March 2005 news archive

March 31, 2005

The Wine Service Co-operative commissions combined 424kW solar electric system

The Wine Service Co-operative, a Napa-Calif.-based wine storage and distribution center, recently commissioned a combined 424kW solar electric system. PowerLight Corp. will furnish the project, which consists of a 195kW system and a 229kW system installed atop the center’s St. Helena and South Napa facilities.

The solar arrays will generate enough electricity during the day to power more than 400 homes, and when combined with energy-efficient measures the system will provide up to 100% of the facility’s annual energy needs.

The project is scheduled to be completed this summer.

March 30, 2005

Long Meadow Ranch completes combined 60kW solar panel system installation

Long Meadow Ranch, an organic farming operation in St. Helena, Calif., recently completed installation of a combined 60kW solar power system that will eliminate 100% of its annual electricity costs. The 50kW and 10kW systems were installed by California-based Sun Power & Geothermal Energy Co. and designed to operate in parallel with the utility grid.

The 50kW commercial system employs a 5,100-sq.-ft solar panel array, which is completely hidden from view about half a mile from the main winery building. It provides electricity for all winery and olive oil operations, administrative functions, shops, barns, water systems, and the foreman’s residence. The 10kW system provides 100% power for the ranch’s main residence and is also completely hidden from view.

The systems are governed by California’s net metering regulations, which state that the public utility must credit renewable energy producers for the electricity produced and sent out to the grid. Solar energy not used by the ranch is automatically sent out to the utility grid, effectively causing the electric meter to run backward. The ranch in turn earns credits for the electricity it produces and is able to tap into those credits at night and during cloudy days.

March 29, 2005

NStar’s power grid investigated for the second time in a year

The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications (DTE) recently ordered NStar and Gas Corp. to investigate what led to the fatal electrocution of a one-year-old boxer puppy named Cassius on the street in Allston, Mass., and the electric shock received by an English Labrador in Beacon Hill, Mass., at the beginning of the month.

Last year, under orders from state regulators, NStar launched a crash inspection of 24,000 manhole covers, 18,000 of them in the Boston area. The company reported last April that “99.9-plus percent” had no stray voltage that could harm dogs or people and stressed that every shocked dog case involved either electrical gear it didn’t own or cables that had been damaged by contractors.

Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said it’s time for the DTE to do something. “Consumers deserve safe and reliable service,” Reilly said. “That means identifying and eliminating places where live electricity threatens public walkways.”

March 28, 2005

Eaton Corp. donates $500,000 to NAED foundation

Eaton Corp. recently donated $500,000 to the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Education and Research Foundation. The company’s donation will become part of an endowment fund for the foundation, and the principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched while the interest will be used to commission future projects and research studies.

For its contribution, the company will be recognized at the regent level and have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

March 25, 2005

Oriental Motor USA launches new Web site

Oriental Motor USA Corp. recently launched a new Web site at, which has a new applications section that allows users to see a number of common motor applications in action. The site also features a more extensive online product catalog with search capabilities, five-item side-by-side comparison, one-click CAD file downloads, and direct inserts. Additional site features include updated e-commerce capabilities and a new shopping cart for easier online ordering.

March 24, 2005

Schneider Electric plans to acquire Power Measurement, Inc.

Schneider Electric recently agreed to acquire Canadian-based Power Meaurement, Inc. (PMI), a designer, manufacturer, and provider of enterprise energy intelligent systems for energy suppliers, service providers, and large energy consumers. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals, but the company stands to acquire 100% of PMI shares. The transaction should be completed by the second quarter of 2005.

Schneider was also recently awarded a multi-year contract with the Federal Aviation Administration for critical power solutions at air traffic control centers, administrative offices, and terminal radar approach control facilities. The two-year contract includes an option for three additional two-year agreements and has a total potential value of $50 million for the company.

March 23, 2005

Mayer Electric Supply Co., Inc. donates $100,000 to NAED foundation

Mayer Electric Supply Co., Inc. recently donated $100,000 to the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Education and Research Foundation. The company’s donation will become part of an endowment fund for the foundation, and the principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched while the interest will be used to commission future projects and research studies.

For its contribution, the company will have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

March 22, 2005

Easy Street announces alliance with Adtek Software

Easy Street recently announced a partnership with Adtek Software, a Toluca, Ill.-based HVAC software developer, to give customers greater access to their products and services.

Easy Street is a Lenexa-Kan.-based software and book publishing company that has customers nationwide. It’s also the parent company of, where business people can find management advice, post questions, use online financial calculators, and perform load calculations.

Adtek Software develops presentation-based programs designed for the electrical, construction, and plumbing industries. Other products include a residential load calculator, virtual showroom program, appointment scheduling program, energy analysis program.

