August 2004 news archive

August 2004 news archive

August 31, 2004

NAED’s latest survey shows signs of growth for electrical distributors

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) recently released its Quarterly Sales Change Expectation (QSCE) survey results, which found that sales are growing among electrical distributors. The survey was distributed in early April to approximately 3,700 distributor locations and focused on sales expectations for the previous and upcoming quarter.

Of the survey’s 346 respondents, 81.2% estimated increased sales during first quarter (January through March 2004), 84.7% anticipate increased sales in the second quarter (April through June 2004) and 33.5% expect a continued growth of 10% or more in the third quarter (July through September 2004).

The Western region, which was the least optimistic coming into the first quarter of 2004, had the largest percentage of distributors experience a sales increase with 85.9%. The Southern region was second with 84%, followed by the Midwestern with 78.9% and the Northeastern with 73.3%.

Despite all the optimism, some distributors are facing tough times. Nearly 4% of respondents reported flat sales, and 4.0% expected negative sales growth of –10% or more.

August 30, 2004

Ideal joins Orange County Choppers for “Born To Be Wild” sweepstakes

Ideal Industries recently announced that it’s teaming up with Orange Count Choppers for its “Born To Be Wired” sweepstakes. Starting October 4, distributors and professional electricians can purchase specially marked packages of Wing-Nut Twister and B-CAP wire connectors containing a contest game piece.

Participants can win prizes like leather jackets, long-sleeved t-shirts, and the grand prize, a custom-built chopper with a RevTech 100-cubic-inch engine and a one-of-a-kind paintjob. The company will bring five qualifying contestants and their guests to the Electric West show in Anaheim, Calif., for the grand prize drawing in early February 2005.

August 27, 2004

WennSoft plans to integrate software with a Microsoft platform

WennSoft recently announced its plans to integrate its Service Management series with the next release of Microsoft Business Solutions CRM. Initially, the integration will be targeted toward companies that sell and service high-value stationary assets.

Several areas have been identified as the initial points of integration, such as contact, location, account, and contract. In addition, other areas like activity history, quotes, cases, and equipment lists are scheduled to follow in future releases.

August 26, 2004

Ballard announces new distributors

Ballard Power Systems recently announced new partnerships to promote its Ecostar power converter product for photovoltaic (PV) applications. Solar Depot, Akeena Solar, DC Power Systems, and MBL & Sons join Energy Outfitters, the company’s first North American distributor, to promote the PV system. The company currently offers a 75kW product for sale, and a 30kW model is available for field trials.

August 25, 2004

Construction starts advance 1% in June

McGraw-Hill Construction recently released a report stating that new construction starts increased 1% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $565.1 billion. During the first six months of 2004, total construction was reported at $286.2 billion on an unadjusted basis, which is a 10% increase compared to the same period one year ago.

In the report, Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction, weighed in on what to expect for the rest of the year. “June was helped by a stronger volume of public works construction, which so far in 2004 has been one of the weaker construction sectors,” Murray says. “While June’s upturn for public works was a welcome development, this sector going forward will still be tight fiscal conditions for the federal and state governments. During the first half of 2004, the construction industry continued to be supported by the robust performance of single-family housing in combination with stability for commercial building.”

Murray expects that the second half of 2004 will see single-family housing ease back a bit and commercial building remains the sector most likely to pick up the slack.

August 24, 2004

Cooper launches two Web sites for a new product

Cooper Wiring Devices recently launched two Web sites to supports its Aspire design system of contemporary-styled wiring devices. One site introduces the line to the trades, and the other is for consumers.

The trade site,, provides a link to the catalog of 45 electrical devices that make up the line. It also gives a link to the product line’s upgrade program, in which the company will give qualified professionals a free upgrade product sample display for a model home or consumer pamphlets.

The consumer site,, features photos that show the products individually and in room installations, as well as a link to the product catalog and product descriptions.

August 23, 2004

Contemporary Controls publishes a guide to managed Ethernet systems

To help users with managed Ethernet technology, Contemporary Controls recently published “The ABC’s of Managed Switches,” a one-page guide that explains the terminology and concept of managed switches. The guide also describes how to separate or combine multiple networks in your facility without swapping a cable; the advantages of switch management and what you can monitor, control, and predict; and concepts like trunking, quality of service, and fault isolation.

