Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Jan 13, 2021

CEW Douglas Baldwin 400By John Kerr

My father asked me to lunch one day and told me he wanted very much to meet with someone in the electrical industry who meant a lot to him, and whose friendship he wanted to share with me. This lunch, in 1982, was with Doug Baldwin.

As lunch progressed, I discovered these men shared many bonds after having met years before in Winnipeg. Doug was with Federal Pioneer at that time, my father with Triangle Conduit & Cable. It seems they hit it off and my father’s wry sense of humour was trumped only by Doug’s. The lunch talk this day was about the industry, peppered with a few colourful events that bonded my father and Doug so closely.

It appeared to me quickly these men were close, and as the years progressed I learned that bond was built on my father’s unique ability to be there when men like Doug were coming through the business. There was a sincere trust and caring. They shared the same contractor customers, they shared the same distributions, and as it turned out they shared the same passion for the industry.

After that lunch Mr. Baldwin (as I addressed him for several years) gave me his card and said, “Young John, you are Jack’s son, so you feel free to drop by and visit with me at my office, any time.”

The day after Doug became President of Schneider Canada, I dropped by the Waterman plant in Toronto. There was a flurry of activity at reception as employees tried to protect their new president from some cold call until Doug showed up and said to the assembled team, “If he comes by anytime, show him in,” and followed with “John, let’s have a quick cup of tea together.”

My visits with Doug were infrequent but when they did occur he listened, coached, set me in my place, and more importantly challenged. There was always a challenge.

One day I met Doug by accident. Arriving at the Air Canada lounge in Heathrow, flying home from a long business trip, I found a quiet spot only to hear, “Bloody hell, they would let anyone in here.” It was Doug. As we were called for our flight, he said “Give me your boarding pass.” Disappearing for few moments, he returned, announcing “You are sitting with me.” We talked the whole flight; the time flew by too quickly.

One story was telling of Doug’s way and self-deprecating style. Doug played tennis and, as it turned out, would play often with my father and Brian Shea (SpanCan/SEABELL). Recalling a particular game, he said “I remember how those two rascals ran me ragged around the court. The old foxes had a new toy to play with.”

When my father passed away, there was Doug. His words at my father’s service still resonate, and at the time gave my mother so much comfort.

I was always impressed with Doug when being recognized for his many achievements. He would speak of his team and their support, and never took the credit himself.

Baldwin was one of those men who architected elegant solutions to the industry challenges of the time. He would work tirelessly on behalf of the electrical industry. He was a builder, one not happy with the status quo and one who when a challenge presented itself would never back down.

Doug’s vision and energy were the cornerstone of Electro-Federation Canada’s founding. He served as EFC president and CEO after serving two terms as a director, and was the first chair of Electrical Equipment Manufacturers Association of Canada (EEMAC), the predecessor to EFC today.

More recently Doug served on the board of Hammond Power Solutions, but always wanting to be there for those who would follow he would reach out and make sure if they needed any help, he would offer encouragement and support.

We will all miss him so much and I am hopeful that when we can all regroup we will all get together and share the many stories of how he helped so many us in our careers and how he was a pillar of this industry we all love so much! We all owe him a lot.

John Kerr is Publisher of CEW; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

EFC kicked off 2021 with an outstanding webinar featuring Janice Gross Stein, renowned Canadian political scientist, founder of the Munk School of Global Affairs and recipient of the Order of Canada. Ms. Stein has spoken at previous EFC conferences, earning many accolades, and this session was no different as we learned what to look for as the Biden Administration takes hold of the White House.

Our close economic ties to the U.S. means that Canadians must “keep up with the Administrations” to survive. Janice focused her discussions on industrial policy and climate change within an active intervening government.

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Canadian Business Counts - December 2020The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the business landscape. Some businesses have closed permanently, some have grown and others have been temporarily closing or reopening. In October, for example, the number of business openings (41,910) exceeded the number of business closures (32,420) for the fourth consecutive month.

As a result, the number of active businesses in October edged up 0.6%. Despite the slight increase, the number of active businesses was down 6.7% from February 2020.*

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David GordonBy David Gordon

Gene Biben, formerly President and CEO of Biben Sales, joined Channel Marketing Group earlier this month. Gene’s avowed desire is to “give back” to the industry, to help people work together. He will help reps achieve their goals and manufacturers optimize their performance, and relationship, to and with manufacturer reps. He’ll additionally support Channel Marketing Group clients’ research needs.

While Gene is well known by many manufacturers, we thought it would be interesting to ask him to consider changes he has seen over the years.

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Darci SpiteriBy Darci Spiteri 

This past month marked one year since stepping onto a job site and starting my electrical apprenticeship. Little did I know 2020 would throw in some curveballs, but it was a pretty fantastic year for self-development when I sit back and reflect. 

Enter Pandemic, worldwide lockdowns, and my Jobsite shutting down for a month. Losing hours was a downside and with my apprenticeship being based on the number of hours worked, moving onto my second year will take a little extra time. 



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Changing Scene

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Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) announced the recipients of their Awards of Excellence ...
Guillevin International has announced the creation of a new division, Guillevin Datacom, ...
Website visitors to the freshly designed IMARK Group website will learn about all of the benefits ...
WESCO International, Inc. has announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year ...
Deschenes Group Inc. (DGI) has acquired Daltco Electric effective February 1st, 2021.   ...
With 28 years of commitment to Canadian independent distributors, and as a sign of its focus on ...
Rexel announced it has acquired the Canadian Utility business of WESCO International (WESCO Canada ...
Liteline announces the appointment of ISTED TECHNICAL SALES for representation of their products in ...
Signify Canada has announced David Grinstead, Market Leader, Canada, Signify will retire at the end ...
Bartle & Gibson has announced that Greg Stephenson has officially joined the ...


Seth Cook and Kerith RichardsService Wire Co. promotes Kerith Richards to Regional Sales Manager – Canada and expands Seth Cook’s sales territory to better serve the commercial and industrial markets.

Kerith Richards will serve as Regional Sales Manager based out of Service Wire’s corporate headquarters, where she will be responsible for commercial and industrial sales in all provinces. In addition, Richards will continue her role as Sales Representative for Saskatoon, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador. 



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Guillevin International Acquires Wesco's Canadian Datacom BusinessGuillevin International has announced the creation of a new division, Guillevin Datacom, which will be dedicated exclusively to various network infrastructure products. To support this new division and ensure its success, Guillevin acquires the Canadian Datacom business of WESCO International, whose team will join Guillevin's Canadian operations.

"We have targeted the WESCO business to launch our Datacom division because of the team's agility, expertise and in-depth knowledge of products from the industry's leading suppliers", said Luc Rodier, Guillevin's President and CEO. 


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IMARKWebsite visitors to the freshly designed IMARK Group website will learn about all of the benefits that accrue to members and suppliers in all IMARK divisions (Electrical.

HVACR, and Plumbing/Irrigation) as well as Luxury Products Group which supports decorative showrooms and IM Supply which is a national account sales solution for IMARK Group members. The website features videos from group leadership as well as an introductory video on the home page.




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Peers & Profiles

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“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. ...
Ariane Cardinal is Director of Planning, Purchasing, and Distribution with Stelpro.   ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...

EHRC Leader of the Year Stephanie SmithBy Blake Marchand

“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. “Leadership in 2020 has certainly been a challenge for everybody in the world let alone the nuclear industry or the electricity industry.”

An engineer by trade, Smith spent the majority of her career with Ontario Power Generation (OPG). She was the first woman to be certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station where she served as Plant Manager and was recently named the first President and CEO of CANDU Owners Group. Smith is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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