March 21, 2005

AGC announces 2005-2006 officers

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recently announced its 2005-2006 officers. The organization’s new president is Samuel Hunter, president and CEO, T.A. Loving, Goldsboro, N.C. The new senior vice president is Harry Mashburn, CEO, Mashburn Construction Co., Columbia, S.C.

Steve Massie, CEO, Jack L. Massie Contractors, Williamsburg, V.A., was elected AGC Vice President. The new treasurer is Victor Weston, president, Tri-State Road Boring, Baton Rouge, La.

During their tenure as AGC national officers, all of the men are ex-officio members of all AGC committees.

March 18, 2005

Electrician’s Success International holds expo in Anaheim, Calif.

Electrician’s Success International (ESI) recently held its second expo in Anaheim, Calif. from Feb. 28 through March 4. About 350 members from 156 companies attended the expo and learned about some of the organization’s new programs.

The event kicked off when 74 new members received the marketing, management, and training tools that make up the foundation of the organization’s system. Throughout the week, attendees learned about a new financing program and received training at a success academy. Half of the academy was devoted to the strategies technicians should use on a call, and the other half of the academy focused on ways managers can improve the impact of the training they provide to their teams.

ESI also unveiled a new e-marketing program called Bullseye, which allows contractors to contact their entire customer base or a single homeowner and build customized marketing messages while tracking the results.

The organization’s next Expo will be in September in Orlando. For more information, visit

March 17, 2005

Power Sources Unlimited launches new Web site

Power Sources Unlimited, a technical distributor of power supplies and power-related products, recently launched a new Web site at The site offers engineers and purchasing agents a resource for product selection, specifications, and secure online procurement of AC/DC power supply and AC/DC converter products.

The site also offers product specifications and prototype pricing for 50 product categories from more than 20 electronic manufacturers, live chat, and a technical reference section with application notes, a glossary of power conversion terms, and safety compliance issues.

March 16, 2005

Orion Energy Systems wins 2004 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award

Orion Energy Systems, a Plymouth, Wis.-based lighting manufacturer, recently won the 2004 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Grand Award for excellence in the small category (manufacturers with as many as 99 employees). The company designs and manufacturers application-specific lighting and controls for industrial, retail, commercial, institutional, agricultural, and hospitality environments.

The annual competition is co-sponsored by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, a Midwest-based law firm; Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP, an accounting and consulting firm; and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business association. The company designs and manufacturers application-specific lighting and controls for industrial, retail, commercial, institutional, agricultural, and hospitality environments. Orion was one of eight firms to win grand awards for exemplary contributions to manufacturing in the state.

March 15, 2005

Sea Gull Lighting given Energy Star Partner of the Year award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) recently named Sea Gull Lighting a 2005 Energy Star Partner of the Year. The company is the only lighting fixture manufacturer to win this award in 2005.

This is the second consecutive year the company has been given this award, which is presented to Energy Star partner companies that most actively develop, distribute, sell, and market environmentally friendly products that prevent greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy consumption.

The company will be honored today at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C.

March 14, 2005

Ferraz Shawmut launches new Web site

Ferraz Shawmut recently launched a new Web site at Created for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and electrical product designers, OEM Central is an online hub with information, tools, and links to educational resources.

The site allows users to view detailed specifications for all of this company’s circuit protection products by entering part numbers or browsing the online database. Users can review a product’s features and benefits, rating, regulatory approvals, UL file cards, charts, and curves.

Users can also connect with OEM specialists via the site for advice on standards compliance, the latest developments in circuit protection, or to request a quote online. They can also submit CAD drawings and preliminary specifications for design reviews and request product samples and prototypes to assist in development.

March 11, 2005

Bobcat dealers offers GPS, theft-recovery, and equipment-management package

Bobcat dealers are now offering equipment owners a system that creates virtual boundaries or “geo-fences,” and triggers an alert when one of the user’s machines leaves certain areas. It also enables GPS tracking and transmits equipment’s location data, operating status, and engine hours on-demand or at automated intervals.

The package will help contractors and rental stores monitor equipment operation so they know whether equipment is sitting idle or being used to full potential. Engine-hour monitoring helps keep track of when service is due and enables strategic planning in taking equipment off-line for maintenance.

Future capabilities of the system include remote diagnostics, like machine health-status reports and remote troubleshooting, and system enhancements will be added using wireless communication.

All applications can be accessed online at or integrated into existing back-end business software solutions.

March 9, 2005

Vermont American creates Donate-A-Skill initiative for the Unmet Needs program

Vermont American recently unveiled its “Donate-A-Skill” initiative at the International Builders Show. As part of the Unmet Needs Program, which provides monetary assistance to American military families that face significant and unforeseen financial hardships due to deployment, the initiative gives tradespeople the chance to volunteer their skills to families of service men and women.

