Anne Vranicic is officially Valin Corp.’s vice president of marketing, but her duties extend well beyond that title. It’s more of a starting point for where and how she deploys her talents at the San Jose, California-based industrial distributor.
“I don’t really go by titles, to be honest,” she says. “I look at where there are gaps in the business and how can I get involved to fill them.”
Vranicic indeed wears many hats at the company — and she comes by that multitasking approach honestly.
She joined the company in 2002, soon after her father, Joseph Nettemeyer, had become president and CEO. But Nettemeyer wasn’t about to just hand his daughter a cushy office job, Vranicic recalled with a laugh. While she was still in college, she was required to work as an intern. And even after she graduated, Vrancic’s first “real job” with the company was in the warehouse.
Since then, she’s worked across Valin’s operation, exposing her to all aspects of the company and — equally important — keeping her from getting bored.
“I worked in the warehouse doing material handling, I worked in the purchasing department, I worked in customer service, I worked in marketing, I worked in e-commerce,” she says before remembering one more job title. “I even led the pricing team for a while. I had such an opportunity to learn and grow — and I wanted it too, because I get bored. Here I am, almost 18 years later, and it’s still not boring.”
One of Vranicic’s more recent projects has been leading Valin’s e-commerce efforts. In his nomination, Nettemeyer cited her critical role in developing Valin’s online business model.
“Beginning with the development of our website, and the building of a direct marketing organization that utilizes the digital tools Valin has put in place to communicate effectively and efficiently with our customers and suppliers, her work in many ways is groundbreaking because we were tackling ideas and concepts that were not fully understood within our industry,” he wrote.
Groundbreaking is a good way to describe Vranicic’s ascent in industrial distribution. She has risen in the ranks at Valin while her friends and associates in other professions in the Bay Area haven’t been as lucky. It makes her thankful for the ability to work in an industry that celebrates and rewards hard work.
“Most of my friends work for big tech companies, and a lot of them bounce from job to job every few years,” she says. “They’re just on this lateral career growth, and they complain about how cutthroat it is, how they don’t trust the people they work with, how they’re constantly feeling burnt out, how they’re unappreciated at their jobs. It makes me reflect on this industry, which is not as sexy as some of the tech jobs out there, but holistically it’s made me very happy that I chose to stay within the wholesale distribution industry for my career growth.”
Paving the way for others
Vranicic wants more women to see distribution as a career path, as evidenced by, among other things, her involvement with women’s groups such as the Society of Women in Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University.
Like all the other Women in Distribution winners and nominees, Vranicic sees herself as a role model for other women to forge their own path in this industry — whether it’s in sales, marketing, operations, IT, leadership. Whatever women want to accomplish in distribution, she knows they can find their seat at the table.
“I’m meeting so many women who are whip-smart and it’s encouraging to see, especially the younger women coming into the industry and wanting to learn,” Vranicic says. “I’m definitely seeing more women looking to distribution, but I think we could all do a better job of promoting it. Wholesale distribution is still heavily sales-focused. But things have been changing within the business including more data, more analytics, more technology, even more merchandising. And I’m finding there are more women coming into those fields.”
In addition to setting a revenue record of $1.1 billion, the pool supply distributor saw…
Acquisition of provider of commercial and industrial pumps, motors, controls, field service and remanufacturing furthers…
Industrial distributor names four executive appointments, including a new president and CEO.