T’is the season to be jolly.
The Holidays are here. The stockings are hung from the mantle with care, in
hopes that St. Nick will soon be there. However, we have some good news and
some bad news. Here’s the BAD NEWS first.
Financial Forecast 2007 based
on some November numbers as reported by Associated Press.
For the first time in
almost four years, the nation’s manufacturing sector has shrunk, and its fall is firing warning flares for the job
market, economists said on Friday.
In a widely watched report,
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group based in Tempe, Ariz.,
said its manufacturing index came in at 49.5 in November, behind October’s
reading of 51.2. A reading below 50
indicates the sector is contracting.
Manufacturing had been
growing since June 2003. Industries such
as wood, furniture, appliances, fabricated metal and transportation equipment
all slipped last month, hit by a housing market slump and bloated automobile
The index was one of two
worrisome economic reports Friday. The
Commerce Department said construction activity in October plummeted by the
largest amount since 2001, and home building fell for the seventh month in a
row, the longest decline on record.
Both reports raised concerns
that the economy may be in for a hard landing, and stocks and the dollar fell.
Now here’s the GOOD NEWS.
The traditional late year
slowdown in communications and cabling projects seems to be substantially lower
than anticipated. We spoke with cabling and electrical contractors around the USA and found a
general trend of increase sales. No decline is forecast for the first half of
2007. Many end users are implementing upgrades in infrastructure to accommodate
improved services as they converge various systems. The SMART BUILDING
trend is growing stronger everyday as we discover how these systems can reduce
costs in other operational areas. Think outside of the box. The opportunities
are more than traditional telecom and datacom. Wireless, access, security,
energy control, life and fire safety systems including video are HOT.
To stay on top of the new
market developments, subscribe to the trade publications for the latest news
that you can use. Read them from cover to cover. You will get a great education
and it’s free.
Next year, there will be lots
of depressing news in the broadcasts. However, if you run a “tight ship”, your
cabling business will be growing. The communication networks are the nervous
systems of our buildings and our businesses.
But that’s just my opinion,
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL AT
IN JAN. ‘07
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 office
(904) 645-9058 fax
A Bright Idea Lives on at Christmas
Bethesda, MD – Electric
Christmas lights gained popularity after World War II, due in part to the
extension of electrification throughout rural America in the 1940s. However, like
so much else in the history of electricity, the glowing holiday displays we now
enjoy began with Thomas Edison.
First, a disclaimer:
A persistent legend credits
Ralph Morris as the inventor of electric Christmas lights. The story goes that
Morris, in a panic at seeing his son push a candle over on a Christmas tree,
singed his own hair and nearly set the tree on fire rushing to the rescue.
Legend has it that Morris then came up with the idea of pulling the lights from
an old telephone switchboard and wiring them on a tree, thereby
"inventing" the electric Christmas tree lights. This incident is
true, but it happened in 1908 -- more than a quarter century after a close
associate of Edison’s actually did the
What really happened:
It all began in 1882, just
three years after the incandescent bulb was invented. Edward Johnson, Edison’s
friend and partner in the Edison Illumination Company in New York City,
hand-wired 80 red, white and blue bulbs and wound them around a rotating
evergreen tree in his home. The New
York press was invited to view the spectacle, but
sensing a publicity stunt, they refused. A lone reporter from the Detroit Post and Tribune
witnessed the event and filed this report:
“Last evening I walked
over beyond Fifth Avenue
and called at the residence of Edward H. Johnson, vice-president of Edison´s
electric company. There, at the rear of the beautiful parlors, was a large
Christmas tree presenting a most picturesque and uncanny aspect. It was
brilliantly lighted with many colored globes about as large as an English
walnut and was turning some six times a minute on a little pine box. There were
eighty lights in all encased in these dainty glass eggs, and about equally
divided between white, red and blue. As the tree turned, the colors alternated,
all the lamps going out and being relit at every revolution. The result was a
continuous twinkling of dancing colors, red, white, blue, white, red, blue --
all evening. I need not tell you that the scintillating evergreen was a pretty
sight -- one can hardly imagine anything prettier. The ceiling was crossed
obliquely with two wires on which hung 28 more of the tiny lights; and all the
lights and the fantastic tree itself with its starry fruit were kept going by
the slight electric current brought from the main office on a filmy wire. The
tree was kept revolving by a little hidden crank below the floor which was
turned by electricity. It was a superb exhibition.”
Despite the report in the Detroit paper, few Americans heard of electric Christmas
lights until 1895, when President Grover Cleveland commissioned a White House
tree lighted with Edison bulbs. The large
evergreen featured more than a hundred multicolored lights.
Not long afterwards members of high society began hosting Christmas Tree
parties. These were grand events since a typical lighted tree of the early
1900s cost upwards of $300 (more than $2,000 in today’s dollars), including the
generator and wireman´s services.
Smaller and less expensive
battery-operated lighting strings decorated the trees of those adventurous
enough to do the wiring. An article in Popular Electricity Magazine described the wiring
process and provided instructions on ordering the necessary wire, sockets and
light bulbs. General Electric even offered miniature light bulbs for rent in
some cities as an alternative to an outright purchase of the expensive lamps.
However, such trees were still out of range for the average American family of
General Electric first made
electric tree lighting more affordable in 1903 when the company offered a
pre-assembled lighting outfit for the first time. Still expensive at $12, many
department stores in the larger, electrified cities would rent outfits for the season
for $1.50. Called a "festoon,” the outfit consisted of eight green
pre-wired porcelain sockets, eight Edison
miniature base colored glass lamps, and a handy screw-in plug for easy
attachment to a nearby wall or ceiling light socket. However, GE was unable to
patent their festoon, leaving the market open for anyone to manufacture the
More About Electric Christmas Tree Lights
The person responsible for
popularizing Christmas tree lighting is Albert Sadacca. In 1917, when the
continuing practice of lighting trees with candles caused a tragic fire in New York City,
15-year-old Albert had an idea.
Sadacca´s family had a
novelty business selling wicker cages with imitation birds that lit up. Albert
suggested that this parents begin making electric lights for Christmas trees.
It was a good idea, but only one hundred strings of electric Christmas tree
lights sold in the first year. Business increased dramatically, however, when
Albert proposed painting the bulbs red, green, and other colors instead of
using plain glass.
Albert eventually started
NOMA Electric Company with his brothers Henri and Leon. Their multi-million
dollar business was the largest Christmas lighting company in the world prior
Public distribution of
electricity was not common in the early 20th century. People living outside of
major cities who wanted one of these illuminated trees had to supply their own
electric power, usually from household generators. Electric socket outfits had
not been invented, and this meant that all of the tree lights had to be wired
by hand. Wiremen were generally hired to complete the tedious task of wiring
the lights necessary to illuminate a room-sized tree.
In the beginning of the
century, American homes were wired for lighting circuits only, with only a
single light bulb socket in each room. Any additional electrical devices had to
be powered from the ceiling outlet; wall outlets did not exist. The earliest
Christmas lighting outfits used screw-in current taps from the ceiling. As
electricity became more popular, outlets for wall lighting were added which
made adding electric lights the Christmas tree easier.
In fact, the familiar bladed
wall plug used today developed from a device originally used to facilitate the
interconnection of Christmas light strings. Some prototypes of this device were
used as early as 1917. It was patented as the “Tachon” connector in 1924. The
1924 Tachon started out as a screw-in type of connector with a safety cover,
but soon evolved into the two parallel blade type.
More Historical Facts
Many of the earliest
Christmas lights burned so hot that they were about as dangerous as the candles
they were advertised to replace.
Many of the earliest figural
light bulbs representing fruit, flowers and holiday figures were blown in molds
that were also used to make small glass ornaments. These figural lights were
painted by toy makers.
Most figural Christmas lights
were made out of milk glass for a specific reason. The paint used on the lights
did not adhere well to glass, and as the lights were turned on and off, the
constant expansion and contraction of the glass helped the paint to flake off
even faster. It was discovered that milk glass looks better than clear glass
when the lights have flaking paint, so the industry quickly and almost
exclusively switched over to the use of the white milk glass by the late 1920s.
A common but incorrect belief
in the early days of electric Christmas lighting was that Christmas light bulbs
would burn longer in an upright position. Early decorators spent a lot of time
making sure that the lamps were positioned upright on the tree.
True outdoor Christmas lights
were not introduced to the public until 1927 -- almost 45 years after the first
electric tree lights were demonstrated. Some sets were sold as outside units
before 1927, but they were small, dangerous and extremely impractical for the
In 1927, General Electric
introduced outdoor lighting outfits that consisted of seven lamps wired in
parallel so that the failure of a single lamp would not affect the rest. The
earliest of these lights were round; by 1928, they had taken the familiar
swirled or flame shape. General Electric and various Edison Electric
distribution companies sponsored neighborhood "decorating with
color-light" contests in an effort to induce sales of the new outfits.
The bell-shaped lights
offered by General Electric in 1932 were originally designed as pint-sized
streetlights for a model train station manufactured by the Lionel Company. But
when it was discovered that they also resembled Christmas bells when hung
upside down, GE offered them in festive colors as Christmas lights. They
remained popular until the advent of World War II. (A working string of these
antique lights now commands $5000.)
The miniature lights we use
today are wired exactly the same way as our grandparents’ lights were – in
series. This means that if one goes out, they all should go out. What is
different about today´s lights is the fact that each little bulb has a shunt
device in it, which prevents the string from going dark due to the failure of
one or more lamps. The shunt device can only work if the lamp stays in its
NECA wishes you a bright holiday season and a happy,
healthy, prosperous and safe new year!
The National Electrical
Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible
for bringing lighting, power, and communications to buildings and communities
across the United States.
NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical
contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards
development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more
information, visit www.necanet.org
HCM Announce UL Verification of 10-Gigabit Ethernet UTP Cable
Hitachi Cable Manchester
(HCM), a leader in the manufacture of copper and fiber optic communications
cables, announces the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. verification of HCM’s Supra
10GTM cable. The cable,
tested to Draft 5 of TIA/EIA 568-B.2-10 (Category 6A), is the world’s first
fully verified Category 6A cable. Though
other manufacturers have acquired the easier to achieve channel performance
verification, which includes jacks, patch panels and patch cables, only HCM has
been able to make a fully component compliant Category 6A cable.
Kevin Boisvert, Research and
Development Manager for HCM, described the development process for the Supra
challenging. “Testing to 500 MHz while
surpassing the alien crosstalk requirements was not an easy task. However, with HCM’s experience in developing
and designing unique, high-performance category cables in shielded, hybrid and
bundled cable configurations, I was confident we’d be able to engineer a cable
that would meet and exceed the requirements of the standard.”
Supra 10GTM is now
available through HCM approved distributors.
For information on where to obtain the new Supra 10GTM,
contact HCM at 800-772-0116 or visit their website at http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/.
For more information about UL
Verification, please visit www.ul.com.
LEC Appoints Tansukh V. Ganatra Interim CEO
US LEC Corp. (Nasdaq: CLEC - News) announced today that
Tansukh V. Ganatra, US LEC Corp.'s Co- founder, past CEO and a member of the
Board of Directors, has been named interim CEO to replace Aaron Cowell, who
will leave US LEC effective December 4th, 2006. Mr. Cowell's departure was
expected with an anticipated year-end US LEC/PAETEC merger closing. The merger
is now expected to close in the first quarter of 2007. US LEC's Board of
Directors has chosen Mr. Ganatra to assume his past role as CEO, on an interim
basis, as the Company moves quickly toward completing the planned merger with
PAETEC Corp. Since the merger announcement in August 2006, Mr. Ganatra has been
actively involved in the design, evaluation, scheduled implementation, and
financial impact of the combined US LEC/PAETEC integration plans.
US LEC's Chairman and
Co-founder, Richard T. Aab, stated, "We believe that given the new
company's S-4 filing on November 13, 2006, Mr. Ganatra's knowledge of this
process and operating expertise will enable the companies to begin implementing
those plans in a highly efficient manner as US LEC moves to close the merger in
the first quarter 2007."
In commenting on the
announcement, Aab continued, "Mr. Ganatra and Mr. Chesonis, PAETEC Corp.'s
and the soon-to-be-merged entity's Chairman and CEO, have a working
relationship and friendship that spans over 20 years. Mr. Chesonis is very
supportive of Mr. Ganatra serving as interim CEO of US LEC. Mr. Chesonis told
me that he looked forward to working with his old friend to complete the
planned merger and integration process." Mr. Ganatra will be a board
member of the new PAETEC Holding Corp. Mr. Aab further stated, "Aaron
Cowell has been an integral part of US LEC's senior management team since the
company's beginning. His leadership made significant contributions through some
very challenging times in our industry's recent past and helped grow US LEC to
become a leading telecommunications carrier. We wish him well in his future
Mr. Ganatra (62) co-founded
and became a Director of US LEC in 1996 and was the company's President and
Chief Operating Officer from 1996-1999, when he became Chief Executive Officer.
He retired as CEO in December 2001 and is a member of US LEC's Board of
ERICO Expands Its Caddy Screw-On Conduit Support Offering
Conduit Supports from ERICO Inc. securely attach EMT conduit or MC/AC cable to
wood and metal studs. A new CS16 conduit support expands the series to handle
up to 1-inch conduit or cable.
comply with NEC 358.30(a) and CEC rule 12-1404 which require conduit support
within 36-inches of an electrical box.
They are also
gangable and handle one-half-inch through one-inch EMT conduit and MC/AC cable.
The supports have an alignment tab that positively locates the fastener on the
The alignment tab
also serves to keep the conduit in line with the box knockout and support
brackets. Use of the conduit supports eliminates offset bending of conduit.
“The ERICO CADDY
product line is perhaps the greatest time saving “get it done right:”
devices in all of the cabling challenges that we deal with.” According
to Mike Rice, Lead technician/ Cabling Project Manager for Communication
ERICO - www.erico.com
Finds Members Confident About High-Tech Funding Obstacles
College and university communications departments
have ambitious plans to implement leading-edge technologies, and are optimistic
that they will be able to overcome budget constraints, according to a new
survey by ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in
ACUTA surveyed more than 100 attendees at its Fall
Seminars in Portland, Oregon, in October. Survey respondents
represented institutions of all sizes, from smaller than 5,000 students to
larger than 20,000. ACUTA is the only national association dedicated to serving
the needs of higher education communications technology professionals,
representing some 2,000 individuals at 800 institutions.
The survey found that nearly every school was
seriously evaluating technologies such as Voice over IP (VoIP), wireless and
cellular, Gigabit Ethernet, and advanced security. Sixty-seven percent – two
out of three schools surveyed – are planning to implement one of those new
technologies within the next 12 months.
What is standing in their way, the survey found, is
the necessary funding required to put those technologies to work on campus.
Forty-seven percent of the communications technology professionals say their
entire schools are on tight budgets, and another 25 percent say they face
severely limited departmental budgets.
However, a remarkable 93 percent of respondents
optimistically say they expect to overcome those challenges in order to achieve
their technology objectives. Their methods include some form of special funding
mechanism, favored by 38 percent; technology fees for students, favored by 25
percent; a promotional campaign aimed at upper management, the choice of 23
percent; and cutbacks in other areas, 14 percent.
It is the technology professionals and their IT and
telecommunications departments that are leading the drive to bring the newest
technologies to campus, the survey found. At 39 percent of schools, the
departments are pushing for those technologies as a means of filling specific,
existing needs. Another 38 percent are pushing for them in preparation for
anticipated needs. In another 17 percent of cases, the technology push is
coming from the schools’ upper-level administration.
“Communications technology professionals clearly
face a balancing act when it comes to finding the resources for new
technologies,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Our survey
results reinforce how important it is for them to network with each other to
share ideas and solutions to their common challenges.”
Other interesting survey findings include:
* 78 percent of schools currently charge
technology fees, either as a separate item or
as part of their dorm fee.
* 33 percent of
respondents report their departmental budget has increased steadily over the past three years. Another 29
percent have seen no increases in three years,
and an unlucky 21 percent face smaller budgets than three years ago.
* The most common
benefits cited for the new technologies are improved connectivity, network convergence, and more end user features.
Corning Cable Systems And Charles
Industries Introduce OptiTect™ Sealed LCP Enclosure In Custom-Designed Pedestal
Corning Cable Systems, part
of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, and Charles
Industries, Ltd., announce the availability of Corning’s OptiTect™
Premier Sealed Local Convergence Point (LCP) Enclosure in a custom-designed
pedestal from Charles Industries.
