Nathan Neri ’18

1. What was your major/minor and when did you graduate?

I majored in Marketing in 2018

2.  What is your current position (title, company, location)? Can you describe a typical day?

Current position is Government & Education Account Manager at Shaw Industries/Patcraft, Washington, DC. Shaw is the largest manufacturer of Carpet and Resilient Flooring in world. It is a Berkshire Hathaway Entity and revenues extend upward of $5 – 6 billion per year. I am on the commercial flooring side of the business, under the Government and Education segment. Which means I work with End Users, Architects and Designers, and Subcontractors that are underneath that umbrella for new building construction and renovations. Almost every other building in the Dc area has our products installed in some way or another.

Everyday is different, however it usually entails new product and/or project related presentations to Architects and Designers, non-stop phone calls and emails from subcontractors regarding material pricing, and logistical questions regarding new building or renovation projects from Government Entities, Corporations, and Education systems (K-12 & Higher Ed). My role as a manufacturer’s rep entails project management, supplier of material and price control, on top of taking care of DC’s design community as they are expecting to be consistently and thoroughly informed on the newest floor covering products that Shaw and Patcraft Produce. Every month a new collection of products are released and it is our job to keep all of those described informed and up to date for their projects.

3. How did your major prepare you for your current job?

It taught me how to communicate to those in the business community while understanding the basics of marketing, business structure & organization, and skills to remain competent during the jump start of my career. During my two year guaranteed commission contract (which I had recently just broke out of / crested over $1.5 million dollars in sales for the fiscal year) the ability to communicate and remain confident despite the massive learning curve that was about to ensure helped kept my sanity and overall belief that after a few years, the expertise will come.

4. How did you become interested in your field?

I’ve always had a personality for sales. First thing I pondered was: “What was the first thing I ever did to make money?” I didn’t realize this but my 11  year old self set up a garage sale and attempted to sell the toys that I had grown out of in order to save up for a new gaming system. My own mother helped me self analyze with stories like that, as well as working for her trade show side business during the winters. The last two years I have been working as an Intern in downtown Dc at a massive Litigation / E-Discover segment of Mayer Brown (a massive law firm).

I didn’t expect to be in the design community, or that I would be representing the largest Carpet/Resilient flooring manufacturer in the world, however I never thought I would be in a job that I truly believe fits my personality inside and out.

5. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Best career advice I’ve ever received is “If you don’t have a job, your full time job is to find one. In other words, if you are currently searching for a position, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week should be spent cold calling, cold emailing, filing applications, messaging those in your social network, and using every possible tool at your disposal to find one.”

I realized how important this was as after a certain point, it becomes a numbers game. The more applications you throw, the better of a chance you will receive feedback at all. This point needs to be driven home to every Mary Washington Alumnus/Alumna, as we are competing not only against those top tier of UVA / Va Tech Grads, but also the hundreds of thousands of those that enter the market and workforce from other areas of the country or even the world. This is especially true in Dc.

6. Was there a professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were at UMW?

Professor Smita Jain-Oxford was one. She was tough, yet extremely transparent with real-world advice and tips to take on every project. She put us millennial in line and I was always happy for her to push me out of my comfort zone, which I needed badly.

Another is Professor Strassheim, his teaching style and ability to relate to the reality post-college allowed me to not only enjoy the Finance 301 Class, which was unexpected, but he gave solemn warnings and financial advice that I have been mindful of ever since.

7. What’s your fondest memory of UMW?

In terms of the Business School, second place in the Business Case Analysis Competition my senior year was a big one. It was unexpected and our team was a very diverse group, some introverted, some not, but we managed to come away with silver and I was more than happy we were able to accomplish that given the extremely different mindsets and personalities at play.

Personally, the National Championship we won in Rugby my Senior Year was an amazing experience, considering that three years ago I didn’t know how the game was even played. I was battling against those who have played since they were toddlers and beat them out for a solidified starting spot on our Varsity side. I played every minute of every game my Senior Year, and I will forever remember the work and effort it took to reach that level.

8. Are there any special accomplishments you’ve achieved after college that you’d like to share?

I graduated top of my class (out of 6 trainees) at the Shaw Learning Academy at Shaw’s Corporate Headquarters in Cartersville, GA during the summer 12 week commercial sales training program which allowed me to land this lucrative position in Dc. I am currently in the running for Rookie of the Year for Shaw’s Southeast Division as during the Month of June, I was the #4 highest selling Account Manager, and #2 in total growth. This was out of 50+ Account Managers in the Southeast Division, most of whom have over 10+ years of experience under their belt. As stated earlier, I just crested over $1.5 million for the fiscal year and am aiming to hit $2.5 million in sales come the end of December! Numbers are rare for a true rookie and even rarer that I was able to break out of guaranteed commission contract within a year.

9. How would your family or friends describe you in seven words or less?

Caring, Passionate, Driven, A-Type, and definitely EXTRA (does the most)

10. In one sentence, what advice would you give current business students?

Grind, absorb, and be mindful. Truly try to learn as much as you can in college and enjoy the moment. When you have freetime, as many of us did during those 4 years, look for jobs and to better yourself in the best of ways. I like to say I got “lucky” with my position, however, to quote from “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, “The harder I seemed to work, the luckier I seemed to get…” cannot be better stated.