The First 60 days as President of Electro-Federation Canada

Carol McGlogan

May 26, 2017

By Carol McGlogan

 

In my second week at Electro Federation I was asked to do a presentation on the vision of EFC at the Annual General Meeting.  At that time, I felt very uncomfortable commenting on the subject as it was just too soon.  My promise was that I would work diligently on doing the necessary homework to develop a point of view.  I did not anticipate that my point of view would come so early but as I met with other organizations like CSA, UL, Nema and CEMC while also connecting with members and reviewing our own research, the challenges became obvious to me.  The meetings and conversations had similar themes around Trade, Technology and Talent.

From a Trade perspective, the first thing on most Canadian’s mind is NAFTA.  Although this is important and can have a profound effect on our industry, there is another trade related activity that Electro Federation is involved with every day with equal or greater impact, and that is Regulations and Codes and Standards.  With a sweep of pen, your product may no longer be approved for sale.  At the same time, an alternate pen stroke can open new markets for your company.  To make sure that EFC represents the industry properly, we need to ensure that we have ‘technical advocates’ present at our product section meetings.  What is a ‘technical advocate’?  It’s a person with the technical competency to understand the proposed standards or regulations who will also actively ‘weigh in’ on the issues and ‘speak’ for their respective company.    My objective is to raise the awareness of this issue with our manufacturing community as many do not have the ‘technical advocates’ at the table and decisions are proceeding without them.

The second challenge is technology and this touches us in many ways.  EFC’s  Low Voltage Power and Distribution report highlights the development of the new ‘smart world’ we live in and the infrastructure it requires.  This will not only change the products we make but the players that will be in our ecosystem.  Will the electrical contractor suffer or thrive in this new environment?  Who will our new ‘customers’ be?  Do we even know of all the product opportunities in this new ‘smart market’?  EFC will need to keep abreast of these changes as they may affect product section activity and channel and influencer alignments to ensure that we adequately represent the electrical industry of the future.

 

The next aspect about technology is the evolution of the buying process on the internet.  The way we get together on this as an industry is via data synchronization and this only addresses the basics. IDEA has invested in a new STIBO platform which will make data transfer more efficient and robust and we will see Canadian fields of information as part of the standard to facilitate our unique data requirements.  There is also an initiative from IDEA to lower the barriers to entry for those members who need assistance with the data synchronization process. 

I have made several presentations on this subject and as an industry we need to get this behind us as there are no more barriers to making this happen.  EFC will continue to support the drive for data synchronization.

The final challenge is Talent.  We all know there is a shortage coming, some are feeling it now. We also know that the mix of our population is changing as we rely on immigration to fuel our growth in the future. We already have more seniors today than children under the age of 15 and by 2031, 30% of the Canadian population will be made up of visible minorities.  If we want to attract the best talent to our industry we need to reflect the talent pool that is available and that is significantly changing.  Gender and ethnic diversity must be embraced by the electrical industry as a matter of survival and it’s the leaders of ‘today’ that will set the groundwork for what our industry population will look like in the future.  

So what is the role of EFC when it comes to these subjects?  We need to:

Inform….provide information and research, to help members with decision making

Facilitate….provide a forum for collaboration to address issues

Advocate……provide the industry voice to represent membership

Support….with new programs/initiatives

Transform…..to reflect the products and channels that will make up the professional electrical industry of the future

I am excited about the future years in the electrical industry and the transformation we will all go through to reflect the changes that are before us.  EFC is the glue that keeps us together, however the road to survival remains in the hands of the individual members.

Carol McGlogan| President/CEO

Carol McGlogan is President/CEO of EFC

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