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Wireville.com

Issue: June 2006
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

Hurricanes 2006 – Predictions and Preparations

The official Atlantic hurricane season started June 1, 2006

The 2006 Hurricane Season forecast this year is highlighting the region from the Carolinas northeast as the prime area for above-normal risk of impact from hurricane activity. While the Carolina coast has seen direct hurricane landfalls several times since the start of the current multi-decadal cycle in 1995 (Bertha and Fran in 1996, Bonnie in 1998, Floyd in 1999 and Isabel in 2003), Long Island and southeastern New England have escaped a hurricane strike. Other areas at elevated risk are the Gulf Coast from central Louisiana westward, especially early in the season, with an eye toward the southwest Florida Gulf coast later in the season. The only good news is that this pattern suggests a significantly reduced risk, relative to normal, for the eastern and central Gulf Coast - an area hit by four named storms last season, two of which were major hurricanes. The initial landfall forecast is for three major (Category 3 or greater) hurricane hits this year on the United States coast, two hurricanes of Category 2 or less and one tropical storm - a total of six storms making landfall.

The National Hurricane Center says the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than average, but won’t see last year’s record numbers. 

Meteorologists said water in the Atlantic is not as warm as it was at this time in 2005, meaning potential storms would have less of the fuel needed to develop into hurricanes.  Scientists said it is unclear if atmospheric conditions that helped produce the 2005 storms will happen again this year, but the Pacific Ocean water conditions known as El Nino and La Nina will not affect the season.

NAMED STORMS

  2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
Prediction
9 – 13
11 – 15
12 – 15
12 – 15
13 – 16
Actual
12
16
15
28
?

HARM’S WAY

34.6 Million:

Estimated 7-1-05, population of the area most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes – the coastal areas of the states stretching from North Carolina to Texas. At that time, 12% of the nation’s population resided in those areas.

13.7 Million:

Estimated 2005 coastal population of Florida. Another 4 million Floridians live inland, but would not necessarily be out of danger. The coastal population of Florida is about half the coastal population of the states stretching from North Carolina to Texas.

487 Percent:

Percentage growth of Florida’s coastal population between 1950 and 2000. Among the states along the coast between North Carolina and Texas, Florida had the highest rate of growth in its coastal population over that period.

2006 Storm Names

Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debbie, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie, and William.

Increase in Major Hurricanes Linked to Warmer Seas

"We're not saying that global warming is causing there to be more intense hurricanes,” said study author Peter Webster of Georgia Tech. "What we're saying is that sea surface temperatures are rising, and the intensity of hurricanes is associated with that. The warmer the sea surface temperature, the more intense the hurricanes."

As a hurricane builds up energy, it feeds off heat from the water. As water heats up, it turns into water vapor. As water vapor rises, it cools, condenses into rain, and releases heat that fuels the hurricane. The higher the vapor rises, the more heat is released, and the more intense the storm.

From their data, Webster and his colleagues determined that global sea surface temperatures have increased by half a degree Celsius since 1970. As a result, waters worldwide are primed for making hurricanes.

"Hurricane fuel, so to speak, is water vapor that rises from the surface. Small increases in sea surface temperature give you rapidly more vapor, making hurricanes more intense," Webster said.

While most scientists agree that global sea surface temperatures have increased, they don't all agree on what drives this change. One school of thought is that long-term variability of ocean temperatures drives the change, and that right now the oceans are in a warm phase unrelated to climate change.

"The other is global warming," Webster said. "We thought the way to test both hypotheses was to look at global sea surface temperature statistics."

If natural variability is the cause of rising sea surface temperatures, different sea surface temperature patterns would occur in the different ocean basins because of variations in the atmosphere above them. However, Webster and his colleagues found fairly uniform temperature changes around the globe, leading them to believe this change is due to global warming.

"We found that the sea surface temperature has risen 0.5 degrees Celsius in all basins since 1970," Webster said. "If it is due to natural variation, it must be something that's a global trend, but we don't know what that could be yet."

While warm water temperatures fuel hurricanes, a storm then cools down the sea surface. It is nature's way of moving energy from the tropics northward and dumping it, as rain, in places like the United States.

"The only way you can supply energy is by cooling the surface. You take low energy water and make high-energy water vapor. In doing so, you cool the ocean surface," Webster said. "Hurricanes are very effective at taking energy out of the ocean."

As the hurricane builds up, it pulls more and more water vapor away from the sea surface, releasing more heat as it does so. In addition to cooling the water this way, the intense hurricane winds also mix cool water from the deep with warmer surface water.

Fewer total hurricanes

So if warmer sea surface temperatures lead to an increase in intense hurricanes, why has there been a decrease in the total number of hurricanes in this same period?

"We don't have a simple theory to explain that one, as we do with hurricane intensity, but there may be a relationship," Judith Curry, also of Georgia Tech and a study co-author said yesterday in a teleconference, adding that the intense hurricanes may hinder the formation of other hurricanes by removing so much heat from the ocean.

Scientists have long known that when one tropical storm follows the same path as a previous hurricane, it is less likely to grow strong.

Another observation of the study was that the global number of hurricane days has steadily been decreasing. In 1995 there were 870 hurricane and tropical storm days worldwide, but in 2003 that number dropped to 600.

For now, scientists don't know what mechanism caused the decrease to happen, but they say future research and data collection will, hopefully, help them figure it out.

"The decrease in the number of hurricanes and the decrease in the number of hurricane days correspond almost exactly to when the number of intense hurricanes increase," Webster said. "There must be something monumental that will come along and kick us in the shin to help us understand that."

###

Hurricane Damage – 9 Months Later

The government agency responsible for assessing such things as damage to oil and gas infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico (or GOM, as the agency calls it) caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, has issued a new report.

"Based on additional industry assessments, investigations, and reports, the number of pipelines damaged has risen to 457 from 183. The number of larger-diameter pipelines (10 inches or greater) that were damaged has risen to 101 from 64. Third-two have returned to service versus the previous number of 22."

That’s from a Minerals Management Services report. MMS says it overestimated the number of platforms destroyed – it was 113, not 115.

Should there be additional hurricanes in the GOM, check out www.mms.gov.

Be sure to read "DISASTER AFTER THE DISASTER" Article by Jeff Griffin in the May 2006 issue of Electrical Contractor Magazine. www.ecmag.com. All is not well in post-Katrina Nawlins'.

###

The critical role of the communications service provider is never more apparent than in the post disaster period after a major widespread event, like a hurricane. Last year, Hurricane Katrina was a huge wake-up call to the public. These disasters tend to unravel the fragile infrastructure of the affected area as well as the entire country.

Employers should ensure that their employees are well informed on the proper preparations for a hurricane. The employee’s family is priority #1, and the company’s ability to function after the hurricane is secondary. Many other businesses will depend upon the communications contractor to restore their communications and IT systems as quickly as possible. Some obvious attention should be placed on specific inventory needs to the individual customers. Stocking (circuit cards, connectors, cable, phones, etc.) to match the customer’s needs is an optional preparation that the customer may wish to finance.

Recently, several television programs have revisited the 2005 hurricane season, with particular emphasis on the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Katrina. Also, several other shows have portrayed possible mega-disasters like a major hurricane hitting New York City. These scenarios are not out of the realm of probability. One broadcast stated that the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have increased 56% during the last 35 years. During this same period of time, the sea level has also risen. Storm surge is a major threat to coastal communities. Be prepared. Safety is too important to ignore.

But that’s just my opinion,


Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
www.wireville.com
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 offfice
(904) 645-9058 fax
frank@wireville.com

Fiber Optic Cabling Is The Way To Go

INTRO: "I have touted using fiber optics for years because of its high-speed capacity, now it also appears to be the more cost-effective way to go for network infrastructure," observes James Carlini.

Copper is dead. Repeat after me. Copper is dead. Evidently that mantra is not shared by some analysts on Wall Street who if they "really" knew the telecommunications business, they would be questioning the strategy of building more copper-dependent network infrastructure. Basic costs for materials have skyrocketed.

The cost of many raw materials has shot up dramatically in the last year and some as recent as the last couple of months (See Charts below). According to a May 2006 CSC (Communications Supply Corporation) newsletter that focused on the cost of communications cabling:

In particular, copper (Comex) prices have increased by over ninety-two cents ($0.92) per pound since the beginning of April with price increases sometimes approaching twenty cents ($0.20) per day. To put this in perspective; copper prices increased seventy-five cents ($0.75) in all of 2005. This equates to a 58% increase in copper since January of 2006 and a 138% increase since January of 2005!

For the moment, there is no stopping copper and looking ahead there seems to be nothing to derail it. Worldwide copper consumption will exceed production in 2006 by 100,000 tons according to a BaseMetals.com report. The biggest reason for world copper supply tightness and sky-high prices continues to be China, where industrial and urbanization have been underway all decade.

Patricia Mohr, vice president with Scotia Bank, said that recent data suggest that the combined copper stored in Comex, London Metal Exchange (LME) and Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses are considered to be around a 3.6-day global supply. This figure is near the low end of its recent range of 2.8 days in 2004 and could reach that range once again by year's end. Continued strikes and natural disasters across the globe are also contributing to further disruptions to copper output. Output has been lost during a month long stoppage at the La Caridad mine, owned by Grupo Mexico SA. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said that variations in the richness of deposits at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia led to a decline of a 1/3 in first quarter production from the site, which is the world's second largest copper mine.

THE BET THAT MADE NO SENSE

There was a bet made several years ago by some network engineers, cabling companies, equipment manufacturers and corporate strategists at carriers that speeds on copper would be increased and faster network speeds could be easily achieved on existing copper infrastructure. There was no need to upgrade to fiber. To me, that was a dumb bet.

My argument has always been, no matter how much you can squeeze on copper, you can do so much more with fiber.  If you are building a new campus or single building, put in fiber optics as the communications network infrastructure transmission media.  That will be the transmission media that matches the lifespan of the building.

This argument goes back over a good decade and some heeded it as others continued using obsolete rules-of-thumb for cabling infrastructure design.

Frank Bisbee, the publisher of Wireville.com, a monthly newsletter said, “If you thought the prices at the gas pump were shocking, you will be stunned by the price increases on copper-based cabling.”

He said that several manufacturers explained that the petroleum cost increases were finding their way through to the cost of the resins for jackets and insulation on cabling. 

Adding to those additional cost burdens, the cable manufacturers are facing a

skyrocketing set of price increases on copper itself.  One manufacturer said that

the price for copper has shot up more than 22% in the last 3 weeks.  And it's not over, according to Bisbee.  He got this from one of his suppliers:

We have reluctantly been forced to increase prices on all

Cat 3, Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables. The new prices go into affect immediately.

Unfortunately, the manufacturers are raising prices almost continually, and therefore, our prices will be subject to these changes. Some manufacturers are reviewing prices weekly! Prices may continue to increase. General Cable, one of our suppliers and one of the largest in the world, made the following announcement. "With copper rising at a much more accelerated pace, we must shift our pricing policies to recover these costs more quickly. In order to manage this incredible volatility of copper prices, we will adjust pricing on a weekly basis until copper resumes the steadier path. We are trying to keep product prices as stable as possible, so we will only adjust weekly product prices for every $0.10 increase in Comex. These determinations will be made every Friday at 1PM EST.”

Bisbee thinks that for many contractors and new facilities developments, fiber optic solutions have reached parity with the high-end copper-based UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) alternative.  This new round of major cost increases that has been added on to UTP will have many network designers reappraising their cabling infrastructure designs and calculating that fiber optic cabling may be the new "best answer.” 

Each cabling infrastructure job should be evaluated individually but one message is universal; the price of copper cabling may continue to spiral upward.

CARLINI-ISM:   If you are building a new facility, you should be looking at wireless and fiber optics as your transmission media, not copper.

Copyright 2006 – James Carlini

Check out www.carliniscomments.com JAMES CARLINI’s BLOG.

Preformed Line Products Plays Major Role In Historic American Electric Power Transmission Line

Preformed Line Products Company (PLP), a major supplier to the energy industry, played an instrumental role in the construction of the nation's largest power line project scheduled for completion in a few weeks.

PLP supplied four products used in American Electric Power's Wyoming- Jacksons Ferry transmission line located in West Virginia and Virginia. When completed in June, the $306 million, 90-mile transmission line will connect power stations in Wyoming County, W. Va. and Wythe County, Va.

The 765,000-volt line was constructed by Columbus-based AEP to address a growing customer demand in its West Virginia and Virginia service territory. To help reduce audible noise from the line, the project line uses a six-bundle conductor configuration, the first of its kind used at this voltage in North America. PLP is one of two suppliers who produce a product that makes that configuration possible by holding the line in a hexagon configuration.

AEP dedicated its transmission line today in a special ceremony near Wytheville, Va. PLP officials were present for the ceremony.

"We are extremely proud to have played such an important role in the construction of this transmission line," said Rob Ruhlman, chairman and chief executive officer of Preformed Line Products. "Transmission lines of this type are crucial in meeting the future energy needs of Americans and we salute American Electric Power for its foresight and perseverance in completing this tremendous project."

The transmission line, which crosses rugged mountain terrain, strikes the right balance between providing much-needed electric capacity and protecting the environment. The line utilizes breakthrough technology to make it more efficient while reducing audible noise levels.

PLP has a worldwide reputation for making innovative products for the support and protection of power line conductors.

Among the four products provided by PLP is its CUSHION-GRIP(TM) Spacer Damper, which holds six conductors in place between the towers along the transmission line.

These 30-inch diameter spacer dampers, which are located 200 feet apart along the line, play an important role in protecting the transmission line from wind and other elements. The spacer damper separates the six sub- conductors in the span between the towers. The damping element in the joint between the frame and the arms greatly reduces damaging conductor motions that are created by the wind. Elastomer inserts in the clamps protect the conductor from bending stresses and wear.

PLP also furnished its VARI-GRIP(TM) Dead-end and Big-Grip Dead-end products. Both are used in anchoring transmission towers to the ground. The VARI-GRIP Dead-end provides "full-strength" termination of strands used to guy the V-type structures to the ground. These are the largest and strongest dead- end products in the industry. The Big-Grip Dead-end provides a temporary anchoring to help put the guy wires in place. Three-quarters of the towers are guyed towers and quite suitable for the rugged terrain of Virginia and West Virginia.

The fourth product -- the BIRD FLIGHT(TM) Diverter - addresses an important environmental concern, protecting birds that might fly into the transmission line. With the diverter attached to the line, birds are more likely to avoid hitting them in flight. The overhead shield wires, which rest atop the towers to divert lightning strikes, are smaller than the power lines and are often not visible to birds in flight. The diverters are placed 15 feet apart on the shield wires and have proven to be very effective.

The four products were made at PLP's plants in North Carolina, Arkansas and Brazil. www.preformed.com

Snake Tray® Introduces Mega SnakeTM, A High Capacity Cable Tray

Snake Tray® is proud to announce Mega SnakeÔ, our new high capacity cable tray for overhead applications.  Mega Snake’s unique design can convey thousands of cables for large cable runs. The Snake RailÔ, a built-in suspension system, requires no brackets and allows for random placement of the hanging rod system.  The Snake RailÔ can seamlessly interface with other size Snake Trays as well as patch panels, strain relief and fiber optic pass over devices.  Onsite fabrication of turns, tees and cross sections are no longer required with our pre-manufactured components. Mega SnakeÔ is the first large sized cable tray to be built that nests together for cost effective shipping and easy onsite handling.  www.snaketray.com

Working Up A Sweat Over Power Consumption

“Is it warm in here, or is it just me?” If servers could talk, and if that were the question posed by one of them in a typical data center, the simple answer would be “Yes.” Not only is it getting warmer wherever lots of equipment is clustered, but just about every device is part of the problem. The bottom line—literally and figuratively—is that it is getting incredibly expensive to keep that equipment cool.

Earth Day notwithstanding, forget about Global Warming: Equipment Warming may be the more severe environmental problem, when it’s your network on the line. In the past year, some eye-popping cost figures have been overlaid on the issue of equipment cooling needs.

It can cost close to $9,000 to keep one high-end server properly cooled for a year. That was the amount calculated by the analyst firm IDC, which issued a report on the subject several months ago. If that sounds bad enough, consider that IDC researched its report  before the hurricane-triggered increases in the costs of fuels. The analysts pegged the annual electric bill for U.S. data centers at $3.3 billion.

For some companies, the cost of maintaining their equipment’s environment is exceeding the cost of the equipment itself. It can be a tremendous drain on departmental budgets, robbing communications/IT departments of dollars that could be used in much more productive ways.

The problem has been compounded in the last several years because of the increased density of equipment. When you can put the networking equivalent of an entire server on a single blade, it may be a great technical accomplishment, but unfortunately power consumption doesn’t get shrunk by the same proportions. Pack a lot of this more powerful equipment into a given space, and the heat waves just roll out of it.

We hate to just whine about things, without looking for some silver lining in the cloud. It’s just our optimistic nature. So we are happy to tell you that there is progress being made. Just as technology giveth (heat in this case), technology is also finding ways to taketh away.

Solutions are showing up in the form of more power-efficient processors, and vendors are starting to offer equipment in different electricity-consuming grades so you can opt for “greener” equipment. That is on the heat-producing side. On the cooling side, such developments as water chillers for improved cooling capacity, software tools enabling better designs for equipment placement in data centers, and integrated blades with cooling technology are coming onto the market.

Just as people get lethargic when the temperature climbs, so does our computing and network equipment. This may be one more concern to add to all the other things you and your department have to worry about—but just be sure not to blow your cool.

This article, written by Kevin Tanzillo of Dux PR (kevin@duxpr.com) first appeared in the April 2006 ACUTA eNews. Republished with permission from the author and ACUTA (http://www.acuta.org).

Expert Tech Witnesses Needed To Make Complex Technology Simple

Carlini’s Comments, ePrairie’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common mans view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of pseudo experts.

As more issues become disputed in municipal rights of way, SEC compliance and other technology-based arguments, the side with the best litigation support will win. In cases involving technology, the trick is to make the complex technology simple rather than making the simple technology complex, writes adjunct Northwestern professor James Carlini.

The importance of having an expert witness is becoming more of a key element for defense as well as offense in cases and disputes involving technology, regulatory issues and certain criminal cases that are intertwined with elements of technology.

Many people like watching the television show CSI because it is interesting and it sometimes presents the views of expert witnesses as they offer complex evidence to a jury. The reality in civil cases that involve technology issues is that the contested issue often never goes to trial and is settled out of court.

In civil and federal cases involving technology, the reviews and presentation of expert opinions can become complex.

The trick is to get someone who can sort out all the information, put it into a concise report and explain everything in an apples-and-oranges comparison. This is hugely important because the average judge, jurist, public utility commission member and even many lawyers do not understand the depth of technology being disputed.

Due to the nature of technology and networks, the disputed costs usually go into the millions of dollars. There also have been wrongful death cases like one I was on involving a man calling 911 and getting a recorded message saying he was dialing an invalid number. In that case, the municipality paid out a seven-figure settlement because someone didn’t do his or her job in making sure a database had all the addresses in it.

If there is a network or system failure, patent infringement or project dispute, chances are it is a multimillion-dollar lawsuit sometimes with a countersuit. When there are millions of dollars on the table, both sides are eager to sweep it up and claim it is rightfully theirs. Having an edge to win the decision is paramount.

Win, Place or Show

Those who pride themselves on being able to snow someone with their technical jargon and all their certificates are not the ones you want describing your dispute to a legal or regulatory entity. You will lose in court because the judge and jury will fail to comprehend your side of the case.

Tip: Get someone who can understand and then explain your complex system or network infrastructure in everyday terms.

One of the most high-pressure meetings I was ever in was at a racetrack with an owner, CFO and legal counsel reviewing a satellite-based initiative they were financing. They wanted to ensure they were moving in the right direction on a project under dispute that included selling off their excess satellite bandwidth with financial companies to transmit their market data.

Unfortunately, their consultant set them up with a level of service that would not be acceptable to the financial and brokerage companies.

Trying to explain the technical service levels and their associated costs would not have been successful. Instead, I said at the last minute: “Just like you, people in the financial and brokerage area like to go with winners. On the service level of satellites, there are three levels just like win, place and show. You have show.”

At that point, all the racetrack executives understood and decided the project was not feasible.

If they went with the higher service, there would be no profitability in the venture. Giving a concise summary that everyone around the table could understand made it possible for them to make a tough decision that immediately cut their expenditures on a project that would not have gone anywhere. The strategic partnership ended at that moment.

The same principles apply to developing testimonies for legal disputes. You must have someone who can look at the situation, pick out the relevant information and then craft it into a concise and convincing presentation to strengthen the legal argument.

In computer forensics or technology forensics, that includes communication networks. Services, information and data needed for evidence has to be processed correctly.

There are five steps in the process of forensics as applied to technology:

1.    Collection
2.    Preservation
3.    Analysis
4.    Presentation
5.    Archiving

In the collection process, something as innocuous as shutting down a computer could actually damage the evidence you want to preserve. According to forensics author Christopher L.T. Brown: “Almost 50 files are changed in some way on each boot of the Windows XP operating system and five or more new files are created.”

It is critical to understand these nuances when going about collecting and preserving information. If your company has gotten into a lawsuit or has received an audit from the SEC, you should get someone who understands the collection and preservation process from a litigation standpoint. You shouldn’t get your systems administrator.

Another reason to get someone from outside your organization is that people on the inside might part of the criminal activity. In the case of a false bomb threat at a school, the “inside people” didn’t understand the capabilities of the payphone technology. They were trying to hang a student with a felony he did not commit.

This incident happened three weeks before Columbine. The school administrators wanted to make an example out of this student who turned out to do nothing wrong. The student just reported suspicious activity to the principal as he should have. The school administrators came to a wrong conclusion about a payphone’s ability to accept incoming calls.

While a sticker on the phone said it could not, in fact it could accept incoming calls. Before investigating the facts, they decided this was just a senior prank to get people out of the building early. They wanted to prosecute this senior for fabricating the story. The bottom line is he stuck to his story and even took a polygraph test. We also proved that the payphone could accept incoming calls. The charges were dismissed.

Tip: Do not listen to all the “experts” at your company or your vendor. Get a second opinion that’s objective. Get it fast.

Lawyers Are Not Technologists

Lawyers need help in gathering, reviewing and analyzing information as well as presenting complex arguments dealing with technology. The good ones understand that and will seek out expert witnesses who can help in several ways. There are different areas through which lawyers become more effective by using an expert witness:

1.    Developing a list of what is needed for defending or prosecuting a case
2.    Researching relevant information and building a report
3.    Pointing out critical information and how it relates to the case
4.    Developing questions to ask the opposition
5.    Prioritizing the data and electronic “artifacts” for inclusion as evidence
6.    Developing the presentation of that evidence
7.    Developing and delivering testimony
8.    Reviewing and analyzing the opposition’s testimony
9.    Providing testimony and exhibits that support the legal arguments

Carlinism: The use of expert witnesses in technology cases can only enhance the strength of the argument. In cases involving technology, the trick is to make the complex technology simple rather than making the simple technology complex.

Check out the blog of James Carlini at http://www.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.

DYMO Industrial Launches New RhinoPRO Colored Vinyl Labels

Proper labeling and identification has never been so important.  From commercial applications to our homes, people today rely more heavily on electronic portable label printers than ever before. With advances in factory and home automation, high density data and multi-gigabit applications, color coding has become an increasingly important way to differentiate advanced services. For this reason, DYMO Industrial, a worldwide leader in portable label printing has introduced new colored vinyl labels as an extension of its already wide array of RhinoPRO Industrial labels.

Color coding gives users a better visual recognition of critical, even life-line services. These labels are ideal for fire and life safety applications, broadcast facilities, CATV headends, mission critical data centers, Telco central offices as well as outside plant applications and of course traditional applications like patch panels and wire and cable marking.  Vibrant colors – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and White – make them clearly recognizable and have the added benefit of being usable in outdoor environments due to their resistance to direct UV light. And, like all RhinoPRO labels, the printing on the RhinoPRO Vinyl labels won’t ever smudge or fade.

“Today’s advanced business applications often require color coding to differentiate services” said Doug Waldal, Global Director of the DYMO Industrial Business Unit.  “With the new RhinoPRO colored vinyl labels, we’ve given users that and much more.  They now have the ability to accurately and confidently label their work with the assurance that the labels will stick and last. We’ve teamed the most economical, most user-friendly and feature rich printers – the RhinoPRO 5000 and the RhinoPRO 3000 – with the highest performing colored vinyl labels on the market for a solution that is unmatched.”

The new RhinoPRO Colored Vinyl Labels are the latest in a complete line of professional labels designed for today’s installation professionals. The vinyl label labels now join the RhinoPRO labeling family of Flexible Nylon, Permanent Polyester, Metallized Permanent Polyester as well as Heat Shrink Tubing – a unique offering in printers at this price range. RhinoPRO Colored Vinyl Labels are available now in three sizes: 3/8”, 1/2", & 3/4” as well as five colors Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and White.  They work in both the RhinoPRO 5000 and the RhinoPRO 3000.

Vinyl labels retail from $15.99 - $17.99, and the RhinoPRO 3000 and RhinoPRO 5000 retail for $99.99 and $149.99 respectively.  All are available now through your local distributor.  For more information please visit www.rhinolabeling.com.

TFM Forum - An Event Developed To Streamline The Purchase Of Volume Facility Management Solutions:

Dear Facility Executive,

I invite you to participate as an attendee at the inaugural TFM Forum at the exquisite Château Élan in Atlanta, Georgia on October 24-26, 2006. This event will deliver an intimate gathering of facility executives for candid discussion, informative workshops, think tanks and informal networking with leading industry suppliers.

Endorsed by TFM magazine this strategic buying event was designed for facility executives like you faced with the challenge of high volume purchasing of products and services for your organization. This complimentary event, which includes deluxe accommodations, meals, and ground transportation in Atlanta, will provide just the right atmosphere of sophistication and remote serenity to foster a conducive atmosphere for the discussion of any upcoming new construction or renovation projects that you may be working on.

Fill out a delegate application form today at: http://www.tfmforum.com/facilityExecutiveApplication.htm

The TFM magazine editors have designed a program that will provide you with strategic and practical information that will help you select the right solutions for your organization.  Below are some of the high level keynotes, seminars, and think tanks that will be presented at the inaugural event:

Opening Keynote:

* Personal Best: Achieving FM Excellence

Closing Keynote:

* Shaping The Future Of Facility Management: An Interactive Working Session

Seminars/Workshops/Think Tanks:

* Budgeting for Effective Facilities

* High Performance, High Technology Workplaces=High Performance Facilities

* Becoming Best In Class: Gain Greater Customer Connectivity by Differentiating Service 

   Delivery Systems

* Ergonomics: How It Influences Employee Retention and Productivity Levels

* Mission Critical Facilities: Designing Them And Protecting Them

* Technology and the Business of Facility Management

* Making A Business Case for Facilities Management: Talking to the C-Suites

* Facility Security

* HVAC & IAQ: Legal and Financial Issues

* Why Be Sustainable? Evaluating the Case for High Performance Buildings

If you're the decision maker who is responsible for purchasing products and services for your organization, you cannot afford to miss The TFM Forum.

Fill out a delegate application form today at: http://www.tfmforum.com/facilityExecutiveApplication.htm

While you're at The TFM Forum, you'll enjoy complimentary deluxe accommodations at the Château Élan Winery and Resort in Atlanta, GA, gourmet meals, access to the spa, and an incredible educational experience that will save you time and potentially thousands of dollars. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to network with other Facility Executives in charge of their company's new construction and/or renovation projects.

I look forward to seeing you in October

Sincerely,

Susan Coene

President

TFM Forum

www.TFMForum.com

P.S.   Space is limited for this invitation only event.  Please fill out your application form today and find out if you qualify for the inaugural TFM Forum at the exquisite Château Élan in Atlanta, Georgia.

Computer Estimating by Mike Holt May 2006

In today’s construction industry, the use of computers for estimating is commonplace. So common in fact, anyone planning a career as an electrical estimator better plan on developing an expertise in using computers - especially estimating software. As the cheapest computers today are very fast and powerful, the computer itself is no longer a focus point: the primary focus is and will forever be the software.

Incredible advances in estimating software have improved the estimating process greatly. These programs allow estimators to increase the number of bids, hone their accuracy, create consistency, improve project management, improve the purchase and control of materials, and better the company’s bottom line. Some programs are now capable of actually doing the counting and estimating for you. There are even programs that will assist an estimator with design criteria and learning the NEC.

Today’s estimators must possess total control of the software. For this, they will need to develop strong visualization skills. Visualization skills allow the estimator to see their desired output from the software. This will allow them to input the information correctly to achieve the desired, successful output.

Even with all this super-technology, one element of estimating remains and is still required: the estimator and his or her knowledge of electrical installations. This can and never will be replaced by a machine and software. It is the merging, or interface, of the two that today’s estimator must master.

8.01 Myths and Truths

Myth: Computerized estimates are more accurate than those done the old, by hand method.

Truth: Any estimate, done by hand or with the use of a computer, is only as good as the estimator who makes and reviews it.

Computer assisted estimates are not necessarily more complete or more accurate than a “by hand” estimate. Both types of estimates are deeply affected by a simple formula: Quality in = Quality out.

It doesn’t matter how good the software is, or how large the database. If the material items in the database are not priced; or if the labor items are incorrectly labored (or worse – they have no labor values at all); or if you simply fail to make correct entries; or use the wrong database – your estimates can carry the potential to be highly flawed. A highly flawed estimate is either too low or too high. Either way the company loses. It is the estimator’s primary job to know if the estimate is right.

Myth: Computerized estimates take less time than those done the old, by hand way.

Truth: This is a slight myth. Most computer assisted estimates can be completed in less time, but they can often take longer. Again, it depends on the estimator. What his ‘take-off and entry style’ is or what the company’s take-off policies are. There are many variables when using computers. These variables give you the choice of how fast or slow you want to be and when.

A standard estimate has 2 primary stages – take-off and extension.

During the take-off stage, using software can often be a slower process than the older, simpler method of counting symbols and writing the totals down on a paper spreadsheet. The interface with software requires additional time and effort to find or build the right items or assemblies in the database. The proper breakout location must be assigned and set prior to entry. A “count entry” function is required. This requires typing in and/or clicking a button for the correct value entry. This is a lot of work compared to hand writing a symbol or note and then placing a figure underneath it.

Where the speed differential occurs is primarily after the take-off stage is done and all the entry is complete. This is the time of extension.

It is in this single function that the computer absolutely, without mercy defeats the old “by hand” method. The old method requires a very detailed write-up and expansion of the counted items. A light fixture, for example, may have 7-10 individual components which need to be written down, along with their associated material prices and labor units. Then these values need to be calculated against the quantities and sub-totals need to be entered for each. After all this, final totals need to be summed up. This takes a great deal of time, effort, accuracy and hand strength. After all this, it is likely that someone else will need to double-check the extensions for accuracy. Imagine the time required to complete this process on a bid that has 3 or more Bid Form items. Worse, imagine what has to be done if something changes or you find a mistake - after you create these final extensions.

With computer estimating software, the extension phase becomes a simple selection of take-off entries and the desired report format. Then a simple push of a button starts the calculations. The computer does the rest with more accuracy and speed than any human or even a large group of humans ever could.

8.02 Advantages and Benefits

The Estimator is still in control

A computer and estimating software are simply estimating tools. They are only as efficient as the estimator – the one responsible for telling the computer what to do. Even with the latest technology of CAD Estimating programs which interface digital drawings and the computer estimating database, allowing the computer to count the electrical designs - the estimator still plays the most vital role by controlling what is counted, entered, calculated and extended.

Today’s engineers have the technology to design electrical installations in 3D using high-powered software and computers. Imagine these 3D designs being integrated with an estimating software database. Upon completion of the design, a simple click of a button can create a complete materials and labor report. But again, these reports can only be as detailed as the estimator can imagine them to be and are highly subject to how in-control of the software the estimator is.

Saves you time so you can do more!

A computer does thousands of mathematical computations in a fraction of a second, never makes an error, never gets tired or careless, and never forgets the information that is stored. Computer estimating will reduce your estimating time and cost because you no longer need to price, labor, extend, or total material or labor by hand.

This translates into additional time for other important functions. Such as: more time to review the estimate; time to bid more jobs; time to better organize and manage the company; or to spend more time with the family.

Better Control of Material Cost

Once the take-off is complete and the take-off quantities have been entered into the computer, a report of all the materials required for the job can be printed and broken down by job phase. This list can be submitted to multiple suppliers in order to get competitive prices and fixed delivery dates. The estimate can also be shared by a contractor’s purchasing and accounting departments. Cost tracking and inventory control become much simpler when all the information is generated and controlled by a computer. In addition, you can reduce the storage requirements for material, thereby reducing waste and theft.

Labor Savings

A computer generated estimate provides great flexibility to extend the project many different ways. By system, by floor, by building, site work only, by phase, etc. Detailed information like this can be shared with the field, giving electricians on the job labor budgets and goals. This helps them ensure the job gets completed on time. It can also help them order materials, allowing for better control of their arrival to the jobsite, reducing inventory and handling time.

Reduces Overhead

Although the software can be expensive and training costs add yet another expense, a contractor’s overhead will still be decreased. Reduced estimating costs are derived from the ability of one estimator being able to bid more jobs faster. Materials inventory control is improved with less storage space cost and reduced financing costs. You’ll also improve billing and expedite collections. This will increase cash flow.

When the estimating department is fully integrated with all of other departments, the increased efficiency will spread itself throughout the company and reduce overhead substantially.

Increase Business Volume

The savings in estimating time will permit you to estimate more jobs to expand your business volume. Using computer generated estimates can also improve your marketing as you can present a more detailed and professional looking package to your clients. You should also be able to service your clients better by having the ability to accommodate any pricing structures they require. The more details you can provide your client, the more confidence they will have in your company’s knowledge of their projects. This too will result in more requests for bids, which will ultimately result in more contracts won.

Added Confidence and Security

A computer estimate provides you with increased confidence and security that your bid price is correct. It will also provide you with more consistent and accurate historical data for jobs of the same types. This will improve your competitiveness and increase your profit margins.

8.03 Software Selection

Purchase Considerations

Simple to Use. The software should be logical, intuitive, simple to use, and easy to understand. The commands must be precise and there should not be any danger of losing data. There should be an on-screen audit trail to review and modify the take-off at any time.

Portability. A software package should be portable so it can be used at the office, at home, or even in your car with a laptop or possibly a palmtop computer.

Flexibility. The software should provide the capability of factoring labor or material cost for every line of the take-off to reflect diverse installation conditions. You should be able to view or change anything in the estimate at any point.

Reports. A wide variety of reports should be available to furnish information to the client, as well as to provide information for project management decisions.

Don’t expect computer estimating software to fit all of your needs. There will always be something your software can’t do that you wish it could. However, a quality estimating system should not require you to make too many major adjustments in your estimating style. In fact, estimating software should considerably improve your estimating techniques by giving you greater flexibility to be creative.

How Much Should It Cost?

The cost of computerizing a business depends on whether or not you already have a computer. However, do not make the mistake of trying to use an old, outdated computer to run new, super-charged software. There will be great frustrations and much disappointment. Also, you will not be getting the most from your software investment.

There are always lower priced systems available, but strong consideration of the major players should be given. A single user license for a quality estimating software system costs between $2,500 and $4,000. Multi-user or Network versions will cost more according to how many users will need to be licensed.

Make your decision based on the value you will receive for your investment. Be sure you can count on long-range service from the company and that they always give you close personal attention.

One last budget issue: Don’t forget to account for annual tech support fees. These fees and the services can cost as much as a single user license but they will pay for themselves easily over the course of a year. Especially when a tech helps you restore a job file an hour before the bid is due.

Software is not a 1-time expense. Just like your computers, it carries a continuous cost of annual support fees, maintenance, repair and upgrades.

Can You Afford It?

In today’s world, it’s highly unlikely that you can be competitive if you estimate without a computer. The question is not whether you can afford to purchase a computer and estimating software but whether, can you afford not to use these tools when estimating jobs?

To determine the dollars required in sales to cover the purchase of computer estimating software, use the following formula:

Sales needed to cover cost of estimating software = Cost of Estimating System per Year/Gross Profit Percent (Overhead + Profit)

Example: How much must sales increase per year to cover the cost of an estimating system, based on the following factors: Estimating system to cost $6,000 includes software, computer, and training and your accountant indicates that your gross profit margin is 30 percent.

Sales Increase Required per Year = $1,500/0.30 = $5,000

Sales Increase Required per Month = $5,000/12 = $417

To pay for the software you only need $20,000 in additional sales over the life of the software!

Who Sells Estimating Software?

Because of the technical nature of electrical estimating, estimating software is not available in computer stores. Only a person who has been trained in electrical contracting can adequately explain how computerized estimating works, and the many ways it will benefit you.

Find out as much as you can about the software vendor. How long have they been in the business of selling software? How many customers do they have? What other software products do they sell? What is their background in estimating and electrical contracting? Don’t get too excited, take your time to investigate the different vendors and make a selection based on facts, not opinions. If possible, see if you can use the software on a trial basis. Naturally this will cost you a few hundred dollars, insist on money back guarantee.

Here is a list of the major estimating software companies:

Accubid: www.Accubid.com Denver, CO 1-800-222-8243

McCormick: www.McCormicksys.com Chandler, AZ 1- 800 444 4890

Con-Est: www.conest.com Manchester, NH 1-800-662-7687

Estimation: www.estimation.com Linthicum Heights, MD 1-800-275-6475

Timberline: www.sagetimberlineoffice.com Beaverton, OR 1-800-628-6583

Vision-InfoSoft: www.visioninfosoft.com Carlsbad, CA 1-800-258-7752

In the event that any of the above noted information becomes outdated, you can always go to www.MikeHolt.com and click on our “Estimating Software” link. Here you will find links to all the major software companies updated regularly.

8.04 Training and Support

Don’t expect miracles and be prepared to devote your time.  Regardless of how well estimating software is designed, don’t expect optimum results without complete training. Professional training is expensive and requires time away from the office. Be prepared to devote serious time to learning how to use it. This will be extremely difficult to do at the same time you are trying to estimate multiple projects. You should try to devote extra hours of training after work or on the weekend. The more time you put into using the program, the faster you will master it.

Even the most carefully designed software requires training, service, support, and technical assistance. These requirements are even more important when the software is highly specialized, and requires special skills, experience, and background in the field for which the software was designed.

Specialized software systems should be purchased directly from the software developer, who is equipped to explain the product, and provide the training and support needed if you run into difficulty.

Warning: If you attempt to use your software without proper training, you may never learn all of the valuable features that are designed within the program.

8.05 Pricing Services

In order to effectively use an estimating software program, you will also need to subscribe to a Materials Pricing Program such as Electrical Resources, Inc. EPS Plus, Trade Service Corp.’s Traser or Vision InfoSoft’s Epic pricing programs. By using UPC and DCI commodity codes, these programs interface with most major estimating software programs and price all the individual material items in the database. Many companies have contracted with pricing services to save office time, and to gain assurance they have current material prices.

If you do decide to use a pricing service, be sure you select one whose prices are broken down by geographical area, so that they will more accurately reflect those where your job is located. Also, just as you checked the background of companies offering estimating software, you should inquire as to the background of companies offering pricing services. Where do they get their material prices? What is their relationship to the electrical industry?

If you decide you don’t want to use a pricing service, you will most likely need to create material reports for your vendors to price on every estimate you do. This may add to your work load and will make you dependent on your vendors for service.

8.06 Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a highly trained computer operator?

No, but it certainly helps. Most software vendors assume that you have no computer experience and designed their software to be easy to learn and use. All you need to do is follow the commands on the screen to get the results you want. In fact, after a brief training period, a clerical employee can use the take-off and complete the estimate for you. Leaving you more free time to start another bid, or devote yourself to other responsibilities. However, some programs are very advanced and can get very involved. Those who benefit the most from these features are those who have a great understanding of operating a computer.

Can I still do Manual take-off?

Yes. With most any estimating software, you have two methods of performing the take-off; the manual method or the direct entry method.

Manual Take-Off - This method requires two steps. First, you complete the take-off, writing all count and take-off information on a paper spreadsheet. Then you enter that information into the estimating software’s database. This method is a bit slower and in some ways defeats one of the main features of using software.

Direct Take-Off – This method involves entering the count and take-off information directly into the computer as you go. This method will slow you down at first. But when mastered, this step saving method permits the estimate to be completed much quicker and with more accuracy as it is easier to remember what something is when you count it than it is 2 days later.

How much time can I save?

It depends on the software, the estimator, and the complexity of the job. As the estimator becomes more familiar with the system and database, less time is required. The more complicated the job, the more time saved. As a general rule, once proficient - you should be able to estimate and extend in much less time than it would take you to do the job manually.

Will my bid accuracy be improved?

Yes, no, maybe – it all depends on you. A computer doesn’t make mistakes when it’s tired or overworked. It doesn’t forget the data it has stored when distractions occur. It doesn’t omit steps in calculation and it doesn’t make errors in overlooking taxes, overhead, or profit.

The accuracy of your bid is only as accurate as your input. This rule also applies to the input and creation of your database, not just what you estimate. It also plays a major role during the extension phase of your estimates. If you do not extend your estimate accurately, you will not have an accurate estimate.

Always remember: the computer will only do what you tell it to do.

Will My Estimates be as Complete?

Yes, no, maybe. Again, it all depends on you, the database and your input. If you succeed in accurate control and entry, your estimates should be more complete than any done by hand. They will also carry more information to increase your efficiency, impress your customers, as well as improve profit margins.

Must I Change My Methods of Estimating?

Yes, no, maybe. The estimating software should be flexible and adapt to your estimating style, but don’t expect the software to fit all of your needs perfectly. You may also find yourself exploring deeper waters because the computer is now allowing you to be more creative. Computerized estimating can produce amazing results and highly useful estimates. But you can also get in trouble with controlling what you enter, maintaining tight deadlines and confusing yourself. As you explore the deeper waters, make sure you always maintain the primary goal that is Bid Day and exactly what you need to achieve for a successful bid.

Can I Realistically Expect to Increase Profits?

Yes, as long as you stay focused on learning as much as you can about the software, interpreting its output, maintaining the quality of your input, controlling your database, tracking your progress and taking note of your failures. Reducing estimating time means you will be bidding more jobs. This means winning more contracts. Knowing how to use the software will allow you to better control costs and improve project management. All of this should translate into bigger profits.

How big must I be to achieve any benefit?

Size doesn’t matter. Even the smallest electrical contractor can benefit from using a computer and estimating software to increase business efficiency. Small companies, where the owner or manager typically does 100% of the estimating, can use computerized estimating to free more time for administration, selling, and project management.

How long will it take to learn how to use a computer estimating software?

Don’t rush it. Give yourself 6 months to a year to become somewhat proficient. 2 years to get really good. Much of it depends on your experience with computers, how good an estimator you are, and the amount of time you invest learning how to run the software. Don’t expect miracles, don’t get frustrated and quit. Keep pushing your limits. Those with lots of experience will be estimating in a matter of days or even hours, without attending a single training class! Those with less experience may struggle and require a few months to get comfortable with the process. For others, a training class may be necessary. Most software firms offer training courses and user seminars specifically for their products. Although sometimes expensive, they can provide priceless training and tips on how to use the program to its fullest potential.

Fluke Networks Provides Distributed Network Analysis And Monitoring Capability For InteropNet

InteropNet uses Fluke Networks' OptiView solutions to ensure uptime and manage change during limited-time event

Fluke Networks is the official Distributed Analysis and Troubleshooting sponsor that will manage key portions of InteropNet, the event network that provides reliable, high-speed network services to all Interop Las Vegas 2006 exhibitors, conferences and meeting rooms using the latest technologies. The Fluke Networks Distributed Network Analysis and Monitoring Solution used in the InteropNet enables staff to see what is happening on remote parts of the network, and troubleshoot as if they were there. By identifying the root cause of a problem and fixing it from the Network Operations Center (NOC), Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) can be reduced by as much as 90%.  For a limited-duration event such as Interop, the immediate problem resolution delivered by this solution is essential. 

"The InteropNet addresses networking challenges faced by all businesses -- changing technology , troubleshooting, balancing traffic --  multiplied by the pressure of a limited-duration event," said Lenny Heymann, Interop General Manager.  "With over 400 exhibitors installing and removing practically anything at any time, our ability to rapidly see and mange what's changing on the network is critical."

The InteropNet is the world's largest mobile civilian network.  Using components from more than 25 suppliers, the InteropNet is constructed over a two-week period in a San Francisco -area warehouse, partially broken down and then trucked to the show hall at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.  There it is installed in four days, after which it serves as the essential communications link for over 50 meeting rooms, 400 exhibitor booths and numerous off-site locations.  Registration for over 18,000 conference attendees is also done over the InteropNet.

The Distributed Network Analysis and Monitoring Solution is built around Fluke Networks' OptiViewtm Server, which collects and correlates detailed performance information gathered from multiple OptiView Workgroup Analyzers and OptiView WAN Analyzers placed at remote locations through Interop.  Using a system such as that displayed in the InteropNet allows network managers to take a proactive approach to managing the distributed enterprise, providing higher levels of service to users and dramatically reducing MTTR, all while lowering costs.  www.flukenetworks.com

NAED Announces New Officers For 2006-2007

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces its new Board of Directors for 2006 - 2007. Led by the NAED chair, the Board of Directors is a dedicated group of industry leaders who volunteer their time and efforts to improve the association and the electrical distribution channel.

The 2006 - 2007 NAED Chair of the Board is John Duda, chairman and CEO of Butler Supply, Inc., in St. Louis, Mo. Duda has dedicated more than 38 years to electrical distribution, serving in a variety of leadership and volunteer positions for NAED. In addition to being on the NAED Board of Directors, he has served as NAED Foundation Chairman, Central Region Vice President and Missouri River Club President, as well as participating in the NAED Foundation’s Channel Advantage Partnership endowment and Finance Committee. Through his message, “NAED: Focus on the Future,” Duda will encourage the industry to examine trends and implement the industry best practices that NAED Task Forces have developed in the last two years. He will become NAED chairman at the conclusion of the 2006 Annual Meeting held April 22-26 in Orlando, Fla.

“I'm very honored to serve as NAED chairman this year. I believe that a strong, national trade association that is attuned to the needs and wants of its members is an incredibly valuable resource. We have a great group of people representing the electrical industry on the NAED Board," Duda said. "With the staff's help, NAED has come up with some great programs and products in the past couple of years, and now it's up to the board to build participation.”

Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric Supply in Fargo, N.D., will be Chair-Elect. She will be working closely with Duda to assess and meet the needs of the industry. Miller became CEO of Border States, the nation’s 14th-largest electrical distributor, in January 2006 after serving as company president during 2005. Previously she was executive vice president, CFO and general manager for the company’s southwest region. Active in NAED, she has been a member of the association’s Board of Directors for the past seven years and most recently has been Western Region Vice President. She has chaired the NAED Finance Committee and Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Distributor Task Force. She also serves on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council. Miller will become NAED chair at the conclusion of the 2007 Annual Meeting, held May 5 – 9 in Washington, D.C.

The 2006 - 2007 NAED Board of Directors are:

           John Duda, NAED Chairman, Butler Supply, Inc., St. Louis, Mo.

           Tammy Miller, NAED Chair-Elect, Border States Electric Supply, Fargo, N.D.

           Bill Elliott, NAED Past Chair, Elliott Electric Supply, Nacogdoches, Texas

           Sandra Rosecrans, NAED Eastern Region Vice President, City Electric Co., Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.

           Les Williamson, NAED Western Region Vice President, Eoff Electric Co., Portland, Ore.   

           George Adams, NAED South Central Region Vice President, Electric Supply of Tampa, Inc., Tampa, Fla.

           Daniel Gray, NAED Eastern Region Vice President-Elect, Independent Electric Supply, Somerville, Mass.

           Thomas Isenberg, NAED Western Region Vice President-Elect, Western Extralite Co., Kansas City, Mo.

           Glenn Goedecke, NAED South Central Region Vice President-Elect, Mayer Electric Supply Co., Birmingham, Ala.     

           D. Brent Spear, NAED Member at Large, Electrical Distributors, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.

           Cara Gordon Potter, NAED Member at Large, Gordon Electric Supply Inc., Kankakee, Ill.

           Robert Reynolds, Jr., NAED Member at Large, Graybar Electric Company, Inc., St. Louis, Mo.

           Joe Huffman, NAED Member at Large, Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.

           Lawrence Stern, NAED Finance Committee Chair, Standard Electric Supply Co., Milwaukee, Wis.

           Jack Mumford, NAED Foundation Chair, Western Region Sonepar USA, Portland, Ore.

           Richard Waterman, NAED Foundation Chair-Elect, Rexel, Inc., Dallas, Texas

           Robert Smith, NAED Manufacturer Representative, Pass & Seymour/Legrand, Syracuse, N.Y.

           Todd Kumm, IDEA Vice Chair, Dakota Supply Group, Fargo, N.D.

           Amy Treadway, Your Emerging Talent (YET) Chair, Treadway Electric Company, Inc., Little Rock, Ark.

As the governing body of NAED, the Board of Directors is accountable for the effective performance and direction of the association; as well as communicating to the membership about NAED’s activities and policies. Within the framework of the association’s by-laws and policies, the Board of Directors determines measurements for success, establishes policy imperatives, defines the organization’s vision for the future, fulfills fiduciary obligations and serves as champions of the association. NAED officers attend two NAED Board meetings a year and are encouraged to attend all NAED Regional and Annual Meetings.

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. www.naed.org 

New Interactive DVD On Fiber Optic Patch Panels, Closures And Pedestals

The Light Brigade announces its new menu-based DVD titled Fiber Optic Patch Panels, Closures and Pedestals, the seventh release in the company’s Staff Development series.

The DVD explains the various needs and roles that cable management products fulfill. Following the introduction of cable and fiber management applications, the DVD examines each category of cross-connect products typically used in local, metropolitan, wide and storage area networks and how each product is integrated with optical cable.

Chapters include the roles and key points for patch panels, splice panels, distribution panels, entrance enclosures, LAN panels, OSP splice closures, FTTx splice closures, fiber distribution hubs and pedestals.  The DVD also includes two bonus chapters on how to prepare loose- and tight-buffered cables. Each chapter includes content for installers on cable preparation, pigtail splicing and fiber management.

The professionally-filmed lab and field footage along with detailed graphics and animations make this an essential training tool for any organization. It is structured into user-selectable chapters that allow for easy viewing of specific topics applicable to the viewer’s needs. The DVD also features student and instructor quizzes.

Other highlights include:

           Cable preparation for in-line, mid-entry, end access.

           Cable and fiber management for the OSP, LAN, MAN and SAN.

           FTTx disciplines – mid-entries, distribution and drop cables.

           FTTx products, FDHs, closures and pedestals.

           Entrance facilities and splice panels as transition points.

           Fiber management bays — centralized vs. decentralized cabling.

           NEC requirements and TIA/EIA terminology.

           Bonding and grounding of cable elements.

           Environmental sealing and protection in the OSP.

           Splitters, six-packs and pigtails.

The Fiber Optic Patch Panels, Closures and Pedestals DVD (Part No. W–6D–171) is available at a price of $175.  For more information or to order, contact The Light Brigade at (800) 4517128 or email sales@lightbrigade.com. You may also visit us on the web at www.lightbrigade.com .

Fluke Networks Introduces First Standards-Based 10 Gig Copper Ethernet Certification Solution

Fluke Networks today announced the introduction of the first 10 Gig Ethernet cable testing solution for copper, consisting of Fluke Networks' popular DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer plus the new DTX 10 Gig Kit. This new testing package provides the only standards-compliant 10 Gig certification solution that supports cabling from 10 Meg to 10 Gig Ethernet.

The demand for faster data center transmission rates has up to now been the domain for high-performance fiber optic links.  Fluke Networks' DTX 10 Gig solution certifies the link performance for very high-speed transmissions over twisted pair copper cabling.  This allows 10 Gig performance without expensive optoelectronics.

The new DTX 10 Gig solution for copper has been proven over the last six months by hardware suppliers that are working to finalize the IEEE 802.3an, TIA TSB155, and ISO 11801 2nd Ed. standards for 10 Gig Ethernet.  Adoption of these standards is expected in June of this year.  The Fluke Networks DTX 10 Gig testing solution fully complies with these standards and exceeds measurement performance specifications.

Fluke Networks' test solution for 10 Gig copper Ethernet makes it possible to measure and evaluate the Alien Crosstalk test parameters, unlike current certification tests which measure crosstalk between pairs in a single cable.  Alien Crosstalk (AxTalk) test parameters measure the signal coupling from one cable to another within a bundle of twisted pair links.


AxTalk is a significant disturbance at 10 Gig speeds because the signaling contains high frequency components up to 500 MHz and crosstalk increases as the frequency of the transmitted signal rises.  In addition, the AxTalk disturbance in a cabling link (the victim cable) is made up of the combined effect from all other cables in a bundle (disturber cables).

The DTX 10 Gig Kit measures the crosstalk between all possible wire pair combinations of the two links-under-test in approximately 30 seconds.  These pair-to-pair test results are transmitted from the DTX main unit to the PC that is running the DTX AxTalk Analyzertm software.  This process is repeated for up to 10 victim/disturber combinations, as required by standards, and the combined effect calculated by the software.

The DTX 10 Gig Kit consists of a set of communications modules which snap into the DTX-1800 main and remote units,.  Also included is a Windows-based software program to calculate AxTalk power sum test parameters that analyze the combined effect of all cabling links on the link-under-test (disturbed link), Cat 6A/Class EA permanent link adapters and 10 Gig channel adapters that deliver improved measurement accuracy above 350 MHz, and eight cable termination plugs.

The DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer substantially reduces the time required to certify cabling installations. This tester provides a Category 6 auto test that meets TIA-568-B certification requirements required for structured cabling warranties in about one-third of the time that is required by other testers. The DTX CableAnalyzer exceeds requirements for Cat 5e/6 and class E/D/F and is independently verified by UL to meet ISO Level IV and proposed TIA Level IIIe Accuracy requirements.

Product availability


The DTX 10Gig Kit will be available for delivery in June 2006, from distributors and other Fluke Networks sales outlets world wide.  The DTX CableAnalyzer and assorted modules are available for immediate delivery from these same channels www.flukenetworks.com

Southeast Building Conference Announces Groundbreaking Advantages

950 Exhibits: Hurricane Alley; E-Zone; Keynoter: Dick Vitale

More than 17,000 construction industry professionals will come together in Orlando August 3-5 to take advantage of the latest and greatest new-home construction products and services and construction education programs being offered at the Southeast Builders Conference (SEBC). 

Reigning as the South’s largest home building industry trade show and educational conference for 28 years, SEBC attracts builders, architects, engineers, interior designers, remodelors, and manufacturers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Construction professionals should register by June 8 to enjoy early bird discounts and gain rapid entry into the show.

SEBC Advantages include:

·        ·        950+ Exhibits-showcasing the best and most recent in construction products and services,

·        ·        Hurricane Alley- products and services Florida builders need to comply with the state’s building code and protect homeowners from the effects of a hurricane or natural disaster,

·        ·        Meet the Experts- on-site construction experts answering specific questions regarding hurricane mitigation,

·        ·        Educational programs- 71 education seminars including the opportunity for Florida contractors to earn all 14 hours of continuing education required for license renewal,

  • New Southern Home- a French Country Manor home designed and built by Central Florida companies to showcase the best in southern living,
  • eZone- energy efficient construction products reflecting the nation’s growing green building interest,
  • Keynote Speaker- popular college basketball analyst and ambassador Dick Vitale, and
  • AURORA and EXCEL Award- ceremonies recognizing the best and most innovative building professionals and companies in design and marketing.

Free media registration…Registered media will have access to seminars and workshops, news conferences, trade show exhibits, the New Southern Home, and other conference activities. Registration is free to working members of the media.

The SEBC Press Room will be open throughout the conference, and will include scheduled media events, trade show vendor media kits, and other amenities.

www.sebcshow.com

Make Plans Now To Attend The 35th Annual ACUTA Conference

Everyone who is involved in voice, data and video communications in higher education is encouraged to participate in ACUTA's 35th Annual Conference and Exhibition to be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego July 23-27.

The Conference begins on Sunday with three half-day pre-conference seminars:
1. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning for Higher Education Institutions
2. The Convergence of Communications and Construction
3. The Changing Landscape of IT Threats and Security

Our keynote speaker on Monday is technology futurist Thornton May. Other general session speakers include Jeff Linder and Nancy Victory of the Washington law firm of Wiley Rein and Fielding; Mark Luker, Vice President of EDUCAUSE; Brian Voss, CIO at Louisiana State University; and humorist Judy Carter.

In addition, we will have 50+ breakout sessions on hot topics such as VoIP, security, strategic planning, wireless and more. In the exhibit hall, 100 or more vendors will display products and discuss services that contribute to a successful technology program on campus.

ACUTA is widely respected for the high quality professional networking that happens at every event. Attendees connect with colleagues from coast to coast and share solutions to common problems, taking home valuable information that will help them meet the challenges of the converged campus.

For more information or to register, visit the ACUTA website at http://www.acuta.org or call 859-278-3338.

July 23-27, 2006
San Diego, California
Manchester Grand Hyatt

Exceptional Educational Sessions!
Great Networking Opportunities!
New Companies, New Products in the Exhibit Hall!
 
For information see http://www.acuta.org

We GUARANTEE your satisfaction.

ACUTA's Core Purpose: To support higher education communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions.

Delaware Lt. Governor To Sign Resolution Supporting Helmets To Hardhats

There is a big difference between supporting our troops with words and doing something that really helps them when they start searching for civilian careers.

Carlsbad, CA – Delaware Lt. Governor John Carney will join retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Matthew P. Caulfield, executive director of the national Helmets to Hardhats program, in a resolution signing today supporting the program’s efforts to link former and active military personnel with civilian employment opportunities. 

Thomas Sharp, Secretary of Labor, Sean McGarvey, Secretary-Treasurer of the BCTD, Harry Gravell, President of the Delaware BCTC and Colonel Pete Fedorkowica, Director of Logistics, Delaware National Guard will also participate in the signing ceremony to be held at the IBEW Local 313, 814 W. Basin Rd., Newcastle, DE 19720.

The implementation of a statewide direct entry program, gives former and active military personnel the opportunity to quickly start quality construction careers soon after they apply for them through Helmets to Hardhats. Once the state proclamation is signed, it allows all BCTD JATCs and locals (at their discretion) to immediately accept these men and women into their apprenticeship programs and provide them with credit for their military training and experience.

“The men and women that have served our country deserve the chance to have great careers after returning home from battle,” said General Caulfield. "A signing of this kind will help speed up the process to place the Helmets to Hardhats candidates into quality construction careers throughout the state.”

Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction industry. 

Military personnel who are interested in a career in the construction industry may learn more by visiting the Helmets to Hardhats web site at http://www.helmetstohardhats.org or by calling toll-free (866) 741-6210.

Light Brigade NEWS!

Upcoming Fiber Optic 1-2-3 Classes In Your Area!

Jacksonville, Florida

 June 19-22, 2006

 Register Online!

Orlando, Florida

 August 21-24, 2006

 Register Online!

Tallahassee, Florida

 October 30 - November 2, 2006

 Register Online!

Miami, Florida

 November 13-16, 2006

 Register Online!

Staff Development DVDs!

New titles in our series of interactive Staff Development DVD-ROMs are released every few months! Order early and lock in your price for future DVDs in the series!

Fundamentals of Fiber Optics

80 minutes - Part #W-6D-112

Winner of Lightwave's OFC/NFOEC 2005 Attendees' Choice Award in the Training and Education category!

 OTDR Theory and Operation

86 minutes - Part #W-6D-121

Fiber Optic Test Equipment and Testing Fiber Optic Links

81 minutes - Part #W-6D-131

 Troubleshooting A Fiber Optic Link

90 minutes - Part #W-6D-141

 Call and ask about

special discounts

available on DVDs!

 Fiber Optic Cables

106 minutes - Part #W-6D-151

 Fiber Optic Splicing

95 minutes - Part #W-6D-161

 Get all six DVDs for one low price!

Part #W-6D-SET

COMING IN JUNE!

Fiber Optic Patch Panels, Closures and Pedestals

Part #W-6D-171

www.lightbrigade.com

General Cable CFO resigns

General Cable Corp. (BGC) said on Monday that Chief Financial Officer Christopher Virgulak will leave at the end of the year and that Controller Brian Robinson has been given the additional position of Treasurer. www.generalcable.com

Mississauga Training Consultants: Upcoming Courses & Dates

Fiber  Optic  Installer Certification     
 
Our next   FIBER OPTIC  Installers Certification course in Mississauga will be  June 26th. -  30th., 2006.   

This five-day installers certification program takes the student from the point of knowing absolutely nothing about
 optical fiber to the point where they can Install, Connectorize, Fusion Splice, Test and document a fiber
 optic system and to industry standards.
 
Cost of this course is  $989.00 + 69.00 GST  =  $1,058.00  CAD (about 900.00 US). 

Students receive the FOA certification as well as  35 BICSI CEC's
 http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/courses.html 
 
Voice  Data  Video  Network Cabling Systems Inspection
 
Our next   VDV Network Cabling Systems Inspection   course
 in Mississauga Will be  August 1, 2, 3rd., 2006.  
This intensive 3 day program covers all the codes and
 standards involved with the installation of any Voice,
 Data, Video network cabling system.  We recommend  that
 information in this course be initially used in the system
 design stage.   Not including standards in the original
 specifications can cost untold dollars during the
 commissioning stage.  You can't inspect what you have not
 specified.  Cost for this course is  690.00 + 48.00   = 
738.00 CAD  (about 630.00  USD). Students receive the MTC 
Network Cabling Systems Inspection certificate as well as 
21 BICSI CEC's .

http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/courses.html

Grounding,  Bonding  And  Harmonics  Techniques 

This One Day Course  will be conducted in Mississauge on  June 1st.  and  August 4th., 2006   This one day course

is Intended For Those Persons Who Install And Maintain Electrical Systems In Commercial, Industrial And

Residential Installations.  It Is Also of Special Interest To Those People Who Install And Maintain  Electrical Installations

Serving Data Communications Equipment In Offices, Plants, Telcos And Cable And Satellite Television Installations. All are
locations that suffer the effects of electrical noise and harmonics and must have installations above the C.E.C. Standards.                     

Subjects Included In This Course Are:  Electrical Noise, White Noise, Pink Noise, Causes,

Categories, Harmonics, Causes, Effects and Solutions.  Tingle Voltage,  Types Of Grounds,

Shields And Bonds, Method Of Sizing And Installing, The Ground Loop, Ufer, Plate,

Rod And Trench Grounds.  Normal And Common Mode Noise, Signal Grounding, Shielding,

Shielded Rooms, Symptoms, Problems And Solutions, Devices And Remedies,

Effect Of Using Non-Standard Items, Ferrite Cores, Electrical And Magnetic Fields. 

Cost of this course is:  280.00  +   19.60  GST     =   $299.60   (About  $235.00 US)
 
ADDITIONAL COSTS:  All costs are included in course fees.  There are no additional costs.
 
