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Wireville.com

Issue: April 2006
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

BISBEE’S BUZZ


As we forge into the second quarter of 2006, there are several areas of noteworthy concern that we should consider: Education, Safety & Security, and Environmental Awareness. 

The communications industry (particularly, the cabling concerns) seems to be on the threshold of a major change in networking.  The information highway continues to add lanes and increase the speed limit.  The external networks (WANs – Wide Area Network) and access to the Internet seem to be pushing for higher performance and speeds, while the internal networks (LANs – Local Area Network) applications are growing faster than the weeds in my yard. 

Premise cabling is challenged to meet the higher performance levels as the new applications are folded into users’ expanding systems.  While many users are still set up on 10Base-T and 100Base-T UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) Ethernet configurations, a large sector of the market seems to be holding back from 1000Base-T, while they plan for a jump to 10Gig (supported by fiber optic cable). 

Some industry insiders have pointed out the disturbing fact that the single mode fiber optic cable networks (originally installed to handle 10Base-T) still have headroom at 1000Base-T.  If you add all of the upgrade expenses that the users have paid to “march down” the UTP path, the copper solution has been much more costly than the fiber optic choice – PROVIDING the network remained in place. Copper-based networks with short-lived lives or high MAC (Moves Adds and Changes) activity have a better value track record than the FO solution.  As fiber optic cabling applications grow in acceptance, you might want to check out the training from The Light Brigade (www.lightbrigade.com), one of the leading educational sources for this specialized cabling system. 

As the cost of materials in UTP and STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) continues to spiral upwards, the IT management is challenged to do a much better job of planning.  Poor or outright wrong choices in the chosen cabling distribution network may result in huge financial penalties.  Many of the past poor choices and poorly planned networks have been quietly swept under the carpet.  After all, who wants to go around bragging that they wasted thousands here and thousands there? Consumer responsibility in network choices has ratcheted into the “big bucks department”.  Many large end users are using internal and/or external consultants to tackle the design responsibility.  However, a major growing trend of design-build projects is placing the responsibility on the contractor.  That’s not so bad, because this is a role that many cabling contractors have filled for years. 

With the responsibility for design and project management, the contractor’s need to keep their staff well trained and current is imperative.  The world of electrical contractors is now reaching into IBS (Integrated Building Systems) and VDV (Video – Data – Voice) market.  It is a natural fit and supplement to their role as the installer of the electrical system.  The NECA - National Electrical Contractors Association (www.necanet.org) and IBEW - International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (www.ibew.org) organizations have an awesome training and apprentice program to ensure their people have access to the finest quality training available.  The NJATC (National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical industry) leads the pack globally with the best curriculum and certification programs. (www.njatc.org)

Communications and cabling training was once virtually dominated by the regulated Telcos (primarily the Bell System that controlled 80% of the customer base and 20% of the US geographic market).  Since deregulation and the break up of the Bell System, this resource has been elusive.  The large communications providers spent most of the last 25 years downsizing and outsourcing.  The education role was scattered in a completely unregulated marketplace.  Many organizations have hung up their shingle claiming to be the training resource for the communications cabling industry. 

To date, it seems like only the electrical contractors and electricians are regulated by state licensing.  For many low voltage communications cabling installers, there is no requirement for licensing or certification.  In most cases, the communications cabling is exempt from licensing by the state governments.  Some local authorities have seized on permitting for communications cabling as a revenue stream that can be introduced without a referendum by the voters.  One county in South Florida even has its own licensing for communications cabling installs, however this has not spread very far. 

In the Private Sector, companies can require any type of manufacturer or organizational certification they wish.  A private sector company can require the contractor to have a BICSI RCDD® (www.bicsi.org) on staff and have a current Mickey Mouse Club membership card.  That doesn’t mean that it is licensed or certified. The Private Sector can write its own rules… within the law.  In the Public Sector, the rules of purchasing are well defined.  Requiring sole source registrations, certifications, or training often end up as violations of the bidding and procurement regulations.  Meeting the definition of SOLE SOURCE in public procurement is very specific and seldom accomplished.  If you get a public sector bid that requires you to have a RCDD®* on staff (without the statement of “or equal”) it is probably a violation. 

*RCDD® – a BICSI designation for Registered Communications Distribution Designer, also affectionately known as the “Real Cool Data Dude”.

Education, education, education.  Training in any form is better than the alternative.  Training (craft, technical, and management) for the communications infrastructure industry can be costly.  Even at high dollar rates there are some outstanding values in the training realm.  Thanks to the Internet, we can search out many excellent choices for our educational requirements.  One rule that seems to be universal is “if seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”  If you get a cheap training program, you may end up with far less value than you expected. 

There are many contractors and installers that are on extremely tight budgets. Fortunately there are several excellent alternatives to formal training.  The trade publications of the communications and cabling industry are at the top of the list for great value.  Many of these publications are advertiser paid and available to the subscriber at no charge.  Each month, our staff spends many hours dissecting these publications to extract every kernel of information that we can use to improve your business… and it’s free.  The list of top publications includes but is not limited to:

·        Electrical Contractor Magazine  (www.ecmag.com)

·        Cabling Business Magazine  (www.cablingbusiness.com)

·        Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine  (www.cable-install.com)

·        Communication News Magazine  (www.comnews.com)

·        Cabling Network Systems Magazine (www.cnsmagazine.com) Canada

·        Network Cabling Magazine  (www.networkcablingmag.ca) Canada

·        Electrical Construction & Maintenance Magazine   (www.ecmweb.com)

·        Building Operating Management Magazine (www.facilitiesnet.com/bom)

·        Buildings Magazine (www.buildings.com)

Don’t delay – jump on the web and sign up for these powerful publications today.  We just finished reviewing the March 2006 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine.  There were so many noteworthy items and articles that we ran out of Post-it notes to mark the pages.  This issue is awesome and we understand the April 2006 issue of EC Mag will be a record breaker filled with information to make your job more successful. 

Several of these outstand publications have granted Wireville.com permission to reprint some of their fine articles and materials.  Our special thanks to these publications for bringing these values to you.  Education is critical to stay competitive.  Recently, I was told that the half-life of a six-year engineering degree was only 2 years.  We must stay focused on the competitive edge that comes from education. 

Another goodie that we found in the pages of Cabling Business Magazine is the new Paladin Tools® PowerPlay™ PT-525 multitool for the communications professional.  I am sure that MacGyver has one of these in his back pocket.  This tool is amazing and it even has the punch down fittings (www.paladin-tools.com).

Safety & Security and Environmental Awareness

Remember: safety is too important to ignore.  Many cabling installers are exposed to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) like asbestos and heavy metals (including LEAD [Pb]) in the dust of some plenum spaces.  Please, make sure that you pre-survey the job sites whenever possible to identify these safety concerns.  Also, make sure the installers are aware of the potential hazards, how to identify them, and how to protect themselves. 

As a rule of thumb, the only sensible way to get the LEAD [Pb] out of the cable is not to use it in the first place.  Remember RoHS www.rohs.gov.uk  (Restriction of Hazardous Substances – a European requirement) certified cables are available in the US marketplace.  In the US, LEAD tainted cabling has been installed for over 35 years.  Almost 95% of the installed communications cable contains high levels of heavy metals.  As these cabling materials degrade over time, they shed dust particles that can contain lethal contaminants.  Not only does the dust offer a job hazard to the installer, but also it isn’t healthy for the building occupants.

Heavy metals should be properly addressed in the waste stream as we remove the abandoned cabling.  One cabling manufacturer that offers top quality cable at very competitive prices with the RoHS compliant construction is HCM (Hitachi Cable Manchester) www.hcm.hitachi.com.  In the world of commercial real estate, we are finding that the building owners and managers are addressing the abandoned cable issues by increasing tenant awareness and requiring the cable clean up as tenant turnover takes place.  In a relatively short time the buildings will have eliminated much of the cable that contains HAZMAT and reduce their cumulative fuel load.  We applaud this responsible focus on the safety and environmental issues of cabling by the Building Owners and Mangers Association International (BOMA – www.boma.org) and NAIOP (National Association of Industrial & Office Properties - www.naiop.org).  

Over the years there have been volumes written about smart buildings.  Numerous commercial ventures have offered the “total solution” for intelligent buildings.  Now we are seeing the reality of automated buildings with intelligent systems – networked nationally and internationally.  The commercial success of these automated systems is gaining widespread acceptance in the US and abroad.  The early acceptance of building automation was primarily in markets outside of the US.  The savings that building owners are capturing in energy savings alone justify the expense to set up these networks.  To learn more visit Continental Automated Buildings Association – CABA www.caba.org.  It’s not big brother watching us…it’s big brother watching over us. 

Automated buildings with surveillance and security systems make for a safer workplace. 

But that’s just my opinion.


Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Note our NEW Address
Communication Planning Corporation
4949 Sunbeam Road, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com

JMME : An Unwavering Voice In The Debate Over Safe And Effective Plastics

JMME, Inc.:  Consultant, Advisor, Advocate and Strategist

JMME, Inc. (http://www.jmme.com) is a consulting firm providing manufacturers, end users and regulators with advice and strategic guidance on the important role plastics play in today’s corporate and personal worlds.  Since its inception, JMME has been dedicated to corporate responsibility for developing safe products, effective protections provided by codes and standards for the safe use of plastic products and the overall protection of sports participants and spectators through effective testing and development of plastic sports equipment.

According to its President, John Moritz, JMME was founded on the principle that public safety can be significantly improved through the effective use of plastics technology.  JMME, Inc. has provided consulting services and strategic analysis on plastics related issues to an international clientele with projects that have spanned 27 countries on four continents.  JMME has undertaken projects ranging from economic deployment of effective resources, to the development of flame retardant plastics or the education and guidance of legislative and regulatory bodies considering local, industry-based or national bans on potentially toxic chemicals used in today’s plastics.

Trade associations have engaged representative services from JMME to achieve consideration of tough issues related to toxicology, economics and impact to governmental infrastructure when proposed bans of commonly used plastic components have arisen in codes and standards.  “JMME has been a leading strategist in the efforts to preserve CMP cable and expose potentially hazardous implications including toxicological and economic impacts related to monopolizing fluoropolymer-based cables through proposed code manipulations since 1996,” according to Moritz.  JMME has also worked to restrict lead use in polymer formulations while preserving crucial infrastructure uses for lead such as lead-acid batteries for telecommunications and emergency back-up power supplies.  In 2004, JMME played an instrumental role in defeating a proposed ban on antimony oxide in Massachusetts, a bill that would have caused a decrease in fire safety and an increase in loss-of-life.

“In 1998, I was a one of only a couple of voices responding to the fluoropolymer industry lobbyists’ calls to eliminate the use of PVC-based CMP cable in plenum applications and I felt that a larger presence was required to educate the users and designers to the implications of the proposed monopoly for fluoropolymer cables in plenum.  Today, JMME has forged alliances with numerous associations, unions and media contacts bringing the resources of thousands to the plenum cable debate.  More importantly, now the true underlying concerns related to smoke toxicity and potential carcinogenic effects of certain polymer components are coming to light,” as recalled by Moritz.

In response to issues raised to NFPA in 2005 regarding the ongoing debate over plenum cable, Maureen Brodoff, Vice President and General Counsel to NFPA stated, “there has been no issue over the last number of years that has occupied more time and attention of NFPA staff and the NFPA Standards Council than issues relating to plenum cable.  Over at least the last three revision cycles, I can attest to the diligence and integrity with which the Standards Council has grappled with the difficult and highly contentious issues and allegations that have been presented… I was present at the meeting you refer to in 1998 when Jim Shannon [now President, NFPA International] met with you to hear your concerns at that time.  He urged you at that time to fully participate and express your concerns within our standards development process.  We greatly appreciate that you have done so and we hope that you will continue to do so, since it is only with the full participation and vigorous advocacy of all interested parties that the standards development system can operate with full effectiveness and fairness in reaching a legitimate consensus on the contentious issues concerning plenum cable.”

Corporate clients have engaged JMME to develop global qualifications programs for plastic materials to ensure effective and consistent selection parameters are used in components including: wire and cable for telecommunications, sealed industrial batteries for emergency or back-up power supply and ABS brake components for automotive and truck applications now molded from high-endurance polymers replacing aluminum blocks to reduce part weight.  With an emphasis on the telecommunications industry and the safe and effective use of plastics, including flame retardant grades in building applications, JMME has remained focused on the overall impact plastics have on building occupants during emergency scenarios.  In summarizing his position on developing fire safe polymer systems Moritz stated, “It does little good for public safety to provide fire protection for buildings, especially high-rise offices, if the products used produce aggressive toxic agents that could impair the ability of occupants to evacuate even in areas where fire has not spread, but heat has been conducted.  All smoke is toxic, but there are levels of toxicity that must be considered and, in my opinion, quite frankly are being ignored due to economic interests.”

