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Wireville.com

Issue: February 2007
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


Bisbee’s Buzz

Ray Gendron, The Founder of the BICSI Cares campaign passes away

Ray Gendron, a telecom and structured cabling specialist who founded BICSI Cares Inc. fundraising campaign purely by accident, died yesterday in a Montreal palliative care facility following a battle with cancer.

The telecommunications industry has served us well, Gendron, a past president with the organization, once wrote. The objective of BICSI Cares Inc. is to be a good corporate citizen and give something back to those less fortunate.

The fund-raising initiative began when Gendron jokingly decided to pass a hat down a row of seats at a BICSI conference in the late 1970s and to his surprise it came back filled with money. Since there was no way of knowing who gave what, he decided instead to donate the cash to a charity.

The motto “BICSI Cares” was officially adopted in May 1992 and since then; more than US $1.15 million has been collected and presented on the last day of each conference to a charity in the host city.

Over the years it has given money to charities worldwide to help build schools, feed the hungry, stop domestic violence, combat illiteracy, sustain the environment, and especially to help children in need.

Sick, homeless, poor, neglected, and abused, as well as injured children and those with birth defects, have all found help.

Current BICSI president John Bakowski today described Gendron as “a great human being as well as a friend to everyone he ever met.”

Courtesy of Cabling Networking Systems Magazine. www.cnsmagazine.com

Ray Gendron was one of the finest, warm, and caring men that I have ever had the honor to know. FDB

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Jacksonville, FL
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com


BICSI BITS

by Laura Jirus

The winter BICSI Conference and Expo was a resounding success.  There was an energetic buzz in the atmosphere that resonated throughout the membership and staff of BICSI.  The excitement was palpable from the opening remarks of John Bakowski, RDCC/NTS/OSP/WD Specialist, President of BICSI, throughout the conference until the closing ceremony.

The whirlwind of the Winter BICSI Conference 2007 has died down; we have found our desks under the pile of “to do’s” that accumulated while we were on our conference “adventure.”  Now it is time to reflect on our time.

We were able to sit with David Cranmer, RCDD for a few minutes and have a chance to hear how motivated he is to “bring BICSI in line with the strategic plan that the Board of Directors has set forth.”  The strategic plan sets the stage to stimulate BICSI’s growth both in the U.S. as well as on an international level.  With David’s industry knowledge, and knowledge of BICSI as an organization, this challenge will be met with success. 

One of the changes David Cranmer has made as the new Executive Director was to appoint (with Board approval) Richard Dunfee, OSP as Director of Professional Development (PD).  Richard is no stranger to BICSI having served as BICSI Training Program Manager.  Richard Dunfee has been involved with BICSI since 1989 and is excited to be part of the team that will bring so much valuable knowledge into the industry. 

The presentations throughout this conference covered a wide range of specialties and issues.  The information that attendees received will enhance their industry knowledge and skill level.  Some of the presentations included (but not limited to):

·         “What happened to My Division 17?”  by John Kacperski, RCDD, of WTC Inc.

·         “20-Year-Old concept of Measuring a Building’s IQ Comes Full Circle” by James Carlini, Carlini & Associates

·         “Fundamentals of AV” by Jeffery Coil, RCDD of Graybar Electric

·         “Ribbon Cabling in the LAN & Data Center” by Doug Coleman of Corning Cable Systems

·         “Making Sense of AV” by Joseph D. Cornwall of Quicktron

·         “Broadband Opportunities in the Connected Community” by W. James Hettrick of U.S. Connected Communities Association

·         “Government Relations Update” by Richard Reed,  RCDD/OSP Specialist  BICSI Government relations

There were several luncheons on the schedule for the week.  We attended what always seems to be the most informative of the bunch.  The Fluke Networks luncheon is a “must – attend” for every conference.  The presentation, given by Hugo Draye, as always, was full of useful information that is easily transferred into the day-to-day operations of a contractor. 

Jan Lewis, BICSI’s Director of International Operations and Special Projects Liaison, was thrilled to see 25 nations represented during the International Regions luncheon.  “The enthusiasm of our international members is contagious,” said Jan Lewis.  During the past year, she had worked on the revitalization of the European Region with great success.  We look forward to seeing more on BICSI’s international side in the future.

We would like to say thank you to all the BICSI staff that give up time at home with families to make this event not only possible but also a venue that members want to plan to attend.  The comment we received most describing this BICSI was “friendly.”  This was partly due to Rick Westcott BICSI’s Services Consultant and Trisha Mendoza BICSI’s Manager of Membership Operations, operating the BICSI Central Booth that was located just across from attendee registration.  They were always ready to answer questions and spend time getting to know the members.  

As we walked around, people were sitting down and pulling out their laptops or they were at the conveniently located public computers quietly going through mail or just catching up on notes.  Ryan Settlemire, BICSI Webmaster/IT Administrator, kept the network up and running to make communication with home and work possible during this hectic time.

The opportunities surrounded us as we wandered up and down the aisles of the exhibit hall.  Attendees had a chance to stop by booths and have hands-on access to some of the innovations in our industry.  Exhibitor Product Forums held nightly in the Product Forum Theater gave a snapshot of new ideas and products.  This is a great way to get an overview of a variety of products in a short time. 

With 209 exhibiting companies, the attendees could cover every aspect of the industry.  There were the veteran companies that are a fixture of each BICSI Conference and there were the “newcomers” who are experiencing this phenomenon for the first time. 

Working their way up the aisles, attendees were given access to an environment where networking, sharing ideas, and learning new information that enables the attendee to start the year ahead of the game.  BICSI conferences are always packed with valuable information that can be used to further education, knowledge, and skills. 

Hats off to Georgette Palmer Smith, CMM (Director of Conferences and Meetings) who did an outstanding job coordinating the many details making this conference run smoothly.  Maarja Kolberg, Communications Manager, kept the information flowing with informative press releases during the conference.  To all whom we do not have room to mention, “THANK YOU “for all you did.  You are appreciated for the time and energy that you invest into each value-packed BICSI event.


Maureen Levy Returns As Publisher For Cabling Networking Systems

Maureen Levy recently returned as publisher of Toronto-based Cabling Networking Systems Magazine.  Maureen, who has more than over 25 years of experience in the Canadian magazine industry, played a pivotal role in turning Cabling Systems, the former name of CNS, into a success story after it launched in 1998. She will also maintain her current role as publisher of Canadian Consulting Engineer.  Her publishing background includes industrial machinery and equipment, trucking transportation, construction industry and telecommunications. “I look forward to the opportunity of working with advertisers once again in this exciting market,” she says.   www.cnsmagazine.com


Leviton Launches New S3 Team

Leviton has been a leader in identifying and manufacturing solutions for the electrical and telecommunications industry for the past 100 years. As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, we are proud to announce a national support team comprised of skilled commercial cabling, design, and installation experts. These Leviton Specification

Engineers are service-driven individuals who are equipped to help build the best wired or wireless cabling infrastructure possible for Information Technology projects.

The S3 Team is available to help specifiers with all the practical information required to create solutions to their most challenging design and installation issues. This free service includes an abundance of materials available on the Leviton website, as well as access to local Leviton Specification Engineers, and provides answers to Information Technology questions in areas such as:

• 10 Gigabit Ethernet over copper using Category 6 and Category 6A UTP/ScTP

• 10 Gigabit Ethernet over fiber

• Data Center cabling design – “Change your equipment and not your cabling”

• Wireless Systems using 802.11a/b/g in a centralized or distributed architecture for the Enterprise

• Power Quality – solutions that enable a stable, consistent and Un-Interruptible power

• FTTx and Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU) solutions

Let our highly qualified and industry recognized Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDD’s) help you Specify, Simplify and Succeed. Build the best Information Transport System that you can and let the S3 Team show you how “Leviton Makes It Easy”. www.leviton.com


CABA To Hold Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum At INFOCOMM 07

CABA is pleased to announce that its Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum will be held June 18 at the Anaheim Convention Center in conjunction with InfoComm 07. InfoComm is the largest tradeshow in the professional audiovisual industry, with 28,000 attendees anticipated, including more than 13,000 dealers, systems integrators, consultants, independent reps and VARs, 7,000 technology managers and 1,200 manufacturers expected to attend.

CABA's Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum is an interactive executive event designed to bring together related "large building" stakeholder groups that have a vested interest in the technology driving integrated systems and intelligent buildings. This year, the Forum will focus on research findings from CABA's Intelligent Buildings Roadmap and on green building technology.

The Roadmap is a collaborative industry-funded research project designed to update CABA's Technology Roadmap (TRM) for Intelligent Buildings, a research report released in 2002. It explores the opportunities offered by emerging intelligent building technologies.

Paul Ehrlich, PE, of Building Intelligence Group LLC, will make presentations concerning the Roadmap at the Forum. Building Intelligence Group is the independent consulting firm that developed the Roadmap for CABA. The presentations will focus on the current status and imminent opportunities offered by the accelerating evolution and usage of intelligent building technologies.

The participating organizations in this CABA research project are: Cisco Systems, Direct Energy, ESC Automation/Delta Controls, Johnson Controls, HID Corporation, Honeywell International, Tridium, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Legrand North America, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., Panduit Corp., Siemens Building Technologies, Tour Andover Controls, Trane Control Systems, and InfoComm International.

The Forum will also feature sessions on emerging green building technologies. Environmentally sustainable buildings call for integrated designs encompassing a "whole system" approach. The range of "green" design features is very diverse, with options that include energy efficient materials, passive solar considerations, and structural and mechanical components. CABA's Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum will examine these design features, typically known as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

"We are pleased that CABA has selected InfoComm as the site for its Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum," stated Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., Executive Director, InfoComm International. "CABA is recognized as North America's leading information source for building automation. The strategic collocation of CABA's Forum at InfoComm 07 will provide our attendees with a valuable additional source of intelligence on automation and green building technologies."

Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO, responded, "We are extremely excited to participate in InfoComm and share this leading-edge research on the intelligent buildings sector."

For more information about the Forum's program, please go to www.caba.org/leadersforum. For more information about InfoComm 07, June 15-21 in Anaheim, California, please visit www.infocommshow.org.

About CABA
CABA is the only industry association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of resources are available through the association including iHomes & Buildings magazine, research, CABA's forums, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit www.caba.org for further information.

About InfoComm International
InfoComm International is the international trade association of the professional audiovisual and information communications industries. Established in 1939, InfoComm has over 4,100 members, including manufacturers, systems integrators, dealers and distributors, independent consultants, programmers, rental and staging companies, end-users and multimedia professionals from more than 70 countries. InfoComm International is the leading resource for AV market research and news. Its training and education programs, along with its separately administered Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) and corporately administered Certified Audiovisual Solutions Provider (CAVSP) company credentials, set a standard of excellence for AV professionals. InfoComm International is the founder of InfoComm, the largest annual conference and exhibition for AV buyers and sellers worldwide. InfoComm also produces trade shows in Europe, Asia, and China. Additional information is available at www.infocomm.org


AFL Telecommunications And Leviton Announce A Marketing & System Integration Alliance To Support Fiber-to-the-Home

AFL Telecommunications, a leading supplier of fiber optic products and services, and Leviton Manufacturing Company, North America’s largest producer of electrical and electronic wiring devices and manufacturer of voice and data solutions, announce a marketing and system integration alliance to support Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH). AFL will promote the alliance as part of the FTTH Made Easy™ program, a comprehensive solutions-based program designed to meet the needs of residential developers and builders seeking to integrate Fiber-to-the-Home within MDU and master planned communities.   

The alliance is focused on supporting end-to-end solutions through a combination of Leviton’s FTTH and industry-leading Integrated Network home technology portfolio, and AFL’s FTTH passive infrastructure, network electronics, and system integration expertise. “AFL is very pleased to welcome Leviton to the FTTH Made Easy™ program”, said Kent Brown – Director, Access Solutions. “FTTH is a powerful community amenity that drives value for the developer, builder and resident.  AFL’s relationship with Leviton connects the optical network to the in-home network and makes it easy for residential developers to implement FTTH within their communities.” 

“Leviton and AFL are perfect complements, bringing a wealth of in-home experience and product solutions together with industry leading access network solutions and integration services,” said Michael Mattei, Leviton’s Director of Fiber Business Development. 

Mattei states how the market tends to talk about homes passed and homes with fiber service at the side of the house, but that is where it ends. Often forgotten is the distribution within the home, to the jack on the wall, where we desire the speed and bandwidth that fiber delivers, in a media that our computers, TV’s and other electronics can accept. In 2006, Leviton wired several hundred thousand homes for broadband signal delivery to the den, kitchen or bedroom. “This alliance provides start to finish service and support for the implementation of a FTTH network encompassing both the active and passive elements of the design,” stated Mattei.

In addition to an end-to-end product portfolio, the program will also feature a portfolio of services, including; AFL’s FTTH Business Model and Leviton’s “Whole House” Integrated Network solutions. These services will provide residential developers with a single source for defining and implementing the value created by FTTH.  

AFL’s program integrates a variety of critical success variables, including: FTTH Business Modeling and network design services, outside plant infrastructure, network electronics and in-home technology solutions. Visit www.FTTHMadeEasy.com for more information.

About AFL Telecommunications
AFL Telecommunications, a division of Fujikura Ltd., is an industry leader in providing fiber optic products, engineering expertise and integrated services to the telecommunications industry. AFL manufactures, engineers and installs the fiber optic products and equipment that communications providers need to provide high-speed voice, video, and data services to their customers. AFL’s extensive experience in both design and application crosses all markets, from Telco, Broadband and Wireless, to Electric Utility, OEM and Private Networks. Visit us at www.afltele.com.

About Leviton
Established in 1906, Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc. is one of the world’s most diversified electrical manufacturing companies. Leviton has more than thirty facilities dedicated to engineering, manufacturing and distribution of over 25,000 products for nearly every connectivity need. Leviton’s Voice & Data division is dedicated to producing complete copper, fiber and wireless network infrastructure solutions for enterprise, data center, and service provider applications.
www.levitonvoicedata.com


SMP Participates In Industry’s First 10GBASE-T 100 Meter Bit Error Rate Validation Testing With Solarflare

SMP Data Communications, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication networks, recently participated in a comprehensive demonstration of 10GBASE-T products in operation at the Solarflare® Communications test facility in Irvine, California.

The validation trials to demonstrate 10GBASE-T operation over Category 6A cabling were performed on a 100 meter channel.  The trials were run in a 100 meter, worst-case channel configuration as specified in the draft TIA augmented Category 6 standard, currently under development in the TIA TR 42.7 subcommittee.  The channel configuration consisted of six around one (6A1) cables, bundled every eight inches.  The equipment used for channel performance validation was Solarflare Communications 10Xpress™ 10GBASE-T PHYs that are currently sampling to OEM customers.


Bi-directional Ethernet traffic was sent over Solarflare’s 10GBASE-T link using two 10Gb/s traffic generators with XAUI interfaces. At the same time, bi-directional 10GBASE-T traffic was running on all six neighboring channels simulating a worst-case alien crosstalk environment. All channels were configured for the maximum 100m length with four connectors in accordance with IEEE 802.3an 10GBASE-T standard and the draft TIA 568-B.2-10 Augmented Category 6 standard. There were no CRC errors in the received frames on both ends over several hours of testing. 

 
Participating with Solarflare to provide representative channel configurations for the first functional testing of 10GBASE-T over Category 6A cabling demonstrates SMP’s ongoing commitment to provide state-of-the-art connectivity products.  These products not only exceed compliance to industry standards but are proven to perform as demonstrated by Solarflare’s 10GBASE-T validation testing. 

 “Our competition offers connectivity products that only operate effectively when combined with the cable they also manufacture, in essence a “tuned system” that costs the customer a premium and is not truly interoperable,” stated Bill Reynolds, VP and general manager of SMP Data Communications. “This is especially true with hard-to-meet emerging standards and protocols such as 10GBASE-T and Augmented Category 6.   SMP connectivity is designed to focus on verifiable throughput as well as ‘the standards.’ The US-made superior quality of our connectivity, derived from our own intellectual property, allows SMP to deliver connectivity that is economical and truly interoperable.  This testing is a testament to our products capabilities and quality designs.”

“This testing proves the reliability and robustness of the 10GBASE-T cabling and PHY products,” said Bruce Tolley, VP of marketing at Solarflare. “These products are available today.”  www.smpdata.com


Hitachi Introduces Streaming Media Software Technology for Digital Video Recording Products

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi) announced today it has developed new software technology targeted toward digital video recording (DVR) applications, including set-top boxes (STBs), that utilize hard disk drives. Hitachi's AVSM(TM) software technology is designed to seamlessly manage the mix of high-definition video streaming and best-effort file operations, such as electronic program guides or background IPTV downloads present in STB applications. Through "smart" hard drive management, AVSM technology helps reduce duty cycle by up to 60 percent and eliminates disk fragmentation, ultimately helping to extend the life of the hard drive and the host STB system.

Today's consumers increasingly use their digital cable and satellite set-top boxes to record high-definition programs and stream digital media from the Internet, and they want that content available throughout the house. However, recording and playing back a high number of multiple programs, or streams, can place greater demands on the hard drive and the conventional STB file system.

"Hitachi is continually looking for ways to add value to our hard disk drive solutions. We will see a steady ramp in HDTV viewership and programming in the coming years, and the demands placed on the DVR set-top box will increase significantly," said Marcia Bencala, vice president, corporate strategy and product planning, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "Leveraging Hitachi's R&D efforts, we've developed AVSM technology to be complimentary to our hard drive solutions--to help address the quality and performance issues that are faced by STB OEMs and content service providers."

"Smart" Hard Drive Management

To address the heavy demands on the HDD, AVSM technology gives the STB system the ability to distinguish between streaming applications (movies, streaming media) and best-effort, non-real-time applications (electronic program guide, IPTV download, photo viewing). This helps to maintain quality of service (QoS) and protect against disk fragmentation. The AVSM software technology currently comprises a streaming file system and sophisticated I/O scheduler and ultimately makes hard drives work "smarter". It handles the multiple HDTV streams present in multi-room households and optimizes task scheduling to help maximize HDD performance. Simply put, AVSM technology promotes:

  • Exceptional hard drive reliability and longer STB service life by lowering hard disk drive duty cycle and protecting file system integrity;
  • Improved QoS and highly-predictable performance in multi-stream STB applications through reduction of file system fragmentation and related performance degradation;
  • Easy integration with multi-vendor support, minimal system footprint and no additional hardware resource requirement on the STB.
  • The ability to manage up to 14 HDTV (19.3Mb/s) streams from one 3.5-inch HDD.

By extending the value of the hard drive, Hitachi is able to offer customers increasingly sophisticated solutions to help consumers manage and enjoy their digital content. Building on that goal, Hitachi also announced today a capacity-record one-TB CinemaStar(TM) hard disk drive specifically tuned for DVR applications. AVSM technology, combined with one-TB capacity continues to encourage the growth of HDTV in the home through the availability of ultra-high capacity and smart management of digital video content. http://www.hitachi.com.


Distributor’s Impact on Contractor’s Profitability - Part II: The Contractors

The August 2006 Productivity column investigated the impact of the changing market facing electrical contractors. With the current and continuing expansion of commercial and residential construction markets, the needs of contractors are dramatically changing.

Electrical distributors provide the essential connection between manufacturers and the owners and specialty contractors. While the position of an electrical distributor has not changed, its role must change from one of distribution to one of supply. Distributors arrange and facilitate the transfer of materials from the factory to the contractor. Suppliers support the customers by responding to their needs. All of these relationships impact an EC’s profitability. Let’s illustrate with a short story:

The crew arrives at the job site at 6 a.m., preparing for the day’s work. With the toolboxes unlocked, assignments given, coffee procured and donuts eaten, the crew attempts to locate its materials. Crew members find all they need except for the six additional boxes and 20 feet of cable ordered yesterday. The materials will be on the next delivery truck and were promised for first delivery.