Additional information and registration forms are at:
<http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/courses.html>

Did you know:
 
* * There are over 1650 installers  certified through our Fiber Optic Installers program in Canada and over

16,000 worldwide http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/installersx.html  This is THE  Accepted Fiber Optic Certification in North America

 and the Caribbean.
* * Over  290 students have received our   "Inspector"  certification  for VDV Network Cabling Systems.   
*    Our industry partners  support this program and recognize our certificate
*    BICSI awards our fiber Optic graduates 35 CEC's towards some of their programs and 21 CEC's for completing our VDV program.
** Over 94% of FOA Certified Canadian installers are graduates of our program 
** Our program is over 60% hands-on 
** Our passing rate for the FOA examination is 98% 
** We also conduct  advanced specialist courses  in Connectorizing, Fusion splicing,  and  Testing. 
** We conduct our courses across Canada, the Caribbean and the US
** The new and popular one day course in Grounding, Bonding and Harmonics was started at the request of
industry partners  and is sucessfully filling a need.
* We have over  170 satisfied companies  in our data base.
<http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/clients.html>
http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/clients.html
 
Detailed course outlines and registration forms are on our
website at http://www.fiberoptictraining.com
<http://www.fiberoptictraining.com/

Belden CDT Promotes Kirschner As Vice President, Manufacturing

Belden CDT Inc. (NYSE: BDC - News) today announced the promotion of Dick Kirschner to Vice President, Manufacturing, effective immediately. He will be responsible for the Company's global manufacturing footprint and logistics strategy, lean enterprise, global sourcing and inventory management. Mr. Kirschner, age 55, is currently Vice President, Manufacturing, for the Belden Americas Division. He has served with Belden for 34 years in manufacturing.

"I am pleased to have Dick Kirschner join our senior leadership team," said John Stroup, President and Chief Executive Officer of Belden CDT. "I am excited about the impact he will have as he applies his expertise to the entire enterprise."

  www.beldencdt.com

Hitachi Completes Repurchase Of Own Shares

Hitachi, Ltd. (TOKYO:6501 - News; NYSE:HIT - News) announced that it repurchased its own shares on the stock market pursuant to Article 211-3, paragraph 1, item 2 of the Commercial Code of Japan. The repurchase of the Company's own shares in accordance with the resolution of the Board of Directors on April 27, 2006 is accomplished.

1. Class of shares repurchased: Common stock of the Company

2. Aggregate number of shares repurchased: 6,210,000 shares

3. Aggregate amount of repurchase: 4,996,630,000 yen

4. Period of repurchase: May 11, 2006 through May 17, 2006

5. Method of repurchase: Purchase on Tokyo Stock Exchange

(Reference)

The resolution of the Board of Directors on April 27, 2006

(1) Class of shares to be repurchased: Common stock of the Company

(2) Aggregate number of shares to be repurchased: Up to 6.5 million shares

(3) Aggregate amount of repurchase: Up to 5 billion yen

(4) Period of repurchase: During May 2006

www.hitachi.com

Use Electrical Safety Awareness During Summer Storms

Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, lightning storms and high winds killed and injured thousands in 2006. Economic losses from these events, especially in the Gulf Coast region, totaled billions of dollars. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) urges consumers to become more knowledgeable about electrical safety during and after weather disasters.

“After severe weather is gone, electrical hazards can still cause deaths and injuries,” noted Brett Brenner, ESFI president. ESFI warns consumers to beware of electrical dangers associated with downed power lines, portable electric generators and electrical wiring or appliances that have been wet. These precautions can help keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards during and after disasters:

·        Take care when stepping into flooded areas—whether indoors or out. Submerged outlets, electrical cords and downed power lines can energize water, posing a lethal trap.

·        Stay away from downed power lines and anything touching them.

·        If you see someone who is in contact with a downed power line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Instead, call 911.

·        Do not drive over downed power lines.

·        Have portable electric generators installed by licensed electricians to ensure it meets local electrical codes and is properly grounded.

·        Keep the generator dry and do not operate it in enclosed or partially enclosed areas. Generators can produce high levels of deadly carbon monoxide very quickly; consider using a carbon monoxide detector.

·        Do not overload the generator and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

·        Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions.

·        Do not use electrical wiring or equipment that has been wet. A qualified service repair dealer should recondition electrical equipment; a licensed electrician can inspect electrical systems.

·        To avoid lightning strikes, go indoors during electrical storms and stay away from windows.

·        If outdoors during electrical storms, move to a low point. Stay away from metal items, including sports equipment, buildings, clotheslines, poles and fences. Avoid trees.

·        During electrical storms, do not use corded telephones except for emergencies.

·        Avoid contact with water and plumbing during electrical storms.

·        Don’t forget pets during thunderstorms. Doghouses are not safe from lightning. Chained animals can easily become victims of lightning.  www.electrical-safety.org  

NAED Survey Reports

Participation Encouraged

The survey was distributed in early April and e-mailed or faxed to approximately 3,800 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.

NAED encourages each member to take the time to participate in this quarterly survey. It supplies detailed information to help distributors run their businesses more effectively; 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 July, watch for notification by fax or e-mail. The deadline to participate in the next survey is July 14. 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 .

Viewpoint From Communication News - Headline: The iPod goes to ...

One of the more interesting exercises we have yearly at Communications News is to poll our subscribers on their reading habits and decision-making responsibilities. If you have not been asked to participate this year or in the past, what we do is entice (i.e., bribe) a sampling of our readers to answer what must seem to them like an endless string of questions.

What we receive is useful information on what our subscribers are interested in reading in this magazine, what types of products you are likely to buy in the near future, what size organizations you belong to and other reader demographics. We use this information to help direct our future editorial coverage, and the data is also an important sales and marketing tool.

What survey participants receive is a chance to win a gift–this year an iPod. That’s the bribe part.

What kinds of information do we uncover? For one, 73% of those polled have been subscribing to Communications News for at least three years, up from 62% in both 2005 and 2004. The size of the organizations of those participating in the survey also increased. This year, for example, 30% said they worked in enterprises of more than 5,000 users, as compared to 25% last year. Conversely, the number of participants who are in enterprises with less than 200 users declined this year to 32% from 41% in 2005 and 42% in 2004.

Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said the magazine helps them learn about new products and services, which begs the question: Why did the other 7% request to receive this magazine? Would those apparently dissatisfied subscribers please send in their subscription cancellations so that we can add subscribers who need the magazine?

More of you apparently are saving copies of Communications News (55% this year vs. 50% last year) and more people within your organization are now reading the copy of the magazine you receive (pass-along readers). That number shot up about 45% to where the total number of readers each month is about 272,000.

Making our salespeople happy, 65% of those polled said they have purchased a product that was written about or advertised in Communications News. That is up from 59% in 2005 and 53% in 2004–a reflection probably of a growing demand for products and services by our readers.

What products are they most likely to buy in the next 12 months? Plans to purchase wireless hardware (63% plan to purchase this year), cabling and enclosures (46%), switches/routers/hubs (61%) and WAN hardware and software (37%) are up this year over 2005, indicating sales of these products should increase this year among survey respondents. Voice over IP, testing and monitoring, storage, security, remote management, power-related and network management product purchasing plans all registered consistent or elevated levels in this year’s survey as compared to 2005.

Oh yes, before I forget, congratulations go to the winner of the iPod, Derek Kaufman, IT architect at Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco. 

Reprinted with permission of Communication News Magazine www.commnews.com 

Mark Peterson Joins CommScope's Executive Leadership Team

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in cable and connectivity solutions, announced that Mark Peterson has joined the CommScope executive leadership team in the role of Senior Vice President, Global Enterprise Marketing and Strategic Planning.  He will provide leadership for product management, marketing, and the long-range strategic direction of the Enterprise business.  Based in Richardson, Texas, he reports to Randy Crenshaw, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise.

"Mark brings us more than 20 years of management experience in telecommunications and technology," said Crenshaw.  "We are delighted to have someone with Mark's capabilities and experience lead our Enterprise marketing team."

Peterson was previously the Vice President for Marketing, Business Development, and Product Line Management for the Fixed Solutions Division of Alcatel North America.  In this role, he led a marketing organization focused on providing voice, data, and video-over-carrier IP network solutions.  >From 2002-05, he was Vice President of Marketing for Alcatel's Enhanced Network Solutions and Managed Communications Solutions.  This included Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), signaling and intelligent network products, as well as wire-line application solutions.  From 1990-2002, he served in a number of capacities with Alcatel, including Vice President and General Manager of Alcatel's Network Applications Division, Product Management Director and Software Engineering Manager.  Before joining Alcatel in 1990, he was a software engineer for both LTV Aerospace and Defense and Sperry Univac (now Unisys).

Peterson has an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

CommScope is a world leader in the design and manufacture of "last mile" cable and connectivity solutions for communication networks. Through its SYSTIMAX® Solutions and Uniprise® brands it is the global leader in structured cabling systems for business enterprise applications. It is also the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable for Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) applications.  Backed by strong research and development, CommScope combines technical expertise and proprietary technology with global manufacturing capability to provide customers with high-performance wired or wireless cabling solutions.

This press release includes forward-looking statements that are based on information currently available to management, management's beliefs, as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events.  Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results to differ materially from those currently expected.  For a more detailed description of the factors that could cause such a difference, please see CommScope's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In providing forward-looking statements, the company does not intend, and is not undertaking any obligation or duty, to update these statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.  http://www.commscope.com

VEGAS.com Uses Interactive Intelligence Software To Increase Sales By 85 Percent

VEGAS.com reported this month that it had increased sales by 85 percent as a result of deploying contact center automation software, called Customer Interaction Center® (CIC) by Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ).

In addition to increasing per agent sales, VEGAS.com has processed nearly double the number of incoming calls compared to pre-CIC deployment. This, combined with tripled agent efficiency, has enabled the VEGAS.com contact center to significantly reduce operating costs.

VEGAS.com also reported a return on investment of just several months, compared to an 18-month ROI projection prior to deploying CIC.

“CIC has helped us improve efficiency and effectiveness through its broad range of customizable applications, including multimedia queuing, skills-based routing, interactive voice response, and more,” said Rob Cate, contact center director for VEGAS.com. “By reducing transfers and abandon rates, and empowering agents with immediate, real-time caller information, we are setting record service levels.”

Glendale, Calif.-based audio/video communications solution provider, GBH Communications (www.gbh.com), helped VEGAS.com select CIC, and SOS (www.team-sos.com), a Rocklin, Calif.-based voice, data, and telephony management consulting firm, assisted with the telephony deployment and is currently responsible for ongoing service.

VEGAS.com chose the IP-based CIC software with its underlying session initiation protocol (SIP) architecture to replace its existing PBX in order to increase reliability, simplify management tasks, and give the company more flexibility to create new applications.

“With an open, IP-centric, software-based architecture designed to leverage our core networking competencies, CIC offered not only technology innovation, but an adaptable culture similar to our own in fulfilling a unique vision for customer service,” Cate said.

By using CIC to re-allocate telecom resources and maximize existing networking competencies, VEGAS.com was able to reduce costs associated with third-party support fees by more than 50 percent.

VEGAS.com has also reported benefits associated with its use of Interaction Recorder®, a multimedia call recording and scoring add-on module from Interactive Intelligence. Prior to installing Interaction Recorder, VEGAS.com employed six quality assurance professionals to manually monitor agent interactions. By using Interaction Recorder to automate recording and reporting functions, the company was able to absorb its quality assurance professionals into supervisory roles designed to improve revenue-generating techniques, such as up-selling and cross-selling.

“Interaction Recorder has enabled us to focus less on ‘policing’ and more on proactive training, thus effectively positioning our contact center as a profit center,” Cate said.

Adding to these increases in operational efficiencies are CIC’s built-in fax capabilities, which have reduced VEGAS.com’s need for general administrative staff by half. “We’ve saved reams of paper used to print faxes, and countless hours filing and searching for them by using CIC to electronically route and archive faxes,” Cate said.

VEGAS.com plans to expand its CIC deployment to support its growing remote workforce, now numbering about a half dozen, with a projected headcount of nearly 40 by the end of 2006.  http://www.inin.com.

NEMA Chosen To Conduct USTDA Standards Programs In China

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) announced that it will organize a series of U.S.-led training and cooperation seminars for Chinese industry and government officials.  NEMA will set up the workshops and provide on-site organization for the three-year, multi-sector series of programs.

The initiative, known as the U.S.-China Standards and Conformity Assessment Cooperation Program, is being sponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which will provide matching funding for approximately 25 events over the next three years.  The award will be administered as a grant to the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham), which is retaining NEMA as a contractor and providing in-country oversight.

“NEMA is honored to have been chosen for this project,” says NEMA President and Chief Executive Officer Evan Gaddis.  “USTDA and AmCham have recognized our ability to organize this kind of seminar on behalf of our own members, and we appreciate their trust in our ability to coordinate first-rate programs on behalf of the entire range of U.S. industrial sectors.”

NEMA opened its Beijing office in 2004 as a fully registered Chinese representative office.  Since then, the association has sponsored a number of electrical equipment industry events in China on such issues as energy efficiency, protection of intellectual property rights, hazardous substance regulation, and technical product standards.

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry.  Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and use of electricity.  These products are used in utility, medical, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications.  Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion.  In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, Sao Paulo, and Mexico City.  www.nema.org

LEAD Conference Registration Now Open

Online registration is now available for NAED's annual YET Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Conference July 27-30 at Resort at Squaw Creek at Lake Tahoe, Calif.

This year's program is built around the theme, "Take the LEAD - To Outpace Your Competition, Focus on Your Team!" Keynote speaker is Bruce Wilkinson, consultant with FMI Corporation, on multiplying your influence by learning to focus on the needs of others.

Industry expert small-group discussion leaders include:

John Duda, chairman & CEO of Butler Supply, Inc. and NAED chair, on emerging leaders' future in the industry

Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric Supply and incoming NAED chair-elect, on how to motivate your team for improved performance

Bill Shulha, vice president wholesale distribution, Greenlee Textron Inc. on increasing counter profitability through merchandising

Gary Brusacoram, associate, Andrews Johnson Brusacoram Sales, Inc. providing the manufacturer's representative perspective.

If you're looking for a conference with a lot of one-on-one time with industry experts, don't miss LEAD! More...

NAED Offers Customized Sales Training on Location

Bring together your sales team for tailor-made training with the help of NAED. Sales training programs taught by NAED trainers can be delivered on site, at your location. Training is based on NAED's popular and highly regarded "Counter Pro," "Maximize Your Profit Power," and "We Are Customer Service." Content is customized to suit your company's needs.

NAED's professional trainers, Ed Orlet and Jim Lowe, use a dynamic teaching style. They provide examples specific to electrical distribution and utilize role play exercises to create a positive learning environment. And, NAED is pleased to announce that Ed has just achieved professional certification in training from Langevin Learning Systems, an international training company.

For more info... contact Ed Orlet at 888-791-2512 or eorlet@naed.org for details about on-site customized sales training, along with pricing and availability.

Volunteers Sought for New Task Force on Product Introduction

Successfully introducing new products is one of the biggest challenges in the marketplace today, yet few have successfully mastered the process.

Studies have shown that the key to a successful product launch is the hand-off from marketing to sales, but this process often encounters roadblocks when distributors are expected to support new product introductions with little input or advance notice. Not only can this create problems for all parties involved, but opportunities may be lost when a new product introduction is superimposed on an electrical distributor's existing marketing plan. Isn't it time to formulate a better way to introduce new products in the electrical distribution channel?

If new product introductions are your passion, NAED needs your insight and input. Consider volunteering for NAED's Task Force on New Product Introductions so your ideas can be translated into action. The task force will have one face-to-face meeting in Chicago and then meet via conference call for 1-hour per month between September 2006 and April 2007. Planned deliverables include recommended best practices in new product introductions--including checklists, tools, and milestones.

For more info... contact NAED Customer Service at 888-791-2512 or email customerservice@naed.org.

Electrical Safety Month: 6 Safety Tips to Promote Public Awareness

·          Encourage employees and members of your community to conduct a basic electrical safety check of their own home with family members, using information in the Indoor

·          Electrical Safety Check booklet, available free of charge by visiting

      Electrical Safety Foundation International's Library at www.electrical-safety.org.

·          Use your web site to promote electrical safety tips and information.

·          Send electrical safety reminders at the end of your e-mail messages.

·          Conduct programs on electrical safety in the workplace and at schools and community events.

 

Encourage schools and teachers to access and utilize the electrical safety module of the National Fire Protection Association's RiskWatch® school outreach program, available at www.nfpa.org.   www.naed.org

Communications Supply Corporation Acquires Liberty Wire & Cable, Inc.