The product is the result
of a strategic relationship between Corning
and Charles to provide best-in-class Telcordia-tested and RDUP-accepted fiber
pedestal solutions. The collaboration allows Charles to provide their
time-proven pedestal products, while Corning
continues to offer its state-of-the-art fiber connectivity solutions within the
The OptiTect Premier Sealed
LCP Enclosure is a prestubbed, preconnectorized enclosure that provides the
best protection from environmental conditions. It is designed to enable
centralized splitting architectures to distribute up to 144 fibers in a sealed
environment. It is now available in a Charles Industries pedestal that was
specifically designed to house the sealed enclosure.
The feeder and
distribution cables of the enclosure are sealed and tested in
factory-controlled conditions, so no new personnel training or tools are
required to ensure fast, simple and reliable installation and re-entry. It is designed to hold to up to five 1x32 splitter
modules with preterminated SC UPC or SC APC adapters. The enclosure is
prestubbed and preconnectorized with a feeder cable and 144-, 96-, or 72-fiber
Cable Systems Evolant®
Solutions. Through its Evolant Solutions for FTTx Networks, Corning Cable
Systems offers specialized portfolios of innovative products and services that
enable customers to cost-effectively deploy fiber in the last mile.
Evolant Solutions for FTTx
Networks encompasses state-of-the-art products that reduce the cost of deployment and increase the networks efficiency
For additional information
on Corning Cable Systems products and services, contact a customer service
representative at 1-800-743-2675, toll free in the United States, or (+1)
828-901-5000, international, or visit the Web site at www.corning.com/cablesystems.
Bidding an IBS Job; How to do it right
By Deborah L. O’Mara
Every modern building needs lighting control; security; fire detection; heating, ventilation and
air-conditioning (HVAC); data networks; communications; supervision; power and
backup; and more. With all this going on, it makes sense to tie them together
in a logical manner. The result of a properly planned and executed integrated
system is an efficient, safe, and secure building that operates to its full
potential while saving energy—thanks to automation.
Because these systems can
save energy, integrated facilities are also emerging strongly on the heels of
the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating
System. LEED, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is a benchmark
for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green
buildings. Because LEED parameters give building owners and operators the tools
they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’
performance and energy savings, commissioning is part of the process. For
example, it’s not enough to install occupancy sensors or HVAC management or
lighting controls. At the root of commissioning is the fact that to earn LEED
credits, the plan/specification has to detail exactly how much energy will be
saved for each device.
It’s time for IBS to become
part and parcel with every new and upgraded facility. The benefit to the owner
or property manager is in operation.
“When you integrate, you
reduce the cost of operating the facility,” said Anil Ahuja, P.E., LEED, RCDD
and senior vice president, CCJM Engineers Ltd. in Chicago. Ahuja is the author of “Integrated
M/E Design-Building Systems Engineering.”
“An integrated building
system is the demand of the market, the demand of the time,” he said.
“Communications will generally be the backbone of an IBS.”
Ahuja said integration can
save some 5 to 10 percent on total annual energy operation costs for a
“If the contractor is savvy
and smart, he can save a lot of money for himself and the owner by using the
same voice/data interoperability communication for other mechanical/electrical
In IBS, the technology,
software and interfaces that tie it all together are now ready for adoption.
The software has moved from proprietary to parameters that mostly work on
BACnet—a data communication protocol for building automation and control
networks developed under the auspices of the American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)—or Echelon’s LonWorks
control networking platforms. These are the two primary networks electrical
contractors will encounter.
IBS must be custom-tailored
to the application, but they may include scenarios such as using occupancy
sensors to detect movement and activate or extinguish lights, motion detectors
to trigger an alarm and record images through closed-circuit television
surveillance, and even fire detection. Though required to be under its own
control under life safety parameters, fire detection systems will interface
with locking devices, doors and even elevators.
But, how do you spec it? You
become an expert or you work with well-known and respected specialists in their
appropriate disciplines. Many electrical contractors will have separate
divisions to handle the work, but those who don’t can find industry partners to
Start with the actual plans
or specification documents, and you need to know, of course, whether it is a
design/build or a design/bid/request for proposal (also referred to as a hard
bid). Design/build gives you the ability to select equipment specific to the
facility. Design/bid may not have the same flexibility as design/build, but it
may offer the ability to substitute products or “value engineer” the
specification, so the contractor can select products based on the performance
or end-use application.
If security is an overriding
concern and the core of the automated system, a thorough analysis of the
protected premises and a risk assessment are in order. If you don’t know how to
do a risk assessment—what it generally does is outline what is at risk, why and
how to protect it—then you might consider hiring an outside consultant who can
tackle that task. Look for security consultants who are certified protection
Chances are, it will be a
design/build project, because more electrical contractors are not only
installing, but they are selecting the equipment and tying it to the network,
HVAC and other controls. According to the “2006 Profile of the Electrical
Contractor,” an independent study conducted by Renaissance Research &
Consulting, New York, 43 percent of electrical contractors’ revenue was derived
from design/build or design/assist work, and these numbers continue to rise
(see excerpts of the study in Electrical
Contractor, July 2006, page 36, or the full report at
The second question to ask:
is it a specification that follows MASTERSPEC 2004 MasterFormat or the 1995
Peruse the plan
“Start with a visit to the
table of contents of the specification to determine where the work is and what
design specification system is being followed or adopted for the plan,” said
Tom Montgomery, PE and principal, Spectrum Engineers Inc., Salt Lake City. He said the work could follow
the Construction Specification Institute’s MASTERSPEC MasterFormat 1995, which
puts the work primarily under the sections known as Divisions 13 and 16, or
MasterFormat 2004, which organizes construction specification standards among
50 different divisions.
The General Services
Administration (GSA) has adopted MasterFormat 2004 and requires design
consultants to use MasterFormat 1995 or 2004. As part of a current interim
adoption period, GSA has been allowing either version for use on GSA projects
at the design consultant’s choosing.
MasterFormat 2004 is representative of the present and future of integrated
systems solution contracting. Because technology in electrical contracting and
related construction disciplines has grown, it became necessary to reorganize
and increase the number of divisions and, also, set up separate ones for
integrated automation, electrical, communications, electronic safety and security,
fire suppression, plumbing, and HVAC. These are located in a new subgroup of
divisions called Facility Services.
The new divisions covering
the electrical and fire protection systems include the following:
Automation (Division 25)
and Security (Division 28)
(Division 33—includes traffic signals)
Once you know what guidelines
or specifications are being followed, you can refer to the representative
document, which gives detailed information on requirements and helps put
devices to plan. From here, you should be able to compile the number of devices
and other hardware and software as you assemble a complete parts list. Reserve
the right to value engineer and substitute parts or products as long as it
still meets the application.
Also critical, according to
Montgomery, is to know what local codes, national codes and TIA or BISCI
communications standards may come into play.
Planning an IBS requires a
thorough analysis of the parameters and open lines of communication between
contractor, owner and end-user, so the specification will meet the intended
needs of the facility. EC
the president of DLO Communications in Park
specializing in low-voltage. She can be reached at 847.384.1916 or
Williams Named Incoming Vice President-Elect For NAED's Eastern Region
The National Association of
Electrical Distributors (NAED) has named Richard Williams, president and chief
operating officer for Dominion Electric Supply Co., Inc., Arlington, Va.,
as the incoming Eastern Region Vice President-Elect. The Eastern Region
Council, which serves NAED member businesses located in the northeastern U.S., elected
Williams by majority approval.
"It’s all about striving
toward your potential,” Williams said. “We all have to keep learning and
growing, both as individuals and companies. I believe, as leaders, we have a
deep responsibility to serve and help others reach their goals. NAED, in the
past handful of years, has done a tremendous job transforming itself and
thereby adding a great amount of value to its members and to the industry. I am
excited about the opportunity as regional vice president to work with NAED and
its members at large to stay focused on the commitment to helping those around
us reach their potential."
Williams, who has been in the
industry for 19 years, will direct NAED’s Eastern Region in 2008-2009. His
company is active in the association, participating in many areas, including
training, meetings, and NAED’s Performance Analysis Report (PAR).
Prior to joining Dominion in
1987, Williams worked in public accounting. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in
accounting from the University of Maryland and an MBA in organizational behavior from George Washington
University. Over the years,
he has held positions of increasing responsibility and leadership at Dominion,
including chief financial officer and vice president of marketing/strategic
planning before becoming the company’s president.
As a NAED regional vice
president-elect, Williams will be responsible for attending and helping direct
the region’s conferences and council meetings. He will also be participating in
NAED’s Membership and Strategic Focus Committees. He will assume more and more
of the region’s leadership as he progresses toward the role of vice president.
As vice president, Williams will preside at all Eastern Regional Council
meetings and serve on the NAED Board of Directors.
The Eastern Region is
currently directed by Sandra Rosecrans, president of City Electric Company,
Inc., Syracuse, N.Y. In May 2007, Dan Gray, president and
CEO of Independent Electric Supply, Somerville,
Mass., will serve as Eastern
Region Vice President for the 2007-2008 year. www.naed.org
Changing How We Think of Change
The National Electrical
Contractors Association’s big annual get together continues to expand beyond
our association’s convention and the NECA Show. Thus, NECA 2006 Boston offered a whole
smorgasbord of educational opportunities. They varied in form and focus, but
they were all related to the overall theme: “Take Charge of Change.”
The need to address change,
not only to cope with it but also master it, is what brought the electrical
contracting industry into being and continues to define our profession. But
taking charge of change is about a whole lot more than acquiring technical
Consider integrated building
systems (IBS), for example. IBS was the focal point of a special conference in Boston last month, as
well as additional workshops and presentations, and was also highly evident at
the show. This attention hallmarked the maturing of a market sector and, at the
same time, identified pathways to future success, as that sector will continue
to grow by an estimated 5 percent per year throughout this decade.
IBS refers to such
applications as network cabling; sound; security monitoring; security, fire and
life safety; access control; and wireless networking through integrated systems
that allow one computer to monitor and control an entire structure’s operation.
The overwhelming majority of NECA-member contractors are involved in this
market, and a survey of all electrical contractors in the United States
shows that most nonmembers are as well. More than 70 percent of the general
population of ECs provide services in communications and connectivity and an
even greater number work with automation and access controls.
As IBS work becomes more of a
mainstay than a niche, many contractors are being forced to change the way they
do business. An increasing amount of this type of work is being done on a
design/build process, and that is facilitated by innovations in system
interoperability, which enable one contractor to install and maintain products
from different manufacturers so that they all work together and fulfill the
building owner’s particular needs. But the necessary changes aren’t limited to
how jobs are bid and how the technical requirements are met; they extend all
the way to how jobs are manned and when.
For one thing, as customers
increasingly embrace the concept of one contractor coordinating the entire
low-voltage electrical infrastructure, providing exemplary customer service
becomes all important, especially if the contractor hopes to provide ongoing
services (moves, adds and changes). Customers want to know they can rely on the
quality, professionalism and integrity of every member of the contracting
IBS customers also demand job
site flexibility. They often want to be able to have work done on their
facilities after hours and to have contractors available to work in multiple
locations, and the like. These are all items I discussed at the NECA convention
last month and in my talk to our labor partners in the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at their own convention.
As I told these diverse sets
of conventioneers, technology has not just created the new materials and
devices we install. Technology has not only created the data networks we build.
It has also created the way we bid and contract for jobs from customers over
those networks. It has created the need for highly trained and skilled
electrical workers and for less-skilled support workers. Its a world that
requires ready teams of service and maintenance workers around the clock.
Technology has created a new
economy and a new kind of customer. These are the most important changes that
must be addressed.
Reprinted with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine November Issue 2006
Fiber Takes The Blue Ribbon
By Jim Hayes
You would think that after
being in a business for more than 25 years, you would have seen it all. But
recently, I was introduced to the actual installation and splicing processes
for ribbon fiber optic cable. While I had seen plenty of the cable over the
years, I had never had the opportunity to work with it myself. Corning Cable
Systems was training one of the trainers we work with and invited me to join
Ribbon cable is widely used
in outside plant telephone networks and submarine cables but, until recently,
had rarely been seen in campus or premises applications. Ribbon cable is highly
regarded for long-distance applications because it has several advantages over
normal loose tube outside plant cable due to its unique construction.
In ribbon cables, the fibers
really look like multicolored ribbons (see photo). The actual ribbons usually
contain 12 fibers, although designs with 24 fibers are available. In the
beginning, ribbons were made by placing fibers on double-stick plastic tape,
but now they are more closely packed and held with adhesives. Consider the
small size of a 12-fiber ribbon: 12 coated fibers, each 250 microns or
10-thousandths of an inch in diameter, create a ribbon only 120-thousandths of
an inch—approximately ¹/8 of an inch—wide. Ribbons can be stacked up in a
cable, so a ¹/8-inch square matrix of 12 ribbons equals 144 fibers. Cable
designs with slotted cores can handle multiple ribbon fiber matrices and cables
with up to approximately 2,000 fibers have been used.
Ribbon cable allows the
largest number of fibers to be incorporated in the smallest diameter cable.
This allows the use of smaller conduit or innerduct for a single cable or
allows more cables to be placed in the same size duct. The smaller size also
means lighter weight, especially if the cable is armored to prevent rodent
penetration. The smaller size and weight allows longer cable runs to be pulled,
reducing the number of splices necessary. Finally, ribbon cable is spliced by
the ribbon, not the individual fiber, so splicing goes much faster.
All this means that ribbon
cable is more cost-effective in longer outside plant runs, but ribbon cable is
now finding a market in premises cabling. The most common application is for
preterminated fiber assemblies, where racks of terminations are created from
modules of 12 jacks of the connector style required by the customer. Each
module has a multifiber connector that connects to a preterminated ribbon cable
that runs between racks. Since the cabling is plug-and-play, the installer
carefully pulls the cables, installs the racks, plugs it together and verifies
cabling systems have obvious benefits in rapid installation and in creating
large fiber count backbones in small spaces. Ribbon connectors are much smaller
than a dozen traditional connectors, making the ends of the cable less bulky
and easier to pull or place. Not having to terminate each connector can speed
installation and using ribbon terminations saves space in the rack.
However, ribbon cable does
require special tools and splicing equipment. Obviously, you have to open the
cable by cutting the outer jacket and armor, if included, to expose the
ribbons. Next the cable must be cleaned of any water-blocking gel or powder.
Then each ribbon must be separated and handled individually.
Ribbon cable is never
directly terminated; it is always spliced, either to another cable or to a
breakout cable that has been factory-made with a bare ribbon on one end to
splice to the cable being installed and connectors on the other end, made to
the customer’s specification.
Special tools have been
developed for ribbon cable splicing. Fiber strippers are designed to strip all
the fibers in the ribbon at once. To reduce the stress on the ribbon, some
strippers have heaters to soften the coatings for easy removal. Ribbon fiber
cleavers can cleave 12 fibers as quickly as an individual fiber, with equal
precision. Manufacturers offer custom cleavers that have fiber holders that
transfer the fibers directly to the splicer. Fusion splicing machines align and
fuse 12 fibers in practically the same amount of time as a single fiber. Splice
protectors cover the entire ribbon. Since stripping, cleaving and splicing take
about the same time as a single fiber, you can see how efficient and
cost-effective ribbon cable installation can be.
The downside of installing
ribbon cable, of course, is all these tools are expensive, especially the
fusion splicer. The good news is that manufacturers such as Corning Cable
Systems rent them, a much more viable alternative to owning for most
HAYES is a
VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find
him at www.jimhayes.com.
Reprinted with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine November issue 2006
Flexibility, Adaptability, Creativity, Technology Needed at Schools Today
Is your school system still teaching the classic three
“R”s of rote, repetition and routine?
Most school districts still
aren’t teaching skills needed for the Information Age. These people don’t seem
to understand that we’re way beyond the Industrial Age. For the most part, they
are teaching the classical three “R”s. I’m not talking about reading, writing
and arithmetic. I’m talking about rote, repetition, and routine.
All of these add up to
regimentation, which is what was needed to assimilate people into the
Industrial Age workforce. At that time, those skills were needed on the
assembly line, which required repetitive actions. Public schools got a
workforce ready for jobs in mass production facilities (or – being more
politically accurate – factories).
In 2005, I ended a column with:
While cute curricula with
whimsical goals, folksy ideals and subtle promotion of political objectives
might sound good in the coffee room, teachers should be pushed out into the
real world and be replaced by those who have worked in it.
If nothing else, students
would get a much broader insight into what they will need in the future and
teachers would get the education they are missing.
What is the shelf life of
education today? How long does a high school diploma serve you (or a college
degree or M.B.A. for that matter)?
Many jobs today require
continual education and being able to create new methodologies from scratch.
Some require the skills to structure and develop a framework of policies and
procedures where nothing currently exists. Still, many students are only
trained to come in and handle routine, repetitive procedures.
What is needed today is
FACT-based education. FACT stands for flexibility, adaptability, creativity and
technology. These are the skill sets needed for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs.