The first truck of the day arrives. More material arrives but without a pallet jack. One crew stops to help carry it all to the sixth floor.

The next truck shows up, a different distributor. The general didn’t leave instructions for this truck to have access to a restricted area. The foreman spends 15 minutes trying to locate the project manager (PM). The truck will have to come back tomorrow to try again.

Now the project foreman is on the cell phone with the PM trying to track down yet another order. The truck is en route but not expected to arrive until 10. The crew can do nothing but wait.

Finally, the truck arrives with 20 feet of cable and five boxes. The sixth box was backordered, but all six are needed. The five are stashed in storage. Maybe the distributor will get more in today, and someone can go pick it up.

A return is packed and waiting, ready to be picked up. The driver doesn’t have the return authorization paperwork; the crew moves the material back to a safe place to wait until tomorrow.

Next comes a third-party shipper with a truck that doesn’t fit inside the fence. The electricians must unload 400 fixtures, only 50 of which will be installed this week.

To the contractor, labor matters. Delivery matters. Even though the contractors constantly fight for the lowest price, in reality, price is secondary. Without the lowest prices, and often even with the lowest prices, contractors are unable to recover from the labor losses associated with handling materials instead of installing.

Distribution faces a paradox. This is the result of a shift in the entire electrical construction industry, away from the historical industrial work and toward a growing commercial and residential market. Historically, the industrial market was as good a fit for electrical distributors, with their focus on the manufacturers, as it was for contractors.

Over the past 30 years, the commercial and residential components expanded until now where they make up almost 60 percent of the electrical construction market. As the economy shifted, the needs of each side also shifted. ECs are facing new challenges, and as a result, electrical distributors are being forced to change their operating philosophies in order to meet their customers’ needs.

To profitably respond, electrical distributors must understand the needs of each player in the supply chain, from the manufacturers all the way through to the end-users, beginning with their financial models and cost drivers.

·           Financial model: A company’s financial model is determined by its cost structure, which is the combination of its fixed and variable costs, profit and revenue bases and cost drivers. Electrical contractors’ costs are primarily driven by variable costs. In fact, 85 to 90 percent of the operational costs of any specialty contractor, including electrical contractors, are typically allocated as variable costs, regardless of whether the contractor is a union or an open shop.

·         Variable costs: Variable costs are the costs associated with completing a project: labor, materials, rental expenses, etc. Variable costs increase as sales increase because of the costs required to complete a project. For example, an eight-story building with 200 fixtures on each floor requires twice as many fixtures as a four-story building with the same plans. The cost of the fixtures is a variable cost, as is the cost of installing each one.

·         Fixed costs: Fixed costs define the costs required to operate. Fixed costs typically remain constant throughout the year and include general and administrative costs, salaries, insurance, property taxes, carrying costs of inventory and other expenses.

·         Profit: The relationship between net profit, variable cost and fixed cost is shown in Figure 1. In order to recognize a profit, earned revenues must exceed both the variable costs and fixed costs. The break-even point (BEP) is the point at which both variable and fixed costs are covered.

Contractors and distributors, just as every other business, achieve top performance by minimizing both their variable and fixed costs through error reduction, process improvement and customer awareness. However, the biggest return in terms of cost reduction comes from targeting the cost drivers, that is, the elements of a particular financial model that have the biggest impact on the end cost of providing any product.

Profits, the money remaining after all costs are addressed, made up only 3 percent of the typical contractor’s revenues in 2001. This dropped to a measly 1.7 percent in 2004. In other words, a $1 million project returned only $17,000 in profits to the electrical contractor.

The biggest cost driver for the electrical contractor is its labor, a true variable cost. The longer it takes to install materials, the higher the labor cost. As shown in Figure 3, by targeting its variable costs, a contractor can reduce its overall costs, achieve its break-even point much earlier and recoup the difference as profits.

Electrical contractors earn their money by installing electrical components. Recall from Figure 2 that labor costs typically require 44 percent of the typical contractor’s revenues. Any reduction in the cost of labor goes straight to the contractor’s bottom line. Industry research has shown that approximately 40 percent of labor’s time is spent handling materials instead of installing. The benefits from supplier services can help the electrical contractor significantly reduce the time currently spent on material handling, allowing this time to be applied instead to productive installation.

With the shift toward commercial and residential work, the needs of contractors are following suit. Commercial work is faster and less specialized, with materials and specs that vary widely from project to project. Contractors need suppliers who can help address the labor costs by providing the right materials in the right quantity, correctly packaged and delivered to the right place at the right time.

Using their labor for any purpose other than installation can turn a job from a potentially profitable, successful project into a money loser, even going so far as to turn it into a killer job that single-handedly wipes away all profits made by every other project in the company. By refocusing customers away from price and onto the labor savings that can be gained by correctly using the supplier to manage the materials, the situation can turn into a win-win for all involved.

However, to profitably make the shift from a distributor to a supplier, electrical distributors need to understand their own financial model as well. In the next article, we will investigate this model and then how the contractor’s model and the distributor’s model can be effectively used to reduce the costs on both sides. EC

DANESHGARI is president of MCA Inc. He is a consultant for various electrical and general contracting companies. WILSON, a professor at Franklin University, is the director of research for MCA Inc.

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007

www.ecmag.com


Anixter's 2007 Communications Products Catalog Now Available

Anixter Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), announced the release of its 2007 Communications Products catalog.

Anixter's 2007 Communications Products catalog is a completely redesigned industry resource that includes more than 1,100 pages and over 15,000 part numbers of the latest products and solutions for all of your communication needs. This catalog continues to be an easy-to-use reference tool Anixter customers count on for day-to-day product needs and information on the latest products and technology.

"The catalog has proved invaluable to our company for the ordering process. Our company provides complete network integration and we rely on the well organized and descriptive character of the catalog to order the correct product for each job."

Keeping pace with emerging technologies, our 2007 catalog highlights the latest copper and fiber network cabling systems being deployed in the marketplace from industry leading manufacturers. It also features all of the ancillary structured cabling accessories required to support these systems such as racks, cabinets, cable management and power management products, tools and test equipment.

Some of the specialized sections of the catalog include 10 Gigabit Ethernet data cabling systems, IP Surveillance, Wireless, Power over Ethernet, and Access Control systems. The new IP Security section provides a snapshot of the latest networked products being deployed in the security market. All of the products included in the catalog are searchable through a user-friendly index that includes both the manufacturer name and part number. Additionally, an updated glossary of current industry terms and acronyms are also available in the catalog.

Another new enhancement of the 2007 Communications Products catalog is the addition of the Anixter Standards Reference Guide in the catalog's Appendix section. The guide highlights up-to-date networking industry standards developed by the TIA/EIA, IEEE and ISO organizations.

Anixter offers several additional catalogs including the newly released 2007 Broadcast and Entertainment catalog, the Security Solutions catalog, Wire & Cable catalog, and an on-line eCatalog. Anixter's new 2007 Communications Products catalog is available in print and on CD. This and other Anixter catalogs can be ordered by visiting our Web site at http://anixter.com/literature


How Savvy Contractors Boost Their Estimating Productivity

Contractors who use software from McCormick Systems to estimate and manage electrical and automated building systems projects will gather April 18-21 in Phoenix, AZ for the company's annual User's Conference.

This year's renewal will be the 25th annual. The event includes two full days of meetings plus access to an on-site computer "lab." Users can use the lab to try out ideas they hear during the conference, with or without help from McCormick staff.

"Our customers tell us they want to be able to do more estimates, faster, and more accurately, with the same resources – in terms of people and equipment," says Todd McCormick, the company president. "Our agenda this year primarily focuses on those concerns."

An additional agenda item is a popular annual segment, "What You Have On Your Computer That You Aren't Using." Many elements included as "standard" items in the estimating software can be overlooked by contractors, including:

·         Options for keeping pricing current

·         Project Documentation

·         Accessing your estimating system remotely

·         And, of course, an abundance of information on Estimating

            For more information, see www.mccormicksys.com.


Corning Introduces Handheld Fusion Splicers

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, introduces two new handheld fusion splicers.  The OptiSplice Ribbon Fusion Splicer and the OptiSplice One Fusion Splicer are ideal for use in various local area network (LAN) environments.

The OptiSplice Ribbon Splicer, a handheld 1- to 12-fiber fusion splicer, provides improved speed and performance when compared to previous generation multi-fiber splices, all in a handheld package. The OptiSplice One Fusion Splicer is the next-generation single-fiber splicer. It features an intuitive user interface, dual cameras, toolless maintenance, an ultra-fast heat-shrink oven and high-capacity Li-Ion battery, in a reduced-size fusion splicer.

The handheld fusion splicers are ideal for locations where space and tight working conditions are a concern. Both units are available with modular accessories for use in different LAN applications. The robust splicers feature a splice area cover that serves as a wind protector and robust rubber bumpers for harsh environments.

The OptiSplice One and OptiSplice Ribbon Splicers have an ergonomic layout in which the splice area, screen and keypad face the operator. The compact size allows the splicers to be placed close to other network equipment for efficient workflow. In addition, the fusion splicer case converts into an aerial splicing platform.

The units’ high-intensity LEDs provide splice area illumination for use in low-light environments. The LEDs can also illuminate the interior of a splice closure or other piece of hardware, making the OptiSplice One and OptiSplice Ribbon Handheld Fusion Splicers perfect for restoration purposes. The splicers also contain factory and user-defined programs for common fiber types, and a USB interface for data output and software upgrades.  www.corning.com/cablesystems.


Individuals Recognized At BICSI Annual Awards Banquet

During the annual BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, three individuals received awards for their efforts to help advance the telecommunications industry. More than 6,000 telecommunications professionals attended the four-day event, which included technical presentations, association meetings, and more than 200 exhibitors featuring the latest products and services.

The Harry J. Pfister Award for Excellence in the Telecommunications Industry was presented to Ray Keden, RCDD, a member from San Leandro, CA. The award was established in 1982 by the University of South Florida (Tampa, Fla.), to recognize the lifetime achievement or major accomplishment of an individual in the telecommunications industry. It promotes the efforts of an individual who enhances the professional, scientific, technical or educational aspects of the industry. The presentation was made by Mel Anderson, Ph.D., USF College of Engineering.

Keden currently serves on BICSI’s Codes Committee and Standards Committee. The ever-prestigious BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD®) designation and ITS Technician credential are just two of his many educational accomplishments. He holds an MS in Electrical Engineering and has contributed to the ITS industry for more than 40 years.

His career began in Germany as a telecommunications technician. Since then, he has worked with many U.S. and international companies on new product launches and designs. He has contributed to the writing of many U.S. and International standards, including the International Pathways and Spaces Standard and the Telecommunications Pathways and Spaces Standard.

The David K. Blythe/University of Kentucky Distinguished Service Award was presented to Rita Recalcati, a BICSI member and Country Chair from Italy. The award recognizes the volunteer spirit of BICSI members and spotlights one individual as the BICSI member of the year for outstanding efforts in promoting BICSI’s educational programs and commitment to professional development within the telecommunications industry.

Recalcati has more than 17 years of industry experience, and has been a member of BICSI for 10 years. She was involved with inception of BICSI in her region, and currently serves on BICSI’s Nominating Committee. She is best known for the behind-the-scenes work and support for the region while being a BICSI pioneer in establishing a local BICSI presence. She now covers BICSI activities in two countries, while supporting MCI, an association management company in Brussels, Belgium.

Stephen Banks, RCDD was presented with the Larry G. Romig Committee Member of the Year Award. BICSI developed the award in recognition of the volunteer work performed by its members and to honor one individual for exemplary efforts and dedication within a BICSI committee.

Banks is Chair of the Systems Design Subcommittee of the Technical Information & Methods (TI&M) Committee, which is charged with writing and updating BICSI’s technical manuals and for the development of additional technical publications. He is a highly respected member of the telecommunications community, both in his region and globally. He has spent a lot of time and effort, largely at his own expense, to help write BICSI manuals.

Banks started his career at GEC Telecommunications in 1972, working on Strowger electromagnetic exchanges and moving on to the digital switched computer solutions on System X. He then transferred to GEC's Defence Projects Division and was the design authority for a number of large government and defense IT projects in the 1980s, before leaving GEC to run the projects group for a fiber optic distributor.

After spending 18 months as an independent consultant, he joined Alcatel in 1997 as the UK market development manager for fiber and copper LAN cables. His duties were to promote and support the company's cable products with consultants and end users. He also provided technical and product support to the connectivity partners who needed Alcatel cables for their solutions. Following the creation of Nexans from Alcatel, Banks transferred over to the Cabling Solutions side of the Nexans business.

###

BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. BICSI serves more than 24,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.  www.bicsi.org


CABA Releases Micro & Small Business Needs Assessment Study

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), through its Internet Home Alliance Research Council, has completed a needs assessment study on managed services for micro and small business.

The study assesses the current state of the managed services market and identifies areas for further development.

The report finds that the most popular managed services for micro and small businesses consist of Web hosting, email and messaging services, servers, routers and LAN installation and maintenance, data backup, storage, security and other related services.

The report also determines that target customers prefer to work with local specialty service providers, or alternately, with manufacturers directly and that small businesses have a distinct interest in annual contracts provided there are clear, substantial cost-savings compared to a pay-as-you go arrangement.

"In general, micro and small businesses do not have dedicated information technology or telecom support personnel," states Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "Instead, this report shows that they have staff with other primary responsibilities that manage these products or services. This needs assessment helps service providers obtain a more complete sketch of the needs of micro and small businesses in order to improve their marketing and product development efforts."

The report was completed with the guidance and financial support of AT&T, Cisco Systems, Costco Wholesale, Hewlett-Packard, Level Platforms and SupportSoft through CABA's collaborative research model.

"We are extremely pleased to have led industry participation in this research project," says Jeff Dean, Senior Manager, Service Provider Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco Systems, Inc. "This research report will allow Cisco and other participating companies to make more informed decisions in terms of existing and prospective customers."

The report "Microbusiness & Small Business Managed Services Needs Assessment Study" is currently available to Internet Home Alliance Research Council members. It will be available for sale through CABA's eStore at www.caba.org/estore.

About CABA
CABA is the only industry association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of resources are available through the association including iHomes & Buildings magazine, research, CABA's forums, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. www.caba.org


Teknor Color Company Introduces Large Range Of RoHS-Compliant Color Concentrates For Wire And Cable

Two new series of color concentrates comprised of 16 colors for PVC and ten Munsell (R) colors for polyethylene comply with the RoHS requirements specified by the European Union, according to Teknor Color Company, which will introduce the new colors at Interwire 2007 (Booth 3409).  The concentrates are for use with a wide range of PVC and polyolefin compounds used in the wire and cable industry.

“These new concentrates have been formulated with pigments that comply with RoHS regulations yet provide the same coloring efficiency and electrical performance obtained with standard concentrates,” said Anne Upton, wire and cable market manager. “They make it possible for wire-industry manufacturers in the Americas to serve customers in Europe as well as to meet growing restrictions on the use of certain metal-containing compounds in the domestic market.”

Both series are available in bead form (the exception is PVC black, which comes in dice form). They include:

16 concentrates for use with PVC. The carrier resin for these concentrates is lead stabilizer-free PVC. The colors are: Aqua, Black, Blue, Dark Blue, Brown, Dark Brown, Gray, Green, Light Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Dark Red, White, and Yellow.

10 Munsell colors for use with PE and TPEs. The colors are: Black, Blue, Brown, Gray, Green, Orange, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow.

As applied to pigments used in color concentrates, RoHS regulations restrict the use of lead-, cadmium-, and chromium-containing substances.

www.teknorcolor.com.


Ortronics/Legrand Introduces Clarity10G Six-Port Module Patch Panels

Ortronics/Legrand, a global leader in high performance copper, fiber and wireless structured cabling solutions, introduces Clarity10G patch panels now available in the traditional multi-port adapter format. Utilizing an innovative method of circuit isolation, the Clarity10G patch panels support the alien crosstalk requirements of IEEE 10G and TIA Augmented Category 6 cabling specifications without requiring the use of individual jacks for panel termination.

Fully supporting all of the internal and alien requirements of 10 Gigabit Ethernet in a traditional panel format marks another major advancement in UTP connector technology from Ortronics/Legrand. The Clarity10G panels utilize Ortronics' innovative technique of synchronized reactance to minimize internal crosstalk while reducing the injection of common mode noise that is a significant source of alien crosstalk. These new panels also include Tactical Isolation Zones, a concept first introduced with Clarity 10G jacks to provide additional safeguards against noise radiating from the connector and to defend against the influence of alien noise sources on the connector.

With these technologies, combined with Ortronics previously developed advancements of dual reactance and center tuning, the result is a nearly transparent signal path for enhanced signal-to-noise (internal and alien) performance.

The new product family will be available in flat or angled versions, with

24 or 48 ports.  Clarity 10G multi-port adapter panels support preferred panel termination practices with mechanical accommodations for easier lacing of the larger insulated conductors of 10 Gig cables, providing a labor-saving alternative to the individual jack panel.

The new Clarity10G patch panels were featured at the BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, FL . www.ortronics.com


HAI Snap-Link Wins 2007 CES Innovations Design And Engineering Award

HAI, the leading manufacturer of integrated automation and security products since 1985, announces that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has awarded HAI's Snap-Link with a 2007 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award in the Integrated Home Systems category.  An independent panel of preeminent industrial designers, engineers and members of the press selected the winners.  Additionally the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) endorsed and acted as advisors to the Innovations awards.  The judges determine the winning products based on user value, unique and novel features, contribution to the quality of life, and the aesthetic and design qualities of the product.

Snap-Link is a USB key that plugs into any computer and directly communicates through the secure Ethernet port on an HAI home control system.   It gives homeowners the ability to check and adjust lights, security, temperatures, webcams, and more.   It is very secure, easy to use, with no installation or on site computer required. Moreover, there are no monthly fees associated with this software.  Snap-Link is currently shipping and has a suggested retail price of $99.

Previously Snap-Link was designated as a Finalist for Electrical Contracting Products' 2006 INNOVATION Awards and recently was awarded a CHIP (CePro High Impact Product) by the readers of CePro magazine.  The CHIP awards are based on the recommendations of professional integrators who have sold, installed, and profited from the winning products.

HAI products are sold through a worldwide network of Distributors and installed by over 1000 trained dealers.  For more information on HAI's Snap-Link or other award winning products, please visit www.homeauto.com.


ADC Introduces Size-Reduced Augmented Category 6 UTP Cable - CopperTen; TrueNet Cable Employs Patented AirES Technology

ADC (NASDAQ: ADCT; www.adc.com), the company that designed and built the very first Augmented Category 6 cable, today announced that it has reduced the size of its CopperTen® Augmented Category 6 UTP cable. This new cable is being showcased at the 2007 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla. The event is being held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center where the company’s solutions will be displayed at booth #411. 

ADC’s new CopperTen Augmented Category 6 UTP Cable has an average outside diameter of .275” compared to the industry average of .310”, which translates into a 22 percent reduction in cross-sectional area compared to typical Augmented Category 6 cable. The benefits of implementing a smaller cable include:

Enhanced airflow for improved data center cooling, reliability and uptime;

Reduced installation costs due to its lighter weight and smaller volume; and

Improved fill rates in cable trays, conduits and raceways.

Designed to run 10-Gigabit Ethernet over 100 meters of copper cabling, ADC was able to reduce the size of CopperTen by further enhancing the company’s patented AirES® technology.

“This unprecedented reduction in the size of Augmented Category 6 UTP cable will give data center and network managers more flexibility and higher performance for their investment,” said Jaxon Lang, vice president of product management, structured cabling for ADC. “The market has been demanding a smaller Augmented Category 6 UTP cable, and ADC delivered.”

