Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Sean Bernard

January 30, 2020

By Sean Bernard

Sitting in a meeting a few months ago, as the leadership team that I was a part of debated a new marketing strategy for a program, the generational differences among those at the table were blatantly obvious. There were people at the table from “Baby Boomers” to “Generation Z” and everything in between. What became so clear was that the ideas being shared were from all ends of the spectrum, but no one was able (or willing) to see the value that each one of the ideas brought. The only message that was getting across was that the Baby Boomer ideas were “outdated” and “how things were done back in the day,” and the “Generation Z” ideas were “out there” and “not how we do things.”

When I left that meeting, I walked out feeling as if we had spent two hours of our precious time debating something that seemed so simple and yet we all left having accomplished absolutely nothing towards the task at hand. That said, reviewing that meeting led me to the realization that we are at a difficult time in our business lives. Never before have we had such a massive divide in mindset and motivational cues between generations of employees/teammates. On a personal level, I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by real leaders throughout my career, many of whom have developed into mentors and confidants for me, who have been open to new ideas and doing things outside of the box. That said, not everyone that I have done business with or worked with has been as welcoming to doing things differently as they always have.

Let’s face the facts: our business is changing at a rapid pace and the retirement rate coming to the electrical industry in the next five years is staggering. We need to be grooming the next wave of leaders today, not tomorrow. The Gen X and Y industry members have valuable insight into what the next wave of customers are looking for and ways in which to reach them effectively. That said, I have spent my career being a sponge to the more experienced men and women that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. The industry knowledge and experiences that they bring to the table will be retiring with them, which will be a problem if we do not prepare and undertake succession planning effectively. Creating an atmosphere for knowledge sharing and mentorship will be essential to the long-term success of our industry.

During my time in one of my past roles, I was fortunate enough to work with a gentleman with over 60 years in this industry (yes, you read that correctly, 60 years). Every single morning, I looked forward to getting to the office. The 4:30 am wake-up and being on the road by 5:30 every day weren’t my favourite parts of the day, but once I got to the office there was no one around except myself and this gentleman. I would prepare my agenda for the day and then around 7:00 he would come to my office and sit down. We would discuss ongoing projects and issues that we had to deal with, but inevitably the conversation led to him telling stories from the past and outlining experiences that he had in dealing with similar issues that I as the leader of the team was dealing with today. Again, this happened every single day and I can’t thank him enough for it. The insight that I gained on how this industry was and incorporating those experiences and values into how I managed the team and my daily activities for the day and moving forward was invaluable.

The point is, team members from all generations have valuable ideas and information that will set the course of our industry moving forward. It will be how we work together and embrace the changes that we are living today that will dictate our success or failure tomorrow.

Sean Bernard is National Chair of Electro-Federation Canada’s (EFC’s) Young Professionals Network and Intelligent Controls Manager - Canada for Ideal Industries (Canada) Corp.




Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

We are on the cusp of a major tidal wave hitting our industry; the onslaught of 10,000 new employees are set to replace the current base who are over 55 years of age and are on the horizon of retirement. This talent refresh brings on many opportunities for progress to address evolving customer needs, new product solutions and supply chain digitization. New skills and new ways of thinking will propel us forward. However, the challenge this talent pool will have is to understand the industry that they have settled in. This challenge is further magnified as the time required to absorb industry knowledge is compressed due to the accelerated exit of industry knowledge.

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Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

The Electrical industry is facing a runway of crossroads — and digital innovation intersects each one of the crossroads. Digital advancements in technology are transforming everything from product development and manufacturing to supply chain management and customer purchasing behaviours. While all of these changes have digitization at the core, there’s another factor that our industry needs to bring front and centre: People.




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Value of Building Permits - DecemberThe total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 7.4% to $8.7 billion in December. Increases were reported in five provinces, led by Ontario (+10.5% to $3.4 billion) and Quebec (+15.8% to $2.2 billion). For 2019 overall, municipalities issued $102.4 billion worth of permits, up 2.6% compared with 2018.

Value of residential permits up

The total value of permits for multi-family dwellings was up 15.9% to $2.9 billion in December, mostly due to large projects in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Montreal and Vancouver.

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Changing Scene

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On January 31,2020, the new IDEA Connector will go live to over 6500 distributor locations with ...
Arlington Industries has announced the recipients of their rep sales awards for 2019.   ...
EDGE Global Supply, through its subsidiary Technology BSA, completed the acquisition of RK ...
AD is reporting total 2019 member sales across its 12 divisions were $46.3 billion, an increase of ...
WESCO International announces its results for the fourth quarter and full year 2019.   ...
After six years as president of AD’s Electrical Business Unit and chief marketing officer, Ed ...
WESCO International, Inc. and Anixter International Inc. have announced that their boards of ...
OmniCable has announced the promotion of Chip Barrett to Vice President of Supply Chain and ...
Tom was an entrepreneur, father, grandfather, partner, brother, uncle, friend and humanitarian who ...
AD reported a 13% increase in member sales across its 12 divisions, totaling $35 billion in the ...

IDEA Connector LaunchOn January 31,2020, the new IDEA Connector will go live to over 6500 distributor locations with updates being fed daily by the IDW. Distributors will gain access to IDEA Connector’s Production Environment on February 14, 2020 to verify their migrated extracts and custom maps before they are fully cutover in a phased approach from the IDW to IDEA Connector beginning March 22, 2020.

The IDEA Team is working to ensure a smooth launch. If you are a distributor customer, you’ll receive communications on your cutover date and what you’ll need to do to prepare.

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SouthwireSouthwire has appointed Rahila Dhansi to the position of Manager, Human Resources. In her role, Rahila will be responsible for overseeing Southwire Canada’s HR plans in ways that support our mission and strategy.

Rahila holds a Bachelor’s degree in Employment and Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto and is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) under the Human Resources Association.



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Graybar TaylorGraybar Canada announced the retirement of Executive Vice President and General Manager, Brian Thomas, effective March 1, 2020. Upon his retirement, Jason Taylor will be appointed Executive Vice President and General Manager, assuming leadership of Graybar Canada.

Thomas started his career with Graybar Canada, and its predecessor Harris & Roome Supply, in 1987. Throughout his 39-year career in the electrical industry, Thomas held a variety of sales and senior management positions before being promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager in 2016. 

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Peers & Profiles

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Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in ...
Christina Huang is a Senior Contracts Manager for Schneider Electric. She has a varied, technical ...
Jenny Ng is a Business Development Manager for the Power Solutions Division of Schneider Electric. ...
With over 60-years of experience in the lighting industry, CBC Lighting has established itself as a ...

Sean BernardBy Blake Marchand

Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in Whitby with his wife, Melissa and their daughter, Everleigh.

Sean joined Ideal Industries mid-2019 after 13-years in lighting, working for companies like Phillips, Franklin Empire, and Standard Products. Throughout that time, he made his way from inside sales, to outside sales and up into management.



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