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Edwin Javier Ojeda ?05 Edwin Ojeda ’05 has built a successful career as a sales and marketing executive, and currently serves as the senior vice president of industrial business at Crescent Electric Supply Company.

He is responsible for growing the industrial branch of the business as an executive member of the leadership team.

“My role as a senior vice president is to think outside the box and not be hesitant to iterate when ideas don’t fully develop. My role demands that I interact with people from all walks of life,” says Mr. Ojeda. “Every day is a potential new adventure, and being able to take everything head on is an important aspect of leadership.”

Mr. Ojeda likes to joke that his career began as the result of a professor who allowed him to skip class to attend a job fair. At the fair, he landed an internship in corporate communications with Brady Corporation, where he then spent 16 years in roles such as branch development specialist and senior territory manager.

The relationships Mr. Ojeda built at Carthage instilled in him the importance of meeting as many people as possible, all while remaining humble and kind. Yuri Maltsev, Art Cyr, and Gary Williams were a few professors who encouraged him to explore and even learn how to become comfortable making mistakes. “I was the squeaky wheel at Carthage and ended up with great mentors because I put myself out there and treated them with kindness.”

After being offered the opportunity to play college football and experience strong mentors on campus, Mr. Ojeda’s motivation to succeed accelerated. “I came to Carthage as a pretty average student. But I left Carthage as a person who understood that being a great student is about wanting to be great. Carthage taught me that all the little journeys I was on would one day lead me to my big journey.”

Now, Mr. Ojeda has partnered with The Aspire Center to serve as a mentor within the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Mentorship Program so that he can pay it forward to up-and-coming young professionals, just as his mentors did for him.

“I learned to fail fast and fail forward at Carthage, and felt empowered to change directions and evaluate what might be the right fit,” says Mr. Ojeda. “I was given the opportunity to take risks, leave my comfort zone, and grow. Now, I apply and share these same lessons to my career and my teams — to pursue opportunities for growth and be okay with feeling a little uncomfortable.”