ADC also is introducing its new suite of TrueNet® Fiber Plug-and-Play Solutions for data center applications, designed to improve reliability, scalability and cooling needs of modern data centers. The new product suite includes plug-and-play, Multi-Fiber Push-On (MPO) solutions for ADC’s line of TrueNet Fiber products within the main distribution area (MDA), backbone and horizontal and equipment distribution areas (HDA and EDA). Together, these solutions promote reliability in the data center through properly-managed cable density, which encourages proper airflow and reduces maintenance.

The TrueNet Fiber Plug-and-Play product line includes:

Optical Distribution Frame (ODF) with MPO Solution – Optimized for cross-connect applications, this is the most manageable high-density distribution frame available, effectively managing up to 1,728 fibers and incorporating cable management and MPO plug-and-play cassettes for rapid deployment.

Fiber Panels with MPO Cassettes – ADC’s fiber panels consolidate and manage optical cables from storage area networks, servers and switches in the HDA and EDA, offering bend radius protection, intuitive routing and easy connector access.

TrueNet MPO Microcable Trunk Assemblies – Small, round, manageable 12-fiber cables pre-terminated with a high-density MPO connector on both ends for fast deployment. Compatible with ADC’s FiberGuide Optical Raceway System to enable placement of fiber cable in the overhead that maximizes accessibility and airflow.

TrueNet FiberGuide Optical Raceway System – A variety of fittings and components that snap into place for simple addition or removal of drops; horizontal storage sections manage fiber overlays.

TrueNet TracerLight® - Jumpers improve accuracy by enabling precise identification of optical patch cord terminations, minimizing risk of removing the wrong fiber.

About the TrueNet Portfolio
The TrueNet Structured Cabling System, a highly reliable, end-to-end system, is designed to meet the unique network infrastructure needs of enterprises, backed by the industry's only true Zero Bit-Error Warranty that guarantees signal integrity and network throughput. Featuring proven cable, connectivity, and cable management solutions for Fiber, 10 Gigabit Ethernet over UTP, and Category 6/5e from the data center to the desktop, TrueNet is installed in high-performance networks worldwide.  www.adc.com/truenet


Minuteman® Endeavor On-line Uninterruptible Power Supply Sets A New Standard For Flexibility, Capacity and Value

Para System, Inc., a leader in power technology with its line of Minuteman® Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems, announces its Minuteman® Endeavor™ On-line UPS Series combining double-conversion technology and industry-leading features. Its unique design and flexibility allows the units to be installed in one of several configurations depending on the situation:

·         Rack/cabinet configuration (19-inch rack kit included, 23-inch rack kit optional)

·         Tower configuration (installation kit included)

·         Wallmount configuration (installation kit optional)

Double-conversion technology is designed so that the inverter is always connected to the output of the UPS. When utility line power is present, the inverter operates to charge the battery. Because the inverter is always connected to the load, this design provides better filtering and a more stable output voltage than typical standby or line interactive technologies.

Models in the Endeavor Series are:

·         ED1000RM2U - 1000VA / 800W

·         ED1500RM2U - 1500VA / 1200W

·         ED2000RM2U - 2000VA / 1600W

·         ED3000RM2U - 3000VA / 2100W

Key features for the Endeavor Series include:

·         Virtually unlimited runtime using external battery packs

·         Maximum 8 hour rapid recharge time of batteries, no matter how many battery packs are installed, through the use of independent battery chargers in each external battery pack

·        Output receptacle control through two independently controlled output circuits, allows users the ability to shutdown or reset specific connected devices without having to shutdown the entire output of the UPS

·        Compact design at only 3.5 inches (89mm) high, Endeavor Series units can be installed in a rack or cabinet using only 2U of rack space and still provide the most battery runtime using the least amount of rack space

The Endeavor Series features a front panel display that provides information about battery status, connected load capacity, multiple alarms and warning indicators. It also serves a testing mechanism.

In addition to the various mounting/rack kits, the Endeavor UPS may be ordered with stand-alone Ethernet/SNMP communication an environmental sensor and/or a dry contact closure card for additional control and power management capabilities.

Detailed information can be accessed and control of the UPS via the new Minuteman SentryPlus™ software included, free with each Endeavor unit. It can be installed and accessed concurrently over USB, RS-232 and Ethernet connections when used with the Endeavor Series.

Para Systems offers a $200,000 Minuteman Platinum Protection Plan for equipment connected to the Endeavor Series UPS systems. In addition, a standard, non-prorated, three-year warranty is provided on the UPS units including the batteries.

Recognizing the benefit of being environmentally conscious, Para Systems has developed the Endeavor Series to comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive as established and defined by the European Union. The Endeavor Series UPS systems are certified to the following standards: UL 1778, CSA, and CE. The 500VA, 2000VA, and 3000VA units are FCC Class A certified) and the 1000 VA unit is FCC Class B certified.

Lower costs, with more features, makes the Minuteman® Endeavor Series UPS the value leader in the UPS industry, with MSRPs between $599 and $1,399. The Minuteman® Endeavor Series UPS is in stock and ready for immediate delivery.

220V versions of the Endeavor Series will be available for distribution during the first quarter of 2007. www.minutemanups.com/media 


Capital Electric Construction Co. Showcases Design For Top U.S. Facility

“I  have always been extremely proud of the world-class military education provided at Fort Leavenworth,” said Sam Brownback, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. In November 2003, the Senate included $28 million for the initial construction of the Lewis and Clark Instruction Facility at Fort Leavenworth. “Young members of the Army leadership, as well as foreign military officials, receive some of their best training right here in Kansas,” Sen. Brownback said. As part of the Army’s Command and General Staff College, the Lewis and Clark Instruction Facility will replace Fort Leavenworth’s Bell Hall, moving up in the ranks as the Army’s premier educational facility.

The project encompassed 96 classrooms to support digital education, administrative and support space, a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 100-seat conference room, a  300-seat lecture hall, an administrative wing, and service areas. It was a challenging assignment for Capital Electric Construction Co. Inc., Kansas City, Mo., in terms of the infrastructure and the security requirements because the Lewis and Clark Center was built with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) “standards and force protections” that have been required for many government buildings even before 9/11.

As subcontractor to general contractor J.E. Dunn Construction Co., in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Capital Electric expended approximately 200,000 man-hours as the electrical contractor on the 2½ year, 425,000-square-foot, $115-million project headed by general foremen Tony Adams and Duane Coder.

“People throw around the term ‘high-tech’, but this building was very complex with regards to power, tele-data and telecommunications,” said Doug O’Neill, senior project manager, J.E. Dunn, Kansas City, Mo.

“Some colleges have a lot of IT in the classrooms, but we’re not aware of any that can do everything that this facility will be able to do—from long-distance learning to being able to hook up to the Web to access military networks worldwide in order to get real-time training information from Baghdad if they want,” said Ron Reid, architect, The Benham Cos. LLC, headquartered in Oklahoma City.

The Command and General Staff College is an accredited university in addition to being a place to train the elite of the U.S. Army—majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels—in tactics, logistics, leadership, history and joint military operations.

“Majors in the army come here to prepare for their next 10 years,” said Lynn Rolf, director of Educational Technology, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. “The new building is exciting because we’ve revamped our curriculum to be more current and relevant and reorganized our organizational structure. The facility and infrastructure will support and enhance the faculty and the curriculum,” Rolf said.

Prototype classroom beta tests facility

Prototype Classroom: Beta Tests Facility

As the designers drew the plans and schedules for the project, Rolf, wishing to have the most efficient learning environment, made a suggestion regarding construction of the classrooms.

“I convinced our leadership,” he said, “that if we were going to build 96 classrooms, we should build one prototype model room built to the exact design specifications and house it with students and faculty to find out if the design was flawed and discover what we could do to fix it. Rather than make 96 big mistakes, we wanted to discover any mistakes and fix them in the prototype.”

So as the steel frame was being installed, the contractors built a 1,000-square-foot prototype classroom. It had all the media inputs imaginable in an educational setting—VCR; DVD; a visualizer camera in the ceiling to allow the instructor to show a book, a magazine page or other items to the whole class; photographs in 3D; two cameras available for teleconferencing; a sound and light dimming system controlled by the instructor from a tablet computer; and two 65-inch plasma screens in the front. It also included three separate computer networks—a Combined Arms Center network (a standard network), a voice system network for telephones and the Battle Command and Simulation Network for students to simulate war games.

“It’s a closed network because they are using the Army Battle Command Systems and other IT applications that are actually in the field in the operations centers and deployed units,” Rolf said.

Conduit considerations

Students and teacher feedback about the efficiency of the room proved invaluable.

“There were several modifications, both functional and aesthetic that resulted from building the mock up classroom,” said Todd Strickler, project manager, Capital Electric.

One change was to upsize the conduits to accommodate the large amount of cabling needed for the various networks, and another modification reconfigured the classroom to support the teaching methods.

“We work in staff groups of 16,” Rolf said. “Students are seated at eight tables arranged in a U shape, so everyone is facing front but able to see each other or break into smaller groups of four. If we gave the smaller groups an assignment, we wanted them to be able to pivot their desks to form smaller groupings,” Rolf said.

Since that action wouldn’t be possible if the desks were hardwired into the floor and concrete, the contractors installed a raised floor, so Capital Electric could move the floor boxes and reconfigure the network and electrical drops.

“That was important to us because we didn’t want to have the configuration of the room drive our training or educational requirements,” Rolf said. “As designed, each small group would have access to a white board on which to make notes and full access to the computers with their networks, replicating command headquarters just as the majors would be involved with in the field. Our students now get a chance to operate, experiment and work with some of the tools they’d see after graduation.”

As Capital Electric was installing the cabling to make the configurations possible, they discovered the array of junction boxes in the floor overlapped the large cable trays. Since there was not enough room to accommodate both, Capital Electric moved the cable trays 6 inches to the right.

“It was a $1,000 change in the plans that would have become a $100,000 change after construction,” Rolf said. The cost of technology alone in each classroom amounts to about $78,000.

When the time came to do the installation on the classrooms, Capital Electric applied what they had learned doing the prototype room and then faced other hurdles.

“The requirements and specifications for certain qualifications and testing were so stringent that we needed to have not only properly qualified but also experienced personnel on the job,” Strickler said.

Installation of the network and audiovisual cabling was one of the areas that called for expertise. Separate networks originated from different locations, rather than from one. This design isolated the networks and only allowed certain information to be transmitted on certain cables. But the extent of the work created the biggest issue.

“Our biggest challenge was the aggressive schedule and the sheer volume of the work,” said Curt Mauk, project manager, structured cabling, Capital Electric, who worked with Strickler. “My team of 18 to 20 worked 26,000 man-hours in a 10-month period. Foremen Jesse Mauk and Mark Hilliard coordinated the work and did a lot of the ground work, [which included]... compiling lists that plotted the details for the installers, so they didn’t have to spend time figuring out from plans and drawings what they needed to do.”

Mauk’s team also ran fiber optic cable to every desktop, alongside the copper Cat 6 cabling.

“In the future, when the bandwidth required exceeds the capacity of copper cabling, they will have fiber to the desktop. That future proofs the installation,” he said.

Complete plans

 In preparation for the project, Capital Electric completed computer-aided design drawings of conduit paths.

“They did an exhaustive set of drawings that pinned down every piece of conduit to every room and where it needed to go,” said Doug O’Neill. “That was advanced thinking on their part, so that instead of using drawings from the architect with notes indicating six light fixtures in the room and where six plug-ins were needed—leaving it to an installer to figure out where to run all the conduits—they had it all laid out on drawings ahead of time.”

Capital Electric benefited from the step. “Because of the drawings, we were able to identify any problems earlier in the project and get responses back from the architect and engineer,” Strickler said. “It helped us have a better understanding of the building.”

Workers also completed cabling portions for the audiovisual systems and installed the lighting controls for the classrooms and lecture hall and in the auditorium.

Andy Wilhite, project manager, Capital Electric, oversaw and coordinated the installation of the lighting control systems and acted as the quality control officer and manager of materials procurement. The company also integrated the lighting controls to the audiovisual system, allowing commands to dim lights, turn on a projector or lower a projection screen to be activated using a touch console. 

“In every classroom, the lighting fixtures are part of the dimming system and tied into the control system,” said Brad Hull, lighting controls specialist, Mercer-Zimmerman Inc., the manufacturer’s representative for Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC), Middleton, Wis. “The most interesting aspect was the sheer scale of the project. There are over 200 control stations throughout the facility. The control wire runs were so long; we had to find a creative solution within the architecture of the Unison control system, which includes 1,600-foot control signal runs. We had to stack the system into the building, so we could reach every single control station and not exceed wire run limits.”

Capital Electric also installed a theatrical control system manufactured by ETC in the auditorium.

“The stage lighting system in the auditorium was relatively complicated,” Strickler said. “It had 260 fixtures and a lot of networking and control cabling as well as the power.”

Capital Electric’s tasks also included expansion of the substation and addition of a 7,500 kVA transformer.

“The existing and new transformer work in parallel,” Strickler said. The company dual fed the main switchgear at the substation then ran two new circuits, 12,470 volts, up to the building, then installed a 480-volt distribution system that was spread out to 20 different locations. From those locations, they installed 250 miles of branch cabling in an electrical metallic tubing conduit system to provide power to lighting receptacles and equipment.

“We feel very good that the college is going to be proud of this facility when we walk away,” O’Neill said, “because it will be a showcase for the United States Army, the Corps of Engineers and Fort Leavenworth.”

Those at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agree. “From our standpoint, working with J.E. Dunn and Capital Electric has been a good experience,” said David Manka, resident engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “When Capital Electric was brought on board, we knew we’d end up with a good product.”

“We feel a sense of pride having worked on it,” Capital Electric’s Strickler said, “and a sense of accomplishment to have been part of something that is going to help future leaders of this country.”   

CASEY, author of “Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors” and “Women Invent! Two Centuries of Discoveries that have Changed Our World,” can be reached at scbooks@aol.com or www.susancaseybooks.com.

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007

www.ecmag.com


TIA Report: Broadband Demand Drives Highest Telecom Industry Growth Since 2000

In 2006, the U.S. telecommunications market grew at its fastest rate since 2000, showing that the drive towards convergence continues to stimulate the telecommunications industry, according to TIA’s 2007 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast.

Each year, TIA’s Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast analyzes the trends affecting the information and communications technology industry. The report includes an overview of the entire industry, as well as detailed sections on the landline, wireless, equipment and international markets.

TIA’s annual review of the health of the telecom industry shows that the U.S. market grew 9.3 percent in 2006 to total $923 billion in revenue, and the worldwide telecommunications market grew 11.2 percent to total $3 trillion. Demand for broadband and high-speed services is fueling this growth, as carriers invest in new fiber, new IP technology and new wireless infrastructure to provide state-of-the-art voice, video and data services.

“Consumers are thirsty for broadband, and this report shows carriers are rushing to meet the demand,” said Grant Seiffert, TIA president. “Technologies like voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and broadband video, as well as new mobile data services, are sparking new growth in the telecommunications industry. As a result, carriers are offering more competitive all-in-one bundled packages, and consumers are seeing lower prices and more services.”

The publication reports that the U.S. market continues its transition, as both landline and wireless providers upgrade their networks to offer bundled and high-speed services to consumers. As a result, the U.S. network and enterprise equipment markets experienced a double-digit increase in revenue for the third straight year in 2006. Accelerated fiber deployment is a principal catalyst for the market expansion.

The report forecasts growth for competing new broadband technologies such as fiber, satellite, wireless and broadband over powerline, which combined will account for more than 11 percent of broadband subscribers in 2010. However, in 2006, cable modems and digital subscriber line (DSL) technology continued to dominate the U.S. market, capturing 96 percent of the broadband market, which in 2005 overtook dial-up access service. By 2010, 87 percent of Internet connections will be over broadband technology.

Broadband video is one driving force behind deployment of the state-of-the-art fiber needed to carry the high-capacity signal for this new technology, which allows telephone carriers to provide a TV service comparable to cable TV. More than 12 million miles of fiber were deployed in 2006, up 9.1 percent from 2005, with nearly 10 million miles being deployed by the telephone companies.

While growth in voice traffic continues to stimulate the wireless market, data and multimedia applications will drive wireless revenues in the future. Though accounting for just 10 percent of U.S. wireless revenue in 2006, wireless data and multimedia services are forecast to make up 24 percent of all wireless revenue by 2010. Accordingly, wireless carriers are investing in network upgrades to boost speed and availability.

Growth is expected in VoIP, as the broadband-based phone technology is forecast to make up 34 percent of all U.S. residential landlines by 2010, or 25.5 million subscribers, up from just 10 percent and 9.5 million subscribers in 2006. A majority of cable telephone subscriptions use VoIP.

More U.S. businesses are using communication systems based on Internet protocol technology. The adoption of IP-based “converged” enterprise network equipment has surged during the past two years as leases of legacy equipment have expired, the report says. IP/converged systems are expected to overtake traditional enterprise systems by 2009.

Worldwide, Europe has the largest telecommunications market, measuring at $1 trillion, with the U.S. second at $923 billion and Asia/Pacific third at $715 billion. Overall, the international market grew 12.1 percent in 2006. Middle East/Africa was the fastest- growing region, expanding at 21.6 percent. By 2010, the global market is expected to reach $4.3 trillion in revenue.

TIA represents the information and communications technology industry, and its members represent the entire telecommunications supply chain, from infrastructure provider to device maker.  www.tiaonline.org


CrossBow Upcoming Certification Classes In The month Of February 2007

BICSI Technician

Fiber Optics Certification

CrossBow Communication has an upcoming BICSI Technician Class scheduled as follows:

 

When:

February 12th 2007 – February17th 2007

 

Where:

1245 South Winchester Blvd, Suite 210, San Jose, CA - 95128

 

Price:

$1500.00 (Including Exam Fee and Handouts)

 

Sign-Up Methods:

 

Call:

408-392-0016 / 1-888-310-0013

 

Online: http://www.crossbowcom.com/register.html

 

Details of the Fiber Optics  class leading to ACES International certification is as follows:

 

When:

February 26th 2007 – February 28th 2007

 

Where:

1245 South Winchester Blvd, Suite 210, San Jose, CA - 95128

 

Price:

$1345.00 (including exam fee and including study guide)

 

Sign-Up Methods:

 

Call:

408-392-0016 / 1-888-310-0013

 

Online: http://www.crossbowcom.com/register.html

 

Ask about our group discounts.


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Fluke Networks Buys Irish Software Firm Crannog

Fluke Networks announced today it has finalized the purchase of Crannog Software. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Crannog develops software that takes advantage of NetFlow, IP-FIX, and IP-SLA data from the network infrastructure.

Its flagship product, NetFlow Tracker, offers capabilities for voice and security applications including a forensics database that stores all the original flows and all the available NetFlow fields within the flow.

Jeff Lime, Fluke Networks' senior vice president of marketing, said its customers will now be better equipped to manage application, VoIP and network performance across the LAN, WAN and multi-tiered server environments. www.flukenetworks.com


Industry Recognized Certified Fiber Optics Technician

BDI DataLynk announced today that St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida and Seminole Community College in Sanford, Florida will offer Low Cost, Content Rich, Basic Certified Fiber Optics Technician (CFOT) and Certified Fiber Optics Specialist Courses (CFOS/T) during the month of January 2007. The 3-day Basic Certified Fiber Optics Technician Course explores the theory and history of fiber optics data transmission. Bob Ballard, RCDD, CFOS, with over 20 years of industry experience, helps to examine and recognize various connector and cable types, teach you how to design, install, terminate, splice, and test fiber optics networks. This program is designed for anyone wanting to become more familiar with fiber optics networking and it's capabilities and become a Certified Fiber Optics Technician. The Certification Exam is given and graded the final day of class. This course is ideal for anyone wishing to become an industry recognized Certified Fiber Optics Technician or anyone needing CEC’s for RCDD or Installer Level II Technician Certifications. This program includes 75% hands on activities. This CFOT Class is accredited for BICSI CECs (Continuing Education Credits): RCDD 21 CEC’s, Installer Level II 12 CEC’s and is sanctioned by the Fiber Optics Association (FOA). Tuition includes all study materials and consumables. www.bdidatalynk.com .

Certified Fiber Optics Specialist Testing & Maintenance (CFOS/T)

A focal point in the program is to offer a general, easy to understand, approach to fiber optics testing standards with little theory and considerable hands on activities. This comprehensive program explains the variety of testing standards, equipment, and technological approaches used in fiber network testing and maintenance and how to choose among them. This 75% hands on course explores the overall spectrum of testing and maintenance of single and multi mode fiber optics networks and provides a detailed overview of various equipment used in testing and maintenance. Subject matter includes a detailed study of ANSI/TIA/EIA-526-14A, OTDR fundamentals and uses, OTDR vs. Insertion Loss Testing, Return Loss Testing, and Attenuation testing using the Power Source and Light Meter. This course is accredited by BICSI for 14 RCDD CECs and 12 Installer Level II CECs. Tuition includes all study materials, consumables and PC-Based Simulated OTDR Software. The Certification Exam is given and graded the final day of class. For class locations and times, visit www.bdidatalynk.com.

BDI DataLynk is an Austin based company providing standards based computer network infrastructure training programs. All programs are accredited by BICSI and sanctioned by the Fiber Optics Association (FOA).


Belden Acquires Hirschmann Automation And Control

Belden has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Hirschmann Automation and Control GmbH (HAC) together with certain affiliates from HgCapital, a European private equity investor, for a cash purchase price of approximately US$260 million.

HAC is a supplier of Industrial Ethernet products and industrial connectivity.

John Stroup, president and CEO of Belden, described the acquisition as a major achievement "in our pursuit to expand our business in desirable end-markets, beyond cable, to signal transmission solutions.

"Industrial Ethernet is an open system that allows the integration of a wide variety of equipment and provides for an interface between the industrial network and the enterprise network."

HAC is led by CEO Reinhard Sitzmann, who will continue in that role.

In addition to its Industrial Ethernet and connectivity product lines, HAC has a leading position in electronic control and safety systems for cranes and other load-bearing equipment.

The company, which is headquartered in Neckartenzlingen, Germany, had revenues last year of US$250 million.  www.belden.com


CommScope Launches New Website Design

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in communications cable and connectivity solutions, has launched its new, re-designed website that offers a site architecture that is unified and more user-friendly. The website's address is http://www.commscope.com.

"Our intention was to streamline and consolidate our website by putting similar content in the same general screen location on all website pages," said Adriane Brooks, Corporate Marketing Services Manager. "We wanted to make it easier for users to find the information they need while implementing a more consistent corporate identity and visual guidelines to unify the site's look and feel.

"Now all of CommScope's businesses are represented on a single, easy-to- use website," Brooks noted, "and this one has been reorganized to allow our customers, investors and employees to navigate seamlessly between businesses. We also enhanced our Home Page by offering dynamic links to featured products and have placed some of the most popular pages into more accessible locations."

One change to note is the relocation of "MyCommScope," which is now on the bottom menu of each page. Its content and internal navigation have not been changed. http://www.commscope.com


What To Do With Buildings Suited For The Past

By Dr. Thomas E. Glavinich

Bringing yesterday’s buildings into the 21st Century and preserving the interior architecture can be a major challenge. Today, any modern building’s functionality is derived from its power, communications and control (PC2) systems. Often, older buildings will be reused for a purpose that was never envisioned when they were designed and built. Even buildings built in the 1960s were only designed to accommodate telephone cabling installed and maintained by the local telephone company. Constructors just a few decades ago could not anticipate the explosion in the use of information technology (IT) by building users, nor were they designed to accommodate the modern life safety, security and building automation systems.

In order to attract tenants, the owners of older and historical buildings must provide the same functionality and amenities that are offered by newer buildings in the same real estate market. Even historical buildings that are used as museums and libraries housing the past are not immune to the need to upgrade because they are competing for patrons and visitors with other similar modern facilities as well as the Internet and other technology-driven alternatives.

Technology can provide the key to preserving the look and feel of historical buildings while making them fully functional in today’s world. Successful adaptive reuse of older buildings will preserve our architectural heritage for future generations, conserve natural resources and help revitalize urban centers. Electrical contractors can help private and public building owners keep their older buildings useful and vibrant for years to come.

Hiding the wires

One of the major challenges faced in a historic preservation project, or even renovating an older building while maintaining its original interior design, is hiding the wires. Modern buildings with drop ceilings make this an easy task, because they were designed knowing that they had to accommodate ductwork, piping and power, and communications and control cabling in order for the building to be functional.

Similarly, walls and columns are often furred out, providing room to conceal raceways and cabling. However, historic buildings typically had no need for ceiling and wall chases; instead, they relied on natural ventilation and daylighting. Load-bearing walls and columns were often brick, stone or timber construction with a plaster covering. Even more recently constructed buildings that incorporated electric lighting and power allowed for very limited chase space and sometimes even embedded the conductors in the wall construction. No consideration was given to building communications and control systems.

High ornate ceilings, architectural moldings and large windows that provide daylighting would be lost, along with the original look of the space, if a drop ceiling was installed. In addition, furring out columns and walls would also change the look and character of the space and should be avoided.

The best solution is to reuse existing raceways and boxes whenever possible by replacing existing conductors. If there is a piping system for gas lighting that is still intact and large enough, it might be possible to use it to feed replacement electric lighting with permission from the local authority having jurisdiction.

Metal-clad cable (Type MC) provides a viable alternative to the installation of either electrical metallic tubing (EMT) or flexible metal conduit (FMC), but only if there is space above the ceiling, inside a wall or down a column that it can be fished. Metal-clad cable is covered by National Electrical Code (NEC) Article 330, and it can be concealed and installed in a variety of locations, including in any type of raceway. If there is concern about the integrity of existing building raceways, or if there is an existing abandoned piping system that would not qualify as a raceway but could be used to route conductors, using metal-clad cable may be a good solution.

In dry locations, Type MC cable can be embedded in plaster finish on brick or other masonry. Metal-clad cable is manufactured in a variety of conductor configurations and sizes and includes an equipment-grounding conductor because its metal sheath is normally not listed as an equipment-grounding conductor per NEC paragraph 250.118(10). Under specific conditions, other cable and raceway systems might be appropriate, such as armored cable (Type AC) covered in NEC Article 320.

In older buildings, it is sometimes not possible to conceal raceways or cables, such as surface metallic and nonmetallic raceways that are addressed in NEC Articles 386 and 388, respectively. These raceway systems have come a long way aesthetically over the years, but they are still surface-mounted and can detract from the building finish and historic context. An alternative to surface raceways where it is possible to channel the wall or column surface might be metal-insulated, metal-sheathed cable (Type MI) that is covered in NEC Article 332. Type MI cable can be used for feeders or branch circuits, either concealed or exposed, and embedded in plaster or other building materials.

The installation of a raised floor is an alternative that takes advantage of an older building’s high ceilings. This option is best for historical or older buildings that will be used and operated as a fully functional building, but would not be acceptable for historic buildings where it is important that the original floor and molding be seen. A raised floor provides a chase for power, communications and control wiring as well as heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) ductwork and piping; it would  solve more than just the electrical challenge. In addition, the original floor and molding would be protected from everyday wear and tear by the raised floor, and an open office layout, as well as everyday moves, adds and changes (MACs) can be easily accommodated without compromising or damaging the interior finish.

With the change in floor height, a raised floor does present some architectural challenges, including altering handicapped access and obstructing floor-mounted equipment such as radiators, but if these challenges can be overcome, it simplifies a lot of other PC2 problems.

Going wireless

Nikola Tesla, a Serb-American who may have invented the radio, believed that it was possible to transmit power between generators, motors and other loads without conductors just like a radio. Powering devices without the need for branch-circuit wiring as Tesla envisioned is not feasible today. However, we are able to provide wireless networking to connect users to the building’s local area network (LAN) through wireless access points (WAPs). These WAPs are typically referred to as hot spots and are common in coffee shops, hotels, libraries, schools and other public places. This technology is based on the 802.11 family of standards developed and published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This wireless technology was dubbed wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) and is being used in historic buildings to connect occupants to the building LAN without the need for copper or optical fiber cabling. The only drawback for Wi-Fi is the signal attenuation that can occur within old buildings that have thick masonry walls and floors. If Wi-Fi is being considered for a historical or older building, a site survey should be performed to ensure that there is adequate signal strength where it is needed. If there isn’t adequate signal strength, the signal can be boosted, multiple access points can be placed around the building or a combination of both to achieve the needed coverage.

Bluetooth is another wireless technology that can be very useful in historic buildings where multiple devices located within a short distance of one another need to be interconnected. Bluetooth is similar to Wi-Fi, but it is slower and not designed for high-speed data transfer. Bluetooth-enabled devices can find one another and interact without a physical connection, making it ideal for interconnecting printers and other devices.

Zigbee is a new technology that does not have the speed or bandwidth of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but is designed for wireless building controls. ZigBee is based on IEEE Standard 802.15.4 and creates a self-organizing wireless network where any ZigBee-compliant device introduced into the environment is automatically incorporated into the network as a node. A number of manufacturers are currently developing devices that incorporate this technology, including switches, thermostats and other common

monitoring and control devices. ZigBee devices are battery powered, which means that they do not need any interconnecting wiring, making them ideal for historic buildings. These devices remain dormant until they are activated by an incoming signal, so their batteries can last for months or even years without replacement.

Network-powered devices

Devices such as telephone sets using voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), security surveillance equipment such as cameras and access control devices, wireless network access points, and other sensing and signaling equipment have always required both a power and communications connection. Today, IEEE Standard 802.3af defines the requirements for providing power to equipment connected to a structured cabling system and is referred to as power over Ethernet (PoE).

Providing power directly to network devices via the network’s standard Category 5e or 6 unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper cabling not only reduces installation costs and can provide more reliable power than local branch circuits, but also eliminates the need for a 120-volt branch circuit at the equipment, which can be very helpful in a historic or older building. PoE can be accomplished either by using Ethernet switches with the power source built in or by midspan devices also known as power hubs that are installed between the Ethernet switch and the device being powered. Structured cabling systems and PoE are typically classified as Class 2 power-limited circuits, which means that they can be installed in accordance with NEC Article 725 without raceway, but this should be verified for the specific equipment being used.

Powerline network

Soon there may be a 120-volt receptacle available but no way to get network cabling or an outlet at the location. A solution to this would be to use the branch circuit for power as well as Ethernet, which is the reverse of PoE as discussed above. This can be accomplished by using a powerline Ethernet adapter that just plugs into a receptacle at the switch or server location and another adaptor at the location where a network connection is needed. Using a powerline Ethernet adapter will eliminate the need for UTP copper or optical fiber horizontal cabling and may work in locations where it is not possible to use a wireless access point. Regardless of the technology used, electrical contractors most likely will be called upon to upgrade historic buildings.           EC

This article is the result of a research project investigating the emerging IBS market for the electrical contractor sponsored by ELECTRI International Inc. (EI). The author thanks EI for its support.

Glavinich is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at The University of Kansas. He can be reached at 785.864.3435 or tglavinich@ku.edu.

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007

www.ecmag.com


Nation’s Building News Online Provides Sneak Preview Of 2007 International Builder’s Show

A new edition of Nation's Building News, the official online weekly newspaper of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), provides an eye-opening preview of the stunning array of products, services, technologies and featured tours that are planned for the upcoming 2007 International Builders' Show this Feb. 7-10 in Orlando, Fla.

"Professionals from all walks of the housing and light commercial construction industries who are considering attending the most important building trade show of the year will find this publication an invaluable resource for planning their visit," said NAHB President David Pressly, a home builder from Statesville, N.C.

"Not only does it provide a sneak peak of The New American Home and The Renewed American Home, two of the most anticipated tour homes of the year, but it gives you helpful meeting schedules, notices of planned award presentations, times and locations for highlighted educational sessions and so much more."

Among the many featured items in the special IBS preview edition of NBN Online are:

- Photos and floor plans of The New American Home® 2007 and The Renewed American Home® 2007, both of which will debut at the show.

- Information on registering for the show online.

- Links to stories on the planned offerings of 42 individual members of the National Council of the Housing Industry - the Supplier 100 of NAHB.

- An overview of resources that will be available at the show from BuilderBooks.com.

- Notices of new research publications to be released at the show.

- Notices of special events for remodelers, multifamily professionals, sales and marketing specialists, and others.

Nation's Building News Online, known as the Voice of America's Housing Industry, is available free of charge to NAHB members, consumers, media and the general public via e-mail subscription and through the NAHB.org Web site. To view the special convention preview edition, visit http://www.nbnnews.com/NBN/issues/2007-01-08/. The latest edition of NBN Online can be accessed each week at http://www.nbnnews.com/latestNBN.  

Editor's Note:  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.

Online registration for the show has been extended to Jan. 25. Attendees will be able to register on site at the beginning of the event starting Sunday, Feb. 4. Complimentary registration is also available to credentialed members of the working press - visit http://www.buildersshow.com/press for details. For a comprehensive look at all the show has to offer, visit www.BuildersShow.com/VTS, a virtual showcase for exhibitors and their products.


Daikin America, Inc. Announces Decatur ETFE Plant Expansion Start Up

Daikin America, Inc. announced the successful start up of their recently completed ETFE expansion in Decatur, Alabama. The expanded ETFE plant doubles Daikin’s capacity, demonstrating their commitment as the largest US manufacturer.  According to Cliff Adams, Chairman of the Board of DAI, “I am extremely pleased that we were able to complete the project on schedule and that the start up has been accomplished so swiftly and successfully.”

ETFE (Ethylene – Tetrafluoroethylene copolymer) has become an important resin in wire and cable and automotive tubing applications.  Its cut-through and abrasion resistance makes it an ideal material for wire insulation for airframe, military, electronics, and oil and gas production applications.  ETFE is increasingly being used in mass transit cabling, select automotive applications, and film for aerospace applications as well as photovoltaic panels.

 According to Tison Keel, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Daikin America, Inc. “Demand for ETFE continues to grow due to its unique combination of mechanical and electrical properties, as well as its high temperature resistance.  Daikin America will continue to invest in ETFE capacity to support our customers and their growing demand for this product.  We consider it a strategically important product within our fluoropolymer business.”

Daikin America Inc., one of the largest fluoropolymer suppliers in the US, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daikin Industries Ltd. of Osaka, Japan. Daikin Industries has been in the fluorine chemistry business since 1933 and is Japan’s leading manufacturer of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, as well as Japan’s largest producer of fluorochemical products. www.daikin-america.com  


Graybar Names New National Market Manager – Service Provider

Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, has named Scott Jackson national market manager – service provider.

In this role, Jackson will be responsible for guiding the company’s nationwide Service Provider marketing team.  Previously, Jackson worked in sales for Tele/Systems Inventory Management, CORE Telecom Systems and Phillips Communications and Equipment Company. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Missouri State University.  

"Convergence of technologies is leading to a convergence of markets in the Service Provider sector,” said Mike Dumas, vice president, comm/data business, Graybar.  “By adding Scott to our team, Graybar is stepping up its commitment to helping our Service Provider customers successfully compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.  We will ensure they have the best-of-class broadband, wireless, cable television, outside plant and power solutions coupled with value-added distribution services tailored to their unique needs.”  http://graybar.com/


Pomierski Appointed Specification Engineer For Leviton’s South-West Region

Leviton Manufacturing Company is pleased to announce the appointment of David Pomierski, RCDD, to the position of South-West Region Specification Engineer for its Voice & Data Division. In his new post, Pomierski will provide technical sales support for the company’s comprehensive line of data communication products. Working in conjunction with Leviton’s sales management team and extensive network of regional sales agency representatives, Pomierski will focus his efforts on building sales of the company’s data communication products through the architectural, consultant and engineering communities, as well as promote the sale of the products directly to commercial end users. 

Pomierski arrives at Leviton with an extensive background in construction and large scale integration of communication systems, including the design, development and construction of all types of communications facilities. Prior to joining Leviton, Pomierski worked as a manufacturer’s representative in Southern California and Sales Engineering Manager, Sales Engineer III and OSP Engineer for Verizon (GTE) with over 29 years of varied communications related experience.  Pomierski is a certified BICSI RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) and a member of CSI (Construction Specification Institute).  He lives in Upland, California. For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing Co., 59-25 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck, NY 11362, www.leviton.com .


Anixter International Inc. Announces Share Repurchase Program

GLENVIEW, Ill., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Anixter International Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News) announced that, under a previously authorized share repurchase program, it may repurchase up to 1 million of its outstanding common shares with the exact volume and timing dependent on market conditions.

Anixter currently has approximately 39.5 million shares outstanding. http://www.anixter.com


CLS Expansion Plans Dictate Move To Larger Facility

Plans to expand from 20 locations to perhaps as many as 40 have dictated a move by Capital Lighting & Supply to a 220,000-square-foot facility in Forestville, Md.

Now under construction, the new facility is set to open early in 2008. CLS will move its HQ operations (now in Alexandria, Va.) and its 85,000-square-foot distribution center (in Newington, Va.) to the new building – and have room to spare.

“We’ll have plenty of room to including a new training facility,” said John Hardy, president/CEO of CLS. “We’ve never had that before. We’ll use it both to continue our ongoing training of our own people, and to expand to offer classes to our customers.”

With its growth in the past five years, CLS could see that it would soon go beyond the service capacity of its existing distribution center. Planning for future growth dictated the move to a new facility.

“Our new building, which will house more than $18 million of inventory, will incorporate the latest technology,” Hardy said. “Our operation will have ‘a lot less’ – we’ll be both wireless and paperless!”

What’s in it for the electrical contractors and end-users who make up the CLS customer base?

"With our current limitations, we've been unable to get into the fastener business in any significant way. That will change. And the new facility will help us get into datacom, which many of our contractor customers have asked about,” Hardy answered.

"We'll still be the same CLS. We'll focus on our mission statement – 'to be the electrical distributor of choice, for our customers, employees, and suppliers.' That won't change.”   www.sonepar-us.com


Low-Voltage Contracting: What’s in It for You?

By Deborah L. O’Mara

How can you argue against going into this phenomenon called low-voltage, a robust growing market consisting of security, communications and integrated products and services in the 120- to 250-volt range?

Consider this: The United States will remain the largest single producer and consumer of security products in the coming years, according to recent reports on world security equipment from The Freedonia Group, Cleveland. The current (2005) $13.6 billion U.S. market is forecast to expand more than 6 percent annually through 2010 to $21 billion. It’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Every market in low-voltage is as hot as high voltage. Some of the markets particularly poised for growth, according to Graybar’s Paul Koebbe, national market manager, Clayton, Mo., are closed-circuit television surveillance (CCTV) and Internet protocol (IP) video, followed closely by fire alarms and mass notification systems.

“Electrical contractors can help themselves and their customers by getting an education in both information technology [IT] and data communications,” especially as these disciplines continue to converge, Koebbe said.

Niches in low-voltage are easy to define, depending on your expertise. You can see it everywhere you go—security takes precedence in every venue, including healthcare, education, public/cultural, hospitality and residential vertical markets. Here’s what might be in it for your electrical contracting firm:

The ability to entrench yourself in one of the fastest growing markets—security and integrated systems

The chance to establish your expertise early on as customers increasingly look to purveyors of this and related disciplines

An opportunity to increase revenues and add recurring sources, such as third-party monitoring of accounts, or secure upgrades, add-ons, and service and maintenance agreements

Assistance from manufacturers, distributors and professional affiliations that want to help you be successful. With that comes a bonus of cutting-edge training, educational sessions and even design-sales support.