JMME, Inc. currently provides guidance in the development of codes, standards, regulations and legislation at many levels.  With contributing positions on code bodies where guidance on plastics related issues are concerned, JMME is active with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ASTM International while also providing advocate services to many legislatures proposing cutting edge chemical legislation including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maine, California, and Washington, DC.  John Moritz is also a USA Hockey accredited ice hockey and inline hockey referee contributing standards and rules input to the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) and the Ice Hockey Safety Subcommittee of ASTM F08.

In the opinion of James T. Dollard, Jr., Safety Coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 98 Philadelphia, PA, "John Moritz has proven himself to be a vigilant defender of the consensus process in the development and modification of codes and standards. As a fellow committee member, I commend John for his passion, dedication and tireless efforts to derail the runaway fluoropolymer train. I look forward to working with John and JMME in the development/modification of codes and standards. We share Johns' passion for safety though technically sound modifications to existing standards and his dedication to maintain the integrity of the code development process."

In addition to hundreds of proposals to code making bodies, John Moritz has also presented numerous white papers on the issues surrounding plenum cable and the effective design of flame retardant polyolefin compounds including in children’s playgrounds.  His paper Pending Changes in Fire Code and the Potential Impact on Plenum Wire and Cable Market (10/04/1998) has become the cornerstone for advocacy programs that have prevented the manipulation of the codes process by a singular group for economic benefit.  These papers are available in PDF format at the JMME website in the Newsroom.

Frank Bisbee, President of Communication Planning Corporation has developed his own opinion of the positions and strategies coming from JMME.  According to Frank, “John Moritz has persisted in his charge against enormous odds.  JMME is a true David taking on the Goliath of fluoropolymers to preserve the integrity of the codes process and promote safety for all building occupants that could be potentially exposed to toxic chemicals.  His ability to distill competitive strategy, identify a course of action and maintain a steady focus when his may be the lone voice seeking technical justification for proposed changes speaks to the dedication demonstrated time and again by Mr. Moritz and his passion to save lives.”

JMME is currently taking on client projects.  Inquiries are encouraged and welcomed.  Current projects include corporate/industry related advocacy of plastics and the development or enhancement of plastics products and programs.  JMME provides a grass-roots commitment to public safety for your company or trade association and is dedicated to a true consensus process.  For more information on the consulting services and codes and standards advocacy programs offered by JMME, Inc., please contact John Moritz, President, JMME, Inc., 701 Broadmoor Drive, Blue Bell, PA 19422-4205 at (610) 292-9814 or visit our website at www.jmme.com.

Electrical Safety Month Begins in May - ESFI

May is National Electrical Safety Month—time to begin year-round electrical safety awareness efforts, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

“Despite the fact that improved product safety engineering, standards and electrical codes have reduced electrical hazards, thousands suffer from electrical shock and fires each year,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner.

To increase electrical safety awareness and protect those at home and in the workplace, ESFI has developed an electrical safety tool kit that includes statistics on electrical hazards and recommendations to avoid electrical shock, burns and fires.

Electricity kills nearly 400 people and injures thousands more each year. Most of these deaths and injuries could be avoided with an increased awareness of electrical safety, such as noting locations of power lines when working outside. Power line contact with construction equipment, ladders, and gardening tools are among the leading cause of electrocutions. Use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against lethal electrical currents can also reduce electrocutions.

Estimates indicate electricity causes 140,000 fires each year. These fires kill hundreds of people, injure thousands more, and cost billions of dollars in property damage. Aging electrical systems, combined with the growing power demands, contribute to electrical fire hazards. Overloaded circuits, flickering lights, and discolored electrical outlets and light switch face plates, point to the need for electrical upgrades. Addressing these hazards can save lives, reduce injuries and cut economic losses caused by electrical fires.  www.electrical-safety.org  

Belden CDT Sells Manchester, U.K. Operations

Belden CDT Inc. (NYSE: BDC - News) announced the sale of its telecommunications operation in Manchester, England, to Manchester Cables Limited, trading as B3 Cable Solutions, for an undisclosed amount.

The buyer has arranged a supply agreement with the operation's principal customer, British Telecom plc (BT). Key management and most employees are transferring with the business.

Larrie Rose, President of Belden CDT Europe, said, "We are pleased to have reached a sale agreement that works well for BT, our associates, and our Company."

John Stroup, President and Chief Executive Officer of Belden CDT, said, "Our exit from this business is consistent with the continuous refinement of our market focus. It will free management's attention to work on raising the profitability of the rest of our European business portfolio."  www.beldencdt.com .

Pete Lockhart Of Anixter Receives Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award

The Wire & Cable Manufacturers Alliance, Inc. has selected Anixter’s own Pete Lockhart, Vice President of Technology, as one of only eight 2006 Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award recipients. The award recognizes industry professionals on a national scale that has made significant commercial or technical contributions over a minimum 25-year career. Each candidate is nominated then individually selected to receive the award by a Selection Committee of over one hundred prior Award recipients.

Pete raises the bar when it comes to being a distinguished professional in the industry. He possesses a high degree of credibility industry wide and has represented Anixter well for the last 17 years. During his employment at Anixter, Pete has made significant contributions in every role he has held with Anixter including product manager, marketing manager, and currently, the vice president of technology/new testing. Pete was instrumental in launching the Anixter  Levels program and Levels Lab in the nineties. His most recent accomplishment involved getting Anixter’s state-of-the art Security Lab off the ground. The lab has become the center for providing the best practical video surveillance solutions from the best-of-breed suppliers in the industry today.

The Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award was established in 1985 in memory of Charles Scott, founder and president of Northeast Wire. Scott was known and respected by his industry peers for his contributions as a company owner and advocate of the wire and cable industry. The 22nd annual Awards Dinner and Investiture Ceremony will take place April 8th, 2006, in Windsor, Connecticut. Pete says receiving peer to peer recognition is as good as it gets, and he is very honored to accept this award. He shares in his success with wife Sharry and daughter Courtney. They reside in Third Lake, IL. www.anixter.com

Corning Cable Systems Plug & Play OSP Systems Provide Quick, Cost-Effective Fiber Deployment In Outside Plant LANs

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, introduces Plug & Play OSP Systems. The innovative system allows for quicker and more cost-effective installations in the outside plant local area network (LAN).

The Plug & Play OSP System consists of an optical cable pre-installed with network access points at customer-specified intervals and a tethered, environmentally hardened MT connector. Once distance measurements for network access point locations are obtained, the Plug & Play OSP System is manufactured and tested. The entire system is then packaged and shipped to the customer on a cable reel for immediate deployment.

The MT network access points consist of a patented, flexible pre-installed overmold closure. A flat drop tether cable is attached to the network access point and terminated with an environmentally hardened and factory-tested MT connector. When network connection is required at the drop location, the customer has several drop options: a 12-fiber MTP® Connector, standard connector type (LC, SC, etc.) or an OptiSheath Advantage MultiPort Terminal (which can be configured with four, six, eight or 12 drop cable ports).

Compatible with both below-ground and aerial applications, Corning Cable Systems’ Plug & Play OSP Systems allow network installation to be completed much more efficiently and at speeds up to 50 percent faster than traditional field installations, with total deployment cost savings of up to 20 percent.

Corning Cable Systems Plug & Play OSP Systems allow for efficient workforce management, with the option of deploying more highly skilled workers to other areas of the network. At the same time, the risk of reworks and failures is reduced due to each cable in the system being factory tested before shipping to the customer. 

The Plug & Play OSP System is a Corning Cable Systems LANscape® Solutions product. Corning Cable Systems will be featuring the system and other LANscape Solutions products in its booth (#2707) at FOSE 2006, March 7-9 in Washington, D.C. www.corning.com/cablesystems.

HCM Introduces Lifetime Warranty

Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM), a respected name in the manufacture of communications cables, has announced that it plans to offer a lifetime warranty and application assurance on all registered structured cabling projects that consist of HCM cable and an approved connectivity manufacturer.  The warranty will cover both HCM cable and the connectivity, which includes jacks, patch panels and other passive termination equipment.

“We have a large number of certified installers across the country that can now offer a lifetime warranty on installation projects that include our cables” said Steven Kenney, Marketing Manager for HCM.  The warranty will cover not only the cable and connectivity itself, but will guarantee the performance characteristics of the solution for a lifetime, which HCM defines as the usable life of the building in which the cable is installed. 

“We believe that in many applications, such as schools, municipal facilities and hospitals, our products could reside for a significant amount of time.  We want our customers to know that we will stand behind our products.  Also, our open architecture program allows customers to use our cable in conjunction with any component compliant connectivity and receive the lifetime warranty. ”

Since 1986, HCM, located in Manchester, NH, has been manufacturing cable for the communication industry.  With their electronic cable division, HMC manufactures over 3,200 different cable products at its facility. www.hcm.hitachi.com. 

NECA Issues Second Yearbook CD Of Installation Standards

The annual digital compilation of National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) ®, NECA’s performance standards for electrical construction and maintenance, is now available on CD. Thirty-one standards covering a range of electrical product installations are included in the 2005 Yearbook of NEIS. “This year’s collection includes the very popular NECA 410-2005 Standard for Installing and Maintaining Liquid-Filled Transformers,” said Brooke Stauffer, executive director for standards and safety at NECA.

NEIS are the first quality and performance standards for electrical construction. They are used primarily by consulting engineers, facility managers and professionals who design and specify electrical construction projects. NEIS cover the full range of products and systems installed by professional electrical contractors, from high-voltage switchgear to lighting fixtures to fiber optic communications systems.

NEIS have are also available individually in hard copy and as .PDF downloads from NECA’s website.

The 2005 Yearbook of NEIS is an economical solution for users of NECA’s performance standards. The 2005 annual CD is priced at $150 for NECA members ($300 for non-members); as opposed to $450 for NECA members for the complete set of National Electrical Installation Standards paper books ($900 for non-members). Customers who bought the CD last year will be given a substantial discount when they purchase this year’s CD.

ORDERING INFORMATION: The new 2005 NEIS Yearbook is $150 for NECA members, with quantity discounts available. Contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or orderdesk@necanet.org.  www.necanet.org

ACUTA Conference Registration Now Open

We are pleased to announce the on-line availability of preliminary information and registration for The Association of Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education's (ACUTA's) 35th Annual Conference & Exhibition, July 23-27, at the beautiful Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California.

The Conference will provide you with unequalled networking opportunities - both formal and informal, valuable sessions to help you be successful in your career, insightful keynote and general session presentations, and an exciting exhibit hall designed to show you the latest technologies and services.

Please go to http://www.acuta.org/events/annual_conference/sce06.cfm. This link will provide you with session descriptions, registration and hotel information, and a list of current exhibitors and sponsors.  Additional content will be added as it becomes available.

If you would like a printed version of the brochure, or more information on ACUTA, please reply to this e-mail.

Registrations are already coming in - we look forward to receiving yours.

ACUTA, The Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education http://www.acuta.org

Fluke Networks Introduces New Network Service Module For Its DTX CableAnalyzer™

Now users can deliver improved services to end users, eliminate callbacks and reduce network downtime by documenting cable certification and link verification in one consolidated report.

Fluke Networks has introduced a new Network Service Module for its DTX CableAnalyzer™ series that makes it possible for the first time to verify and document link connectivity along with the cable certification, all with a single instrument.  The new module enables technicians to follow industry best practices that recommend verifying the link connectivity after certifying each cabling link and documenting all test results in one report.  This allows technicians to eliminate callbacks, reduce network downtime and expand services to end users.

Three Critical Tests, One Report

Successful technicians follow a three-step process for installing network cable and activating network service.  The first step is certifying the cabling infrastructure meets TIA/ISO Standards requirements.  Next is to ensure that service can be activated by verifying network service availability and verifying link connectivity to the network.  Last, all test results should be documented into one consolidated report.  The DTX CableAnalyzer with the new Network Service Module is the only tester that can perform both cable certification and network verification tests and produce one report with all results.

"Technicians can offer their customers improved service by providing a single report that documents network service availability, link connectivity and cable certification test results," said Hugo Draye, Fluke Networks' Marketing Manager for Certification Products. "They can provide clear evidence that the job was done right - according to standards and best practices."

The "Best Practice" approach yields higher uptime, productivity

By following industry best practices, technicians can provide the highest level of assurance to their customers.  Technicians can avoid callbacks while lowering network downtime.  They will also have more time to focus on priority projects

"The ability to document certification and connectivity in a single report will be useful for technicians so they can demonstrate to their customers that they not only certified link performance but have also turned up the service," said Draye. The new module will also allow technicians to improve the quality of their historical documentation."

Verifying connectivity to the network

The Network Service Module pulls an IP address from the DHCP server, then pings the default router and DNS server. It also makes it possible for the technician to assign IP addresses manually. The Network Service Module determines the data rate and network technology, including 10 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s and 1 Gb/s Ethernet and half or full duplex.  The tester also determines the Ethernet utilization of the link under test as a percentage of available bandwidth. The tester also verifies proper connectivity by blinking the switch or hub port activity light of the port where the link is connected.

