Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

October 31, 2017

Line Goyette

Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished career in the electrical industry and more recently the lighting industry. None of this is by chance. Always in decision-making circles since beginning his career, Michael spends the first 10 years first at Siemens, and subsequently in lighting at Osram as Vice President Finance and Vice President Sales and Marketing. After that, he joins Philips Lighting.

Michael agreed to share a few moments with us to discuss his career trajectory, the industry, trends, worries, and wishes. A tour of his career is also a tour through a key period in the industry and a reflection of its adaptability to new technologies — from an expert's point of view.

Michael Gentile defines himself as a demanding leader, demands that he says he imposes on himself, both in his personal and professional life. He says without hesitation it’s not something he wants to change because it is an important motivating factor.

At school a young Michael studies commerce, but it is finance that interests him and it’s at this level that he starts his career at Siemens, then at Osram (owned at that point by Siemens). Still part of Osram, he becomes Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Sylvania. He has been with Philips Lighting since 2005.

“I've always wanted to work in large companies,” says Michael. “I wanted to start my career in a company that gave me a global career outlook.”

While with Siemens, his first employer, he will work in Germany for the finance department. German is one of four languages he speaks. The others: English, French and Italian.

Constancy in his career?

“The one constant has been a connection with the electrical industry. I've always been connected with electrical distributors, other electrical manufacturers, and industry associations throughout my career. With the rapid pace and evolution of technology, the electrical channel has had to adapt. At first, the product cycle could be 50 years. In our segment today, the life cycle of a product can be as short as six months. Industry and technology today are growing faster than the distribution channel, and it is essential to have players who know how to adapt quickly.”

Progressing within a constantly evolving industry presents many challenges. What has been your biggest challenge?

“Acquisitions and mergers are very demanding changes. There were a lot of them before we arrived at Philips Lighting Canada. In this process, where four companies were brought together, each decision had an impact on people. There is no manual to deal with these difficult situations, and when your company occupies a place like ours in the industry all eyes are on us. Adapting is essential.”

But these situations do not keep Michael awake at night because, he says, “I have good teams at work and at home.”

Happy at work and in his personal life, is there still something he would like to change in the industry?

“I could honestly say that I would not change anything, but our industry has players who have been around for years, who have invested a large amount of money in infrastructure and in training their employees. Today, with rapid changes in technology, we see new players setting up in Canada that are unable to offer a positive customer experience, and this affects the entire industry.” There should be a formula to provide value for those who have invested. “We cannot be governed by a search for the lowest price, but since I can’t change this situation I maintain that I wouldn’t change anything. Instead, we must all adapt to competition and demonstrate the added-value we bring.”

What about workforce renewal?

“This is a challenge. We take it seriously. We have a scholarship program, but we need to make the younger generation more aware of the electrical industry, which I agree is not the sexiest industry, but we do have exciting career opportunities.

“It can be difficult now to find people to work in the trade, but I believe that very soon we will be an industry of choice because of our eco-friendly technology and the financial benefits we offer.

“To get there, we all need to adapt the working environment to attract Millennials. Their expectations are different from ours.”

Michael confides he is not an expert on Millennials, but he is the father of two members of this generation, a son and a daughter. He must know a little more than he admits, as the new Philips Lighting Concept Centre inaugurated in June shows: http://lighting.electricalindustry.ca/changing-scene/1865-philips-lighting-opens-new-lighting-concept-centre-in-markham-ontario.

An exciting, quickly evolving technology that has an impact on people's lives, on how to conduct business, new players, new partners… In this context, what technological development are you watching and preparing for?

“Clearly the digitalization of light creates a tremendous opportunity. Previously, the light source was providing light. Period. Now for every light source the opportunities are endless. This is only the beginning of connected lighting. It is a cutting edge technology that allows you to modify and create custom environments at home, in the office, in businesses, and in cities.

“Data access changes the way you manage those spaces. We are now presenting customers with what we call a system and services. We introduce products with an operational efficiency. Socio-economic factors are involved in this rapid evolution of technology, including environmental concerns. The population is aging, so we need more lighting, but energy-efficient and connected lighting. We have incredible opportunities ahead of us.”

Evidently Michael’s desire for a career full of challenges will continue.

I indicated at the beginning of this article that Michael Gentile’s career path is also the story of an industry to which he has always adapted himself. Do you have a mentor who has helped you to pursue such a demanding career, I asked.

“Yes, I had that opportunity — the president of a former employer who convinced me to leave finance for sales and marketing and ultimately senior management. He is no longer in the industry, not even in Canada, but I am still in touch with him. This man had the ability to teach us the essentials without us realizing it. He built a great team of believers who all worked towards a common goal. This is the model that I have adopted.”


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


                                              

LDS Magiclite LS 400Magic Lite has announced the signing of Lightspec Canada Inc. as their Specification Sales Agent for the GTA.

As the Canadian Division of Lightspec, LLC, NY, this agency is headed by Steve Danzig as President and Neil Whiteford as Sales Manager. This talented sales team has over 150 years combined experience with Lighting Design, Applications, Lighting Controls, Distribution and Project Management. They are committed to bringing attentive service and expertise to their clients for their designs, projects, lighting requirements and acting as their trusted advisor and partner.

