Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 

Oct 17, 2018

Kim QuelchLine Goyette

A few weeks ago Kim Quelch, National President of Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Young Professionals Network, invited her male and female colleagues to share and publicize their expertise among all members of the industry. Like many, she arrived by chance in the industry. After graduating from university with a Bachelor of Commerce and a speciality in marketing, she began her career in a packaging and software company. 

“The part of the software industry I was in was a predominantly male industry and I didn't feel the support of senior management to facilitate our integration. In addition, I found that the size of the business limited the professional challenges ahead of me,” says Kim.

Informed of an opportunity by a friend, she had a first interview at Standard and knew from the beginning that she had just found the place and the industry where she would make a career. “It was the beginning of LED technology. Everything changed — business models, margins, competition.” 

It was a unique opportunity for young people and women to take their place in a new and vibrant industry. Kim’s career has been growing steadily for 10 years. She has since completed an MBA, during which she learned to work with people of all disciplines and circumstances before getting involved in the Young Professionals Network (YPN). Its goal is to attract young people to an industry where young people are increasingly present and whose knowledge is valued. 

What impact would you like to have in your business? Industry? Society? 

When I started in this industry just under 10 years ago, I remember thinking, “What have I gotten myself into? How am I ever going to fit into the Old Boys Club? As the years went on I realized how much passion I had for the industry and that so many others shared this same passion. 

The industry is changing and it is my goal to help share that enthusiasm in a message to our future leaders, really making them realize that there are a wealth of opportunities and technological changes that are occurring in the industry today that they can be part of. Unless they are coming out of a trade school or are part of a family already in the industry, most new graduates are not thinking of a career in our industry. Making them aware is our responsibility, now more than ever. 

I also hope that the awareness and relevance that we are trying to bring to the YPN group will stand the test of time, to a point where one day it may not be needed in the same capacity as today because the lines will be blurred between young and experienced individuals working together for common goals. 

What is your biggest work-related challenge right now? 

I would definitely have to say my biggest work related challenge in the last five years has been getting and keeping talent. The electrical industry is a small one and is not considered very “sexy” by young, up-and-coming professionals. There is such a war for talent in our industry these days. The more it changes, the more difficult it becomes to find top talent.  With the disruption that is occurring, we need to be open to stepping out of our companies and industry to recruit. Being forward thinking of the types of talent we will need in the future and what will make them happy is so important. When a company recognizes the value in their employees and strives to keep them happy and engaged, it is a win-win for both parties. 

What industry developments interest you the most?

How do you see the industry benefiting from it/them?I am most interested to see how IoT will affect our industry. For me, IoT is exciting as it changes the purpose of lighting. Emitting light no longer becomes the primary purpose of a fixture or a lamp. Instead it will become a hub for data collection and analysis. It is exciting to also think of the partnerships that this technology will foster. It will force us to think out of the box and out of the industry when it comes to strategic and long-term planning. As exciting as this is, I also think that IoT will bring with it the struggle of privacy protection and usage of this data. I don’t think our industry is quite prepared for that today, which I think could pose some potential challenges in the future. 

Describe one way in which you effectively separate work from family and personal life? 

This is a tough one! At Standard one of our core values is to have fun and I take this to heart. We spend so much time with our colleagues during a week that they essentially become family as well. I like to think of it as having two families, my Standard family and my personal family, and I have fun and give 110% of my attention and time to whichever family I am with. 

With technology as it is today, it is hard to disconnect. It has become just too easy to check that last email at the dinner table or respond to a text from your boss or one of your colleagues at 10:00 pm. Separating the two is an individual choice. I consciously make the effort to do this as much as possible. This really has to be a two-way understanding between the company and the employee. 

Who has been a source of inspiration or a mentor to you?  

This is tough to summarize as I feel so many people have impacted my life. Personally, I would have to say my parents and my grandmothers. They taught me about dedication and love and also how to be persistent and empathetic. My grandmother brought over six kids from Myanmar during a very difficult time and without that persistence and dedication my family would not be what it is today. 

Professionally, I would have to say the executive team at Standard. They have always believed in me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, which has helped me to get to where I am today. I’ll never forget a trip I took with David (Standard CEO David Nathaniel) and Jason (Executive Vice-President Jason Prevost) after working at the company for maybe three months. Sitting in the airport, having a conversation the three of us I drifted and started to look up at the lighting that was above us. When I looked back down David had a smile from ear to ear and said to me, “Welcome to the family.” 

Why did you get involved with YPN? 