Using an automated electronic kiosk in its exhibit booth, the company gave builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople the opportunity to sign up on the show floor. The kiosk was used to add volunteers to a centralized national “skill bank” that’s already being used to match volunteers with suitable projects in their areas.

During the show, more than 225 people from cities nationwide committed their talents to the program. Since the show ended, more than 100 additional tradespeople and other professionals have signed up online using the Web site donation page. The goal is to generate a database of thousands of qualified volunteers.

The kiosk will accompany the Vermont American team to home building and repair trade shows nationwide throughout the remainder of 2005. You can also log on to to volunteer your skills.

March 8, 2005

Legrand acquires On-Q Technologies

Legrand recently announced plans to acquire On-Q Technologies and combine it with its Greyfox business unit to form On-Q/Legrand. Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., the company will become Legrand’s fifth business group in North America.

Doug Friske, former president of On-Q home is the newly appointed president of On-Q Legrand.

This deal comes about a year after Leviton’s planned acquisition of On-Q fell through without explanation.

March 7, 2005

Mitsubishi Electric Automation signs contract with GEMA

Mitsubishi Electric Automation recently announced a major automotive contract to supply automation products to two new Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) manufacturing plants in Dundee, Mich. GEMA is an alliance between Chrysler Group, Mitsubishi Motors, and Hyundai Motor to manufacture four-cylinder automotive engines.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation will provide GEMA plants with new flexible machinery controls. The plant will use about 250 of the company’s Q PLCs, 400 A900 GOT HMIs and more than 100 MR – J2S servos for complete engine assembly line and complete head and block lines. More than 100 Mitsubishi compact C64 CNCs will also be used for complete head, block lines, and gantries on machinery controls. The company will also provide the entire plant with IT validation, customized training, and extensive support services.

March 4, 2005

Visual Lighting Technologies to take over Lumenyte International

Fiber optic lighting manufacturers Lumenyte International and Visual Lighting Technologies recently entered into an exclusive sales and distribution agreement for worldwide sales in the architectural market. Visual Lighting Technologies will be taking over all aspects of Lumenyte International’s architectural trade, including sales, marketing, design, installation, and customer service.

Visual Lighting Technologies approached Lumenyte with an idea to improve its LEF directional solid core fiber, known as Diamond Line.

March 3, 2005

Red Wing Shoe launches search for America’s Master Technicians

Red Wing Shoe recently launched a search for America’s 100 Master Tradesmen in correlation with its 100th anniversary. From Feb. 21 through June 30, 2005, friends, family, and co-workers can nominate tradesmen and tradeswomen from a variety of industries who have had a positive effect on their communities. The 100 winners will be announced in Fall 2005.

Nominees will be judged on their level of expertise and quality craftsmanship, their commitment to the community in which they live, how they pass along skills to other learning the trade, and their dedication to American workmanship. Nominees will be judged by a team of experts, including home-improvement expert Lou Manfredini, also know as “Mr. Fix-It.”

Each of the 100 Master Technicians will receive a $500 scholarship in his or her name to an accredited vocational or technical school or his or her choice, a pair of the company’s limited edition boots, local recognition in his or her hometown market, and a certificate of recognition.

To obtain an entry form and official rules, visit

March 2, 2005

ABC presents its Craft Professional of the Year Award

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recently presented its Craft Professional of the Year Award to Ray Drinkwater, an electrical foreman at Greiner Electric, LLC, from Littleton, Colo. The company presents this award each year to a craft professional who excels in his or her field, maintains a lifelong commitment to training, and upholds the merit shop philosophy.

Drinkwater is an electrical foreman for Greiner Electric as well as a level one electrical instructor for the Construction Industry Training Council of Colorado. He has worked in the construction industry since 1993 when he was one of nine participants in an outreach project to bring disadvantaged youth into the construction trade.

The Craft Professional of the Year is selected from seven craft category winners, who are evaluated based on their mastery of job-related skills, jobsite safety and performance record, leadership, professionalism, community and industry service, personal motivation, credentials, commitment to the merit construction philosophy, recognition by others for their excellence in craft skills, and teamwork to complete projects successfully.

March 1, 2005

Belden Electronics and On-Q Home announce partnership

Belden CDT Electronics Division and On-Q Home have announced a joint marketing alliance that will provide qualifying residential system installers with a 15-year extended-warranty program they can offer for home networking projects.

Under the terms of the agreement, Belden and On-Q Home will pursue joint opportunities to market a complete residential home networking system that consists of On-Q Home enclosures, modules, and accessories, and Belden CDT cables.

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