win.
Tell us a little about how Kele works within the building automation systems industry. Kele primarily supports BAS contractors who install temperature control systems in buildings. Due to the complexity of the various products needed to install a complete temperature control system in a building, there is a need in the market to simplify the process. Kele has been helping customers simplify this process for years and is uniquely positioned to have a greater impact in the market in the future.
What are your goals as chief sales officer? There are many goals for this position, and top on the list is helping Kele achieve its objectives. To do this, I must support the Kele team members that empower our customers to win and create an environment that enables the customer to compete and be their best. We must help our customers achieve their “why.”
You have 30 years’ experience in BAS. How has the industry changed during that time? The foundational needs remain the same, but the technologies to serve those needs have evolved. Customers’ expectations regarding their facilities have increased in their efforts to serve those that live, work and play in buildings.
What BAS trends are gaining ground, and where is the industry headed next? The advancement of technology is opening doors toward the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) to create smart buildings, smart campuses and smart cities. Smart environments provide a number of occupant benefits that will support the demands of owners as their expectations continue to grow.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? The opportunity to lead teams and projects during my 30-year career is by far my greatest accomplishment. Being given the opportunity to be a servant leader to those that I’ve been entrusted to support is something that energizes me. When those teams succeed, it is a great accomplishment.
What do you most enjoy about your work? I enjoy coaching teams to success, discovering new ways to win and inspiring those around me to continuously improve. Being at Kele allows me to be at my best because I am surrounded by people who care about our customers, about each other and that are committed to personal growth.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Don’t expect success, advancement, impact, etc., to come immediately. Your work career is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes consistent effort and activity once you have learned your job to be entrusted with roles of more responsibility. If you are willing to put in the work and never, ever, ever give up, you will be successful.
Tangela Morgan has been named the director of development at the RISE Foundation, which works to transform the lives of low-income working Memphians through financial literacy. She will work in collaboration with CEO Linda Williams to plan, develop and maintain the organization’s private- and public-sector fundraising program. Morgan has more than 20 years of professional fundraising experience, including work with higher education institutions, nonprofit foundations and agencies, and health care systems.
Terry Heverey and Latasha Mister-Echols have been hired as program coordinators at the RISE Foundation. In their new roles, they will recruit program participants and serve as a mentor to school-aged youth to ensure their success in the Goal Card program, the nonprofit's curriculum that equips low-income students with knowledge for financial success. Heverey is a recent graduate of Xavier University of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. Mister-Echols received her bachelor’s degree in social services from LeMoyne-Owen College and has worked in the nonprofit community for nearly 10 years.
Kimberly Morgan-West has been hired as the senior Goal Card coordinator at the RISE Foundation. Morgan-West will serve as a financial literacy leader to low-to-moderate income youth in the Goal Card program. Morgan-West has years of experience in youth development and has served on many youth-focused committees. She received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and public administration from Xavier University and a master’s in health and sport studies from the University of Memphis.
Christopher Davis has been appointed to the board of RISE Foundation. He is the senior pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church and has served as assistant professor of pastoral ministry and preaching at Memphis Theological Seminary since 2007.
Jason Braasch, an assistant professor in the University of Memphis Department of Psychology, has been selected to receive a 2018 Early Career Impact Award from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences. The award is given to FABBS members during the first 10 years after receiving their doctorate, and recognizes scientists who have made major contributions to the sciences of mind, brain and behavior. Braasch, who joined the U of M in 2013, was recognized for his contributions to the understanding of how individuals reconcile conflicts between their knowledge and new information. His research explores how to make it less likely that such information will be rejected. The award will be presented at the 2018 Society for Text & Discourse Annual Meeting in Brighton, England, in July.