Today, good jobs in any
industry require a multi-faceted person who can think quickly, adapt to new
situations and learning issues and use some capabilities of technology as well
as automated applications that facilitate performing tasks within the industry.
All industries have been
swept into various forms of automated applications for travel, brokerage
functions, financial and medical as well as the more traditional manufacturing
and factory automation systems.
Simply getting a high school
diploma or a GED is not education. What do you really qualify for today with a
high school diploma? Not much. If you have less than that, forget it. Getting a
bachelor’s degree or at least some post-high school vocational skills is the
way to secure a job and some type of career path.
Welcome to Wal-Mart
With more international
competition for jobs and technological consolidation, students need to gain the
right skills and training more than ever to secure jobs in their areas.
With the cheap digital and
satellite communications we have today, call centers can be placed anywhere in
the world. If a country has a good, English-speaking workforce, all the jobs
that people used to do in the U.S.
as entry-level jobs are outsourced.
If the new skills aren’t
mastered, the job market looks dismal. While there are a lot of lower-paying
jobs in the retail and service industries, they don’t really pay a living wage.
Even those jobs are getting
shuffled around because of technology. A colleague pointed out that McDonald’s
has consolidated order takers for some restaurants into a call center in Denver. Though you may
drive up to one in your neighborhood, the person actually taking your order may
be a thousand miles away. They even claim their order accuracy has gone up.
General management skills
that have been overlooked at many universities include writing well and being
able to speak in front of people. As these are key executive skills, why are
they not emphasizing them?
You don’t want to work for
Wal-Mart? Can you get up and speak in front of an audience? Can you put
together a PowerPoint presentation by yourself? Can you write well enough to
produce a full-blown report or an in-depth analysis? Will you only read off a
paper for a speech or delegate a report to someone else to write?
These sound more like the
skills of a Wal-Mart greeter rather than an effective company manager. For
those of you who send out e-mails with lots of typos, do you know what type of
impression that makes to internal and external people?
Casual Doesn’t Mean Homeless
Many people have also said
that sloppiness has crept into the workplace with dress codes that have been
too laid back. The feeling is that companies and other organizations are now
paying the price for this relaxation.
I see a trend at several
places trying to reverse that negative tendency by requiring business dress
during business hours. An owner of a business remarked that he doesn’t want
people to come to work dressed for play. He wants them to come dressed to do
Does that sound too
conservative to some of you? Learn to dress as if you’re taking the corporate
jet to a meeting. Don’t come to work dressed to wash and gas it up. This is
only becoming more and more important as many jobs are up for grabs in not just
the domestic marketplace but the global marketplace as well.
When the education system is
already lacking and leaving you under-prepared for the real world and real
business situations, showing up dressed like you’re going to mow the lawn only
puts you at an even further disadvantage.
Carlinism: If you can’t learn new skills
or how to dress, you might as well practice the Wal-Mart welcome.
James Carlini will be the
keynote speaker at “Justice: Media, Wi-Fi & You,” which is now rescheduled
to Nov. 30 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Carlini will also present
how he pioneered measuring building intelligence at the annual BICSI winter
conference in Orlando
on Jan. 22, 2007. Also, check out his blog at CarlinisComments.com.
James Carlini is an adjunct
professor at Northwestern
University. He is also
president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full
Copyright 2006 Jim Carlini
Ortronics/Legrand Expands Product Management Team
Ortronics/Legrand, a global
leader in high performance fiber, copper and wireless structured cabling
solutions, is pleased to announce the addition of two new product managers to
the current product management team. Rudy Montgelas joins the team as senior
product manager, fiber products, reporting to Michael Hines, director of
product management for fiber and wireless. Al Fixl joins the team as product
manager, copper products, reporting to Gregg Lafontaine, director of product
management for copper.
In their new roles, both
Montgelas and Fixl will have full responsibility for their respective product
lines, including product strategy, new product development, and managing the
product lines to achieve planned growth and profitability. "The expansion
of our product management team will allow us to continue to grow our core
businesses while we increase our focus on medium and long-term growth
opportunities," states Mark Panico, president of Ortronics/Legrand.
Montgelas' work experience
includes his most recent position as director/product group manager of fiber
and cable management products for Hubbell Premise Wiring. Prior to Hubbell, he
was business development manager for Ensign-Bickford Optics Company. Montgelas
holds a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from Trinity
College in Hartford,
CT and Master's Degree in Electrical
Engineering from University of Texas in Austin,
Fixl's work experience
includes product management positions at MEMC, KLA-Tencor, and Schlumberger
Technologies. He holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Electrical Engineering
from Lehigh University
in Bethlehem, PA
as well as a Master of Business Administration from Santa
Clara University in Santa Clara, CA. www.ortronics.com
New Technology Thwarts Terrorism
By Deborah L. O’Mara
The Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) has released some $399 million for critical infrastructure
protection. Technology often jump-starts in the government market, as the rest
of the industry takes stock of innovation, waiting for the eventual migration
to private sectors and other industries.
These grants are being
distributed to ports, transit and intercity bus systems to strengthen the
nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from
terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies.
All this activity is sure to
bring new breakthroughs at a rapid pace, moving quickly to encompass high- to
low-risk applications. Indicators of this phenomenon can be seen in most markets.
One comparison is the drop in price of microprocessors, surveillance
technology, night imaging systems (many from the government sector) and even
plasma screens and viewing monitors.
New technologies to detect
chemicals and liquid explosives provide a snapshot of market innovation.
Following the last liquid explosive terrorist attempt, the United States
renewed its efforts to provide even more comprehensive security to vulnerable
areas of the country, including seaports, airports, chemical and oil refineries
and even major cities and transportation carriers.
The EntryScan portal from GE
Security, Bradenton, Fla., is one in a growing list of products
designed for explosive detection. The company recently landed a contract for
147 of the “puffer” devices.
Here’s how it works:
Passengers step into the portal and puffs of air are released as EntryScan
analyzes for traces of explosives in seconds. These units are portable, making
it feasible for nearly instant deployment. An EntryScan4 is lower in height and
Portable, mobile solutions
bring security to areas never thought possible. They cost less and require less
labor to install, and that’s critical for integrated systems contractors.
Isonics Corp., Columbia, Md.,
also has a product for these applications. The IMS “sniffer” technology detects
explosives such as the substance used by the shoe bomber and the suspected
substance in the liquid explosives plot. It is portable and detects traces of
homemade explosives and chemical weapons in less than 15 seconds.
Remember when biometric
access control was deployed only at high-security and sensitive facilities?
That’s changed too, and now these units, many of which originated from
government beta test sites, are making their way to more campuses and
Convergence meets convenience
Ingersoll Rand (IR) Security
Technologies, Campbell, Calif.,
reported that West Virginia University’s Student Recreation
Center is using biometric
hand reader technology to control access in addition to the card swiping system
already in place. Handkey machines simplify credential management and ensure
only authorized individuals enter the recreation center. Hand readers
automatically take a three-dimensional reading of the size and shape and verify
the user’s identity.
“The primary reason we
brought in this device was convenience for students,” said Carolyn McDaniel,
assistant director of Student Affairs Business Operations. “The students said
they don’t want to bring their card. The Recreation Center
is probably the place where cards are most often lost.”
The IR reader has a flat
platen with five metal posts embedded in it. When registering, the user places
his or her hand on the platen with each finger touching a corresponding post.
The reader takes three measurements and saves the average to the student’s
Convenience is an important
factor with biometrics, said Bashar Masad, marketing manager, IR Security
Technologies. “If you wire keypads, you can sell biometrics, and it’s a great
way to replace a lock and ‘sell up’ to your customers,” he said.
security is the way to go for many deployment environments. Reading cards and
credentials in a mobile environment allows you to do more with technology, said
Neil Fallon, commercial sales director, Datastrip, Exton, Pa. Datastrip’s
built-in-pixel, digital still camera allows users to enroll individuals at
remote sites and provide photo-based identity matching of criminal suspects and
evidence at crime scenes. Fallon said the small-footprint, portable DSVII
weighs a little over two pounds and offers the power of being able to capture
images, store them on the Datastrip terminal or wirelessly transmit video for
storage and processing at a central control.
“It’s like a small handheld
computer, and the camera provides audit trail parameters. It can be used in all
types of applications where it is too difficult to get a wired infrastructure,”
Wondering what it all means?
The big picture is that security has become a necessity from top to bottom in
our society, and certainly, there’s a niche for the electrical contractor. EC
the president of DLO Communications in Park
specializing in low-voltage. She can be reached at 847.384.1916 or email@example.com.
Reprinted with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine November issue 2006
The New ECmag.com
Something big quietly
happened about a month ago here at your industry magazine. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR launched a newly designed, completely
revamped Web site. In production and planning for almost a year, www.ECmag.com
will be a better link to current information and industry news with increased
For frequent visitors, we
have expanded our content and will be featuring more than we had room for on
our previous site. Web exclusives will be updated regularly.
Coming soon will be a new
quick poll where you can weigh in on a variety of industry topics and some fun
ones as well. Also upcoming will be a handy streaming commodity prices scroll,
which will help you better estimate the job costs and invest in futures. Need
to find a specific article or product? You will soon be able to use our
better-than-ever search function, which will get you right where you need to
While reading this month’s
issue, you’ll find references to the new Web site, directing you there to
gather more information. Because the printed magazine has limited space, we’ll
be able to bring you additional content and information on the Internet,
offering you, our readers, a more complete package of resources.
Still, on its own, this
November issue contains some intriguing stories, especially relating to the
electrical contractor’s role in integrated building systems. Rumblings around
the industry really seem to indicate that the EC is no longer limited to
installing conduit, that you have put together a complete product and service
offering to better compete.
Several stories will be of
interest, especially, to the IBS contractor (or to those who are upcoming IBS
contractors!). Just like with our new Web site, the Internet is a source for
information to get you where you need to be. Turn to Jeff Griffin’s “Whole
Building Design: Let the Internet Be Your Guide,” page 140. You can also learn
about the role of an IBS-style contractor and become more versed in security
installations with Susan Casey’s “Niche Marketing: Residential Access Control,”
page 114. Finally, it’s important to know how to price an IBS job. Find what
you need in “Bidding an IBS Job,” by Deborah O’Mara, page 102.
Enjoy your time reading this
issue and exploring www.ECmag.com. Bear in mind that we are still working out
some of the Web site’s technical kinks—we appreciate your patience! Feedback is
welcome, just e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. EC
Reprinted with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine November Issue 2006
Indiana University Honors Interactive Intelligence With Entrepreneurial Award For Innovation
Interactive Intelligence Inc.
(Nasdaq: ININ), a global developer of business communications software, has
received the Indiana University Entrepreneurial Award of Distinction (IUEAD) in
the category of Innovation.
The Innovation Award
identifies companies that have pioneered new systems, products, or best
practices to adapt to the ever-changing business climate, according to Donald
F. Kuratko, executive director of the Johnson Center
for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and The Jack M. Gill Chair of
Entrepreneurship in the IU Kelley School of Business.
clearly met our criteria for the Innovation Award with its ground-breaking
IP-based unified communications software, which was first released nearly a
decade ago to address the costly integration requirements introduced by the
large legacy telephony vendors,” Kuratko said. “At the time considered
bleeding-edge, today the company’s all-in-one, bundled suite approach is in use
by major companies all over the world, and as a pioneer of this technology,
Interactive Intelligence continues to be a front-runner, with more than 2,500
global customers, impressive year-over-year growth, and a ‘first-to-market’
approach that gives it a competitive advantage over much larger vendors.”
Intelligence software, first released in 1997, was developed as a unified
communications software suite that’s scalable and standards-based, offering single-platform
architecture designed to eliminate the cost and complexity introduced by
individual point products. The software
is ideal for contact centers and enterprises of all sizes looking to decrease
costs, increase productivity, and improve customer service through more
effective interaction management.
Intelligence was founded in 1994 in Indianapolis,
and while it has offices around the globe, the company remains committed to its
presence in Indiana.
As the only publicly traded information technology company left in the State,
Interactive Intelligence boasts an impressive local customer base, including
companies such as Angie’s List, Citizens
Gas & Coke Utility, Eli Lilly and Company, Finish Line, Indiana Chamber of
Commerce, Indiana University, Made2Manage, National FFA Organization, St.
Vincents Health, and many others.
The 2nd annual
IUEAD Awards were presented Oct. 19 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis. Interactive
Intelligence received its award from among 68 nominees in the following
categories: Spirit, Innovation, Growth, and Social Enterprise.
The IUEAD Awards are
sponsored by the Johnson
Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the IU Kelley School of Business. For more
information about the awards program, visit http://www.kelley.indiana.edu/jcei,
or call 812.855.4248.
About Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq:
ININ) is a global provider of business communications
software and services for contact center automation and enterprise IP
telephony. Interactive Intelligence was founded in 1994 and has more
than 2,500 customers worldwide. Recent awards include the 2006 Network World
200, CRM Magazine’s 2006 Rising Star Excellence Award, Network Computing
Magazine’s 2006 Well-Connected Award, and Software Magazine’s 2006 Top 500
Global Software and Services Companies. Interactive Intelligence employs more
than 400 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis,
Indiana. The company has five
global corporate offices, with additional sales offices throughout North
America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Interactive
Intelligence can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or email@example.com; on the Net: http://www.inin.com.
Cabling Business Magazine Web Glossary a Big Draw
The Cabling Business Magazine
web site is drawing quite a following with regards to its web glossary - the
really only complete telecomm glossary on the web. "Readers are finding
the glossary so helpful with research and it helps clear up some confusing
terms," says managing editor Margaret Patterson. "We feel this is
such a great service for our subscribers that they can now get the information
even faster than before."
For more information about
the glossary - go to www.cablingbusiness.com
and check it out for yourself!
HAI's Omni And Lumina Controllers Now Offer Z-Wave Support
Home Automation, Inc. (HAI),
a leading manufacturer of home control products since 1985, announced that its
award winning Omni and Lumina controllers support Z-Wave technology today at
the Electronic House Expo held in Long
Z-Wave is a wireless network
protocol used in a wide variety of home automation devices made by numerous
manufacturers. In addition to supporting standard Z-Wave lighting devices, HAI
has worked in partnership with Leviton to support the advanced features of
Leviton's ViziaRF series of lighting control devices, including lighting scenes
and two way communications.
When used with an HAI Omni or
Lumina home control system, Z-Wave devices are ideal for Multi-Dwelling Unit
(MDU) applications. For single family homes and larger applications, HAI
recommends the UPB technology used in HAI Lighting Control (HLC) products. HAI
Omni and Lumina home control systems allow the use of multiple technologies in
a single installation, maximizing both flexibility and choice of devices.
"HAI recognizes the
importance of supporting various technologies so both consumers and installers
can enjoy a range of choices when deciding what products to integrate with an
HAI Omni or Lumina controller," explains HAI President and CEO, Jay
McLellan. "All of our controllers
now support a variety of lighting control products such as Lutron RadioRa, X-10,
Leviton DHC and ViziaRF, Lightolier Compose, ALC Hardwire Lighting, CentraLite,
and of course our own line of HLC products based on the UPB platform."
Next SCTE Live Learning™ Event To Scope Out Ip Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
The Society of Cable
Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) will present “An Overview of IP Multimedia
Subsystem (IMS)” as the subject of its next SCTE Live Learning™ event, which is
set for Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
Internet Multimedia Subsystem
(IMS) has become the platform of choice for the rollout of next-generation
IP-based multimedia communications services. IMS originated in the wireless
market and is on cable’s technology horizon in the form of PacketCable™ 2.0.
This SCTE Live Learning™ session will provide a technical discussion regarding
the basic functions and requirements driving the IMS architecture. The session
also will review IMS’s core components and their roles, key interface highlights,
and examine how it has evolved to meet the specific needs of cable.
SCTE Live Learning™—sponsored
by Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, Motorola, and Scientific Atlanta, A Cisco Company—is
a series of live, interactive, web-based seminars offered the third Wednesday
of every month (except June). The events are free for SCTE members and $29 per
seminar for nonmembers. Registration is required and “seats” are limited.
Archived recordings are available to SCTE members only, and at no cost.
The presenter for the Dec. 20
event will be Jonathan Rosenberg, Cisco Fellow, Cisco Systems. Registration is
available in the Education section of the SCTE website, www.scte.org.
NAHB Expects More Than 100,000 Attendees At Annual International Builders’s Show
2007 Show Will be Largest Ever
More than 100,000 housing
professionals are expected to descend on Orlando,
Fla., for the 2007 International
Builders' Show (IBS). Hosted by the National Association of Home Builders
(NAHB), the housing industry's largest annual light construction trade show and
exhibition will be held at the Orange
Center, Feb. 7-10.
