Dan McGrath
McGrath serves as the vice president of sales for Nidec.


Dan McGrath first entered the industry as a product specialist with the U.S. MOTORS division of Emerson, which was later acquired by Nidec. After some prodding from friends and realizing he wasn’t a fan of the traditional 9-5 job structure, he decided to try his hand at sales. Now, in 2024, McGrath serves as the vice president of sales for Nidec and remains passionate about managing a large sales team.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Every day is a new experience which creates an opportunity to grow and learn. I’m very fortunate to have a strong team to support the challenges and opportunities we all face.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Disappointing customers or members of my team. The last few years of supply chain disruption have been challenging for all, but you must stay engaged and try to find solutions.

What are some of your long-term career goals?

Managing a large sales team is still my passion. My focus over the next few years will be recruiting new salespeople and providing the necessary training and tools for them to enjoy the opportunities I have experienced. I have also been part of several merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the past and hope to continue to participate in more in the future.

What is some advice you’d give to a college student or young professional who wants to work in this field?

Reach out to companies or people in the industry that you are interested in. When given the opportunity, take time to learn the business before thinking about your next move. A career is a marathon, not a sprint.

In what ways has the industry changed since you first started?

It’s harder to attract talent to work in our industry now compared to in the past. At Nidec, we just did a talent review to better understand our recruiting and what works. The Hydraulic Institue is looking at this as well. Younger generations are hearing about jobs at Google and other tech companies that they are familiar with. Motors aren’t super exciting to them and sometimes factories are old and outdated, so it’s hard to compete with the high-tech companies. One way we can reach young people is to partner with junior colleges and four-year colleges that have motors and drives programs.

When I was in college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation. I was thinking about joining the Marines. Instead, I got the opportunity to work for the U.S. MOTORS division of Emerson Electric, through a bit of luck and networking. I was doing lawn care for a neurosurgeon, and over time I got to know him and his golfing buddy, who was an executive at Emerson. He (the executive) asked me to send him my resume and then invited me to lunch at his country club, where I met execs of other companies as well. It was a little bit overwhelming, but it landed me the job at Emerson. (Nidec bought the U.S. MOTORS division in 2010).

I began in product management. I was always interested in products despite people telling me I should be in sales. I knew I didn’t like sitting in an office all week, so when a technical sales training opportunity came up, I decided to participate and then relocated to Cincinnati for a sales job. I learned so much more about motors and pumps when I started calling on customers. Seeing the products being used in applications was a great education for me.

Is there anything you can add about working in the industry?

Without pumps, the world would be impossible to live in. To me it’s always been fascinating to understand how important pumps are to the world, from swimming pools to wastewater. People don’t think, “How did that water get here?” There’s a pump station somewhere that allows you to have access to water at all times. It’s mind-boggling to think about how many pumps are in use worldwide and how reliant we are on them. Pumps and motors are everywhere—we look at the future and see a lot of growth.

Tell us about your appointment to the Hydraulic Institute board.

HI inducted me and two other new board members on Feb. 29, so I’m officially a board director. I’ve been part of HI for 20 years. I served on committees earlier in my career and then wasn’t as active for awhile, but now as a board member I will be very involved. We have roundtables to discuss issues like AI and recruiting talent to the industry. We talk about the challenges. I believe in HI and also appreciate what Pumps & Systems magazine does for the industry, keeping people informed of the issues and new developments.