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Viega Employee Spotlight: Melissa Howell

March 28, 2024 Viega
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In honor of Women’s History Month, we sat down with one of our female District Sales Managers to learn more about her background and experience working in a predominantly male industry. Scroll to read Melissa’s Viega story:

  1. What is your name/role/how long have you been with Viega?

My name is Melissa Howell. I am a DSM working in the Dallas-Metroplex region and I have been with Viega for almost two years.

  1. Tell us a bit about your career journey, and how you ended up at Viega.

I was originally supposed to go into the medical field. In college I had a job in the pharmaceutical industry, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t my style. So I went back to campus career services and they referred me to Black and Decker, who was hiring for several positions. I got brought onto the power tools side, working on residential and commercial job sites. My grandfather was an architect, designer, and builder - I practically learned to walk on a job site, so this seemed like the perfect fit.

After thirteen years there, I moved into the electrical industry for another eight. It was fun to learn a completely different dynamic. Here, I was a national training manager, where I did everything from calling on wholesalers to traveling the country training people on the importance of merchandizing and how to market themselves to their customers.

From there, I entrenched myself in the engineering world, where my product and technical background served as an advantage in the industry. I went from talking design on the architectural side to talking specs with engineers; we discussed how to make buildings better and more reliable. While here, my friend referred me to work at Viega, which perfectly aligned with an opening in Fort Worth.

  1. What has your experience been working in a predominately male-role and industry?

When I first started out, I was the only girl that they had seen in the industrial side – ever. This was quickly made evident to me when I attended the first night of the national sales meeting. I remember walking into this big room, and you could hear the sound of my heels clicking on the tile floor. Everyone got quiet and turned around and you just could see on their faces, “There’s a girl!” But I’ve always believed that I was made differently, I bring a different skillset to the table that guys can’t.

Melissa Howell Headshot

  1. What would you say to other women who are interested in getting into a similar role?

Do it and jump in with both feet! As a woman you stand out in a male-dominated industry, which is an advantage. I know that I often find myself walking into settings that men may not be able to and knowing that I can offer a different perspective. You also can bring a different level of creativity and support to your team. Don’t ever let fear hold you back.

  1. Would you recommend working at Viega?

Absolutely. I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t recommend it. Viega doesn’t favor one type of person or a skillset over another, we just all get to be rockstars. My team here in Texas is phenomenal, we all get together and support each other in times of need. The culture here is very human and collaborative, especially compared to other cutthroat sales environments out there.

  1. What’s your favorite part about your job?

The work-life balance. Everyone’s family dynamic is a little different, and I’m fortunate to be in a workplace that understands this. My husband is a football coach, and every August he disappears into Texas football and I’m home solo-parenting. At Viega, I don’t have to choose between being there for my daughter or being there for work. I have the privilege to give my best to both parts of my life and make all of it happen.

I also love my team. When I first met them, it sealed the deal that this was where I wanted to be. We build each other up, but we also aren’t afraid to call each other out. The people are different here, and that stands out. In a world where people are self-invested and interested in just promoting themselves, I’ve found a team that is dedicated to being great, together.

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

My team is certainly my favorite, but I can’t discount my customers. From contractors to wholesalers, you just can’t beat the humans that are involved in this aspect of life. Not only are they your customers, but they also become your friends over time.

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