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Issue: June 2010
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


Bisbee’s Buzz

The mean season is back.

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has officially begun with weather experts predicting an "active to extremely active season."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there will be between 14 and 23 named storms this hurricane season. www.nhc.noaa.gov/

NOAA meteorologists say eight to 14 of these storms could become hurricanes with winds of at least 119 kilometers per hour.

The hurricane season begins as oil from a spill off the Louisiana coast continues to spread through the Gulf of Mexico. Experts say potential storms could complicate efforts to stop the leak and clean-up the oil.

There are also concerns that severe weather could spread the oil further along the Gulf coast, causing wider environmental and economic damage.

NOAA Expects Busy 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season

An “active to extremely active” hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year according to the seasonal outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service. As with every hurricane season, this outlook underscores the importance of having a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of the following ranges:

14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:

8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:

3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

The outlook ranges exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Expected factors supporting this outlook are:

Upper atmospheric winds conducive for storms. Wind shear, which can tear apart storms, will be weaker since El Niño in the eastern Pacific has dissipated. Strong wind shear helped suppress storm development during the 2009 hurricane season.

Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures are expected to remain above average where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic. Record warm temperatures – up to four degrees Fahrenheit above average – are now present in this region.

High activity era continues. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in sync, leading to more active hurricane seasons. Eight of the last 15 seasons rank in the top ten for the most named storms with 2005 in first place with 28 named storms.

“The main uncertainty in this outlook is how much above normal the season will be. Whether or not we approach the high end of the predicted ranges depends partly on whether or not La Niña develops this summer,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “At present we are in a neutral state, but conditions are becoming increasingly favorable for La Niña to develop.”

"FEMA is working across the administration and with our state and local partners to ensure we're prepared for hurricane season," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "But we can only be as prepared as the public, so it's important that families and businesses in coastal communities take steps now to be ready. These include developing a communications plan, putting together a kit, and staying informed of the latest forecasts and local emergency plans. You can't control when a hurricane or other emergency may happen, but you can make sure you're ready."

The president recently designated May 23-29, 2010, as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. NOAA and FEMA encourage those living in hurricane-prone states to use this time to review their overall preparedness. More information on individual and family preparedness can be found at www.Ready.gov and www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.

NOAA scientists will continue to monitor evolving conditions in the tropics and will issue an updated hurricane outlook in early August, just prior to what is historically the peak period for hurricane activity.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

We can hardly afford another Katrina mixed with oil spillage. It is time to review your emergency plans.

But that’s just my opinion. Remember Safety is too important to ignore.

YES! It can happen to you.

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

Electrical Contractor and tED Magazines Rejoin to Fight Counterfeit Electrical Products
Industry Backers Include UL, Major Trade Associations

          BETHESDA, Md., June 1, 2010 Electrical Contractor and tED magazines have launched a renewed editorial venture backed by electrical industry allies to help fight the fast-growing crime of counterfeit electrical products in the United States—about 98 percent of which are imported from China. Formed in 2008, the magazines’ Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative at www.counterfeitscankill.com aims to inform their readers and industry allies on the dangers of distributing, specifying, purchasing and installing fake electrical products—including circuit breakers, wiring, switches, lighting, relays, contacts, sockets, timers, ballasts, cable and fuses.

          “Counterfeit electrical products threaten the lives and safety of U.S. citizens, due to fire, property damage, physical harm or death,” said Electrical Contractor Publisher John Maisel. “Electrical contractors recognize the danger that these products present, but haven’t yet realized the extent of their liability if they install them. Our objective is continued education with unrelenting pressure throughout the industry,” he said.

            Counterfeit electrical products now comprise approximately $300 to $400 million of the estimated $1 billion counterfeit products that enter the U.S. annually. With major public safety concerns and aggressive prosecution activity, committed sponsors of the renewed campaign include Alcan Cable, Eaton Corp, Fluke, GE, Schneider Electric, Siemens, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the National Association of Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA), the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).

 Prolific counterfeit channels and resellers include the Internet, auctions and other sources that sell products at unusually low prices. Packaging and labeling are often indicators of counterfeit products. Suspicious indicators include misspellings, a lack of the UL label or other certifications and packages that look tampered with or opened along with physical properties such as an extension cord’s unusual thickness or the weight or shape of a circuit breaker.

          Building on initial efforts, new activities will include editorial supplements and Web site news updates, special ads focused on purchasing only through authorized channels, the dangers and liabilities of counterfeit products and an all-industry call to action titled, “Join the Fight.”
          Link to full story:
http://www.ecmag.com/index.cfm?fa=article&articleID=11462

Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md., Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. AND viewed by more than 1,400,000 each month online. Telephone: (301) 657-3110. Web site: www.ecmag.com.

BICSI NEWS GETS BETTER EVERY ISSUE

One of the nicest surprises in a long time is the BICSI NEWS magazine. The format is tight and it is packed from cover to cover with valuable news. The driving force behind this change is Betsy Conroy Ziobron. Betsy is a first time magazine editor and she is following in the wildly successful footsteps of Andrea Klee – editor of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine www.ecmag.com and Misty Byers – Editor of TED – The Electrical Distributor magazine www.tedmag.com .

We need to support these valuable publications.

CommScope legal problems continue to grow

Brower Piven Encourages Investors Who Have Losses in Excess of $250,000 From Investment in CommScope, Inc. to Inquire About the Lead Plaintiff Position in Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuit Before the July 12, 2010 Lead Plaintiff Deadline

STEVENSON, MD--(05/16/10) - Brower Piven, A Professional Corporation announces that a class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of CommScope, Inc. ("CommScope" or the "Company") (NYSE:CTV - News) during the period between April 29, 2008 and October 30, 2008, inclusive (the "Class Period").

No class has yet been certified in the above action. Members of the Class will be represented by the lead plaintiff and counsel chosen by the lead plaintiff. If you wish to choose counsel to represent you and the Class, you must apply to be appointed lead plaintiff no later than July 12, 2010 and be selected by the Court. The lead plaintiff will direct the litigation and participate in important decisions including whether to accept a settlement and how much of a settlement to accept for the Class in the action. The lead plaintiff will be selected from among applicants claiming the largest loss from investment in the Company during the Class Period. You are not required to have sold your shares to seek damages or to serve as a Lead Plaintiff. You may contact Brower Piven (through hoffman@browerpiven.com or 410/415-6616) to answer any questions you may have in that regard.

The complaint accuses the defendants of violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by virtue of the Company's failure to disclose during the Class Period that the Company was experiencing weaker demand for its cabinet and apparatus products by certain telecommunication service providers, including that the Company's distributors were working off existing inventory and not re-stocking the Company's products, and, that as a result of the foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the Company and its prospects. According to the complaint, after the Company's October 30, 2008 announcement that its financial results for the third quarter of 2008, the period ended September 30, 2008 and that the Company was reducing its outlook for the fourth quarter and full year 2008, the value of CommScope's stock declined significantly.

If you have suffered a net loss for all transactions in CommScope, Inc. common stock during the Class Period, you may obtain additional information about this lawsuit and your ability to become a lead plaintiff by contacting Brower Piven at http://www.browerpiven.com/, by email at hoffman@browerpiven.com, by calling 410/415-6616, or at Brower Piven, A Professional Corporation, 1925 Old Valley Road, Stevenson, Maryland 21153. Attorneys at Brower Piven have combined experience litigating securities and class action cases of over 40 years. If you choose to retain counsel, you may retain Brower Piven without financial obligation or cost to you, or you may retain other counsel of your choice. You need take no action at this time to be a member of the class.

Contact:

Charles J. Piven
Brower Piven, A Professional Corporation
Stevenson, Maryland
410/415-6616

MORE….

Izard Nobel LLP Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against COMMSCOPE INC

Press Release Source: Izard Nobel LLP On Thursday May 27, 2010, 2:11 pm EDT

WEST HARTFORD, CT--(Marketwire - 05/27/10) - The law firm of Izard Nobel LLP, which has significant experience representing investors in prosecuting claims of securities fraud, announces that a lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of CommScope, Inc. ("CommScope" or the "Company") (NYSE:CTV - News) between April 29, 2008 and October 30, 2008, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint charges that CommScope, a provider of infrastructure solutions for communication networks worldwide, and certain of its officers and executives violated federal securities laws. Specifically, it is alleged that defendants failed to disclose the following material adverse facts about the Company's true financial condition and prospects: (i) that CommScope was experiencing weaker demand for its cabinet and apparatus products by certain telecommunication service providers; (ii) that the Company's distributors were working off existing inventory and not re-stocking the Company's products; and (iii) that, as a result of the foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about CommScope and its prospects.

On October 30, 2008, CommScope announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2008, the period ended September 30, 2008. In response to the earnings announcement and the Company's reduced outlook for the fourth quarter and full year 2008, on October 31, 2008, shares of the Company's stock fell $5.48 per share, or 27%, to close at $14.71 per share.

If you are a member of the class, you may, no later than July 12, 2010, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff of the class. A lead plaintiff is a class member that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. Although your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision whether or not to seek appointment as a lead plaintiff, lead plaintiffs make important decisions which could affect the overall recovery for class members.

While Izard Nobel LLP has not filed a lawsuit against the defendants, to view a copy of the Complaint initiating the class action or for more information about the case, and your rights, visit: www.izardnobel.com/commscope/, or contact Izard Nobel LLP toll-free: (800) 797-5499, or by e-mail: firm@izardnobel.com. For more information about class action cases in general, please visit our website: http://www.izardnobel.com/.

The Laser – 50 Years old!

May 16th 1960 is the date the first Laser was demonstrated.  It has been 50 years since this momentous event changed our lives and launched the fiber optics communications industry.  Invented by the late Ted Maiman a research engineer at Hughes Research laboratories in Malibu, California, his ruby red laser shocked the optics industry.  With only $50,000 and six months Ted Maiman achieved what other labs worldwide could not achieve (Bell Labs spent $2 Million and could not make a laser until they duplicated Maiman's laser).  Sunday, May 16th, 2010 the laser industry paid tribute to this wonderful invention.  At the Conference for Laser Electro-Optics, Ted’s widow, Kathleen Maiman talked of the man and his passion for his wonderful invention and the benefits it brought to mankind.

Courtesy;  FiberStory, written by Larry Johnson  www.FOHistory.org

OOPS. Poor Planning & Computer Trades Push Stocks Over The Edge

May 6th, 2010, the Dow-Jones plunged 1000-point, the largest-ever drop in a single day.

Remember the classic computer joke,

The take-off was smooth and the passengers are belted in their seats. Then they hear an announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to flight 91. You are privileged to be aboard the historic maiden voyage of the first passenger airplane flown entirely by computer. There is no human crew up front, but there are many redundant safety systems. Do not worry. Nothing can go wrong… go wrong ..go wrong ..go wrong ..go wrong.”

This refrain was playing in our memory when we heard the news about the 1000-point plunge in the Dow-Jones on May 6th, 2010, the largest-ever drop in a single day.

“Almost 1.3 billion shares traded on U.S. markets in a 10-minute span…” according to Bloomberg.com. There are various theories about what could have caused this mishap, but they all include the fact that something had triggered automatic trades by networked, computerized systems. The common explanation is that some sort of “glitch” triggered this event, which had the potential of producing worldwide economic crisis. That’s a frightening thought. Even though it didn’t happen, it might have. We believe that attributing the 1000-point plunge in the Dow-Jones to a glitch is way wildly inaccurate. There are always glitches—glitches are the norm. The problem was millisecond responses by poorly designed automated, software-driven, integrated computerized trading systems.

Remember the Northeast USA power blackout of 2003—same problem.

This highlights the frightening dangers in expanding systems integration and increasing the rates at which data can be exchanged. I think that convergence of major systems can generate great benefits, but it brings new kinds of dangers. Integrated systems design has to include a study of possible runaway failures of this kind and what can be done to protect against them.

The stock market fix?

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it would temporarily institute “circuit breakers” on all the stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index after the huge market gyrations on May 6, 2010.

The “circuit breakers” will pause trading in those stocks for five minutes if the price moves by 10 percent or more in a five-minute period. The trial run will begin after a 10-day comment period and will last through Dec. 10, the commission said. The “circuit breakers will apply both to rising and falling stock prices.” NY Times, May 19 2010. Do you think a little planning could have addressed this mini-crash before it “just happened”?

Systems designers and integrators please take note!

By Edward Brown, www.writingengineer.com, ebeditor@writingengineer.com

Integrated Building Systems Editor, Electrical Contractor magazine, www.ecmag.com

CNS Interview With Peter Newman

Peter Newman, Canada National Manager, Network Solutions with Leviton, tackled a number of topics during a recent interview with CNS Editor Paul Barker. They included the introduction of the NxtGEN initiative by BICSI and the importance of PoE Plus.

CNS: Pete, you had hoped to participate in our recent industry panel, but couldn't make it due to a scheduling conflict. I am interested on your thoughts about two specific areas that were discussed. The first revolves around data centre advances from both a structured cabling and networking perspective: What can we expect to see over the next three years?

Newman: We have a growing infrastructure here at Leviton in terms of our ability to support data centres. We see not only opportunities from market growth, but also opportunities for product development to meet customer needs.

Clearly, bandwidth requirements will grow -- 40 Gig, 100 Gig and possibly even 400 Gig at some point.

10GBASE-T is going to become the standard for 10 gigabit over Cat 6A copper in the data centre, but it will be used mostly for small runs such as inter-equipment connections rather than running between rows or sections of a data centre.

As for fiber in the date centre, 40GBase-SR4 and 100GBase-SR10 will be deployed over standard OM3 50-Micron laser optimized fiber. This multimode fiber provides a migration path for the future. We're also seeing new equipment-to-equipment connectors for high bandwidth applications and short distances which include SFP+ and QSFP+ using twinax cable.

There is also the top-of-rack (TOR) equipment becoming more common. TOR changes the architecture of the IT infrastructure. You have fiber to top-of-rack and then direct copper attachments to the equipment within the racks. That allows you to run the fiber over longer distances and copper within the cabinet.

Finally, power and cooling will continue to be an ongoing issue with passive cooling being the preference to remove heat without requiring more power.

CNS: Secondly, is the overhauling of the RCDD program by BICSI and the introduction of the NxtGEN initiative a smart move in your mind?

Newman: When I first saw it and before I conducted any research into NxtGEN, I was skeptical and viewed it as another money-making opportunity for BICSI. To be honest, I was confused because I read the brochures and accessed the BICSI Web site, but I just wasn't getting it.

I wanted to believe they were going to fix things, but it just wasn't clear. I told Brian Hansen, their new president who just happens to work at Leviton, that my concern with the RCDD is that it has become watered down, and far too many people get an RCDD who don't really meet the requirements and cannot do network design. I asked him: Is this just more of the same because if it is, I just can't get behind it. He replied that BICSI actually knows that those were the problems. He actually got me encouraged.

Now I'm thinking this is a good thing. As it stands now, if people wanted BICSI training, their only opportunity was to go after the RCDD.

To do that, you had to have certain experience criterion. Frankly, some people were stretching the truth a bit and not being as forthcoming as they should have been on the recommendations and the sponsorships and the letters that were written for folks wanting to sit for the RCDD exam.

With NxtGEN, BICSI has increased the ITS experience requirement to five years. It's pretty hard to fake five years. Two years -- you might be able to get away with. And then for the new credentials such as ESS and RITP, someone can take those tests and get the credential without having to become a full RCDD. These are new credentials recognizing people who have specific design experience and expertise. They are pros in IT, but don't qualify to sit for the RCDD exam.

As it was explained to me and it makes sense: Add some more credentials that are not being passed off as the top rung RCDD credential and allow people to be mentored, or gain the requisite experience, to sit for the RCDD exam in the future if they so choose.

It does start to separate the folks who do actual design and work in the field. Over the long run it is going to help. Over the short run, we're still going to have a lot of legacy RCDDs who don't necessarily know what they are doing -- they wanted it for a sales or marketing positioning behind their name on a business card.

CNS: Leviton announced late last year that it had joined the Cisco Technology Developer Program. What is the program about and what does it entail?

Newman:

Cisco has recently changed the program name to the Cisco Developer Network. We applied for the program which involves an extensive application process with Cisco. As part of that application process for example, we have to outline actual customer installations using the Leviton and Cisco equipment.

They approved us for the program. Once Leviton was part of the program we could submit products for the "Cisco Compatible" certification, which applies to specific products.

We submitted our replicator panels for testing. These panels are designed to replicate specific Cisco products. First in the series was the 9513 Replicator Kit developed to support the high density fiber based 9513 Cisco Switch. Cisco put this product through a battery of steps and acknowledged it was inter-operable with the Cisco equipment.

With Cisco Compatible offerings such as Leviton's Port Replicated Patch Panels and interconnect infrastructure, customers can more quickly deploy a broad range of Cisco Compatible business applications that can enhance the capabilities, performance, and management of their Cisco network.

CNS: Power over Ethernet appears to be a key part of your overall product strategy moving forward. What benefits does the recently approved PoE Plus bring to the table?

Newman: I have been waiting for PoE Plus. Once here it will put us in a great position to sell the benefits of larger cable and more robust connectors -- Category 6A. We can probably get away with Cat 6, but Cat 6A has a slightly larger gauge, which allows more power to be transmitted to devices such as pan tilt zoom cameras.

Leviton believes a complete security and IT infrastructure using structured cabling is the best approach for users. By using a structured cabling system for security, costs are minimized, infrastructure is standardized, and a migration path from analog to IP cameras is available immediately.

Rather than running co-ax cable and a power line or a data line, you can just run Category 6 or 6A and get all the power you need for all the motorized functions as well as all the data.

PoE Plus can also be used in Wi-Max base stations, wireless access points, and video phones. A key piece here is that you don't have to hire an electrical contractor. While this may not be so great in some circles, you won't have to run power to all those places in the ceiling or high up on the wall where you may want to run a data port for a camera or video phone. It centralizes the power and allows IT to control power and monitor usage. It provides immense value for users.

CNS: What goals did you set when you were named senior director of international business development in 2008?

Newman:

Simply, it was to increase sales everywhere we have a Network Solutions presence. That included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN, India, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. I ended up spending 80% of my time in the Canadian market because that's where I felt the growth opportunities were. In 2010, the title remains the same, but the focus for me is 100% on Canada.

