Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Northern CableJohn Kerr

Northern Cables Inc. is a Canadian company. It manufactures armoured cables and employs 145 people at its three plants in Brockville and Prescott, ON. Each month, the company manufactures several millions of metres of low-voltage, armoured electrical cables for commercial and industrial applications, where tight specifications require a high quality electrical cable.

PHOTO: Northern Cables CEO Shelley Bacon

Northern Cables products have been engineered and specified in key projects, including:
•    Confederation Bridge linking PEI with New Brunswick
•    City Field (home of the New York Mets),
•    Las Vegas City Centre
•    Calgary Ring Road
•    Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics facilities

Its expertise in TECK and armoured cable in both steel and aluminum, and its engineering expertise, allow Northern to design and make many standard and custom cable configurations.

Business school always taught us that he who writes the plan must implement it, and our time recently spent at Northern Cables reinforced how true this is. CEW spent some time with Shelley Bacon, CEO of Northern Cables, who is understated, driven and passionate about wire and cable. Not many people are as passionate about wire and cable as Shelley Bacon, and not as many people have had the experiences and hands-on wire lessons that Bacon and his team in Brockville have.

The company was founded by an enthusiastic group of five former members — Bacon, Kevin Charlebois, David Chartrand, Richard Trapp, Joe Brunner, and Todd Stafford — of the Phillips Cables Brockville plant that closed in 1996. Bacon and his team have worked for 19 years building a truly unique wire and cable plant. This facility is like no other in North America. The history of wire and cable manufacturing goes deep and wide in Brockville, back as far as the early 1920s. It’s still alive and well at the two facilities Northern has on California Avenue in Brockville’s north end.

One of my first impressions was this company has a true respect for the position it holds in the market, a strong desire to honour its roots, and a quiet confidence to drive this business forward.

Having had the opportunity of touring many wire and cable plants in North America, I have never witnessed the flexibility and breadth of manufacturing capability evident in Northern Cables’ Brockville and Prescott plants. Here Northern has constructed, designed and integrated one of the most diverse wire manufacturing facility anywhere.

The key to the Northern’s success is that Bacon and his team listen to their customers’ needs, always being driven by that first. Fully committed to selling through electrical distribution, they work to provide customers with custom solutions and in all types of wire fabrication. Adding value, the plants are able to coat, amour and compound under one roof.

Northern Cable Logo

The teamwork is evident, and all staff take pride in their work. Throughout my tour I could sense a “whatever it takes approach.” While Bacon’s enthusiasm is always present, so too is that of the people who make this place tick.
Bacon lives and breathes this business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just like the plants’ operating schedule.

During our tour we spoke at length with two of the early members of the Northern team. Both started within weeks of each other 13 years ago. They both spoke openly about the challenges and wins, and how four years ago the spot where we were standing was on the edge of the facility, now expanded, and now once again bulging at the seams. They spoke about future growth, how the south wall will be blown out to accommodate further expansion.

They have been fortunate too that passion for the wire business seems to permeate the plants. This company’s growth, ability to continually invest in the future, and resilience to prosper though the recent slow demise of manufacturing in Canada is testament to their focus and stick-to-itiveness and almost defiant approach to buck all the trends around them.
Bacon has not done this alone, and is the first to admit it. The teamwork is impressive. He talks about how his team has planned, achieved, excelled, and learned from their mistakes. Bacon too doesn’t shy from talking about what went before, who contributed, and where good ideas, methods and best practices came from. This is someone who truly loves all aspects of the business, and is respectful of his competitors and wire colleagues and dedicated to his channel partners. The ability to respond and build to deadlines has stood them apart for many years. Bacon has had a sense of reality checks throughout the history of Northern Cables — tight cashflow, products being launched and customers not buying — but his reflections are always tempered with respect and a true understanding that these lessons and experiences are not be forgotten.

But Bacon also knows what he does well and it is hard to get him off course. A few trick questions from me on extending product lines or market focus would never deter him from this focus.

If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life. Bacon and his team clearly are living this first hand.
Northern Cables has a bright future. They plan ahead and take a long-term approach, not reacting to market conditions but instead to customer needs. They focus on the manufacturing process next in all they do and drive the engineering and use a disciplined approach. Together they build the plan and implement it, which gives Northern the flexibility and responsiveness few others have.

John Kerr is Publisher of Canadian Electrical Wholesaler.

Latest Articles

  • Prev
When it comes to EFC’s membership, there is no shortage of talent and expertise. The electrical ...
EFC kicked off 2021 with an outstanding webinar featuring Janice Gross Stein, renowned Canadian ...
Gene Biben, formerly President and CEO of Biben Sales, joined Channel Marketing Group earlier this ...
This past month marked one year since stepping onto a job site and starting my electrical ...
Insolvencies were down by almost one-third year over year during the early stages of the ...
My father asked me to lunch one day and told me he wanted very much to meet with someone in the ...
I recently had a conversation with a friend who thought they had reached some clarity as to who ...
Last year was like none other and one that we all hope never to endure again. The impact on our ...

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.

Read More


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.*

Read More


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.

Read More



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. 



Read More


Changing Scene

  • Prev
Guillevin International, has announced the acquisition of Dubo Électrique Ltd., one of the largest ...
Acuity Brands, Inc. has announced Trevor S. Palmer was appointed President of the ...
ABB is hosting a Smart Building thought leadership session with six webinars presented by industry ...
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 ...


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. 



Read More


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. 


Read More


Ingo BankAt its February 23 meeting, the Osram Supervisory Board appointed Ingo Bank as CEO until the end of April 2023. As announced, he will take over the role in addition to his position as Chief Financial Officer of majority owner ams.

The Supervisory Board also appointed Babette Fröhlich as Labor Director and thus to the Management Board of OSRAM Licht AG. The 55-year-old is to head the Corporate HR departments of Osram and the future combined company after the Domination and Profit and Loss Transfer Agreement signed with ams comes into force. 


Read More


Aton Morrison of AppnovationOn February 24th  EFC conducted their Marketing Network meeting with a guest speaker Anton Morrision from Appnovation presents on the topic of “Integrated Marketing”, . EFC also shared information on EFC programs.

EFC also introduced Meena Bajwa, Schneider Electric as the new Marketing Network Chair and thanked Tom Mason, Sonepar, for his leadership, dedication as Chair and congratulations as he moves onto a new role at his organization.




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
©2021 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