Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Apr 29, 2019

Evolving IndustryBlake Marchand

Born in Saint Johns, Newfoundland, David Blake grew up and now resides in Windsor, Ontario. David has been married to his wife Joyce for 44 years, and works as a components specialist for Electrozad. At 68 years young, David is a veteran of the industry, spending the majority of his 40-year career with Electrozad dealing with automation related components, dating back to the introduction of PLCs (programmable logic controllers).

David has three sons. His oldest, Ryan, studied mechanical engineering and is now working in the environmental field in British Columbia. The other two followed him into the industry and have since become two of his customers here in Windsor. Kevin is Electrical Lead for Onward Automation and his brother Sean is now a project manager at Select Tool. David noted that despite the many contacts he has developed throughout his career, they both found success in the industry on their own.

“I know a lot of people in this town having worked at Electrozad for 40-years, but they did it all themselves,” he said. “I am very proud and they’re very talented.”

David made his way into the industry initially working for an electrician. “I used to crawl through attics, feed him wire, drill holes, and I kind of got interested in electrical at that point, and he steered me towards an apprenticeship,” he said of his introduction to the industry.

David attended Windsor University, but since he wasn’t enjoying what he was studying he entered an apprenticeship with JIC Electric, a panel shop in Windsor. They would be contracted to wire machinery for some big OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), he explained, building transfer lines for the automotive industry.

David completed his apprenticeship while studying electronics at St. Clair College. LaSalle Machine Tool hired him out of school as a programmer for the machines they were selling to companies in the automotive industry, such as Ford, GM and Chrysler.

“I went out and did start-ups and programming on site at the plants here in Windsor,” he said, “and while I was doing that I was one of the first people working with programmable controllers back in 1978.”

David explained that while he was working with LaSalle, he came across an opportunity to work with Electrozad, which was looking for a technical sales person to sell PLCs to manufacturers. He worked as a technical sales rep for about 10 years, before moving into a marketing and logistics role.

“When I started they called me the black box salesman. No one knew what I was doing here at Electrozad, because nobody was really familiar with programmable controllers,” he said. “So I was out knocking on doors selling, coming up with projects, and all of the sudden Ford and GM built two new plants in Windsor, and the specification went out for Allen-Bradley PLCs. From that day on you can understand how everything just rocketed in the electronic fields from the 80s and part of the 90s.”

As PLCs began to really take hold in the industry, David got busier and busier. And as the products got smarter, David said, “I got excited about it, because my background was always technical and now I had a chance to go back and do technical sales and work on a specialist team.”

As David alluded to, early on he was almost on his own selling PLCs. No one really knew much about them, and the market was still being established. But as the technologies began to improve, becoming more and more intelligent, more manufacturers were utilizing the products and therefore the sector required increased attention from suppliers like Electrozad.

Following his work in marketing, David moved into his current role as Components Specialist.

“Electrozad was looking for someone to work with the new intelligent products that were coming out of Rockwell [Automation], which had changed completely because the equipment up ’til then was standard electrical components,” he explained. “Now I am selling sensors and safety equipment, smart intelligent contactors that communicate with other ethernet products, and that’s what I have been supporting technically for the last 20 years.”

What started out as a one- or two-person specialist team in the 1980s has grown into a twelve-person team, each with a specific area of expertise within the automation segment of the industry.

Whereas initially it was simple products like PLCs, relays, and timers, Electrozad now offers an entire portfolio of Drives, PLCs, HMIs (human machine interfaces), servo motors, motor control centres, etc., and more recently, David noted, Electrozad has begun getting into network services and cybersecurity.

The technical support team across their locations in Chatham, London, Sarnia and Windsor is made up of 12 people, supporting the inside and outside sales team by working with clients to determine which products will best suit their given application.

“It has really evolved,” he said of the industry. “When I use to sell a PLC, it was as big as your desk and only had 4k of memory and the swingarm was the size of your arm, now you’re selling a PLC with tremendous amounts of memory and you’ve even got swingarms that are only as big as one of your fingers,” he said.

“The current evolution is more intelligence in smaller products. We now have I/O Link and Guardlink, which are new forms of communication for sensors and safety products transferring data via Ethernet to your PLCs.”

The benefit of the communication between machines is information. Their customers are looking for more information that will provide them with empirical evidence for decision-making in multiple areas.

“The information that your customers are asking for today is everything from how can we improve production, how we can make the machine safer, and still keep the cost down and make a quality product.”

With the increased abilities of technology, David admits the industry has become very exciting for someone in his position. With the level of intelligent communication and data transfer from machine to machine to the cloud, companies have performance and diagnostic metrics all the way down to predicting when a piece of machinery may fail.

Ultimately, saving crucial dollars by limiting downtimes.

When it comes to challenges on the job, David explained he has experienced a couple of different generations of engineers who have posed different challenges. Early on, engineers didn’t know much about PLCs because of how new the technology being used was, and they would lean on people like David working in technical sales. “Then they retired and you got another generation in the middle of the 90s, and that was a challenge because they were on board with PLCs but computers were getting involved in the industry.”

Although engineers were educated on the application of PLCs, the technology had continued to evolve; incorporating the simultaneously evolving capabilities of computers added an additional learning curve.

With the latest generation, the schooling has caught up with the industry and engineers are increasingly prepared and able to rely on their own expertise. The challenge is to keep the products they have traditionally sold front and centre. “Everyone wants to reinvent the wheel,” David noted, to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness as much as possible.

Despite the challenge of adapting to clients and the changing industry trends, Electrozad has been able to establish a reputable name within the industries they serve and the area they service. Which has contributed to their success becoming Southwestern Ontario’s largest independent electrical supplier.

Due to the nature of the constantly changing industry, life-long learning is a crucial concept, particularly for someone in David’s position. And one David has certainly embraced. The products that were being sold five years ago are different from what’s being sold today, with improved intelligence and information sharing. Components continue to decrease in size and increase in capability.

New product platforms will change every three to five years, he explained. “It’s our job as specialists to keep up to date and, hopefully, bring our customers quality products they don’t have time to learn about because they have so much to do at their level, in their company.”

As new product platforms are introduced the technical team at Electrozad relies on representatives at Rockwell Automation to provide them with the requisite training. David said he will also take the odd course if it can contribute here and there.

“If they want to be competitive, they have to keep up with the times,” he added, and that’s exactly what the technical specialists at Electrozad are there to help them do.
When we asked David about the technological advancements throughout his career that have had the biggest impact, the answer was PLCs getting smaller while increasing in memory and computing power, as well as the intelligence and connectivity all components are now capable of.

Clients want information, and as much of it as possible. Ultimately, so that they can produce a better product, with better efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The next area gaining prominence is networks and security. As more information is being generated, and with more components being connected to the Internet, ensuring that networks and the devices themselves are secure is imperative.

If someone hacks a particular component or device, “they can get back to the PLC, from there back to the mainframe, and if they’re in the mainframe they can do a lot of damage to a customer’s operations.”

“So cybersecurity has become very important, and we’re trying to show our customers we have the right products and technical backup to protect them from those hackers,” he added.

As a result, Electrozad now employs a network specialist who can go out to various clients, investigate their networks, uncover any weaknesses, and identify the products that will increase their security.

The industry has come a long way. With Industry 4.0, we are in the midst another industrial revolution. One we have only scratched the surface of, despite how far the technologies have progressed. And as David Blake has shown with his long and successful career, embracing that change with a commitment to learning and adapting is crucial within the ever-changing industrial landscape.

Blake Marchand is Assistant Editor, Panel Builder & Systems Integrator.


Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

What how much does the electrical industry have to improve to complete with upcoming disruptions in the supply chain?

In May of this year, the delegates at Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s annual conference voted on when our industry would be hit with supply chain disruption. The group collectively agreed that our industry in Canada has only three years to prepare for major disruption. We need to act fast!



Read More




David GordonBy David Gordon

The rep alignment dilemma… whom to align with to generate sales? End-users? National chains? Independent supportive distributors? Any distributor who will support the manufacturer? The manufacturer? But, the bottom line becomes, what will generate sales to meet manufacturer expectations?

It’s complicated, and channel consolidation and channel diversification will make this more complicated.


Read More


Stephanie MedeirosBy Blake Marchand

Stephanie Medeiros leads ABB Canada’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure team, as well as transit bus charging in the United States and Canada. She has been with ABB in various positions for 10 years, compiling a diverse skillset that includes work all over the world. 

After receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Medeiros got her start in the industry by volunteering with the Canadian government as an electrical engineering intern, where she travelled to Peru to help improve their water treatment infrastructure. 

Read More

Wholesale SalesWholesale sales rose 0.6% to $64.1 billion in June, partly offsetting the 1.9% decline in May. Sales were up in four of seven subsectors, representing 54% of total wholesale sales.

In dollar terms, two subsectors — miscellaneous, and machinery, equipment and supplies — contributed the most to the increase in June, while the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector posted the largest decline.




Read More


Investment In Building ConstructionTotal investment in building construction decreased 0.9% in June to $15.1 billion, the first decline in eight months. A slight increase in non-residential investment (+1.0% to $4.8 billion) was offset by a decrease in the residential sector (-1.8% to $10.3 billion). On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction decreased 1.1% to $12.7 billion. Despite the monthly decrease, total investment grew 1.6% year over year in the second quarter.




Read More

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Sonepar Canada has announced the launch of new mobile applications for Gescan Vallen, Sesco and ...
From September 11th to 13th, close to 150 senior executives from IMARK Canada member distributors ...
The electrical market continues to change and NEMRA is preparing its members to meet the challenge. ...
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum-Forum Canadien sur l’Apprentissage (CAF-FCA) has announced ...
EFC and Kerrwil Publications have partnered again this year to bring you the annual ...
Service Wire Co. is pleased to announce that Charles F. (Chuck) Oldaker, Jr. has been elevated to ...
Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) has issued a call for nominations for the 2019 Awards of ...
  Omni Cable Corporation, headquartered in West Chester, PA, hs announced that it has ...
Hammond Power Solutions, a manufacturer of dry-type and cast resin transformers and related ...
Phoenix Contact Canada is pleased to announce that Roger Hallett has accepted the position of ...

ImarkDuring the recently held IMARK Canada 2019 meeting in Niagara Falls, executives from 14 of the leading manufacturers in the Canadian electrical and lighting industry participated in the IMARK Canada Product Stampede on September 13th.

Select manufacturer executives had precisely five minutes to present a key product with superior growth potential to the members of IMARK Canada. Distributor member executives then rated each supplier based on the quality of the presentation and the perceived sales potential of the product being demonstrated.


Read More



Endress+HauserEndress+Hauser has broken ground for its new $28 million Customer Experience Centre for Central and Eastern Canada. When construction of the approximately 47,000 sq ft facility in Burlington is completed late next year, it will provide customers from Manitoba to Atlantic Canada with a generously equipped, state-of-the-art training and support hub for selecting and familiarizing themselves with the company’s latest innovations for process automation.

Last week’s official groundbreaking included a traditional Land Acknowledgment Ceremony performed by Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations.


Read More


Ariel Technology Inc.Heritage Sales and Marketing Group was created in late 2015 by Jack Eva, the former owner and operator of Electra Supply Inc., a four-branch independent distributor in South Western Ontario, which he sold in 2012 to the Franklin Empire organization based in Quebec Canada. Heritage Sales is an active member at Electro Federation Canada (EFC) & Canadian Electrical Manufacturers’ Representatives Association (CEMRA).




Read More



Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Jon Llewellyn is the Branch Manager City Electric Supply’s Nanaimo, BC location. “I've worn many ...
Stephanie Medeiros leads ABB Canada’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure team, as well as ...
Earlier this month Canadian Electrical Wholesaler had the pleasure of tabling a few questions to ...
Canadian Electrical Wholesaler was able to catch up with Sonepar Canada’s Stacey Corley, which was ...
OmniCable was founded in 1977 by partners with deep experience in the US electrical marketplace. ...
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 ...


Lori BagazzoliBy Blake Marchand

Lori Bagazzoli, Regional Sales Manager for Viscor, is a 20-year industry veteran that has built an interesting career from the bottom up. Beginning as a 19-year old just out of college in customer service with EXM, she gained an intimate knowledge of the electrical and lighting supply business by working her way through various organizational levels.

“I was definitely able to learn the different roles, and understand all the different aspects of the business,” she said, “starting so young, I really had to put in my time to be able to move up.”


Read More




Louis BeaulieuBy Line Goyette

Neither a Millennial nor a Baby Boomer, Louis Beaulieu embraces new technologies and new markets, but remains faithful to family traditions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in management from Laval University and is the General Manager of Ouellet Canada. A perfect profile for a career in the family business.

When I ask him if, as is often the case in a family business, he had always known that he was going to join the company, he replied, “Not at all. When I was young, I spent my school holidays at my older brother’s farm at Ile d’Orléans.

Read More


Looking Back

  • Prev
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 ...

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2019 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil