Nicole Osborne serves as Franklin Electric’s global business development manager for the municipal wastewater industry, but the path to the pumps industry was not a straight one.
She began her career in the pharmaceutical industry with Abbott Laboratories at its site in Ohio, working there during college and for another 10 years after college. That company then decided to move operations outside of the United States. When her segment at Abbott Laboratories was moving to Costa Rica, she was contacted by a company in the pumps industry, and the rest is history.
“The transition from pharmaceuticals to pumps was certainly challenging but a welcomed opportunity to gain experience, develop and grow in another market that would directly impact people’s quality of life,” Osborne said.
Osborne has been with Franklin Electric since July 2022 and has spent time in the pump industry with other companies since 2006. Today, Osborne has reached a career goal of being in a global leadership position.
“The global position allows me to really dive into the world’s water challenges and help have influence on a greater scale,” Osborne said. “My goal is to grow into this position further and build a team to focus on the municipal segment.”
Osborne answered more questions from Pumps & Systems.
Could you tell us your favorite work anecdote/story?
I have experienced multiple enjoyable moments over the years and have been fortunate to meet so many colleagues that have inspired me and had influence in this industry. My favorite part of this industry is the unselfish act that companies put forth to raise money for water campaigns. They donate time and resources to bring clean water to communities, focus on environmental issues and sustainability and solve water challenges. Our industry does an incredible job of hitting the pause button on the competition aspect to come together to help, educate and support our communities and those in need.
What is your advice to college students or young professionals new to the industry?
My recommendation stems from a central value of what we do at Franklin Electric: genuinely care about your customers and look out for your peers. Industry-wide collaboration is vital if we want to continue to improve the lives of everyone across the globe. After years in the water industry, I have seen first-hand how people are willing to help one another. There are so many professionals in this industry with deep knowledge; therefore, ask questions. Be open-minded and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, especially if you are a female in this industry. Build your network and create meaningful relationships with your professional colleagues and your community. Embrace your challenges head on and devise a plan to conquer them, and if the plan does not work, change the plan but never the goal.
What is your favorite part of the job?
There are so many aspects of my career that I enjoy, from the people I work with to the types of products we develop. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that you are helping people solve problems while also creating sustainable solutions—and these solutions will live long into the future. Developing solutions that help to enrich lives across the world and provide water systems on a global scale is the focus of my current role. We are always looking at how our products can satisfy tomorrow’s environmental and customer needs while meeting today’s challenges. I am doing this alongside the industry’s best individuals who are innovative leaders and incredible mentors. This has helped me grow not only personally, but also as a leader. I hope to mentor the younger workforce and be a positive role model for those entering this profession.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
A global role comes with unique challenges, such as language barriers, cultural considerations, foreign policies and politics, supply chain risks and varying compliance issues. Navigating the global business landscape requires patience, persistence and creativity. With foresight and planning, you have the opportunity for significant organizational growth. Of course, this growth does not happen overnight, and that itself can be a challenge when you are in a leadership role. As a leader, we feel the pressure to move quickly, solve matters and move onto the next challenge. Yet, it is just as important to move at a pace that makes sense for the greater good of the team. Smart planning and execution can lead to long-term success.