The opportunity to branch out, attract new employees and raise your company to the next level of reputable business practice

A foot in the door of the IT world, if you want it

According to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, CIO magazine and CSO magazine, 75 percent of organizations have engaged in some form of integration between physical security and computer security, up from 53 percent last year and 11 percent in 2003.

Security is only one piece of the low-voltage puzzle because today, functions rarely stand alone, and consumers don’t want them to. The beauty of integrated systems to the customer lies in the convenience factor, and how easy is that to sell?

The momentum behind low-voltage contracting continues to gain strength. Hands down, the need for energy efficiency is a big part of low-voltage integration for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial projects across the board. These systems can include energy-efficient features such as occupancy sensors, lighting controls, automation and more, offering real and tangible cost savings to the consumer or end-user.

This attraction—how it will be most effective to sell low-voltage—was quite apparent at a recent Security + Life Safety Systems magazine inaugural Webinar at the International Security Conference & Exposition (ISC Expo) in New York late in 2006. Attendees and speakers concurred on this point: integrated functions are the wave of the future and will result in a new breed of systems technician where partnerships and expertise reign.

Bosch Security Systems executive Leon Chlimper, vice president, systems, Fairport, N.Y., emphasized that when contractors learn to sell the cost savings of integrated systems, they will see results in their sales efforts.

“You can offer real return on investment to the customer or building owner so they can save money,” Chlimper said. “The connectivity between the systems is there; you have to educate the customer of its existence and what it means to them.” Chlimper recently added the title of head of the Bosch Technical Support and Training group to his credentials.

This cost savings and return on investment seems to be the next stage of integrated systems. At a recent national gathering of building professionals at the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, Des Plaines, Ill., annual conference, building expert/speakers reiterated the fact that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is now focusing on long-term energy savings. Rob Cassidy, editor and chief of Building Design and Construction magazine, Oak Brook Ill., said, “The U.S. Green Building Council is now shifting its focus from the energy-efficiency issues to the money issues. Now major money consortiums are realizing that these LEED buildings may be good investments.” 

LEED, a program of the U.S. Green Building Council, is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. It promotes a “whole-building approach” to sustainability, recognizing performance in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Where you fit in is up to you, and there are endless possibilities to get profitable in low-voltage. Residential will continue to come on strong as consumers expect the same levels of communications and security they have become accustomed to at the office to embrace them at home as well.

According to an independent research study, Electrical Contractors’ Roles in the Residential Market 2006, for Electrical Contractor magazine by Renaissance Research & Consulting, N.Y., almost 60 percent of electrical contractors that currently perform residential work expect the volume of this work to increase over the next three to five years. In addition, about one-quarter of electrical contracting firms that do not currently perform residential work predict they will in the near future. Like other areas of contracting, electrical contractors do more than install and are selecting the type and brands of systems, giving them the flexibility to custom-design the specification to the application based on performance and end use.

Work your niche

In the residential field, electrical contractors may often be approached about installing or recommending outdoor lighting. These simple requests could translate into extra income and possibly a launching pad for expanding their current business. Glen Barry of Newburgh, N.Y., recently realized this opportunity. After completing several outdoor lighting jobs for a landscaping contractor, the landscaper suggested Barry engage in outdoor lighting as a full-time business. He took the advice, and the result was Barry’s new business—Hudson Valley Night Effects LLC.

“I have always wanted to run my own business,” Barry said. “My business goals are not just to be profitable, that goes without question, but also to provide the highest quality workmanship.”

After examining numerous independent contracting opportunities offered by other manufacturers, Barry decided on Nightscaping, Redlands, Calif., a pioneer in low-voltage outdoor lighting who helped him get his business off the ground.

In the short time Barry has been in business, he has performed several upper-end residential jobs, and landed a high-end commercial job as well. His income has already increased more than 30 percent, he said. In addition, he added that his business has continued steadily through maintenance—replacing lamps, cleaning fixtures, adjusting  lighting as landscaping grows and changes, and fixing lines when cut into by gardeners.

This could be you. As the electrical contractor, you already know the most important part: the power, wiring and cabling—the backbone—and now you can take it the next step. Here are some of the low-voltage services you can offer customers:

Security, including driveway and fence sensors and motion-activated and outdoor lighting

Surveillance cameras and IP video for convenient viewing at critical areas of the premises, including entrances and exits, gates, spas, game rooms and garages

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (combination units are purportedly in the works)

Home theater, computer networks, intercoms and whole house audio

General automation of other functions and integration of all of the above.

Will you focus on a specific vertical market, such as healthcare, education, public/cultural or financial, or will you concentrate on all of those above and add in the residential customers who naturally migrate from commercial? Will you hire a systems integrator and IT personnel or go the subcontractor route? That’s up to you. Create a profitable business and a customer for life—when you branch out into low-voltage.EC

O’MARA is the president of DLO Communications in Park Ridge, Ill., specializing in low-voltage. She can be reached at 847.384.1916 or domara@earthlink.net.

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007

www.ecmag.com


Interactive Intelligence Wins INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine’s 2006 Product Of The Year Award

Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), a global developer of business communications software, received INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine's 2006 Product of the Year award for the company's enterprise IP telephony system, Vonexus Enterprise Interaction Center® (EIC).

Interactive Intelligence was honored for its commitment to quality and the further development of the IP telephony industry, according to Rich Tehrani, TMC president and editor-in-chief of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

"The Vonexus EIC product exemplifies quality and innovation with its standards-based, all-software architecture that gives enterprises a complete IP telephony solution with real-time voice/data applications, along with bundled, pre-certified hardware and end-point device options, all designed for maximum interoperability and reduced costs,” Tehrani said.

Vonexus EIC includes a number of productivity-enhancing applications for corporate, remote, home-based and mobile employees, including SIP-based switching, automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, auto-attendant, conferencing, fax services, unified messaging, Web chat and more. It also includes the widest range of pre-integrated plug-ins for Microsoft Dynamics products, such as CRM and Great Plains; Microsoft Office products, such as Outlook, Word and Excel; as well as Office Communications Server.

“We built Vonexus EIC as a standards-based, application-rich IP PBX designed specifically for mid-size enterprises that don’t want to invest in expensive and time-consuming computer telephony integration projects, yet still need the kind of sophisticated converged voice/data solutions deployed by their larger competitors,” said Joseph A. Staples, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Interactive Intelligence. “We appreciate the recognition of EIC by TMC and INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.”

Vonexus EIC is sold through the Interactive Intelligence global channel of more than 250 value-added resellers, and through the company’s direct sales force. For more information about Vonexus EIC, visit http://www.inin.com/Products/EIC/eic.asp.

INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year award recipients are selected by magazine editors based on application submissions, which require the release of a new or upgraded product within the past 12 months.

A full list of Product of the Year award winners will be published in the February 2007 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, which can be accessed online at http://www.itmag.com.

Published by Technology Marketing Corp. (TMC) and first issued in February 1998, INTERNET TELEPHONY was the first magazine dedicated to providing information about IP communications technologies. Today, INTERNET TELEPHONY offers its 55,000 dedicated readers content ranging from solutions-focused editorials to product and service reviews from TMC Labs and Miercom.

About Interactive Intelligence
(Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of business communications software and services for contact center automation and enterprise IP telephony. The company 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 approximately 500 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 info@inin.com; on the Net: http://www.inin.com.


Cable Eliminates Transition Splice When Entering Building, Minimizes Routing Restrictions

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, introduces its new FREEDM® Loose Tube Gel-Free Plenum Cables. The flame-retardant, indoor/outdoor, plenum-rated cables are suitable for installation in aerial, duct and riser or plenum applications. 

The plenum rating of the FREEDM Loose Tube Plenum Cable eliminates the need to transition splice when entering the building (from dedicated outside plant cable to dedicated flame-retardant OFNP cable) and minimizes routing restrictions once inside the building. The cables meet the application requirements of the National Electrical Code, are OFNP and FT-6 listed, and are compliant to ICEA-696.

FREEDM Loose Tube Plenum Cables, part of Corning Cable Systems LANscape® Pretium Solutions, feature 250 µm color-coded fibers for quick and easy identification during installation. The loose tube design offers mechanical ruggedness and environmental durability, and the all-dielectric cable construction requires no grounding or bonding. In addition, the gel-free cable provides for more efficient and craft-friendly cable preparation.

The cable is available with 12 to 60 fibers and in 62.5 µm, 50 µm (including laser-optimized) and single-mode versions. Its flexible, flame-retardant jacket is UV resistant and enables direct exposure to sunlight. The cable is available in interlocking armor for specialized applications requiring additional mechanical durability.

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.


TIA Encourages Resumption of WTO Negotiations


New trade agreements are needed to cover today’s information and communications technology, and TIA President Grant Seiffert said he welcomed news from the recent World Economic Forum that trade ministers want to resume the Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.

At the forum in Davos, Switzerland, nearly 30 trade ministers joined together to urge the resumption of the WTO negotiations, which broke down last July. Seiffert commended the trade ministers for their efforts to restart talks, and urged them to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.

“The WTO was last updated 1998, before major advances in the Internet, mobile telephones, MP3 players and other information and communications technology,” Seiffert said. “With technology developing and changing so rapidly, trade agreements need to keep pace. A new WTO agreement would go a long way towards promoting trade and investment in high-tech industries.”

TIA member companies sell products and equipment in all regions of the world and TIA has always supported full, fair and open competition in all international markets. The successful completion to the Doha trade round would help achieve that goal by lowering barriers and creating international opportunities for ICT products and services, Seiffert said.http://www.tiaonline.org.


Sustainability Conference Takes Place in New Orleans, May 15-17, 2007

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Opening Keynote Speaker at EnvironDesign 2007

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been named the opening keynote speaker for EnvironDesign 2007, a conference about the sustainable design of commercial buildings, produced by Interiors & Sources, a publication of Stamats Business Media.

EnvironDesign 2007 will be held May 15-17 in New Orleans.

"EnvironDesign 2007 helps Architects and Designers connect products to projects.  It is a conference where the commercial A&D community will be able to explore the latest rating systems and methods available to help them determine which building products should be specified in order to achieve maximum impact on the project's sustainability rating.  Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as a resolute defender of the environment, is the ideal speaker to set the stage for the conference and reinforce our overall theme to the audience," said Tim Fixmer, president of Stamats Business Media. Mr. Kennedy's depth of understanding and tireless commitment to environmental causes uniquely qualifies him to kick off EnvironDesign 2007.

Mr. Kennedy serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council; chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper; and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney for the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law, and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio.

Mr. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

EnvironDesign is an annual conference that offers unparalleled take-home value for architects and designers who are interested in the sustainable design of commercial buildings. Punctuated with keynote visionaries who challenge the way that commercial interior designers, architects and buildings owners think about green, EnvironDesign is a conference where attendees can learn how to use the latest product rating systems to identify which green products will help create the most environmentally-friendly building.

EnvironDesign 2007 patrons can choose from dozens of workshops covering topics such as how to identify green products for commercial interiors; how the various product rating systems work, how are they connected to the project rating systems; how green interiors products are manufactured; green architectural innovations; and global green building trends. Throughout the day, attendees can network with other eco-conscious commercial design professionals while sustainable building products and services come to life in the conference's Product Learning Center.

EnvironDesign 2007 is a private event and is not open to the public. Attendance is permitted by invitation only and registration is required. Stamats Business Media reserves the right to deny admission to any person it deems, at its sole discretion, to be a non-qualified attendee.

For more details and continuous updates, visit www.environdesign.com or call Barb DeMaria, director of live events, at 800-553-8878, or e-mail her at barb.demaria@stamats.com.

About EnvironDesign
EnvironDesign, produced by Interiors & Sources, is the industry's most comprehensive annual conference on the future of sustainability, featuring three days of hands-on workshops, expert speakers and interactive roundtable discussions. EnvironDesign will take place May 15-17, 2007 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans.

About Interiors & Sources®
Interiors & Sources is a publication of Stamats Business Media with an exclusive focus on commercial interior designers who have the decision making power to recommend and purchase products and services utilized in commercial structures. Each issue provides commercial interior designers with timely, provocative news as well as behind-the-scenes research that impacts the business of commercial design. Interiors & Sources has a circulation of 30,500 and a readership of 80,000.

About Stamats Business Media
Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA, Stamats Business Media provides business-to-business marketing solutions through magazines, Web sites and live events for the commercial buildings and the meetings industries. Stamats Business Media is a subsidiary of Stamats Communications Inc.


ECs LEEDing The Green Revolution - EC Mag

The website for The Electrical Contractor Magazine (www.ECmag.com) has been redesigned and revitalized, and I like it. I like it a lot!

Now, it's more informative and more fun. It offers news and information exclusive to the site as well as a fuller archive of the magazine's contents, improved search functions, and such features as a commodity-price ticker (helpful for planning material purchases and stock picks) and an opinion poll on timely topics (helpful for identifying trends).

In fact, the poll question online as I wrote this column alludes to a revolutionary trend. It asks whether more local and state governments should adopt requirements for building to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Ignoring the business-development potential, the majority of the 207 respondents said that such progress should not be mandated by governments.

However, those who voted "Yes, it's good for the environment and for business" may have statistics on their side. Regardless of which side you're on, the green building market is growing and LEED is feeding this growth. And, as always, the fruits go to those electrical contractors who prepare themselves to participate in market growth.

Let me explain: The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance, energy-efficient buildings. It promotes a whole-building approach by certifying performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. In the past year, almost half of all public projects built in the United States (48 percent) incorporated energy-efficient designs, and more than 70 percent of these specified LEED standards. As more state and local governments adopt the standards, the percentages can only increase.

But, it's not only the public sector that's going green. For example, it was on a private project that NECA-member Guarantee Electrical of St. Louis provided the design/build installation of low-voltage systems and services. This led to the Alberici Corp. achieving the Green Building Council's highest honor, a LEED Platinum certification, for Alberici's new headquarters in Missouri.

Regardless of whether they seek LEED certification, more and more owners want efficient, safe and secure buildings that operate at full potential while saving energy. Are you prepared to deliver? It's more complicated than choosing "environment friendly" materials for installation. As noted by this magazine in an article in December, "Guarantee [Electrical of St. Louis] achieved an extremely efficient electrical system through the use of natural light, daylight harvesting, light pollution reduction, renewable energy and a comprehensive building management system." Some of us may not even know what all that means.

When the District of Columbia adopted a statute requiring all new, large nonresidential buildings to be built green and all structures of 50,000 square feet or more to comply with LEED standards, the electrical contractors in NECA's Washington, D.C., chapter led the call for our association to provide more assistance related to this topic. In response, our industry's independent research affilliate, ELECTRI International, launched a study on "Strategies for Electrical Contractors on LEED and Green Building Projects," and NECA's Management Education Institute incorporated the findings into a new course for NECA contractors.

I realize that not all readers of this magazine belong to NECA and so do not have access to MEI programs (though the research report will soon be available industry-wide). However, anyone can go to the U.S. Green Building Council's Web site at www.usgbc.org for more information.

And, for information tailored specifically to electrical contractors on LEED or just about any other relevant subject, all you need to do is go to that great Web site I mentioned above. After all, making the best use of available resources is what it's all about.


Milner Irvin
President, NECA
National Electrical Contractors Association
www.necanet.org

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007
www.ecmag.com


Executives’ Club of Chicago Offers Economic Outlook For 2007

On Jan. 12, the Executives’ Club of Chicago presented its annual outlook for the year in a renovated grand ballroom of the Conrad Hilton. Judging from the numbered tables, there were about 1,170 people in attendance.

The three guest speakers were Robert J. Froehlich of Deutsche Asset Management, Allan Murray of the Wall Street Journal and Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Terry Savage moderated the panel and some of their insights are worth spotlighting.

Comparing 2006 to 2007

Savage focused on several key indicators. The Dow went up and so did the Fed fund rate.

In 2006, most people thought the Dow wouldn’t break 11,000. At the luncheon, there was more optimism that the Dow is headed up in 2007.

Investments Should Be Global

Mirroring what I’ve been saying about the need to understand the global economy, Froehlich of Deutsche Asset Management said we should be investing in it as well. He had some interesting insights and predictions. He was a great speaker and thought the Dow would break 14,000 in 2007. He said we should all be investing more in global markets.

He pointed out that even though the Dow went up fairly well in 2006, he compared that to China’s stock market growth of more than 50 percent in the same period in 2006. He also said the Fed would be raising interest rates in 2007. This was his breakdown of asset classes as for where you should be putting your money:

·  60 percent in stocks

·  10 percent in bonds

·  15 percent in commodities

·  15 percent in real estate

·  0 percent in cash

That sounds fairly reasonable until he said “90 percent of that should be outside the United States” in various emerging markets. Most people would find that statement quite radical. He also pointed out these facts:

·  98 percent of the land mass is located outside the U.S.

·  93 percent of the jobs are located outside the U.S.

·  72 percent of the global economy is located outside the U.S.

There are a lot of opportunities outside the U.S. I shared his views with some people who lost their jobs at Motorola several years ago. If you look at this in another perspective, you would say he is not bullish on investing in America.

If people follow Froehlich’s investment strategy, though, how do we fuel our own future growth? While I did not have the answer, I still felt his investment strategy had a lot of merit.

These economists often gloss over what is happening in the U.S. when it comes to people who have been caught in industries shifting to outsourcing. I am talking about highly skilled white-collar jobs evaporating rather than minimum-skilled factory or service jobs.

When you talk with some of them who have dropped from jobs paying $80,000 to $120,000 a year plus benefits to jobs that are around $30,000, their personal view of the economy is that it never turned up since the crash of the Nasdaq in 2000. That statistic of the growing number of underemployed people doesn’t seem to make it onto any official economic radar.

This is hard to believe if you have been in an insulated industry or government agency that has not seen jobs being outsourced or replaced by H-1B workers (non-citizens working here on a visa) and you have been getting your 4 percent raise every year.

While I recently wrote a column focused on the rise of foreclosures across the country, no one really addressed this. They mentioned the housing market but that there is no recession and you could not check the housing market like you could the stock market. One person said there is no housing market barometer. While that may be true, there are foreclosures and they are up dramatically.

Media Still Clueless on Apple

At the luncheon, one incredible issue around the table was the misinterpretation of Apple’s announcement of the iPhone.

At our table, which was a good cross-section of PR firms, a manufacturing firm, a real estate firm, a trade consulate and a consulting firm, we talked about how some reporters don’t understand what Apple actually brought to the market and how it should not be looked at as a commodity cell phone.

Just after we said that, Murray of the Wall Street Journal said: “Sell Apple short because who’s going to pay $600 for a cell phone?” Wow. I could not believe it.

Unfortunately, Murray is one of many heralded media people who really don’t understand disruptive technology. He doesn’t see the change in the core focus of the handheld communications device shifting from voice to video.

Both he and Greenberg on CNBC exemplify that many in the media just don’t understand the impact of change in technology and its corresponding impact on society. Instead, they focus on price and comparing the wrong features. This totally obscures the real magnitude of what is happening. Maybe it is not all their fault.

Apple’s Thinking

Let’s not just blame some highly regarded media people. Creating the biggest blunder in announcing the product was Apple itself. For all their supposed marketing expertise, the problem was they kept an old-image name (a “phone”) for a totally breakthrough communications device.

This has hurt them with some media people who can’t distinguish a waistband from broadband. By having someone prominent from the Wall Street Journal comparing it to a cheap commodity cell phone at a meeting of more than 1,100 executives, Apple may as well fire whoever put together its marketing strategy.