I remember my first EFC Christmas reception in Ontario nine years ago. I was young, 25, with six months experience. I am walking into this room and all I saw was dark suits. It was intimidating the more I attended the industry and attended events. In our on-site team there are many young people and women, and I wondered why people did not come into our industry. YPN is a great opportunity to open your eyes. We knew when the network is gone, both worlds are really merging.


 Line Goyette is Managing Editor of CEW; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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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CEW 6 HR 400People with low levels of coping skills are at higher risk for mental health issues and mental illness than those with high levels. Gaps in coping skills inhibit the ability to solve problems and to make healthy and effective decisions.

To examine how coping skills can predict health outcomes, Dr. Bill Howatt facilitated a doctoral research study that examined the question: “What role does an individual’s coping skills have in predicting psychological and physical health outcomes?” The study found that coping skills mattered and were, in fact, a moderator that partially explains why some individuals had better physical and psychological health outcomes than others. The study concluded that when combining a person’s coping skills with their perceived stress levels, coping skills were significant in predicting which employees were at more or less risk for health issues.

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Changing Scene

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Desdowd Inc. has been chosen to serve as Thermon’s manufacturer's agent for the province of Quebec ...
Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited’s website has a fresh new look but continues to offer the same ...
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Cree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the ...
On March 1 Eaton announced intentions to spin off its lighting business, creating an independent, ...
John Wade’s tenure of over 25 years working in the electrical industry in various capacities were ...
At least 17 privately-owned companies in Canada’s electrical industry continue to earn Canada’s ...
From February 25 to 27, 2019, AD welcomed more than 280 AD independent distributors and service ...
Liteline Corporation has named Eric Teacher as Liteline's newest Regional Sales Manager — ...
  The Canadian Electrical industry is at the forefront of innovation. Our products help ...

 

 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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CEW 6 ShowReport 400Leaders and innovators from business, government and the education sector gathered for this ABB premier collaboration event. More than 11,000 delegates attended the bi-annual ABB Customer World Houston 2019 from March 4 to 7 in Houston, Texas. ABB’s latest pioneering technologies were displayed over 150,000 sq ft of a colourful, buzzy display of futuristic conveyor belts and robots, an ABB Formula E Generation 2 car, and much more groundbreaking technology. ACW attendees also took part in keynote sessions and seminars focused on realizing the tremendous productivity and performance improvements that digitalization delivers for companies of any size and from any industry.

In his keynote address at the event, ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer explained how ABB was shaping its business for leadership in digital industries to support its customers in a time of unprecedented technological change and digitalization. He was joined by Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri. 

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Changing Scene: 

Cree logo 2 400Cree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications, to Ideal Industries, Inc. for approximately US$310 million before tax impacts, including up-front and contingent consideration and the assumption of certain liabilities. Cree expects to receive an initial cash payment of US$225 million, subject to purchase price adjustments, and has the potential to receive a targeted earn-out payment of approximately US$85 million based on an adjusted EBITDA metric for Cree Lighting over a 12-month period beginning two years after the transaction closes.

The agreement continues Cree’s strategy, announced in February 2018, to create a more focused, powerhouse semiconductor company, providing growth capital for Wolfspeed, its core Power and RF business, and equips Cree with additional resources to expand its semiconductor operations. The deal also enables Cree Lighting to gain additional global focus, channel support and investment as it becomes a growth engine for the IDEAL team.

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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 ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...

 

 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.

To begin, Susan was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada at a young age. She went to high school in Canada and attended the University of Waterloo where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Upon completing university Susan began her working career with Deloitte, which she describes as a great starting point as she was surrounded by highly driven and intelligent individuals. She welcomed being in a position that was demanding and helped nurture a strong work ethic. Her work with Deloitte also instilled a great interest in acquisitions, which would serve her well as her career unfolded.

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CEW 3 Perspective 400

We often learn how to look forward by first looking back, or at the very least we realize that despite our best efforts we have not truly advanced quite so much as we had thought. Sure, technology is rapidly advancing. That’s beyond question. But what about our approach to selling it? Have we changed that much in the last 20, 40, 60 years? Inevitably there have been advances and changes in marketing, the Internet causing the biggest shift, but many of the concerns and directives that have driven the distribution and marketing of industrial electrical products remain, or at least planted the roots of the concerns of manufacturers and distributors today. 

To gain perspective of the perceptions and directions of electrical product distribution in 1960, we turn to Edwin H. Lewis. In 1960 Lewis published “The Distribution of Industrial Electrical Products” in the Journal of Marketing.

To fully define electrical product distribution in 1960, Lewis broke his study into several categories. We will follow his direction and provide his insights on the industry in each of the categories he identified.

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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. ...
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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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