How large? If you can imagine
walking through every square foot of the landmark Chrysler
Building, a 77-story New York City skyscraper, you have some sense
of the size of the exhibition. Held in one of the biggest convention centers in
the country, the 2007 IBS boasts the housing industry's largest new-product
showcase at more than one million net square feet, with a record 1,800
exhibitors displaying the latest cutting-edge products, services, designs and
technologies available to the home building community.
Builders' Show continues to grow because it is the event of the year for
builders who want to stay on the cutting edge," said NAHB President David
Pressly, a home builder from Statesville, N.C. "With 450 new exhibitors,
an impressive lineup of speakers and some truly amazing show homes, we expect
this year's show to be the best yet and certainly not one to miss."
The exhibit floor will
feature suppliers spanning more than 300 categories ranging across every aspect
of the residential and light commercial construction fields. Building
professionals looking for an edge on the latest in home building technologies
can also visit nextBUILD,[tm] the newly renamed technology component of IBS,
which will showcase more than 200 exhibitors. Builders and their affiliates
will also be able to choose from more than 290 educational sessions and have the
opportunity to earn credit toward a professional designation by attending
pre-show educational seminars. For the first time ever, IBS will also feature
two showcase homes--one new and one remodeled.
With attendance numbers
rivaling a city the size of Boulder,
Colo., convention caterers expect
to keep busy. During the 2006 show, they sold the equivalent of 2.5 miles of
hotdogs and sausages; 3,750 slices of bread or enough to span one mile; 2,000
pounds of salad; 3,000 pounds of potato chips; and more than 6,000 gallons of
beverages, equivalent to the amount of gas needed to fuel a car for 13 years.
The 2007 International
Builders' Show is not open to the general public. Building industry
professionals and their affiliates throughout the housing trades are welcome to
register by visiting the show's newly redesigned Web site at www.BuildersShow.com.
registration ends Jan. 5, 2007. Attendees will be able to register on site at
the show beginning on Sunday, Feb. 4. Visitors can also see what the show has
to offer at www.BuildersShow.com/VTS,
a virtual showcase for exhibitors and their products. IBS exhibit floor hours
are listed below.
2007 INTERNATIONAL BUILDERS'
EXHIBIT FLOOR HOURS
Wednesday, February 7, 9:30
a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 8, 9:30
a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, February 9, 9:30 a.m.
- 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 10, 9:00
a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Complimentary
registration is available to credentialed members of the working press. Visit http://www.buildersshow.com/press
for more information or to register.]
HCM Announce UL Verification of 10-Gigabit Ethernet UTP Cable
Hitachi Cable Manchester
(HCM), a leader in the manufacture of copper and fiber optic communications
cables, announces the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. verification of HCM’s Supra
10GTM cable. The cable,
tested to Draft 5 of TIA/EIA 568-B.2-10 (Category 6A), is the world’s first
fully verified Category 6A cable. Though
other manufacturers have acquired the easier to achieve channel performance
verification, which includes jacks, patch panels and patch cables, only HCM has
been able to make a fully component compliant Category 6A cable.
Kevin Boisvert, Research and
Development Manager for HCM, described the development process for the Supra
10GTM as challenging.
“Testing to 500 MHz while surpassing the alien crosstalk requirements
was not an easy task. However, with
HCM’s experience in developing and designing unique, high-performance category
cables in shielded, hybrid and bundled cable configurations, I was confident
we’d be able to engineer a cable that would meet and exceed the requirements of
Supra 10GTM is now
available through HCM approved distributors.
For information on where to obtain the new Supra 10GTM,
contact HCM at 800-772-0116 or visit their website at http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/.
UPS Systems: Who Really Needs One
By Darlene Bremer
Simply put, an
uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a device that provides battery backup
when the electrical power falls to unacceptable voltage levels. There are
currently three types of UPS systems available that provide different levels of
protection, depending on the needs of the application. An offline, or standby,
UPS unit provides backup power to equipment but no power conditioning. A line
interactive UPS is similar to offline technology but provides the user with
voltage regulation. A true online double conversion UPS system offers the
highest level of protection.
“This technology offers
steady power output, backup power and power conditioning,” said Suzette Albert,
product manager for Sola/Hevi-Duty, a part of the EGS Electrical Group, Rosemont, Ill.
While many people associate
the need for backup power with lightning or other externally generated
phenomena, 70 to 80 percent of events are actually generated within a facility.
The typical small UPS system will provide backup power for only a few minutes
during these events, providing sufficient time to power down the connected
equipment, ensuring it loads in an orderly manner. Larger systems may offer
enough battery power, however, to last for several hours.
“A real UPS system has no
drop-off time and maintains constant power availability,” said Gus Nasrallah,
senior product manager, power solutions for Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc.,
Little Neck, N.Y.
UPS systems are used to
protect all types of computer systems, from a single home computer to vast
corporate networks, data servers and data centers, telecommunication systems,
hospitals and biomedical environments.
“An installed UPS system is
appropriate for any application where power supplies and power quality need to
be protected for the security and safety of people, property or data,” Albert
The importance of UPS systems
and the need for power quality and conditioning has grown as computer
applications and telecommunications and automation systems have evolved.
“In today’s around-the-clock
business environment, downtime just isn’t an option,” observed Chris Loeffler,
product manager for Eaton Powerware, Raleigh,
N.C. Downtime, even when measured
in mere seconds, can carry a staggering price tag. According to Loeffler,
studies show that businesses can lose $10,000 to several million dollars per
minute when networks go down. Losses from a lack of backup power can be felt in
terms of both damage to sensitive electronic equipment, which is now being used
virtually everywhere and in everything, and a loss of data.
“For example, when
Caterpillar’s Solar Turbine division lost its UPS system, it subsequently lost
$4 million of revenue in just one day,” Nasrallah said.
The use of UPS systems to
guarantee backup power is particularly important in the semiconductor industry,
according to John Goosseff, three-phase marketing manager for MGE UPS Systems, Costa Mesa, Calif.
“Even the most minor outage or transient voltage, spike or sag can cause
millions of dollars in damaged products and materials,” he said.
Trends and advancements
The most current trend,
according to Mark Szalkus, sales application engineering manager for GE Power
Quality, is the demand by owners across industries for increased energy
“Owners want to reduce energy
consumption as much as possible, including the energy used by their UPS
systems,” he explained. In the conversion process from AC to DC and back to AC
power, UPS systems can lose as much as 9 percent efficiency. “Customers are
looking at that power conversion loss as an additional cost and want it
Toward that end, the industry
is researching ways to develop transformerless UPS systems to increase
efficiency during the power conversion process and to develop new ways to store
energy and eliminate batteries. In the meantime, maintenance-free batteries for
UPS systems are in the marketplace. These dry cell, lead acid batteries,
according to Nasrallah, don’t emit carbon, so they don’t require ventilation.
“This feature is a critical factor in data centers or other applications that
must remain cool.”
Another trend in UPS
technology is toward more redundant and modular solutions that allow better
maintainability of equipment without power interruption or risk of load loss,
according to Goosseff. Modular UPS systems eliminate single points of failure
through decentralized static bypass switches and controls that are distributed
within each unit, rather than installed centrally, as they historically have
been. Modular design includes built-in redundancies that provide extra
assurance that if one UPS module in the system fails, the load will
automatically be picked up by the other modules.
“Such redundancies are being
demanded by customers for the added protection and to support the load,”
In addition to modularity,
scalability is becoming an increasingly important trend in the market and
allows facilities to upgrade their systems in accordance to changes in load
A growing trend in data
centers is the demand for UPS systems that have a smaller footprint and that
can reduce energy costs while delivering a scalable and flexible power
“New blade server designs
enable data centers to reconfigure their power system to meet the increasing
demands required by their growth,” said Loeffler. Some blade servers meet these
needs by offering the ability to expand UPS implementation up to 60 kW in a
single enclosure by simply plugging additional parallel UPS modules into the
The UPS system market in the United States
is currently more than $2 billion, according to Nasrallah.
“The growing pervasiveness
throughout the country of more sensitive electronics and electronic equipment
that is more easily damaged by power outages, spikes and other power anomalies
is one factor driving the growth of the UPS market,” he said.
Demand for UPS systems is
also growing as facilities upgrade or replace existing systems to keep current
with changes and advancements in technologies and efficiency, according to
Albert. “The proliferation of sensitive electronics, from home computers to
offices and factories, is contributing to market growth and making UPS systems
a necessary commodity item.”
contractors benefit from any growth in the UPS market since their expertise is
required for the installation of any new or replacement systems.
“All UPS systems, even the
smallest ones, require input power that needs to be wired by a licensed
electrical contractor. And larger UPS systems typically require even more
support from electrical contractors,” Loeffler said. In addition, a large
percentage of UPS systems are being purchased through electrical contractors,
giving those companies additional revenue from the product sale.
More specific opportunities
in the UPS market can be found by electrical contractors in the data center
segment. The prevalence of data centers in the country is growing, and they
require more protected power to run the new blade servers.
“The increased power
requirements of blade servers and the added investment in information technology
(IT) equipment being made by data centers are opening the doors for electrical
contractors to install UPS systems and expand these facilities,” Goosseff said.
The growth of data centers
can partially be attributed to new construction, as companies consolidate their
smaller locations into large, centralized facilities to reduce the overall
operating expenses of their IT departments, according to Loeffler. In addition,
conformance to privacy legislation, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require
additional computing and storage capacity.
“With upper management
constantly pressuring their organizations to meet legal and operational
pressures, the UPS opportunities in this market will continue to grow and
prosper,” he said.
How to succeed
In order to take advantage of
the increasingly growing UPS market, electrical contractors need to understand
how to provide integrated solutions that include all aspects of the technology,
such as batteries and building management systems. Basically, an electrical
contractor should provide a complete protective solution to the customer and
add value to its UPS installation.
“It’s important to understand
the technology to choose the proper system for the application,” Nasrallah
said. Factors to take into account include how much backup time is required by
the end-user and the correct load capacity. “Oversizing the system does not
help the end-user, nor does it provide increased protection,” he added.
Contractors also need to
understand that UPS systems do not solve all power quality and output problems.
Proper grounding must also be maintained and transient surges on the supply
side of the system must be eliminated for the UPS to function properly.
“It’s also imperative,”
Albert said, “to understand the customer’s business and what critical
operations need the most protection.”
Contractors that succeed in
the UPS market will work as partners with the end-user, the UPS OEM
manufacturer and the facility’s engineering consultant in the design process to
ensure that the customer is receiving the optimal system for the application
and the most value. “The contractor can be integral in designing the UPS
system’s infrastructure to optimize its energy efficiency and footprint,” said
Brad Thrash, UPS product manager for GE Power Quality.
The future for UPS systems
includes more intelligent systems with increased robustness, enhanced
scalability and higher power density, according to Loeffler. With more functionality
will come new platform design architectures to ensure the proper level of
protection at all times and optimized system operation.
Demand for clean, reliable
power will continue to drive UPS market growth, predicted Szalkus. “The
continued evolution in technology to meet customer requirements for energy
efficiency will lead to lower operating costs and improved energy storage.”
With growth rates predicted
to be 10 to 15 percent per year in North America,
the electrical contractor who does not pay attention to the market will miss a
great growth opportunity.
“The electrical contractor
that trains its personnel and understands UPS system applications and
technologies can become an extremely valuable source of knowledge and solutions
for the end-user,” Nasrallah said. EC
freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be
reached at 410.394.6966 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine November issue 2006
Whole Building Design; Let the Internet Be Your Guide
By Jeff Griffin
THE idea that it makes sense
for all components of a building to be compatible and to complement one another
is not new. But as buildings and the ways they are used become increasingly
sophisticated and complex, so does the task of planning, designing and
construction to ensure that all systems function together. Indeed, the whole of
a carefully planned, built and efficiently functioning modern building is
greater than the sum of its individual parts and systems.
“The concept of the whole
building process provides a platform for all parties involved in the design,
construction, operation and use of today’s facilities to approach and execute a
project in an integrated fashion,” said Dominique Fernandez, director of the
National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide. “The goal
is to create successful high-performance buildings. To achieve that goal, we
must apply the integrated design approach and the integrated team approach to
the project during the planning and programming phases of a project.”
For electrical contractors
experienced in design/build projects, the description of the whole building
concept may seem the same as that of the design/build approach to construction.
While many elements are
similar, Fernandez said design/build is a means of executing the larger concept
of the whole building process.
Architects and builders have
long sought to coordinate all aspects of designing and constructing buildings,
but the concept of the Whole Building Design Guide was not formalized until
1997, Fernandez said.
“The Whole Building Design
Guide (WBDG), is the only Web-based portal providing government and industry
practitioners with a one-stop access to up-to-date information on a wide range
of building-related guidance, criteria and technology from a whole building
perspective” she said. “It is a collaborative effort among federal agencies,
nonprofit organizations and educational institutions under the auspices of the
National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), a not-for-profit,
nongovernmental organization that provides an authoritative national source of
knowledge advice for both the private and public sector of the economy with
respect to building sciences and technologies.”
The whole building approach
is more comprehensive than design/build, taking into consideration operation of
the structure, environmental factors and future requirements or modifications
that may be necessary to keep the structure functional at the highest possible
level of efficiency over its life cycle. It encompasses how the building and
its systems can be integrated with supporting systems on its site and in its
community, and how materials, systems and products of a building connect,
interact and affect one another. It also provides the strategies to achieve
high-performance, low energy, sustainable and secure buildings.
The WBDG Web site,
www.wbdg.org, is an excellent source of information. To summarize some of its
key points, there are two basic components to the whole building process. They
are the integrated design approach and an integrated team process.
The integrated design approach
The WBDG describes the
integrated design approach involving all stakeholders in a project—including
the owner, designers, technical planners, those constructing the structure and
operators of the building—working together to consider project objectives and
the building materials, systems and assemblies from many different
An excerpt from the WBDG
says, “This approach is a deviation from the typical planning and design
process of relying on the expertise of specialists who work in their respective
specialties somewhat isolated from each other.”
Design objectives that must
be considered in concert with one another include the following:
of both exterior and interior
preservation requirements if the structure is in a historic preservation
The integrated team process
According to the WBDG, it is
essential, in practice, that all involved evaluate the design for cost,
quality-of-life, future flexibility, efficiency, overall environmental impact,
productivity and creativity. The process draws from the knowledge pool of all
the stakeholders across the life cycle of the project, from defining the need
for a building, through planning, design, construction, building occupancy,
operations and maintenance.
An important element is the
design charrette, a focused and collaborative brainstorming session held at the
beginning of a project that encourages an exchange of ideas and information and
allows truly integrated design solutions to take form.
“Team members—all the
stakeholders—are encouraged to cross fertilize and address problems beyond
their field of expertise. The charrette is particularly helpful in complex
situations where many people represent the interests of the client and
conflicting needs and constituencies. Participants are educated about the
issues and resolution enables them to ‘buy into’ the schematic solutions,”
reads the WBDG.
The whole building concept and design/build
experienced in design/build will find many whole building elements similar or
the same as the whole building process, making design/build an excellent
approach to implement a whole building project.
Under the design/build
approach to construction, the project owner executes a single contract with one
entity for all design, engineering and construction services. Because this
single contract results in a single source of responsibility, much of the
design and performance risk transfers from the owner to the design/builder.
The Design-Build Institute of
America (DBIA) cites other design/build advantages that accrue both to project
owners and to all members of the design/build team. DBIA studies have found
that typical design/build projects are 6 percent lower in cost, 12 percent
faster in construction time and 33 percent faster in total program time. In
addition, design/build projects are well known for improved project quality and
much lower rates of conflict and litigation.
Walker Lee Evey, DBIA
president, said that design/build is suitable for almost all types of projects,
including those which are large, complex and have extreme time factors. In the
United States, design/build is used in both the private and public sectors, and
the number of design/build projects continues to grow each year.
“We estimate that today
design/build accounts for approximately 40 percent of the market,” Evey said.
“While the exact number is difficult to pin down because reporting systems are
not consistent, the important point is the direction design/build is headed. In
1985, less than 5 percent of U.S. projects could be classified design/build.
What is clearly visible is an extraordinary amount of growth in a remarkably
short period of time.”
DBIA’s estimate that 40
percent of today’s projects are design/build closely parallels the findings of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR’s most recent
“Profile of the Electrical Contractor” study: 43 percent of the responding
contractors’ revenue was derived from design/build or design/assist work, with
a vast majority of that figure representing design/build. To download a full
copy of this study, visit www.ecmag.com/research.
What three contractors say
Clearly the benefits of
design/build make it ideal for implementing the whole building process, and the
electrical contractor plays a vital role in the execution of whole building
concept and design/build projects. Observations of contractors experienced in
design/build cite that benefits of that process closely parallel the key
benefits of the whole building process.