Communications Supply Corporation (CSC) announced it recently completed the acquisition of Liberty Wire & Cable, Inc. (Liberty).  Liberty, based in Colorado Springs, CO, is one of the industry's leading providers of connectivity and infrastructure products to both the residential and commercial professional audio video markets.  The acquisition gives CSC a strong global platform within the burgeoning residential and commercial audio, video and broadcast market segments — rounding out a complete product portfolio that supports network convergence; voice, data, security and now audio and video solutions.  This transaction brings the number of CSC full service branch locations across the United States to thirty-two.  Liberty distribution centers in Colorado and North Carolina will continue to service Liberty customers globally.

Liberty, led by Andy Bergdoll, President and General Manager, will continue to operate under its current management team.  Mr. Bergdoll and the Liberty management team have made a significant equity investment in CSC.  "I am very bullish about the future growth opportunities for the Liberty Team as we provide their outstanding sales organization access to the CSC nationwide distribution network," explains Steve Riordan, President and Chief Executive Officer of CSC.

"Both CSC and Liberty share the same passion for providing world-class customer service while also maintaining highly spirited and entrepreneurial cultures," noted Andy Bergdoll.  "Our customers will continue to be supported by the same highly motivated and customer focused team they've grown to depend on with the added national resources that CSC provides.  The combination of CSC and Liberty will enhance our collective ability to expand our market share within our core segments." www.gocsc.com.

BOMA International’s Government Affairs Awards

Time is running out to submit your entries for BOMA International’s Government Affairs Awards. All BOMA local associations are encouraged to nominate their advocacy-related committees, programs or seminars. Applications must be submitted to BOMA International’s advocacy division by May 31. Awards will be announced at the 2007 Winter Business Meeting and will be featured in Buildings magazine.  www.boma.org

Submit your entry today.

Rexel Acquires Capitol Light And Supply

Rexel, the number one worldwide distribution network of electrical supplies, announced the acquisition of the business of Capitol Light and Supply Company (d/b/a: CLS and Capitol Light), a leader in both the New England electrical distribution market and the national retail lighting market.  The acquisition illustrates Rexel’s ongoing commitment to a dynamic growth strategy in the U.S. market and provides a significant footprint in the New England region.

The announcement follows the signature of an agreement on May 15, 2006, between Rexel and the closely held Capitol Light and Supply Company.

Based in Hartford, Connecticut, Capitol Light and Supply Company achieved sales of approximately $234 million in 2005.  With 415 employees at 22 branch locations in five states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), CLS, the electrical wholesaling business, enjoys a 15% market share in the region.  Capitol Light, the company’s national retail lighting business, operates in 36 states and Canada, with distribution centers located in New Haven, Connecticut, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Capitol Light and Supply Company’s customer base comprises electrical contractors (approximately 70% of sales) and major national retail lighting accounts (approximately 30% of sales).  A highly successful operation, Rexel intends to further develop the national accounts model, leverage their expertise, and expand the concept to other branches throughout the country.

The acquisition is expected to close before the end of June 2006, pending governmental approvals.  Upon closing, the business of Capitol Light and Supply will operate under the trade names Rexel CLS and Rexel Capitol Light.  The new names take advantage of the companies’ significant regional and national name recognition.  All members of the highly successful CLS and Capitol Light management team will remain with the business to help ensure a smooth integration and continued long-term success.

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Rexel, Inc., a subsidiary of the Rexel Group, is one of the largest distributors of electrical and datacom supplies in the United States.  Now with over 4,500 employees, Rexel, Inc. operates close to 300 branches in 29 states.  Rexel’s U.S. sales are projected to exceed $2.5 billion on an annualized basis, excluding the acquisition of Capitol Light and Supply.

“Following the acquisition announced in February of Elektro Material AG, the leading Swiss wholesale distributor of electrical supplies, the new transaction with Capitol Light and Supply Company in the U.S. underscores Rexel’s determination to pursue its selective external growth strategy, aimed at significantly strengthening its local position.  Rexel’s sales volume will increase by 10% over and above our rapidly growing base, on the highly fragmented U.S. electrical distribution market.  The company is poised for growth opportunities in this country,” stated Jean-Charles Pauze, CEO of Rexel Group.

www.rexel.com

NEBB Design Phase Commissioning Handbook Available On CD

The 560 page Design Phase Commissioning Handbook, first released, as a bound hardcopy in 2005, is now available on CD.  The CD is identical to the bound version and provides user-friendly access to all sections, tables, and appendices.  Running the CD requires Adobe® Reader® with Search, which allows finding technical data and information in seconds.  The handbook is intended to be used by a commissioning professional in reviewing building mechanical system design documents and determining their relevance and completeness to the total quality of the projects.  The price ($495 list / $350 NEBB) is the same for both hardcopy and CD.  See http://www.nebb.org/nebbpublications.htm for details and order form, or contact Sheila Simms at sheila@nebb.org or 301-977-3698.

Electrical Distributors Post Sales Growth In First Quarter 2006

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

For the quarter ending March 31, 85.5% of the distributors surveyed predict their sales will increase. This maintains the pace of heightened expectations seen in the survey since the third and fourth quarters of 2005, when similar percentages of distributors, 89.9% and 85.8% respectively, reported that their sales grew. Also continuing the trend, nearly half of the surveyed distributors, 47.2%, anticipated sales growth of over 10% for the first quarter of 2006.

Growth Expected to Continue in Second Quarter 2006

Distributors have continued optimism, with 85.5% seeing growth rates continuing in the second quarter. Survey respondents were a bit more cautious with the percentage of sales increase, with 31.5% estimating sales increases of 10% or more. Only 11.1% of distributors surveyed look for flat or negative sales growth in April - June 2006.

Northeast Joins in Gains

After falling behind other regions for several quarters, the Northeast is joining in the growth trend. For the first quarter, 86.2% of Northeast distributors expect sales growth, second only to the South at 90.5%. In the Midwest and West, 82.8% and 82.2% expect sales growth, respectively.

For the Q2 now under way, 91.9% of distributors in the South predict sales growth along with 89.7% in the Northeast. The Midwest and West both trail at 81.6% and 80.0% respectively.

Largest Distributors Most Optimistic

All sizes of distributors report sales growth in Q1 and expect this trend to continue in Q2, but the larger distributors have the most positive views. Distributors with 30-49 employees expect the most sales growth in Q1, 94.6%, followed by companies with 50 or more employees (91.7%), 10-19 employees (89.7%), 1-4 employees (85.7%), 5-9 employees (75.5%) and 20-29 employees (75.0%).

In Q2 2006 forecasts, expectations followed a similar pattern. Distributors with 30-49 employees lead the way as 91.9% foresee sales growth followed by those with 50 or more employees (88.3%). Companies of all sizes seemed optimistic as all hovered near the eightieth percentile: 10-19 employees (87.2%), 1-4 employees (85.7%), 20-29 employees (81.3%), and 5-9 employees (79.2%). By contrast, the lowest expectation for positive sales in the last survey was 62.5%.  www.naed.org 

CABA Inviting Industry Experts To Participate In The Intelligent Building Leadership Forum

CABA is currently inviting industry experts to participate in its upcoming Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum (June 25-27, Dallas, TX). As someone heavily involved in the intelligent building industry, we invite you to submit your interest to be considered a contributor in one of our Leadership Forum sessions.

Sessions include:

Dollars & Sense - Cost Justifying Integrated Systems

Energy Management Solutions - The Holy Grail?

Migrating From Legacy Systems

Life Safety & Security - Roles, Responsibilities and Risks

Owners and Vendors - Speaking the Same Language

LEEDing Intelligent Buildings

In-Building Wireless - Technology, Reality and Opportunity

Designing Intelligence into Buildings - When, Who and How???

XML and Web Service Standards for Facility Management - OASIS's oBIX Project Update

The full agenda is available at: http://caba.org/ leadersforum/.

This year's Forum will provide business leaders an environment to openly explore pressing issues facing the intelligent building industry, exchange experiences and ideas and obtain fresh insights into the challenges confronting the deployment of intelligent building technologies. The Leadership Forum will also be an important part of gathering information and research for the new Intelligent Buildings Roadmap.

As a delegate, contributing to a specific session you will be introduced as an SME (subject matter expert) in the topic under discussion. You will not be an audience member or speaker with allotted time per se, but will be asked to actively contribute to the discussion. So there is no confusion, all of our industry experts will be comprised of paid delegates, so take advantage of the early-bird rate.

Again, if you wish to be considered you for one of the above-specified sessions, please contact David Dern (613.993.6760, dern@caba.org) or Wendy Walton (613.949.4662, walton@caba.org ) to discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Ron Zimmer, President & CEO

Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)  www.caba.org 

AT&T Expands Its Network Integration Services To Canada

AT&T Inc. has announced the global expansion of AT&T Network Integration Services for business customers in Canada and other key regions around the world.

The services are designed to help organizations overcome hurdles they face as they transform their legacy networks and IT environments to the next generation of network technologies.

"This past year has seen impressive growth in the networking market as well as a strong need for these types of services in Canada," said Kathleen Naasz, network integration director with AT&T Global Services Canada.

"In today's global economy, networking is vital to every country. Globalization and other market forces are prompting companies to form tighter links with customers, partners and vendors and give remote workers instant access to data."

Network services offered include WAN/LAN infrastructure design, security policy compliance checks and remediation, data center moves and consolidation, telecommunications management and private network design and construction.


Hitachi Reinforces Strategic Commitment To The Mainframe Storage Market

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT - News; TOKYO:6501 - News), and its wholly owned subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems announced successful completion of compatibility and interoperability testing between Hitachi storage and IBM zSeries mainframe systems.

Supporting IBM mainframe environments remains an important and strategic segment of Hitachi's storage business.  A significant number of customers -- in the financial services industry and other key sectors -- rely on mainframe systems to run mission-critical applications.  The compatibility and interoperability test results demonstrates Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Data Systems' commitment to this strategic segment of Hitachi's storage business.  As a result, users enjoy a degree of confidence when they consider Hitachi in their data center purchasing decisions.

Hitachi has seen increased customer satisfaction since agreeing in May 2005 to begin product interoperability testing to validate Hitachi storage system compatibility with IBM zSeries mainframes.  The testing environments included enterprise storage products marketed globally by Hitachi, Ltd., and Hitachi Data Systems such as the Hitachi TagmaStore® Universal Storage Platform, Hitachi TagmaStore® Network Storage Controller, Hitachi SANRISE® Universal Storage Platform and Hitachi SANRISE® Network Storage Controller.

"We are seeing a resurgence in high-end mainframe storage deployments, particularly in the financial services and telecommunications industries," said Jack Domme, senior vice president, Global Solutions Development & Support, Hitachi Data Systems.  "Our commitment to this market means that meeting the business-critical data storage needs of mainframe clients around the globe is priority number one.  Hitachi's agreement with IBM provides a concrete example of how companies can cooperate effectively on the interoperability of their products, putting the customer first."

Hitachi's support of Enterprise System Connection(TM) (ESCON®), Fiber Connection (FICON®) and Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) connectivity for select configurations of IBM eServer zSeries® 800, 900 and 990 systems and System z9, running operating systems including z/OS® 1.6, z/OS® 1.7, VM/ESA 5.2.0 and Linux on System z was successfully tested.

As a result of successful completion of compatibility and interoperability testing, a Letter of Qualification was issued by IBM and posted on the website at:

Hitachi Data Systems

http://www.hds.com/pdf/ibm_qualification_letter.pdf.

IBM

http://www.ibm.com/systems/z/connectivity/pdf/hitachi.pdf

http://www.hitachi.com.

Dow Corning Lights Path In LED Market's Transition To Silicones

Dow Corning Corporation has launched an expanded family of silicone materials for the fast-growing light emitting diode (LED) market. The product line introduction comes at a time when manufacturers are looking to silicones to provide brighter, longer-lasting LEDs in diverse applications, such as backlighting for mobile appliances and displays, cell phone camera flash, automotive interior and exterior lighting, and general illumination.

Building on the company's existing product line of gels, elastomers and resins, Dow Corning's newest products include three new LED-protecting encapsulants -- DOW CORNING® EG-6301, DOW CORNING® OE-6336, and DOW CORNING® JCR 6175 -- and a breakthrough new resin: DOW CORNING® SR-7010, a moldable material that combines the durability and transparency of a silicone to make hard discrete lenses and other components for LED applications. Each of these silicone-based materials enables surface mount assembly of LED devices using lead-free solder, a key environmental benefit. The products are the first to emerge from Dow Corning's new Light Management group, which the company launched to support emerging needs in the global photonics market.

"As new designs call for brighter, hotter and longer-lasting LEDs, and manufacturers adopt high-temperature lead-free assembly processes, we're seeing more and more companies turn to the power of silicone in applications where epoxies or COCs (cyclo olefin copolymers) were once the materials of choice," said Tom Cook, global industry executive director, Dow Corning. "Silicones are ideally matched to the demands of LED manufacturing -- they offer exceptional reliability due to their initial high light

transmittance and optical clarity is retained because the materials resist the effects of high temperatures and short-wavelength exposures. In addition, the silicones can be formulated to adhere to a multitude of substrates, giving users wide latitude when it comes to creating new device designs.

"As the experts in silicones for 60 years, we're working hand-in-hand with customers and partners throughout the supply chain to optimize production processes and develop new materials that enable unprecedented LED applications."

The LED market is expected to see 10% compound annual growth over the next five years. With applications in mobile appliances, signs, displays, traffic signals, automobiles and general illumination, LEDs represented a $4.0 billion market in 2005, according to market researcher Strategies Unlimited. http://www.dowcorning.com 

HAI Adds To Awards

Home Automation, Inc. (HAI), the premier manufacturer of home control products since 1985, has recently won several industry awards, including the following: 

  HAI's President, Jay McLellan, received the 2006 Building Technologies CEO of the Year Award at Frost & Sullivan's 2006 Excellence in Industrial Technologies Awards Banquet held in Orlando, Florida on April 26, 2006 

  HAI's OmniTouch With Video won the 2006 Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Mark of Excellence Award in the Best Human Interface category 

  Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) Chairman's Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Company 

 Both TechLiving and Electronic House magazines named HAI Lighting Control (HLC) one of the Top Products of 2005 

  CePro magazine named HAI as Innovator of the Year for 2005 

“We are humbled and honored to receive so many prestigious accolades,” comments HAI President Jay McLellan.  “We would like to thank all of the associations and publications involved in the awards for the recognition as well as our dealers, distributors and customers for their support.” 

Click on the following link to download a high res photo of HAI President & CEO Jay McLellan accepting the 2006 Building Technologies CEO of the Year Award at Frost & Sullivan's 2006 Excellence in Industrial Technologies Awards Banquet held in Orlando, Florida on April 26, 2006.  Pictured from left to right are Sandeep Maheshwari, Vice President, Industrial Technologies for Frost & Sullivan and HAI resident & CEO Jay McLellan.  www.homeauto.com

NEMA Releases Revised Panel Board And Distribution Switchboard Standards

The Low Voltage Distribution Equipment Panelboard and Distribution Board Product Group of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), has published two revised standards covering panelboards and distribution switchboards. PB 1-2006, Panelboards, and PB 2-2006, Deadfront Distribution Switchboards, have been revised for the first time since 2000 and 2001, respectively.

PB 1-2006 is a general standard for panelboards providing information on panelboard types, voltage ratings, short-circuit current ratings, construction requirements, and test procedures.

PB 2-2006 covers floor-mounted deadfront switchboards rated 6000 amperes or less, 600 volts or less, which consist of an enclosure, molded case circuit breakers, low-voltage power circuit breakers, fusible or non-fusible switches, instruments, metering equipment, monitoring equipment or control equipment, with associated interconnections and supporting structures. These units are used in the distribution of electricity for light, heat, and power.

"PB 1 and PB 2 provide a common understanding within the electrical community for the purchase, testing, application, and use of panelboards and switchboards,” says Kevin J. Lippert, chairman of the NEMA LVDE 02 Panelboard and Distribution Board Product Group. “This is very helpful for manufacturers, specifiers, and users of these products. Changes to these documents include updates of references to the latest edition of other referenced codes and standards. In addition, the enclosure type designations were modified to reflect the most recent terminology in NEMA 250.”

PB 1-2006 may be viewed or purchased for $59.00 by visiting www.nema.org/stds/pb1.cfm; PB 2-2006 may be viewed or purchased for $59.00 by visiting www.nema.org/stds/pb2.cfm or by contacting Global Engineering Documents at (800) 854-7179 (within the U.S.), (303) 397-7956 (international), (303) 397-2740 (fax), or on the Internet at http://global.ihs.com.

www.nema.org

Telecommunications Grounding & Bonding

Mike Gassman and Dan Holm, ERICO

The task of effectively grounding and bonding a building’s telecommunication infrastructure can be taxing to even an experienced electrician.  While traditional grounding techniques are applied to the installations, additional grounding and bonding are required to ensure proper systems operation. Understanding telecommunications terminology and special considerations can also be a challenge for the installer. To help wade through the industry’s jargon, this article will define terms and discuss the basic schematics of a properly grounded and bonded telecommunications network in a facility.

Code requires a bonding connection from a traditional electrical grounding system to the electrical service entrance neutral bar.  Telecommunications networks and equipment grounds also need to be bonded to the electrical service ground. Simply grounding to structural steel or a water pipe isn’t enough when tackling telecommunication systems. The electronic systems utilized are very sensitive to transients and other electrical disruptions.  Telecommunications cabling and power must be effectively equalized to prevent loops or transients that can damage the equipment. This requires designing a complete grounding and bonding system that goes beyond the basic “green wire” methodology.   ANSI/TIA/EIA-J- STD-607, addresses the requirements for a telecommunications grounding and bonding infrastructure in commercial environments.  Telecommunications refers to all forms of information conveyed within a facility such as voice, data, video, audio, security, etc.

Unpredictable operation, intermittent data loss and outright computer failure can result from a transient. Surge protective devices are important but not the complete solution.  To ensure the safety and operation of sensitive computer equipment – as well as the safety of personnel – installation of an effective grounding and bonding system is necessary to circumvent such disturbances. To ensure effective equalization, the telecommunications grounding system should be directly attached to the electrical service ground. An earth electrode system such as ground rods or other grounding electrode systems can be used when no known or reliable electrical service reference is available for the telecom equipment.

Schematics of Telecommunications Grounding

In general, a telecommunications grounding system contains the following components.

·        Telecommunications bonding conductor

·        Telecommunications main grounding busbar (TMGB)

·        Telecommunications bonding backbone (TBB)

·        Telecommunications grounding busbar (TGB)

·        Telecommunications bonding backbone interconnecting bonding conductor (TBBIBC)

The protection system begins at the electrical service entrance, travels to the TMGB and continues through to each TGB located in individual telecommunication closets on each floor of the building structure, finally looping back around to the original TMGB.

The telecommunications entrance facility (TEF) includes the entrance point at the telecommunications service and the space where the inter- and intra-building backbone facilities join. Telecommunication-related antenna entrances and electronic equipment may be located in the TEF.

If the facility is not equipped with an adequate earth electrode system with a suitably low earth resistance (typically 5 ohms or less), this must be designed and installed as part of the facility electrical system, which includes the telecommunications subsystem requirements.

Telecommunications Main Grounding Busbar (TMGB)

The TMGB is the dedicated extension of the building grounding electrode system for the telecommunications infrastructure. Because it is the central attachment point for TBBs and equipment, the TMGB should provide easy access for telecommunications personnel. The TMGB is a predrilled copper busbar with standardized (TIA-607 and NEMA) bolt-hole sizing and spacing to which conductors can be attached using lugs. A minimum of 6mm thickness by 100mm width is recommended. To reduce lug contact resistance, the TMGB should be electro-tin plated.

There are important questions to ask when purchasing TMGBs. Are the brackets made from rust-proof stainless steel? Are insulators needed? Does the bar have enough space for many years of future expansion?

Telecommunications Bonding Backbone (TBB)

The TBB is a conductor that connects all TGBs with the TMGB. It reduces or equalizes potential differences between the telecommunication systems to which it is bonded. The TBB should not be the only conductor that provides a ground-fault current-return path. Starting at the TMGB, the TBB loops throughout the building via telecommunications backbone pathways. It connects TGBs in every telecommunications closet and equipment room within the building.

Each TBB should be an insulated conductor, a minimum of No. 6 AWG and possibly as large as 750 kcmil, the larger of which are often used by telephone and communication companies. In a multi-story building where more than one TBB is used, the TBBs must be bonded together with a TBB interconnection bonding conductor (TBBIBC) located on the top floor and at least every third floor.

Telecommunications Grounding Busbar (TGB)

The TGB centrally connects systems and equipment served by a telecommunications closet. The TGB is a predrilled copper busbar with standard bolt-hole sizing and spacing. A minimum of 6mm thickness by 50mm width is recommended. Both the TGB and the TMGB are electro-tin plated to ensure low resistance and corrosion-free contact between the lugs and the busbars. The bonding conductor between the TMGB and the TGB should be continuous and run in the most direct path possible. Often, the TGB is installed to the side of the panelboard. When the building’s structural steel is effectively grounded, each TGB should be bonded to the steel within the same room with a No. 6 AWG conductor. CADWELD® or CADWELD PLUS® exothermic welded electrical connections are recommended when making these bonds. Exothermic connections make a permanent molecular bond that will not loosen or corrode, withstand repeated fault currents without failing during operation and last the lifetime of the conductor. Another option is to use ground bars with pigtails already welded to them, such as those available from ERICO and certain other companies.  A key point to remember is that you should always use the shortest distance possible in the grounding system with the least amount of sharp bends.

The Complete Grounding and Bonding System

Ultimately, effective telecommunications system grounding and bonding means creating a continuous system in which each TGB is interconnected in a loop that begins and ends with the TMGB. A well-designed system is essential to protect equipment and personnel from harm. In addition, using quality products will ensure the long-term success of the system.

www.erico.com

Storage Leader Demonstrates Commitment To Small & Medium Enterprises With Appointment Of Dynamic, Veteran Executive

Hitachi Data Systems Corporation, the leading provider of Application Optimized Storage(TM) solutions and a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT - News; TOKYO:6501 - News), today announced the appointment of Michael Walkey as senior vice president of Global Volume Channels. Walkey joins Hitachi Data Systems from Flextronics, the global contract electronics manufacturer, where he served as vice president and general manager, Reverse Logistics and Repair.

"Mike brings a customer-centric mindset to his new role," said Scott Genereux, executive vice president and general manager, Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Support. "With his background in logistics, supply chain management and services, Mike will help demonstrate Hitachi Data Systems' commitments to the small and medium enterprise customer by enabling us to bring more products to market that are more suitable for this segment."

Before joining Flextronics, Walkey served in senior executive positions at Internet retailer Buy.com and technology distributor Ingram Micro, where he was vice president of product management.

Hitachi Data Systems Global Volume Channels operation is the company's primary conduit to the ever-increasing number of small and medium enterprise (SME) customers. Walkey's new position builds on his prior experience at Ingram Micro where he was responsible for a $6 billion division encompassing all systems OEMs, including Apple, IBM, Compaq, HP, Hitachi, and Toshiba. Ingram Micro, a key partner in Hitachi Data Systems' global volume channel initiative, distributes the company's next generation, channel-optimized TagmaStore® Workgroup Modular Storage model WMS100, Adaptable Modular Storage model AMS200, and Plug-and-play SAN Kits compatible with Microsoft Simple SAN for Windows Server(TM) 2003 initiative to its vast reseller network.

"Hitachi Data Systems sets the global benchmark for storage solutions and I am pleased to join this world-class team," said Walkey. "Business continuity, replication, and archival needs transcend the size of the enterprise. Combining my experience with Hitachi Data Systems' recognized storage technology leadership will accelerate our efforts to build and expand this important channel."

This announcement comes at a time when Hitachi Data Systems is experiencing very strong growth, fueled by sales of solutions based on the company's revolutionary intelligent virtual storage controllers, the Hitachi TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform and Hitachi TagmaStore Network Storage Controller, rapidly growing HiCommand® storage management software suite, and newly strengthened midrange offerings. The channel-optimized TagmaStore Adaptable Modular Storage and Workgroup Modular Storage product lines feature high-end functionality -- Logical Cache Partitioning and Virtual Storage Ports with secure Host Storage Domains -- not available on many other midrange systems, to help IT organizations optimize the performance of and provide secure data access to vital business applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, ERP, CRM, or databases.  www.hds.com.  http://www.hitachi.com.

Inflation Is Here. Stop Celebrating!

By Joe Salimando

Electrical manufacturers and distributors have partied heavily in recent months, as increasing costs of raw materials allowed everyone to sneak in a bit more profit into prices. It started in 2004. It’s been good!

Inflation, however, always ends up being A Not So Good Thing.

How We Got Inflation

Japan’s bubble popped in 1989-90. The Japanese stock market index, up around 39,000 at the time, has not recovered. That nation’s economy came out of the doldrums in 2004-05, partially as a result of the Chinese industrial boom.

This is relevant because Japan’s economic experience, 1990-2001, scared the heck out of the folks who run the U.S. economy. Unsure of whether they could precisely engineer a slow-down, Alan Greenspan and his econogeniuses elected to err on the side of inflation.

A side note: Ben Bernanke (Greenspan’s successor) made a speech in November 2002 in which he said deflation wasn’t a serious threat, because we can always print up a bunch of money. Find the speech here. My assumption in 2002 was that Greenspan approved all Fed speeches, including Bernanke’s.

Essentially, the “why” of inflation is simple. U.S. money supply (as measured by M3) went from $4 trillion in 1994 to $10 trillion in 2004. GDP didn’t grow at that rate. What happened? Alan Greenspan’s solution to every problem (currency crises in Mexico and Asia, the Long-Term Capital company’s incredible problems, and the anticipated Y2K disaster) was . . . to create more and more money. 

That was his solution to the 2001 recession, too – especially after the 9/11/01 attacks. To a guy with a hammer, everything looks like a nail; flooding the world with dollars was Greenspan’s solution to problems.

If one disregards the aftermath, Greenspan’s money-pumping tactics worked. However, we’re now dealing with the aftermath – which could take a long time to resolve. And: The aftermath could be worse than the problems we avoided.

Prices Are Rising

I often read or hear on TV that the price of oil is elevated because of Iraq, or Iran, or Venezuela. Or the threat of hurricanes.

I don’t believe it.

Yes, the price of crude oil is stupendously high. But so is the price of copper, zinc, aluminum, gold, silver, and a bunch of other stuff.

My theory is that it’s not Iran or whatever that’s affecting the price of crude oil. It’s the deteriorating value of the U.S. dollar. It appears that some of the folks who back up their thoughts with money are using dollars to bid up the price of real things. And this is having an impact on what our money is worth.

Consider this: Housing has been on a tear for most of the 2000s. Here is the relative seven-year DECLINE in the median price of housing as expressed in ounces of gold:

1999 – median existing home sales price = $140,300. Gold average price in 1999 = $338/ounce. One median house is worth 415 ounces of gold.

2006 – median existing home sales price = $218,000. Gold price in May 2006 = $665/ounce. One median house is worth 328 ounces of gold.

Think this comparison is horrid? You ought to see it with housing prices from 1998 vs. crude oil prices in 1998. In that year, the U.S. paid less than $13/barrel for crude oil (on average, imported + domestic, over the year). At the recent $70/barrel (and better), crude has gone up by 5.4x.

I’ll bet your house isn’t worth 540% of what it went for in 1998.

Why Measure With Gold?

Some investment geniuses are grouped under the name “gold bug.” I’m not one of those; I don’t believe we must go back on the gold standard.

However, I have come to comprehend that there’s a huge problem with fiat money. The U.S. dollar is backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government. It’s not worth anything, specifically. To have “faith” in the dollar, one must believe that the Federal Reserve Board has preserving the value of today’s money as a top priority.

I don’t believe that.

You shouldn’t disagree. Think about it: Can anyone trust any government to maintain the value of a paper, fiat currency? I’m not referring solely to the Bush Administration, or the U.S. government. Governments of all stripes can’t resist – they end up increasing the amount of currency in circulation.

One can easily find the U.S. dollar’s worth in yen, or pesos, or euros, or whatever. The problem with these “relative valuations” is that one must believe that the folks managing the value of the peso, or euro, or yen, or whatever, are people of better faith than the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

I don’t believe that, either.  That’s why you might measure your wealth, and your profits (relative to 1999), in ounces of gold. The great thing about gold, from this perspective, is that there’s a limited amount of it; unlike crude oil, it’s not consumed in mass quantities on a daily basis; and just about every bit of gold that’s ever been mined on this planet is still around.

Gold is a useful yardstick because it is a currency (of sorts) that no central bank can manipulate. Bernanke can’t print more gold. Treasury secretaries (domestic and foreign) can’t jawbone the gold price. No Japanese central bank can flood the world with new, electronically created gold.

[Did you know that, in 2003-04, in the depths of Japan’s deflationary crisis, the Japanese Central Bank flooded the world with 30 trillion of new yen in 15 months? That’s more than $40 for every man, woman, and child on the planet earth!]

Gold, then, might or might not be a great investment. But it’s a great measure of value – a reference point.

Supply vs. Demand vs. The Dollar

A reasonable Economics 101 analysis of why copper – for example – keeps increasing in price would resort to Supply & Demand. As noted here a few weeks ago, no one saw  copper breaking $3/pound and going higher in 2006.

Yet here we are. May copper futures were trading over $3.40/pound last week!

To analyze copper supply and demand one would probably refer to:

Historic demand

Historic supply

Mines that are shutting down, for one reason or another

Mines that are opening

Recent consumption trends

. . . and so forth. That’s what copper analysts did. And that’s why some last fall projected the 2006 average per-ounce price to reach a big $1.66 (!!!).

If you follow what’s above, one must add another “Supply & Demand” to the analysis. Someone, or a group of someones, has a fistful of dollars. I’m not talking about speculators here.

He, she, they, or it sees those dollars losing value – now, and in the future.

There are uses for copper. It’s likely to be in high demand, relative to the past, for some time, thanks to China and India.

Therefore, compared with the declining value of the dollar, it makes sense to buy as much copper as possible – even if it has to be warehoused. At least, for this entity, or persons, or groups.

Bottom line: Better to turn those devaluing dollars into something than to allow them to sit in your account . . . losing value.

Who thinks like this? Well, the obvious candidate #1 here is China.

Recent & 20th Century History

Let’s put this into perspective: Argentina has had horrible times in the recent past, when the national currency was – clearly – worthless. The Argentines are not stupid people. Upon seeing the peso’s value slipping away, they ran out to spend their money!

As the average Argentine saw it, better to convert the declining pesos in his pocket into a washing machine, say (which would have value until it died) . . . than to let them rot away in his pocket.

This may be the same thinking that’s driving increases in prices of copper, oil, and other commodities.

Here’s the kicker: The Argentinian government freaked out when this happened in 2002. The government imposed a limitation: You couldn’t withdraw more than $800 (equivalent in pesos) each month from you own bank account. That’s right: The government limited the access citizens had to their own money . . . in a relatively developed country . . . in 2002.

Sounds crazy? There is another example, from North America: In the 1930s, as the extent of the Depression’s economic devastation became clear – and there seemed no end to it – U.S. citizens started to buy gold, for safety’s sake.

In 1934, the U.S. government made it against the law for any citizen to own gold!


What All This Means For You

After celebrating sales increases, and handing out bonuses to your sales force, you might sit down and try to figure out if you’re really coming out ahead these days. You might not like the answer – but you should, at the very least, know what it is.

Reprinted with permission of TED Magazine from May 2006 issue www.tedmag.com

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS COLUMN REFLECTS ONLY THE OPINIONS OF ITS AUTHOR AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OR POLICIES OF NAED, TED MAGAZINE, OR THE ADVERTISERS ON THE TEDMAG WEB SITE.

Announcing The New BOMA-KINGSLEY Quarterly

BOMA International, the leading commercial real estate association, and Kingsley Associates, the premier real estate research and consulting firm, have teamed-up to produce a quarterly newsletter.  The BOMA-Kingsley Quarterly: Practical Industry Intelligence for Commercial Real Estate will debut on May 11.  Each quarter, this unique electronic newsletter will tackle a compelling industry issue from three perspectives—portfolio management, asset management and property management.  Watch for your inaugural issue, focusing on “Green,” on May 11.