Some reporters are distorting the product’s capabilities by only ranting about price. This is turning some people off if not at least putting them in a cynical mode.

Maybe Apple should have named it a “video communicator” or the next-generation mobile video handheld access transponder. It should have been something different that does not conjure up an old image of a cell phone that most people equate to as being cheap, free or a commodity. Even worse, they named it a Cisco-trademarked name. What were they thinking?

Carlinism: We need people in media who understand technology and can distinguish new capabilities.


James Carlini will 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 james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2006 Jim Carlini


ADC Solutions “Engineered for UpTime™”


ADC’s TrueNet Structured Cabling System is an end-to-end, integrated portfolio of high-performance copper and fiber cable, connectivity and cable management solutions from the data center to the desktop.

“Today’s data center customers demand highly reliable and scalable solutions for constant network uptime,” said Jaxon Lang, vice president of product management, structured cabling for ADC. “With experience honed from designing the world’s largest data centers, ADC’s TrueNet products and solutions set the bar high for industry performance.”

TrueNet provides the reliability and throughput needed to support multiple generations of routers, switches and other active network gear for optimal uptime. Additionally, TrueNet allows enterprises to future-proof network infrastructures for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), VoIP and Wi-Fi deployments.

Other leading-edge infrastructure technologies that will be featured at the ADC booth include:

    • ADC Data Center Optical Distribution Frame, the highest-density fiber distribution frame on the market that efficiently manages up to 1,728 fiber terminations.
    • TrueNet Fiber Panels and patented angled adapters that offer bend-radius protection, intuitive routing and easy connector access.
    • AirES® cable technology that reduces cable-bundle size and improves data center airflow.
    • Laser-tuned Augmented Category 6 modular jacks for zero bit-error network performance.
    • WFX Wi-Fi portfolio: an ideal solution for enterprise customers who seek a scalable, cost-effective solution to deliver optimal in-building Wi-Fi access. WFX simplifies the deployment and management of Wi-Fi networks while maximizing Wi-Fi bandwidth and coverage available to users at a lower cost.
    • Latest information on TIA and ISO standards

About ADC
ADC provides the connections for wireline, wireless, cable, broadcast, and enterprise networks around the world. ADC's innovative network infrastructure equipment and professional services enable high-speed Internet, data, video, and voice services to residential, business and mobile subscribers. ADC (NASDAQ: ADCT) has sales into more than 130 countries. Learn more about ADC at www.adc.com


Corning Cable Systems Introduces New Tactical Cable

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, introduces LANscape® Solutions Tactical Cable. The cable is ideal for routing in all environments or conditions between buildings and modular telecommunications gear for secure and dependable communications, data or video.

LANscape Solutions Tactical Cable uses 900 µm buffered fiber surrounded by dielectric strength members and protected by a rugged yet flexible polyurethane outer jacket. The jacket provides superior environmental and mechanical protection, and the cable’s small diameter and bend radius allows easy installation in space-constrained areas.

Tactical Cable can be deployed in a variety of applications, including tactical deployments for temporary or permanent communications systems, military mobile telecommunication systems for deployments between modular systems, and harsh and industrial environments with extreme environmental conditions such as abrasive atmospheres, chemical and high crush environments. The cable is also ideal for use in broadcast video applications for temporary setups at events, and traffic and video control applications for optical feeds in rugged or harsh environments.

The cable’s flexibility facilitates its deployment and retraction onto a reel. The TBII® Buffered Fibers enable easy and consistent stripping and field terminations, and the all-dielectric cable construction requires no grounding or bonding. Corning Cable Systems Tactical Cable is designed to the criteria of MLF-PRF-85045F and MIL-PRF-85045F/8A.

www.corning.com/cablesystems.


New No Polish Connector from 3M Makes Installation Fast And Easy

3M is adding a new no polish connector to its fiber connector family, enabling fast, on-site installation of single-mode and multimode connections. The 3M no polish connector utilizes a one-piece, pre-assembled design, eliminating field polishing and loose parts. Systems integrators and installers for communication companies and private networks will find this connector an easy way to make field terminations that improve cable management inside buildings or in the outside plant.

Fiber installers have historically installed connectors using field-polishing. With the factory-polished ferrule assembly and a mechanical splice, the 3M no polish connector can be installed quickly, without electrical power and using a simple tool, resulting in little setup time and capital investment.

A bell-shaped boot is permanently attached to the connector body so there is no chance of losing it or forgetting to install it before inserting the fiber. The bell feature maintains the minimum fiber bend radius for excellent strain relief.

The easy-to-use assembly tool allows the installer to align a prepared fiber in the connector and activate the splice and buffer clamp using the same tool. Finger grips on the tool make it easy to handle even without a flat work surface. A connector installation can be completed in less than two minutes.

Field installation of connectors makes it possible to have just the right cable length with no cable slack to store, which means reduced cable and storage costs.www.3M.com.


Sales Growth Slows Further For Electrical Distributors In Fourth Quarter, NAED Survey Reports

The slowdown in sales growth for electrical distributors continued in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the National Association of Electrical Distributors' (NAED) most recent Quarterly Sales Change Expectation Survey (QSCE).

Among distributors surveyed, 70.5% estimate sales growth for the quarter ended December 31. This is a drop of 17 percentage points from the near-record 87.6% of distributors who showed sales growth for the second quarter of 2006. The portion of distributors estimating increases of 10% or more declined to 30.9% for the fourth quarter, down from 59.4% last summer. The number of distributors seeing sales declines grew to 19.8%

Current Patterns Expected to Continue

Sales growth is expected to continue at current levels, according to the survey. In the first quarter of 2007, 69.1% predict sales increases. Only 15.5% anticipate sales to increase by 10% or more. Flat or declining sales are forecast by 28%.

West Is Strongest Among Regions

The strongest sales trends for the fourth quarter were in the West, where 78.8% of distributors showed sales gains. Lowest among the regions was the South at 64.5%. The Northeast and Midwest fell in between at 72.5% and 70.0% respectively.

For the first quarter now underway, West distributors are much more optimistic than those in other regions. In the West, 82.7% of companies look for sales growth, and 19.2% expect those gains to be 10% or more. Other regions are much more cautious in their forecasts, as sales growth is foreseen by 62.5% of Northeast distributors, 63.6% in the Midwest and 71.1% in the South.

Growth Varies By Company Size

The highest expectations of sales growth were among distributors with 5-9 employees, with 81.0% estimating sales growth, followed closely by companies with 50 or more employees at 80.0%. The least growth occurred among distributors with 1-4 employees, where only 50.0% experienced sales increases. Also checking in with fourth-quarter growth were 62.5% of companies with 10-19 employees, 65.5% of those with 20-29 employees, and 70.0% of those with 30-49 employees.

The outlook for the first quarter of 2007 follows a similar pattern. Over three-fourths of distributors with 50 or more employees, 76.4%, predict sales growth. Growth also is forecast by 74.1% of those with 5-9 employees. The lowest prediction is by companies with 1-4 employees, where 50.0% expect growth. Among the other size categories, growth is expected by 63.8% of companies with 10-19 employees, 72.4% of those with 20-29 employees, and 67.5% of those with 30-49 employees.

About the Survey
The survey was distributed in early January and e-mailed or faxed to approximately 3,900 distributor locations. The questionnaire is administered quarterly and focuses on sales expectations for the previous and upcoming quarters. The report breaks down statistics by geographic region and number of employees.

Participation Encouraged

NAED leaders urge members to participate in this quarterly survey which provides information useful to distributors. High response rates help to assure the reliability of the survey results. QSCE is a management tool provided by NAED to its members and affiliates at no additional cost.

To participate in the next survey, which begins in early April, watch for notification by fax or e-mail. The deadline to participate in the next survey is April 13. Past reports are available on NAED’s Web site by clicking “resources” and then “NAED research” or by following this link: http://www.naed.org/NAED/quarterly.asp.

For more information, contact Branton White, NAED senior director of technology and associate editor of research for TED Magazine, at (888) 791-2512 or bwhite@naed.org.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED’s membership represents approximately 4,100 locations internationally. A searchable database of NAED members is available by clicking “resources,” followed by “directory” at www.naed.org.


On Watch - Watching Over Fire Protection Systems

Many electrical contractors get frustrated because the fire alarm system they are responsible for installing is also interfaced with many other fire protection-related systems in the building. Every fire protection system must be connected to the building’s fire alarm system.

As with the fire alarm system, other fire protection systems must be ready when they are needed. By electrically supervising the operational status of the other systems, the owner can be assured it will be there when he or she needs them to operate.

In the everyday world of an electrical contractor, he or she gets service calls from customers. If a light does not work or a fan does not operate, the owner can wait until it is repaired; rarely are these problems life threatening. However, the loss of reliable operation of an automatic sprinkler system due to a closed valve or some other water-related issue, such as freezing, can be catastrophic.

Building codes, the Life Safety Code and insurance companies all require supervision of fire protection systems. Each of these entities requires that the fire protection system supervisory devices be installed in accordance with the National Fire Alarm Code.

The various conditions, systems or devices that must be supervised are as follows:

Temperature monitoring (supervisory)

—Water temperature

—Room temperature

Automatic sprinkler systems

—Waterflow (alarm)

—Closed valves (supervisory)

Process monitoring systems (supervisory)

Carbon monoxide detectors or carbon monoxide detection systems (supervisory)

Fire pumps

—Any supervisory signal indicating an abnormal condition requiring immediate attention

Fire extinguisher monitoring devices and
systems (supervisory)

Kitchen hood extinguishing systems

Gaseous suppression systems

—System trouble (supervisory)

—Gas discharge (alarm)

HVAC smoke detection (alarm or supervisory)

Water level (supervisory)

Each of these systems, if present in the building, is required to be monitored by the fire alarm system. The alarm condition is obvious; however, many contractors are unaware of what a supervisory condition means. NFPA 72-2007 defines supervisory signal as a “signal indicating the need for action in connection with the supervision of guard tours, the fire suppression systems or equipment, or the maintenance features of related systems.”

The installation of these devices is often by other contractors, but the interface to the fire alarm system is the electrical contractor’s responsibility. As you can see, not all of the signals are connected to the fire alarm system to initiate an alarm.

Typically, the suppression systems such as an automatic sprinkler system or a gaseous suppression system will initiate an alarm condition due to their importance in the life and property safety equation.

When it is important to ensure the operational reliability of a suppression system, then the fire alarm system will monitor specific parts that are key to its operation. For example, the most common system that electricians interface with a fire alarm system is the automatic sprinkler. There are a number of areas that may need to be monitored, including the status of the gate valve or post indicator valve that controls the supply of water to the system. The closure of these valves will initiate a supervisory signal at the fire alarm control unit and at the supervising station. A supervisory signal indicates that the automatic sprinkler system is impaired and will not operate properly when called upon. The intent of the signal is to call attention to the fact that the sprinkler system is impaired and needs service.

In an industrial setting, the water supply may be fed from a raised tank so a water level supervisory signal is very important. Should the water level be too low, then a supervisory signal must be initiated. The same holds true for a water supply in a temperature-controlled space that is to supply a dry sprinkler system in an unheated building. If the temperature drops in the heated space, putting the sprinkler water supply at risk, then a supervisory condition must be initiated.

As the professional contractor will determine from the above, the supervision of other fire suppression systems is an important aspect of a fire alarm system’s performance. The coordination of these interfaced supervisory devices and their proper installation also should take on a more important meaning as well.

Every electrical contractor involved in a fire alarm system installation should review all of the fire protection systems that are planned for the building he or she is working in. Once the other systems have been identified, it will be easier to ensure that they are properly interfaced to the fire alarm system and that the fire alarm system will watch over the other fire protection systems. EC

Fire/Life Safety - By Wayne D. Moore - Hughes Associates Inc.

MOORE, a licensed fire protection engineer, frequent speaker and an expert in the life safety field, is a co-editor of the current National Fire Alarm Code Handbook. Moore is a principal with Hughes Associates Inc. and is located at the Warwick, R.I., office.

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007

www.ecmag.com


Beast Cabling Systems, Inc Announces Launch Of New Web Site

Beast Cabling Systems, Inc, launched their new content-rich web site on January 30, immediately following the hugely successful BICSI conference in Orlando.

“As leading innovators of structured cable installation processes, our goal with this site is to be the most comprehensive resource on the web for all things related to proper cable installation,” said Gregory A. Bramham, vice president.

Studies, manufacturer’s white papers, standards updates, informative links and other valuable sources of information will now be in one location for contractors, training facilities, system designers, and end users.  The site will be kept current with weekly updates

“Leading contractors nationwide are looking for answers.  They are re-evaluating their installation processes, striving to become more efficient.  And they are looking for better methods to install the high-speed cable products that are quickly dominating the marketplace.  We want to be the place to find answers,” Bramham said.  www.beastcablingsystems.com


Daylight Savings Update - The looming Date Change Means Customer Maintenance

Daylight savings time occurs twice a year in most parts of the country. Starting March 11, 2007, it’s going to be a bit different than in past years, thanks to an act of Congress. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) altered daylight savings so it will begin the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.

This is a major change since, for decades, daylight savings began the first Sunday in April and ended the last Sunday in October.

A couple weeks here and there may not seem like a big deal, until you start looking at how this change affects electrical systems.

Intelligent and integrated systems dominate most of today’s facilities. Integrated systems can include time-controlled lighting; security and life safety; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; and other systems. The preprogrammed systems auto-adjust for daylight savings time. Even systems that do not adjust for time might be linked to others that do.

The contractor’s role

It is reasonable to conclude that electrical contractors have installed and possibly programmed these integrated building systems. Since ECs maintain and service them, they have the most hands-on experience with the systems being affected by the change.

Since building owners and facility managers may not be aware of the EPAct requirements, they may not deal with it until right before the new daylight savings time takes effect this spring. Contractors are in a unique position to educate their customers about these issues and get them resolved as quickly as possible. Systems may only need lighting schedule changes, but to make this adjustment will take a bit more than that.

According to Scott Jordan, Square D/Schneider Electric, “It’s a software change, meaning the system will have to be reprogrammed to account for the change in daylight savings parameter, which is something that hasn’t changed in decades.”

Also, if these changes are made after March 11, the system will “spring forward” an hour again on the original date because the device believes that date to be the correct daylight savings change date.

“Building owners and facility managers should examine their systems that have automated schedules,” Jordan said. “When they do, they should go to their electrical contractor and ask about changes that will be needed.”

What to do

According to Jordan, “Manufacturers of systems have already begun attending to this. Contractors can download a software upgrade for the Square D Powerlink whole-building lighting control system and apply it to reprogram the system for the daylight savings change. We’re guessing it is similar for other systems/manufacturers but, of course, can’t speak for them.” One could probably assume that by this point just about every manufacturer has a repair or recommended process ready to go.

Potential scenarios directly related to non-updated systems can run the gamut. “A building in a bad part of town that doesn’t have its parking lot lights turned on at the start of the day because the lighting control system thinks daylight savings is two weeks away could create a dangerous situation,” Jordan said.

Prepare now

Contractors can best prepare themselves for the potential onslaught of service calls come Monday, March 12, 2007, by getting their strategies in place.

Check in with current customers. Alert them to this issue, and follow up by going into their respective facilities and assessing their systems in order to determine which ones will be affected. It may be worthwhile to check in with manufacturers to determine the best course of action.

Proactive contractors who get moving on the issue right now could turn this “speed bump” into extra business, happy customers and increased recognition as being total systems experts. EC

STONG-MICHAS, a freelance writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached via e-mail at JenLeahS@msn.com.

Reprinted with full Permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine February issue 2007

www.ecmag.com


ACUTA’S April IP Summit Event Offers In-depth Examination Of The State Of Convergence On Campus

The most in-depth examination to date of IP communications technology, present and future, on college and university campuses will be offered in the ACUTA Summit on IP Communications in Higher Education April 1-4 in Baltimore.

It is the first time that ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, has devoted one of its quarterly gatherings so exclusively to a single technology topic, and it promises to be the top event of its kind this year.

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. In its IP Summit presentations, ACUTA will bring together representatives of colleges and universities of all sizes along with industry experts and equipment and service providers, all providing their expert insight in highly interactive panel discussions of the state of IP on campus.

Kicking off the event, ACUTA will report the findings from an extensive survey of its member institutions, reflecting the extent to which they are deploying IP networks and VoIP, the challenges they have faced in their implementations, and how they feel the technology has benefited and will benefit their campuses. That survey will serve as the backdrop to many of the presentations throughout the IP Summit.

Some 40 panelists, including representatives of 20 colleges and universities as well as journalists, consultants, and industry experts, will address topics such as the breadth of campus VoIP deployment, security, management, financial considerations, technical challenges, user issues, and the most effective IP applications. There will also be a series of hands-on demonstrations by equipment makers Avaya, Meru Networks, Verizon Business, and Video Furnace.

“The IP Summit offers a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from those who imagine the future as well as those who are implementing it,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Convergence represents a communications revolution, with higher education in the forefront of it. This event is a truly cooperative learning event, both through the interactive presentations and the ample opportunities for networking.”

Complete information about the IP Summit can be found at the ACUTA website, www. acuta.org. The event will be held at Baltimore’s Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

About ACUTA www.acuta.org


Caveat Emptor - isn't slowing them down...

BELDEN/CDT – HIRSCHMANN – Belden/CDT acquired Hirschmann Industries GmbH, which owns Hirschmann Automation and Control and other operations. 

COOPER – CYBERTEC – Cooper Industries now owns Cybertec, Inc., a Canadian company that supplies software systems and products to help utilities modernize their automation systems. The acquisition ($8.3M in annual sales, U.S. $) will be tucked into the Cooper Power Systems unit.

GENLYTE – HANOVER – Genlyte Group will buy Hanover Lantern (Hanover, Pa.), a maker of lighting products with 160 employees. Price: $26M cash plus assumption of $1.75M in debt, payables, and such. Hanover’s 2006 sales were given as $24.4M.

ROCKWELL – PROSCON – Rockwell Automation bought an Irish engineering company, ProsCon Holdings Ltd. The acquired entity serves the pharma and biotech markets

SUPERIOR ESSEX – NEXANS – Superior Essex has entered into agreements to buy Nexans’ remaining magnet wire operations in China and Canada. The combined purchase price will be around $30M, or less, not including assumption of $10M in debt.


Massive Shortage of Electricians Predicted for U.S.

America will face a shortage of electricians in the near future, according to the U.S.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Projections show that, by the year 2014, the national need for electrical workers will rise to more than 734,000 – a figure 78,000 beyond the number currently employed in the field.

Explains Edwin D. Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), a number of factors are seen converging to produce the predicted shortfall in electrical workers, from high-tech demands swelling faster than the ranks, to the overall graying of America. Says Hill, “Electrical workers are aging, as is the general population. The task ahead is not only to recruit and train more electricians to meet the needs of a growing industry, but to make provisions to replace current electricians who will retire.”

America is not alone in contending with a shortage of electricians. Around the world industrialized nations are grappling with shortfalls as their worker populations age. Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland and the UK have all reported major electrician shortages -- with an estimated 37,000 vacancies in the UK alone. Canadian analysts warn that most of that nation’s skilled electricians will retire in the next 10 years, triggering a massive shortage. In Australia, the dwindling ranks of electricians and other skilled trades has become so severe that it is now the number one constraint on business investment, according to a recent survey by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Says E. Milner Irvin, president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), “The predicted shortfall of electricians in the U.S. won’t be just the industry’s problem. Shortages affect all businesses up and down the line, by generally driving up the cost, and driving down the quality, of any product or service."

Although the concerns are shared, countries differ in the strategies devised to meet future workforce needs. In Finland, where 99 percent of electricians are men, efforts are aimed at attracting women to the field. In Australia, recruiters are looking overseas, encouraging skilled electricians to immigrate.