Verifying Power over Ethernet (PoE)

The Network Service Module also verifies the presence of Power Supply Equipment (PSE) on a link and tests the delivery of proper voltage levels for powered devices for Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), network cameras, and wireless access points. The Network Service Module verifies that the PSE delivers power compliant with alternative A or B in the IEEE 802.3af standard. The Network Service Module can also act as a PSE and supply up to 30 mA at 48 VDC to power small devices.

The DTX CableAnalyzer provides a 9-second Auto test, three times faster than conventional testers, for Cat 6 links that meet TIA-568-B certification requirements for structured cabling warranties. The DTX is the only independently verified TIA Accuracy Level IV tester to meet ISO Level IV and proposed TIA Level IIIe Accuracy requirements. The DTX's 900 MHz frequency range makes it capable of meeting future applications such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Class F, and CATV. Resident fiber modules make it possible to switch between copper and fiber with the push of a button.

Product availability

The Network Service Module for Fluke Networks' DTX CableAnalyzer is available for immediate delivery through Fluke Networks' distributors and sales partners worldwide.

www.flukenetworks.com 

LEED Certification Process Goes Paperless

In a move designed to speed up and simplify the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has moved the certification process online. 

This is a direct result of market research surveys and user feedback that called the process costly and cumbersome.

“Gone are the days when project teams were required to submit binders of documentation, requiring hours of manual preparation,” said Tom Hicks, vice president of LEED, USGBC. “Our users said they wanted something easier to use and accessible online, and we have met and, we hope, exceeded their expectations with these refinements.”

The new online process is as follows:

Step1:  Project Registration: Register a project online at www.usgbc.org. This gives users access to tools and support for getting the project certified. Fees do apply.

Step2:  Technical Support: Three levels of technical support are available to project team—the LEED Reference Guide, customer support staff and formal credit interpretation requests (CIRs).

Step3:  Optional Design Review: After completing a design, a user can submit  design-phase credits to lock them in and receive early feedback that the project is on track for certification.

Step4: Building Certification: Submit project documentation to USGBC through LEED Online. Following review, the USGBC will award the appropriate certification level.

In addition, the online certification process is 100 percent paperless, using Adobe LiveCycle technology interface. The program allows project team members to upload credit templates, track CIRs, manage key project details, contact customer service and communicate with reviewers.

Project teams have the option of submitting documentation in two separate phases: design and construction.

Documentation requirements have also been aligned so existing instruments of service are accepted. Additionally, the credit review process has been made much more user-friendly. The USGBC is also taking steps to make customer feedback and interaction a major part of the LEED process.

None of the improvements affect the LEED rating system. Fees do apply and they differ between members and nonmembers. For more information on the system and the cost of registration, visit www.usgbc.org or e-mail leedinfo@usgbc.org.    EC

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com

March 2006 issue

Testing the Expert March 2006:CBM

Question:

“I was recently hired as technician in our IT department. Performing MACs and troubleshooting will be part of my daily work. What steps should I follow to ensure the job gets done right?”

Answer:

In addition to project work, technician’s daily maintenance work includes activating new services, upgrading new infrastruc­ture, performing Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs) or troubleshooting cabling or link connectivity problems.  To ensure that these tasks are performed according to standards and best practices, technicians should develop a consistent set of work habits, and follow them for all jobs they perform.

When performing MACs, the best recommendation for technicians is to follow a 4-step process.  The first step is to add and/or remove old cabling and hardware.  Second, the tech should test and certify that the cabling link meets the performance requirements of the TIA/EIA-568-B standards. The third step is to ensure that service can be activated by verifying network service availability and verifying link connectivity to the network.  Verifying network service availability is performed by determining whether a telecom port is active, identifying port’s data rate and duplex capabilities, and whether power is available for PoE.  Verifying link connectivity (up to 1 GbE) is performed by pinging the default router at 10, 100 or 1000 Mb/s or by using the DHCP server to get an IP address.  Last, all test results should be documented into one consolidated report. 

When troubleshooting cabling or link connectivity problems, technicians should follow a five-step process.  The first step is to identify and diagnose the problem.  Next, correct the problem that needs to be fixed. After the problem has been corrected, the tech should re-certify that the cabling link meets the performance requirements of the TIA/EIA-568-B standard. Once the link is certified, step four is to test the link to ensure that service can be activated by verifying network service availability and verifying link connectivity to the network.  Finally, all test results should be documented into one consolidated report. 

A certification tool that provides active network testing capability helps the technician complete these tasks faster.  All required tasks can be performed with one tool. 

The most versatile tool a technician can use should verify and document the availabil­ity of network services over a cabling link.  It should be simple to operate and quickly provides powerful, valuable information that expands vision into the network.  The technician needs a tool that can verify link connectivity with key devices, like servers or gateways using the Ethernet ping function up to 1 GbE.  The tool used should be able to check link utilization and error conditions, verify the presence of power supply equipment on a link, and then document all the network connectivity tests along with the cable certification test results in a single report. 

Documenting certification and network connectivity in a single report helps technicians demonstrate to their customers, management or end users that they not only certified link performance but have also turned up the service on the link.  By following industry best practices as outlined above, technicians eliminate callbacks, reduce network downtime and provide the highest level of assurance to their customers that the job was done right.

Answer supplied by Gary Ger, Datacom Business Unit Manager for Fluke Networks.

Reprinted with permission of Cabling Business Magazine www.cablingbusiness.com

Mach 2006 issue

NAHB Notes Builder Confidence Virtually Unchanged In March

A one-point decline in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for March indicates that housing demand and sales are gradually returning to a sustainable pace that is right in line with our forecasts, said NAHB today.

"Today's HMI provides the latest evidence of a predicted and orderly cooling process for the nation's single-family new-home market, which easily hit record highs in 2005," said NAHB President David Pressly, a home builder from Statesville, N.C.

Noting that the confidence gauge has remained within a narrow two-point range for four consecutive months following a retreat from its peak in mid-2005, NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders attributed March's slight downshift to eroding affordability conditions as well as a gradual withdrawal of investor demand in some areas.

"Rising interest rates and high rates of home-price appreciation have raised the bar for homeownership to beyond what some families can reach," he noted. "Meanwhile, a retreat of short-term investors from certain markets is helping restore equilibrium between supply and demand."

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for nearly 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as either "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

March's HMI, at 55, represented a one-point decline from February's downwardly revised 56 reading, which followed two consecutive months at 57. There was slight erosion of the index's three components in the latest report, with single-point declines in the gauges for current single-family sales and traffic of prospective buyers and a two-point decline in sales expectations for the next six months. Both the current and expected sales components remained well in the positive range, at 60 and 62, respectively.

Builder confidence declined in all regions but the Midwest in March, where it rebounded seven points to 39 from an exceptionally low point of 32 in February. Even so, the Midwest remained the region with the lowest confidence gauge, while the West remained the region with the strongest builder confidence (at 67) despite a six-point decline that erased a gain equal to that amount in February. The Northeast and South also remained in the positive range, with a two-point decline to 55 and a four-point decline to 58, respectively. www.nahb.org/hmi.

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 225,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.  Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country.  NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the more than 1.93 million new housing units projected for 2006, making housing one of the largest engines of economic growth in the country.

Milner Irvin Takes the Wheel – ECMAG

By Darlene Bremer

E. Milner Irvin III, who began his three-year tenure as president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) this January, has a long history in the electrical construction industry. Currently president of Miami-based Riverside Electric Co., Irvin entered Local 349 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) as an apprentice in 1961. He became a journeyman electrician in 1964 while working for Riverside Electric, his grandfather’s company. Irvin got his master electrician’s license in 1965 and, in the intervening years, held the positions of foreman, general foreman, estimator and chief estimator before purchasing Riverside Electric in partnership with his younger brother, Richard, in 1984.

At the time Eugene M. Irvin Sr. established Riverside Electric in 1922, the company consisted of two electricians and a Model T pickup truck. His son, E. Milner Irvin, Jr., ran the company from 1945 until he retired in 1984, when the current generation purchased the company. Today, there is an average of 30 to 40 electricians working for Riverside Electric and the company books about $5 to $10 million a year in sales.

“In the 83-plus years since its inception, Riverside Electric has been involved in a broad range of projects,” Irvin said.

In the early years, most of the business was residential service related. From the early 1950s until the mid-1960s, the company was also a Hotpoint Appliance Dealer and sold refrigerators, ranges, water heaters and dishwashers. From the early 1930s through 1983, the company’s emphasis was on larger new construction projects, primarily commercial in nature.

“In the early 1980s, we formed an alliance with IBM and started offering low-voltage system installations,” Irvin said.

The low-voltage business, known today as integrated building systems (IBS), accounted for more than half of Riverside Electric’s total sales.

“Today, because of increased competition, IBS projects account for only about 10 percent of the business,” he said.

From the mid-1980s through the late 1990s, Riverside Electric’s business emphasis shifted to commercial service and remodeling work.

“We’ve returned to performing work on medium-sized new commercial and industrial construction projects, with some commercial service and remodeling work thrown into the mix,” he said.

Some of the jobs the company has had recently have resulted from the violent hurricane season experienced throughout Florida in 2005. For example, the company performed a complete rebuild of the electrical services to the piers at the Broward Marina, including the installation of a new main power distribution system and step-down transformers. The company is also working at the American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat basketball team. Riverside Electric is responsible for installing the power distribution system as well as control wiring for special-effects lighting for concerts and other events.

Other recent jobs for Riverside Electric include installing both power and low-voltage systems, such as CATV, telephone, security and computer wiring for the Dade County Public School system and installing uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems for point-of-sales (POS) computers for about 50 Home Depot stores throughout Florida.

“These jobs share the same challenge as so many others do, and that is their remote locations,” Irvin said.

Riverside Electric has had to arrange for housing for any electricians not hired locally and deals constantly with the logistical problems of ensuring that supervisory personnel can visit the sites on a regular basis.

“It’s just one more [cost] that is incurred,” he said.

Incurring such extra costs is a constant concern for a smaller company such as Riverside Electric.

“It can be difficult for a smaller contractor to get the necessary financing,” he said.

However, a smaller contractor can be more competitive in pricing smaller jobs and Irvin has not found Riverside Electric’s size to be a hindrance, but an advantage when it comes to being more responsive and flexible in meeting customers’ needs.

“A smaller contractor absolutely must find a niche in which it can develop expertise and a reputation for performing the type of work that fits its skills and craftsman levels,” he said.

The personal side:

Irvin and his wife Caroline have been married for more than 44 years and have two children. Their daughter, Susan, lives in Peoria, Ill., with her husband, Mathew, and four children. Their son, Jim, who represents the fourth generation working for Riverside Electric, is married to Dania. They have two children.

Irvin has been interested in flying since his father got an airplane in 1959. He earned his own pilot’s license in 1960 and has owned several airplanes over the years; he just sold his helicopter in 2005. In addition, between 1974 and 1987, Irvin drove Unlimited Hydroplanes—a professional series of boat races with speeds in excess of 180 mph, winning a world championship in 1983.

In 1990, Irvin and his son started racing sports cars in several Sports Car Club of America (SCAA) classes.

“We competed in the pro series of Formula Atlantic races in 1997 and finished second in our category,” he said.

Irvin and his son also have motorcycles, using them to ride through the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina.

Irvin’s passion for fast boats and cars is as steadfast as his life philosophy and belief in treating people with courtesy and respect.

“I’ve always followed this philosophy and it has allowed me to develop a great number of friends in all walks of life,” he said.

Industry trends and vision

“It’s pretty obvious that the electrical contracting industry is becoming much more technical,” Irvin said.

In addition to installing wiring for power, today’s electrical contractor is responsible for voice/data/video wiring, computer-controlled energy management systems, and security and fire and life safety systems, naming just a few. These types of installations, according to Irvin, necessitate a much more skilled electrician.

“NECA, IBEW and the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) realized this more than 10 years ago and, in response, have developed the most advanced training of any industry in the world,” Irvin said.

The industry is also seeing an increase in the use of design-build delivery and the need for contractors to design the project from inception to installation.

“Owners are primarily the ones pushing for design-build delivery to get a clearer picture of their final needs and to deal with as few suppliers as possible,” Irvin said.

The most major issue facing the industry is the looming shortage of qualified workers. The Construction Labor Research Council has published a study entitled Craft Labor Supply Outlook 2005–2015, which demonstrates that the industry needs to take in 185,000 new workers annually to solve the problem.

“NECA and its industry partners have a number of programs in development to increase recruitment efforts and to encourage younger workers to join electrical construction by demonstrating the training and career opportunities that are available,” Irvin said.

Presidential plans

Irvin comes to the presidency with a long history. Riverside Electric became a NECA member in 1949 in response to the nationwide union movement during that decade. Irvin’s father served on several committees on the chapter level, and Irvin himself has served on the South Florida Chapter Board of Directors (BOD) since 1978. He has also served on a number of committees, including the apprenticeship and program committees and as a trustee on the South Florida Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund. He served as chapter treasurer from 1979 to 1991, as chapter president from 1992 to 1994 and as chapter governor from 1994 through 2001.

On the national level, Irvin served on the Council of Industrial Relations (CIR) and is a member of the Academy of Electrical Contracting. In 2001, he was elected NECA’s District III vice president and, in that position, served as chairman of NECA’s Manpower Development Committee (now known as the Workforce Development Committee) and as co-chair of the NJATC for three years. In 2004, Irvin was also co-chair of the CIR.

Irvin believes that continuing to implement the 17 points developed by the joint NECA/IBEW Labor Relations Task Force in its Mission 2004 statement and developing other areas of cooperation, will help the union electrical construction industry gain market share.

“Another area I believe needs attention is how we disseminate information to our members,” Irvin said of his plans.

 Although NECA distributes information to its members in written form, Irvin believes it is not being read.

“I think that the demographics have changed. Younger members get more of their news and information from electronic sources. NECA needs to continue to develop, and better publicize, its Web site and electronic newsletter to better reach both its current members and the public at large,” he said.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com

CommScope Hikes Cable Prices

CommScope (NYSE:CTV - News) raised prices for fiber optic cables in its enterprise business segment.

Increase in prices of commodity materials used in fiber optic cables coupled with a rise in the cost of energy and transportation has led to the price escalation, the company said. The new prices are expected to take effect in the second quarter of 2006 and will apply to fiber cables sold under both the Uniprise and Systimax Solutions brands.

"Our ongoing commitment is to offer our customers the most value at a competitive price. However, in light of recent and pending increases in our costs of doing business, we must try to recover our costs.", said the company. www.commscope.com

Molex Premise Networks Launches It’s 2006 Product & Applications Guide

Molex Premise Networks has launched its 2006 Product & Applications Guide, offering a diverse product portfolio for all media types.  The 128-page publication features the latest information on Molex System Solutions, up-to-date technical specifications and reference material.

Several additions have been made to the new catalog, including the ScTP product range, UTP and fiber optic cable, newly designed ModLink cassettes and cables, and much more. 

The catalog offers detailed information on Molex’s complete range of solutions and products in the following categories:

• Real Time™ Intelligent Infrastructure Management Systems

• Lightband™ Fiber Solutions

• PowerCat Copper Solutions

• Outlet Solutions

• Cable Management

• Tools, Testers & Accessories 

www.molexpn.com

Integrated Growth

According to a report by the ARC Advisory Group Inc., Dedham, Mass., steady growth will push the global market for automated building systems to more than $25 billion in 2009, with market expansion over the next five years expected to compound at an annual growth rate of nearly 5 percent. The need for these advanced automated building systems-which are also known as integrated building systems (IBS)-is partially being driven by increased enterprise integration as companies across all vertical markets begin to understand the value of integrating automated building systems to improve information management and optimize strategic decision-making processes.

"The continued growth of the integrated building systems market can be attributed to technological advances and changes, the price and availability of energy, the reliability of traditional utility sources, and the need to decrease the vulnerability of security systems though more sophisticated alarm, monitoring, and evacuation protocols," said Dr. Thomas Glavinich, associate chair and associate professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Kansas, and frequent contributor to Electrical Contractor magazine.

Market growth is also being driven by building owners' increased demands for single, integrated systems that allow one computer to monitor and control the entire building's operation. "This trend in the demand for IBS is just developing and we expect the concept to gain more widespread market acceptance in a few short years," said Don Tennyson, A&E business development manager for Pelco, Clovis, Calif.

What is IBS?

IBS can be defined as narrowly or as broadly as desired. Broadly speaking, IBS encompasses all building systems-including mechanical, traditional electrical power, communications and automation-and control systems-such as building management, lighting control, communications backbone and structured cabling systems.

"This approach focuses on the building as a self-contained system," Glavinich said.

The narrow definition of an IBS focuses on individual systems, allowing the building owner to integrate HVAC systems with lighting and building management systems, for example.

"IBS integrates all of the building systems, or components of systems, to make a single operational system that fulfills the owner's particular needs," said Bob Segner, professor of Construction Science at the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University.

Although systems such as HVAC, lighting and controls, telecommunications, data networks, process controls, energy management and elevator controls are being integrated in building automation systems, it has only been recently that security, access control and life safety systems have been included.

"This new trend is being driven by building owners' desire to have a sole source deliver their systems and to deal with fewer vendors and installers," Tennyson said.

Technological and market trends

One of the more recent technological advances helping to drive the growing acceptance of IBS is the availability of open architecture control system protocols that are not proprietary and can be designed and installed in accordance with the particular needs of the building owner or occupant.

"Open architecture communication protocols provide the owner with the ability to pick and choose the hardware and software that will interoperate in the most efficient manner and allow the building's systems to communicate easily," Glavinich said.

In particular, open connectivity through open standards (OPC) ensures interoperability through the creation and maintenance of open standards specifications. There are currently seven standards specifications completed or in development.

"In the past, each system had its own specific controls. OPC allows system interoperability and fluid communication. This means it costs less for the initial installation and programming," Tennyson said.

There is a downside to open connectivity architecture, however. Not many engineering firms or electrical contractors are currently able to provide these systems because industry expertise has not yet caught up with the technology.

"Plus, building owners are somewhat hesitant concerning the level of customization involved in open architecture systems and their ability to deliver what is required," Glavinich said.

New network communication protocols also provide the ability for integrated security systems to be remotely monitored and controlled. In addition, speeds are faster, bandwidths are wider, costs are coming down and storage capabilities are increasing.

IBS benefits

IBS provides building owners with a fully integrated building with systems that operate more efficiently in terms of energy consumption and more effectively for occupants in terms of productivity.

"Traditionally, the industry has focused on optimizing individual system operations, leading to a collection of systems that did not communicate," Glavinich said.

Now the trend is to look at a building as a single system with components that work together for optimal operation. With an electrical contractor that can install and maintain an IBS, the building owner gets someone who understands the technology, the right products to meet the building's needs, the expertise to choose and install the systems, and a sole source for the building's entire operational system.

"The electrical contractor is in a position to provide building owners with the necessary expertise to determine which technologies and products will meet their needs," Segner said.

When IBS is well designed, the electrical contractor has the ability to share wiring between the security system and others, such as the communications backbones, the structured cabling wiring and the computer networks.

"This can seriously reduce the labor and installation costs and make the electrical contractor more competitive in its bid," said Howard Levinson, president of Howard Services, Franklin, Mass.

However, since IBS is technologically more advanced, there is currently a smaller percentage of people in the industry that are qualified to design, install or serve the systems.

Stand and deliver

Design-build is generally the best delivery method for IBS projects. According to Glavinich, design-build provides the customer with more value because it integrates the design and construction processes for a more efficiently delivered project that better meets the owner's needs and expectations.

"Design-build provides owners with a sole source to design, install, service, and maintain the building's entire operational system," Segner said.

In addition, design-build provides the owner with a single point of responsibility, that is, a single source to deal with, reducing delays and conflicts.

There are risks to keep in mind, however, including the material, equipment and labor inherent in an IBS installation; the operation, servicing and proper functioning of the systems following their installation; and in providing warranty services for installed systems.

Design-build also provides the electrical contractor with the opportunity to specify whatever manufacturer's products and equipment will best fulfill the owner's requirements.

"When offering design-build, the electrical contractor will be more successful if it focuses on delivering value when specifying products and equipment, rather than focusing solely on cost," Tennyson said.

Customers today, he believes, are increasingly concerned with value and long-term reliability rather than initial price and are realizing that "cheapest is not always best."

However, design-build is not necessarily the delivery method of choice for security systems, according to Levinson. He believes that there is a conflict if a company that designs a system also provides the equipment.

"The most appropriate company to design a security system is one that is trained, knowledgeable, and that is impartial, with no investment in what products will be specified," he said.

Creating opportunities

A new generation of technology is born every 18 months to two years, making it impossible to foresee today the direction the market will take or how it will change. But according to Segner, the IBS market represents an incredible opportunity for the electrical contracting firm that is positioned to take advantage of it.

"To position itself, the electrical contractor needs to study the market and be prepared to invest in training personnel to work effectively in it," he said.

It is currently the lack of personnel who are knowledgeable about managing IBS projects that is a key limiting factor in firms' entering and being successful in the IBS market. But because IBS work is often done on a design-build basis, the firm's ability to use creativity and imagination, as well as acquired knowledge, are the keys to success.

The best way for an electrical contractor to separate from the competition is to become the sole source provider of IBS for the customer.

"If the electrical contractor is on the cutting-edge of technology and has the expertise to provide both building automation and security systems, it will have the advantage over its competition," Tennyson said.

Once the contractor has the expertise, it must market its ability to provide completely integrated systems first to its existing customer base.

"Be prepared to demonstrate what savings and efficiencies are gained from building integration. The necessary knowledge can be obtained from the manufacturers and service providers that are on the forefront of the technology," Glavinich said.

The successful contractor will take a partnering approach to IBS projects, he added, by working closely with owners to achieve their operational objectives and by establishing relationships now with the manufacturers that will provide the training and certification as the technology is developed. Success is achieved by providing value to the customer and always demonstrating that the final system is the one that will fulfill its needs, said Levinson.

IBS represents a tremendous growth opportunity and is a market that has been predicted to, in time, dwarf the traditional power distribution market.

"IBS is a relatively new market, with all of the inherent growth opportunities, in contrast to traditional electrical contracting, which is much more mature and highly competitive," Segner said. EC


Written by Darlene Bremer
Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
March 2006 issue

CABA To Establish The Group Of 12 Steering Committee


 The CABA Board of Directors, after reviewing a CABA Intelligent &
 Integrated Buildings Council recommendation, agreed that CABA should take 
 
 a strong
 leadership role in having the Technology Roadmap for Intelligent 
 Buildings updated (www.caba.org/trm). As an organization involved in the large
 building sector, you may have interest in participating in this important
 project. We are now moving forward to establish the Group of 12 (G -12)
 Steering Committee that will oversee this project for CABA and the industry.
 Please contact 
Guy Millaire, CABA's Technical  Director, at 613.990.7409; mailto:millaire@caba.org or 
 myself if you wish to discuss this opportunity further or if you wish to participate.
 Therefore, please respond with a return email:
 
 1. YES _____ NO ______ Our organization would like to become a part of
 the
 G - 10 and help develop the new Intelligent Buildings Roadmap.
 
 2. YES _____ NO ______ Please contact me as we are interested in
 participating in this project and please forward a detailed information pack.
 
 The participation is limited to the first 12 organizations that make a
 formal commitment and we already have commitments from 
eight CABA members to participate.

 We look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your interest and support of CABA.
 
 Regards,
 
 Ron Zimmer, President & CEO
 Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)
 
 P: 613.990.7408
 F: 613.991.9990
 
 mailto:zimmer@caba.org
 http://www.caba.org

NEMA Praises Congressional Passage Of Legislation On Counterfeiting

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association praised final congressional passage of the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act today. The legislation, which amends the U.S. criminal code prohibiting trafficking in counterfeiting goods, will now be sent to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

“The passage of this legislation represents three years of legislative effort by NEMA. Working actively with several other industry associations and professional societies, we were able to raise congressional awareness of the harm caused by counterfeiting and to arm the Justice Department with improved enforcement tools in the war on counterfeiting,” said NEMA President and Chief Executive Officer Evan Gaddis. “NEMA acknowledges the leadership of Representative Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), who introduced the legislation, and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who recognized that this was an important bipartisan issue.”

The legislation stipulates that trafficking in counterfeit packaging, labels, tags, and containers is a criminal offense, even if there are no goods attached to or contained in the packaging, containers, labels, or tags. The bill broadens judicial authority to order forfeiture and seizure of counterfeit product, the equipment and tools used to facilitate trafficking in counterfeit goods and packaging, and the proceeds of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The bill also recognizes that import and export trade involving counterfeit products is criminally culpable conduct, and that bartering or even free transactions in counterfeit goods can lead to liability.  www.nema.org

FOA Offers Fiber To The Premise/Home Certification

The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. (FOA) has introduced a new certification program for Fiber To The Home/Premises (FTTx) technicians to be offered through the network of FOA-approved training organizations. Many of the 140+ FOA-approved schools are expected to offer specialized training and certification based on the FOA CFxT (Certified FTTx Technician) program.


Fiber is now gaining acceptance in the final frontier of telephone networks, the "last mile," the connection to the home. Many homes are connected with aging, low performance copper telephone wire that cannot even support DSL connection speeds to allow the phone companies to compete with the cable modems used by CATV companies for broadband access.


