Path to leadership: A conversation with Eric Jones

Eric Jones, global sales director, Onspot - VBG Group Truck Equipment, joined Generation Next's leadership team in 2010 and later served as chairman. He was recently named to NTEA's 2019/202 Board of Directors.

What have you been up to since you chaired Generation Next?

It’s amazing how quickly your life can change! After completing my second term as Chairman, I transitioned to VBG Group to take over as Global Sales Director for the Onspot organization. We’ve been taking advantage of robust market conditions and growing the brand at a fast pace all over the world.

I’ve enjoyed working with new cultures and learning the differences in how our industry functions outside of North America. I've since been elected to serve on NTEA’s Board of Directors and have enjoyed every minute of the experience. 

How has your time with Generation Next influenced your professional development or contributed to industry knowledge? 

I highly recommend Generation Next for transitioning or young professionals entering the industry. For me, it served as the conduit to develop relationships that have lasted long after my service to the group. I remember walking through my first Work Truck Show wondering how to make connections and learn the ropes. The networking and educational opportunities provided by Generation Next proved to be the avenue that allowed to build working relationships with my peers while adding value to my employer. Generation Next is one of those rare opportunities that can serve as a catalyst to better your company’s business and your career trajectory.

How do you continue to hone your industry knowledge?

My personal philosophy is that industry knowledge comes from personal experiences. You have to be willing to connect with your customers and your peers. We live in a world that is dominated by digital communication, but the business still gets done through people and usually in a face-to-face setting. I realize not everyone has the ability to travel outside of the office but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the industry. NTEA provides a number of opportunities to hear from thought leaders and industry professionals through its webinar series and publications. At Onspot, we include a monthly book study to help sharpen our skills on any number of pertinent topics. The lesson I’ve learned is that you have to read books and talk to people. If you stay humble and learn from those around you, success will come.

What suggestions do you have for new industry professionals?

I have a lot of friends who chose to pursue careers in areas that they perceived to be more glamorous than work trucks. Those same friends have found themselves working in boom and bust industries that are often forced to show little regard for employees and customers.  My first suggestion for newcomers is to take a moment to appreciate the opportunity you have just received. Our industry is poised to benefit from long range societal trends. Our businesses still compete with personal integrity and added value.  If you are willing to learn the technical aspects of your employer and industry, then a successful career lays ahead of you. Therefore, my second suggestion is to take advantage of the educational and networking opportunities provided by NTEA. A little effort can pay huge dividends for you in the coming years.

Related links
Generation Next Leadership Workshop and Networking Reception
Generation Next