“The design/build process
allows the owner/end-user to be a part of the team and design process, thereby
ensuring that the ‘little things’ are covered. We see much more satisfied
clients as they receive what they really want. And the process also results in
a project with largely minimized change orders and unforeseen expenditures. It
provides a much more realistic budget for the owner/end-user with far less
‘blue sky’ and speculation about costs,” said Nick L. Cole, manager of
construction services for Commonwealth Electric Co. of the Midwest, Lincoln,
Cole said the market is
driving the trend to design/build because owners/end-users get what they want
and save money, too.
Matthew Logan, who is
responsible for business development for Coghlin Electrical Contractors,
Worcester, Mass., believes design/build will continue to grow as long as
construction continues to be cost and schedule driven.
“Owners will continue to look
at this contract method for cost savings and compression in design-to-build
time,” he said. “The common element in
all design/build projects is that owners or their architects are able to
articulate clearly the scope of work or desired end result of the project. To
be successful, an experienced team that includes architectural, electrical and
mechanical members must have the ability to work in harmony with one another.
Electrical contractors must commit to customer service, maintaining knowledge
of the best and latest applications.”
James Mackey, president of
Evergreen Power Systems Inc., Seattle, said the number of design/build
opportunities is increasing as projects become more complex. He added that
design/build creates a closer relationship among the developers, architects and
“Projects have shorter design
and construction schedules,” he said. “The electrical systems are designed to
meet the owner’s requirements and not over-designed to limit the engineer’s
exposure. Awards are based on reputation and performance, instead of just low
number. There are far fewer change orders and claims.”
However, limiting costs can
add design risks.
“One of the most challenging
aspects,” Mackey said, “is extracting information and scope from the end-user,
scope ‘creep’ and realigning the budget. These problems can be mitigated by
drawing from related experience in similar work or working with developers in
Mackey also believes the
trend toward design/build will continue. “With rising interest rates and
construction costs, it is imperative for developers to minimize the design-construction
time and bring their projects to market sooner,” he said. “Electrical
contractors develop a reputation for design/build by shortening up the time it
takes to design and build, by controlling costs, increasing flexibility and
providing budget estimates for various design scenarios.”
Design/build and the larger
whole building approach appear here to stay, and both are sure to evolve to
better serve building project owners.
The WBDG Web site provides
this view of what may be coming soon
“As buildings continue to
change and grow in complexity, additional programs and information will have an
impact on the entire design, planning and construction community. Among them is
building information modeling (BIM) software that is the newest trend in computer-aided
design. Many industry professionals forecast that buildings will be built
directly from the electronic models that BIM creates, or that architects will
no longer create drawings but will instead build buildings inside their
computers. BIM has the potential to change the role of drawings for the
construction process, improve architectural productivity and make it easier to
consider and evaluate design alternatives. BIM will also aid in the process of
integrating the various design teams’ work, further encouraging and demanding
an integrated team process.” EC
construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at
405.748.5256 or email@example.com.
Reprinted with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine November issue 2006
SMP Data Communications to Participate in CSC’s Secure(it) Initiative
SMP Data Communications, a
leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication
networks, has teamed up with Communications Supply Corporation (CSC) on a new
strategic initiative called Secure(it).
The CSC Secure(it) program is focused on developing innovative products
and solutions for secure network systems and information assurance
SMP has developed several
enhanced security solutions in response to an increase in the deployment of
secure networks by the Department of Defense.
These innovative solutions, which offer enhanced security levels for
high-assurance network systems, include the Limited AxcessTM (Patent Pending) and shielded network
solutions. The Limited Axcess solution
provides physical layers of network security that are offered through a unique
keyed plug and jack inter-connect system.
This system, which exceeds Category 6a requirements, physically
restricts network access and offers enhanced system performance. The shielded
network solution eliminates the threat of alien cross talk and external noise
from wireless technologies. This level of secure
networking not only provides connectivity solutions ideal for the network
administrator looking to protect data transmission, but also provides the ease
of plug and play technology making it easier for moves, adds, and changes to a
network system. Both of these solutions
will be featured in the CSC Secure(it) Program, and are slated for further
expansion as the demand for secure structured cabling systems continues to
SMP Data Communications,
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
(PLPC) of Cleveland, Ohio. For more
information about SMP’s complete product line visit our website at www.smpdata.com
CONEST® Software Systems To Exhibit At BICSI 2007 Winter Conference
ConEst Software Systems, the
leading developer of a fully integrated suite of electrical estimating software
applications serving the electrical and datacom contractor industries, will be
featuring their latest release of IntelliBid estimating software and RapidBOM design software at the BICSI 2007 Winter
Conference in Orlando FL at Booth # 1110.
ConEst’s flagship estimating
software, IntelliBid, continues to
set itself apart from other mainstream programs with the company’s latest
release, which includes an expanded database featuring over 70,000 electrical,
low voltage, and structured cabling materials. The structured cabling database
includes products from leading manufacturers including 3M, Avaya, Belden,
Panduit, and Homaco to name a few.
According to ConEst President
George Hague, “the expanded product database offers added flexibility for
contractors working in the fast growing datacom markets. Additionally, this new
version includes many exciting features that will dramatically increase the
ConEst will also be
a complete telecommunications network design system that automatically creates
a Bill of Materials (BOM), including both material and labor costs, needed to
totally design a network from the faceplate to the router. RapidBOM was
designed by telecommunications professionals with expert industry knowledge and
years of field experience. Among its unique features, RapidBOM boasts a
regularly updated, electronically enhanced product catalog containing more than
100,000 products from more than 100 major manufacturers. www.conest.com
KITCO Fiber Optics Achieves ISO 9001:2000 Registration
KITCO Fiber Optics, a leading
provider of fiber optic products to the military and commercial communications
industry, is proud to announce that it has been registered as an ISO 9001:2000
compliant company. ISO 9000 is a series
of internationally recognized standards developed by the International
Standards Organization (ISO) which define requirements for the implementation
of quality systems in operational procedures.
The standards form the basis for a quality management system
concentrating on customer focus, leadership and continuous improvement of
quality within an organization.
"KITCO Fiber Optics has
always been committed to designing and delivering quality products and services
to our customers," said Geoffry A. Clark, President and CEO of KITCO Fiber
Optics. "ISO registration supports
our Quality Statement which states that we are committed to continuing efforts
to improve our business processes to provide our customers a level of service
that consistently meets or exceeds expectations. The tremendous dedication and teamwork of
everyone in our organization resulted in our success in achieving this goal,
and I am very proud of our joint accomplishment."
KITCO Fiber Optics is a leading provider of fiber
optic connectorization products, training and consulting services to the
military and commercial communications industry. We specialize in the design and fabrication
of fiber optic tools, tool kits and custom cable assemblies; producing private
label kits for a number of major connector manufacturers and selling our own
broad line of commercial and military products.
We develop curriculum and provide commercial and military training worldwide,
and serve as the U.S. Navy's sole shipboard fiber optic trainer. Our highly skilled field services team can
respond to your fiber optic requirements anytime, anywhere - rapidly providing
the best solutions for overcoming system problems or delays.www.kitcofo.com
Data Center World® Makes Landfall In Florida
By Layne Maly
Disney. SeaWorld. Universal
Studios. Orlando is home to some of the world’s most well-known and popular
tourist attractions. But in early September, these famous theme parks were not
the only games in town that drew a crowd.
A record number of AFCOM
members descended on Gaylord Palms in Orlando September 10-13 to participate in the fall Data Center World
Conference and Expo. The conference boasted a sold-out trade show hall, 60-plus
product and educational sessions and more than 650 attendees from 50 states,
all 22 of AFCOM’s regional chapters and 13 foreign countries, including Israel,
Brazil, Chile and Malaysia.
“Data Center World
continues to earn a global reputation for being one of the industry’s premier
educational and networking events,” said Jill Eckhaus, AFCOM president. “Our
members are motivated to learn and gather intelligence. Every year we work to
provide the best possible experience including timely and relevant topics,
speakers who are authorities in their fields, social activities and interactive
venues for networking with peers and the industry’s leading solution
The prevailing feedback from
attendees was that the mix of sessions, exhibitors, fun and sun delivered one
of the best conferences ever.
Discussions Heat Up about Need to Cool Down
Data center managers wrestle
with a multitude of issues on a daily basis. Power and cooling top the list.
Conference attendees had ample opportunity to explore both.
Educational sessions added
specifically to the schedule were: “12 Ways to Save Energy in your Data Center”
presented by Emerson Network Power, and “DC Power in the Data Center: A Cool
Alterative” presented by EYP Mission Critical Facilities.
AFCOM invited Bruce Shaw,
director, worldwide commercial marketing, AMD, and one of 12 founding members
of The Green Grid, to present the opening keynote address. He discussed the
development and implementation of energy efficient solutions for data centers.
His presentation cited survey results compiled in 2005 showing an alarming
number of data center administrators do not realize a crisis looms. As a
result, they are not making plans to deal with it.
While 71 percent of AMD’s
survey respondents said that power and cooling were becoming an issue, 12
percent admitted they were unsure and another 17 percent felt they were not a
problem. Shaw called these results troubling.
“Going forward, companies
that view data center management as secondary functions, behind IT planning and
decision making, will be at a competitive disadvantage,” explained Shaw.“ It is
vital that data center managers become more knowledgeable about the server technology
going into their data centers, including how distinct product features can help
address issues like power usage. Organizations like AFCOM are key to helping
raise awareness of the importance of data center management.”
Donna Manley, IT senior
director for computer operations at the University of Pennsylvania and
president of AFCOM’s Greater Philadelphia/Delaware/New Jersey chapter, agreed
that power and cooling are of paramount concern.
“The keynote raised issues
that warrant discussion,” commented Manley. “I thought the presentation was
very interesting. Shaw made a fascinating point about manufacturers not making
power supplies more efficient because their customers are not asking them to. I
found that compelling. Shaw translated
a complicated issue into something understandable and manageable.”
Sessions, Tutorials, Virtual Tours, Oh My!
As with all Data Center World conferences, the educational agenda in Orlando presented
attendees with an unparalleled opportunity to gather intelligence on the people,
trends and technologies revolutionizing the data center industry.
Educational tracks covered best practices, data center
management, facilities management, disaster recovery, preparedness and a new track designed to address the Five Bold Predictions presented by
AFCOM’s Data Center Institute at spring 2006 Data Center World in Atlanta.
The three tutorials were well
attended. They were: “Data Center Facilities Project Planning Workshop,”
presented by the Bick Group; “How to Prepare for Grid Computing,” presented by
the IDCP and Marist Center for Collaborative and On-Demand Computing at Marist
College; and “The Future of Data Center Automation,” presented by Workload
Automation. Also popular were the two virtual data center tours: “Anatomy of a
Tier III Data Center,” presented by GMAC-Mortgage; and “MB Financial Bank,”
presented by Fusion Infotek.
Paul Langford, operations
analyst for Alberta Blue Cross, was present for the MB Financial Bank virtual
tour. Asked to expand on what he called a valuable experience, he explained,
“The subject matter was very closely related to what I am looking at
doing now in my own facility. I’ll be able to take back a lot of what was
presented to discuss as part of my renovation project.”
Langford continued, “I found
the Data Center World event an excellent place to find out about best practices
in the industry. Although I have worked in IT operations for a number of years,
I have only recently been directly involved in the planning and
implementation of changes in the data center itself, such as rack placement,
cooling, power distribution, UPS, room renovation, etc. Hearing from the
presenters as well as talking to the attendees, I received a lot of information
directly relating to what I am doing at work.”
Donna Manley, board president for the Greater
Philadelphia/New Jersey/Delaware chapter and a frequent Data Center
World attendee, stated, “All the
sessions I attended were well presented and valuable. Many were standing room
only. This Data Center World event again provided presentations and networking
opportunities that were invaluable to both the tactical and strategic
initiatives I have planned in the upcoming 18 to 24 months.”
For Ron Wilson, principal,
Mazzetti & Associates, Irvine, Calif., two sessions hit home. The first was “An Alternative Data Center
Design/Construction Delivery Model,” presented by JE Dunn
Construction. “It was informative and provided another option to
traditional construction process,” said Wilson. The second was
“Consolidation–Paving the Way for the Next-Generation Data Center,” presented
by HP as part of the new data center preparedness track. Wilson said, “It
highlighted how a large data center with a mirrored site is more cost-efficient
and fault-tolerant than many small facilities.”
AFCOM member Steve Gold of
SJG Consultants in Oak Park, Mich., values Data Center World because it is free
of the biases found at many other vendor-sponsored conferences, and the
education sessions are always timely.
After attending “Policies and
Procedures for Data Center Excellence,” presented by Doug Hall of Target
Technology Center, Gold said, “Every organization has unique circumstances, but
this session provided attendees with a great set of templates to develop
outstanding data center policies and procedures.”
Gary Miliefsky, founder and
CTO of NetClarity, was a speaker in Orlando and lead the “Proactive Data Center
Security” session. Participating at Data Center World for the first time, he
was able to provide a fresh perspective on the value of the event. “Data Center
World is a fantastic event,” said Miliefsky. “I was impressed with the
location, the questions and interest by the attendees, and the overall
interactions throughout the conference. From my perspective, it’s the only
focused conference that covers the most valuable part of the corporate network:
the data center.”
Attendees were equally
impressed with Miliefsky’s contribution. His session addressed the need to
focus on proactive data center security as part of a complete data center preparedness
regimen. “Proactive network security is a new requirement for data center
managers, so most of them are under more pressure to learn best practices for
network security in their data center and all touch points that can connect to
or have access to their network assets,” said Miliefsky.
The Benefits of a Balanced
education is always an emphasis at Data Center World, attendees also appreciate
the time allocated for networking. To this end, one of the most popular events
was the peer connection networking
luncheon. Sponsored by Connectivity Technologies, the luncheon was designed to
foster social interaction and to help attendees share experiences.
The importance of dialoguing
with peers was not lost on Rocko Graziano, manager, enterprise data center and
support services for L. L. Bean and president of AFCOM’s Boston/New England
chapter. He credited the networking element of the show as a prime motivation
for attending. “Data Center World in Orlando was well-attended, and the agenda of
sessions and social events proved useful and fun,” said Graziano. “I was
pleased with the variety of facility-related topics. The information about how
to be more energy efficient will certainly help. However, the highlight for me
was the opportunity to connect face-to-face with fellow data center managers.”
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Data Center World is an event
that always strives to address its educational mission from soup to nuts. So,
if the sessions were the soup, the Expo must have been the nuts. And, really
good nuts at that, according to Tradeshow
As testimony to the Expo’s
value and success, AFCOM announced in Orlando that Data Center World was named
to Tradeshow Week’s “Fast 50” list
for 2006, an award bestowed to the nation’s fastest growing trade shows.
The Orlando Expo boasted a
record number 85 exhibitors and mixed show veterans with a collection of
first-timers but all leaders in their respective fields. The Expo kicked off
with a festive cocktail party also sponsored by Connectivity Technologies,
which afforded attendees and exhibitors with opportunities to discuss solutions
to every conceivable facet of data center facility management and operations.
CITTIO, a software company
based in San Francisco, was one of several companies that participated for the
first time. When asked about his history with Data Center World, CITTIO CEO
Jaime Lerner explained, “I got my first taste of AFCOM’s Data Center World a
year or so ago as a session speaker. It didn’t take long to recognize why
the conference has earned its reputation as being one of the premier
educational events serving the data center industry.”
Regarding his company’s inaugural Expo
experience, Lerner said, “The experience was so positive because AFCOM
attendees aren’t just looking for free T-shirts when they walk the show floor.
They’re motivated to learn and gather intelligence. The value of being able to
interface with data center professionals, demonstrate our ideas and get
real-time feedback from the people who live and breathe this stuff is
Lerner commended AFCOM and
the Data Center World for its history of excellence.
“The reason people attend
Data Center World and keep coming back is that there is value for everyone
across every element of the show. The conference is incredibly well balanced
and managed. Speakers are the best. Attendees get real-time information they
can implement immediately in their data centers. It is always the right mix of
sessions, exhibition time and social activities. There is no other event that
caters so specifically to this audience or does it better.”
Heather Hirst, marketing
coordinator for NER Data Products, Glassboro, N.J., echoed Lerner’s sentiments.
“This was our twenty-first appearance at Data Center World and the Orlando
event was one of the best yet. Attendees are well versed in every aspect of
data center management and the relaxed nature of the Expo allows everyone a
great opportunity to tap into the collective expertise. The knowledge we gain
from our interactions at Data Center World helps us learn and evolve as a
company and better address the issues AFCOM members are facing,” said Hirst.
Positive feedback came from
the other side of the aisle as well. Ron Wilson expressed the value of the Expo
from an attendee’s perspective. “I
visited the Expo hall and found it valuable to see the current technologies and
equipment available today,” said Wilson. “It helped to speak with vendors about
current issues and potential challenges data center managers will face.”