The guide is free and available at

August 20, 2004

Rutgers University to release the fifth edition of the Edison Papers

Rutgers University in New Jersey recently announced that its Thomas Edison Project will release the fifth edition of the Edison Papers this October. Documenting the invention and development of the world’s first commercial incandescent electric light and power system, the volume’s release will coincide with the 125th anniversary of the electric light bulb.

Entitled “From Research to Development at Menlo Park (January 1879 - March 1881),” the more than 1,000-page volume is arranged chronologically and contains 111 illustrations, 15 photos, and 272 drawings. Next year, the project will celebrate the founding of the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York and Edison’s demonstration of his electric lighting system to New York City alderman at his Menlo Park laboratory on December 17-29, 1880.

The fifth edition will be available for purchase October 21 through or the publisher for $90.

August 19, 2004

Greeenlee announces winners in its “Whole Bag of Tricks” promotion

Greenlee recently announced the winners of its “Whole Bag of Tricks” promotion. Primo Rodriguez, Las Cruces, N.M.; Kazimier “Butch” Ptasznik, Haysville, Kan.; Tracy Lees, Mississauga, Ontario; Peter Doerleen, Steinbach, Manitoba; and Timothy Fry, Cedar Rapids, Iowa all won a Greenlee storage box that was filled with $1,000 worth of the company’s products.

August 18, 2004

Seventeen new members join Electricians’ Success International

Seventeen independent electrical contractors recently joined Electricians’ Success International (ESI) at several Success Day seminars that were held throughout the United States.

The newest ESI members are A.L. Electrical Contractors, Somerset, N.J.; Alive Electric, Alameda, Calif.; A-Lumination Electric, Orlando, Calif.; Amps & Volts Electric, Valparaiso, Ind.; ARC Electric, Draper, Utah; B/J Electric, Beaver Falls, Pa.; Buchanan Enterprises, Uvbridge, Mass.; Buehler Brothers Electric, Phoenix; Calvert Mechanical Systems, Wilmington, Del.; City Electric Co., Runnemede, N.J.; Diversified Electric, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; Northern Electrical Service, Brant, Mich.; Red Electric, Athens, Ga.; RLC Electrical & Technologies, Ashville, N.C.; Southern Electrical & Mechanical, Lowndesboro, Ala.; Southern Triad Electric, Linwood, N.C.; and Summit Electrical, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Independent residential contractors can still attend one of the organization’s free seminars or join ESI. Call 1-877-374-3676 for details.

August 17, 2004

GE Energy completes acquisition of three S.D. Myers business units

GE Energy recently completed its acquisition of the assets of three of S.D. Myers business units. As EC&M reported in June, the company was planning to acquire Ohio Transformer, S.D. Myers Substation Services, and S.D. Myers Engineered Transformer Products. All three business units will be integrated into the company’s existing services business, which provides customer support across all aspects of the global power industry.

In a separate transaction that’s expected to close at the end of August, GE Energy plans to acquire Fluidex Engineering, a South African entity that’s indirectly owned by the Myers family.

August 16, 2004

Eaton and Johnson Controls announce supplier agreement

Eaton, a provider of AC drive technology in industrial and commercial applications, and Johnson Controls, a supplier of facility management and control products, recently announced a supplier agreement. The companies will offer variable speed AC drive technologies, systems, and services to the HVAC and pumping industries that will be sold through Johnson Controls.

August 13, 2004

The Lighting Controls Association welcomes two new members

Universal Lighting Technologies and Square D/Schneider Electric recently joined the Lighting Controls Association, which is administered by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The association’s purpose is to educate the professional building design, construction, and management communities about the benefits and operation of automatic switching and dimming controls.

August 12, 2004

Southwire finalizes acquisition of Alflex

Southwire recently finalized it acquisition of Alflex, a Louisville, Ky.-based subsidiary of Commonwealth Industries. As EC&M reported on June 8, 2004, Southwire planned to purchase the company and its line of metal-clad cable and flexible conduit products to expand its line of MC products.

