Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Apr 14, 2019

Tim MacDonaldThe Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce has presented its 2019 Business Leader of the Year Award to Tim MacDonald of Ideal Supply. The Business Leader of the Year is voted in secret ballot by the Chamber Board of Directors from a list of nominees.

Tim is President of Ideal Supply. The company was started in 1926, bought by Tim’s Grandfather in 1946, and taken over by Tim’s father 20 years later. Ideal Supply distributes electrical supplies and automotive parts and equipment from 31 branch locations in Southwestern Ontario. Tim joined Ideal Supply in 1981, was named President in 1995, and CEO in 2001, a position he held until he and his siblings sold Ideal Supply to Groupe Deschênes Inc. in 2016.

Ideal has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for nine consecutive years. Tim attributes much of the success of the company to investing in the people who work there, by providing personal development training, allowing flexibility for them to serve in various capacities on boards, local councils and other service groups, and by providing opportunities and inspiration to youth so they stay involved in their rural communities.

“Unless we create room for people to get involved in those types of things, you’re basically pushing responsibility off to someone else to get involved in community work. And then we don't really have a right to ever complain if we aren’t going to get involved ourselves,” says Tim. “We are in every Chamber of Commerce in every community... It’s a way to have a voice and work through common problems.”

Over 45 employees are in Ideal Supply’s 25-year club, not including others who have already retired. Tim believes in fostering a culture of loyalty, stability, top-notch customer service, hard work, growth, leading by example and community engagement.

Outside of Ideal Supply, Tim has sat on the Boards of several organizations including the Listowel Chamber of Commerce, Stratford Perth Community Foundation, the University of Waterloo - Stratford Steering Committee, the Stratford Festival, and the Young President’s Organization.

In 2011 Tim and Jim Balsillie co-founded the Arctic Research Foundation, which was instrumental in the search for, and discovery of the lost Franklin ships in the Canadian Arctic. Tim is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 for community service. In 2018 Tim was appointed to the Order of Canada.

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National ManufacturingExcellence in Manufacturing Consortium EMC’s Advantage through Excellence: Future of Manufacturing Conference is a 2½ day event exploring the competitive advantages, opportunities and successes that can be achieved by manufacturers through a variety of learning forums — up to 40 workshops, panel sessions, keynote presentations and best practice plant tours — providing delegates with outstanding opportunities for benchmarking, peer networking, learning and sharing of hundreds of best practices. An estimated 500 to 900 manufacturing leaders and stakeholders from across Canada are expected to attend. 

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Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

I think it was Bill Gates who said the Internet will not have an effect on society short term, but will have a profound effect on us long term. 

Long term versus short term fascinates me. Making the call for one over the other can determine the success (or failure) of companies today. 

Using Bill Gates’ long-term Internet effect example, means that business decisions about the Internet will not necessarily show short-term gain, but will show “profound” gain in the long term.

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CEW 3 Perspective 400

We often learn how to look forward by first looking back, or at the very least we realize that despite our best efforts we have not truly advanced quite so much as we had thought. Sure, technology is rapidly advancing. That’s beyond question. But what about our approach to selling it? Have we changed that much in the last 20, 40, 60 years? Inevitably there have been advances and changes in marketing, the Internet causing the biggest shift, but many of the concerns and directives that have driven the distribution and marketing of industrial electrical products remain, or at least planted the roots of the concerns of manufacturers and distributors today. 

To gain perspective of the perceptions and directions of electrical product distribution in 1960, we turn to Edwin H. Lewis. In 1960 Lewis published “The Distribution of Industrial Electrical Products” in the Journal of Marketing.

To fully define electrical product distribution in 1960, Lewis broke his study into several categories. We will follow his direction and provide his insights on the industry in each of the categories he identified.

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