Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Aug 29, 2019

Louis BeaulieauBy 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. I spent 10 summers away from L’Islet and learned the hard way that farming was not for me.” Of his connection to the family business when he is not yet old enough to work there, he will say, “Of course I knew the language of distribution, our business model. Discussions were regular around the table, but as there were already several family members working there — my father, uncle, cousin and brothers — my father saw with a good eye that I would make my way outside the company family.”

It was in the banking world that he began his career. “I really enjoyed working for a large corporation at the end of my studies. It was an amazing school.” In 2001, during a wave of consolidation in the industry, his uncle retired and his father became the company’s main shareholder. Then in 2009, his brother asked him to come and share his expertise and experience with the rest of the family and to join the company as national sales manager. A professional page had just been turned for Louis Beaulieu. The three brothers, Martin, Philippe and Louis, became the main shareholders of the company that same year.

Upon his arrival at the company he first had to tame a new industry, far from the banking world. “I was lucky enough to have at my side for four years the director from whom I took over. He constantly advised me and trained me on all aspects of work, from profit margins to customer service. I had to settle with the company partners, but I was very fortunate to have a surname and reputation that preceded me. People treated me spontaneously like a family member, I didn’t have a broken pot to fix. My job was to build.”

He says his brother saw the next generation in him, and six years later he became CEO of Ouellet Group Canada. He goes on to talk about the unheard-of luck he had to be able to count on almost two generations ahead of him: his father and his brother, who is 12 years older.

“With three generations at the table, we have a great historical perspective on what has been done. My father and brothers have saved me from mistakes and taught me patience. You would have to have a huge ego not to listen to a father with 45 years in the company and a brother with 30 years of experience. When in doubt, I always listen to them. It’s an incredible wealth.”

“I’m still relatively new to my role — it’s only been three years — and when there are changes in leadership, there’s always a lot of change to manage. I ended up with a younger, renewed management team. When I came from the world of finance, some people feared that the culture of the company would change. We have managed to maintain the company’s vision, but things are changing, we need to change people. I knew that investing in business relationships with distributors and entrepreneurs was important and desirable, but also with our peers. Over the past few years, I have been able to reap the benefits of maintaining relationships with other industry partners. I continue to participate in industry events such as Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, because it’s by working with people in the industry that we can share best practices.”

Industry challenges

Mergers, acquisitions, introducing new products, developing the U.S. market, things have been moving since his arrival. I ask him what he is most proud of under his leadership. The answer is spontaneous: “Giving young people, women, people who don’t come from the industry, that’s what I’m most proud of and the reward is seeing people succeed and in return these people develop loyalty.” This is all the more important because for him one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the labour shortage. “The problem is not so much at the assembly level, but in terms of other services — engineering, marketing, customer service, sales service. It’s a real headache. Turnover is expensive. We need to find winning solutions to attract and retain the workforce.”

The other major challenge for the electrical industry according to Louis Beaulieu is modernization. “We need to develop e-commerce, adopt digitization, and look for gains in terms of fluidity. Our competitors in other industries have integrated everything from ordering to delivery, like Amazon. We have a long way to go, technological innovations to adopt. They are important investments and it is very complex. Our distributors do not all operate at the same speed: we still receive fax orders. I think the turn is going to be difficult. The return on investment is not clear, and at the moment the question is, ‘What will happen if I do not?’”

I ask Louis what he thinks are the major trends in electric heating, his segment of the industry, especially in the face of climate change? “There is a lot of uncertainty about what is coming in the long term. There is pressure on other sources of energy, a conversion to electricity, we hope, we have always hoped, but we may have to wait a little longer. Customers want efficiency, intelligent systems, more comfort, more radiant products. They’re becoming more demanding and want economical and comfortable heating.” Louis points out that the industrial and commercial market is moving more slowly than the consumer market, but that diminishing supplies of oil open up immense potential for electric heating.

The challenges are great in both the electrical industry and Ouellet Canada’s sub-sector. Tariffs and economic battles are front page news, and he points out that in his view any trade tension in a global economy hurts and hinders business development. There are many issues to be raised; he is aware of and ready to raise them.

In this context, how does he reconcile his personal life with his professional life? “Over the last 10 years, I haven’t had many work breaks. However, I don’t consider my work to be a burden, I like what I do, follow the company’s performance, it is not an effort for me, I often feel on vacation even when I work. I like to see the world, I participate in a lot events. The day I can’t wait to go on vacation may be the time to retire. There are people who like crossword puzzles, I’m keeping abreast of what’s going on in the company and in the industry that I love. Sometimes I arrive at dinner and I am concerned, but my two-month-old and three-and-a-half-year-old quickly bring me back to earth.”

Line Goyette is Managing Editor of CEW; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Find out more about Ouellet Canada Inc.:

Louis Beaulieu and Other Ouellet Family Members











L-R: Louis Beaulieu, Philippe Beaulieu, Martin Beaulieu and Raymond Beaulieu

Latest Articles

  • Prev
Britech Corp, one of Canada’s largest heating cable companies has signed a formal agreement with ...
Leaders and innovators from business, government and the education sector gathered for this ABB ...
Hitachi has a deal with industrial giant ABB to purchase 80% of their Power Grids division for ...
I can still remember August 5, 2014 like it was yesterday. This date marks my first day as a ...
In setting growth plans for the coming year, one should ask, “What percentage of my customers might ...
The stigma behind dealing with contractors has forever been “they are a tough group to build a ...
Perhaps the better question is, “Why does it matter what young marketers want?” The answer is that ...
The Channel Marketing Group / William Blair Q3 2018 Pulse of Lighting Report shows that the ...
Following months-long renovations, Deschenes officially opened a renovated service counter at its ...
A question I sometimes ask managers and salespeople when I speak at conferences is, “How much ...


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



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