In the stock purchase agreement, Southwire acquired all of Alflex, including manufacturing facilities in Long Beach, Calif. and Rocky Mount, N.C. Both plants produce armored cable and flexible conduit products for residential, commercial, industrial, and original equipment manufacturer markets.

Southwire has created an ordering system that cross-references both the company’s product number to ease the transaction for customers,

August 11, 2004

i2 Trade Service and ConEst expand partnership

i2 Trade Service, a provider of standardized product and price information for the electrical industry, and ConEst Software Systems, a provider of estimating, design/build, and project management software for the electrical industry, recently announced that they have expanded their partnership agreement.

i2 is developing the latest version of the pricing service i2 TRA-SER, which will include Internet updating, improved product descriptions, and target pricing. For its part, ConEst will refine and tighten their link to TRA-SER, which will enable seamless applications, e-commerce, and other business efficiencies.

August 10, 2004

Vermeer updates Web site

Vermeer recently launched a new interactive Web site that features job stories, technologies, and customer benefits. By logging on to, users can register to become preferred customers and receive free updates about company products, services, and events.

August 9, 2004

Inaugural This Old House tour picks up industry sponsors

Lutron Electronics, Generac Power Systems, Philips Lighting Co., and Zircon recently announced they will sponsor the Meet This Old House tour, which is presented by The Home Depot. The first-ever hands-on tour is part of a year-long 25th anniversary celebration of This Old House on PBS.

From August through November, the tour will take place at Home Depot locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston, and Atlanta. The day-long events will give audiences a chance to interact with members of the House’s home improvement team, which include host Kevin O’Conner, master carpenter Norm Abram, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cool. As part of each tour stop, a member of the crew will make a house call that will be featured in the third season of the Ask This Old House.

For more information, visit

August 6, 2004

1st Annual Ambiance Design Competition deadline is looming

Ambiance Lighting Systems, a brand of Sea Gull Lighting Products, recently sent out a reminder that the deadline for submissions for its 1st Annual Ambiance Design Competition is approaching on October 31. The company issued a call for entries back in March 2004 to all lighting consultants, designers, contractors, architects, and sales personnel.

The company is looking for the most unique, forward-thinking, technically sound, and fashion-driven applications and projects that use Ambiance brand products. Winners will receive as much as $2,500 in cash prize money and be featured in a variety of trade publications and consumer advertising programs.

For more information visit,

August 5, 2004

Phoenix Contact acquires Entivity

Phoenix Contact recently announced the acquisition of Entivity, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based PC control software supplier. The company will install Entivity products on its hardware platforms to provide PC functionality in embedded form factors. The companies have been working together on joint products since November 2002 and informally since the inception of Entivity in 2001.

August 4, 2004

Aspen Systems and EnergyICT sign distributor agreement

Aspen Systems, a Maryland-based information management firm, recently formalized a distributor agreement with EnergyICT, a Belgium-based technology firm, to distribute advanced energy monitoring and control devices in the United States.

EnergyICT’s Web RTU, RTU+, and EIServer provide real-time energy information over the Web and use secure Internet connections. These products can be used independently or in combination to provide consumers, utilities, and energy aggregators with a more cost-effective way to respond to peak energy demands.

August 3, 2004

Fluke releases free safety information program

Fluke recently released a multi-part safety information program that’s aimed at reducing hazards for people who measure electrical energy and helping reduce risk and liability for employers. The program is based on safety guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association, American National Standards Institute, International Electrotechnical Conference, and other safety regulators.

The program includes a 25-minute safety video that dramatizes the hazards of electrical measurement and explains the precautions that help defend against arc flash; a test and safety audit that helps electrical professionals determine whether their test tools meet safety standards; an interview with an arc flash survivor; and safety application notes.

The program is available as a CD-ROM for free or as a VHS or DVD for $20 at

August 2, 2004

Leviton enters agreement with Arkados

Leviton recently entered into a long-term development agreement with Arkados, a home networking and broadband powerline communications company, to develop powerline carrier networking applications based on HomePlug Power Alliance’s HomePlug 1.0 and upcoming HomePlug AV specifications. The AV specifications will enable high-speed data networking along with network security as well as provide digital audio and video streaming.

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