Canadian Electrical Wholesaler


Dec 17, 2018

Brandon SomchanhBy Brandon Somchanh

I can still remember August 5, 2014 like it was yesterday. This date marks my first day as a full-time employee in the electrical distribution industry, and even though I didn’t know at the time, it would mark the first day of my growing professional career.

I graduated high school earlier that year in hopes of becoming an electrical apprentice that summer. After making many calls, sending multiple emails and leaving dozens of voicemails to electrical contractors in the area, I could not find an electrical contractor who would take me on as an apprentice.

Determined to get a job as an electrical apprentice, I decided to apply tor an electrical distributor in the area. One question in the interview process really stands out to me now. The district manager asked me, “You were an electrical apprentice before, how do we know you won’t leave us in a few months to become an apprentice?” at the time I answered “It’s not so much that I want to become an electrician, I am interested in the electrical industry as a whole.” During the interview I had answered the question knowing that my response was what he wanted to hear but was not completely honest. Looking back now, it’s completely accurate.

It has now been four years since my first day in the industry and I have gained an abundance of knowledge and information, met thousands of people, and learned how to be a professional. Earlier this year I took the biggest leap of my professional career to expand on the knowledge I have gained thus far, to connect with even more people than I ever have, and to put my professionalism to work. I took on the role of account manager with a large, reputable and rapidly growing electrical distributor, City Electric Supply.

Taking this on is one of the best things that has happened to me. I’ve had to grow as a person and learn how to step out of my comfort zone in order to get in front of the right people and prove to them that building a professional relationship with myself and City Electric Supply can only be beneficial to their business and product. To be beneficial to our customers, I recognize we have to be professional, accurate, on time and most importantly customer oriented. 

If you have been in this industry you know that it is almost impossible to be accurate and on time in every instance, but we can always be customer oriented. When a problem arises, there is always a solution; when you feel you have exhausted all potential solutions is when you must go outside the box and really find a solution. Once you find it, you really feel the sense of accomplishment and contribution your team and organization. I love this feeling and whenever I get a chance to prove to my customers that I am willing to step outside the box, I jump on the opportunity.

What if during the summer of 2014 one of the contractors had called me back to take me on as an apprentice? Would I have gained the abundance on knowledge I gained through the supply industry? Would I be so interested in the future of automation, lighting and technology? Would I have connected with the thousands of people I have connected with? Would I consider myself professional? Would I ever have to step out of my comfort zone that has helped grow as a person outside of work? But most importantly, would I have the same passion, energy and sense of accomplishment I currently have every morning when I drive to work and every night when I drive back home. There is only one way to find out and that won’t happen until I achieve all the goals I have set in place for myself in my career.

Brandon Somchanh is Sales Representative (Account Manager) for City Electric Supply; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 905-955-0748.


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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A unit of WESCO International, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the Canadian and U.S. ...
IoT Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and ...
A Schneider Electric Canada Inc. solution chosen by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is reducing ...
CBPE Capital has acquired a majority ownership position in Ideal Networks, a market leading ...
In support of the company’s five-year strategic plan and in an effort to grow sustainably and ...
  BRITECH Corp is a Canadian market provider of fully integrated heat tracing cables and ...
  Hammond Power Solutions Inc. has announced its intention to discontinue and close its ...
Murray Chamney, President, Intralec Electrical Products Ltd., has announced his retirement, ...
Mark your calendar for the Coalition event of the year! Come for an evening of networking, the ...
Recognized for her career as a business leader and innovator, passionate about people, technology ...


 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 ...
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.

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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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