Mission Accomplished…See You in Las Vegas
Spring 2007 Data Center World conference is March 25-29, 2007, at the Las Vegas
Convention Center. Look for updates at www.datacenterworld.com.
NECA, IBEW Forge Unique Strategic Partnership With OSHA
Leverages Resources to Reduce Worker Injuries, Illnesses, Fatalities
Across America, thousands
of union electrical workers and contractors are reaching greater heights of
on-the-job safety, thanks to a unique national partnership joining the National
Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers (IBEW), the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) and others within the electrical transmission and
Says E. Milner Irvin,
president of NECA, “Whether an electrical worker, a contractor or a government
regulator, we all share a common vision, of making safety in the workplace
paramount in importance. All of us in the partnership are committed to giving
electrical workers safer, healthier jobsites”
According to data
released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical line installers and
repairers rank among the top ten occupations for on-the-job fatalities, with a
rate of 32.7 deaths per 100,000 employees – compared to a national average of 4
employee fatalities per 100,000. (National Census of Fatal Occupational
Injuries in 2005, released August 10, 2006,
Through the work of the
alliance – now in its second year – the reasons behind those jobsite injuries
and fatalities are becoming clearer, as partnership analysts systematically
identify and evaluate health and safety hazards among workers in the electrical
transmission and distribution industry.
In turn, those findings are being used by the partnership to anticipate
and work to eliminate on-the-job injuries, through the promotion of best practices
and the development of new health and safety training programs nationwide.
Earlier this year,
classes were held in six locations around the country, to teach utility and
line construction company trainers how to deliver a new 10-hour OSHA safety course
for electrical line workers. The course,
created by NECA, IBEW and other members of the strategic safety partnership,
aims at familiarizing line workers with OSHA rules for working on high-voltage
utility power systems, while at the same time arming them with the latest in
safety techniques and materials, including equipotential grounding and the
proper use of personal protective equipment.
Now, the up-to-date trainers are back at work in their own localities, preparing
safety training programs for area electrical workers.
Says Edwin D. Hill,
president of IBEW, “Safety on the job has been a priority for our members since
the brotherhood was formed more than a century years ago. Today, this partnership is one more step we
can take to make a dangerous line of work significantly safer. What’s more,
this unprecedented coalition embodies the willingness and commitment of the
leadership of all the partners to put aside their differences, in order to
focus on the singular goal of providing safe and healthful jobsites for workers
in this industry.” www.necanet.org
DuPont Providing Alternative Water Supplies Near W.Va. Plant As Part Of EPA Agreement
DuPont Co. on
Tuesday said it signed an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency
establishing a new screening level for a synthetic chemical found in drinking
water sources around the company's Washington Works site in Washington, W.Va.
The consent order agreement updates a
previous EPA screening level to 0.5 parts per billion for perfluorooctanoic
acid, or PFOA, in any public or private drinking water system around the site.
Under the order, Wilmington, Del.-based
DuPont will offer alternative drinking water or treatment for public or private
water users living near the Washington Works plant if the level of PFOA
detected is equal to or greater than the new limit. The agreement also affects
people in West Virginia and Ohio living near the plant.
PFOA is a synthetic chemical that is not
regulated under federal environmental laws, but is widely used to make
substances including Teflon. EPA lowered the screening level based on newer
data from experimental animal studies and elevated blood serum levels of PFOA
found in the population surrounding the plant, as compared to levels found in
the general U.S. population.
The chemical is very persistent in the
environment and is found at low levels in the blood of the general U.S.
population. Studies suggest it can cause developmental and other adverse effects
in laboratory animals, according to the EPA.
Last week, an independent panel charged
with reviewing possible health effects of PFOA on Washington Works employees
filed court papers saying it wanted to do its own study on workers at the
plant. DuPont has done its own studies on death rates among workers and said
the chemical has no definitive link to human disease.
The three-member panel, created as part of
a 2005 court settlement between DuPont and residents of the Ohio River Valley
who said the company contaminated their drinking water, wants to study the
occurrence of disease, not just death, among workers.
David Boothe, global business manager for
DuPont Fluoroproducts, on Tuesday said the company set aside $15 million after
the settlement and will use those funds to pay for the alternative water
supplies required in the EPA order.
EPA is conducting a risk assessment to
help estimate the amount of PFOA that people can be exposed to without
experiencing adverse health effects. Based on those results, EPA said it will
take further action if necessary. DuPont said it supports and is participating
in that process.
ACUTA’S Winter Seminars Focus On Convergence Issues, Communications Network Best Practices
The infrastructure issues in a converged voice and data network, along
with the best practices for a variety of communications technologies, will be
the focus of the 2007 Winter Seminar of ACUTA, the Association for
Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education.
The seminars are January
21-24, 2007, in Austin, Texas, at the Hilton Austin. They will feature
presentations by representatives from a broad range of colleges and
universities. Speakers from Cornell, Notre Dame, the University of Texas,
Oklahoma State University, the University of Toronto, North Carolina State
University, and many others will share their insight, experiences, and
successes with their peers. The seminars will also feature a products and
services exhibition area.
Educational sessions will
address topics such as best practices in business continuity, emergency
response, mobility, and procurement. On the convergence and infrastructure
side, sessions will cover power and cooling needs, wireless communications
management, cross-training of telecom and IT staff, and more.
ACUTA is the only national
association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education communications
technology professionals, representing nearly 2,000 individuals at more than
“This first ACUTA event of
2007 provides a great opportunity for members and others to learn more about
what their peers are doing right, both in their migrations to converged
networks and in a variety of other infrastructure and management issues, “ said
Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Our educational sessions, of course,
are only part of the value of our seminars. Communications professionals can
network with their peers and learn from each other, providing tremendous
benefits to them and to their institutions.” www.acuta.org
New Splicer V-Groove Cleaning Kit
Today’s splicing equipment is
fast, efficient, and requires minimal maintenance due to advances in splicing
technology. However, contamination in the v-groove of the splicer is still a
primary source of trouble for the splicing technician. This is especially
problematic when splicing with a fixed v-groove fusion splicer. Environmental
contamination, such as dust, dirt, and fiber coating debris, as well as, the
silica deposits generated during the fusion process eventually find their way
to the surface of the v-groove. This contamination will offset the fibers and
degrade performance. To help control this problem, a disciplined cleaning
regimen and specific tooling is required to ensure the splice is right the
To solve these types of
cleaning needs, AFL Telecommunications offers the all new Splicer V-Groove
Cleaning Kit. This product integrates eight components into an affordable and
effective inspection and cleaning solution for any fusion splicer. Small and
lightweight, it fits easily into the Fujikura splicer transit case or it can be
carried separately in its own carrying case.
• Scrubber Brush with stiff tapered nylon bristles
• Sweeper Brush with soft
• Eye Loupe with 3X to 12X
• LED Pen Light with
momentary or constant on switching
• Cleaning Fluid that is
nonflammable and environmentally safe
• Lint-free Cotton Swabs
• Instruction Sheet with
• Canvas Carrying Case
Refill Kit Includes
To replenish the consumables
within the kit, AFL provides a refill kit that includes the following
• One can of FPF1 Cleaning
• One Scrubber Brush
• One Sweeper Brush
• Ten packs CS-1 Cotton Swabs
NEMA Publishes ANSI_ANSLG C82.14-2006, American National Standard For Lamp
Ballasts—Low-Frequency Square Wave Electronic Ballasts—For Metal Halide Lamps
The National Electrical
Manufacturers Association (NEMA), on behalf of the American National Standard
Lighting Group (ANSLG) has published ANSI_ANSLG C82.14-2006, American
National Standard for Lamp Ballasts—Low-Frequency Square Wave Electronic
Ballasts—for Metal Halide Lamps.
This standard provides
specifications for and operating characteristics of low frequency square wave
electronic ballasts for metal halide lamps. Electronic ballasts are devices
that use semiconductors to control lamp starting and operation. The ballasts
operate from multiple supply sources of 600V maximum at a frequency of 60
hertz. The output frequency of electronic ballasts may be of some frequency
other than 60 hertz. This standard only covers lamp operating current
frequencies from greater than 60 hertz up to 400 hertz (some exclusionary
frequency ranges may apply). An electronic square wave ballast is an electronic
ballast whose operating lamp current waveform is essentially a square wave
with defined rise/fall times stated in the C78.43 lamp standard.
ANSI_ANSLG C82.14-2006 may
be downloaded free, or a hardcopy purchased for $50.00 by visiting NEMA’s
website at http://www.nema.org/stds/C82-14.cfm,
or by contacting IHS at (800) 854-7179 (within the U.S.), (303) 397-7956
(international), (303) 397-2740 (fax).
NEMA is the trade
association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in
1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 430 member companies
manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution,
control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility,
medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential
applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide
exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia,
NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico City. www.nema.org
Don't Miss The New FOSE
Save the Date for FOSE 2007
It's all happening March
20-22, 2007 at the Washington DC Convention Center. Make room on your calendar
(and in your budget) for a learning experience that makes the other 51 weeks of
the year a lot more productive! Register here.
Learn from the best at FOSE
The 2007 version of the
largest government IT trade show will be bigger and better than ever. FOSE 2007
will feature a new look and a redesigned program tailored to deliver the
business management and technical content most relevant to government IT
Enterprise Mobility Pavilion: Sponsored by Symbol Technologies,
this exciting new destination at FOSE will provide you with firm grounding on
how government is going mobile. Hear in-depth theater session on Healthcare
Solutions, Supply Chain Solutions, Homeland Security/Defense/Law Enforcement
Solutions, Global Enterprise Solutions, and Emerging Technology Solutions.
Demonstrations by leading enterprise mobility companies will show you how
government is taking technology to the edge.
Other exciting and
informative destinations include:
Continuous Learning Campus
Data Center Pavilion
The Secure Fortress
Experience the Latest from
Connect with cutting-edge
vendors for the best new technology and solutions for your agency, to see the
complete Exhibitor List, view here...
Get the Newsletter:
Register today and you'll
receive the FOSE 2007 Newsletter. Where you'll be kept up to date with
everything you need to make the most out of your FOSE 2007 experience.
Beginning in December, you'll get the latest news on networking events,
sessions, speakers, new product launches, and more! www.fose.com
FOSE 2007 - Connecting
Government Buyers with Technology
March 20-22, 2007 at the WashingtonDC Convention Center.
BuildingGreen Announces 2006 Top-10 Green Building Products
Denver, CO, November 15,
2006-BuildingGreen, Inc., publisher of the GreenSpec® Directory and
Environmental Building News, announced the 2006 Top-10 Green Building Products.
This fifth annual award, announced at the U.S. Green Building Council's
Greenbuild Conference in Denver,
recognizes the most exciting products drawn from additions to the GreenSpec
Directory and coverage in Environmental Building News.
"The range of product
types showing exemplary innovation is amazing," noted GreenSpec coeditor
Alex Wilson. Three of BuildingGreen's winning products this year have the
primary environmental attribute of saving energy. Two products save water.
Three products are green in part because they are made from recycled waste; one
is a system of salvaging material. Rounding out the list are an innovative way
of turning an ordinary material, concrete, into one of the best flooring
options for commercial buildings, and a provider of renewable energy credits,
an excellent way for any building owner to support renewable energy.
"Most of the Top-10
products this year have multiple environmental attributes," said Wilson.
product selections, as in previous years, are drawn primarily from new
additions to the company's GreenSpec product directory. More than 250 product
listings have been added to the GreenSpec database during the past year.
"New products seem to be appearing at an ever-faster pace," said Wilson. The GreenSpec
database his company maintains now includes more than 2,100 product listings.
Not all GreenSpec product listings or Top-10 selections are new to the market.
"While many of the products we add to GreenSpec are brand new and
innovative, others have been around for a while." said Wilson. "In
some cases, we like to see evidence of success in the real world before
recognizing green products."
A big driver in the
development of green products continues to be the U.S. Green Building Council's
LEED® Rating System (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which
awards points for the use of certain product types or for the energy or water
savings that green products can achieve. "Designers of LEED buildings are
looking for green products, and manufacturers are responding," said
Wilson. In the online version of GreenSpec, users can find products organized
by LEED credits.
The 2006 Top-10 Green
Building Products are listed below. More complete descriptions and contact
information is provided on the attached pages:
* Polished concrete system from RetroPlate
* Underwater standing timber salvage by Triton Underwater
* PaperStone Certified composite surface material from
KlipTech Composites, Inc.
* Varia and "100 Percent" recycled-content panel products from 3form, Inc.
* Recycled-content interior molding from Timbron
* SageGlass tintable glazing from Sage Electrochromics
* Water-efficient showerhead with H2Okinetic technology from
* WeatherTRAK smart irrigation controls from HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc.
* Coolerado Cooler advanced, indirect evaporative air conditioner from Coolerado, LLC
* Renewable Energy Credits from Community Energy, Inc.
About GreenSpec Directory:
GreenSpec is the leading national directory of green building products.
Products are selected by editors of Environmental Building News (EBN) based on
criteria developed over the past 15 years.
Manufacturers do not pay to
be listed in GreenSpec, and neither GreenSpec nor any other BuildingGreen
publication carries advertising; both are supported exclusively by users of the
information. "Our policy of not accepting money from manufacturers allows
us to be objective in our review of products," said Wilson. A new 7th
edition of the printed GreenSpec Directory will be published in 2007. The
GreenSpec product database is also available online as part of BuildingGreen
Suite, which is growing quickly in popularity. Environmental Building News,
founded in 1992, is the oldest and most widely respected newsletter in the
green building field. For information on BuildingGreen resources, visit www.BuildingGreen.com
or call 800-861-0954.
EtherScope Network Assistant Reduces WLAN Rogue Hunting Time by 75%
Fluke Networks announced the
release of new capabilities for its award-winning EtherScope Series II Network
The new Security Scan and
Locate features reduce the time to locate a rogue wireless local area network
(WLAN) device by 75%, as measured by the time spent on the same task using an
omni-directional antenna found on most PC radio cards.
The advanced WLAN Locate feature
uses an external, directional antenna to quickly identify and pinpoint the
location of unauthorized wireless access points. This includes access points in ceilings and
on floors above and below, which saves time in a multi-floor environment. Combined with the EtherScope's handheld,
lightweight package and easy-to-read, color touch-screen display, users will
find rogue access points faster and easier than ever before.
New RFC-based throughput testing
Also new to EtherScope is the
ability to test the performance of LAN and WAN links using commonly accepted
RFC 2544 test procedures. EtherScope
Series II Network Assistant incorporates RFC 2544 tests for measuring
throughput, latency and frame loss.
These tests are bundled together with EtherScope's current Internetwork
Throughput Option and traffic generator.
Private network owners and
service providers now have the ability to perform a fast, easy and RFC-based
means of verifying network performance.
Carriers can document the performance levels delivered to their
customers. Private network owners can
verify the bandwidth received matches that which was purchased.
Russian Language Support
Concurrent with the new RFC
2544 tests and advanced WLAN Locate ability, EtherScope will now support
Russian as a user-selectable language. EtherScope now displays its user interface, all desktop applications on
the unit, report headers, and help screens in 8 different languages (English,
Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian), making EtherScope
Network Assistant a tool for the truly worldwide nature of networking. www.flukenetworks.com
Berk-Tek Introduces Fiber-in-a-Box
installation just got easier.
Berk-Tek’s Fiber-in-a-Box solution is designed for
fast, efficient, and simple installation of tight-buffered fiber optic cable in
Plenum or Riser environments. Each box includes 1000 feet of 6 fiber or 12 fiber
multimode Plenum rated (OFNP) distribution cable (62.5/125 micron) and features
EZ-Brake™ system with anti-backlash control, all in
compact, stackable, ready for installation, boxes.
Plenum-rated Premise Distribution cables are suitable for all optical network
designs requiring high speed data applications. All dielectric cable
construction has 900 micron buffered fibers surrounded by aramid yarns and
jacketed with next generation lead-free polymer compound.
Ø Configurations of 6 or 12 optical fibers
Ø 1000 ft. length in each box, sequential
foot markings every 2 feet
Ø Ideal for horizontal, backbone, or
centralized optical cabling installations
Ø Minimizes supply/distributor runs
Ø Saves time and money
For more information on Fiber in a Box and the
complete line of more than
100 industry leading Berk-Tek Fiber Optic, UTP, FTP,
and coax cables, including
downloadable tech specs,www.berktek.com
Hitachi Cable Manchester to Introduce New Catalog at BICSI
November 30, 2006. Manchester, NH. Hitachi Cable Manchester will be introducing
its newly revised premise cable catalog at the January 2007 BICSI show in
Orlando, FL. The new catalog will include all the latest products from HCM,
including the new Supra 10G, 10 Gigabit Ethernet UTP cable.
