Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Jan 12, 2021

Sean BernardBy Sean Bernard

Last year was like none other and one that we all hope never to endure again. The impact on our personal and professional lives has been dramatic, simultaneously universal and unique to each of us.

We have all heard about and experienced the heartache of not spending time with and not celebrating milestones with our extended families, not being able to take those planned vacations, and having to deal with the stresses and challenges of virtual learning with our kids. On the professional side, if you didn’t realize that our industry is very social before, we all understand that now. From cancelled industry events (golf tournaments, EFC conference and tradeshows, etc.) to the lack of in-person sales calls/planning sessions with customers, we have all had to adjust to a new way of advancing our business.

With all that said, when you remove the negatives and look for positives that have come from this pandemic, you can find them. Here are four highlights.

1. New and creative ways to reach customers

One of the most dominant changes was a move to virtual meetings. While not the same as in-person, many people made this shift fairly seamlessly. With the exception of what will be known as the phrase of 2020 — “You’re on mute!” — virtual meetings got better and better as the pandemic roared on. This allowed us to maintain some semblance of personal interaction and led to interesting conversations when kids, pets and spouses got involved, or conversations turned to interesting objects hanging on the walls of our home offices.

Industry members also got very creative with their customer interactions. Notably, some held interactive virtual customer events by sending out “care packages” prior to the event so that the group could partake in an activity. As well, many virtual tradeshows were very impressive in their complexity and effectiveness.

In a number of ways, these virtual meetings were a saviour of our sanity.

2. IT investments/improvements

While the tradeshows and virtual events mentioned earlier fall into this category as well, another of the big steps forward that we saw in 2020 was investment in IT. The shift from in-person to virtual meetings and sales calls required a serious review of current IT capabilities. From hardware to software, IT infrastructure suddenly became a top line priority to many companies within our industry.

In speaking with a senior executive in our industry about this topic, he said “We were forced to take all of the IT investments that we had been talking about for the last five years and implemented them in five days.” The complexity of this evolution is impressive, and while none of this happened without its challenges, the industry as a whole adapted well.

3. Opportunity to extend our reach

As National Chairman of EFC’s Young Professionals Network, I along with our amazing committee members had great plans for events across the country this year. This changed when the pandemic hit. Fortunately, along came EFC’s amazing support team with creative ideas for overcoming this obstacle. With the leadership and input from everyone on the committee, we put together our very first national event, the “High Five to the YPN,” which drew attendees from coast to coast.

This event celebrated our five-year anniversary by bringing back and honouring our founders, Jason Prevost of Leviton Canada and Swati Patel of EFC. We incorporated an interview portion where I was fortunate enough to pick the brains of these two amazing industry leaders, followed by breakout rooms where attendees held discussions and shared their thoughts on topics ranging from adapting to work from home to the future of the industry. It was a great event that we were all very proud of. Had the pandemic not come along, I’m not sure we would have even considered doing it virtually, but with the resulting national participation I’m glad we did.

4. Less time on the road = more time at home

The biggest positive of this pandemic would be all the time that we got spend at home with our families. Last week, I participated in an annual holiday gathering with some of our industry’s most respected and experienced executives, which went virtual for the first time. Personally, this is an evening that I look forward to every year as the stories that are told, the new relationships that are formed, and the many laughs that are shared are what make this industry so unique and incredible. A key theme in participants’ comments was gratitude for the extra time at home with their families. While I spend more than a few nights in hotels and plenty of time in the air for my role, my typical travel year is nowhere close to what some of our industry leaders face year in and year out. The stories of getting to spend time with new grandkids, sharing new experiences with family members at the cottage, and generally just being home really put things in perspective. This year will leave us with many memories we won’t want to forget.

Looking back at 2020, it will be universally remembered as a time full of concern, fear and change. However, positives are not hard to find. We are all looking forward to a return to normal sometime in 2021 and getting to see our extended family and industry friends again.

Sean Bernard is National Sales Manager for Ideal Industries (Canada), Corp. and National Chair of EFC’s Young Professionals Network.

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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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 ...
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 ...


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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