Canadian Electrical Wholesaler


May 25, 2018

Looking BackBy Harry G. Horsman

The first secretary manager of CEDA was Mr. Dick Edmunds. Upon his retirement, Mr. Norman Franks — a retired executive of CGE — became our secretary. Similarly, on his retirement, Mr. Douglas McKellar — a retired executive with Northern Electric — became our third secretary manager.

There is no question in my mind that in our industry the stature of both Mr. Franks and Mr. McKellar enhanced the position of CEDA and we were and are indebted to them.

In addition, a long list of executive officers of CEDA willingly gave their time and knowledge for the benefit of all our members. As well, in each regional area where our national convention was being held, local members put in a tremendous amount of time and work. We are indebted forever to all those members past and present.

I suppose the perennial question which faces our manager, our executive nationally, and our regional directors, both from the members and from prospective members is “What has CEDA done for me lately?” Or, “What can CEDA do for me?”

Speaking for Western Canada, and I presume for the Maritimes and Newfoundland (one half hour earlier), since CEDA’s inception the monetary gains have been considerable. The list of products on which we have gained equal treatment by manufacturers is long. I have to state here that our Central Division (Ontario-Quebec) members took up the inequality of treatment as if it were their own. All of us enjoy that equality today. There has never been a better example of that phrase, “All for one and one for all.”

Some of the problems that were solved by CEDA with the cooperation of the national membership are worth noting:

  • Wiring devices such as G.E., Smith and Stone, etc. were the first anomaly that CEDA rectified. While these products historically were prepaid across Canada from Lakehead West, our then margin from the trade price was 21% vs. 23% in the Central Division of Canada. It was literally amazing to us in the west that this inequality existed.
  • Motor controls — General Electric with their own manufactured, and Northern Electric’s exclusive with Cutler Hammer, were sole distributors. The Square-D Company was instrumental in opening up these products to the independent distributors. Many years later Allen-Bradley and other foreign manufactured products became available.
  • Pole line hardware simply could not be purchased by the independent distributor.
  • Wire and cable manufacturers, while recognizing the independent distributor, had many products that were in the category of non-distributor items. Over the years CEDA has been instrumental in increasing the list of distributor products.

Over and above all of the business aspects of CEDA, I have always considered the friendships and the shop talk beyond any formal program have been well worth the price of admission.

Finally, I recall a western Division meeting NAED Convention in Victoria BC (We in BC exchanged invitations with them over several years on our CEDA annual western conventions.) Since they always invited their ladies to each convention, we learned to reciprocate, and later we included the ladies in our own national conventions. From NAED we also adopted the principle of paying the airfare of one delegate from each member to our annual convention. (Note: this practice was discontinued in 1981.) This, I am sure, helped maintain our high rate of membership attendance.

The courage, foresight and dedication of that group of men in 1934 has my admiration and respect, as well as a debt that is impossible for me to match, let alone pay in kind.

In 1979, Harry G. Horsman was named the first honourary life member of CEDA.


OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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Changing Scene

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 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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Peers & Profiles

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On a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a ...
First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
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 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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Looking BackLooking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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