The catalog also offers
useful installation information including a conduit fill chart and U.S. to
metric conversion tables.
Visit HCM at booth 921 while
at the BICSI show to pick up your new catalog.
HCM manufactures a wide range
of copper and fiber optic communication cables.
Products include shielded and unshielded twisted-pair cables, high-pair
copper backbone cables and a vast selection of fiber optic including
indoor/outdoor plenum rated cables, loose tube, central tube and interlock
armored cables. The manufacturing
facility is located in Manchester, NH. http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/.
Rexel + GE Supply: Two Flags, One $13 Billion Company
By Joe Salimando
When word of General
Electric’s sale of GE Supply (GESCO) hit the news, many electrical industry
veterans shook their heads in wonder. Had the buyer, the Dallas-based operation
of the Paris-based Rexel SA—a U.S. company built via acquisition—finally bitten
off more than it could chew with the new acquisition?
Absolutely not, according to
Dick Waterman, head of the new U.S. holding company that serves as the parent
of Rexel’s U.S. operations and GESCO.
“We took a long, in-depth
look at GESCO, and we saw some things that perhaps some other people didn’t
see,” he said. “GESCO was functioning as an arm to sell GE products—we focused on
the fact that there are a lot of things that the distribution arm was not doing
that it could easily undertake. It was clear to us that the company was not as
distribution oriented as it needed to be.”
That, he noted, is changing.
Rexel SA’s global 2006 sales
are estimated at about $13 billion, with half of that total coming from North
America. The company’s global gross margin in 2005 was 25.3%, a nice number,
and one that sticks out among distributors. Further, Rexel increased its
worldwide margins to 25.6% for 2006’s first half. And in the United States,
according to Waterman, margins are well over the norm, although not as high as
“Margin is a mindset,” said
Waterman. “There’s a lot of tradition in
this industry that says, ‘You have to sell a certain product at a certain
margin’—which is true, if you’re not providing any services. I started a margin
campaign when I arrived here [at Rexel’s Dallas headquarters] in 2001. We’ve
been able to raise our margins every year.”
So did the company acquire
regional distributors with even higher margins? “Actually, other than one or
two of those, the companies we bought had lower margins,” said Waterman. “We’ve
been able to take them up to our level.”
How? “It’s a number of
things,” he explained. “Proper training is important, as is being selective in
the customer base. Some people are willing to pay for services; others aren’t.
There are some large customers that we don’t do business with for that very
Freeing GESCO from the links
that bound it to General Electric should help, Waterman noted, adding that he
believes that the company’s electrical materials sales will improve as a
result. “GESCO was very much focused on the GE product; I guess because it had
to be,” he said. “The company wasn’t taking advantage of its opportunities.
“I’m talking about selling
materials that do not compete with the GE offering,” he said. “GESCO can do a
lot better job of that—and will.”
Two names in the United States
One surprise for the market
was the dual-banner strategy Rexel adopted after the acquisition process. While
Rexel will continue to operate branches under that name, GESCO will continue to
be run as an independent operation.
Why the dual-banner strategy?
“In Canada, many years ago, I helped create a two-brand strategy,” Waterman
explained. “We had two similar-sized companies—Westburne and Nedco—that were
competing in the same market space, and the two-banner strategy worked. The
companies continue to operate under those names.
“We separated the companies
by vendor, product lines, and markets,” he continued. “Westburne offers
Rockwell’s Allen-Bradley line along with Cutler-Hammer, and Nedco offers
Schneider’s Square D coast to coast.
“It’s not that easy in the
United Sates,” he added, “because we don’t have the same situation. Since Rexel
came together via acquisition, we don’t have the same consistency there. We’re
going to have some blending to do over the next couple of years.
“Rexel initiated a vendor
consolidation effort in 2003, and this is still in motion,” he noted. “The
company will continue in that vein over a period of time. We think that will
help create a difference between the companies.”
Rexel’s acquisitions are
moving it in a number of new directions. For example, the purchase of Capital
Lighting & Supply in Hartford, Conn., which brought in $234 million in 2005
sales, added a national accounts sales operation with a focus on retail chains.
According to the Rexel
release issued in mid-May on CLS, 30% of that company’s sales came from “major
national retail lighting accounts”; that’s roughly $70 million per year.
To some extent, the CLS
acquisition was lost when the world learned of Rexel’s acquisition of GESCO.
However, the ad-dition of CLS boosted Rexel’s U.S. sales by roughly 10%. Bob
Compagna of CLS now serves as president of Rexel’s New England division.
Further, the GESCO buy puts
Rexel in several other businesses. There’s a logistics operation and a services
business. “The logistics platform sells fasteners and other products,” Waterman
said. “A fair portion of those sales are nonelectrical.”
A new CEO
Waterman has kicked himself
upstairs,in a manner of speaking. As chief executive of the holding company, he
won’t be directly running Rexel any more (he has also left GESCO’s executives
So who’s running Rexel? Dan
Palumbo, who has a unique background among large-company distributor
executives, is CEO of the U.S. operation. Palumbo’s resume includes posts at
Coca-Cola (where he was chief marketing officer) and Kodak, and 13 years at
Procter & Gamble.
“The electrical industry is
not known for its marketing ability and skills,” Waterman said. “Dan brings a
lot to the party from this point of view. But this isn’t a first for us—we
hired John Kudlacek [vice president of marketing and purchasing] several years
ago, and his background was in marketing with NAPA, the auto parts group.
“With Dan’s hiring, we’re
trying to get ahead of the curve,” he noted.
While Waterman did not
directly relate Palumbo’s hiring to the looming intrusion of Home Depot Supply,
he identified Home Depot as a prime challenge. When asked where his company
would go in the future, he noted, “Being the biggest is nice. But being a
well-run, organized, and profitable company is better for everyone—customers,
shareholders, and the people who work for us.
“I see Home Depot as the
biggest potential threat,” he added. “The company has said that it will be 20%
of the market by 2010. What can be done about it? The best thing we can do is
make sure that our customer base is happy.
“Happy customers,” he added,
“will probably not flip over for a nickel.”
Changes in store
Whenever two companies as
large as Rexel and GESCO merge, the process of change is in store. Over time,
Rexel will make changes to the acquired company that fit with its overall
If anyone is qualified to
blend in a company the size of GESCO, it may be Waterman and his team. Waterman
was president of Westburne from 1997 to 1999, when it made more than 30
acquisitions (some in the United States). He then moved with that company when
Rexel bought Westburne. Upon arriving in Dallas as COO of Rexel in 2001,
Waterman inherited the problems of a company that was put together rapidly via
Rexel had 5,500 employees
when Waterman arrived; not long after, it had 4,400. “That was just a matter of
the company having put on fat in the 10-year run of good times,” he said. “We
cleaned up some operations that were not profitable. It was merely a situation
of normal business management.”
Recently, Rexel has
experienced further expansion. Excluding acquisitions of other companies, the
company opened eight new U.S. branches in 2006.
Are there branch closings and
cutbacks in store for GESCO? In response to this Waterman said, “I think there
are things that need to be changed over a period of time. The management team
[at GESCO] is responding well to the ideas we have suggested.
“We won’t change things a
whole lot—but the customers might,” he said. “What that essentially means is
that we will, as always, respond to customer feedback. We will help fix the
GESCO branches that have problem areas. We will help make these branches
profitable. And if we can’t make them profitable, then that’s the customer
speaking, telling the company that the particular branch probably should not be
So will this result in plans
for cutbacks, or closings at the
acquired company? According to Waterman, that’s not what the company has at the
forefront of its plans. “We’re very happy with GESCO,” Waterman said. “Going
forward into the future, we’re going to help make GESCO a better company—and I
think we’ll have plenty of help from the employees who are with the company
“I have had the opportunity
to meet and interact with many employees in middle management, and I’ve seen
some great attitudes among them. These people like the fact that they are no
longer working for a company that’s the stepchild of a manufacturer,” he said.
“Now the employees at GESCO
are part of a company that’s in the distribution business. These people are
excited, and I have a good feeling about that,” Waterman concluded.
Byline: Salimando is a
contributing editor to TED and writes weekly for www.tedmag.com. He can be
reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rexel’s worldwide operations
• 2006 sales: Likely to come
in around $13 billion
• Global snapshot:
Fifty-three percent of the company’s second-quarter sales came from Europe—but
that figure does not include U.S. sales of recent acquisitions (including GESCO
and Capital Lighting & Supply, Hartford, Conn.). Second-quarter margins
worldwide were 26%. As of June 30, Rexel had $1.15 billion worldwide in
inventories, $2.5 billion in receivables, and roughly $4.7 billion in debt.
• U.S. sketch: Roughly 450
locations, 7,000 employees, $5.3 billion (estimated) in U.S. sales (includes
foreign and nonelectrical sales of GESCO). These data are for International
Electrical Supply Corporation, the holding company that is parent to Rexel Inc.
• U.S. markets breakdown:
Commercial construction, 32% to 35%; industrial markets, 35%; residential, 19%;
• North American sales: Using
first-half run rates and acquisitions, Rexel SA’s sales in the United States
and Canada—including GESCO, CLS, and more—could well be $6.5 billion or more.
Two-thirds of sales of the North American ops are warehouse sales. Sales in the
United States rose 20% on a constant basis in 2006’s first half, to roughly
• Ownership: Currently, the
company is 100% owned by three entities: Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; Merrill
Lynch Global Private Equity; and Eurazeo, a European firm. (If the CDR name
seems familiar, note that it purchased Wesco from Westinghouse in 1994 and sold
it in 1998.)
• Improving trends: Gross
margins improved in Rexel SA’s second quarter of 2006 vs. one year earlier as
follows: Europe, 27.4% vs. 26.6%; North America, 23.5% vs. 22.0%; Asia-Pacific,
27.1% vs. 26.7%. Company-wide, operating expenses dropped from 19.2% of sales
in 2005’s second quarter to 18.9% in the second quarter of 2006. —J.S.
• GESCO’s annual sales: $2.4
billion estimated in 2006. This includes nonelectrical sales in the United
States and operations abroad (Ireland, Asia). In an Aug. 31 earnings phone
conference call with analysts, Jean-Charles Pauze—chairman/CEO of Rexel
SA—revealed that GESCO’s sales are distributed as follows: 91% United States,
7% Ireland, and 2% in five Asian countries.
• Price paid: Rexel paid $620
million to GE. It assumed $105 million of debt, and allocated another $60
million for various transition costs. A debt issue that raised $785 million to
finance the acquisition and related costs, the company reported, drew bids from
aspiring buyers for four times as much debt as offered.
• GE’s U.S. distribution
sales: According to Pauze, of GESCO’s $2.2 billion last year, $1.7 billion was
U.S. distribution of electrical equipment. And the company’s parent GE’s sales
to GESCO were between 10% and 15% of GESCO’s sales, according to Pauze.
• Synergies: Official Rexel
statements have talked about shared back-office functions. Initially, this will
likely consist of consolidating items like tax and legal departments.
“This won’t all be in Dallas;
some of it might happen at the GESCO head office in Shelton, Conn.,” Waterman
explained. “Eventually, we’ll work our way through to combine some of the
Pauze said that the company
expects to have around $100 million in synergies between GE and its existing
operations over the next four years. That $100 million total over four years,
in theory, falls to the bottom line; it’s more than 13% of the purchase price.
• Future acquisitions:
Waterman noted that Rexel will continue to acquire electrical distributors—and,
after a time, GESCO will do so as well.
Rexel may go public in early
Mid-September reports in The
London Times and on the Reuters news service claimed that the owners of Rexel
SA were considering selling shares in the company to the public in the first quarter
As much as $5 billion might
be raised in the initial public offering (IPO), which is called a “flotation”
in Europe. Note that the three private equity firms that own Rexel SA
reportedly paid roughly $4.5 billion for the company (in March 2005). Rexel
also carries a shareholder loan of more than $1.2 billion on its books.
Specifics aren’t available—if
the trio of owners floats Rexel SA for $5 billion, how much of the company will
the public buy at that price? Officially, the company told Reuters, “The
company and its shareholders constantly study and review various strategic
alternatives, including an IPO. No decision has been taken yet.”
However, it’s reasonable to
assume the following:
1. The three private equity
firms will get most of their invested money out of Rexel via the IPO route.
2. The three firms—or perhaps
only one or two—will retain a significant ownership share of Rexel SA after the
3. As a result of the IPO,
the share retained would probably give the three owners a total return (cash
out in the IPO plus equity in the company going forward) that dwarfs their
original collective investment.
According to the Times, if
the IPO takes place, it would be the largest by private equity firms. The
record holder was the sale in 2003 of Yell, a British telephone directory firm
(roughly $1.5 billion). —J.S.
Reprinted with full Permission of Ted Magazine November issue
Understand the True Cost of Cabling
The initial purchase price of
a high-end network cabling solution can be twice as high—
or more—than that of a lesser
system, making it crucial to stress the overall cost of ownership over the
lifecycle of the product to potential buyers.
By Lee Arrowood
The ISO/IEC IS 11801 cabling
standard for customer premises states that a cabling system is to have an
anticipated usable life in excess of 10 years. Manufacturers’ system
warranties, however, suggest that cabling systems are being designed with a
usable life in excess of 20 years. For example, the Systimax Structured
Connectivity Solutions extended product warranty from Commscope is for 20
years; Belden offers a 25-year product warranty and a lifetime application
assurance program with its Belden IBDN Certified Structured Cabling System; the
Siemon Company offers a 20-year warranty on its premium Siemon Cabling System;
and Mohawk/CDT offers the SystemMATE warranty program, which lasts 26 years.
The knowledge that a cabling
infrastructure system is being designed for a minimum of 10—and possibly more
than 20—years factors into the average annual cost of ownership of the system.
It also presents a challenge for distributors as they design and sell new network
products to their customers.
Think back over the past 20
years and how applications and the need for bandwidth have expanded. One can
only imagine how future applications will drive the need for increasing amounts
of bandwidth—making it quite challenging to attempt to estimate what the needs
of a network will be in five, 10, or 20 years.
However, distributors can
provide options for customers based on data and forecasts of future long- and
short-term needs, thus making it possible for customers to make informed
Short-term vs. lifecycle costs
The short-term costs of a
cabling system are easy to calculate (see chart 1). Consider the example of a
48-user installation with average run being 150´ long. Assume that the
installer will charge $100 per run to pull, terminate, label, and test each run
per applicable ANSI/EIA/TIA standards. Also, assume that this is a nonplenum
Other important information:
• Once installed, the pathway
will be in service for 30 years and will not require additional work.
• The patch panels, user
outlet jacks, and patch cables will need to be upgraded each time the cable is
• The electronics are not
included in this example and, for the most part, is independent of this case.
(Although some electronics will require higher-bandwidth cable, installing
higher-bandwidth cable does not require new electronics; remember, the first
rule from ANSI/TIA/EIA requires that it be backward-compatible.)
• The labor rate will
increase at a rate of 5% per year over the 20-year period, so in year 10 the
average labor rate per run will be $155.13.
Now take a look at the cost
estimates in chart 2. Looking at the initial costs, it appears that the cost
per user is much lower with the Cat 5e product. However, the “annualized cost
per user” column is the one that will interest business owners (and their
Based on the current
ANSI/TIA/EIA procedures, standards are being reviewed every five years. And
considering what is currently in the works with new technologies, in the next
five years the Cat 5e product will not be able to support some of the emerging
technologies. It’s even possible to summarize cable plant lifespan this way:
Minimum current cable Cat standard has a maximum expected remaining lifespan of
five years; the next higher cabling standard, 10. When the enhanced versions of
these cables are taken into consideration.
Furthermore, it can be
assumed that for the Cat 5e, once five years have passed, the old cable will
need to be removed and new Cat 6 or Cat 6e cable will be need to be
installed—the data just further prove the point. All one really needs say is
that after five years, the business owner will again need to spend major
amounts of money to upgrade his or her computer network.
What about that warranty?
If a company installs the
premium cabling systems today from a reputable manufacturer, the systems can
work for at least 15 years and function quite well with the changing
technologies. For example, manufacturers first introduced 300MHz to 350MHz
cables in the early 1990s; most of those cables later became what is now rated
Cat 5e and are still performing well in networks today. In the next five years
they may become obsolete, but they will still have reached a lifetime of
Some manufacturers have
developed products that are far enough ahead of the current standards that they can withstand the
tests of time and technology. What if one of these ultra-premium products was
added to chart 2? The result would be something along the lines of the last
line in the chart. Could distributors sell that product to their customers?
Perhaps. At the very least, they could provide customers with the data, and let
them make the decision. n n n
Byline: Arrowood, RCDD, can
be reached at email@example.com.
What’s the problem?
Slowing networks can be a
frustrating problem—especially for small businesses. Because they tend to not
have IT professionals on staff, many end up fighting the problem for months,
wondering if there are viruses or computer problems at work. As the network
response time continues to slow, they eventually hire help. Many times a new
server is recommended—when the real problem is the network infrastructure.
Distributors’ service to
smaller customers is to let them know that this problem can exist. A simple
test involves attempting a large file (at least 100MB) download when there is
no other traffic on the network. Then the same file is again downloaded at
various intervals during the day. Try the download from two paths—first from
the server, then directly from the Internet.
If the experiment yields fast
downloads with no traffic and slow downloads during midday, there is definitely
a network infrastructure problem and a consultant should be called in.—L.A.
Item Category Retail
Cable Category 5e $125.00
Category 6 $165.00
Category 6e $205.00
Jack Category 5e $6.50
Category 6 $8.95
Category 6e $11.98
48 Port Patch Panel Category 5e $350.00
Category 6 $465.00
Category 6e $615.00
7 ft Patch Cable Category 5e $5.25
Category 6 $9.75
Category 6e $12.50
Reprinted with full Permission of Ted Magazine November issue
Anixter Posts 32% Sales Gain
By Joe Salimando
Sales in [Q2] reflect[ed] a
significant acceleration of the trends of the past several quarters. We
experienced very solid, broad-based sales growth in nearly all of the end
markets we serve, and we made continued progress in our initiatives to grow our
security business and supply chain service offerings.”
So said Robert Grubbs,
president and CEO of Anixter International, in unveiling a second quarter in
which Anixter’s sales hit a record $1.24 billion. That’s up $303 million, or
32%. Roughly $75 million of that—a quarter of the sales increase—came from
companies recently acquired.
those acquisitions), Anixter’s second-quarter sales rose by 23%. “This was one
of the highest quarterly organic growth rates in the company’s history,” Grubbs
said, “even after allowing for sharply higher copper prices.”
Copper, of course, is part of
the story in much of Anixter’s growth, and in that of at least some of the
companies in this month’s report. As Grubbs noted, copper prices in the second
quarter averaged $3.39 per pound—up from $1.53 per pound in the second quarter
• Acuity Brands. “Its
operational momentum and relatively sparse analyst coverage is a good sign” is
the word from SmartMoney.com in analyzing AYI stock. The Aug. 3 write-up noted
that since Acuity’s spin off from National Service Industries in November 2001,
Acuity’s stock price is up by more than 250%. Separately, on July 6 The Motley
Fool (www.fool.com) compared Acuity to Hubbell, Cooper, Ecoloab, and Procter
& Gamble: “The company is growing revenues about as fast as any of its
peers, but net income is outpacing everybody from lamp makers to chemical
competitors. All of these businesses are sporting much higher net margins than
Acuity, which should leave plenty of room for future operational improvement.”
• ADC Telecommunications. The
company generated $55 million in cash from operations in the year’s first nine
months, up from $19 million one year earlier. However, the company is aiming
higher: It’s cutting 225 jobs and closing two facilities. Stats of note: Global
fiber connectivity sales increased 77% in the third quarter (compared to one
year earlier) and was greatly aided by inclusion of sales from FONS, acquired
on Aug. 26, 2005.
• Encore Wire. While the
company’s sales are great, it’s making news in other areas. Encore was ranked
No. 25 on Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 fastest-growing companies. It
penned an agreement to distribute products from Electri-Flex to complement its
new armored cable line and it expanded its revolving line of credit to $200
million (up 33%). For the record, Encore Wire’s sales rose 114% in the second
quarter, hitting $362 million. Sales were up 43% sequentially (from the first
quarter). The company has topped $1 billion in sales in the year ending June
30, and generated earnings per share of more than $5.
• General Cable. Copper’s
high prices helped create a 19% year-over-year gain in metals-adjusted
second-quarter revenues for General Cable, as it hit $987 million for the
According to the company,
acquired businesses added $112.7 million of sales and accounted for 12.7 points
of the volume growth in metals pounds sold in the quarter. However, as noted by
the company, “The improvement in operating earnings was driven by increased
factory utilization, and a significantly improved pricing environment across
most of the company’s product lines and geographics, including a reduction in
the time to recover raw material inflation.” Said Gregory Kenney, president and
CEO, “For the first time in several years, all of our product lines are in the
• Hubbell. Sales were up 16%
in the second quarter and 17% for the first half, hitting $1.18 billion in the
six-month period. Acquisitions accounted for 4% of the growth in both the
quarter and half. “We continue to see strength in most of our markets,” said
Timothy Powers, chairman, president, and CEO. “Electrical segment profitability
is beginning to see the improvement that we predicted. Our production and
delivery inefficiencies are being steadily resolved, contributing to improved
operating margin percentages despite SAP implementation and new product launch
• Rockwell Automation.
There’s so much cash flow being generated here that the company’s board has
elected to put some of it to work for shareholders. The company will buy up to
9 million shares of its common stock before Sept. 30, 2007. At recent prices
(upwards of $50 per share), the buyback—if completed—could absorb $450 million
or more.Things are going so well that other investment efforts don’t have to
stop. Free cash flow in the third quarter was $154 million. “Our businesses
again captured share and outperformed underlying global markets,” Keith
Nosbusch, chairman and CEO, said of the company’s fiscal third quarter (ended
June 30). “During the quarter we increased the level of investment to
accelerate and extend organic growth. The benefits of these investments will
occur in future periods.”
• Tyco International. For the
second straight quarter, Tyco’s gross revenues topped $10 billion. Free cash
flow in the third quarter of fiscal year 2006 was $1.1 billion. Revenues in the
fire and security business were $2.9 billion in the quarter, up 3% over the
previous year’s results. Engineered products and services were up 7%, hitting
nearly $1.8 billion in the quarter.
• Emcor Group. Company
revenues are up a bit more than 5% in the year’s first half—to $2.37 billion.
This is an interesting development, considering that Emcor is the largest
electrical and mechanical contractor in the United States; net income rose more
than 112% in the second quarter.
• Integrated Electrical
Services (IES). ”Don’t look at our old numbers” is what IES, which recently
emerged from bankruptcy, put forth in a Sept. 11 SEC filing. Specifically, the
company restated something it reported earlier: “Consolidated financial
statements as of and for the six months ended March 31, 2004, and as of and for
the years ended Sept. 30, 2002 and 2003, should no longer be relied upon.”
Separately, the company’s Aug. 9 financial results release referenced “fresh
start accounting.” So IES’s results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2006,
without comparing them to previous years, were
revenues of $259 million.
Byline: Salimando also writes
a weekly column for www.tedmag.com; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with full Permission of TED Magazine November issue
Graybar Offers Customers and Suppliers WiFi Access
By Darlene Bremer
In the winter of 2005,
Graybar Electric of St. Louis
got the idea that it could help its customers, suppliers, and staff be more
productive by offering free wireless Internet (WiFi) access at its various
locations across the country.
Deployment of WiFi service to
180 of Graybar’s more than 250 locations began in the spring of 2006 and was
completed in October. To control costs, installation was performed by Graybar
IT support staff during regular visits to branches; staff installed the
wireless access points that broaden coverage.
“Implementation was a significant
team effort involving IT, management, marketing, and operations staff at the
corporate and district levels,” said David Moeller, national construction
Providing WiFi access is an
important service addition for Graybar and has not disrupted the company’s
mission-critical systems in any way. “The added traffic has not disrupted or
slowed system access or computer activity at the locations providing the
service,” Moeller said.
Since WiFi access
implementation began, customers and suppliers have reported that they are very
pleased to have WiFi access while visiting Graybar’s locations.
“They say that productivity
has increased because the service is fast and convenient and employees are more
mobile in conducting business,” said Moeller. An added benefit is that
employees at each location are provided with wireless access to the Internet
and internal systems, thus allowing them to be more mobile and to conduct
business more efficiently.
To increase awareness about
the new WiFi service with Graybar employees and guests, market-ing materials
were provided to each location.
“We expect to see more people
using the service as the initial implementation is completed and as more
locations see the benefit and request deployment,” Moeller concluded.
Byline: Bremer can be reached
Reprinted with full Permission of TED Magazine November issue
The Need for Strategic Planning
This month’s column is about
something everyone needs to do to improve the industry; it’s a timely issue
that most don’t do very well (if at all). The subject is planning, or more
specifically, strategic planning.
Many people plan
annually—calling it a budget for the next year. However, few sit down with a
group of key employees and decide where the company wants to be in three years,
how it will get there, and what needs to be done now to get the ball rolling.
Too many people believe in miracles—or worse yet, rely on them.
When developed and
implemented properly, a strategic plan is a competitive advantage. For the
management team, the plan is a tool for better making decisions. For employees,
the plan is a clear communication of why their roles are important to the
future of an organization.
The strategic planning
process can be complicated or simple, often depending on the size of the
company. Large companies usually must invest a lot of time with a professional
facilitator, but smaller ones will find a huge benefit in this area. They can
easily gather their teams and have open and frank conversations about where
they are going so they can put plans on paper. The thing to remember is that
these efforts are never wasted; even the worst plan can be used later as an
example of what to avoid.
It’s extremely important to
develop a plan that can be implemented, one that won’t end up on a shelf. Good
plans must not be too complex; avoid too much emphasis on planning and not
enough on doing. It must be easy to communicate to everyone. Additionally, the
plan must be tailored to the company’s specific needs, with special situations
taken into consideration. The distribution business is people intensive, so
staff interpretation and reaction to the plan are going to be extremely
Here are some things to help
make the planning process successful:
Use the KISS method (“Keep It Simple Stupid”); keep it to one page.
Move the company toward its “big hairy audacious goal” with the plan and link
the three-year strategic plan with the annual plan/budget.
Remember, it’s better to have a reasonably good plan that is implemented than a
perfect plan that is too complex to get off the ground. As General Patton said,
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
4. Don’t be reluctant to
write off losing or failing projects.
Get opinions and do a SWOT analysis (identify the company’s strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
Choose the strategic planning
team carefully, keeping it as small as is practical (eight to 10 participants
is a good number). CEOs should be cautious not to dominate discussions and
should allow others to air their views without repercussions. It’s also important
not to rush the process or drag it out. Several meetings may be necessary over
two or three months. Most likely, the larger the company, the longer this will
Make the process of
developing the plan fun. A good plan will provide a road map for leading the
company as well as helping every employee understand why decisions are made and
how their individual jobs add to the well-being of the entire organization.
Today’s younger employees, especially, want to know more about the big
picture—where the company is headed and what’s in it for them.
are a few tongue-in-check guidelines for successful strategic planning:
steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
computer might help with most problems, and if it doesn’t, a hammer will.
The probability of an event occurring is in inverse proportion to its desirability.
• Teamwork is essential; it allows the opportunity to
blame someone else.
one is listening until you make a mistake.
Past experience is always true; never be misled by present facts.
matter how much you doubt the plan, make it sound convincing.
• The planner who can smile when things go wrong has
thought of someone to blame it on.
• Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot
of that comes from bad judgment.
Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view.
Duda is chairman of NAED and CEO/chairman of Butler Supply in Fenton, Mo. Reach
him at 636-349-9000 or email@example.com.
Reprinted with full Permission of TED Magazine November issue
Patience Pays Off
Selling test equipment can be a hassle—but it can also
improve distributors’ bottom lines.
By Jim Hayes
The essence of being in the
test equipment business is having customers who want delivery yesterday, and
drop-shipped to the job site. Not only are managers expected to read customers’
minds, but they are also expected to take the blame whenever something goes
wrong. This often includes diagnostic and corrective work, usually over the
Most distributors have
probably had the same experience. A customer calls from the field and orders
test equipment he just realized he must have. Or he calls complaining that he
received the box, opened it on the job site, and found that the batteries were
not charged, or that he didn’t have the proper accessories to connect it, or
that he couldn’t figure out how to use the equipment.
Some distributors report that
they hate to sell test equipment because of the hassles and support issues that
inevitably go with it. Some even wonder why they bother selling test equipment
at all, as it represents only a small percentage of the total sales on a
typical cabling order.
However, test equipment can
be a highly profitable product line for those who understand the marketing and
support required of test equipment.
The path to understanding
First and foremost, if a
distributor is going to carry test equipment, salespeople need to ask every
customer placing an order if he or she has all of the other hardware and
equipment needed. When a customer calls to order a few boxes of Cat 5e cable,
the salesperson needs to ask about the project: Are jacks, punchdown blocks,
cable trays, wall boxes, installation equipment, etc., needed as well? The same
is true for fiber-optics and wireless, where access points require cabling into
only do salespeople need to ask about the extras customers may need, but they
also need to question the quantity of each. Extra cable is needed for
completing the whole distance of every link and adding service loops. For
example, sometimes with custom-ordered fiber-optic cable, additional cable
should be ordered to have it for restoration in the event of a cable cut or
break. Installers always need extra UTP jacks and fiber-optic connectors, since
some may be improperly installed or damaged and require replacement.
last thing every salesperson should ask is whether the customer has all of the
tools and test equipment needed to
complete the project. The salesperson need not know everything about test
equipment, just what comprises the usual test set for each application. A crib
sheet for sales with recommendations on testers for various types of copper and
fiber cabling at several price levels (with notes on why some are more
expensive—e.g., tests performed or internal data storage) is the best way to
handle making recommendations.
equipment often has enough configuration options and accessories such that
local stocking creates a problem. Some copper testers need special interface
cables or test heads for different cable types. Fiber-optic testers have
options for different fiber, wavelength, and connector types. Some test
equipment is too expensive to stock. Certification testers for Cat 5e/6 and
fiber-optic OTDRs cost a lot of money. Some of these instruments may
continuously change with each new standard and technology, making instruments
currently in stock obsolete or in need of reprogramming. It may only make sense
to sell these testers if the manufacturer does the configuration and drop-ships
directly to the customer.
it’s the support issues that make selling cabling testers the most frustrating
for distributors. Users always want a pass/fail tester. But when they fail,
most testers require some training, experience, and analytical abilities to
determine the cause of the problem. At this stage, distributors must generally
defer to manufacturers for support.
Byline: Hayes, of VDV Works,
can be reached at www.JimHayes.com.
Reprinted with full Permission of TED Magazine November issue
Belden To Close 2 Plants, Eliminate 325 Positions
manufacturer, Belden CDT Inc. said it would close two plants, eliminate 325
positions and take related charges.
The company said
it would stop production at its plants in Quebec
by mid 2007, and take severance and non-cash asset impairment charges of
between 15 cents and 20 cents a share mostly in the fourth quarter.
IRS Announces 2007 Standard Mileage Rates
The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2007 optional standard mileage rates used to
calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business,
charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car
(including vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
48.5 cents per mile for business miles driven;
20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and
14 cents per mile driven in service to a charitable organization.
The new rate for business
miles compares to a rate of 44.5 cents per mile for 2006. The new
rate for medical and moving purposes compares to 18 cents in 2006. The
primary reasons for the higher rates were higher prices for vehicles and
fuel during the year ending in October.
The standard mileage rates for business, medical and moving purposes are
based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an
automobile. Runzheimer International, an independent contractor, conducted
the study for the IRS.
The mileage rate for
charitable miles is set by statute.
A taxpayer may not use
the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any
depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS),
after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle, for any vehicle
used for hire or for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.
Revenue Procedure 2006-49 contains additional information on these standard
Crossbow Introduces Wireless (#) Sharp Workshop
Do not be intimidated by ‘Techno
Wireless (#) Sharp is a two day workshop ideal for Managers, Decision Makers,
Technical Support, and Administrative Staff.
Wireless (#) Sharp explains existing and emerging popular technical standards
and demystifies ‘the techno jargon’ often heard around coffee shops!
(#) Sharp training ensures you have a broad base of knowledge and competency in
wireless standards and technologies
your understanding of the differentiators among the latest wireless networking
are better prepared to plan, implement, outsource, and manage wireless projects
(#) Sharp will ensure your RFI’s, RFPs,
and RFQs are accurate and detailed for
(#) Sharp will enable you to manage vendor relations more effectively
do not need to be a techno-nerd to go through the workshop
Details about the Wireless (#) Sharp Workshop:
a good comprehensive overview of wireless standards and technologies:
Workshop Dates: January
17th and 18th 2007 / February 14th and 15th
Times: 9:00am – 4:30pm
(Wednesdays and Thursdays)
South Winchester Blvd, Suite 108, San Jose, CA-95128
408-392-0016 / Fax: 408-249-8865
(Onsite Classes also available – Minimum 10 attendees)
**Special Price: $750.00* / Per Person [*Not including Exam fee]
filled out sign-up form to: 408-249-8865 before December 31st 2006
for this offer
Happy Holidays – May the year ahead be filled with Good
Be Safe & Be Happy
REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE