Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

June 29, 2021

AD Spring Network MeetingAD’s electrical team hosted the 2021 Virtual AD Spring Network Meeting April 21-22, welcoming over 300 member attendees from U.S., Canada and Mexico.

While the meeting itself took place over two days, AD hosted weekly strategic supplier webinars for several weeks leading up to the meeting, where AD members heard updates from supplier partners on market conditions, plans to win with AD and opportunities available in areas like training, unique products and AD program participation and engagement. Attendees also participated in a virtual trade show for their extended teams, where eight sponsors had the opportunity to present detailed new product demonstrations, real-life application website tours and customized presentations showcasing new innovations.

Attendees also participated in U.S., Canada and Mexico divisional member business meetings and network meetings. Networks are a cornerstone of AD’s model, bringing together non-competing member peers to share best practices and problem-solve.

Electrical-Canada part of overall expansion in Canadian market

Rob Dewar, president of the recently formed AD Canada Business Unit, reviewed the structure of the new business unit during the Electrical-Canada member business meeting. With a new Canadian training centre and warehouse, Dewar is confident AD’s presence in Canada will only help engage and grow the Canadian electrical division business.

“AD Canada’s combined scale and shared resources across all three AD Canada divisions, which also include Plumbing & Heating, and Industrial & Safety, will bring more focus to the Canadian market for both members and supplier partners,” Dewar said. “This creates a true win-win situation for all of our partners.”

Brad Harper, vice president of finance & operations – AD Canada, showcased the new training centre, board room and meeting spaces now available for members and suppliers use. He said the new facility is an AD Canada resource, there to support members of all AD Canada divisions.

Electrical-U.S. Division transitions board leadership

The Electrical-U.S. Division member business meeting opened with an update where President Dave Kinsella thanked previous U.S. Board Chair David Rosenstein, president of CX, for his leadership, service to the membership, and for his lasting friendship. Kinsella welcomed John Hanna, current divisional board chair and president & COO of Fromm Electric Supply Corp.

Hanna shared the importance of accelerating growth with AD suppliers, leading and staying engaged. He challenged the AD community to find opportunities to make each other stronger, actively participate in networks and volunteer on committees.

“Finding ways to work together to provide mutually beneficial programs that separate AD in the market will make us stronger,” said Hanna. “As member-owners, we need to prove to ourselves that we can. Can’t is easy, and can is hard, but together through our collective efforts, we can move mountains.”

Despite the challenges the AD community experienced in 2020, the division remains focused on continued growth. John Orman III, Electrical-U.S. divisional board member and president & CEO of Locke Supply Co., expressed his perspectives on recruitment and retention.

“Before our company joined AD, we didn’t network with other distributors,” Orman said. “The character of independent distributors is respectable and honorable, whether they are AD members or not. This mutual respect of seeing a competing distributor making a difference in the industry has changed our philosophy on quality independent distributors. Independent distributors need to stick together as much as we can.”

Hanna challenged the division’s members to continue innovating over the months to come.

“We are working hard to make this your organization for continued growth,” he shared. “Accelerate the power of your networks, learn from each other, and find that one spark that moves the needle: engage, prioritize, utilize. Engage in the programs offered, prioritize our key supplier partners and utilize new initiatives.”

Electrical-Mexico networks share best practices

Juan Carlos Zacarías, director, Electrical Division - Mexico, shared with his membership that despite the challenging conditions in 2020, Mexico division members achieved 5% growth and above-average industry market trends.

Luis Carlos Garza Tamez, Electrical-Mexico divisional board chair and CEO of ABSA voiced how the value of AD networks helped strengthen relationships and businesses in 2020.
“We were meeting weekly, said Garza. “Sharing best practices during critical times of the pandemic helped us make better business decisions, improve operational efficiencies, and gain market share. This led us to explore new markets, new ways to approach customers, and develop eCommerce strategies. We took these opportunities during difficult times to improve our overall performance.”

Weisberg celebrates 2020 performance, member engagement

In his remarks, AD’s Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg celebrated members for outperforming the market as a group in 2020, making special mention of those members who served in AD leadership roles during the pandemic.

“So many members stepped up last year to give of their time and talents, most especially those serving on our AD LLC Board of Directors, divisional boards and committees,” Weisberg reflected. “It was humbling to see how willing these men and women were with engaging and guiding our staff and their fellow members. And, of course all this was to the backdrop of the struggles they were facing at work and home. I’m so thankful and extremely optimistic.”

In addition to division-specific subjects, attendees of the spring network meeting also received updates and tips on leveraging AD’s market planning and conversion programs to optimize AD partnerships, and the benefits of participating in eCommerce Solutions and AD Rewards programs.

Statistics CanadaThere were slightly fewer active businesses (-0.1%; -1,208) in May compared with a month earlier, marking the first time since May 2020 that the number of closures outpaced openings.

