December 20, 2016
Jason Prevost is National Chair of Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Young Professionals Network, launched a year ago to give the industry’s young people greater presence. He is also VP of Marketing at Standard Products. Married and a father of two young teens and very involved with Habitat for Humanity, he gathers, grows and gives.
Jason has consistently sought roles where he could apply his skills and work experience to develop advanced applications, ensure the highest levels of quality, and help achieve organizational goals. He is always available for advice, to discuss an idea, a project, or as he would put it for out-of-the-box thinking.
He told me you don't have to interview me, you know me very well. Here’s what I know.
No matter what you ask of him, he always has a solution, someone he can refer you to, an angle to follow up on. His openness to new ideas is amazing, as well as his respect for the opinion of experts. He never imposes his own opinions, yet his knowledge and skills are often sought out. This was not always the case.
Since graduating from university, Jason Prevost has worked in the lighting industry. “Fitting into new workplaces has always gone well. I’ve always worked well in a team setting. But my integration into the lighting industry was more difficult. During trade shows or conferences, I would often find myself alone. As a young person, no one tapped into my expertise and I didn’t belong to any network.”
This in part motivated him to accept the presidency of EFC’s Young Professionals Network (YPN). “Young people who arrive in our industry are experts in social media and virtual discussions, but they also want to meet others and build their own networks. They need places where they can forge relationships and network with colleagues,” he says with conviction. He goes on to say that young people also look for more experienced colleagues from whom they can learn about the business aspects of our industry.
“We can see a clear shift in the business world right now. When I was a young professional entering the industry, I would have taken advantage of such a network. So, not wanting to be a complainer I took the opportunity to jump in and be part of YPN. I believe our industry has a unique sense of community and that young people can and should join.”
“When I accepted the mandate last November, I had anticipated some obstacles: would young people interested in joining such a network when they were already very active in social networks? I noticed right away that even though social media is very popular with the new generation, they were also very interested in face-to-face meetings. This was a pleasant surprise: you can easily reach them on social media to set up meetings. YPN currently faces a challenge in financing our activities, especially for more training. Some partnerships have been established, but we need to establish more. Demand among young people for training is very strong.”
Jason does not accept the title of “leader” that I give him. “I'm more a spokesman for YPN, an active participant in a changing industry. I believe we can all make a difference in these changes. I've put in place a forum for discussion and exchanges.”
He seems so passionate about this project you might think he’s dedicated himself solely to this task. Yet he leads a large and growing team at Standard. “One of the most important things is to have fun. We are a project-based, we work together to realize our projects, and we always celebrate together. Managing different personalities is, of course, a challenge, but I’ve realized that trust is number one in a team. Trust in yourself, in each other, in the team. Every challenge can be met with success when you have trust in your team members.”
He believes that team success is all the more important given the increasingly critical role of lighting in the electrical industry. “LED technology is now an intelligence force. It’s about more than just producing light. We can now manage information, we can talk, we will be part of the home and plant automation, DC current is becoming more important, and lighting will also be about how we wire and receive power in our homes.”
Jason is a source of inspiration for many young people. His passion is convincing. I asked who inspires him. “My father,” he replied without hesitation. “I can talk business, my personal problems. He has helped me in difficult moments, and been there in the happy events of my life. He helps me understand who I am, which means not changing myself just to please others and staying open to all opportunities.” No, his father is not in the electrical industry, nor lighting, but he knows the challenges of selling. "We talk about marketing together, it’s a link between the two generations."
Jason is an athlete. Every day at noon you’ll find him at the gym. He also plays soccer and hockey. Both Jason and his son are goalies, and already the two have discussions about the role of the defence on a team and the need to anticipate your opponent’s next move.
An activist for Habitat for Humanity, Jason hopes to help increase the electrical industry involvement with Habitat for Humanity. He believes that getting involved is important and that each of us can make a difference.
“I believe that today people look for results, for achievements. Young people must demonstrate to their employers what they have to offer, what they’ve done, even outside their professional life, what differentiates them. I believe that today what is most important is for people to develop their communication and relationship skills. It is the employer’s responsibility to develop their technical knowledge.”
I started by saying, Jason had told me that since I knew him I didn't need to interview him. In fact, he’s hard to know because he humbly deflects the conversation towards those who are his inspiration, those who make up his teams and his network. He describes himself as passionate, and there’s no doubt his first passion is people. I’ll leave the final words in this profile to Jason.
"We have come a long way in one year and I am proud to see what the team has built and continues to build. YPN came from an idea and was driven by a passion to make a difference. My words of advice to all YPN members are to always believe in yourself and always push yourself beyond your limits. You have more potential than you think, but you will never know your full potential unless you keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond your own self-imposed limits. Having a voice is a privilege, and I hope that all YPN members will speak up and drive greatness within the electrical industry."
Line Goyette is Managing Editor of CEW.