Read More


 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
Manufacturing sales increased for the third consecutive month, rising 7.0% to ...
This article provides a concise summary of selected Canadian economic events, as well as ...
During any regular year, September marks a period of transition. We experience changing routines as ...
I joined the electricity sector after working for over a decade in other sectors, and my only ...
Canada has for many years been well served by independent agents. These representative firms are a ...
Last week Wesco held its first call detailing its results post merger with Anixter. This meeting ...
EFC has just polled our members to determine the game changers that keep them up at night. ...
CBC Lighting has established itself as a premier lighting wholesaler in Canada as well as the U.S. ...
A little over a year ago I met Louis Beaulieu, Executive Director of Ouellet Canada, at ...

Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

EFC has just polled our members to determine the game changers that keep them up at night. Understandably, COVID-19 topped the list this year. However, talent remained the biggest issue outside of the pandemic. In September, members will have a chance to gather insights from EFC’s most recent research study: Talent for an Emerging Workforce. 

This is not intended as a spoiler alert, but “upskilling of current employees” is identified as one of the critical strategies that members need to employ...

Read More

 

 


 

Manufacturing Sales - JuneManufacturing sales rose by a record 20.7% to $48.7 billion in June, following an 11.6% increase in May. Many factories operated at a much higher capacity in June, with the capacity utilization rate (not seasonally adjusted) for the total manufacturing sector increasing 10.9 percentage points to 73.3%.

Consistent with the increase in sales and capacity utilization in June, the May reference month release of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions indicated that almost one-fourth (23.9%) of manufacturers expected to increase their number of employees over the next three months. Still, the capacity utilization rate remained 8.0 percentage points below the June 2019 level (81.3%). 

Read More


 

 

WescoBy John Kerr

Last week Wesco held its first call detailing its results post merger with Anixter. This meeting followed Wesco’s agreement with Competition Bureau Canada to divest its legacy utility businesses (Trydor, Brews and Laprairie), along with its datacom business with annual revenues approaching CDN$200 million, according to the release of August 6.

Canadian Electrical Wholesaler estimates the merged group after divestitures will reach just under CDN$2 billion, making it the largest electrical distributor in Canada ahead of Sonepar and Rexel...

Read More


 

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Since 1993, E.B. Horsman & Son(EBH) has been a proud supporter of BC Children’s Hospital ...
Southwire has aquired Construction Electrical Products (CEP) of Livermore, CA. Serving the ...
Salex has announced the expansion of its lighting agency to Southwestern Ontario.   ...
IDEA will be hosting a Webinar series that will feature a glimpse of the insight and valuable ...
On August 26th Sonepar Canada's divisions of Dixon, MGM, and Gescan Ontario launched their new web ...
Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) recognizes the importance of maintaining high level ...
Stanpro have announced the retirement of Dennis O'Keefe, releasing the following statement ...
Mr. Steven Wright joins IMARK Electrical, Inc. as the Vice President of Supplier Relations and ...
Competition Bureau Canada registered a consent agreement with the Competition Tribunal to address ...

CEW supplychain efc 400EFC’s 2nd Annual Supply Chain Summit will be held virtually. You won’t want to miss this event…where the electrical industry meets modern supply chain technologies and emerging trends.

Overview: Digital technologies have amplified the features and functionality of our electrical products and are fast-becoming mainstream in how we service our customers and partners. Learn how your organization can pivot its supply chain strategy towards a digitized and automated enterprise, optimizing supply chain management to reach new service levels, lower costs and improve overall operational effectiveness.

Read More


 

EIN 55 AD NewCanadaWarehouse 400AD is announcing that its new Canada warehouse and meeting center, located in the greater Toronto area, is officially open for business. The new facility provides Canada-based AD members with redistribution of over 75 product lines of industrial, safety and janitorial items, including private-label brand Tuff Grade.

The original warehouse location came to AD as a part of its merger with IDI in 2019. Until now, it was available exclusively for use by members in the Industrial & Safety-Canada Division. The new facility, nearly double in size from the former location, broadens the scope of AD’s warehousing capabilities to all AD divisions in Canada, paving the way for growth and added services for members.

Read More


 

 

Steven WrightMr. Steven Wright joins IMARK Electrical, Inc. as the Vice President of Supplier Relations and Development effective September 1, 2020.  Mr. Wright will report to Jerry Knight who is transitioning to President of IMARK Electrical as of November 1, 2020.

Mr. Wright comes to us with a varied background in wholesale distribution with Vallen / Sonepar, WESCO, Ace & True Value Hardware. 

Read More

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

CEW Ricard Corinne 400The addition of a new member to Ricard Agency’s team is in line with the growth and development strategy the agency has envisioned for the province of Quebec and the Ottawa region.

As an outside sales representative, Corinne Galarneau will mainly cover the south shore of Montreal as well as the eastern side of the island. She will represent and support manufacturers in Ricard agency’s portfolio while developing strong, ongoing relationships with prospects and customers.

With over 12 years of experience in public relations and marketing, Galarneau excels in business development, more specifically in the sales of world-class products and services.

Read More


 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2020 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