The number of business openings decreased by 11.5%, the largest percentage decrease since December 2018 and the second consecutive month with negative growth (Chart 1). The number of business closures declined by 2.9%, following a 2.5% increase in April. The decline in the number of business openings in May was largely driven by fewer entrants (-16.4%). The number of entrants in May was below the 2015-to-2019 average for the first time since August 2020. 

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488 Days of COVIDBy John Kerr

Looking back to early 2020, the industry entered the first quarter with a sense of a solid year ahead, one that would easily eclipse 2019, and then in mid-March the brakes went on and relatively quickly.

On both the supplier and distribution sides, many took a reactionary stance and then quietly planned their next moves. Thinking differently, adding stock and doubling down on inventory, looking at alternative shipping methods and figuring out how to stay close to the customer are among the attributes of those that pivoted well and have come out of the dark in great shape.

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Non-Mortgage Borrowing from Chartered Banks in March 2020The outstanding credit debt of private non-financial corporations doubled from the height of the financial crisis in 2008 to early 2020. At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, businesses added a record $52.1 billion in credit debt to their balance sheets. However, according to a new study, as other sources of financing became available and businesses adapted to the pandemic, outstanding loan balances with banks declined for eight consecutive months.

The study Trends in Canadian business debt financing: Before and during COVID-19 looks at the types of credit debt private non-financial corporations incurred prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examines how they used that liquidity to weather the economic turbulence during this period.

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Investment in Building Construction - May 2021Investment in building construction cooled slightly in May, decreasing 1.9% to $19.4 billion. This was the first drop in seven months. Residential construction investment (-2.7%) was down for the first time since April 2020, while non-residential construction increased slightly.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction declined 2.7% to $14.8 billion in May.




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David GordonBy David Gordon

As we transition from the pandemic many wonder about the future of sales, meaning, “What will the sales process (sales model) look like in the future,” and, essentially, “What is the role of / for outside salespeople?”

In reality, this question was asked pre-pandemic as management lamented that Sales wasn’t being as productive as they desired. Companies are always seeking to improve their processes, whether it is having salespeople better penetrate accounts, identify and call on new customers, use a different (new?) sales method...

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Changing Scene

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 Canada’s National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is pleased to announce that IDEAL ...
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Signify“In the second quarter we saw an acceleration of the pace of recovery in comparison to the first three months of the year,” says CEO Eric Rondolat. “We successfully executed our strategy as demand for our connected lighting offers and our growth platforms remained strong.”

The consumer segment held its momentum and demand for conventional products proved resilient. The professional lighting segment showed sequential improvements, while still impacted by both extended lockdowns and supply constraints. Overall, we managed to improve the operating margin by 190 basis points and generated a solid free cash flow. 


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Adrian ThomasSchneider Electric Canada, together with the France Canada Chamber of Commerce Ontario (FCCCO) is proud to announce Adrian Thomas as the newly elected President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada (EUCCAN). Thomas, who currently serves as the country president of Schneider Electric Canada is entrusted with continuing the growth of EUCCAN by reinforcing transatlantic cooperation between the European and Canadian business communities.  “I am deeply honoured for the opportunity to join EUCCAN as their new President and build on the growth they’ve experienced in recent years,” says Adrian Thomas, Country President of Schneider Electric Canada. 

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Agents of ChangeAgents of Change is an event for stakeholders from Canada's electricity and beyond to build capacities in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Agents of Change is a one-day event focused on equipping attendees with the tools they need to address the challenges under-represented groups face in the workplace. Women, Indigenous people, racialized people, persons with disabilities, LGBQ+, gender diverse people and newcomers to Canada are under-represented in electricity and often face systemic barriers. We have the power to change this disparity and transform our sector into a paragon of equity.


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Flemming Jensen, Jason Samuelian, and John ClancyLED lighting solutions manufacturer Espen Technology has announced three changes to its sales management team.

Flemming Jensen (left), previously was Vice President of the Central and South Regions, has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Flemming brings over 40 years of industry experience in the distribution, ESCO, and agent markets. He will focus on continuing Espen’s top line growth, in the coming years.


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Edison ReportEdisonReport has announced their 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.  These Awards will be presented the Tuesday evening, 26 OCT before LightFair begins on Wednesday, 27 OCT.

Judges for 2021 were Paul Pompeo, Nancy Clanton, and Donny Wall.  Clanton stated, “Selecting individuals for this award was extremely rewarding especially in identifying the leaders and innovators, including world class lighting designers and researchers, that truly have made a tremendous positive impact in our lighting industry.”



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Brett NicholdsBy Blake Marchand

Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ceiling troffer LED fixtures that utilize optical film technology to achieve a high level of performance and efficiency.

Their flagship product is the EcoWing, which is available for new construction and fixture in fixture retrofits. Their primary application target is office buildings, hospitals, and dealerships. Recent projects include the Department of National Defense building in Ottawa, AMPED Sports Lab, Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Surgenor Automotive Group.


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Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

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