Phone companies are now realizing the only choice for upgrading the subscriber connection is fiber to the premise or home (called FTTP, FTTH, or FTTx). Low priced components and new network architectures along with new broadband services make FTTx financially attractive for the first time. Phone companies like Verizon, AT&T and Bell Canada are committing billions of dollars to plans for connecting millions of home with fiber in the near future. 


If any progress is to be made on FTTH connections, literally millions of connections must be made each year. If one installer can do two houses a day, 500 per year, then 2,000 installers will be needed to do a million homes. Right now, phone companies are hiring hundreds of techs to install FTTx. CATV companies are considering fiber to replace aging hybrid fiber-coax networks. Municipalities and private developers are looking at installing their own FTTx systems because users are demanding the highest bandwidth broadband connections for new and future services.

All these plans depend on finding or training adequate numbers of technicians. The FOA, working with operating companies, municipalities, installers and our approved schools has developed requirements for FTTx training and certification, with the goal of providing enough qualified FTTx installation technicians to make these plans possible.
www.thefoa.org

HCM Introduces 24-Strand Indoor/Outdoor Plenum-Rated Fiber Optic Cables

Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM), a leader in the manufacture of copper and fiber optic communication cables, is pleased to announce the release of its 24-strand indoor/outdoor plenum-rated fiber optic cable.

The new cable, manufactured at the Manchester, NH facility, permits building owners to connect buildings with fiber optic cables that can run directly between the telecommunication rooms of the buildings being linked.  By eliminating the need to terminate the fiber optic cables in the entrance facility of the buildings, as required with standard outside plant fiber optic cable, you reduce termination costs, decrease entrance facility space requirements, and keep termination points in a protected environment by placing them in the telecommunication rooms.   Also, if a more robust indoor cable solution is required, the cables can be installed in plenum spaces without the use of costly plenum innerduct.

“The addition of this product to our existing product line allows us to meet all of the fiber optic cable needs of our customers.  This product not only reduces installation costs, it is also engineered and constructed with durability and long-life in mind,” said Steven Kenney, Marketing Manager for HCM.

The indoor/outdoor fiber optic cables are tight buffered with a 900-micron buffer and can accept connectors without the breakout kit typically required for loose-tube style outdoor fiber optic cables.  62.5 micron multimode fiber is currently available with 50-micron multimode and 8.3 micron single mode soon to be released.  Six to twelve fiber counts are also available in this design.

www.hcm.hitachi.com. 

NECA Issues New Safety Software

Electrical contractors are frequently advised by their insurance agents to check out NECA’s Safety Expert Software, and the newly released Version 3.1 of the software has all the updates contractors – and their insurers – are looking for. Electrical contractors Safety Expert Software to design company safety programs, keep records required by OSHA, print out safety procedures required to satisfy customer or contractual requirements, and develop company safety manuals. Subjects are organized into modules and include safety topics, developing written programs and NECA manuals.

This new release of Safety Expert System includes several improvements from the 2002 Version 2.0 software, such as:

  • Updated record-keeping module that reflect changes in OSHA paperwork requirements.
  • Information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) based on NFPA 70E-2004, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
  • All documents are Microsoft Word Templates and easily customized to address specific jobsite conditions.
  • A Word Search provides quick and easy access to all documents for a given topic. A new “backup” and “restore” feature allow users to easily save and/or transfer data from one system to another.
  • Updated fall protection content that agrees with recently-revised OSHA regulations.
  •  

Industry safety expert and columnist Joe O’Connor said, “The NECA Safety Expert System software is an excellent resource as well as management tool for maintaining a company safety program. The recordkeeping applications target company information required by OSHA. The model programs and forms, such as the NFPA 70E Electrical Safety Program, are a must for every electrical contractor.”

ORDERING INFORMATION: The new Safety Software 3.1 is $150 for NECA members, with quantity discounts available. Contact the NECA Order Desk at (301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or orderdesk@necanet.org.   www.necanet.org

US To Prod Chemical Cost To Bolster Security

The Bush Administration, reversing course, is now planning to work with Congress to require the chemical industry to better protect its facilities from terror attacks, the Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, in a speech on Tuesday to the American Chemical Council, is expected to describe the minimum requirements he wants Congress to include in legislation to improve security at U.S. chemical plants, the Journal said.

Anixter To Host Security IP Convergence Seminars

Anixter Inc., the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), will host a series of Security IP Convergence Seminars kicking off during the month of April.

Anixter will deliver presentations at the seminar covering IP convergence in the security market and how convergence is affecting the cabling infrastructure that supports security systems. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of networking concepts, standards, cable management and testing. The seminar will hit more than 60 cities across North America.

Security integrators, security directors, consultants and contractors are invited to the seminars, which will include two, 45-minute educational sessions. The first session will review the infrastructure required to support video surveillance over IP networks, standards affecting networking infrastructure and best practices for analog, hybrid and digital video surveillance systems. The second presentation explores a "real world" security design and build scenario and the complex issues companies face as they build or upgrade security systems, particularly IP-ready systems.

Participants will have a chance to ask questions during the Q&A session after each seminar, and have an opportunity to sign-up for additional hands-on workshops. The purpose of these workshops is to offer the security integrator an opportunity to get more detailed, hands-on training on specific topics and products covered in the seminar.

"There are currently no written standards in today's security cabling infrastructure market, and that is why Anixter is moving forward to provide a more structured and standardized approach and suggested best practices through our upcoming Security IP Convergence Seminars," says Director of Product Testing, Andy Jimenez.

Anixter has also announced a follow-up to the IP Surveillance Guide, the Anixter IP Security Infrastructure Resource Guide, which will be available to participants. The security guide will educate customers on the importance of installing high grade cabling infrastructure to support the requirements of security migration from analog to IP. The security guide will also introduce new concepts and best practices discussed in the Security IP Convergence Seminars. http://www.anixter.com/seminar 

Fluke Networks Introduces Four SimpliFiber™ Verification Kits That Improve Technicians' Productivity

Fluke Networks has introduced four new SimpliFiber™ Optical Loss Test Kits, designed to directly address the unique jobs and situations faced by technicians and contractors.  The kits contain tools for measuring loss and power levels, locating faults and polarity issues, inspecting connector end faces, and many other tasks. Each kit is delivered with a convenient carrying case that helps to organize, transport, and protect the tools.

"Whether they are responsible for installation and maintenance of single mode fiber, multimode fiber, and even copper cabling, one of these kits will provide the right selection of tools to test and troubleshoot cabling infrastructure.” said Harley Lang, Marketing Manager for Fiber Test Products for Fluke Networks.

"The new kits are all built around Fluke Networks' latest generation of affordable, easy-to-use and field-tough fiber test products," Lang said. "These tools help technicians to quickly troubleshoot and spot check newly installed fiber links."

The Complete Fiber Verification Kit is designed for contractors or network technicians that install and maintain premises networks with both multimode and single mode fiber. It provides tools for verifying optical power loss and power levels at 850 nm, 1300 nm, 1310 nm, and 1550 nm, inspecting fiber end faces, and locating cable faults, connector problems, and polarity issues.

The Multimode Fiber Verification Kit is designed for maintaining premises networks, including verifying optical loss and power levels at 850 nm and 1300 nm, inspecting fiber end faces, and locating cable faults, connector problems, and polarity issues.

The Fiber and Copper Technician kit is designed for installing, maintaining and troubleshooting both copper and fiber cabling. This option combines our popular CableIQ Advanced IT Kit and FTK300 Multimode Fiber Verification Kit to provide you with all the tools you need to qualify copper cabling bandwidth verify fiber optic loss and power levels and troubleshoot both copper and fiber links.

The Basic Fiber Verification Kit is designed for verifying optical loss and power levels at 850 nm and 1300 nm, making it a great starter kit with room to expand and add additional tools as needed.

Fluke Networks SimpliFiber Power Meter, included with each kit, saves troubleshooting time by quickly identifying inadequate power levels. The meter features the ability to save a reference power level, enabling direct display of power loss. It has an intuitive four button panel, and a large LCD display screen... An 850 nm / 1300 nm source is offered with all kits and an additional 1310 nm / 1550 nm source comes with the Complete Fiber Verification Kit. The instrument stores and uploads tests results to a PC which can be used to generate professional LinkWare reports.

Fluke Networks handheld Fiber Viewer microscopes, offered with all except the basic kit, enable technicians to ensure that fiber connector end faces are smooth, clean, and ready for optical transmission. Dirt, dust and other contaminants are the enemy of high-speed data transmission over optical fiber, it is critical that all optical connections are clean and free of contaminants to ensure network operation.

VisiFault Visual Fault Locator, offered with all except the basic kit, makes verification of polarity and continuity easy.  It can also help identify broken fibers, bad connectors, and micro and macro bending of fibers. This instrument provides continuous and flashing modes for easier identification and is ruggedly constructed for demanding field testing.

Product availability

Fluke Networks SimpliFiber™ Verification Kits are available for immediate delivery from distributors and Fluke Networks' sales partners worldwide. www.flukenetworks.com 

Cancelled Conference Prize Presented To Cancer Patient

The cancellation of the 2005 National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Convention in New Orleans left John Maisel, publisher of Electrical Contractor magazine, with an interesting problem: what to do with the New Orleans Saints football donated to the magazine as a conference prize.

“Our goal was to find a way to bring something positive out of this tragedy to at least one person,” said Maisel. “We wanted the football to go to a Saints fan who would appreciate it, and who may not otherwise get one—especially after Hurricane Katrina.”

That deserving fan was seven-year-old Kendall Dye from Bourg, La. Dye, an oncology patient at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, received the owner-autographed game ball on Feb. 1 from Maisel. He also received a team jersey and a watch.

Kendall, an avid Saints fan, has appointments at Children’s Hospital every two weeks.

“His main conversation with his nursing and physical rehab staff is all Saints, all the time,” said Maisel. “His reaction to this very small effort on our part was beyond anything I could have expected. As each souvenir was presented, the expression on both Kendall’s and his mother’s face was priceless.”

After meeting Kendall, Maisel had the opportunity to view the devastation and recovery efforts first chronicled in the October issue of Electrical Contractor. NECA contractors from the Gulf Coast region and across the nation were “truly first responders to this tragedy,” Maisel said. “Their efforts in helping restore some sort of basic livability as well as longer term normalcy are remarkable and ongoing.”

“It’s going to be a long way back for New Orleans, and most especially for Kendall,” Maisel said. “Hopefully this small event will at least brighten one child’s day.”

Located at 200 Henry Clay Ave., Children’s Hospital is Louisiana’s only full-service hospital exclusively for children. A nonprofit facility, it is governed by an independent board of trustees composed of community volunteers.      EC

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com

March 2006 issue

Molex Introduces RoHS Compliant Xpress TerminationTM Fiber Optic Connectors and New & Improved Xpress Termination Tool Kits

Molex, a leading structured cabling system manufacturer, announces the release of its RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substance) Compliant Xpress Termination LC, SC and ST connectors and new and improved Xpress Termination Tool Kits. 

In compliance with the European Commission passed legislation that will restrict the use of some substances in most electrical and electronic equipment starting July 1,  \2006, Molex has been proactively working towards compliance with the RoHS legislation in support of our customers' initiatives.  The RoHS directive requires that mercury, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) be eliminated from most electrical and electronic equipment. 

Molex Xpress Termination LC, SC and ST connectors are available in both Multimode and Single Mode options.  The convenient Xpress Termination connectors are offered for both 900µm buffered fiber and cordage applications. 

The new Xpress Termination Tool Kits were developed to support all Xpress Termination LC, SC, ST connectors.  The 86000-3200 kit includes all tools required to terminate the Xpress Termination connectors designed for installation onto 900µm buffered fiber.  The 86000-3300 kit includes all tools included in the 86000-3200 kit plus the crimp tools required to terminate the Xpress Termination connectors designed for installation onto 2mm or 3mm patch cordage.

Xpress Termination Connectors Product Features   

      Industry standard connectors

      RoHS Compliant

      Zirconia ferrule

      No electrical power required for termination

      Minimum tools needed

      Two part adhesive requires no mixing or applicator

      Installs in about three minutes - no curing oven needed

      Consistent results with minimal training

      Operational Temperature -10ºC to +60ºC 

      Typical insertion loss 0.3dB 

Xpress Termination Tool Kit Product Features   

      All tools required for terminating LC, SC and ST Multimode and Single Mode Connectors including Molex’s spring loaded polishing pucks and patented cleave tools

      Economical kit designed for field termination on 900µm buffered fiber

      Tool kit designed for field termination on all fiber types

      New and improved 200X microscope with adapters for 2.5mm and 1.25mm ferrules 

      Convenient tool bag includes pockets for consumables and connector packs

www.molex.com

Communications Supply Corporation Acquires Calvert Wire & Cable Corporation

Communications Supply Corporation (CSC) announced it has completed the purchase of Calvert Wire & Cable Corporation (Calvert).  The acquisition includes the Calvert Wire & Cable and Famous Telephone Supply branch operations.  Cleveland, Ohio based, Calvert is one of the industry’s fastest growing distributors of communication infrastructure products, including cable, fiber optics, network electronics and industrial wire and cable products.  The acquisition gives CSC a strong foothold in the Cleveland, Ohio, and Ohio River Valley markets.  The addition of Calvert/Famous Telephone Supply to the CSC family brings the number of full stocking branch operations across the United States to 29.

