We build our corporate culture and the quality of our value chain on team spirit and this would not be possible if we did not put importance on building long-term relationships with our team. It’s because of our talented team that we have seen continuous growth and will continue with a bright future. Our team is #RittalResilient #RittalStrong and together, We are Rittal!
After serving eight years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear power plant operator, Herb Villa pursued a career in IT before joining the Rittal team as an installation project manager. The Navy taught him about being a reliable leader, and he’s applied this valuable knowledge in over 20 cumulative years with the company.
How long have you worked at Rittal?
When I first joined Rittal, I worked for 15 years before taking a four-year sabbatical in the colocation and data center world. I came back to Rittal afterward and I’ve been working here for the past eight years.
Tell us about your education and career leading up to your current role. What did you study, and what other roles have you held?
I pursued the usual route to a BSME degree with an eight-year detour in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear power plant operator. In that role, I ran shipboard nuclear power plants. After the service, I went to Rutgers for my degree and then went off to work.
I’ve always been in the world of voice and data, which we now call IT. The best part of all the places I have worked at and roles I have had has been to watch the evolution of the connected planet — almost going from tin cans and string to the globally connected world of today.
What inspired you to pursue a career with Rittal?
I started to learn more about Rittal products in my role as an installation project manager. I liked what I was seeing and working with everyone at Rittal. Being able to focus on a single product set from a single vendor was a key inspiration in pursuing a career with Rittal.
What’s the coolest project you’re currently working on?
The absolute coolest project with Rittal was working with DARPA and the Cyber Grand Challenge. 15 LCP Systems to support a computer vs. computer hacking battle. With Rittal cabinets and LCPs, we lit up on a stage in front of over 5000 hackers. It was a total geek city and an absolute blast.
Who or what inspires you?
I have several personal heroes — some with a few flaws but who have done so much in a variety of fields. Everyone from the Dalai Lama to Stephen Hawking to Frank Lloyd Wright to Peter Sagan. And my newest — poet Amanda Gorman. These are all people who are dedicated to what they do and who they are (or were). Although they’re not perfect, they’re truly inspiring.
Do you have any advice for new hires at Rittal?
Please do your best regardless of your role or position. Learn from others — both the good and the mistakes. Never be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Ask questions — that is the key to learning. Be patient.
What does true leadership mean to you?
All my leadership lessons came from the U.S. Navy. The most important lesson I learned only reinforced the saying, “The buck stops here.” Whether “back on the boat” or at Rittal today — people come to me for information and answers, not for me to direct them to someone else. To be able to tell every account manager along with anyone in inside sales, tech support, etc., “If you are successful — I have done my job”
What has been the proudest moment in your professional career?
Appreciation from my peers, whether at Rittal or in the IT world. Being thanked for helping, contributing to our success, respecting my experience and opinions.
What do you do for fun?
Well, as everyone who knows me knows — Jezibel, my dog, comes first. Just hanging out with a 150 lb. Neapolitan Mastiff is all I need. Also rock climbing, trail riding and hiking, along with travel and seeing new places. Just being there.
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