Here in America, NECA and the IBEW have taken a multifaceted approach to addressing the shortage. Says Hill, “Through our National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), we have been actively promoting our apprenticeship program to stem the manpower drop-off. Right now, we have nearly 40,000 apprentices in 290 programs around the country. And we aim to increase those numbers by committing $100 million annually to develop the electrical workforce of the future.”

What’s more, students contemplating careers can find encouragement to join the field at www.electrifyingcareers.com, an informative Web site jointly created by IBEW and NECA. At the site, visitors can browse through descriptions of nearly 60 different types of jobs available, as well as watch video testimonials from students already pursuing careers in this critical, opportunity-laden industry.

Says Hill, “The need for skilled workers to meet the growing electrical demands of our high-tech society is a concern that cuts across geographical borders. Only by national and united efforts like the NJATC can we hope to match the growing need for years to come, to keep our future bright.”  www.necanet.org


Snake Tray Introduces a New Under Floor Cable Tray, Snake Canyon® Plus

Snake Tray® is proud to announce Snake Canyon® Plus, the universal cable tray for under floors that instantly installs to any access floor with an easy snap-on tray support system. No tools or hardware required.  Snake Canyon® Plus allows for multiple tiers and multiple directions of cable management. Divider grids are available for the division of technologies. The modular cable trays can be reused for changes and retrofits. The quick attaching system positions the cables trays to allow for proper airflow under the access floor.

All Snake Tray® and Snake Canyon® products are made from recycled domestic steel. Snake Canyon® Plus comes in 2”, 4”, 6” and 8” depths to accommodate up to 3000 cables. Half cable tray modules are available for easy access under the cable plant. www.snaketray.com


AirDefense Completes RSA Conference Wireless Network Monitoring: half of wireless devices vulnerable to attack

Wireless security firm AirDefense Inc. today released results from its wireless airwave monitoring yesterday at the RSA Conference, the world's leading information security conference.

For three consecutive days AirDefense studied the wireless LAN traffic from the show floor.

Yesterday, it discovered 309 out of 547 wireless devices such as laptops, PDAs, phones and vendor PCs susceptible to Evil Twin types of attacks combined with some of the latest zero-day attacks.

In total, 1,137 out of 2,017 wireless devices over a three day period could have easily been compromised.

"It is important for people to understand that the vulnerability of 309 wireless devices on Thursday, 481 devices on Wednesday and 347 devices on Tuesday was not the problem of RSA Conference organizers," said Richard Rushing, the firm's chief security officer.

"Any compromised devices at this year's conference resulted from conference attendees who joined a wireless network through hotels and hotspots that were insecure."

AirDefense's wireless airwave monitoring discovered more than 90 wireless chipset driver attacks being conducted at the show to compromise inspecting laptops.

Denial of Service attacks slowed down with AirDefense noticing 47 different attacks on Thursday versus 85 on Wednesday trying to disrupt the wireless network, from CTS flooding of the airwaves to de-authentication types of attacks, to jamming attacks.

AirDefense noticed that many clients, when connected to an unencrypted network, would disclose information about the organizations networks such as Domain, Authentication Server, Active Directory, User Name and Computer Name in the clear.

Leaking out NetBIOS and IPX traffic was common on these devices.

"An Attacker could and might have captured the corporate username and authentication hash (password), that the unsuspecting user would have sent over the airwaves," the company said.

"As the laptop is not aware of its location, it does not know if it is at the office, home or hotspot. This has the potential to worsen as the number of laptops and wireless laptops become more prevalent than the corporate computer."

Further information is available at www.airdefense.net.


General Cable Forecasts 1Q Profit Above Wall Street's Expectations on Strong Product Demand

General Cable Corp., maker of wire and cable products, said Wednesday it expects strong demand for its products and forecast first-quarter profit above Wall Street expectations.

Chief Executive President and Chief Executive Gregory B. Kenny said in a statement that backlogs are growing and pricing across the industry continues to strengthen.

He said he expects first-quarter earnings per share of at least 75 cents on revenue of $950 million to $1 billion.

Wall Street, on average, sees quarterly profit of 65 cents per share on $973.2 million in revenue.

General Cable shares rose $2.23, or 5.2 percent, to $45 in the aftermarket.

www.generalcable.com


Henderson Named Incoming Vice President-Elect for NAED's Western Region


The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has appointed Jack Henderson, executive vice president for Hunzicker Brothers, Inc. in Oklahoma City, as the incoming Western Region Vice President-Elect. The Western Region Council elected Henderson by majority approval.

Henderson has served in the industry for 36 years and has a long tenure on NAED’s Western Region Council. In addition, his company is active in the association, participating in many areas, including PAR, training with the NAED Foundation, and attending conferences. He sees many advantages in being involved in the association.

“The networking and sharing of strategies and ideas with other distributors are valuable benefits when you become involved in NAED,” Henderson explained. “Issues that exist among electrical distributors are predominantly universal across the country and much can be accomplished by the sharing of solutions and ideas. When I was first hired by Walter Hunzicker, Jr., he told me to learn something new everyday. Today, with technology and products evolving as quickly as they are, we probably need to learn four or five lessons each day. I believe NAED is a great tool to enable us to continue to grow our educational processes.”

Henderson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business from Oklahoma City University before joining Hunzicker Brothers in 1970. Henderson was hired as the office manager for the company. Prior to attaining his current position of executive vice president in 1989, Henderson served as the company’s credit manager, controller and assistant vice president.

“My collegiate background was preparing me for a career in banking, but the electrical industry offered me a much greater opportunity and has continued to do so,” he said.

As a NAED regional vice president-elect, Henderson will attend and help direct the region’s conferences and council meetings. He will also and participate in the association’s Membership and Strategic Focus Committees. After Henderson assumes the position of vice president in May 2008, he will also preside at all Western Regional Council meetings and serve on the NAED Board of Directors.

The Western Region is currently led by Les Williamson, president of Eoff Electric Co. (Div. of Sonepar), Salem, Ore. In May, Tom Isenberg, president of Western Extralite Co., Kansas City, Mo., will serve as Western Region Vice President for the 2007-2008 year.  www.naed.org


National Broadband Policy Is Good, But More Important To Get It Right

Some people are talking about having a national broadband strategy. This is a good issue to discuss.

The one cautionary comment I have is to get it right this time. Though several articles have popped up discussing the need, they do not reflect some of the key issues to “make it right”. This is from one article written by Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation):

In March 2004, President Bush called for universal, affordable broadband access by 2007. It is now 2007, and according to various statistics, the U.S. is still falling behind the rest of the world in the availability and quality of advanced communications services.

Furthermore, we do not even have an accurate measure of how many households have access to broadband services. While history shows that the U.S. is fully capable of being the world leader in technology, our preeminence is threatened.

We must devise a strategy to regain and retain our edge.

Though I agree with his desire to set a strategy, I definitely believe his statement that the Telecom Act of 1996 “clearly benefited the consumer” is somewhat reaching. He goes on to say:

Consumers have clearly benefited from this rapid innovation and change even though the changes have sometimes proved unsettling. The Internet has transformed from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into an essential medium for communications and commerce.

We have indeed come a long way since Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in an attempt to increase competition in the communications marketplace. At that time, we thought we had a pretty good blueprint for how the communications marketplace might evolve.

Regulatory intervention would open local and long-distance markets to greater competition, technological convergence would allow phone and cable operators to enter core businesses and the steady growth of the Internet would improve access to information in our nation’s schools, libraries and rural health clinics.

What we have learned since then is a little humility. In some cases, our predictions proved correct.

For example, technological convergence has transformed single-service networks into multi-service platforms that today are capable of offering a wide array of voice, video and data services. Still, this change took longer than we would have preferred.

Let’s Not Rewrite History

After reviewing it at the time, my assessment in a NetworkWorld article of the Telecom Act of 1996 was that it was nothing more than another “pork chop bill”. Part of that article observed this:

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is not that great a piece of legislation unless you’re a regional Bell operating company (RBOC) or a Washington, D.C. bureaucrat looking to find a new staff position in a federal agency. It’s got more pork in it than a Jimmy Dean sausage.

The act contains sections that in effect guarantee rates to carriers that might lose market share as a result of increased competition as well as the creation of several funds and agencies that sound good if you’re in favor of bureaucratic and corporate welfare.

While Inouye’s concern about becoming more competitive and getting a national perspective is noble, let’s make sure we accurately assess what we have and correct it rather than just updating it and producing more pork. The Telecom Act of 1996 was far from being the Magna Carta of the megabit emancipation.

Rep. John Dingell (chairman of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce) states in another article:

Above all, we must remember that communications networks run over public resources such as spectrum or a community’s local rights of way.

Our policies should demand that service providers adhere to appropriate social responsibilities that serve the common good such as public safety, law enforcement, privacy and universal access.

For the U.S. to maintain its global leadership in the information economy, it’s time for a better broadband policy that serves all Americans.

Based on what they approved in the Telecom Act of 1996, both Dingell and Inouye were around in 1996 and weren’t too concerned about competition.  Another part of my NetworkWorld article back in 1996 observed:

As for opening competition, parts of the act actually guarantee a closed market for certain services to carriers that obviously had some good lobbyists.

For example, there’s a section that guarantees exclusivity to RBOCs that bought alarm-monitoring services prior to the signing of the bill. How much did Ameritech (which bought National Guardian Alarm Services in 1995) pay its lobbyists to get that piece of tenderloin into the bill?

This Time, Less May Be More

If Congress is really interested in helping America get back into a leading position, they should set some very high standards for everyone to try to attain. A California broadband goal like reaching 1 gigabit by 2010 is simple yet understandable by all.

We don’t need another version of the Telecom Act of 1996, which was sold as a great breakthrough when it was adopted. It proved to be a stifling bill that actually helped to protect incumbents, restrict real competition and investment and produce a lot of pork. It got us to where we are today.

We are behind many countries that we were in front of 10 years ago. Let that sink in before you send an e-mail stating otherwise. Those shortsighted executives and lobbyists who throw out questions to stifle innovation, stop curiosity and protect obsolete business models should be labeled for who they are.

At best, they are out-of-touch protectionists of an obsolete infrastructure. At worst, they are self-serving traitors who are actually weakening the country’s economic infrastructure by trying to sell us that old is good and having the highest-speed network services is not a real concern.

We have to be politically accurate on a critical issue like this rather than just politically correct. Such people should not be listened to as they are not interested in the best economic interests of the future of America. They are more focused on the narrow future of their short-term corporate profits as well as their annual bonuses.

Politicians on both sides better start rising above partisan politics and campaign contributions to get America moving forward at a faster pace.

This is not a Republican or a Democratic crusade. This is a global competitive issue that needs strong, bipartisan cooperation to make real progress instead of pseudo arguing and blame that produces and processes good pork for both sides.

Let’s all work together to build something real and not agree on something touted from a bipartisan standpoint as strong and protecting our future.

Carlinism: Leading-edge countries do not maintain their position protecting trailing-edge technologies.


James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


Belden CDT 4th-Quarter Profit Rises 11 Percent On Sales Growth

Electronic cable maker Belden CDT Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit climbed 11 percent, helped by improved sales.

Net income grew to $10.7 million, or 22 cents per share, from $9.7 million, or 21 cents per share, for the fourth quarter 2005. Excluding severance, asset impairment, and restructuring-related charges, earnings totaled 46 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue increased 14 percent to $378.8 million from $331.5 million in the year-ago period.

Analysts expected the company to post earnings, on average, of 49 cents per share on $376.3 million in revenue, according to a Thomson Financial survey.

Income for the full year was $65.9 million, or $1.37 per share, up from $47.6 million, or 96 cents per share, in 2005.

Annual revenue was $1.5 billion, up from $1.25 billion in the year ago period. Full-year operating margin improved by more than 200 basis points to 74 percent.

Shares of Belden added 37 cents to $46.27 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, after setting a new 52-week high of $47.02 earlier in the session. Over the past year, the stock had traded between $24.70 and $46.18. www.belden.com


Don’t miss Data Center World - March 25-29, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada

AFCOM, the leading association for data center professionals, brings its upcoming Data Center World® conference and expo to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Considered one of the industry’s premier educational events, Data Center World provides training, information, and networking opportunities to the data center community.   Christian Belady, P.E., Distinguished Technologist, Hewlett-Packard, will present a special keynote: “Getting the most out of your data center - Why does it matter?”  Belady will discuss the evolving paradigm shift between infrastructure and energy costs and IT hardware costs, and present ideas on how to ensure optimum operations using emerging industry efficiency metrics. 

Data Center World attendees also will have access to:

§         More than 90 educational sessions across five distinct tracks: Data Center Management, Security, Best Practices, Disaster Recovery and Facilities Management

§         Full-day, in-depth optional tutorial program

§         DCW Expo – the only trade show exclusively for data center professionals.  This is the place to compare products, talk with vendor reps and discover the newest services.  Dedicated hours provide ample time to visit all must-see vendors.

Data Center World registration will be located at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will be the site for all of the educational sessions and the Expo.   The keynote address and closing party will be held at the MGM Grand.   Shuttle buses will be provided between the MGM Grand and the Convention Center.

To register at the MGM Grand hotel with the Data Center World discount, you must be a registered conference attendee.  The past several conference hotel room blocks have sold out and this current block is booking up fast.   Log onto www.datacenterworld.com for registration information, a more detailed agenda, and the latest conference updates!

www.afcom.com

Don’t miss Data Center World

March 25-29, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada

For more information visit: www.datacenterworld.com


New AC Wiremap Test for DTX CableAnalyzer Aids Deployment of VoIP Phones, Other Services Using Power-over-Ethernet with Existing Infrastructure

The DTX CableAnalyzer can now validate twisted-pair cabling links that use midspan Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) controllers, in accordance with TIA/EIA standards.  DTX AC Wiremap tests the wiring in each link to assure that VoIP phones, wireless access points, security cameras and other PoE devices will work with midspan power supplies before deployment, and to identify failures that may appear after deployment.

"This capability solves a testing issue that has been problematic for Power-over-Ethernet consumers," said John Schmidt, Senior Product Manager, Structured Cabling Systems for ADC. "The ability to properly test through a PoE midspan is essential to certifying modern Ethernet networks."

Ordinary wiremap tests fail when working with midspan power supplies, as the power supplies block the wiremap test signals from flowing in the direction of the Ethernet switch or hub.  As the name implies, the new DTX AC Wiremap test uses Alternating Current and innovative analysis methods that are unaffected by a midspan supply to provide accurate wiremap tests.

"We believe this new capability will enable current and future PoE installations to be easily tested with a single device making PoE Midspan devices easy to test and integrate into structured cabling systems " said Michael K. Pula, Product Line Manager, PANDUIT Managed Network Solutions.

The DTX AC Wiremap test also diagnoses failures by determining the distance to the point of failure, possible reason(s) for the failure and corrective actions, saving time and allowing technicians with a wide range skill levels to understand and correct the problem.

Demand for VoIP and other devices fuels midspan PoE growth
The use of PoE is growing 20% to 30% per year.  Rapid increase in the use of VoIP phones, wireless access points and other PoE devices has made the powered network essential to businesses.  This is especially true where existing infrastructure, such as expensive switches and routers, is being coupled with new midspan power supplies.  The need for accurate testing on PoE networks is now mission critical.

Product availability
The new DTX AC Wiremap test will be available as a standard feature on all DTX CableAnalyzers beginning February 7, 2007.  AC Wiremap can be added to existing units as a no-cost upgrade.  Details on the upgrade process can be found at www.flukenetworks.com/dtx.


Interiors & Sources Hosts EnvironDesign in New Orleans in May 2007

Interiors & Sources, a publication of Stamats Business Media, announced its annual conference, EnvironDesign, will be held May 15 - 17, 2007 in New Orleans. EnvironDesign combines unparalleled education about the sustainable design of commercial buildings.  Punctuated with keynote visionaries that challenge the way that commercial interior designers, architects and buildings owners think about green, EnvironDesign is the one place where environmental stewardship and commercial building design come together under one roof.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 commercial and public buildings in Louisiana, and countless more along the Gulf Coast. With much of this region's built environment devastated, the hurricanes were considered one of the greatest disasters in U.S. history.

"Like so many Americans, we wondered how we could help," said Mike Stanley, publisher of Interiors & Sources, whose magazine will produce the EnvironDesign conference. "With the encouragement of New Orleans' city officials and local organizations we chose to hold our conference in New Orleans to highlight the commercial building projects and reenergize the movement to rebuild ‘green.’ We’re excited to produce an event that will serve as a forum for the sustainable building efforts of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, in general,” added Fixmer.

Show attendees can choose from dozens of workshops including Marketing Green, Manufacturing Green, Green Trends as well as Case Studies and Charrettes. Throughout the day, there will be opportunities to network with other eco-conscious commercial design professionals while sustainable building products and services come to life in the conference’s Product Learning Center.

Mark your calendar for this exciting event! May 15 – 17, 2007.
 www.environdesign.com


Hughes Associates, Inc. (HAI) Guides The Path To Improved Fire Safety For Our Men And Women In The Armed Services

The Fire and Smoke Simulator Model (FSSIM) was recently accredited for use in support of the CVN 78 Class Vulnerability Assessment.  This accreditation marks a significant milestone in implementing the test and evaluation strategy, by the Program Executive Office for Aircraft Carriers' CVN 21 Program Office (PMS 378), for the new class of aircraft carriers.

PMS 378 employs Modeling and Simulation (M&S) throughout the Acquisition Process to accomplish trade and performance studies, ship design and testing in a credible and confident manner.

"Modeling and Simulation is a critical part of the Navy's overall effort to reduce test and evaluation cost, said PMS 378 Assistant Program Manager for Test and Evaluation Stephen Schrobo.

FSSIM is a continuous time, physics-based simulation of the spread of fire and smoke inside of a multi-compartment geometry with complex ventilation such as exists on a naval ship.  The simulation was developed both to aid engineers in analyzing the effect of fire-spreading potential regarding changes in fire protection systems, both passive and active, and compartment layout, as well as, providing data on fire-related phenomena such as: temperature; smoke; CO; O2; CO2; the activation of suppression systems; and the effectiveness of active and passive fire protection, to support vulnerability and recoverability analyses.

FSSIM will be used to analyze the effects of fire and smoke spreading potential in relationship to recoverability of the carrier from a threat weapon hit.  This analysis is being conducted by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division as part of the Live Fire Vulnerability Assessment for the CVN 78 class of aircraft carriers.

The model was developed by Dr. Jason E Floyd of Hughes Associates, Inc.; Dr. Patricia Tatem of ITT Industries; and Dr. Frederick Williams of the Naval Research Laboratory.  The accreditation process was managed by Aaron Anderson of NSWC Dahlgren Division along with Rich Hardwick from EGG, Inc. under the direction of Schrobo.

-NAVSEA-

################################

Founded in 1980, Hughes Associates, Inc. (HAI) is a global company offering fire engineering, environmental, and security consulting services. Our primary objective is to help clients meet their varied and specific requirements through our unique combination of technical excellence and unmatched customer service.

The staff of HAI consists of an internationally-renown group of over 150 engineers, scientists, and computer programmers, as well as training and other specialists, who are among the best in their fields.

HAI is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland with regional offices throughout the world. Our laboratory and testing facilities compliment our traditional consulting, engineering and forensic services. This forms a unique combination of research capabilities and global application expertise.

Our focus on customer service combined with unparalleled technical capabilities ensures our clients the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions possible.

HAI provides an unbiased assessment of your fire protection and process safety needs. We are not associated with any equipment or product vendors and therefore do not have pre-conceived conclusions. We analyze your needs, develop a set of recommendations to address your needs, and assist you in obtaining, installing, and testing the optimal solution for your situation.

Services Offered

Facilities Served

We have conducted many projects for a variety of petroleum and petrochemical facilities. Projects have included project designs, fire protection system analysis, PSM program implementation and auditing, training courses, and technical support. We have worked on projects for most typical refinery process units as well as for chemical and petrochemical plants, terminals and tank farms, onshore and offshore exploration and production facilities, and gas plants.

As members of committees and regulatory bodies for building and fire codes, we often become involved with code issues long before they reach committee. Our ongoing commitment to this important body of work gives us current and in-depth knowledge about building and fire codes.

For manufacturers, testing assures that new products are market-ready from the perspective of fire protection. By designing and conducting tests in HAI's laboratories or in nationally recognized facilities, our engineers and technicians will:

  • Validate fire protection requirements
  • Establish design criteria and tools
  • Develop training for technicians
  • Contribute to your strategies for product development and marketing

HAI offers a full range of building and fire code consultation for developers, owners, and architects. These services ensure customer compliance with the intent of applicable codes or design criteria while meeting the challenges of aesthetics, function, and cost-effectiveness.

Traditional code compliance, which sets the prescriptive criteria for a baseline level of safety, is a perfect fit for the fire protection needs of many customers. Sometimes our engineers balance achieving this level of safety with incorporating your special design features. We do so through equivalency or performance-based analyses and designs.

At HAI, we advocate a cohesive design philosophy from concept to execution that results in feasible, practical, goal-oriented fire protection designs. Throughout the phases of a traditional design, we integrate the necessary elements to present a prescriptive fire protection system that is cost-effective to install and maintain.

For challenging designs involving life safety, property protection, mission continuity, heritage preservation, and environmental protection, our engineers may develop a performance-based design, one that is focused on specific protection criteria.

Our engineering and scientific staff has the distinct advantage of having onsite laboratory facilities and instrumentation available for research and development. While we design, instrument, and conduct tests in our laboratory, we also specify, manage, and analyze tests conducted by third-party laboratories.

Our engineering and scientific staff has the distinct advantage of having onsite laboratory facilities and instrumentation available for research and development. While we design, instrument, and conduct tests in our laboratory, we also specify, manage, and analyze tests conducted by third-party laboratories.

To support fire litigation and investigations, our engineers and scientists share their knowledge about the reconstruction of fire incidents, engineering analyses, testing, and compliance with codes and standards.

We have built a reputation for technically superior analyses, professional integrity, and presentation of information in a logical and scientifically credible manner. Our engineers have investigated innumerable cases of suspected arson and have acted as expert witnesses for widely varied cases. These range, for example, from acts of terrorisms to poorly designed fire systems to badly burned racecar drivers.

As members of committees and regulatory bodies for building and fire codes, we often become involved with code issues long before they reach committee. Our ongoing commitment to this important body of work gives us current and in-depth knowledge about building and fire codes.

For manufacturers, testing assures that new products are market-ready from the perspective of fire protection. By designing and conducting tests in HAI's laboratories or in nationally recognized facilities, our engineers and technicians will:

  • Validate fire protection requirements
  • Establish design criteria and tools
  • Develop training for technicians
  • Contribute to your strategies for product development and marketing

The HAI Environmental Group consists of environmental, electronic, and chemical engineers with extensive environmental compliance experience. We offer innovative solutions to environmental compliance challenges focusing on pollution prevention and abatement techniques. Our primary concern is providing the most cost-effective solution that minimizes effects on client operations while ensuring compliance with current and future Federal, State and Local regulations.

Our engineering staff has hands-on, practical experience in areas such as: analyzing the environmental impact of alternative fire fighting foams in soil and water; conducting pollution prevention opportunity assessments on industrial processes; and performing indoor air quality sampling and analysis.

  • Identifying Alternatives for Hazardous Air Pollutants, Toxic Chemicals, and Hazardous Materials
  • Developing Procedures for Detecting Ground Contamination of Aqueous Film Forming Foams
  • Reviewing Federal, State, and Local Regulations
  • Conducting Pollution Prevention Opportunity Assessments
  • Defining Environmental Impact
  • Performing Indoor Air Quality Sampling and Analysis
  • Halon & Halon Alternatives
  • Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cost-Effective Risk Solutions to Protect Your Business and People

Businesses today face ever-increasing risks that can threaten their stability and profitability. From fires, explosions and natural disasters to supply chain disruptions, restructurings and outsourcing, there are many exposures – some obvious and others not so – that can result in significant losses and interruptions to business operations as well as impact to employees.

How businesses manage and respond to these incidents can make the difference. Will your business suffer irrecoverable disruption and loss of market share or will it continue to prosper and grow in today’s risk-based environment?

Although many risks are insurable, insurance coverage alone will not fully protect a business. Insurer-directed loss control programs and mitigation solutions are not comprehensive enough to adequately address those exposures that are not covered by traditional insurance.

Today’s businesses need to be proactive in designing and controlling risk mitigation efforts that support their overall strategy and goals rather than proceeding reactively and relying on traditional carrier models. Conducting a thorough identification and analysis of risks and then developing the optimal risk mitigation program are critical to sound decision-making and ultimately to business survival.

Ranked among the top five independent property loss control specialists in the United States, HAI offers businesses a unique holistic approach to protecting their people and operations. Our cost-effective, end-to-end solutions focus on the entire spectrum of risk mitigation to include building, people and environmental considerations. HAI’s independence from the insurance industry coupled with our unique technical expertise, enable us to provide comprehensive risk mitigation programs and unbundled risk control services that are targeted to meet each individual client’s specific needs and support their overall business strategy. www.haifire.com


Leviton Celebrates 100 Years in Business

Leviton Manufacturing Company, North America’s largest manufacturer of electrical and electronic wiring devices, this year celebrates its one-hundredth year in business. With a rich tradition of innovation in the electrical industry, Leviton grew from its humble roots as a producer of mantle tips for gas lighting at the dawn of the electrical era into one of the foremost giants in the electrical industry.

“It’s not every day that a company gets to celebrate its one-hundredth anniversary and it’s even more rare when that company is a privately-held family business,” said Donald Hendler, Leviton’s President. “During our centennial year I’d like to extend my gratitude to the various constituents in our industry that have helped make us what we are today. It’s our intention to continue serving the needs of our customers in a way that makes them proud to be associated with us and to continue offering our employees the best possible corporate culture in which to develop their skills and contribute to our success.”

Leviton operates warehouses and distribution centers across the nation to efficiently serve a diverse range of customers. The company employs representatives in five continents and over 100 countries and has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., China and Mexico. Leviton produces more than 25,000 different products that serve the needs of its residential, commercial, industrial and OEM customers. Products are marketed through electrical distributors, retailers and direct to companies that purchase components they integrate into their own manufacturing operations.

A third generation family-owned business, the company was founded by Isidor Leviton, father of the company’s current CEO and Chairman of the Board, Harold Leviton. The company is a rarity in American business, having experienced remarkable continuity in leadership over the years. Mr. Hendler is the company’s third president in its 100-year history. www.leviton.com.


Mike Holt Seminars – Next 4 Months:

February

 TOPIC

 LOCATION

 SPONSOR

 INFORMATION

February 7th
Grounding versus Bonding - Capital Lighting & Supply

Columbia, MD
Hilton Columbia
5485 Twin Knolls Road

Capital Lighting & Supply
Contact/Email Joan Davis
Phone: (703) 729-0728
Fax: (707) 220-2528

[ Download Brochure ]
[ Preview Video ] Download Real Player [FREE]
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[ What you'll learn ]

February 8th
Grounding versus Bonding - Capital Lighting & Supply

Springfield, VA
Waterford at Springfield
6715 Commerce Street

Capital Lighting & Supply
Contact/Email Joan Davis
Phone: (703) 729-0728
Fax: (707) 220-2528

[ Download Brochure ]
[ Preview Video ] Download Real Player [FREE]
[ Seminar Details ]
[ Cannot Attend? ]
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February 20th
Understanding the NEC 2005

Long Beach, CA
Long Beach Convention Center

PRIMEDIA Business Exhibitions
Contact/Email Joe Charno
Phone: (203) 358-4152
Fax: (913) 514-3778

[ Seminar Details ]
[ Cannot Attend? ]

February 21st
Grounding versus Bonding

Long Beach, CA
Long Beach Convention Center

PRIMEDIA Business Exhibitions
Contact/Email Joe Charno
Phone: (203) 358-4152
Fax: (913) 514-3778

[ Download Brochure ]
[ Preview Video ] Download Real Player [FREE]
[ Seminar Details ]
[ Cannot Attend? ]
[ What you'll learn ]

February 28th thru
March 5th
State of Florida Contractors Exam Preparation

Kissimmee, FL
Heritage Park Hotel
2245 E.Irlo Bronson Hwy (Hwy #192)
407-846-4646
Application Deadline Dec. 6, 2006

Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc.
Contact/Email Sarina Snow
Phone: (877) 632-2633

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March

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March 5th thru
March 9th
Grounding versus Bonding

Denver, CO
Marriott Denver Tech Center
(303) 779-1100

Colorado Chapter ICC
Contact/Email Dan Nickle
Phone: (303) 987-7554

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April

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Nothing Scheduled for April

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May

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Nothing Scheduled for May

Click Here to view Mike’s entire seminar schedule: http://www.mikeholt.com/seminarnew.php


The Electrical Industry’s Future

 By Joe Salimando

None of us can know our own futures. In ancient history, rich Greeks who wanted inside information about what was coming for them consulted the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle, who’d take a look on down the road in exchange for sumptuous gifts, specialized in cryptic outlooks . . . expressed in such a way as to confuse the recipient.

Example: About to go to war, King Croesus of Lydia posed a question to the Oracle: How would he fare? “If you attack, you will destroy a mighty kingdom,” the Oracle replied.

Filled with certainty, our hero waged his war – and saw his army destroyed. As it turned out, the Oracle was entirely correct; a kingdom did, indeed go away, but it was Lydia Croesus who lost his throne.

It’s possible that, today, without oracular confusion, we can get a clear glimpse of the electrical industry’s future. The future is pretty easy to see, if taken from a long view.

A Civilization That Babies Itself

It’s fair to say that we in the U.S. baby ourselves; of course, that’s the prerogative of the world’s only remaining superpower. We comprise less than 5% of the world’s population, and we use 25% or more of its resources (take that number near 50% for illegal narcotics).

No one can say we’re not entitled to allocate one-quarter of everything pulled out of the ground to ourselves. We spend roughly 50% of the dollars the planet Earth devotes to military expenditures. We’re the country that sends armed men and women to places in the world that are troubled. According to one recent tally, we have armed forces in 144 of the world’s countries; the U.N. has roughly 200 member nations.

As a result of our evolution as a consumer-driven economy and our economic, political, international, and military history . . . we rule. A major consequence of that is our ability to trade pieces of paper (or electronic bits) called dollars – backed by nothing whatsoever – for real goods.

It is absolutely insane to believe this will go on forever.

When The Shoe Drops . . .

At some point, we’ll get to work on trimming back our overallotment of resources to ourselves. Perhaps we 5% here will not immediately need to get by with only 5% of the world’s stuff at some near-term date; the adjustment would give us the bends – and wouldn’t be good for the rest of the world, either (as we’re the main customer for just about everyone).

But it’s probably unreasonable to believe that we’ll forever get to allocate 25% to ourselves. Maybe we’ll transition slowly from 25% of everything to 24% and 23% and 20% . . . and less, over time.

Perhaps the shift has already begun? Long-term developments can get a head of steam underway before anyone takes them seriously. Example: Think about how Bill Gates in the mid-1990s dismissed the Internet!

Even if we don’t know when we’ll have to scale consumption back, or change consumption patterns – or what the proximate causes will be – it seems fairly clear that ENERGY is the place where we’ll begin working on it. The reasons include:

There might or might not be a peak in global oil production hitting us now, or in a few years. Energy is likely to become more expensive over time.

Much of the world’s oil (and natural gas) reserves are sitting beneath pieces of geography run by people who, overtly or covertly, wish us dead. Consider: When we sent our armed forces in to save Saudi Arabia’s neck, the folks in charge of that country insisted that our female soldiers wear an excessive amount of clothing. Yes, they had their religious reasons; but if not for the United States, the Saudi family would have lost its country, its oil wells, and maybe many of the 4,000 princes would have died. Their way of saying “thank you” was to impose moronic conditions on women who came halfway across the planet to save their behinds. And those are our friends!

Whether humans caused global warming or merely contribute to trends that have been in place for millions of years, we clearly need to do what we can to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere. The fact that 2006 was the warmest year on record (of the past 112) certainly is increasing concerns.

There are other reasons, but let’s leave it there.

Remaking Our Energy Use 

What’s more, the U.S. already has started on a logical approach to energy consumption.

1.      Increased use of nuclear power is under discussion. If you have mixed feelings on this, join the club. Problems associated with using this “home-grown” resource may have solutions, however. 

2.      Increased experimentation and use of alternative energy options are underway. Rich venture capitalists (such as Vinod Khosla) are talking about using switchgrass to make ethanol, etc.

3.      Relatively little crude oil is used these days to generate electricity. That wasn’t the case a short while ago.

4.      There are efforts to make burning coal less of a problem for things that inhale air (look up CCS).

5.      There’s a lot of discussion – and even action! – about building specialized facilities to handle imported liquefied natural gas. That’s a part of the solution.

There’s more that could be added to that list.

Some of what you may hear about the energy-efficiency improvements in America in the past 30 years is totally bogus. You will read and hear a lot about how we’re a lot more energy efficient these days, as energy consumes half of the percentage of GDP that it did in the 1970s (today it’s 4% of GDP, vs. 8% then). What’s missing from that equation is the nature of GDP. We made a lot more things in 1972. Where we once produced machinery that we exported in big numbers to boost output, computer disks are now a significant product.

Another fact is that the U.S. just doesn’t use electricity in a smart way.

What This Means To You

Regular readers of this column might recognize a tint of “gloom and doom” in what’s above. Unfortunately, a reality-based view of our country’s prospects isn’t encouraging. When 5% of any marketplace – in this case, the planet – uses 25% of that market’s resources, it’s not “rocket science” to project a correction.

While no one can know the timing, things appear precarious right now. Reliable data (which I’ve seen in several places) shows that if one subtracts the effects of “mortgage equity withdrawal” from U.S. GDP, our annual growth in the past five years has averaged about 1%.

It’s reasonable to believe that we can’t sustain these trends forever . . . neither the 5/25 relationship, nor the borrowing-to-spend mania. The predictions above might be realistic. One big (unanswerable) question is – will the transition to using a lower percentage of the world’s resources be painful . . . or will it occur without misery?

It’s interesting to think that a future time of confusion and reduced consumption in the U.S. might actually redound to the benefit of electrical distributors. Distributors are in great position to help the nation cope with a constrained future, no matter what shape it comes . . . and to profit thereby.

If using energy more efficiently will be a priority in the future, a certain type of electrical distributor is going to find the future very lucrative.

If a lot of power plants – using nuclear and other non-petroleum inputs – are to be built in the coming years, many electrical distributors are facing the prospect of gains on several fronts. One of these is supplying the materials for such plants, of course! The other is helping electrical contractors cope with the drain on the workforce that’s caused by significant amounts of power plant construction.

Should a skilled electrician shortage be a part of the future (accompanied by energy supply and price problems, or not!), distributors who can adapt to their customers’ new productivity-oriented needs will see a potential goldmine. Count me in on this one; we’re already seeing serious evidence of a shortage of skilled electrical workers.

As the economic environment shifts, owners of buildings will spend less time thinking about “flipping” them. Owners will look for ways to reduce energy use and provide technological upgrades to make their structures as “current” as those recently built. So there’s a kicker to the energy story here, too.

All this adds up to one thing: Owning a company that does electrical distribution – provided you and your people are adaptable, flexible, and responsive – could be really satisfying in the future . . . even if some of the “gloom and doom” stuff above actually comes to pass!

http://www.tedmag.com/webnews/TEDWeeklyColumn.asp?showtype=ted

Reprinted with full Permission of Ted Magazine 2007


NFPA Board Of Directors Appoints Four To Standards Council

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) board of directors has appointed four new members to the Association’s Standards Council. They are: James W. Carpenter of Plano, TX; Ronald R. Farr of Otsego, MI; Roland J. Huggins of Dallas, TX ; and Fred M. Leber of Toronto, Canada.

All appointments were effective January 1, 2007.

Carpenter is the CEO and executive director of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors and is the chair of NFPA’s Technical Correlating Committee of the National Electrical Code®. He most recently served as chief electrical engineer and state electrical inspector for the North Carolina Department of Insurance where he has over 20 years experience as an electrical inspector in North Carolina during which he administered and consulted on the requirements of the state electrical code.

Huggins, vice president of engineering and technical services for the American Fire Sprinkler Association, directs a staff charged with providing technical support. His responsibilities include directing activities of over 30 AFSA representatives on 28 technical committees in the NFPA codes and standards process. National activities include: chair of NFPA’s Building Fire Safety Systems section, on the National Fire Protection Research Foundation Research Advisory Council for Suppression Systems and a variety of their research projects, the UL Standards Technical Panel responsible for eight UL test standards, and the SFPE task group that developed the Performance Based Design Guide.  Huggins is a Vietnam-era veteran.

Leber is co-founder and chief executive officer of Leber/Rubes, Inc., a consulting engineering firm offering fire protection engineering services. During his 30 years in the fire protection and security industry, he gained expertise in large scale electronic and mechanical systems application, early warning fire detection systems and special hazard applications engineering.

Leber chairs several technical committees, is a fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and Canadian Chair of ISO/TC21 and ISO/TC21/SC3.

Farr, fire chief/fire marshal in Kalamazoo Township, Michigan, has nearly 40 years of experience with the fire service and is chair of NFPA’s Technical Committee on Uniform Fire Code. In 2002, he served as deputy director of the Olympic Fire Marshals Task Group for the Winter Olympics in the Park City, Utah area. Farr is a past president of the International Fire Marshals Association, past president and current secretary/treasurer of Michigan Fire Inspectors Society and a former recipient of the NFPA President’s Award and the IFMA Percy Bugbee Award.

NFPA's Standards Council is made up of 13 individuals appointed by the NFPA Board of Directors. The Council’s primary responsibility is to oversee the development activities of NFPA codes and standards, administer the rules and regulations, and serve as an appeals body.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. www.nfpa.org


Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine Offers A Powerful Editorial Calendar for 2007

Make sure your subscription to CI&M does not lapse. Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine offers a powerful Editorial Calendar for 2007. Stay current on the latest and greatest with this magazine.

http://downloads.pennnet.com/pnet/advertisinginfo/cim/2007/cim07_editorialcalendar.pdf

PennWell provides business-to-business information and events for the oil & gas, electric power, water, electronics, semiconductor, contamination control, optoelectronics, fiber optics, enterprise storage, information technology, fire, EMS, and dental markets. http://cim.pennnet.com


Data Loss Prevention At The 'endpoint' Now Top Priority For IT Security

Data loss prevention vendor Vontu Inc. today announced the results of a new survey conducted by Forrester Consulting.

Entitled Data Loss Prevention and Endpoint Security: Survey Findings, the report reveals that most companies have lost confidential data through removable media such as USB drives in the past two years.

Data loss via USB drives and other removable media is now the top concern for endpoint security, ahead of Trojans, spyware and other threats.

The survey also finds that most information security decision makers have specifically allocated 2007 budget to pursue endpoint data loss prevention and are currently investigating solutions.

The findings were based on an online survey of 151 decision-makers at North American companies with annual revenues of more than US$200 million.

Upwards of 59% of the respondents came from enterprises with more than US$1 billion in revenue.

Respondents were asked about their concerns, priorities, current implementations, and plans regarding data loss prevention and endpoint security.


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