Calvert will continue to operate as it has in the past with Brian Coughlin remaining as Calvert’s General Manager, and all of Calvert’s employees maintaining their current positions and responsibilities.  In addition, Mr. Coughlin will serve as President of CSC’s Industrial Wire and Cable segment.  In his new role, Brian will be charged with creating a national presence for CSC within the industrial wire & cable market.  “I am excited about the future prospects as we bring our two high-performing businesses together, creating a more powerful enterprise,” explains Steve Riordan, President and Chief Executive Officer of CSC.

The merger provides substantial service enhancements for Calvert customers – including access to broader product lines, additional inventory and a nationwide distribution network.  As Brian Coughlin notes, “The two companies share the same corporate culture, providing the most responsive customer service in the industry while also placing a strong emphasis on employee and supplier relations.  That’s one of the main reasons we decided to merge.”  He adds, “Our customers will continue to be supported by the same staff they’ve grown to depend on with the added national resources and capabilities that CSC provides.  The new partnership between our companies will greatly benefit our customers, associates and suppliers alike.”  www.gocsc.com .

NECA Safety Director Delivers Electric West Keynote Address

Brooke Stauffer, NECA’s executive director of standards and safety, spoke at the recent Electric West 2006 trade show in Las Vegas on the subject of electrical contractors’ role in rebuilding areas ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

His speech to the general session, Gulf Coast Recovery: Turning the Lights Back on in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, focused on the triple challenges faced by electrical contractors working in the region in the aftermath of the two storms. “We had NECA contractors who, in some cases, lost their own homes and businesses, working to get other people’s homes and businesses up and running again — all under the most difficult conditions imaginable," Stauffer said.

His presentation also covered the challenges faced by line constructors who sent trucks and crews to the stricken region from all over the country, to rebuild shattered utility power systems and heavy industries.

Stauffer will also be participating in NECA 2006 Boston, Oct. 7-10. NECA's annual convention and trade show draws more than 3,000 participants each year, including the largest electrical manufacturers, utilities, contractors, engineers, consultants, plant engineers and distributors from all over North America and more than 30 foreign countries. The annual event is the premier opportunity for electrical contractors to network with their industry peers.  www.necanet.org

Final Opportunity To Meet Your State Renewal Requirements

Dear Friend, 

This is just a note reminding you about our Continuing Education Seminars in June and July.  If you have not registered yet, this is your final opportunity to meet your State Renewal Requirements.

Each person who is registered or certified by the Electrical Board, is required to complete 14 hours of continuing education of which at least one is on business practices, one hour on workplace safety, one hour on Worker’s Compensation, one hour on the 2004 Florida Building Codes and at least 7 hours technical.  This must be met by your license renewal date in August, 2006.  

Day 1 Schedule: (Business Management 4, Safety 1, Workers’ Comp 1, Advanced Module 1)

Business Management: 9am – 10:30am (1.5 hrs)

Safety: 10:30am – 11:30am (1 hr.)

Finance (Part of Business Management req.): 11:30am – 12:00pm (.5 hrs)

Lunch: 12pm – 1pm (1 hr.)

Business Management: 1:00pm – 3:00pm (2 hrs.)

Workers’ Comp: 3:00pm – 4:00pm (1 hr.)

Advanced Module: (2004 Florida Building Codes) 4pm – 5pm (1 hr.) 

Day 2 Schedule: Changes to the NEC, 2005 (7 Hrs. Technical)

Mike Holt, a National Code Expert, will present dynamic programs covering the Changes to the 2005 National Electrical Code as well as the required hours for Business, Safety, Worker’s Comp, and the 2004 Florida Building Codes.  He is a dynamic instructor who will motivate and energize you as well as teach you what you are required to know by law.  Many of you have experienced Mike’s gift of teaching, however I encourage you to not only register yourself to meet your requirements but to allow your employees to attend as well.   These seminars will improve their performance, therefore make you more money.      

Orlando: June 16th & 17th

Rosen Plaza Hotel, 9700 International Drive

(407) 996-9700

Ft. Lauderdale: July 14th & 15th

Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Airport Hotel, 1825 Griffin Rd. Dania, FL

1-800-325-3535

We’ve reserved a block of rooms at the hotel so be sure to let them know you’re attending the Mike Holt Continuing Education seminar so you’ll receive the discounted rate.

P.S: Call or register online, but don’t wait too long because time is running out. Spread the word to your friends and co-workers, we still have space available.  If you have a Dade County License, this will meet the requirements for the 16 hours of CEU’s .

Yours for Better Education,

Sarina D. Snow

Educational Director

1.888.NEC.CODE

Fax: 1.954.720.7944

www.MikeHolt.com

Sarina@MikeHolt.com

NECA Activists: The Guys in the White Hats

From the President’s Desk

One tool used in carrying out this work is the Electrical Construction Political Action Committee (ECPAC), established in 1978 to collect personal contributions from NECA contractors and distribute those funds to worthy candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Candidates who receive ECPAC funding are chosen for their support for our industry’s policies and goals, not with regard to party affiliation. They may be selected because of their overall record or stated position on a wide range of issues, because of exceptional assistance on a single critical issue, or because they are on key committees dealing frequently with issues that concern us.

Our political action committee can be admired for its success. Overall, 92 percent of the candidates who campaigned with ECPAC support in 2004 won their bids for seats in Congress, and, among the 117 incumbents supported, we achieved a spectacular 99 percent win rate. However, the fact that ECPAC operates openly, in full accord with the law, and according to the highest ethical principles is equally admirable. ECPAC is governed by multiple internal controls, provides monthly reports to the Federal Elections Commission, and makes abundant information available to the public.

Like most of the more than 4,000 trade and professional associations headquartered in the Washington, D.C.area, NECA is also involved in lobbying, which the dictionary defines simply as “trying to influence the thinking of legislators or other public officials for or against a specific cause.” NECA-member contractors and professional staff do this by educating the lawmakers to our concerns, not by pandering and proffering bribes.

Our activities in this regard are conducted in full compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Unlike independent hired guns that sell their lobbying services to the highest bidder, we have an executive committee and many other functionally related committees, all composed of member contractors, who ensure that NECA is truly working to promote the interests of its membership and the broader industry and that our organization’s actions are transparent.

I hope this distinction is clear to all members of Congress and that they don’t respond to the Jack Abramoff scandal by isolating themselves and restricting opportunities for ethical organizations to lobby. Unfortunately, there have been some reports of lawmakers doing just that, and that’s a shame.

Certainly elected representatives must avoid putting themselves in compromising positions, but they must also to be accountable to their constituency. It would be a shame, as well, for the legislators to dither away their time on cosmetic “reform” legislation since Congress already has the right and authority to regulate the conduct of its members without passing any new legislation—and because there are plenty of important issues that do need attention.

I also hope that if you think of lobbyists as shady characters dressed in black that you too will consider the contrasting example set by NECA and its active members. Political action combined with constituent action gives contractors a voice on Capitol Hill and has enabled us to secure many legislative victories over the years, ranging from passage of statutes providing for prompt pay and fair competition, to favorable tax treatment and less burdensome regulations, to measures opening new markets for our services—laws that affect contractors every day.

In short, we’re the good guys. And, we’re as proud of our integrity as we are of our accomplishments.       

Milner Irvin

President, NECA

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazinewww.ecmag.com

March 2006 issue

NEMA/BIS Announces Launch Of Electoindustry Economic Outlook Service

NEMA Business Information Services (NEMA/BIS), the consulting arm of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, has announced the availability of its newest product, the Electroindustry Economic Outlook Service, an up-to-date, forward-looking analysis of the electroindustry and the economic fundamentals that drive it.

 The Electroindustry Economic Outlook Service is a subscription-based, regularly updated compendium of the information that industry professionals and executives most often request. Content is drawn from a wealth of data sources, including numerous U.S. government and international data agencies, the highly respected Global Insight® model of the U.S. economy, and NEMA/BIS’s own proprietary forecast models.

The Electroindustry Economic Outlook Service provides extensive coverage of (1) macroeconomic conditions in the United States and other global markets; (2) key industry drivers such as the manufacturing sector and housing and nonresidential construction; and (3) electroindustry indicators such as shipments and orders, factory output, and business confidence. Web-based PowerPoint presentations allow easy access to the service’s quarterly forecast updates and monthly historical data updates.

“This new service is the outgrowth of a biannual outlook series that was originally developed for the NEMA Board of Governors and has now become one of our most sought after products,” says Don Leavens, NEMA chief economist. “Members especially appreciate being able to fold NEMA/BIS’s slides directly into their own company presentations.”

The service is affordably priced, at $699 for a year of unlimited access or $249 for a one-time download. For information about subscriptions and introductory pricing, contact Tim Gill, director economics, at tim_gill@nema.org or (703) 841-3298.

NEMA Business Information Services offers an extensive range of services to facilitate business management decision-making. With roots that trace back to the early part of the last century, NEMA/BIS maintains NEMA’s long-standing reputation for unbreached confidentiality, accuracy, and timeliness associated with its industry statistics and business information programs.

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers.  Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity.  Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion. www.nema.org

Preformed Line's a Winner

The #40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype took the checkered flag for the finish of the 44th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona.  Overcoming two major repairs that each cost the team time and laps, the drivers and crew of Derhaag Motorsports were twice forced to come from the back to retake hard earned positions.  The car scored its first finish of the season in 13th place in the Daytona Prototype class and 29th overall with 66 cars starting the twenty-four hour ultimate American endurance racing challenge.

Ron Fellows started the race and took the blue and white Pontiac Riley through the critical first two hours of intense competition. The plan was to run double stints for the drivers, taking fuel and tires at the hour and driver change every two hours.  Just as Fellows was about to bring the car in for the exchange to Chris Bingham, something locked up and failed in the rear suspension area. The car had to be towed to the garages where the #40 car became the first in a long line of Daytona Prototypes to experience CV joint boot failure.

The 40-minute repair had Bingham returning to the track running as fast as ever, but with a long way to go.  The car had fallen from 13th to 60th position overall.  With traffic and early racing still very active, Bingham was able to make up ground and begin to gain positions.  Randy Ruhlman took over for the twilight stint taking his first ever laps in a Rolex 24 hour race. Bingham and Ruhlman had worked the car to position 39 overall by the time Ruhlman turned the car over to Justin Bell. He kept up the pace and moved the car up the ladder toward a possible top spot. The driver rotations planned to continue throughout the night and into the final hours.

At the end of Fellows' second stint the #40 car was now up in the 20th position overall. Unfortunately, the beginnings of a slipping clutch worsened and had Bingham driving to the garage where it was to be repaired.  The crew changed the clutch in 25 minutes, only to find a more serious development that would delay the return of the car to the track for another hour and a half.

Bingham finally returned to the track at 12:45PM having fallen back to 40th position, almost 104 laps behind the leaders.  With determination, the drivers and crew continued to make progress throughout the night, avoiding the many crashes and incidents that occurred during the evening hours and making perfect pit stops every time.  By the end of the twenty-four hours, the #40 Preformed Line Products took a very satisfying checkered flag in 29th position overall and a 13th finish in class.

The driver lineup for the 2006 Rolex24 At Daytona looked like a veritable "who's who in racing" with Champions from every form of road racing, NASCAR, IRL, Champ Car, and Trans-Am. Joining that esteemed group for this year's Rolex24 was Derhaag Motorsports' full season drivers, Chris Bingham and Randy Ruhlman, along with top Canadian Chevrolet factory driver Ron Fellows and endurance specialist Justin Bell.  

Ron Fellows has an overall Daytona24 win to his credit (in 2001), as well as multiple wins at LeMans (in 2001 and 2002), while Bell and Bingham have extensive experience at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Bell is a LeMans winner, as well.  Ruhlman, having competed in endurance racing early in his career and most recently concentrating on the Trans-Am Series Championship, finished his first Rolex24 at Daytona today.

The Derhaag Motorsports Pontiac Riley carries primary sponsorship from Preformed Line Products with additional sponsorship logos of Coyote Closures®, Park Place Ltd, KeyBank and McDonald Financial Group.  www.preformed.com

Kevin St. Cyr Honored With “Distinguished Career” Award

Wire and Cable Manufacturers Alliance, Inc., (WCMA) has named Kevin St. Cyr, President of Berk-Tek, a Nexans company, as one of the recipients of the 2006 Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career awards. This award, which is bestowed by previous award recipients, recognizes industry professionals who have a minimum of twenty-five years in the wire and cable industry, and during that time, have made significant commercial or technical contributions. 

St. Cyr joined Berk-Tek in April 1996 as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales. He was named President in 1999 and in 2003, his responsibilities increased to include global product management of high-speed data communications (LAN) cable solutions. Prior to joining Berk-Tek, he was the Vice President of Marketing for Champlain Cable Corporation (Winooski, VT), a U.S. subsidiary of Swiss-based Huber+Suhner AG, for seven years. Before that, he held various technical, sales, and marketing management positions for nearly ten years at General Electric’s Plastics Group (Pittsfield, MA).

St. Cyr was born in Ware, MA and grew up in North Brookfield, MA. He obtained his B.S. in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he graduated magna cum laude. While at Lowell, he was an active member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity  and was recognized as the “Outstanding Plastics Engineering Graduate” of his class.

Further awards St. Cyr has been recognized for include “Volunteer of the Year” by the United Way of Chittenden County and the GE Plastics’ “Marketing Excellence” Award. He is presently a trustee at Alvernia College, (Reading, PA) and is currently completing the Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business Executive MBA Program. He lives in Lititz, PA, with wife, Ellen and has two children, Matt, a freshman at Cornell University and Molly, a freshman in high school.

St. Cyr joins a long list of previous Charles D. Scott Award recipients within the Berk-Tek/Nexans Company: John Gibson, Senior Vice President, Operations and Technology at Berk-Tek (2005); Harold Styer, Berk-Tek President and CEO (1995); Dr. Gordon Thursfield, Country Manager of Nexans North America (1994); and the late Joseph Boscov, Chairman, Berk-Tek’s CEO and Founder (1991).

The Wire & Cable Clubs of America established the award in 1985 in memory of Charles Scott, founder and president of Northeast Wire. The Wire & Cable Manufacturers’ Alliance (WCMA) was established in 2005 as the successor organization and currently has 60 corporate members with over 185 company representatives. www.berktek.com.  www.nexans.com.

Ber-Tek Appoints New Marketing Analyst

Cable diva Carol Everett Oliver, RCDD, principle of Everett Communications, has joined Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, as the marketing analyst.  Her primary responsibilities include market  research, development and implementation of promotional strategies for the fiber and copper cable products.  She has over 15 years experience in the cabling industry handling a variety of marketing projects with a focus on case studies and technical articles for many  companies, including Ortronics, Draka Comteq, Fluke Networks, PANDUIT,  Molex, Mohawk, and Snake Tray. She was instrumental in forming the BICSI Exhibitor Advisory Committee in 2004 and served as chair for its first two years. Oliver will be relocating to PA by mid- summer and working out of Berk-Tek's New Holland (PA) headquarters.  www.berktek.com

Legislators Aim To Lower Communications Taxes

Florida legislators have filed a bill to lower communications taxes over three years to 6 percent from 9.17 percent.

Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, and Rep. Kim Berfield, R-Clearwater, said their bill would lower state taxes on business telecommunications services, wireless and long-distance, as well as cable and satellite television services.

"This bipartisan bill will benefit almost every household and business in Florida by rolling back the excessive taxes imposed on services that are such an important part of our daily lives," Berfield said.

Aronberg said communications services in Florida are subject to a combination of federal, state and local taxes. He said consumers in some part of the state see taxes as high as 20 percent.

"That's a regressive tax, and its way too high," he added. "Our bill brings fairness to our confusing telecommunications tax formulas."

Aronberg said Greenacres wireless customers pay 19.91 percent in total taxes on their monthly wireless bill once state and local taxes combine with federal tax. That compares with a 6.5 percent state and local sales tax on general retail purchases.

The Legislators said in addition to helping consumers, they aim to benefit Florida businesses.

"This legislation will reduce the cost of doing business and help make Florida a more attractive place to locate and grow a business," Berfield said.

Berfield's bill, HB 1339, is pending in the House of Representatives. Aronberg's bill, SB 2008, is pending in the Senate

CABA To Hold Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum

CABA is pleased to announce two keynote speakers have been confirmed for its

Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum. The event will be held June 25-27,

2006 at the Dallas Convention Center in conjunction with Realcomm and BOMA

International’s North American Commercial Real Estate Congress and The

Office Building Show.

Featured speakers confirmed to date are: Volker Hartkopf, Professor of

Architecture and Director of the Center for Building Performance; and

Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University and Vivian Loftness, Professor and

former Head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University.

This year’s Forum will provide business leaders an environment to: openly

explore pressing issues facing the intelligent building industry; exchange

experiences and ideas; and get a fresh insight into the challenges

confronting your companies.

The Forum will be an interactive executive event designed to bring together

related "large building" stakeholder groups that have a vested interest in

the technology driving integrated systems and intelligent buildings. This

event will become part of the research and CABA's efforts to create the

Intelligent Buildings Roadmap.

"As host of the Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum, CABA will ensure

that critical issues are presented and discussed among key industry

stakeholders," says Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "It is CABA's

intention to attract industry leaders who encourage the development and

promotion of integrated systems and automation in buildings."

Delegates will actively contribute by debating the issues facing the

implementation of intelligent buildings. Through participatory and

facilitated discussions, attendees will learn about best practices and new

technologies that can be deployed in commercial properties in order to exact

cost savings and operational efficiencies. Attendees will represent a wide

cross-section of intelligent building verticals, including security,

lighting, HVAC, technology integration and more.

Topics for the Forum’s planned breakout sessions include: cost justifying

integrated systems, energy management systems, legacy system migrations,

life safety and security, emerging facility management technologies,

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), in-building wireless

technology and designing intelligence into buildings.

Also scheduled for the event will be a live demonstration of Open Building

Information Xchange (oBIX), a standard using XML and Web Services to

facilitate the exchange of information between intelligent buildings

components. Included in the Forum will be study tours of intelligent

buildings in the Dallas area and access to the BOMA and Realcomm

tradeshows.

For a detailed program and to register for the event please visit the Leadership

Forum online at: www.caba.org/leadersforum. RSVP by May 31st, as seating

is limited to the first 150 executives.

The event is endorsed by: BACnet International, Council on Tall Buildings

and Urban Habitat, Konnex, LonMark International, Sustainable Buildings

Industry Council and the World Teleport Association.

Publications supporting the event include: Canadian Consulting Engineer, AC/R Latinoamerica,

AutomatedBuildings.com, Building Operating Management, Energy & Power Management, 

Engineered Systems and LonMark Magazine.  www.caba.org 

UNICCO Service Company Deploys Fluke Networks' Visual UpTime Select To Support MPLS Rollout

Fluke Networks today announced that UNICCO Service Company has deployed its Visual UpTime® Selecttm solution in support of its migration to an MPLS network.  The organization is utilizing Visual UpTime Select to obtain granular insight into the traffic on its network, enabling the organization to maximize network and application uptime and availability.  UNICCO is one of North America's largest integrated facilities services companies with more than 18,000 employees and $700 million in annualized revenues. 

Visual UpTime Select provides in-depth, real-time and historical information that enables organizations to intelligently manage application and network performance and availability across the entire enterprise.  For organizations such as UNICCO who are migrating to an MPLS-based network, Visual UpTime Select provides end-to-end Service Level Agreement (SLA) verification with an up-to-the-minute view of key parameters including availability, delay and throughput.  Enterprises can monitor SLA performance by individual Class of Service settings to ensure that key applications such as VoIP are getting the proper bandwidth required for optimal performance. 

"Visual UpTime Select provides granular visibility into the utilization of our network segments, down to the individual user and application level, so we know what traffic is on the network and where it came from," said William Jenkins, Senior Director of Information Technology at UNICCO.   "Some of our applications are hosted by application service providers, and when these services do not perform well, our vendors sometimes blame the network.  Visual UpTime Select will enable us to eliminate this finger pointing from our providers by identifying the true cause of performance problems.  And as we move to an MPLS network, Visual UpTime Select is helping us monitor Class of Service settings at each site to make sure our network is properly configured and that we are receiving the requisite bandwidth."

UNICCO also uses Visual UpTime Select for planning purposes.  With real-time and historical visibility into resource utilization, UNICCO can intelligently plan capacity.  With the ability to identify rogue or recreational application usage, the organization can avoid having to unnecessarily invest in additional bandwidth when business needs do not require these expenditures. 

"As enterprises migrate to MPLS, Visual UpTime Select can help them make this transition a smooth one by identifying the applications on the network and determining whether they are prioritized properly at each site," said Jeff Lime, President of Fluke Networks' Visual Networks division and Sr. Vice President for Fluke Networks Enterprise & Datacom Marketing.  "And once an MPLS network is deployed, Visual UpTime Select provides the ongoing visibility into Quality of Service for each business-critical application at each site to make sure the network is performing properly."

www.flukenetworks.com 

Light Brigade Announces 2006 Training Schedule

The Light Brigade announces its complete training schedule for 2006.  The schedule lists the national dates and locations for The Light Brigade’s one-, two-, and four-day courses, with both classroom and hands-on options. 

The Fiber Optics 1-2-3 course focuses on how to design, install, test and maintain fiber optic communication systems for voice, video and data applications. This class features a comprehensive manual, excerpts from Light Brigade DVDs and intensive hands-on training stations. This course is offered with optional ETA Fiber Optic Installer (FOI) certification and is available in two-day or four-day formats.

The Hands-on Fiber Technician Modular courses are one-day advanced training classes that focus on a specific fiber optic discipline.

The Advanced “On The Road” course focuses on the specifics of single mode fiber from a hands-on perspective and offers the new Fiber Optic Technician–Outside Plant (FOT–OSP) certification.

The new Fiber To The Home For Installers And Planners course focuses on challenges specific to FTTH/PON and offers optional ETA FOT–OSP certification.

The catalog also features information on The Light Brigade’s series of staff development DVDs. Six titles have been released to date, with more planned for release every three to four months. If you are interested in evaluating these DVDs for review in your publication, please call Kimberly Blatter at (206) 575-0404. www.lightbrigade.com

Properly Administered Cabling Plants Help Technicians Avoid Marking Time

The structured cabling industry has always in some way, shape, or form, centered on the concept of speed. Most often the focus is on the speed with which data travels from transmitter to receiver, and the technology at work has taken the industry on a climb from 10 Mbits/sec to today’s 10-Gbit/sec transmission capabilities.

But just as much as the cabling business is about feats of electroengineering marvel, it is a construction and maintenance trade, in many cases complete with hard hats, safety glasses, and tool belts. Within that realm, the concept of speed remains an issue, with very different but very real implications.

Logically, the speed with which installers and technicians complete their tasks has a significant impact on the cabling contractor’s business success. By association, the cabling system end user benefits from speedy and efficient work from a contractor’s crew, especially when called in to troubleshoot.

Introduce the concept of standard-compliant cabling-plant administration (i.e. marking and labeling cables and connectivity ports) to this scenario, and it takes on an additional dimension. In short and perhaps oversimplified, the mantra about labeling can be described as: Spend a little time now to save a lot of time later.

Yes, but …

“People we talk to know they should be labeling,” says Mike Clemens, senior manager of marketing and sales for Dymo Industrial* (www.dymo.com/industrial), maker of the Rhino series of handheld label makers. “The question for them becomes, ‘Do I do it now and take the extra time—which amounts to about an hour—to make it easier when I return?’ Or, the question for them is, ‘Should I make it easier for whoever follows me?’ Many times, their answer is no. But with continuing education and market awareness, many more are now saying yes.”

Greg Bramham, vice president of sales and marketing with Beast Cabling Systems* (www.thebeast.us), lends more of the contractor’s perspective. “Current standards address how a project is to be labeled at completion. Yet there are few guidelines about the rough-in process. Therefore, many install technicians have learned that there are two major considerations to the rough-in process—accuracy and speed.” Bramham adds, “The benefits of accuracy are obvious. Accurate rough-in labeling results in less wasted time required to tone-out mislabeled cables. It also means less wasted material, because hundreds of feet of cable sometimes must be repulled to replace mislabeled cables. And of course, accurate rough-in labeling greatly reduces the chances of an undetected error becoming the end customer’s problem.”

Further, Bramham says, the manual process of applying labels at rough-in consumes time: “This process, repeated hundreds of times, consumes substantial hours in an ideal world. But in the reality of a typical job site, it is less than ideal.”

This entire rough-in process, it should be noted, is incumbent upon an installation crew regardless of whether or not they perform final labeling, so they can correctly identify both ends of a circuit. With that much effort required anyway, the additional, final label creation and application represents some fraction of additional time as opposed to an order of magnitude more time. By all indications, the predominant factor determining whether or not an installation is labeled according to the TIA/EIA-606A Administration Standard for Telecommunications Infrastructure is whether or not that standard is cited in the project specifications.