Tell-a-friend!  www.boma.org

LEED And ISO 14001: Working Together

Presented by the U.S. Green Building Council and Building Operating Management

By Robert L. Westly and Ralph Vasquez

Email the BOM editors

Progressive facility executives look for ways to manage the environmental issues of their properties. They try to manage natural resources without compromising the ability of future generations to use those same natural resources. One strategy for achieving that goal is to use the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The LEED system rates building construction in six categories:

Sustainable Sites.

Water Efficiency.

Energy and Atmosphere.

Materials and Resources.

Indoor Environmental Quality.

Innovation Credits and Design/Build Process.

Within these categories are specific environmental goals, such as stormwater management, water-use reduction, construction waste management, and indoor chemical and pollutant source control. Regardless of whether facility executives use LEED or other approaches to attain environmental sustainability, these efforts have one common goal: to integrate environmental considerations into facility management. The challenge is developing a process to accomplish this goal.

Environmental Management Systems

One systematic process that is used globally to work toward environmental sustainability is ISO 14001, an international standard for environmental management systems that provides a path to continual improvement.

The standard outlines five concepts that can help facility executives develop a process to improve performance on environmental issues. Those five concepts — aspect, impact, objective, target and significant aspect — are not labeled in a way that will be immediately clear to most facility executives. But once a facility executive gets past the names and understands the concepts, the ISO 14001 approach offers a powerful tool.

The five concepts are:

Aspect: Organization’s activities, products and services that interact or may interact with the environment.

Impact: Any change to the environment resulting from an aspect.

Significant Aspect: Aspect with a significant environmental impact.

Objective: Overall environmental goal an organization sets out to achieve.

Target: Detailed performance requirement that is set to achieve the objective.

To clarify, an aspect is the “cause” and impact is the “effect.” A “significant aspect” is one that an organization determines may have a substantial effect. An objective is general, while a target is measurable.

ISO 14001 in Action

The real power of these five linked concepts is the identification of significant environmental aspects — that is, things that an organization does or produces that have significant environmental effects — from a relatively comprehensive list of aspects established for a particular property. This allows an organization to set priorities so that manageable objectives and targets can be developed.

The assessment typically begins with a brainstorming effort by the facility team to identify as many so-called aspects as possible for a particular property. This effort would include the whole property, generally bounded by the property line, and not limited to the building. For some properties, this may include noncontiguous areas, such as remote storage facilities. The assessment can be performed before a building has been constructed or after it is complete. A selection of typical items prior to site selection and construction would be based on consideration of the planned use of the property. Is a fast-food restaurant or computer chip fabrication facility going to be built? The differences in the environmental aspects between these uses will be substantial. Aspects to consider include:

Type of building: Will the planned buildings affect natural resources? That is, what natural resources will be needed for construction materials and what energy demands will be required?

Waste management: Will the wastes generated during or following construction affect the environment?

Air emission: Will local and regional air quality be affected by the planned property use during or following construction?

Stormwater management: Will stormwater quantity and quality be affected by the planned property use during or following construction?

Effects, from Causes

Once the list is developed, a parallel list of impacts or potential impacts to the environment is developed for each aspect. Impacts to the environment are typically associated with potential changes to the air, soil, surface water, groundwater, flora, and fauna, although other environmental impacts can be considered, such as noise.

By determining which impacts are significant, the facility executive can understand which aspects — the causes of those effects — are significant. Those conducting the assessment must define “significance.” Objectives and targets are then set for the significant aspects. For example, if it is determined that surface water quality will be affected, the objective may be to reduce the detrimental impact and the target might be to install an oil/water separator by a certain date.

If resources are too limited to address all the significant aspects, the definition of significance can be changed to limit the number of significant aspects. Otherwise, the significant aspects can be prioritized and addressed in order.

The LEED categories are overall environmental goals or objectives and the LEED goals are more like “targets” in the ISO 14001 scheme of environmental management. If these goals and targets, and others addressed by LEED, arose from a significant aspect assessment of a particular property, they would become part of a systematic environmental management system.

An organization continually improves its environmental performance as it repeats the five-step process — typically every year or as targets are met — and identifies new significant aspects and different objectives and targets. Initially, this process results in picking the “low-hanging fruit” first. That is, initially, it’s rather obvious which items have the biggest environmental impacts, and objectives and targets are quickly set. As the environmental management system matures, environmental impacts can become more subtle. This is proof of progress toward environmental sustainability.

Bob Westly is EMS services director for SCS Engineers and Ralph Vasquez is a senior regulatory compliance specialist for the firm. SCS Engineers provides engineering, construction, and long-term operations and maintenance services for solid waste management and site remediation projects throughout the world.

Building Operating Management • 2100 West Florist AveMilwaukee, WI 53209

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News from Communications Supply Corporation — May 2006

SPECIAL EDITION

Cable Prices Continue to Soar

Since April 7, worldwide commodities used in the manufacturing of Data Communications and Low Voltage wire and cable products continue to experience sharp increases in demand. This is resulting in inflationary cost pressures on the market at an unprecedented rate. Wire and Cable manufacturers have struggled during the last year to pass along price increases commensurate with the increases they have been realizing in their raw material costs. This has resulted in a significant decline in operating margins for all category cable manufacturers and therefore has required them to significantly raise their pricing to the market.

In particular, copper (Comex) prices have increased by over ninety two cents ($0.92) per pound since the beginning of April with price increases sometimes approaching twenty cents ($0.20) per day. To put this in perspective; copper prices increased seventy five cents ($0.75) in all of 2005. This equates to a 58% increase in copper since January of 2006 and a 138% increase since January of 2005!

In addition, other raw materials used to manufacture and distribute wire and cable products are experiencing allocations and price increases while setting record highs. For example, crude oil hit a record high of $75/barrel 2 weeks ago which represents a 60% increase from early 2005. This has led to price increases in petrochemicals such as PVC resins and polyethylene which are direct derivatives of crude oil and are used to manufacturer all of the above cables. Escalating crude oil prices have also increased transportation costs leading to increased freight charges and other transportation costs from all major suppliers. These historical price increases have affected all wire and cable products including both Plenum and Non-Plenum products; Cat 5e through Cat 6a (Augmented 10 Gig) on 4 pair as well as high pair counts through 1200 pair configurations, Outside Plant Cables and all Low Voltage electronic wire and cable products.

The Copper Freight Train: For the moment there is no stopping copper and looking ahead there seems to be nothing to derail it. Worldwide copper consumption will exceed production in 2006 by 100,000 tons according to a BaseMetals.com report. The biggest reason for world copper supply tightness and sky-high prices continues to be China, where industrial and urbanization have been underway all decade. Patricia Mohr, vice president with Scotia Bank, said that recent data suggest that the combined copper stored in Comex, London Metal Exchange (LME) and Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses are considered to be around a 3.6-day global supply. This figure is near the low end of its recent range of 2.8 days in 2004 and could reach that range once again by year's end. Continued strikes and natural disasters across the globe are also contributing to further disruptions to copper output. Output has been lost during a month long stoppage at the La Caridad mine, owned by Grupo Mexico SA. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said that variations in the richness of deposits at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia led to a decline of a 1/3 in first quarter production from the site, which is the world's second largest copper mine.

We will continue to monitor and inform you of any additional information regarding these pricing dynamics so you can plan your business accordingly. To follow are a few commodities charts and graphs that visually explain these unprecedented price increases affecting our industry. We thank you for your continued business and your cooperation during these tenuous times in our industry.

Please contact your local CSC Representative should you have any additional questions or concerns.

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Communication Supply Corporation: Update On Copper Prices

Since our last update informing you of raw materials inflation taking place within the Structured Cabling Industry, copper has reached as high as $4.16/ lb on the Comex Exchange, crude oil remains near $70/barrel and pricing of PVC Resins and other derivatives of crude oil continue to increase. In addition, aluminum is at an 18 year high, steel is up 10% this year, and zinc and palladium are also on the rise. These increases are now having an effect on manufacturers of Racks, Cabinets and other metal accessories. 

Cable Pricing up Again – On April 18th, Comex Copper closed at $3.06/lb.  On May 18th, Comex Copper closed at $3.87/lb.  That equates to a 26.5% increase in price in just 4 weeks alone!  Because of this, Structured Cabling Distributors have seen another round of price increases for the week of May 15th from most major cable manufacturers and there apparently is no end in sight.  Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer, said that prices will continue to extend to record gains because of the ongoing supply disruptions, low inventories and purchase by investment funds.

Not Just in ChinaAll indications are that China, the worlds fastest growing major economy, will keep bolstering demand while labor disputes and a shortage of new mining investment put a squeeze  on supplies, said Bob Parker, Vice Chairman of Asset Management at Credit Suisse in London.  Developed countries are also contributing to the supply & demand gap; Copper demand continues to increase in the United States, the second largest user of copper.

We will continue to keep you updated on these unprecedented pricing dynamics as they take place.  Please contact your local CSC sales representative for more information. 

Thank you for your support,

Matthew Soroka

Corporate Product Management

Cablofil® Welded Wire Cable Tray Complements Industry-Leading Family Of Pathway Solutions

Legrand North America has announced that Cablofil® welded wire cable tray will become part of a growing family of wire and cable pathway solutions offered by Wiremold/Legrand and Ortronics/Legrand. 

Legrand acquired ICM Group, the marketer of Cablofil welded wire cable trays, in late 2005.  The transition will be completed on July 1, when Wiremold/Legrand will discontinue production of its FieldMate welded wire tray and begin offering Cablofil welded wire tray to its network of authorized Wiremold® distributors.  Within the data/communications distribution channel, Cablofil welded wire tray will be managed by the Ortronics/Legrand sales organization.

“Cablofil is the most recognized, most specified brand of welded wire cable tray in the world,” said John Selldorff, President and CEO of Legrand North America. “As such it is a significant addition to the comprehensive line of Wiremold and Ortronics® solutions.  It strengthens the position of Wiremold and Ortronics as the leading sources for the widest range of wire management pathways and connectivity respectively.”

Wiremold specification representatives and Cablofil overhead product specialists will support the welded wire cable tray line with architects, engineers, and design-build contractors, as well as industrial manufacturing facilities.  “Their mission will be to help customers realize the labor productivity of welded wire cable tray versus conduit,” said Tim Place, President of Cablofil, Inc.

Cablofil, located in Mascoutah, Ill., is being designated a “Center of Excellence” for cable tray engineering, product management, manufacturing of welded wire cable tray, and customer service.   

Legrand North America, headquartered in West Hartford, Conn., employs 2,600 people across the United States and Canada.  Legrand is the world’s leading specialist in residential housing and commercial building products and systems for electrical installations and information networks.

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association Joins BOMA International As Newest Supporting Partner

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), the national trade association that advances the use of energy-efficient polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation, is the latest Supporting Partner of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International. PIMA’s Supporting Partner status includes a pledge of $10,000 to support crucial programs in education, advocacy, research and membership.

Since 2004 BOMA’s partnership program has allowed companies to support the commercial real estate industry while investing in their own success and viability. Partnering organizations can participate at three levels: Cornerstone Partner ($50,000), Leadership Circle ($25,000) and Supporting Partner ($10,000).

“Partnering with PIMA sends an important message about the value and necessity of using sustainable and cost-effective insulation products like polyiso in commercial property construction. By working together, the collective membership of both organizations will benefit through shared knowledge, education and resources,” said BOMA International Chairman, David W. Hewett, RPA, CPM, CCIM, FMA, CFM, principal for Trammell Crow Company, Auburn Hills, Michigan.

“PIMA is pleased to partner with BOMA to raise awareness and understanding about the economic benefit and energy efficiency potential of well designed and maintained commercial buildings,” said PIMA President Jared Blum. “We look forward to a long-term joint effort to raise the performance bar for our nation’s commercial buildings.”

PIMA is a leading advocate for energy efficient practices and policies in the country. By advancing the use of the EPA-recognized polyiso insulation, PIMA is a proactive promoter of safe, cost-effective, sustainable and energy efficient construction. For more information about PIMA and the use of polyiso insulation, visit www.pima.org.

Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 90 local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA’s 19,000-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and abroad. The mission of BOMA International is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. On the Web at www.boma.org.

Area Communications – Jacksonville, Florida Announces Promotions

Jim Trott has been promoted to Installation Manager. Jim made a huge impact in the service department with his technical skills and his soft-spoken calm approach to customer’s issues. Jim came to Area Communications from an end user environment and he is uniquely qualified to understand the needs and wants of a demanding customer. With a B.S. degree in Computer Information Systems, 7 years experience managing a team of IT professionals, and managing a group of law enforcement personnel in the military, Jim has helped Area Communications raise the bar of excellent customer service. He will be leading the Installation Team to partner with our customers, provide top quality training and system service.

Will Moore has been promoted to Service Manager of Area Communications Company. With his strong management skills, he has made the cabling team into the most efficient and customer service oriented department of Area Communications.

Joe Manges, has been promoted to Cabling Manager, Joe Manges, a veteran employee with Area Communications will assume the duties formerly handled by Will Moore.

www.areacom.com

Retail Certified Technician – For Low Voltage

Where are we going to get the people who will install and service the needs of Retail industry’s Low voltage requirements?  The retail industry is going mad.  Often a company puts up a store, and then almost overnight, a competitor will put one up “next door”. 

Where are the trained people to handle this specialized work?   We are talking about a technician who knows a fiber connector from a coax connector.   Have you noticed that when you walk into a Grocery Chain, Merchandise Marts, Sport Center Stores, Hardware Centers, Do-It Yourself Centers, and Drug Stores etc?  There are several systems that keep a retail business going, such as CCTV and CCTP, Structured to LAN Network Cabling, Fiber Optic, Voice Communications, Paging and Intercommunications, Electrical Convergence of POS Hardware and Cabling Configurations. 

Cabling America has put together a powerful training program: Retail and Commercial Hardware and Cabling Program.  This is a self-study program and when completed students can earn a Retail Certified Technicians certificate from the Association of Cabling and Hardware Professionals.  This training program is a proven program and has a very reasonable price tag.  For more information go to Cabling Americas website www.cablingamerica.com and see what its all about.

BICSI Wins An Award Of Excellence For BICSI Cares Program

BICSI Cares, the charity arm of BICSI, has won the Award of Excellence in the 2006 Associations Advance America (AAA) Awards program, a national competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Washington, DC.

“BICSI Cares, Inc. truly embodies the spirit of the Associations Advance America campaign. It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase this activity as an example of the many contributions associations are making to advance American society,” remarked 2005-2006 Associations Advance America Committee Chair Bill Bergman, CAE, president of William S. Bergman Associates.

The award recognizes associations and industry partners that advance American society with innovative programs in areas like education, skills training, standard setting, citizenship and community service. BICSI Cares won the Award of Excellence, which automatically puts BICSI Cares in the running for the 2006 Associations Advance America Summit Award, the highest level of recognition. The Summit Awards will be chosen in July 2006.

“Propelling America, or any nation, forward involves helping the people of the nation.  Over its history, BICSI Cares, Inc. has helped the most fragile of these citizens... the children,” said John Discenza of General Cable.   “BICSI Cares aided some to recover from serious illness, some to walk, and some to enjoy a period of ‘normality’ in an otherwise tortured life.”

BICSI Cares, Inc. collects donations at each BICSI conference and gives 100 percent of the contributions to a local children’s charity. So far, BICSI Cares has raised over $1,000,000 for various charities. BICSI Cares began when BICSI member Ray Gendron passed a hat down a row of seats at a BICSI Conference. It came back to him filled with money. Since there was no way of knowing who gave what, he decided to give the money to charity and a tradition was born. “The telecommunications industry has served us well,” said Ray Gendron, retired chair of the BICSI Cares Committee. “The objective of BICSI Cares, Inc. is to be good corporate citizens and give something back to those less fortunate.”

“Thank you for the award,” said Discenza. “But more importantly, thank you for publicly recognizing that there are people who care about others.”

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BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., BICSI serves more than 25,000 industry professionals in nearly 100 countries around the world. For more information, visit http://www.bicsi.org.

Contact:          Maarja Kolberg, BICSI Headquarters, mkolberg@bicsi.org, 813.979.1991


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