To that end, several labeling equipment suppliers express optimism about attempts to push labeling into the mainstream of cabling projects, while committing to continuing awareness campaigns. “I believe a majority of the market understands the benefits of a properly labeled and documented physical network,” says James Pettit, business development manager with Brady Corp. (www.bradyid.com). “I believe the number of contractors complying with the 606A standard will continue to increase as more and more projects require compliance. End users will continue to help drive acceptance and compliance to the standard.”

“There absolutely is a need to win over more people,” states Shawn Whittaker, product line manager of identification products with Panduit (www.panduit.com). “It has come a long way over the past five years, with three primary drivers,” he adds. “End users are seeing the value of labeling. Some contractors and installers see that they can add value to their services by including labeling. And companies like Panduit and others are pushing the education into the market.”

Several providers of labeling equipment say that when TIA/EIA-606A is not included in a project’s specifications, a cabling contractor can exhibit a level of professionalism by labeling according to the standard. Some companies market to contractors with that very message. “We appeal on a professional level,” says Dymo’s Mike Clemens. “Labeling a project is a more professional way to do the job.” Many of Dymo’s promotional materials sum up that approach with the question, “How do you sign your work?”

At the most recent BICSI Conference held in January, Nick Michaelson, chairman of Silver Fox (www.silfox.com), carried the message of professionalism and value-add when he presented on both the technical and business aspects of a proper labeling job. His presentation, “Labeling: The final frontier,” was an apropos title given the fact that this type of cabling-plant administration is striving to gain across-the-board acceptance.

Several times in his presentation, Michaelson offered the tongue-in-cheek comment, “It’s only labeling,” while in actuality, his presentation made the case for the importance of the task and the elements that go into it. Overall, Michaelson’s focus was on delivering a comprehensive labeling solution, including the appropriate times and places for handheld label makers and desktop label printers.

Integration and efficiency

Perhaps more than ever, the integration between the two is possible and practical. “We continue to emphasize that our Spirit printer is more than a portable system,” says HellermannTyton’s Todd Fries, marketing manager for identification products. “Users have the ability to download lists to the printer.”

HellermannTyton produces PC-based and handheld label makers.

Fries says the impetus for this capability was contractors who have a list of outlets, ports, cables, etc., and do not want to re-key that list into a handheld. Another of HellermannTyton’s printers, the TagPrint 606, already includes data that contractors need. Rather than having to key in all that information, contractors highlight and select it from a menu.

“The [labeling] machines are getting easier to use all the time,” agrees Clemens. “The Rhino Pro has ‘hot keys’ for its commonly used features. Instead of many keystrokes, users have to make just a few. For example, if the user wants to make a wrap, a few button-pushes produces a correctly sized label.”

Similarly, the printer can produce a single label perfectly centered above the ports of a patch panel, despite the common belief that making patch-panel labels with a handheld is difficult.

A soft touch

Panduit’s Whittaker says software developments are “among the most dramatic improvements in labeling technology. Panduit has developed market-application wizards. The user is prompted for information, and with that information the software creates legends. For example, one is for 606A compliance. Users do not have to understand the standard’s technical details thanks to the wizard.”

Along the same lines is a program that works with CAD or Visio to automatically extract information and send it to the printer, saving as much as 75 percent of label-creation time.

Also from Panduit is the LS8 PanTher handheld labeler. Like HellermannTyton’s Spirit, it has a PC interface and allows the user to print labels from existing data.

Whittaker says the variety of tools available amounts to an “integrated system approach. Different tools are available, and all work together so users do not have to input the same data multiple times.”

In the fall, labeling-system maker Brother International (www.brother-usa.com) announced its association with D-Tools (www.d-tools.com), a system-design software manufacturer. The two companies developed a system for printing cabling labels with P-touch PC-connectable label printers.

You can print labels directly from D-Tools System Integrator 4.5 software. Brother says this ability “helps eliminate costly problems caused by illegible, handwritten, or incomplete labels at a price that’s more cost-effective than other methods.”

Brother’s P-touch Flexible ID tape is designed to wrap around cylindrical surfaces, including wrapping and flagging cables and wires. Its adhesive allows tight wrapping without uncurling, the company says, and allows the tape to stick to itself for secure flagging and tagging.

“Cable label management is a critical part of every system integrator’s productivity,” says Duane Yamashita, marketing manager for Brother International. “Brother is pleased to be working with D-Tools, an industry leader that has been recognized and awarded for its innovations in important technologies for systems integrators. Marking cables with P-touch laminated labels satisfies labeling concerns over reliability, accuracy, and dependability.”

Meanwhile, Brady recently upgraded its IDXpert portable printer to allow it to print 110 and 66 blocks, as well as patch panels and desi strips without having to manually set or input any spacing. “These datacom-application formats are now preprogrammed with specific label cartridges,” says Pettit. “For example, IDXpert users can now create 110 block markers in the field, on demand, without having to worry about entering the horizontal and vertical spacing found on 110 strips. The user simply enters the number of pairs for the specific block they are identifying, whether they are using horizontal or backbone serialization, and the start digit for the strip. The rest of the information, including the horizontal and vertical lines, spacing, and the remaining numbering sequence, is generated automatically. Contractors can now print these types of labels on-demand without having to run back to the office. There is also much less waste due to the ability to print one strip at a time versus an entire sheet of laser labels.”

All in all, the technological advancements within the realm of cabling-plant marking and labeling bring us back to the industry’s continuing quest of being faster, faster, faster.

While it is difficult or impossible to quantify the amount of time saved when a technician troubleshoots a properly administered cabling system versus an unlabeled system, there is little debate that every minute of downtime is costly for and end-user organization. Whether the cost is primarily inconvenience, or adds up to tens of thousands of dollars per minute in the most extreme cases, it can be minimized through proper administration.

Patrick McLaughlin is chief editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

Reprinted with permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine issue March 2006

 

* DYMO - Get the whole story on all of the critical factors to develop a total labeling system. DYMO Labeling not only meets the industry standards but provides the path to maintain the value of your investment in the cabling and hardware infrastructure. www.dymo.com

* BEAST CABLING SYSTEMS -  During 2005, Beast Cabling Systems made several upgrades in their installation system. The new improved system is more efficient than any cable installation system on the market and their customers are reporting considerable savings on every project. Because of the substantial benefits realized by every player in the cable installation marketplace, (install contractor, cable manufacturer, network designer, facility owner/manager) cable installation management is quickly becoming a recognized best practice for every install crew. www.thebeast.us  In a craft intensive environment for the installation of high performance datacom cabling, The Beast Cabling System is a real winner for quality installations and major labor savings.  We have secured a demonstration video (DVD) on this system and we will be happy to send you a copy.   Email laura@wireville.com  or gbramham@thebeast.us   

Instructors – Find Out How Mike Does It!

This is just a note reminding you about our Instructors Conferences in June and July.  If you have not registered yet, we’d like to remind you about this great opportunity.

Do you want to become a Top Gun instructor like Mike Holt? Would you like to get some one-on-one time with Mike to help you take your training program to the next level? Then attend Mike's 2006 Top Gun Instructor Conference in Orlando or Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Spend a few days learning cutting-edge techniques of instructional design, evaluation, and dynamic delivery methods. Master the principles of adult learning and performance-based training; learn how to use new teaching tools and products; employ PowerPoint presentations; and most of all, find out how “Mike does it.”

Maybe you've attended a Mike Holt seminar. Were you amazed at how participants became energized, immersed, and motivated by Mike in just a few moments? Were you astonished that at the end of the class, no one moved? They wanted more! What is his secret?

Have you attended a seminar with a different presenter where the results were strikingly different? Have you seen participants in a seminar appear to be inattentive, bored, and fidgety as they watched the time slowly tick by? Now you can help your students enjoy the kind of learning experience Mike’s students enjoy as they have fun and at the same time become energized, excited, and motivated to learn.

This is your opportunity to learn from Mike’s teaching techniques, and get a glimpse of the dedication and motivation that makes him who he is… an effective teacher. Be sure to bring your camera so you can share the moments you spent with Mike with your class.

  • Two-Day Instructor Conference - $325 (Receive $300 of Free products)

·         Four-Day Program - $425 (Receive $500 of Free products) - This program includes the Two-Day Instructor Conference plus two additional days of Management and the 2005 Code.

Orlando - June 14 - 15/ (17), 2006

June 2 Day Conference – Orlando, FL 

June 4 Day Complete Package – Orlando, FL

Rosen Plaza Hotel, 9700 International Drive                                Last year attendees can

(407) 996-9700                                                                                 attend again this year

                                                                                                                  For ½ price!

Ft. Lauderdale - July 12 - 13/ (15), 2006

July 2 Day Conference – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

July 4 Day Complete Package – Ft. Lauderdale

Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Airport Hotel, 1825 Griffin Rd. Dania, FL

1-800-325-3535

Superior Modular Products Becomes SMP Data Communications

Superior Modular Products (SMP) has now become SMP Data Communications, in order to better align with corporate image guidelines from their parent company, Preformed Line Products (PLP).  The move to the new SMP logo signifies increased alignment between PLP and Superior Modular Products through corporate branding and in the future, sales and distribution channels.  SMP Data Communications will remain a leading manufacturer of quality innovative products, just under a new umbrella of corporate identity.  “The move to being known as SMP Data Communications is not a drastic change, we have been known as SMP for years now.  This new logo just announces to our customers that our support from PLP will continue to increase as the markets we serve converge, allowing us to design, promote and sell the same great products for which we are known to an even greater audience” stated Bill Reynolds, Vice President and General Manager.

Superior Modular Products, headquartered in Swannanoa, North Carolina, is internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world’s data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. SMP, founded in 1990, manufactures and develops copper and fiber passive connectivity hardware components for use in commercial and residential applications.  The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products. 

Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products (NASDAQ: PLPC) is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Company operates three domestic manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albemarle, North Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. Preformed serves worldwide markets through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.  www.smpdata.com .

Safety Tip

April 2, 2006 is daylight savings, time to move your clocks back. It is also the ideal time to check all your safety equipment in the home and office.  Batteries in your smoke detector should be checked yearly as well as the alarm itself.  Fire extinguishers are another often over looked item in the home.  Dig under your sink or behind those boxes in the garage and check the dates, it is probably time to have them recharged.  Take a look in your car and pull out the first aid kit… you will be surprised how empty it has become since you last looked.  

NAED 2006 Annual Meeting To Feature Profitability & Growth Strategies

 APRIL 22 – 26, ORLANDO, FLA.

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) will host their 98 Annual Meeting, April 22-26, at the Marriott Orlando World Center in Florida. The conference, attended by top executives in the electrical distribution and manufacturing, will focus on growth and profitability strategies and will offer a variety of education sessions and networking opportunities. “Building Your Bottom Line” is the theme of this year’s meeting.

The keynote speaker will be Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who retired from the U.S. Army as the most highly decorated four-star general. McCaffrey, an international affairs expert and NBC Analyst, will speak on leadership from the business, non-profit, public policy, and military perspectives at the Opening Session on Mon., April 24. He will share the principles he learned at West Point and in military service, applying them to today’s business environment. The Opening Session will also feature an industry panel discussion on trends and opportunities that will impact the distribution channel.

The conference will feature 12 educational sessions designed to help distributors increase profitability through improved sales productivity, reduced operating costs, and other strategies. Specific sessions include:

  • “The Acquisitive Distributor: Acquisitions as a Growth Strategy for Distributors,” with author Brent Grover
  • “IDW2 Case Study Panel,” with moderator Todd Kumm, Dakota Supply Group; Deb Weis, Graybar; Ron Schlader, Crescent Electric Supply; John Forrester, Wabash Electric Supply; Dave Stormo, Rockwell Automation; Ray Huber, Eaton Electrical.
  • “The New Drivers of Profitability” with Dr. Al Bates, Profit Planning Group President
  • “Distributor Best Practices—How Do Yours Compare to America’s Finest?” with Dr. Don Rice
  • “Pricing—How to Avoid Leaving Money on the Table,” with Ken Wong, marketing authority
  • “Creating a Productive Selling Zone” by sales and productivity expert John Boyens
  • “The Science of Marketing and the Art of Sales” by sales and marketing professional Alan Martin
  • “How Independent Is an Independent Manufacturers’ Rep Firm?” by John Greenwald, I-Pro, Inc.
  • “Creating Demand Selling” with sales trainer Bill Attardi
  • “Bridging For Better Sales Results” by Strategic Sales Consultant Cynthia Wrasman

Other networking opportunities for attendees include:

·        Non-Competing Distributor Peer Networking Groups

·        Suppliers’ Session on current productivity, efficiency, and profitability initiatives

·        Women in Industry Luncheon with Cynthia Wrasman on “Becoming Sane in a World of Insanity”

·        B2B Conference Booth Session, open and appointment times (manufacturers will host booths)

·        Best of the Best Marketing Awards luncheon recognizing the industry’s finest marketing

·        Black tie-optional Chairman’s Ball with Mardi-Gras theme

www.naed.org


REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE

   
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