That is all I do. My effective job title now is Canada National Director for Network Solutions.

CNS: Were the good numbers a result of the general make-up of this place?

Newman: Canada is one of our largest markets in terms of what Network Solutions sells outside of the U.S., which is no surprise. I looked at our market share in Canada as compared to the U.S. and it was not as high as I think it could be or should be.

I think I know how to change that.

When I put my business case together it was clear that the return on investment in Canada was very good. Leviton management agreed that Canada represented an excellent market in which to invest. Leviton has a sales organization in place, a marketing organization in place, and established distribution in place. In addition, Leviton Manufacturing of Canada, based in Montreal, is one of the few structured cabling manufacturers actually located in Canada.

CNS: In closing, wireless will continue to make inroads into the corporate space. What can we expect to see from the Leviton-Meru Networks wireless technology partnership?

Newman: Technology on the wireless side changes rapidly and dramatically; however, it is not Leviton's core competency. We thought it was better to go to market with a known and established high-end manufacturer.

We are able to offer through our specifications complete systems including what I call the wireless overlay. Organizations are not replacing the wired system with wireless, at least not yet.

We go to market with Meru because the system is easy to install and lends itself to our contractor base. The beauty of the wireless system offered by Meru and Leviton is the simplicity of the deployment using the single-channel network technology. No RF experience or site surveys are required to the install the system, and fewer AP's are required.

Also, Meru's people are 100% devoted to wireless and stay on top of developments in standards and technology. Cutting edge R&D combined with over 100 years in business. This is beneficial to Leviton and Leviton's customers.

Reprinted with permission from CNS – Cabling Networking Magazine – Canada’s leading publication for the world of information systems infrastructure

www.cnsmagazine.com

BuildingGreen has partnered with the Boston Architectural College (BAC) to bring us an online Sustainable Design Certificate Program

Dear BuildingGreen Customer,
As you may know, BuildingGreen has partnered with the Boston Architectural College (BAC) since 2004 on its online Sustainable Design Certificate Program. Each year the program just keeps getting better. This is the largest and most comprehensive sustainable design curriculum in the country. There are now 31 courses offered and four possible certificates that can be earned in sustainable design.

I'm thrilled to let you know about the tremendous lineup of courses this summer--with classes beginning June 7th (see below). Some of these courses fill up quickly, so if you're interested, I'd suggest you sign up as soon as possible.

Alex Wilson, CEO and Founder

To learn more (and register) go to www.the-bac.edu/green, call 617-585-0101 or send an email to the BAC's Director of Sustainable Design, Lance Fletcher, AIA, LEED AP.

Here's the line up of courses for the Summer 2010 Semester in the Sustainable Design Certificate Program. Registration is now open.

  • Sustainable Design as a Way of Thinking
  • Green Roofs/Green Walls
  • Getting the Green Building You Want: Construction Management
  • Green Practice: Energy and Air Quality Principles
  • Materials, Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Environmental Systems
  • High-Performance Design and the LEED Rating System

Instructors are building industry experts. All courses are online, instructor-led, interactive, asynchronous and limited to 15 students each. The eight-week courses are offered at the graduate level and earn 1.5 credits. Many courses earn 24 AIA HSW/SD Learning Units and some are approved for 17.5 GBCI continuing education hours. 

To register or learn more go to www.the-bac.edu/green

Learn more (and register) at www.the-bac.edu/green, call 617-585-0101, or send an email to the BAC's Director of Sustainable Design, Lance Fletcher, AIA, LEED AP.

BOMA International Opposes Carried Interest Tax Increase

Legislation would halt job creation, economic development and stall recovery

(WASHINGTON—May 13, 2010) The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International joins other commercial real estate groups in opposing a major tax increase on commercial real estate development that is currently being considered in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislation would change the tax rate on carried interest to that of ordinary income (nearly 40 percent), rather than as a capital gain (15 percent). While many believe that the carried interest tax proposal was initiated to provide tax equity between average workers and hedge fund managers, the proposal will actually hurt the commercial real estate industry, job creation and economic development in communities across the U.S.

“A tax increase on carried interest will significantly hamper the entrepreneurial enterprise in our country that builds communities, provides housing, creates jobs, rehabilitates neighborhoods, grows our economy and produces tax revenue at all levels of government,” commented BOMA International Chair James A. Peck, RPA, FMA, senior director of asset services, CB Richard Ellis. “This is a Main Street issue, not a Wall Street issue. We urge lawmakers to consider the negative consequences the increase will have at a time when economic recovery is particularly fragile.”

Real estate is a long-term, risk-based investment which is regularly structured as a partnership and therefore often involves a carried interest. The negative effects of the carried interest tax increase will result in:

  • Fewer jobs. The tax increase will threaten millions of jobs that are made possible by real estate development projects.
  • Fewer economic development projects. Projects with brownfields, mixed use, or low income components will be the hardest hit because these are the projects that are the most risky.
  • Fewer small investors. More than doubling the tax rate on carried interest encourages more debt for those that are able to obtain loans from institutions. Small investors—key job creators—typically do not possess the capital to leverage and will likely not enter into commercial real estate development.
  • Less tax income at the local level. The higher effective tax rates will cause real estate owners to hold on to existing holdings and this will significantly undermine redevelopment opportunities of underutilized properties, and lower transaction-related taxes at every level.

The commercial real estate industry is a significant contributor to the U.S economy and a key generator of jobs. Last year, the office building industry alone contributed $118.4 billion to the economy and supported more than a million jobs.

To learn more about how the proposed carried interested tax increase will affect real estate, jobs and the economy, see BOMA’s Carried Interest position paper.

***

About BOMA International

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 100 local associations and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1907, its 17,000-plus members own or manage more than nine billion square feet of commercial properties. BOMA International’s mission 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.

BOMA International Report: Building Operations Contribute $118.4 billion in GDP, Support a Million Jobs

Important Study Finds Commercial Office Buildings are a Key Supporter of Jobs, National and Local Economies

(WASHINGTON—June 1, 2010) Today the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International announces the release of a new report, The Contribution of Office Building Operating Outlays on the U.S. and States’ Economies in 2009, which details the impact of commercial office space on the national and local economies. The report shows that the expenditures that sustain office building operations—management, maintenance, repairs, building services and utilities—generate continuous and growing outlays that support local businesses, create job demand and contribute significantly to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

“This is a groundbreaking report that illuminates the critical role office buildings play in supporting our economy,” commented BOMA International Chair James A. Peck, RPA, FMA, senior director of asset services, CB Richard Ellis. “While several studies have demonstrated the economic impact of the development and construction of buildings, this report shows how the ongoing day-to-day operations and management of office buildings support our communities and our country.”

The report finds that the five billion square feet of commercial office space located within the markets served by BOMA International’s 91 local associations generated $40.8 billion in direct operating outlays in 2009 to the benefit of workers and businesses within their host jurisdictions. This direct spending and its re-spending within those respective local jurisdictions, their states and the nation generated significant economic impacts, summarized below:

- For each dollar of outlay for office building operations, the national economy gained $2.90 with the result that $40.8 billion in annual operating outlays contributed a total of $118.4 billion to GDP in 2009;

- For each dollar of outlay for office building operations, workers in the U.S. realized an increase of $0.92 in personal earnings with the result that $40.8 billion in annual operating outlays generated a total of $37.6 billion in new earnings for workers residing within these office market areas and respective state economies in 2009;

- For each $1 million in outlays for office building operations, 24.4 jobs were supported nationwide with the result that $40.8 billion in annual operating outlays supported a total of 994,728 jobs across all sectors of the national economy in 2009. This is in addition to the more than one million jobs supported directly as a result of these outlays for office building operations; and

- The five billion square feet of commercial office space located in the 91 markets served by BOMA’s local associations provided work space for an estimated 21 million office jobs. The productivity of those office workers was supported and enhanced by the building and management services paid for by these operating outlays. The workers’ presence within these office buildings’ host jurisdictions also have their own significant annual economic and fiscal benefits accruing locally, at the state level and nationwide.

The analysis was limited to commercial office space in buildings with a minimum of 10,000 square feet and excluded buildings owned by their occupants (not available for leasing for general purpose office use), as well as government-owned office buildings. The report also drills into the economic impact of office space in each of the markets served by BOMA’s 91 local associations.

For more information, download the report.

***

About BOMA International
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 100 local associations and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1907, its 17,000-plus members own or manage more than nine billion square feet of commercial properties. BOMA International’s mission 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.

CABA NewsBrief

Home Systems

Consumer-electronics spending is up 12%, CEA study finds
Competitive pricing on consumer-electronics products helped boost by 12% the amount the average U.S. household spent on CE devices in the past 12 months, according to a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association. The report went on to say that the average adult spent $794 on CE goods in the past year, with men outspending women $969 to $631. Home Media Magazine (5/6)

U.S. consumers in the dark over smart grid power
International research firm Parks Associates estimates that some 40 percent of US householders have no idea what the smart grid is all about - despite the 13 million smart meters already installed in households and over $3 billion (€2.3 billion) being earmarked for its development. The Independent (5/5)

WirelessHD 1.1 spec is 3-D-friendly
The WirelessHD Consortium has completed its work on its WirelessHD in-room cable-replacement technology. The most advanced 1.1 spec pumps up throughput to more than 15 Gbps, which provides plenty of bandwidth to accommodate all three 3-D video formats in the HDMI 1.4a specification. TWICE (5/10).

Report: iPad will get print capability at some point
It's a pretty sure bet that the ability to print off Apple's iPad will come before the tablet or Apple's iPhone gets Flash capability. A report claims Steve Jobs responded to a customer e-mail inquiry indicating that the print feature will arrive at some point. He's gone on published record noting Adobe Flash is not on the horizon, given instability issues. Los Angeles Times/Technology blog (5/10)

Study: In-home 3-D is in demand
A new survey commissioned by Sonic Solutions' Roxio unit reported that 84% of respondents would like to watch 3-D movies in their living rooms and that 80% think that 3-D-enabled personal media devices will be a reality within the next five years. In response to the survey's results, Mark Ely, strategy executive vice president at Sonic Solutions, said his company's Hollywood-to-Home line of 3-D products would help fuel the 3-D market. TWICE (5/5)

Ember enables uControl's next generation ZigBee home security system
uControl, a leading provider of security, monitoring and automation solutions has teamed with Ember to deliver its latest innovation – an entirely new line of wireless ZigBee security sensors which enables Broadband Service Providers to deliver the next generation of services for the Connected Home. The new uControl SMA platform includes and integrates a wide variety of ZigBee sensors including motion, smoke and glass break detectors, door and window contacts, key fobs, wireless keypads and much more. PR Newswire (5/4)

HAI adds connectivity partners
Home Automation, Inc. (HAI), leading manufacturer of integrated security and home automation products since 1985, announced the expansion of their Connectivity Partner program. New partners include Rave Technology, Nexus Audio Systems, Total Control, GUI JA Board, and eLoka Lighting Control Systems. CocoonTech.com (5/7)

KNX-based energy efficiency increasingly deployed in the Middle East
ABB's smart home automation system has been used in the 52-story Le Rêve Tower in Dubai. Using the ABB i-bus KNX building automation system ihas helped to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by as much as 35% in the tower. The building is one of the most exclusive addresses in Dubai, UAE and is one of the first smart home buildings in the Middle East. Hiddenwires (5/6)

Study: A big jump in the uptake of Web TVs is expected by 2013
A new study by ABI Research says that nearly half of all TVs sold worldwide by 2013 -- 46% of them -- will be Internet-ready. That's a big jump from the current saturation level: The study reports that just 19% of sets shipped this year will be able to connect to the Web. Pocket-lint.co.uk (5/6)

Report: Consumer electronics at retail were up 9.7% in April
The latest findings from Mastercard Advisors SpendingPulse reports that consumer electronics experienced 9.7% year-over-year retail growth during April. That performance helped boost the entire electronics category, which was up 8.5% for the month. Dealerscope (5/5)

Canadian gov't funds first round of rural broadband projects
The Government of Canada recently announced the first series of projects to receive conditional funding approval under the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program. These 52 projects, in nine provinces and territories across Canada, will bring broadband Internet access to an estimated 169,000 households. Industry Canada (5/9)

Smart electricity grids on the way
Imagine telephoning your fridge from your beach chair in Prince Edward Island to tell it to cycle down and save you money. Or being paid to park your electric car at your downtown office because its battery will feed the grid. Or knowing when your children turn on the television set on any given day simply by looking at your utility bill. This might be the future with the advent of smart electricity grids. Calgary Herald (5/10)

Large Building Automation

IBM: Inefficient buildings hurt businesses
U.S. office buildings are not keeping pace with building automation, leading to lost productivity and added costs, according to a survey of U.S. office workers by IBM. Only 33 percent of respondents rated their office buildings “high” in terms of environmental responsibility. Triangle Business Journal (4/29)

Valuing green design and construction
A core challenge for developing green buildings is that the added value of many efficient, healthy, and sustainable attributes of housing isn’t quantitative or easily measurable, and certainly not at a large scale. Because this added value isn’t broadly measured, developers, lenders, and investors essentially don’t “see” it. A recent effort by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and NeighborWorks America will begin to change this. Housing Finance (5/12)

Honeywell buys into building-efficiency software
Honeywell has acquired Akuacom, a small, private company that makes demand-response and smart-grid software for commercial buildings. The acquisition is expected to enhance the company's existing building-control equipment and efficiency services, Honeywell Building Solutions said Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed. CNet (5/7)

Lutron adds EcoSystem H-Series ballast line
Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. announces the expansion of the EcoSystem solution with new EcoSystem® H-Series ballasts. The new EcoSystem H-Series ballast is a cost-effective option that offers increased flexibility, superior performance and easy installation. SYS-CON Media (5/12)

EMerge Alliance grows, continues to gain support for DC power in buildings
The EMerge Alliance, an open industry association leading the rapid adoption of safe, low-voltage direct-current (DC) power distribution and use in commercial building interiors -- announced it has added 15 more companies to its coalition. MarketWatch (5/11)

EPA hails industrial facilities for improving energy efficiency
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week hailed four companies for improving the energy efficiency of their facilities as part of the Energy Star Challenge for Industry. Companies taking part in the challenge have to meet or exceed a 10% reduction in their energy intensity within five years or less. Energy Efficiency News (5/10)

EnOcean demonstrates remotely manage lighting systems using iPhone
At Lightfair 2010, EnOcean presented its new Dolphin platform, the first self-powered wireless sensor modules capable of two-way communications. In addition to transmitting critical building data, Dolphin modules can receive input from building automation systems - for example, to change set points or operating modes for optimal performance and energy conservation. The system can interface with an iPhone app for control. Business Wire (5/12)

Grid-Interop 2010 announces call for papers
The GridWise Architecture Council (GWAC) in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is pleased to announce a call for papers and invites industry stakeholders to contribute to the fourth annual Grid-Interop Forum to be held in Chicago, IL on December 1-3, 2010. AutomatedBuildings.com (5/9)

Spotlight on HVAC filters in indoor air quality
As end users become increasingly aware of the importance of indoor air quality, there has been a rise in the demand for high-efficiency filter media in HVAC filters. Kimberly-Clark has responded quickly to this trend by introducing a new line of high-efficiency media for HVAC air filters. ConstructionWEEKonline.com (5/6)

Australian study tour investigates intelligent buildings
Dr. Gerard Healey of ARUP is currently on a fellowship study of the U.K., Netherlands, U.S. and Canada. The fellowship is sponsored by the Australian Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council and the International Specialized Skills Institute. He is currently in North America and has just spent time at the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) learning about its mission and operations. He is maintaining a blog about his findings, available at: http://fieldsofactivity.com/buildings/intelligent-buildings-study-tour. ARUP (5/13)

Member Press Releases

MatrikonOPC now offers industrial strength data connectivity for FINS Protocol
MatrikonOPC™ is pleased to announce the support for FINS communication protocol in the OPC Server for OMRON. This OPC Server enables automation professionals to integrate their engineering systems with HMI, Historians, ERP and MES securely and reliably via the power of OPC.

Other Items

GreenPeak Technologies helps to roll out the new green wireless network for home and office
Never change remote control batteries ever again: Visit GreenPeak at NAB

MatrikonOPC offers OPC connectivity for IEC 61850 Protocol

MatrikonOPC Joins Honeywell PKS Advantage Program

CABA Research Spotlight

The IBM vision of a smarter home enabled by cloud technology
This report from IBM examines the future of home automation. IBM predicts that with the prevalence of broadband access from homes to the Internet, home automation services will be hosted “in the cloud.” This means that providers will deliver home automation services from their servers. Applications fields are expected to span entertainment and convenience, energy management, safety and security, and health and wellness. Health and fitness monitoring is expected to generate $2.5 billion by 2012. Cloud services depend on home devices containing instruments for sensing and monitoring conditions, such as functions in an appliance. IBM proposes a local “clone” of the server-based application in case Internet access is down. A Service Deliver Platform on the servers is described.

Education & Training 

Webcast: Energy Monitoring and Reporting Solutions
Darlene Pope, of CoR Advisors, and panel of experts will discuss how to obtain real-time energy consumption data from building systems during a free webcast, scheduled for May 20 at 12:30 pm ET. The webcast will examine options for analyzing historical trends, benchmarking current consumption, monitoring real-time energy usage, collecting data, and creating custom dashboards for energy reporting and analytics.

Webinar: 2010 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year for Energy Management
What does it take to be recognized as having one of the best energy management programs in the country? If you want to know, then join ENERGY STAR on May 19, at 1:00 pm for a web conference featuring presentations from two of this year’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award winners.

Seminars: Lutron: How to Remodel Your Business
In light of Lutron’s new wireless solutions, which are ideal for the retrofit and remodeling markets, Group Gerhardt announces a new training series, “How to Remodel Your Business”. “How to Remodel Your Business” covers the steps necessary to transform your business into a new model that will focus on the existing home market and the wireless offerings that allow the development of that market. This course is packed with new material, including an in-depth overview of Lutron’s wireless products as well as specific courses of action. Learn more here about seminar times and locations.

Invitation for Energy and Power Trade Mission to India: July 2010
The Alliance For US India Business is organizing its third Energy and Power Trade and Political mission to India visiting Bangalore in July 2010. The goal is to offer U.S. energy firms a cost effective opportunity to meet and interact with potential business partners and government decision makers shaping India's energy sector. The mission offers direct interaction with top Indian energy and power houses, customized meetings upon request, networking sessions, and presentation opportunities.

CABA News

CABA now attending LIGHTFAIR International
CABA is attending LIGHTFAIR International 2010 from May 12 to 14, to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. CABA will be located at booth #2429 during the show.

CABA's EE Global Forum presentation available
Ron Zimmer, CABA President & CEO, presented at the 2010 Energy Efficiency Global Forum & Exposition in Washington, DC on May 11. His presentation is now available on CABA's Web site for free download.

CABA proceeding with Energy Management as a Managed Resource project
The Continental Automated Buildings Association, through its Connected Home Research Council, has launched a study to better understand consumers’ opinions and attitudes about energy management as a managed resource for the home. Companies participating inthe Energy Management as a Managed Resource research project include: 3M Company, Bell Canada, Best Buy, Direct Energy, Freescale Semiconductor, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, TELUS Inc., Trane/Ingersoll Rand/Schlage, Tyco Electronics and Whirlpool Corporation.

www.caba.org

COUNTERFEITS CAN KILL = Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative

Thursday, May 20, 2010

To keep the dangers of counterfeit electrical products top-of-mind, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and The Electrical Distributor (tED) magazines are joining forces to produce an all-industry, anti-counterfeiting advocacy initiative. The initiative is sponsored by Alcan, Eaton, Fluke, GE, Schneider, and Siemens and endorsed by CSA, NAED, NECA, NEMA, and UL. What better time to kick off an all-industry message than in May, which is National Electrical Safety Month? The challenge continues.

Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative

Counterfeit electrical products are infecting nearly every product category in the electrical market. Manufacturers, distributors, contractors and customers face risks, ranging from liability and life safety to profitability. The problems must be addressed, and it will take the unity of the entire electrical industry to do so.

http://www.counterfeitscankill.com/

All Industry Anti-Counterfeiting Initiative Launches During National Electrical Safety Month

A new advocacy campaign endorsed by leading electrical industry organizations will keep the dangers of counterfeit products top-of-mind for electrical contractors and distributors over the next ... Read More

A Look at Legislation

While the term counterfeiting has traditionally been applied most commonly to currency and coins, it also applies to reproductions of packaging when the intent is to defraud or violate protections ... Read More

Finance and Commerce Interviews Publisher John Maisel

Finance and Commerce features a story about counterfeit electrical products, and staff writer Brian Johnson interviewed John Maisel, publisher of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. Read John's comments ... Read More

Anti-Counterfeiting Webinar A Success

On April 14, 2009, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and TED magazines hosted a free Webinar on counterfeit electrical products. Short of a few minor, "regular" technical difficulties, the Webinar was ... Read More

More News

COUNTERFEITS CAN KILL = Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative

We applaud the efforts of these organizations, magazines, and companies.

We support the REAL DEAL.

COUNTERFEITS CAN KILL = Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative

Thursday, May 20, 2010

To keep the dangers of counterfeit electrical products top-of-mind, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and The Electrical Distributor (tED) magazines are joining forces to produce an all-industry, anti-counterfeiting advocacy initiative. The initiative is sponsored by Alcan, Eaton, Fluke, GE, Schneider, and Siemens and endorsed by CSA, NAED, NECA, NEMA, and UL. What better time to kick off an all-industry message than in May, which is National Electrical Safety Month? The challenge continues.

Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative

Counterfeit electrical products are infecting nearly every product category in the electrical market. Manufacturers, distributors, contractors and customers face risks, ranging from liability and life safety to profitability. The problems must be addressed, and it will take the unity of the entire electrical industry to do so.

http://www.counterfeitscankill.com/

All Industry Anti-Counterfeiting Initiative Launches During National Electrical Safety Month

A new advocacy campaign endorsed by leading electrical industry organizations will keep the dangers of counterfeit products top-of-mind for electrical contractors and distributors over the next ... Read More

A Look at Legislation

While the term counterfeiting has traditionally been applied most commonly to currency and coins, it also applies to reproductions of packaging when the intent is to defraud or violate protections ... Read More

Finance and Commerce Interviews Publisher John Maisel

Finance and Commerce features a story about counterfeit electrical products, and staff writer Brian Johnson interviewed John Maisel, publisher of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. Read John's comments ... Read More

Anti-Counterfeiting Webinar A Success

On April 14, 2009, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and TED magazines hosted a free Webinar on counterfeit electrical products. Short of a few minor, "regular" technical difficulties, the Webinar was ... Read More

More News

Draka Americas: Draka Communications Americas Announces a New Series of Optical Fiber Cable for Use in Nuclear Power Plants

Claremont, North Carolina, May 17, 2010 (NYSE EURONEXT: DRAK) - Draka Communications Americas, one of the leading fiber optic cable manufacturers, announces the release of a new series of loose tube fiber cables designed and tested specifically for the strict requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

"We are excited about the release of this new loose tube fiber cable product line. The products are available in a wide variety of options including fiber counts to 288 fibers, dry-block water absorbent technology, and low smoke zero halogen jackets. This new product family delivers a rugged cable construction suitable for communication links, data networks, security and emergency systems required within nuclear applications" states Jack Rosko, Market Manager for Private Networks.

Draka Communications nuclear fiber cable products have undergone stringent qualifications to guarantee compliance to the nuclear quality assurance requirements and specifications of 10CFR50 Appendix B program and the cables meet the flame requirements of NEC Article 770 and IEEE-383.

"Nuclear power plant cables must meet communication needs and must use materials uniquely suited for this application," said Jan Pirrong, President of CableLAN Products, Draka's distribution partner of fiber optic cables to nuclear power plants in the United States. "Since 1979, we have supplied fiber optic cables to nuclear power plants around the world. This new series provides the benefits of loose tube technology in a low smoke zero halogen construction using Draka’s high performance single-mode and multimode fibers without using PVC usually found in flame retardant designs. The gel-free feature makes the installation faster, easier, and reduces installation costs".

Draka's new family of nuclear cable is available in a wide variety of radiation hardened fiber types, in RadHard or Super-RadHard grades, including both multimode and singlemode fibers. Those radiation hardened fibers, benchmarked against extensive testing procedures, fully meet the nuclear industry needs and requested quality level.

Nuclear cables are also available in Draka's other fiber series, including the new high performance bend insensitive MaxCap-BB series.

About Draka
Draka (Euronext Amsterdam: DRAK), headquartered in Amsterdam, has 9600 employees in countries worldwide and 2009 revenues of over € 2 billion. Draka has a presence in 31 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.

Draka's activities are divided into three groups: Energy & Infrastructure, Industry & Specialty and Communications. Draka Communications with its four business units, Telecom Solutions, Multimedia Specials, Optical Fiber and Cable Solutions is a global market leader in the development, production and sales of fibers, cables and advanced network solutions. www.draka.com/communications.

Connectivity in the Virtualized Datacenter: How to Ensure Next-Generation Services - new whitepaper written by FNET and Broadcom

This paper is filled with valuable information

http://www.flukenetworks.com/fnet/en-us/promotions/Fiber-Copper+Certification/Virtualization+WP.htm

ICC introduces new JackEasyTM Termination Tool….it works as easy as it sounds!

ICC has engineered a new and innovative termination tool, JackEasyTM. Bringing the JackEasy to market demonstrates ICC’s commitment to continuous improvement.  This new tool brings to market a faster and more durable termination method.

The ‘All-in-One’ Purpose Tool

The JackEasy is an ‘all-in-one’ purpose tool.  Compatible with ICC’s voice and data jacks. The tool terminates all 4-pairs with an even balanced blade that seats, terminates and simultaneously cuts off excess wires in one squeeze.

Unlike other plastic tools, ICC’s JackEasy is manufactured with a 16 Gauge steel framework making it the strongest in the industry and built to last.  The handle is ergonomically designed with polypropylene for a comfortable grip and allows installers to terminate repeatedly and effortlessly. The JackEasy includes two blades to terminate both easy (EZ) and slim body (HD) style jacks. The tool is also designed with a surface base allowing the tool to rest on a table or floor for support during termination.

Benefits from using the JackEasy Tool

Installers save time with one squeeze termination using the JackEasy tool. No more multiple punching or reseating wires.  No damaging connectors with unbalanced force. Improved termination for fewer service calls.  The results, less headaches, body stress and work hours.  You’ll never go back to traditional punch-down again. For more information about ICC’s new JackEasy tool, call us at 888-ASK-4ICC (275-4422) or visit us on-line at www.icc.com.

Internet Retailer CableOrganizer.com’s 2009 Gross Annual Revenue Surges to $14 Million, Jumps 7% Despite Recession

Company maintains its 7 consecutive year record growth streak; Also increases order intake 8.19%, grows unique monthly site visitors 30.51%, and now boasts more than 35,700 - 15% more – non-outlet inventory SKUs

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, February 2, 2010 – Industry leading eTailer CableOrganizer.com, among the world’s foremost providers of cable, wire and equipment management-related products for use in business and at home, today announced that, despite the economic recession that continued to oppress the on and offline retail industry throughout 2009, it earned record gross annual revenues of $14 million for that same year – a 7% increase over the year prior. 2009 is the 7th consecutive year that CableOrganizer.com has grown its year-over-year sales revenue. In 2008 the company achieved a full 30.54% increase over the year prior, with a staggering 225% sales growth realized for the extended 2005-2008 period.

In addition to its impressive revenue growth amid a severe economic recession and retail industry downturn, CableOrganizer.com also significantly improved a number of other key operational metrics. Namely, order intake increased 8.19%, the number of unique monthly site visitors jumped 30.51%, and the company now boasts over 35,700 - 15% more – Premier Site (non-outlet) inventory SKUs, furthering its stronghold as the most comprehensive product resource in its category.

“Our success in 2009, and that anticipated for 2010, is a direct reflection of our investment in infrastructure and strategic business relationships,” said Paul Holstein, CableOrganizer.com COO.  “Among other endeavors, in 2009 we increased our new product development initiatives while concurrently enhancing and refining our mission-critical Web site content.  We also worked closely with our various vendors to develop programs that deliver the best value for our customer’s dollar, including pricing strategy and other market-driven variables. And, as always, our commitment to providing the best possible customer service experience allows us to enjoy a decidedly high rate of loyal, repeat customers and referral business related thereto.”

“I’m confident that as the economy starts to rebound and the financial climate improves in the marketplace at large, we are extraordinarily well positioned to continue our legacy of double-digit annual sales growth,” notes Holstein.

In addition to an impressive array of fiscal and operational milestones, 2009 also delivered top honors for CableOrganizer.com.  In May the company was named a 2009 Top 500 Retail Web Site
by Internet Retailer Magazine.  Based on 2008 Internet sales, CableOrganizer.com secured position #430 - 13 better than its 2008 ranking - in Internet Retailer magazine’s coveted 2009
Top500Guide.com® - the most comprehensive analysis of America’s largest e-retailers. The company also ranked in position #48 in the guide’s “Computers/Electronics” category – 4 positions better than its 2008 ranking.  Also in 2009, CableOrganizer.com was named on the South Florida Business Journal’s list of the “Fastest Growing Technology Companies” and “Best Places to Work” (10-50 Employees), also securing position number 8 on the publication’s list of “Largest Women-Owned Businesses.”

About CableOrganizer.com

Founded in February 2002 and headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, CableOrganizer.com is a premier cable and wire management-related product vendor. The company provides companies, organizations and individuals around the globe with 24/7/365 access to an extensive array of high-quality products and information resources through its convenient online storefront. In addition to http://CableOrganizer.com, the company also owns and operates http://CableOrganizer.fr, which is operated out of Rennes, France. CableOrganizer.com also publishes "On the Wire," a free monthly electronic newsletter with a considerable multi-national opt-in circulation base. Among other honors, CableOrganizer.com is continually named among Inc. Magazine's Inc. 500 and 5,000 and Internet Retailer magazine’s "Top 500.”  CableOrganizer.com also ranked on DiversityBusiness.com’s list of “Top 500 Women Owned Businesses in the U.S.” and was named among the South Florida Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work.”

NAED Announces 2010-2011 Board of Directors

Henderson to Lead as Chair in 2010-2011, Followed by Reynolds in 2011-2012

ST. LOUIS – The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) is pleased to announce its new Board of Directors for 2010-2011. 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 2010-2011 NAED Board Chair is Jack Henderson, executive vice president of Hunzicker Brothers, Inc., in Oklahoma City. His new role became official at the conclusion of the 2010 National Electrical Leadership Summit, held May 15-19 in Chicago.

Henderson has served in the industry for 40 years. Throughout his career, he has taken on many leadership positions within NAED. Henderson currently serves as Committee Chair of the NAED Government Affairs Policy Committee. He also served a long tenure on NAED's Western Region Council, acting as Vice President in 2008-2009.

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

"Over the next year, my focus will be on education and government involvement," Henderson said. "Education will be crucial as the economy slowly starts to come back and we rebuild our employee base. We must also keep in mind that the government is making decisions that not affect not only our personal lives, but also our businesses – and it would be negligent on our part not to make our voices heard. NAED offers our members the resources to do both."

Robert (Bob) Reynolds Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Graybar Electric Company, Inc., in St. Louis is Chair-Elect. He will work closely with Henderson to prepare for assuming NAED board leadership in 2011-2012.

Reynolds has served in the industry for 38 years and has a long tenure with NAED. He has served several terms as Member-At-Large on the NAED Board of Directors; as the NAED Education & Research Foundation Chair in 2005-2006; and currently resides on the NAED Government Affairs Policy Committee. Graybar is a member of Channel Advantage Partnership.

Reynolds earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in business and psychology from Stonehill College before joining Graybar in 1978 as a branch manager. Prior to attaining his current position in 2001, Reynolds served as district manager, senior vice president communications/data, and senior vice president electrical business. In 2000 he was elected president and chief executive officer.

Members of the 2010-2011 NAED Board of Directors are:

Jack Henderson, NAED Board Chair, Hunzicker Brothers, Inc., Oklahoma City

Robert A. Reynolds Jr., NAED Chair-Elect, Graybar Electric Company, Inc., St. Louis

Burt Schraga, NAED Past Chair, Bell Electrical Supply, Santa Clara, Calif.

Fil Cerminara, NAED Eastern Region Vice President, F & M Electric Supply Company, Inc., Danbury, Conn.

Ray Womack, NAED South Central Region Vice President, Womack Electric Supply Company, Inc., Burlington, N.C.

Rocklan Lawrence, NAED Western Region Vice President, National Electric Supply Co., Inc., Albuquerque, N.M.

Dan Nitowsky, NAED Eastern Region Vice President-Elect, Mars Electric Co., Willoughby, Ohio

Maureen Barsema, NAED South Central Region Vice President-Elect, B J Electric Supply, Inc., Madison, Wisc.

Andrew Akers, NAED Western Region Vice President-Elect, D & S Electrical Supply Co., Pocatello, Idaho

Daniel Dungan, NAED Finance Committee Chair, Springfield Electric Supply Company, Springfield, Ill.

Christopher Hartmann, NAED Member-At-Large, International Electric Supply Corp., Dallas

Charles Loeb, NAED Member-At-Large, The Loeb Electric Company, Columbus, Ohio

Peter Bellwoar, NAED Member-At-Large, Colonial Electric Supply Co., Inc., King of Prussia, Pa.

Pete Lemman, NAED Member-At-Large, North Coast Electric Company, Seattle

August Sodora Jr., NAED Member-At-Large, Swift Electrical Supply Co., Inc., Teterboro, N.J.

Sandra Rosecrans, NAED Foundation Chair, City Electric Company, Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.

Joe Huffman, NAED Foundation Chair-Elect, Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.

Stuart Thorn, NAED Manufacturer Representative, Southwire Company, Carrollton, Ga.

Lawrence Stern, IDEA Vice Chair, Standard Electric Supply Co., Milwaukee, Wisc.

Vito DiMaio, LEAD Committee Chair, North Coast Electric Company, Bend, Ore.

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 National Electrical Leadership Summit 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 4,400 locations internationally.

www.naed.org

New Support Tool for LEED-NC v2.2 Projects - LEEDuser Website Adds New Rating System

Brattleboro, VT - May 19, 2010 — A new support tool has arrived for LEED project teams seeking certification using the LEED for New Construction version 2.2 (LEED-NC v2.2) rating system. LEEDuser, a website offering frank advice and guidance for LEED certification, has added LEED-NC v2.2 to the list of rating systems that it supports.

LEEDuser is a credit-by-credit guide to achieving certification through the LEED rating system. For the hundreds of LEED credits that it covers, it offers quick overviews of key issues, action checklists, easy-to-reference official credit language, documentation samples, and user forums.

When it was launched in November 2009, LEEDuser covered the “version 3” or 2009 editions of the major LEED rating systems: LEED-NC, LEED for Commercial Interiors, LEED for Schools, LEED for Core and Shell, and LEED for Existing Buildings. Now, it has added LEED-NC v2.2, which teams could register for until June 2009. (Teams must now register for the newer version.)

“Even though LEED 2009 is the newest version, most projects in design and construction today are using LEED-NC v2.2,” said Tristan Roberts, LEEDuser product manager for BuildingGreen. Although USGBC does not make exact numbers available, there are about 2,000–4,000 LEED-NC 2009 projects registered with USGBC, and about four times that number of LEED-NC v2.2 projects.

According to Roberts, all of the content on LEEDuser was developed using the LEED know-how of YRG Sustainability, a consulting firm, and other top LEED experts who are featured on the site. The development of guidance for LEED-NC v2.2 used these same experts.

“In some cases the 2009 and v2.2 versions of LEED-NC are pretty much the same,” said Roberts, “but in many cases there are key differences that our experts made sure to highlight in their guidance so that LEED users familiar with one system won’t be tripped up by the other system.

For example, Roberts said, there is an obvious difference, in that LEED-NC 2009 includes 20% water savings as a prerequisite, while LEED-NC v2.2 does not. In a change that is harder to miss, however, the newer version of LEED also tightened up its efficiency baseline for lavatory faucets, making it more difficult for projects to demonstrate a percentage water savings. Readers of LEEDuser get advice on how to adapt to these differences.

LEEDuser is available by membership at www.LEEDuser.com/select. The LEEDuser forum is free for both members and non-members to read and post, and is found at www.LEEDuser.com/discuss.

* * *

About LEEDuser
LEEDuser.com provides comprehensive credit-by-credit guidance for teams working on LEED certification. Included are clear descriptions of credit requirements, tips to streamline LEED submissions, online calculators, and online user forums related to specific credits. LEEDuser facilitates LEED certification for projects using the New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Commercial Interiors, and Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating systems. BuildingGreen has created LEEDuser with the support of the U.S. Green Building Council and with the help the consultants at YRG Sustainability and a host of other LEED experts and topic-area specialists. The creators of LEEDuser have experience on hundreds of design teams for LEED-certified buildings, as LEED trainers, and as LEED certification reviewers.

About BuildingGreen
BuildingGreen, LLC, has provided the building industry with quality information on sustainable design and construction since its founding in 1985. Publications of the Brattleboro, Vermont company include Environmental Building News (launched in 1992 as the first North American publication focused on green building), GreenSpec® (a print and online directory of green building products), and LEEDuser. For information, visit www.BuildingGreen.com or call 802-257-7300.

NJATC & Salisbury by Honeywell to Develop Web-Based Linemen Training Program

Upper Marlboro, MD ─ The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Industry (NJATC) announced today that they had agreed to terms with Salisbury by Honeywell to develop a series of web-based training programs targeted at linemen and line construction workers. Despite the severe downturn in the construction industry, there are very real concerns about a potential shortage of skilled workers in the line construction industry in the very near future. Salisbury by Honeywell Director of Marketing, Brian McCauley, commented that “Salisbury by Honeywell is committed to working with the NJATC, IBEW and NECA to ensure that the electrical line industry has a pool of highly qualified linemen to meet the needs of this critical industry.” McCauley stated that “Our commitment will be for a three-year period and for $100,000 and will utilize state-of-the-art web-based training programs to help prepare tomorrow’s linemen for a highly demanding career.”


Salisbury by Honeywell Director of Business Development, Bill Rieth, echoed McCauley’s comments.  “I have been involved with training linemen for the IBEW and NECA for the past ten years. This new initiative will allow us to take our training efforts to the next level. We couldn’t be more pleased to make this training available to more apprentices and journeymen linemen.”


Since January 1, 2009, the NJATC has been utilizing a web-based learning management system to train new apprentices that have been selected into their three-year Outside Line Construction Apprenticeship Program. Apprentices combine both on-the-job training and classroom related instruction to learn this very demanding trade. The addition of web-based training modules to the existing learning management system will help to ensure that each apprentice receives the individualized training necessary to improve the overall efficiency of the classroom related instruction they receive.


NJATC Executive Director, Michael I. Callanan, indicated that Salisbury by Honeywell had set the standard for the future of training in the electrical industry. “There can be no doubt that this commitment from Salisbury by Honeywell will go a long way towards defining how the next generation of linemen will be trained. The additional resources provided through Salisbury by Honeywell will enable the NJATC to meet the needs of this ever-changing and demanding industry.” Callanan added, “Salisbury by Honeywell has been a NJATC Platinum Level Training Partner every year since the inception of their Training Partner Awards program (2005). We look forward to the development of a comprehensive set of web-based training modules that improves the safety and productivity or our linemen and meets the needs of this important industry.”

About the NJATC


The NJATC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1941 by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The organization is committed to developing and standardizing education in the electrical industry to properly and effectively train members of NECA and the IBEW; providing the electrical construction industry with the most highly trained and skilled workforce possible. Since its inception, more than 325,000 apprentices have completed NJATC training programs and become competent Journeymen, making the organization one of the largest training and apprenticeship programs of its kind. For more information, go to www.njatc.org.

About the Salisbury by Honeywell


Salisbury by Honeywell, a division of the Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions business group, is an industry leader in providing manufacturing of personal protective equipment and live line tools to protect commercial and industrial electrical workers from the hazards of their job.

 

Honeywell International (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.

 

About National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)

 

NECA is the voice of the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light, and communication technology to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 119 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. For more information, visit www.necanet.org.

 

About The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

 

The IBEW is an international labor organization that has trained the most qualified electricians in the trade for more than 119 years.  With approximately 725,000 members in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Republic of Panama, the IBEW has members in construction, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting, railroads and government. For more information, visit www.ibew.org

CableOrganizer.com Named ‘Top 500 Retail Web Site’ by Internet Retailer Magazine for 5th Consecutive Year

Based on 2009 Internet sales industry leading eTailer CableOrganizer.com ranked #450 on the venerable guide, also securing position #50 in the guide’s ‘Computers/Electronics’ category;  Strong consumer confidence in 2009 increased sales orders 8.19%, unique monthly site visitors grew a whopping 30.51%, and site now offers more than 35,700 - 15% more – new products

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, May 20, 2010 – Award winning eTailer CableOrganizer.com is amongst the world’s foremost providers of cable, wiring and equipment management products for use in business and at home, today announced it has secured position #450 in Internet Retailer magazine’s coveted 2010 Top500Guide.com® - the most comprehensive analysis of America’s largest e-retailers. The company also ranked in position #50 in the guide’s “Computers/Electronics” category. 

Internet Retailer's definitive ranking and analysis of America's 500 largest e-retailers is based on annual 2009 Internet sales, researched by Internet Retailer and confirmed by retailers. This report includes company financial, operational and performance data, as well as vendors in key categories.  Having been duly vetted, CableOrganizer.com earned its rightful place on this list. In spite of the economic recession and retail industry downturn that held steadfast throughout 2009, CableOrganizer.com recorded its 7th consecutive year-over-year sales revenue growth with a gross annual revenue of $14 million for that same year – a 7% increase over the year prior – also representing. In 2008 the company achieved a full 30.54% increase over the year prior, with a staggering 225% sales growth realized for the extended 2005-2008 period.

“The online computer and accessories segment experienced real challenges in 2009 and the fact that CableOrganizer.com grew web sales to almost $14 million is a testament to its staying power and ability as a niche retailer,” says Internet Retailer editor-in-chief Kurt Peters.

In addition to its astounding revenue growth amid an economic recession that helped earn its place in Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com, in 2009 CableOrganizer.com also significantly improved a number of other key operational metrics. Namely, order intake increased 8.19%, the number of unique monthly site visitors jumped 30.51%, and the company now boasts over 35,700 - 15% more – Premier Site (non-outlet) inventory SKUs, furthering its stronghold as the most comprehensive product resource in its category.

“Our success in 2009, and the anticipated gains for 2010, is a direct reflection of our investment in infrastructure and strategic business relationships,” said Paul Holstein, CableOrganizer.com COO.  “Among other endeavors, in 2009 we increased our new product development initiatives while concurrently enhancing and refining our mission-critical Web site content.  We also worked closely with our various vendors to develop programs that deliver the best value for our customer’s dollar, including pricing strategy and other market-driven variables. And, as always, our commitment to providing the best possible customer service experience allows us to enjoy a decidedly high rate of loyal, repeat customers and referral business related thereto.”

“I’m confident that as the economy starts to rebound and the financial climate improves in the marketplace at large, we are extraordinarily well positioned to continue our legacy of double-digit annual sales growth,” notes Holstein.

In addition to an impressive array of fiscal and operational milestones, 2009 also delivered top honors for CableOrganizer.com.  In May the company was named a 2009 Top 500 Retail Web Site
by Internet Retailer Magazine.  Based on 2008 Internet sales, CableOrganizer.com secured position #430 - 13 better than its 2008 ranking - in Internet Retailer magazine’s coveted 2009
Top500Guide.com® - the most comprehensive analysis of America’s largest e-retailers. The company also ranked in position #48 in the guide’s “Computers/Electronics” category – 4 positions better than its 2008 ranking.  Also in 2009, CableOrganizer.com was named on the South Florida Business Journal’s list of the “Fastest Growing Technology Companies” and “Best Places to Work” (10-50 Employees), also securing position number 8 on the publication’s list of “Largest Women-Owned Businesses.”

Operated by an experienced team of seasoned executives, IT experts and Internet marketing professionals in various disciplines, CableOrganizer.com has established itself as the industry’s leading source for universal and specialized cable, wire and equipment management solutions for both commercial and residential applications. 

The complete Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide may be accessed online at http://www.top500guide.com.

About Internet Retailer

Published by Chicago-based Vertical Web Media LLC, Internet Retailer is a monthly national business magazine that is at the core of the leading retail information web site, an e-commerce conference and four directories that serve the retailing community. Internet Retailer’s 42,500 subscribers and 250,000 monthly web readers represent senior executives primarily from retail chains, independent stores, catalogs, virtual merchants and brand name manufacturers. Internet Retailer's circulation represents the largest multichannel readership base of any retailing magazine. The magazine also publishes the most widely read e-mail newsletter in retailing, IRNewsLink, which is distributed four times a week to 30,000+ opt-in subscribers, operates the largest retailing information web site, InternetRetailer.com, sponsors the largest conference in the e-retailing industry and publishes an annual ranking of the 500 largest web sites.

About CableOrganizer.com

Founded in February 2002 and headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, CableOrganizer.com is a premier cable and wire management-related product vendor. The company provides companies, organizations and individuals around the globe with 24/7/365 access to an extensive array of high-quality products and information resources through its convenient online storefront. In addition to http://CableOrganizer.com, the company also owns and operates http://CableOrganizer.fr, which is operated out of Rennes, France. CableOrganizer.com also publishes "On the Wire," a free monthly electronic newsletter with a considerable multi-national opt-in circulation base. Among other honors, CableOrganizer.com is continually named among Inc. Magazine's Inc. 500 and 5,000 and Internet Retailer magazine’s "Top 500.”  CableOrganizer.com also ranked on DiversityBusiness.com’s list of “Top 500 Women Owned Businesses in the U.S.” and was named among the South Florida Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work.”

CableOrganizer is a trademark of CableOrganizer.com, Inc.  Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright 2009 CableOrganizer.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

All-Fiber Networks to Take Center Stage at 2010 FTTH Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, September 12-16

Year's Biggest Fiber to the Home Industry Event to Feature Faster Broadband Technologies, Future Applications and Case Studies for Operating Next-Gen Networks

WASHINGTON, DC - The next generation in broadband technology and best practices will be on full display at the year's biggest fiber to the home industry conference and exhibition, the 2010 FTTH Conference & Expo, to take place September 12 - 16 at the Venetian Hotel-Resort-Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Online registration is now open at www.ftthconference.com.

Gathering under the banner of FTTH: All Fiber All the Way! will be nearly 2,000 key executives from across the growing fiber to the home industry, representing manufacturers of FTTH equipment, network engineering companies and many of the more than 750 telecom service providers across North America that are looking to "future-proof" their networks by upgrading to end-to-end fiber.

In addition to more than 130 exhibitors that will display FTTH products and services in the Expo Hall, the conference will feature 50 track sessions and panel discussions covering a range of industry topics, including new FTTH technologies, advanced design and construction techniques for all-fiber networks, finance and regulatory issues, as well as case studies by successful FTTH providers.

An updated conference program and list of exhibiting companies are available on the conference website.

"Our high-bandwidth future will require fiber to be run all the way to every household and business on the continent, and accordingly this conference is a must for any company or organization that wants to stay on the leading edge of broadband," said Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council North America, which is organizing the event. 

The FTTH Council recently reported that nearly six million North American households are already connected with end-to-end fiber, and that three-quarters of local telephone companies across the U.S. say they expect to upgrade to all-fiber or expand their existing FTTH networks in the near future.

The opening keynote speaker for the conference will be Mike Quigley, Chief Executive Officer of NBN Co Limited, a company created in 2009 by the Australian government to build and operate a fiber to the premises network that will bring 100 megabit broadband service to 90 per cent of homes, schools and workplaces in the country, pursuant to Australia's national broadband plan.  Also speaking in the opening session on Tuesday, September 14, will be Ivan Toner, the Chief Technical Officer of Bell Aliant, which is currently undertaking a $350 million project to deploy FTTH to a footprint covering 600,000 homes in Canada.

With an eye toward enhancing this year's focus on marketing FTTH services to paying customers, the closing keynote will be Ellis Hill, the Executive Director of the Broadband Multimedia Marketing Association, an organization that aims to advance the adoption and use of broadband services by identifying key industry success factors and sharing best practices in marketing.

Topics covered by panels and track sessions during the four day conference include the impact of growing bandwidth, the new connected homes, the latest fiber optic technologies and installation methods, the upcoming 10 gigabit technologies and products, leveraging FTTH for mobile backhaul, creating IPTV solutions, converting HFC networks into all-fiber networks, and discussions of key legal and regulatory issues affecting FTTH service providers and manufacturers - to name just a few.

For the second year, the FTTH Conference & Expo will offer a special series of learning sessions, conducted in Spanish and/or Portuguese, aimed at fiber to the home opportunities in Latin America.  These will coincide with a meeting of the FTTH Council's Latin American Chapter, which recently concluded a successful conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

"We have put together an outstanding, diverse program that affords every attendee the opportunity to expand their expertise on all things fiber," said David Russell of Calix, the chairman of the FTTH Council's board of directors.  "This is the one event of the year where the entire FTTH industry meets under one roof to share knowledge and to put the industry's best ideas and products on display."

Motorola is the platinum sponsor for the 2010 FTTH Conference & Expo.

About the Fiber-to-the-Home Council

Now in its ninth year, the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council is a non-profit association consisting of companies and organizations that deliver video, Internet and/or voice services over high-bandwidth, next-generation, direct fiber optic connections - as well as those involved in planning and building FTTH networks.  The Council works to create a cohesive group to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber to the home. Its mission is to educate the public and government officials about FTTH solutions and to promote and accelerate deployment of fiber to the home and the resulting quality of life enhancements such networks make possible.  The Council organizes North America's largest annual FTTH event, the FTTH Conference & Expo, to be held September 12 - 16, 2010 in Las Vegas.   More information about the Council can be found at www.ftthcouncil.org.

Ready, set—take action!

by Jack Henderson

Life has a strange way of taking us in the direction we need to go. In June of 1970

I was a senior at Oklahoma City University. With my graduation—and wedding —quickly approaching, I needed a job! The school placement office sent me to Hunzicker Brothers, where I interviewed with Fritz and Walter Hunzicker. I had no idea at the time that that interview would be the first step of my career path. Yet here I am, 40 years later, writing this column in the very office where I was interviewed so many years ago.

My journey took another exciting turn when I attended my first NAED region meeting in the mid-1980s. The networking and educational opportunities I experienced served as a springboard not only for my career, but also for my future with the association.

Through the years I’ve watched as NAED has continually evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of our industry. I am truly honored to take on the role as chair.

Over the next year you’ll be hearing a lot from me about two things in particular: education and government involvement.

Education will be crucial as the economy slowly starts to come back and we rebuild our employee base. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that our employees are well trained and stay on the cutting edge of this industry. Our employees are our future, and NAED offers the tools to help make sure they’re ready and understand the challenges of the business of tomorrow.

For example, the NAED Education & Research Foundation offers many training courses and products to help individuals working in the electrical industry further their knowledge in their career fields. The NAED Learning Center provides online access to many NAED courses, manufacturer product training courses, and third-party courses focusing on safety, ethics, sales, leadership training, and

more. Let NAED’s Customer Service team help you find the products that specifically fit your business needs; call 888-791-2512 today.

Another example is the Certified Electrical Professional™ (CEP) program. Designed for inside and outside sales teams in every facet of the electrical distribution channel, CEP certification identifies that the holder has demonstrated expertise in areas such as product knowledge, sales and communication skills, and customer service, providing added credibility in the electrical industry and increasing the professionalism of the industry as a whole.

My second area of focus will be to promote involvement in government affairs. We must keep in mind that the government is making decisions that affect not only our personal lives, but also our businesses—and it would be negligent on our part not to make our voices heard.

I personally have seen positive results by taking action, and I urge all members of NAED to do the same.

To help get the ball rolling, NAED has recently launched the Government Affairs Initiative (read more about this initiative on page 94). This effort will provide tools that NAED members can use to help shape the outcome of the policies that affect us most. A new staff position has been put in place and a website (naed.org/tellcongress) has been created to help us locate and contact our elected officials. NAED will also send out issue alerts on the key topics that impact not only the entire industry, but also individual businesses.

It’s going to be an exciting year, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you. Be sure to read more about my thoughts about the industry and my plan for the upcoming year on page 52. And remember: The amount of satisfaction that you can derive from your job and your membership in NAED depends largely on your level of involvement. I challenge you to take it to the next level: Ready, set—take action!

Henderson is executive vice president of Hunzicker Brothers in Oklahoma City. He can be reached at jhenderson@hunzicker.com.

reprinted with permission from TED - The Electrical Distributor magazine www.tedmag.com

A singular success = Hunzicker Brothers

Hunzicker Brothers may have gotten its start selling a single product from a single location, but today it’s diversity that keeps this 90-year-old full-line distributor at the top of its game. by Misty Byers

In May of 1920 two brothers from Indiana, Walter and Frederick Hunzicker, purchased a traincar load of Mazda light bulbs and sold them off a siding in the Bricktown area of downtown Oklahoma City. A short time later, automotive specialities were added to the mix, and The Hunzicker Sales Company was born. In 1924 the name was changed to Hunzicker Brothers and the inventory expanded to include wiring devices, light fixtures, and appliances. Along the way, the automotive products were eliminated, but the company continued to grow, adding new lines of electrical items.

Today, the company is a full-line electrical distributorship with seven locations in Oklahoma and serves national accounts in all 50 states. Yet, while so much has changed over the years, much remains the same.

“We continue to follow the fundamental principles established by our founders in 1920 by continuing to offer extensive inventory, a strong capital structure, and great customer service,” said Jack Henderson, executive vice president.

And while businesses across the country have, at the least, suffered the effects of the economic downturn or, in more extreme cases, been completely defeated by it, Hunzicker Brothers has barely felt an impact. Ask any of the principals at the distributorship why that is, and diversity will be the No. 1 reason.

“This has always been a diverse company,” said Mike Lockard, president. “In the 1920s there were times when we sold waffle irons, vacuum cleaners, and household appliances.

“Of course, at one point the decision was made to go into electrical exclusively, and today there’s not a market area that we don’t delve into,” he noted.

From the oil and gas business, to industrial, commercial, residential, and government accounts, to a new lighting gallery that focuses more on the retail side of the business (see sidebar on page 59) and a growing national accounts segment, Hunzicker Brothers is the very definition of diverse.

“Because we don’t play too heavily in any segment, when markets go down or up we don’t take dramatic shifts,” said Brandi Guethle, marketing manager. “When the housing industry went bottom up, we didn’t feel it nearly as hard as some others did because of our diversity. Oil and gas is a bigger segment for us, and during the  boom we rode the wave. It’s falling a bit now, but we have so much else going on that it’s not going to bring us down.”

“Right now our market mix is changing somewhat,” noted Lockard. “And while change is always somewhat disruptive, we aren’t too concerned. We’ll adapt as we have before.

“The industrial market is declining in the state, so we are a bit more commercial oriented right now,” he added. “Of course, with the stimulus money there’s a little bit more government activity going on, but I think that in the future we’ll remain more commercial oriented.”

“Markets are constantly changing; one goes up, and another goes down,” said Henderson. “I like to say that every year there is always one cylinder that is not firing—and if I could ever get this engine running on all eight cylinders, what a great year that would be!

“Seriously, though, we feel very fortunate in this economy that we are as diverse as we are, and that we’ve not had to make any major changes as a result of the downturn,” he noted. “In fact, we’ve found it to be an opportunity to gain market share; to backfill with qualified, experienced employees; and to step up employee training and development.”

Branching out

If diversity is strategy No. 1 at Hunzicker Brothers, a strong desire to capitalize on new opportunities is a close second.

As a company that got its beginnings selling several hundred light bulbs and now sees annual sales of about $66 million, Hunzicker Brothers knows more than a little about how to adapt—a skill that is currently manifesting as a focus on developing national accounts.

John Hunzicker, branch operations manager, heads up the company’s national accounts team. “We have the know-how and the expertise; we have the inventory, the people, and the process—but we are still aiming to develop ourselves as a driving force in the national account arena,” he said.

“There are other vendors out there who have been performing in this market for a very long time and have established solid relationships, and we’re making every effort to create more exposure for our company and prove that our capabilities are beyond exemplary,” he added, noting that the biggest challenge is convincing potential leads to change old habits.

“We recently joined a group called PRSM (the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association), which provides us with the opportunity to showcase our products and services,” he said. ”We attended its national meeting in 2009 as a first time exhibitor and will have a booth again this year, probing for more potential clients. I am convinced our consistency at these various venues will generate a positive response and if we can get one or two customers to contact us, I believe we’ll be making some headway.”

True to form, however, Hunzicker Brothers isn’t putting all of its eggs in one basket.

Dan Rood heads up the company’s strategic accounts team, which handles special requirements for the federal government and major industrial customers. “A lot of our growth in these markets is going to be through vendor management,” he said. “It’s important that we continue to perform and to present ourselves as a value-add distributor. A lot of our customers want to do business with us for our process equally as much as our product. So our goal is to improve our process, improve our communication, and improve our ability to manage their needs or requirements and grow in those areas.”

Henderson is counting on increased market share and a rebounding housing market to help grow the company.

“Hopefully the pickup in the housing market will benefit our Lighting Gallery,” he said. “Our economy in Oklahoma is quite resilient. We benefit a lot from the natural gas and oil price increases and see that working in our favor for the long term.”

As for green solutions and the renewables market, Henderson noted that because the state’s utility rates are very low, the payback on green opportunities is still too long. “But I think we will see that as a potential for growth as time goes forward,” he added.

Finally, the company isn’t ruling out growth by acquisition, especially now that some large investments in infrastructure, including a software change and a total warehouse remodel, are complete.

“With these improvements, we are in a position to benefit from acquisitions, particularly of some of the smaller distributors that may not be financially capable of making those investments in software technology and infrastructure,” said Henderson, adding that “our intention would be to stay within our geographic area.”

“Some growth will probably come as the result of acquisitions within the state,” confirmed Lockard, who also expects to see growth as the result of some new building that is going on in Oklahoma City. “Two sales tax proposals that were passed were very much a positive impact for the Oklahoma City area; a third, geared toward some redevelopment downtown, just passed as well. I think that will generate some other business.”

The family way

Some say bigger is better, but that’s certainly not the case at Hunzicker Brothers. Family owned since its inception, Lockard believes that this characteristic plays greatly in the company’s favor.

“Our Board—which consists of several members of the Hunzicker family along with some outside directors—has helped develop a strategy that serves as a roadmap for planning,” said Lockard, adding that this includes the ability to adapt to whatever a customer’s needs may be. “Because we are a relatively small, family-owned operation, we really can be flexible.”

Rood agreed: “Because we are small and we have a lot of flexibility, we can adjust. We do a lot of staging. We deliver our own material. We get it right to the job site. We do whole-order delivery. These are the kinds of things you can’t achieve unless you’re a local multiline distributor.”

He referred to a local 3.8-million-square-foot GM facility that’s currently being absorbed into a nearby Air Force base. “We have the advantage of a past with that facility—including remodeling it a number of times,” said Rood. “We are able to bring a lot of history to that account.

“On the other hand,” he continued, “when a company has people nationwide who are handling a drop ship order with no support or service, many of these people have never been—nor ever will be—on-site. When the owner wants service and support, there’s nobody there to provide it.”

”As a small business that’s family owned and operated, we can pretty much tailor to meet whatever a customer’s demands might be,” confirmed Derek Payne, an inside salesperson. He added that a lack of red tape is another positive characteristic of the company. “You can go straight to the top in one location,” he noted. “It’s an open door without pushing arms or going through a bunch of bureaucracy to get something set up.”

Of course, very little can get done without the right attitude.

“We’ve positioned ourselves as a preferred distributor in our marketplace by the value we bring to our customers,” added Hunzicker. “The biggest part of our success has come from the relationships that we’ve established with our customers over the years. We make it our policy to go above and beyond our customers’ expectations. Rather than telling a customer no, we work hard to find a ‘yes’ solution.”

Byers is editor of “tED” magazine. She can be reached at mbyers@naed.org.

Sidebar:

Inroads in lighting

For an electrical distributorship that puts diversity at the top of its list of strategic moves, having a solid presence in retail lighting is a no-brainer.

The original Hunzicker Lighting Gallery was opened in 1975 by Fritz and Marcia Hunzicker. In 1992, the decision was made to combine Hunzicker Lighting Gallery with Hunzicker Brothers. From 1975 to 2003, the lighting showroom resided in a 7,500-square-foot space. In 2003 it moved to its current home: a 22,000-square-foot building that houses thousands of fixtures—many of which are featured in vignette style—along with an electrical sales counter.

True to Hunzicker form, the Lighting Gallery stocks a wide range of price points. “We do well with higher-end products—and I think a part of that is based on the size of the showroom itself and the fact that we can accommodate the kinds of fixtures that some other lighting showrooms in town simply don’t have the facilities for,” said Stacey Loud, branch manager for Hunzicker Lighting Gallery. “But we cater to low-end builders as well. We definitely go from one extreme to the other.” She added that on the higher-end side, services offered include lighting design and home automation. “We spend a lot of resources on our employees to get the best education possible so that we are more knowledgeable,” noted Loud. “Customers need to know how to select the proper-size fixture for a particular place or what can be done to light a specific room or painting, we have the expertise and we pride ourselves on that.

“The other thing that makes us different from our competition is that we stick exclusively with lighting,” she added. “There are other showrooms here in town that also do plumbing or door pulls or furniture, but we have chosen to stay exclusive to lighting because we want to send the message that we are experts in it.”

Loud spoke a bit about how the recession has affected plans for the Lighting Gallery: “Before the recession hit we focused mainly on expanding, possibly opening stores in some of the other towns where we have electrical supply houses,” she said. “But the recession has changed that. It’ll be a long time before the housing market is back to what it was, and while we’ll continue to keep looking for expansion opportunities, right now our biggest goal is to get more entrenched with and develop better relationships with our current customers.

“We constantly talk about what we can do to expand the lighting side of the business because it adds to the diversity of the com-pany as a whole,” she added. “Right now Hunzicker Brothers is seeing some growth in areas aside from residential, but that doesn’t mean that in five years the residential side isn’t going to be carrying the load when the other markets go down a little bit.”

Reprinted with permission from TED - The Electrical Distributor magazine www.tedmag.com

Jack of all trades

Hunzicker Brothers’s Executive Vice President Jack Henderson joined the company in 1970 as an office manager. Since then, he’s served in almost every position available at the distributorship. This month, he adds the title of NAED chair to his resume and puts promoting education and government affairs at the top of his to-do list.  by Misty Byers

This month, Jack Henderson, executive vice president of Oklahoma City-based Hunzicker Brothers, assumes leadership of the NAED board. A 40-year veteran of the company, Henderson is described by those who work most closely with him as energetic and honest and a visionary, who is passionate about and committed to the industry. He is also described as a man who leads by example, who would never ask anybody to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself—perhaps because, at one time or another, he has done just about everything himself.

“Here he’s a jack of all trades,” said Mike Lockard, president. “He has held positions in nearly every department of this company and has seen everything and anything that could happen in our business.” The result, said Lockard: “Jack has been there, done that—and he has an innate understanding of what the issues are and the shortest route to the resolution.”

Henderson’s career in electrical distribution began in June 1970 when, fresh out of Oklahoma City University—and a week before his wedding day—he accepted an office manager position at Hunzicker Brothers.

“I was interviewed by Walter Hunzicker and Fritz Hunzicker in the very office that I occupy today,” Henderson said. “By the time I got back to the dorm—about 18 blocks away—I had a message that they had called. I was offered the job, and I’ve been here ever since.”

In his 40 years at the company Henderson has served as credit manager, controller, and assistant vice president. “I’ve also done outside sales and counter sales,” Henderson added. “I’ve even driven a truck. In fact, the warehouse guys really enjoy watching me back the truck up to the dock—they’re very surprised that I can still do it.”

While Henderson may have gotten his start in electrical distribution on that fateful day in 1970, it wasn’t until he attended his first NAED regional meeting in 1985 that he knew that this industry was his destiny. From there, it only took a few hours for him to realize how beneficial the association would be in his growth as an employee of Hunzicker Brothers.

“I was very much a new kid on the block,” Henderson recalled, “but I got the opportunity to meet a lot of vendors and a lot of fellow distributors who, along with the educational opportunities, have proved instrumental in my development in the industry.

“I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the opportunities afforded me through NAED meetings have provided a great boost to my career and my knowledge of the electrical distribution industry,” he noted.

Henderson believes that NAED offers those same opportunities to individuals who want to succeed in the industry today. “I feel what’s lacking today in many people is their involvement, not only in their company, but also in organizations like NAED,” he said, noting that Hunzicker Brothers is making an effort to expose more of its employees to NAED through meetings and education. “I would like to drive home, particularly to the younger people in the industry, that the amount of satisfaction that you derive out of your job, and out of NAED, is really the ultimate reward,” he said.

An advocate for the issues

Looking forward to his year at the helm of NAED’s Board, Henderson hopes to encourage member participation in the association’s Government Affairs Initi-ative, which was created to educate NAED membership about important issues that impact the industry.

Henderson serves as chair of the Government Affairs Policy Committee, which has led to the selection of a legislative agenda and the naed.org/tellcongress website. NAED will track key legislation and send issue alerts to let membership know when they should take grassroots action. These efforts will complement the work already being done on Capitol Hill by NAED’s industry allies, NEMA and NAW.

“I feel that it’s an important endeavor of NAED to drive an understanding of the legislative process and the issues that surround that legislative process back to the grassroots, back to the local distributor level, so that we can communicate the issues to our local senators and congressmen,” said Henderson.

He offered the repeal of LIFO and green opportunities afforded by energy-efficient initiatives and rebates offered by state and local governments as examples of the kinds of legislation distributors need to be aware of.

“The government is going to play a larger role in our lives for the next few years and I believe that it would be negligence on our part as distributors and as an association not to become involved in the government affairs aspect,” he said. “It’s our obligation to be aware of what is happening and figure out a way to take advantage of opportunities.”

Henderson recalled a situation he had recently with a government issue. “By getting the local field rep from our senator’s office in our boardroom and going over the issue, I had a phone call back from Washington, D.C. that day,” he said. “The legislative liaison from the SBA called us back—and it was 7 p.m. in D.C. By 8 o’clock the next morning, we had the issue well on its way to being resolved.

“I absolutely believe that that possibility exists with any distributor in the United States,” continued Henderson. “Through the Government Affairs Initiative, NAED is affording distributors the tools to do so. It’s the responsibility of management to educate their people to become involved and make this industry’s wishes and desires known to our members of Congress.

“You absolutely can get something done by involving yourself in government affairs,” he stressed. “It would be very difficult for us to go it alone, but together we can make a significant impact in Washington and in our local state governments.”

Advancing education

In addition to supporting the Government Affairs Initiative, Henderson plans to spend his year as chair advancing another of his industry passions: education and training.

“When I was hired, Walter Hunzicker said to me that if I learned one new thing every day, at the end of the year I will have learned 365 new things,” recalled Henderson. “Today I think we need to learn maybe 10 or 20 or 50 new things a day to keep up with the technology and to keep up with the products that we have to deal with on a daily basis. You’ve got to continue to learn to advance yourself and to advance your business.

“Our employees are our future,” Henderson continued. “As managers we need to make sure that they’re on the cutting edge of our industry. The educational opportunities this association offers help ensure they are.”

He explained that as the economy improves, educational opportunities will be crucial as companies rebuild their employee bases and hire more people.

“Involving employees in the educational opportunities offered by NAED—things like the NLC, TEDGreenRoom, and the industry training and courses the association provides—is critical,” Henderson said.

In addition to rebuilding workforces that were downsized either to layoffs or attrition, Henderson brought up another problem that many distributors across the country are facing: the retiring generation of baby boomers.

“We often say that our greatest asset is our people, and one of the things we are most proud of is the tenure of our people—but sometimes that can also be classified as a detriment, as we have a significant number of retirements coming in the next five to 10 years,” he explained. “Training will be an important component in ensuring that we continue to have a viable employee base.”

Byers is editor of “tED” magazine. She can be reached at mbyers@naed.org.

Sidebar:

“Jump start Jack”

“Depression Dick,” “Bottom out Burt,” “Jump start Jack.” These were the nicknames the NAED board members gave to past chair, chair, and chair-elect trio Dick Waterman, Burt Schraga, and Jack Henderson as Schraga took office in 2009. Referencing, of course, the economic conditions of the years in which each holds the position of NAED chair, the predictions appear to be on the mark.

“When those forecasts were made I don’t think anyone really believed that there would be, in fact, some relevance to the statement,” said Henderson. “We would bring it up in each meeting and kind of kid about it, but in reality there appears to be real truth and relevance to the statement.”

Henderson is optimistic that an economic recovery is in sight and plans to spend his year as NAED chair encouraging distributors to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise.

“I think the recovery will be slow, but it will be gradual,” he added. “I also think that as an industry we’ll be able to sustain a moderate level of growth.”

According to Henderson, accomplishing this includes moves that will ensure distribution remains a critical component of the electrical supply chain as manufacturers move their facilities offshore.

“As manufacturers move operations to Mexico and China, it’s our role and our responsibility to maintain and/or increase our level of inventory to satisfy our customers’ needs and requests for material,” said Henderson.

“When our chairman of the board first became associated with our company, he believed that distribution was a dying business,” said Henderson. “Over the course of the past 10 years, we’ve convinced him that electrical distribution is not a dying business: Our role is actually increasingly important to the efficient flow of material from our manufacturers to our customers.”

reprinted with permission from TED - The Electrical Distributor magazine www.tedmag.com

Inflation this early in a recovery?

The global economic recovery hasn’t really gotten up to speed—and there already appear to be signs of inflation. by Joe Salimando

The iron-ore supply contract signed recently by some of the world’s biggest sellers and buyers included a 90% increase (reports claim the global average will be only 70%). As that news hit, a three-day run-up in copper’s per-pound spot price caused a 7% jump (more than $.22 ). Looking at other materials’ prices shows that they really are bouncing: As the 2008-2009 winter drew to a close, aluminum went for less than $.60 cents per pound on the spot market, but one year later it stayed on the high side of the $1 per pound level.

That’s not all: Nickel’s per-pound spot price scaled the $10 level in late winter; in March 2009 that figure cowered down below $4.50. And crude oil, which came in around $45 to $46 in Q1 2009, ran up a year later to over $80 per barrel, driving gasoline’s pump price from below $2 per gallon to $2.80-plus. It goes on.

Is inflation dead? Yes, says David Rosenberg, the noted Wall Street economist (formerly employed at Merrill Lynch, he’s still oft-quoted despite relocating to the Canadian firm Gluskin Sheff). However, Rosenberg’s free daily analysis repeatedly hits several keys:

1. The bounce in stocks is a bear market rally.

2. The economy’s not recovering very strongly, despite huge gobs of federal money printing and stimulus.

3. Despite all that, commodity prices are likely to remain strong.

Separately, the Fortis Bank NederlandVM Group’s March forecast for commodity prices from 2010 to 2013 runs like this:

• Aluminum: $.99 per pound average price in 2010, up to a $1.21 average in 2013

• Copper: $3.28 per pound average in 2010; $3.87 in 2013

• Nickel: $9.21 per pound average in 2010; $13.90 in 2013

• Zinc: $1.03 per pound average in 2010; $1.58 in 2013

The average price will increase for each material in both 2011 and 2012, too, meaning that the price increase is gradual—but relentless. Does that perhaps sound like…inflation?

Real inflation vs. what’s reported

Doug Kass, a noted financial analyst who writes for TheStreet.com, posted a column in early spring that included this:

• “It remains my view that the CPI calculation is rotten to the core.”

• A quote by Kass from John Williams of shadowstats.com: “Adjusted to pre-Clinton (1990) methodology, annual CPI growth rose to 6.1% in December vs. 5.1% in November, while the SGS-Alternate Consumer Inflation Measure, which reverses gimmicked changes to official CPI reporting methodologies back to 1980, rose to about 9.7% (9.68% exactly) in December vs. 8.8% in November.”

• Another quote by Kass from Bill King, another noted markets commentator: “Non-OER inflation is up at a 4% annualized rate over the past six months and 4.5% over the past three months.” (OER = owner’s equivalent rent, the housing component of the government’s inflation statistics, which makes up 24% of the consumer price index computation.)

Perhaps there is no inflation. Perhaps there will not be any inflation. However, David Rosenberg—who is a believer in deflation—sees stronger future commodity prices, something backed up with specifics from Fortis. Throw in the comments earlier from Kass, King, and Williams, and you may start to worry just a little bit.

But forget all the experts quoted here. Instead, consider this: Can the huge increase in debt by governments the world over and the never-ending increase in money printing by central banks everywhere have absolutely no impact on the price of anything?

Salimando blogs at tedmag.com, energy solutions.necanet.org, and eleblog.com. He can be reached at ecdotcom@gmail.com.

reprinted with permission from TED - The Electrical Distributor magazine www.tedmag.com

A look at legislation - Anti-counterfeiting laws

Anti-counterfeiting laws exist, but how well are they being applied? by Darlene Bremer

While the term counterfeiting has traditionally been applied most commonly to currency and coins, it also applies to reproductions of packaging when the intent is to defraud or violate protections under trademark, copyright, or patent laws. Generally, the total value of intellectual property rights (IPR) seizures has increased 25% per year since 2005. According to Clark Silcox, counsel for NEMA, the total value of electrical and battery products seized in 2009, as categorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), was $6.2 million (down from $6.8 million in 2008). Electrical products accounted for 13% of the total value of all commodities seized that present potential safety or security risks, with China continuing to be the No. 1 source country for counterfeit/pirated goods seized, accounting for 79% of the total seizure value (at 9%, India was the second highest source country).

Although seizures were down in 2009 from 2008, inquires made to UL concerning random cargo and the legitimacy of UL marks were up 65% between those two years, according to Brian Monks, vice president of anti-counterfeiting operations.

“The rise in inquiries may be attributed to the partnerships between UL and law enforcement, public and law enforcement awareness education programs, training of customs personnel, and UL’s zero tolerance policy of counterfeit products,” he said.

A number of groups are responsible for enforcing U.S. anti-counterfeiting laws, including federal prosecutors, the CBP, state criminal prosecutors, and private parties through civil litigation. The FBI is the primary investigative arm, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in federal cases.

“Actually, a considerable amount of anti-counterfeiting enforcement takes place at the state and local levels, although enforcement is not uniform nationwide,” said Silcox, noting that New York City and Los Angeles have active anti-counterfeiting units at the local level, and North Carolina has had an anti-counterfeiting unit for years.

Electrical manufacturers also get involved in anti-counterfeiting enforcement. Eaton has a contractor that investigates cases and makes seizures in partnership with local law enforcement. “In 2009 the contractor’s investigation led to the seizure of more than 1 million electrical components,” said Tom Grace, anti-counterfeit and brand protection manager.

Even with the use of predictive reviews of container shipments, however, less than 5% are inspected nationwide. “Counterfeiters are using free trade zones to sell and resell counterfeit products before shipping them into the United States, so that counterfeit products made in China, for example, arrive without raising a red flag with inspectors,” Grace explained.

In the end, how well counterfeit laws are enforced depends on the seriousness of the crime. By partnering with law enforcement and working closely at all levels, the industry can expand awareness of the issues and promote increased enforcement. “Health and safety issues are paramount to UL, and the organization has never lost a federal court case,” added Monks.

A perfect federal prosecution record is good for UL, but not for counterfeiters. Under federal law, counterfeiting is a class C felony, punishable by up to 12 years in prison and/or a fine of as much as $250,000. State laws also establish penalties for counterfeiting.

“Seizure and forfeiture of counterfeit products is a virtual certainty,” said Silcox. Beyond that, he noted, the fines and punishment vary in individual cases, depending on what the facts show as to the defendant’s state of mind and the harm to the public.

“ACTA” in action

In 2006, Japan and the United States launched the idea of a new plurilateral treaty to help in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. The aim of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was to bring together those countries that are interested in fighting counterfeiting and to negotiate an agreement that enhances international cooperation and contains effective international standards for enforcing IPR. Negotiations will conclude this year and will include more than 35 countries.

“ACTA can be an educational tool to demonstrate to developing countries that counterfeiting is not a sustainable way to improve their economies,” explained Monks.

It has been NEMA’s position that ACTA must not compromise U.S. enforcement law and that it must maintain the same incentives for enforcement and the rights of trademark owners. Said Silcox, “The ACTA principles contemplate greater enforcement networking and shared intelligence with the idea that it should be more difficult for counterfeit products to move across borders.”

Bremer writes from Solomons, Md., and can be reached at darbremer@comcast.net.

reprinted with permission from TED - The Electrical Distributor magazine www.tedmag.com

A Visit with Lighting Control Pioneer, Lutron Electronics Founder, Joel Spira

By Edward Brown, www.writingengineer.com, ebeditor@writingengineer.com

Integrated Building Systems Editor, Electrical Contractor magazine, www.ecmag.com 

On April 28th, I had the privilege of attending an event honoring Joel Spira, founder and chairman of Lutron Electronics. This was a rare chance to meet a pioneer in electrical technology, who was donating artifacts to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History tracing the development of solid-state light dimmers from the early 60s through today. They will be displayed in the collection that includes Thomas Edison’s experimental light bulbs and the first lasers. “Collections such as this one from Lutron help us to understand the continuation of the electrical evolution, the process of invention and the history of business and manufacture,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “American homes changed significantly during the 20th century as people adopted electricity for any number of tasks, including illumination. Objects such as those being donated by Lutron fit in nicely with the switches and control devices we preserve that date back to Edison’s day. Studying the tools of everyday life, such as light switches, helps us to understand our ever-changing technological society,” said Hal Wallace, associate curator of the museum’s electricity collection. “I am pleased to donate these artifacts to the museum,” said Spira. “For the past 50 years, the solid-state dimmer has made homes more beautiful and offices more efficient—all while saving energy and increasing lamp life.”

The Invention

In 1957 GE had produced a solid-state device called a silicon controlled rectifier (SCR). Two years after that Mr.Spira developed a working model of a light dimmer, which controlled power to incandescent light bulbs using an electronic circuit based on the SCR. In 1961 Joel and Ruth Spira founded Lutron Electronics to manufacture and market the dimmer commercially. In 1962 Mr. Spira was awarded a patent for a home light dimmer.

Engineering Talk

The high point of the day for me was trading some memories of 1960s technology with Mr. Spira. He told me how, while in the Navy during World War II, he learned about hydrogen thyratrons, which were used to generate radar pulses. Hydrogen thyratrons are gas-filled tubes that can be used as high power switches operating in fractions of milliseconds. Since AC power reverses direction 120 times per second, a switch that can operate that quickly can control the power delivered by varying the amount of time during each cycle that the switch conducts. The advantage of this type of control is that power is not wasted when the output is reduced. It’s like turning the light switch off for a small amount of time120 times a second. SCRs are solid state devices that can be used this way. Since thyratrons are physically large, but SCRs are not, this got Mr. Spira thinking about the possibilities. He set out to build a circuit that could control the power fed to an incandescent lamp, but which would be small enough to fit into the space of a home-style light switch. Working in the bedroom of his New York City apartment, he succeeded.

Here we are in 2010 and hydrogen thyratrons are still be used to generate radar pulses, because not only can they switch large electrical currents, they can easily handle the thousands of volts that are required for radar. But Mr. Spira’s original solid-state dimmer has evolved into the preeminent means for controlling lighting systems throughout the world.

New FOA Jobs Website

Here at the FOA, we get many questions from our CFOTs (FOA Certified Fiber Optic Technicians), students at FOA-Approved schools and others contemplating getting into the fiber optic business regarding jobs in fiber optics - and how to find them - so we’ve created a new web page to share some information we've gathered about jobs in our industry. The information is designed to help you understand what jobs are available in fiber optics, how to find them and apply for them.

While the overall economy is pretty bad - you've probably heard that there are 5 times as many people unemployed in the US as there are jobs available, telecom is a bright spot - broadband is a major focus of stimulus spending in the US and countries around the world are building fiber networks as fast as possible. Even wireless companies have to build fiber for their backhaul. Cities are installing fiber linked surveillance cameras and smart traffic lights. Fiber is the link making Smart Grid possible. Companies are building large private networks. Telecom is one of the fastest growing businesses worldwide.

If you are looking for a job in fiber optics, here is the FOA's guide to jobs.  ( http://www.thefoa.org/jobs/jobs.html )

The FOA has created a group on “LinkedIn”  expressly to help our CFOTs find employment and contracting opportunities. If you are a CFOT and are interested in participating, join us onLinkedIn . ( http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2925670&trk=anet_ug_grppro)

If you have job openings, let us post them on LinkedIn.

What Are Communications Network Users Asking The FOA?

We’re seeing a lot more end users contacting the FOA asking about their networks. A decade ago, we used to say end users, especially IT managers, didn’t want to know about cabling – they had too many other things to worry about, like their expensive networking hardware which was undergoing rapid obsolescence cycles, software that had to be kept up to date and licenses paid up, attacks from hackers, spammers and phishers, even employee misuse of their Internet connections. Besides, cabling only represented a few percent of their budget and if it needed updating every couple of years, so what? Bring in a cabling specialist to redo the whole thing.

Now, we’re seeing a lot more interest in cabling from end users. First of all, the current economic times have led to most employees doing more than just one job to save costs, so the cabling often becomes the direct responsibility of the network manager. And the cabling environment has changed considerably. Ten or fifteen years ago, standardized cabling was new to the network user who previously had been installing only proprietary cabling from their equipment vendors. Structured cabling standards were still new and not widely understood, so end users and even the A&Es (architects and engineers) in charge of their projects generally turned to cabling experts – those who understood how to design and install cabling systems – for assistance.

Today, almost twenty years after their introduction, TIA structured cabling standards are second nature to A&Es, contractors and installers. It’s an integral part of electrical apprenticeship training and technical school curriculums. Every structured cabling equipment vendor has detailed information in their catalog and on their website on how to use their products in networks based on structured cabling standards.

Wireless and fiber have also changed the viewpoint of network managers. Rather than agreeing to another upgrade of their “Cat 5” (it’s funny how many still call it “Cat 5” although we’re 3 generations past that), they know they have to incorporate wireless into their network and decide on what fiber to install.

The first thing network users learn is “wireless isn’t wireless” but requires cabling to access points that can deliver switched Gigabit Ethernet to get the most from 802.11n WiFi access points. With network backbones already using 10G and looking at 40-100G where copper cabling is not even being considered, they have questions about choosing between OM2, OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber or even singlemode. Singlemode may be needed for upgrades or to use one of the passive optical LANs (POLs) based on fiber to the home (FTTH) technology.

These end users are finding the FOA through our Online Reference Website (http://www.foaguide.org/) and contacting us as a knowledgeable source of unbiased information. Many of the questions we’re being asked are simple and straightforward, like how to I ensure proper connections between transmitters and receivers in a fiber optic cable system? (It’s called polarity and is addressed at http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/install/polarity.html).  Some are about design (e.g. choosing the best fiber connector or cable design), installation and testing and require in-depth technical answers.

Here at the FOA, we welcome these kinds of questions because it tells us what concerns network users and helps us focus on providing relevant information to them and relevant certifications for our members.

About the FOA

The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. is an nonprofit educational organization chartered to promote fiber optics and premises cabling through education, certification and standards. Over 250 FOA-Approved schools around the world have certified more than 29,000 fiber optic technicians. The FOA offers free online introductory fiber optic programs at Fiber U (http://www.fiberu.org/.)

For more information on the FOA, see the organization's website http://www.thefoa.org/, email info@thefoa.org  or call 1-760-451-3655.

NECA NEWS

FREE Webinar - Changes in the 2011 NEC

05/26/2010

more

NECA Contractors on Capitol Hill for Estate Tax, Pension Reform Issues

05/25/2010

NECA members recently visited their elected representatives on Capitol Hill to voice their concerns on issues affecting the electrical construction industry, including estate tax, pension reform and misclassification of independent contractor. Conference participants held more than 400 meetings with elected officials and their staff, reaching legislators from 25 states.

more

Free Webinar on NECA's Corporate Mentoring Program

05/25/2010

NECA’s Management Education Institute is kicking off its new member-to-member mentoring program with an introductory webinar on Friday, June 11.

Karl Borgstrom will lead participants through the basics of what mentoring means, the role mentors will have and what mentorees can expect to learn through the process.

more

NECA Standards & Safety Chief Reviews Green Changes Proposed For 2011 NEC

05/23/2010

In an article featured in the May/June 2010 edition of the NFPA Journal, Michael Johnston, NECA’s executive director of Standards and Safety, provides an overview of the proposed 2011 edition of the National Electrical Code, where a number of new provisions will address renewable-energy technology, including solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, wind turbines, and electric vehicles and energy storage.

more

More NECA Members Than Ever Recognized For Safety Performance

05/21/2010

more

NECA Comments on DOE Funding for Solar Certification, Accreditation Programs

05/18/2010

more

First Summit Held for NECA Women's Peer Group

05/18/2010

more

Future Leaders Learn, Network, Tour

05/17/2010

NECA’s Future Leaders held their annual meeting May 13-15 in Milwaukee, welcoming many returning participants and new faces.

more

Green Energy Challenge Looking for a Few Good Judges

05/17/2010

If you have energy solutions experience and knowledge, ELECTRI International and NECA want you to consider serving as a juror for the second annual Green Energy Challenge.

more

Invitation from NECA & Trade Service Educational Webinar

05/10/2010

more

Momentum For Residential Retrofit Act Building Up To Building Star?

05/09/2010

With a bipartisan vote of 246-to-161, the House approved the Home Star legislation that would grant rebates to homeowners performing energy-efficient renovations. The swift passage of this legislation encourages NECA’s efforts on the Building Star legislation that would provide rebates for building owners who make energy-efficient improvements in such areas as lighting and energy management.

more

www.necanet.org

Safety First - From the pages of Electrical Contractor Magazine

If your interests are piqued, as they should be, turn to Jeff Gavin’s story, “Working With Confidence,” on the dangers of counterfeit electrical products and what’s currently being done by manufacturers and trade associations to combat these hazards, page 30. You can also read about the renewed efforts, sponsored by Alcan Cable, GE, Schneider Electric/Square D and Siemens Industry Inc., on page 35. Visit the archives of our campaign information at www.counterfeitscankill.com. And, watch out for a Webinar this fall on counterfeit electrical products and the gray market, which will be sponsored by GE. 

Working safely on the job site, and beyond, should always be kept in mind. There are several stories this month to drive that point home. In fact, our safety column, which appears in every issue, discusses how you can enlist the very practices that you use on the job site in your own houses, to keep yourself and your family safe. Diane Kelly’s piece, “Electrical Safety at Home,” is just a few page turns from here, on page 10. 

But what about on the job site? Well, we have that information, too. To start, read Michael Johnston’s story, “Safety Programs,” about the need to establish (for employers) and practice (for both employers and employees) a dedicated safety program. Johnston discusses why this practice is vital to everyone and whose responsibility it is (don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s everyone’s!). He also offers tips for establishing or re-establishing such a program. 

Arc flashes are one of the inherent dangers in working with electricity, and that’s one reason we began offering a new bimonthly column on the topic last year. Jim Phillips writes this month on arc flash calculation studies, “Working Backward,” on page 44.

Related to that is Joe O’Connor’s piece on implementing an effective flame-resistant clothing program, “Best Dressed,” on page 58. O’Connor (in addition to  many other writers this month) talks about the requirements of NFPA 70E and how to properly treat flame-resistant clothing and PPE. 

Finally, you should read Richard Bingham’s “Ever Vigilant” Power Quality column, which ties together many of these topics. As he states, “Safety is something that you cannot afford to not observe. Safety isn’t a one-month-a-year event in May.” Right he is.

Andrea E. Klee - Editor

Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor magazine www.ecmag.com

Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. AND viewed by more than 1,400,000 each month online.

Finding Fault and Continuity Testing the fiber optic cable plant, part 3

Fiberoptics BY jim hayes

Many of the problems encountered in troubleshooting fiber optic networks are related to making proper connections. Since the light used in fiber optic systems is infrared (IR) light, which is beyond the range of the human eye, one cannot see it. By injecting the light from a visible light source, one can visually trace the fiber from transmitter to receiver to ensure correct orientation and check continuity. The two simple inexpensive instruments that inject visible light are called fiber tracers or visual fault locators.

Fiber optic tracer

The fiber optic tracer is a low-power, visible lighting source for multimode optical fiber. It uses a bright incandescent or visible light-emitting diode source to inject enough light into the fiber to allow visual tracing of fibers and to perform continuity checks. With the low power output of the fiber optic tracer, there is no danger to the eye, but the eye is so sensitive these devices can be used to trace multimode fibers up to several kilometers (more than a mile) long. Most tracers accommodate standard fiber optic connectors or can be used to check unterminated fibers with a bare fiber adapter.

Continuity testing

Continuity testing is useful to check a few fibers in a cable on the reel before installation or in a terminated cable to determine if it has been damaged. To test for continuity, attach the fiber to the fiber optic tracer using a bare fiber adapter or unterminated connector and see if light is visible at the far end.

One of the best uses for these devices is to trace fibers for identification or to determine correct connections, which can be especially important if good documentation is not available. To trace fibers using the fiber optic tracer or visual fault locator (VFL), connect the fiber to the output connector of the tracer. The light output will be visible to the eye at the other end of the fiber. This allows identifying fibers in multifiber cables to be tested for insertion loss or for making proper connections during installation.

If a powerful visible light from a red diode laser is injected into the fiber, not only can fibers be traced but high loss points can be made visible. Most applications center on short cables to connect to the fiber optic trunk cables, such as those used in premises cabling or telco central offices. The VFL works best on short cables, up to a few kilometers (km); thus, it covers the range where optical time-domain reflectometers (OTDRs) are not useful because of the dead zone of the OTDR. The VFL is the perfect complement to the OTDR in cable troubleshooting.

Visual fault location will work on buffered fiber and even simplex cable if the jacket is not opaque to the visible light. The yellow jacket of single-mode fiber and orange of multimode fiber will usually pass the VFL light. Most other cable jacket colors, especially black and gray, will not work with this technique. However, many cable breaks, macrobending losses caused by kinks in the fiber, bad connectors or patchcords, splices, etc., can be detected visually.

The visible laser cable fault locator also allows optimizing splices and tracing fibers.

It is safe for use, classified as a Class II laser and has power levels low enough to prevent harm to the eyes but powerful enough to trace single-mode fibers for 4 km or more.

Finding faults

The higher power of a VFL can find breaks in fibers or high losses around connectors in simplex cables. The light that escapes at a break, for example, will be visible through the jacket of the cable. This is extremely helpful in finding cable faults near the end of a cable where the dead zone of the OTDR makes it impossible to resolve faults. It also allows finding cracked fibers or bad splices in splice closures where an OTDR cannot resolve faults.

Splices and splice optimization

Optical splices, especially the mechanical type, will often be visible when light from the FOtracer is being transmitted through the fiber. If the splice is close to the connector, such as when a pigtail is spliced to a cable, there is enough light to allow optimizing the splice. Adjust the positioning and/or rotation of the splices until the light from the splice is minimized, indicating maximum transmission or minimum loss.

One or both of these tools should be in every installer’s toolkit. They will find them the most useful tool for fiber optic installations.

JIM HAYES is a VDV writer and educator and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.jimhayes.com.

Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor magazine www.ecmag.com

Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. AND viewed by more than 1,400,000 each month online.

WORKING WITH CONFIDENCE - A reputable distributor and a trained eye are best defenses against counterfeit goods

Focus by jeff gavin

A reputable distributor and a trained eye are best defenses against counterfeit goods

The adage, “the best defense is a good offense,” is not just good advice on a level playing field. It will help a contractor from becoming a victim of counterfeit electrical goods. It is estimated that $1 billion worth of counterfeits enter North America annually ($11 billion and $20 billion globally). According to Bernd G. Heinze, president and CEO, Sequent Insurance Group, between $300 million and $400 million are likely electrical products.

Fire, property damage, physical harm or death can be the result of counterfeit electrical goods. Knockoffs can include inferior circuit breakers, relays, contacts, switches, sockets, timers, cable, lighting and fuses. Counterfeiters take manufacturing shortcuts by using lesser materials, eliminating important parts and safeguards, and often by using the wrong parts (e.g., improper wire gauges). Vigilance, education and working with authorized distributors can go a long way in ensuring a counterfeit product does not enter your shop and end up installed at the peril of you, your company and your customer.

A real liability

Formed in 2008, the Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative (archived at www.counterfeitscankill.com) represents a group of associations and manufacturers aggressively fighting imitative electrical goods. Endorsers include the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the National Association of Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA), the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). Sponsors of a renewed anti-counterfeiting effort include the following manufacturers: Alcan Cable, GE, Schneider Electric and Siemens.

Education has been a prime effort for the initiative. John Maisel, publisher of Electrical Contractor, said electrical contractors recognize the danger such products pose, but they have not yet recognized their liability if they install such counterfeit products.

“Safety [ECs] understand,” Maisel said. “Liability they seem to question, wondering how they can be held responsible if they unwittingly install something that is counterfeit. In a court of law, since they are the last person to handle the product, they can be liable. ‘I didn’t know’ offers little protection.”

William Ferguson, vice president of administration and general counsel for Babcock Power Inc. in Danvers, Mass., is a former electrical contractor. His blunt words shared at the initiative’s first industry event—a roundtable discussion at the 2008 NECA Convention and Trade Show in Chicago—lays out the liability contractors face.

“You will be sued for breach of contract, negligence, gross negligence, perhaps internal misrepresentation, strict liability or fraud,” he said. “Criminal liability would be leveled if you intentionally or someone in your organization conspired to bring counterfeit product into your company. In the U.S., it is not ‘a slap on the wrist’ like it is in China and other countries. You could face 10 years in prison, $5 million in fines and $10 million for the company for a first offense.”

“Today, contractors still don’t sense the urgency,” Maisel said. “In fact, while our ‘2008 Profile of the Electrical Contractor’ showed ECs were concerned about counterfeit products, 43 percent interviewed were unsure they had even encountered counterfeit goods. Thirty-three percent said they had never encountered them. We will resurvey our membership and share the results in the July 2010 issue of Electrical Contractor. It will be interesting to see if the needle has moved.”

Learning from a vigilant supply chain partner

Graybar is a distributor of components, equipment and materials for the electrical and telecommunications industries. The St. Louis-based company aggressively protects the supply chain for itself and its customers.

“Our first line of defense is choosing the right suppliers and developing strong relationships with them,” said Steven Horst,  the national market manager for Graybar.

Graybar’s suppliers undergo a rigorous distribution agreement process.

“We look for several things from a supplier,” Horst said. “Liability insurance is one. While they have to have it by law, some forgo it, especially smaller businesses. Other companies are not bonded nor do they carry adequate insurance. Our stance is if we have insurance, so should our supplier.”

A second vetting criterion for Graybar is ensuring a supplier is financially sound.

“If companies can’t afford to maintain what they agreed to in their purchasing agreement, their failure comes back to us and down the chain to the electrical contractor,” Horst said.

Graybar also weighed in on how a supplier protects its brand.

“We value partners who maintain a strong brand value in the marketplace,” he said. “The quality of their research, development and manufacturing processes is all part of building and maintaining a sturdy brand. In turn, we buy their products directly from them—no secondary sources or resellers.”

Unauthorized sellers and spotting a counterfeit

Gray market channels and resellers using the Internet, auctions or other avenues fall short in regard to quality safeguards when compared to authorized distributors.

“If a reseller supplies you a counterfeit product that goes bad and causes damage, good luck suing them,” Horst said. “They will say in a court of law, ‘We thought it was real,’ and then close their doors, leaving the contractor out to dry. Authorized distributors are going to be able to trace, track and log everything they sent to a job site. If you install a counterfeit breaker in a panel, you not only just voided the panel warranty, but everything you have installed or in conjunction with what you installed. It voids everything. Avoid unauthorized distribution. Remember, if the price of an electrical product is too good to be true, trust your instincts.”

Despite best efforts by reputable manufacturers and distributors, fraudulent materials make it through. Contractors should know how to spot these materials. Packaging and labeling is sometimes the most obvious tell. Misspellings, lack of the UL label or other certifications, or packages that look tampered with or opened should raise suspicion. Sometimes, the touch and feel of an extension cord or a breaker panel should cause concern. Maybe the cord’s thickness is off; the weight or shape of a breaker seems strange. Do not dismiss such observations, as you may be correct in your assumptions.

Graybar trains its shipping and receiving clerks to spot suspicious product.

“Sometimes, we see something that is not right with a load center or breakers or switchgear,” Horst said. “If incoming product isn’t sealed or indeed opened, we all take a look, including our Square D field representatives. We may simply return it. We also only take back unused product from the field that we sold to that customer.”

“Educating and training your staff members how to spy counterfeit products and false packaging is advisable,” Maisel said. “We encourage product managers, supervisors and others to keep up on alerts to what’s happening, such as the latest reports of products being counterfeited.

Counterfeits Can Kill (www.counterfeitscankill.com) is a collective first stop for information and provides links to many sites, including the organizations that make up the initiative. Keeping up on product recalls due to safety concerns is another way contractors can be proactive. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) is especially helpful.

Taking action

The legal counsel at Schneider Electric tenaciously goes after parties trafficking in counterfeit Square D products. Circuit breakers have been the most common problem. A suit leveled against an offending wholesaler is just the beginning. Through the discovery process, the company finds out from whom the wholesaler bought and where that party obtained the counterfeits. All parties face lawsuits, and the discovery process continues down the line.

“Thirteen civil suits have been filed against more than 25 companies and individual defendants,” said Tracy Garner, manager of anti-counterfeiting and unauthorized distribution for Schneider Electric, based in Palatine, Ill. “Moreover, over 400,000 counterfeit breakers have been kept out of the market and another 225,000 are subject to recall. Multiple government investigations are pending.”

“My perception based on activity level is that the number of counterfeit Square D circuit breakers have declined from what we were seeing in the last three years,” said Stephen Litchfield, assistant general counsel for Schneider Electric. “I would like to think a good part of that has been our success in filing lawsuits against those selling these counterfeits. Getting indictments and successful prosecutions provides a chilling effect. Nevertheless, you cannot let your guard down. I am now seeing low quantities of counterfeit contacts coming from, though not necessarily manufactured in, Central America. We’re also seeing uninteruptible power supply products from the Middle East as we work to expand our monitoring efforts beyond China and Asia.”

Litchfield added that building awareness and training both with his company’s customers and agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been a tremendous help in Schneider Electric’s anti-counterfeiting fight.

“We have developed the reputation of standing tough to counterfeiters,” Litchfield said. “[Counterfeiters] certainly have no brand loyalty and move on when the heat is on. We know we have successfully sent them elsewhere. While counterfeiting is a safety issue, we also need to protect our intellectual property rights. Our work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission has really helped here, too.”

Siemens Industry Inc. similarly trains and works with border protection agencies including port authorities.

“We continue to pursue methods to protect our products and solutions from counterfeit activities,” said Kevin Yates, segment head for Siemens Building Technologies—Low Voltage Distribution. “In addition, we will appropriately respond to known counterfeit activities in a manner that protects our customers and our shareholders.”

Siemens commitment involves a number of strategies. Registered patents make it difficult for someone to counterfeit Siemens products. “Secret shoppers” within the distribution channel investigate suspected counterfeiters. The company also works with the British Engineering Manufacturers Association, and anti-counterfeiting initiatives across the globe to help monitor what might be entering the United States.

Staying one step ahead

UL has developed its own strong relationships with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, providing agents with the tools and education to detect counterfeits entering the country. It has also helped train individuals within the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the Department of Commerce and is now reaching out to law enforcement agencies such as police, deputies and state troopers who may be involved in searches. UL has also set up domestic sting operations that have successfully put people behind bars.

Counterfeiters covet the UL logo and have been trying to make accurate knockoffs. That is why the standards body constantly improves its holographic and other covert logo features. The latest gold hologram is the toughest yet to duplicate.

“Customs agents verify the logo using a UL-supplied ‘credit card authenticator’,” said Robert Crane, UL’s lead enforcement manager, Anti-Counterfeiting Operations. “The gold logo has two UL symbols that the authenticator reads. When placing the authenticator’s two tinted windows over the logos, the UL symbol on the left will be visible and the UL symbol on the right will not. We also added color-shifting ink to the logo, similar to latest denominations of our U.S. paper currency. This approach is much harder to duplicate.”

Crane added that as UL gets better with it covert features, it expects an ever-growing window (more than three years) before counterfeiters catch up with the design.

“We know the counterfeiters will never stop,” Crane said. “There were 20 billion products with UL labels each year. A counterfeit gold label has already showed up in a warehouse in China. Effective labeling is a real science. I am happy to say the counterfeiting is not spinning out of control. We have a good handle on what is happening and have added our first investigator and attorney in China. The investigator checks out authorized businesses manufacturing electronic goods. Private investigator agents uncover unauthorized businesses.”

Crane shared that Chinese authorities do cooperate when UL can offer an “airtight” case of counterfeiting. Anything less is considered speculation.

“When it comes to electrical products, we estimate almost 98 percent of all counterfeits are coming from China,” he said.

UL also works with international agencies such as Interpol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and agencies in South America.

The legislative front

Lobbying in Washington is now playing an important role in combating counterfeit electrical goods. NEMA successfully lobbied for and provided input into the drafting and passage in 2006 of the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act and the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (PRO-IP) Act of 2008. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was one of the proponents for PRO-IP.

“We [NEMA and others] are engaged in follow-up legislation,” said Clark Silcox, general counsel for NEMA Rosslyn, Va. “PRO-IP called for dedicated enforcement of intellectual property with added personnel and budget commitments. We are now working on funding reauthorization so U.S. Customs and other agencies can continue to stay engaged at their current level. We are also lobbying to strengthen state laws that are lax in their enforcement of counterfeit products. Finally, we are working with the National Association of Attorney Generals to help train local prosecutors and law enforcement to spot pirated electrical products. We have had some success the past couple of years through effective seizures of counterfeit consumer electrical products. We are also seeing progress in abating products serving the industrial and commercial sectors.”

UL’s Crane added, “Politicians and legislators are starting to pay attention. State officials are contacting us now. Five years ago, that was not happening. Attorney generals’ offices are now getting counterfeiting cases.”

Next steps for the initiative

To date, initiative awareness efforts have including joint magazine supplements (Electrical Contractor and tED, December 2008); industry event panel discussions; Webinars, informational tool kits and a dedicated Web site. New efforts are kicking off this month, sponsored by Alcan Cable, GE, Schneider Electric, and Siemens.

“In this issue of Electrical Contractor and tED magazines is the first in a rotating series of three special messaging ads,” Maisel said. “The first advocates purchasing only through authorized channels. The second will focus on the dangers and liabilities of counterfeit products. A third will be an all-industry call to action titled ‘Join the Fight.’ We are also offering manufacturers the opportunity to produce a single page ad highlighting their counterfeit efforts. In November, GE will sponsor a Webinar that tackles the issue of gray market products. Watch for more information in the coming months.”

JEFF GAVIN is the owner of Gavo Communications, a marketing services firm serving the construction, landscaping and related design industries. He can be reached at gavocomm@comcast.net.

Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor magazine www.ecmag.com

Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. AND viewed by more than 1,400,000 each month online.

Safety Programs - Safe Workers Shared Responsibilities

Focus by Michael Johnston

Safe Workers Shared Responsibilities:

 Electrical contractors and electricians have shared responsibilities regarding safety in the work environment. The contractors are typically the employers that engage the services of the electrical workers. Employers and employees both have multiple responsibilities related to providing safe workplaces and carrying out safe work practices. This article examines a set of basic electrical safety principles that apply to any given workplace, specifically that of the electrical worker. Safety is a mindset that is established early in one’s career. Usually work habits or practices (good or bad) develop as one learns the trade. The saying, “old habits die hard,” is true for many. Unfortunately, bad habits and unsafe practices are still being inherited in the work force. Those who are properly trained in safety-related work practices understand the difference and what it takes to learn the work and how to safely perform it. At the end of the day, everyone wants to return home in the same condition in which they arrived for work.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers an industry a significant risk if one fatality occurs for every 1,000 employees in a 45-year time frame, which is the case for the electrical industry. Current trends and statistics indicate that electrical workers are killed or injured while working in the electrical field at a rate that continues to exceed this statistic. These numbers are too high. They can and must be reduced. With effective communication and safety education, this objective is attainable.

Who is more responsible for safety in the workplace: workers or employers? The answer is that it is a shared responsibility without indicating who has the more important role. In fact, OSHA places the compliance requirement on both the employer and employee. Each has responsibilities and obligations to ensure that safety in the workplace is achieved and maintained. If either neglects the responsibilities within their control, the safety system is compromised, increasing risks for both employees and employers. Even though this article is most specific to electrical safety-related work practices, there are many hazards to which workers can be exposed, such as falls from scissors lifts, other scaffolds or other elevated positions and trench collapse. There also are permits required for confined space entry and other rules that require different levels of training, including ensuring employees are competent and qualified for each hazard.

Basic electrical safety principles

The following principles serve as minimum guidelines in achieving electrical safety in the workplace. It should be understood that this list is not inclusive, but it covers the majority of considerations and actions necessary for worker safety. These are some slightly expanded versions of some of the basic safety principles provided in Annex E of NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

1. Inspect and evaluate the equipment or workplace. This principle requires normal observation to assess all characteristics of the equipment and work environment to determine which safety-related work practices apply. Often, equipment is in poor condition, which can result in additional safety precautions that must be considered and applied for employee protection. One question that should be addressed right away is “Can the equipment or system be de-energized?” The first choice should always be to remove shock and other electrical hazards by removing the energy. Create a “zero-energy” work environment whenever it is achievable.

2. Maintain the equipment insulation and enclosure integrity. Insulation is a key factor in reducing shock hazards. Maintaining enclosure integrity is an essential step in containing an abnormal event, such as a short circuit or ground-fault condition, should one develop during the course of a procedure or work task. Enclosure integrity is important in containing an abnormal event should an accident occur. Open enclosures and removed covers from equipment compromise the integrity of the enclosure and its insulating/isolating value.

3. Plan every job. There is no substitute for proper, effective planning. Planning should include understanding the task that must be performed and the tools and procedures necessary to complete the task safely. Planning should also include anticipation of a failure. A backup plan is important. Part of any planning process has to include a determination of performing the work in the de-energized mode. This should always be the first choice. Without question, it is the safest way to perform the work, as indicated in the first principle above.

4. Anticipate unexpected events. This means the plan should include expectation of something going wrong. If this step is applied effectively, possible causes of failures or events that could alter the method of accomplishing the task could be thought out beforehand. An example of an unexpected event is weather, such as rain on an outdoor job site. You need to consider how wet conditions would affect the work.

5. Identify and minimize the hazards. It is important to assess the project and identify all possible hazards. It is understood that one may not be able to think of every thing that may go wrong, but if this step is taken, many unexpected hazards could be avoided.

6. Protect employees from shocks, burns and blasts. This principle involves creating an electrically safe working condition. The simple way to abide by this principle is to strive to work on equipment and systems that are de-energized. De-energizing equipment is one step in establishing an electrically safe working condition. This principle involves shutting the equipment off, locking the source switch in the open position, and verifying the absence of voltage. Sometimes applying protective grounding equipment is also necessary for additional safety.

7. Use the right tools for the job. Suitable tools are available for each task. It is important that the appropriate tools be used for the job. Accidents have been caused by using tools that are not appropriate for the job. If energized work is necessary, suitable insulated tools should be selected, and employees must be familiar with their proper use. Job briefings work well to assist employers and employees in understand the safety procedures and work methods to complete various work assignments, especially those that must be performed while equipment is energized.

8. Assess people’s abilities. Everyone’s qualifications vary to some degree. Employers have responsibilities to ensure that workers are trained to perform tasks under their purview. Maintaining training records and ensuring that work assignments are within the abilities and qualifications of employees are an important role in maintaining safety in the workplace. Contractors understand the importance of managing projects and work assignments with safety in mind.

9. Audit these safety principles. Part of being the best in the business includes continuous monitoring of business operations, including the safety components of such businesses. When there are injuries or incidents, they should not only be reported as required, but an audit should be conducted, even if it is an internal audit, to assess what went wrong and if there is an opportunity for improvement to keep this from happening again. In many cases, there will be identified areas that can be improved to reduce the possibilities of recurring incidents that cause injuries or death.

Establishing safety policies

Employers are responsible for providing safety programs that include safety-related work practices and policies that guide its employees to effectively implement these practices on job sites. The employee has the responsibility of learning the safety-related work practices and policies of the employer and implementing them in daily operations on the job. Achieving overall electrical safety is an important responsibility shared by the employer and the employee. Both need to contribute to obtain desired results. It is very common these days for safety records and contractor safety programs to be considered in the project-awarding process, which is another important reason to establish and maintain current and effective safety programs and records.

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has developed a standing policy on safety titled “Safety Programs and Safe Workers.” It contains basic safety principles and philosophies. The association’s position on safety programs is that safe workers are to strive for work on equipment and systems that are de-energized, where achievable. Another key component of this policy emphasizes the importance of training workers in safe work practices and planning. In order for a safety program to be effective, there has to be agreement and implementation of the essential safety principles outlined in the safety program. If everyone involved does not buy into these concepts, the safety program can fail. NECA has developed a new electrical contractor safety program that provides core safety policies and plans that can be customized to suit each contractor’s specific needs. For more about the new electrical contractor safety program, visit www.necanet.org/publications.

Specific employer responsibilities

Each employer is required to furnish each employee a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his or her employees. Each employer is required to comply with applicable occupational safety and health standards. Essentially, the employer must address all hazards to which the employee may be exposed during the course of performing his or her job. Contractors (employers) typically have a comprehensive safety program that includes all safety rules and procedures that employees must follow. It is the employer’s responsibility to implement all safety rules and regulations that affect employees in their assigned workplace. Employers are also obligated to comply with any federal, state and local safety standards and laws that apply to the employees or the general public. Employers are responsible for maintaining compliance in the workplace and ensuring that the employees are properly trained and qualified to perform their assigned tasks in a safe fashion. The employer is also responsible for ensuring that the employees have the knowledge and understanding of all applicable safety rules that apply to the work they perform.

An important aspect of maintaining an effective contractor safety program is to conduct periodic assessments of how the safety program is working. Fully investigating accidents and taking corrective actions to prevent reoccurrence of such accidents is one step in maintaining an effective and current contractor safety program.

Specific employee responsibilities

Each employee is responsible for compliance with occupational safety and health standards and all rules and regulations that are applicable to his or her actions and conduct. Employees are responsible to know and understand all safety rules that apply to the job being performed, the workload or other circumstances. If unsure, one should ask to find out. Employees must strive to ensure the safety and protection of themselves, other workers, the public, the company, and public or private property. The following is a set of general safety rules that should be included in an overall safety program.

•Employees working in the electrical industry must be trained to a minimum level so that they understand safety-related work practices, safety procedures and other safety rules pertaining to their job, including emergency procedures related to their work.

•Qualified people must be trained and proficient in the skills necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electrical equipment.

•Qualified people also have the skills necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts.

•In many cases, employees are in charge of their own safety on job sites. They continuously make decisions that determine their own safety in that work environment.

•There has to be a certain level of trust between the employer and employee that each is going to keep his or her end of the bargain when it comes to safety.

Improving culture

Why do we choose to work it hot? Why isn’t our first instinct to shut the power off? Why do workers choose to work in a trench that requires a trench shield, on a scaffold or other working surface without necessary guardrails, in a manhole without a tripod, or with a chemical without a material safety data sheet? The reasons are never justifiable; it’s not convenient or practical, and it costs too much. Planning resolves many of these issues that overlook vital steps to establishing and maintaining safe workplaces.

To protect electricians and other workers exposed to the hazards of electricity, OSHA established guidelines, which must be followed to protect against the damaging effects of electricity. In general, these are referred to as “electrical safety-related work practices.” These work practices were originally developed under direction from OSHA in NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. In general, both NFPA 70E and OSHA 1910 Subpart S, Electrical Standards, require electrical circuits and equipment to be de-energized before work is performed on or near them. Note that “de-energized” is defined as being placed into an electrically safe working condition by locking out and tagging the circuit and equipment. Generally, work is not permitted to be performed on or near live parts unless the employer can demonstrate that de-energizing the circuit or equipment introduces additional or increased hazards or is infeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations. Note that what constitutes “infeasibility” does not include considerations such as cost or inconvenience. Infeasibility is intended to apply to equipment operational limitations. For example, measuring voltage or taking current or voltage readings is not possible with the circuit or equipment de-energized and would require that the task be performed with the circuit in an energized condition. Too often, accidents occur when electricians fail to de-energize or request that circuits be de-energized first. Typically, accident reports indicate that work was performed in an energized condition because it would have been “inconvenient” or would have cost too much to de-energize the circuit or equipment.

Electrically safe working condition

To work safely in any environment requires control of the hazards involved. This emphasizes that the first choice for workers is to always de-energize electrical circuits and equipment prior to working on them. Establishing an electrically safe working condition is addressed specifically in Article 120 of NFPA 70E. To achieve the goal of zero injuries in the workplace, employers and employees must work together to establish a zero-energy work environment whenever achievable.

There are not too many circumstances that warrant working on energized circuits or equipment. Inconvenience is not an excuse to work on energized systems or equipment. However, there are some aspects of electrical work that necessitate working on systems that are energized. When working de-energized is infeasible or introduces increased or additional hazards, then other requirements apply, including following an energized work permit and properly protecting exposed employees with the appropriate personal protective equipment rated for the amount of incident energy involved.

Cultural progress

A culture of safety has been established in the electrical field, but most people involved in this business agree that the current culture can be improved. This is a culture that has taken years to develop; it will take time to improve. More often than not, dangerous practices are the result of lack of training in working safely. Usually when a person has performed a certain task the same way for years, it becomes the right way in his or her mind, even though it may be completely wrong. It is interesting to watch a person defend the old habit or practice to justify his or her position. Once again, lack of training is usually the culprit. The only way to improve our culture is to continuously educate and communicate the safety message among employers and employees. Admitting there is room for improvement is a good start. Safety training and communicating safety policies and procedures is essential to effective safety programs implemented by electrical contractors. When employees experience management buy-in to safety practices and principles, a safer, more productive work environment is created. With both employer and employee on the same page, safety programs not only survive; they thrive. The safety culture we share in the electrical industry is strong but can always be improved. Many safety professionals understand the value of being progressive in implementing safe work practices and policies, while at the same time remaining competitive and continuing to provide quality services for customers.

May is National Electrical Safety Month. It is a good time to reflect on personal and organizational safety values and philosophies related to all hazards, not just electrical hazards. Safety in the workplace should be inherent to everyday operations, not only during May, but all year long. That’s where the value of safety programs will prove itself, through consistently implementing the best safety-related work practices in our daily operations. When employers and employees share the same views and approach to electrical workplace safety, everybody wins, and everyone gets to go home at the end of the day.

JOHNSTON is NECA’s executive director of standards and safety. He is former director of education, codes and standards for IAEI; a member of the IBEW; and an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section, Education Section and the UL Electrical Council. Reach him at mjohnston@necanet.org.

Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor magazine www.ecmag.com

Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. AND viewed by more than 1,400,000 each month online.

COOLTOOLS - Certification Testers

by jeff griffin

Certification Testers

One of the most important steps in completing commercial voice/data/video (VDV) system installation is certification that cabling is correctly installed and that the network meets industry performance standards. To accomplish this task, technicians depend on accurate, reliable certification testers.

The capabilities of certification test instruments are driven by changing technology and standards as demand continues for more bandwidth and greater network speed.

“Cabling has been known to cause as many as half of all network failures,” said David Veneski, Fluke Networks, business unit director for certification. “The most thorough testing for network cabling is certification. Cable certification requires trained technicians and specialized test equipment, and it is an expensive process that must be performed because, by certifying the cable network, failures are reduced, and certification is less costly than making repairs.”

Veneski said reducing failures is a crucial financial benefit, especially in challenging economic times. Certification and recertification is future proof of the network infrastructure. It helps limit warranty claims, and it can reduce waste, which always is a good policy.

Standards drive testing

“The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in August 2009 ratified T568 C2 and is used by most all VDV networks,” Veneski said. “The C2 version consolidated all B addendums into one. Some of the key highlights include clarifying the definitions of a test plug consolidation between the categories of connectors. TDR Tier 2 testing is incorporated, which holds the workmanship for the installer to a higher standard. It has been demonstrated in the field that it is much more difficult to get a compliant OTDR [optical time-domain reflectometer] trace than a loss length measurement, but both Tier 1 and Tier 2 are recommended. Tier 1 is required; Tier 2 is optional but highly recommended in this new version.”

TIA also has addressed Ethernet performance outside data centers and office environments with the TIA 862 and TIA 1005-1, Veneski said.

Dan Payerle, Ideal Industries business unit manager, said that, since the introduction of gigabit Ethernet, there has been a debate about how to test fiber. He said that some believed laser or vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) sources should be used since most 1-gigabit fiber transceivers used these types of sources. Others thought that light-emitting diodes were the best solution.

“The IEC developed a standard called ‘Information technology—Implementation and operation of customer premise cabling,’ and part three of that document is titled ‘Testing of optical fiber cabling’ [Document number ISO/IEC 14763-3],” Payerle said. “While the document has been around since late 2006, it is only recently that many of its requirements are being implemented into field-testing equipment and procedures.”

Payerle said 14763-3 affects the design of fiber optic testers and defines the launched modal distribution of light into a multimode fiber when using a power meter and light source (PM/LS) to field test installed multimode cabling.

“More simply stated, it defines the shape of a light beam that should be used to test any type of multimode fiber including laser-optimized fiber. The goal is to specify launch conditions that allow testing in the field with the highest level of accuracy and repeatability regardless of the ‘flavor’ of the multimode fiber. With some changes, TIA may adopt IEC 14763-3 for itself to standardize testing equipment for fiber,” he said.

Regarding 10 gigabit Ethernet, Payerle said every owner of a local area network (LAN) cable tester faces the question of whether to make another investment in a new measuring instrument.

“The answer is ‘maybe,’” he said. “It all boils down to what sort of meter is being used until now. But [you will need] a tester that can sweep to 500 MHz and likely one that is capable of testing both fiber and copper.”

Testing copper and fiber

Ideal and Fluke offer accessories to provide such dual capabilities.

Fluke’s Veneski noted that while copper continues to dominate most enterprise cabling infrastructure, fiber is undoubtedly becoming increasingly prevalent.

“To save money,” he said, “it is helpful for installers and contractors to also be able to use their existing copper certification tools to certify fiber cabling in order to minimize capital expenditures. A single user interface increases efficiency, and allows contractors to respond to growing fiber business with minimal training costs. Fluke Networks’ DTX cable analyzer is a cabling certification instrument for both copper and fiber. Simply by using the proper fiber modules and attachments, the DTX is transformed into a fully functional fiber loss-length tester and OTDR that accurately and precisely tests according to the most current industry standards today.”

Ideal’s Payerle said the Ideal Fiber-TEK FDX modules add full Tier 1 standards fiber-certification capability to the LanTEK II certifier.

“Tier 1 certification utilizes a light source and power meter to measure the power loss of optical cabling,” Payerle said. “FiberTEK FDX modules incorporate dual light sources and a wide range power meter to allow testing loss of fiber links as well as to measure the light emitted from active network equipment for troubleshooting. Our earlier generation of LanTEK certifiers will also test fiber, and our SignalTEK-FO multimedia qualification instrument will test to IEEE 802.3.”

Field testing is an important aspect of certification, and Veneski said field certification of twisted-pair cabling for deployment of 10GBASE-T includes two test phases. The first phase certifies the transmission capability and quality of each individual link.

“This phase,” he said, “evaluates all cabling test parameters that are currently specified in the TIA/EIA-568-C document for Cat 6 or in ISO 11801 for Class E. The test limits are identical to the limits for Cat 6 (Class E) up to 250 MHz, but the frequency range of these tests is extended to 500 MHz.”

The second phase is for alien crosstalk (AXT), which is electromagnetic interference that can occur between wires or cables that are closely bundled together.

Crosstalk

“Alien crosstalk is a big factor of the successful operation for 10G Ethernet,” Veneski said, “and in the past two years, AXT testing has become more prevalent. Alien crosstalk certification for 10GBASE-T should include sample testing of some links in a bundle to verify compliance with AXT test parameters.”

Veneski said new “augmented” cables define a higher level of performance for the cabling performance as well as for the AXT characteristics of a cabling system.

“Augmented cabling types are being designed to support 10GBASE-T over a full 100 m horizontal channel,” he continued. “The TIA Cat 6A is published within the 568-C.2 standard. The ISO Class EA cabling standard will be published in a new edition of the 11801 standard. New cabling standards require specifications for each component such as cable, each type of connecting hardware components, patchcords, etc., in addition to channel and permanent link specifications.”

Payerle said, from Ideal’s experience, the industry in the United States has not accepted shielded cabling as quickly as predicted.

“However,” he said, “given Ideal’s experience in the European market where shielded cable is far more commonly deployed, our engineering staff is well versed in any necessary changes to tester technology for North America’s eventual adoption.”

Looking ahead, Veneski expects a growing number of network owners and consultants will require OTDR testing to measure fiber loss, especially as stated in the main body of the TIA cabling standard.

Payerle expects “fairly dramatic” changes in certification instruments will result from the TIA adopting IEC 14763-3 standards for fiber testers.

“With an adoption of uniform standards, we will have uniform testers delivering uniform results for fiber testing,” he said. “Power over Ethernet (PoE) presents some challenges to cable testing. New PoE Plus is 45W versus the 15W of standard PoE. That is going to generate additional heat in cable bundles and an increase in insertion loss with the potential for network performance problems. Cables with PoE technology deployed on them may need to be derated in the future.”

Basic Certification Testers

Specifically which testers are needed to certify a commercial VDV project depends on the types of cable in the network, but David Veneski, Fluke Networks business unit director for certification, suggests several tools are basic for certification.

For copper, the following are essential tools:

•A wire mapper with multiple remotes is needed to measure distance to open of short circuit

•A certification device to prove the installation is standards compliant and applications for all warranties can be filed.

For fiber, the following are essential tools:

•Visual fault locator for simple polarity and breaks in the cable

•Light meter and source for simple verification that the link will support a given application

•For applying for a warranty on a fiber installation, a certification device for measuring length as well as optical loss.

Fiber Retrofits?

Fiber cabling is being deployed on some new residential jobs, but not for residential retrofits, said Dan Payerle, Ideal Industries business unit manager.

“Residential fiber retrofits simply don’t make economic sense,” he said. “However, we are seeing retrofit with fiber in larger apartment complexes and in high-density commercial business parks. Virtually all the installers we are speaking to say they are running fiber, but only about 15 percent of their drops are fiber.”

GRIFFIN, a construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at up-front@cox.net.

Reprinted with permission from Electrical Contractor magazine www.ecmag.com

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BICSI Data Center Standard - A Resource for Today’s Data Center Operators and Designers

By Jonathan Jew

People responsible for the design and operation of data centers need to know multiple disciplines to do their jobs well. A good data center designer and operator needs to understand the information technology, telecommunications, electrical, mechanical, security, fire protection and other systems that go into a modern data center. The BICSI data center standard, to be named BICSI 002, Data Center Design and Implementation Best Practices, is a great resource for data center designers and operators because it provides a wealth of information on the subjects important to this audience—all in one place.

BICSI 002 is expected to be published this year. Although BICSI 002 will become an American National Standard, it is intended for an international audience. As the title indicates, BICSI 002 will address best practices for the design and implementation of data centers. It is not meant to replace existing data center telecommunications standards, such as ANSI/TIA-942, AS/NZS 2834, CENELEC EN 50173-5 or ISO/IEC 24764 but is meant to be used in conjunction with these standards. BICSI 002 complements these existing standards in several ways:

Since BICSI 002 is meant to address best practices rather than minimum requirements, the specifications of BICSI 002 will exceed the minimum requirements specified in these other standards where it is deemed appropriate.

BICSI 002 addresses a multitude of subjects that are only briefly addressed, or not addressed at all, in these other standards.

BICSI 002 is meant to be a comprehensive standard, covering a wide range of subjects that concern people who are involved with data centers.

Target Audience

The standard is not intended to be used as the sole reference or as a design guide by architects or engineers. It may be used by these people and by data center owners, occupants and consultants to determine design requirements and more fully understand the various aspects of data center design. It is a great reference and guide to anyone planning a data center or data center modifications.

Who Developed the Standard?

The standard was developed by a committee of more than 150 subject matter experts from around the world in a wide variety of disciplines related to data center design, including architects, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, structural engineers, security experts, fire protection experts, insurance risk assessors, telecommunications cabling experts, network engineers, information technology experts, data center engineers and consultants, project managers, commissioning agents, energy efficiency consultants and manufacturers. The product of their efforts is a comprehensive 400-page document that addresses a wide range of subjects related to data center design.

Content of the Standard

The standard addresses numerous topics related to the design of data centers and has sections on each of the following subjects:

Space planning

Site selection

Architectural

Structural

Electrical

Mechanical

Fire protection

Security

Building automation systems

Telecommunications

Information technology

Commissioning

Data center maintenance

Design process

Reliability

The sections are described in more detail below.

Space Planning. This chapter provides requirements and recommendations on a wide range of subjects relating to space planning for a data center, including the following:

Electrical rooms

Electrical service feeds

Generators

Fuel storage

Mechanical rooms and cooling systems

Security rooms

Telecommunications entrance rooms

Operations and help desk areas

Engineering and administrative offices

Print rooms

Loading docks

Storage and staging rooms

Computer room and computer room equipment placement, including information technology and telecommunications equipment cabinets, air conditioning equipment, power distribution equipment, fire protection systems, power cable distribution and telecommunications cable distribution

This chapter also provides recommendations on adjacencies of functional spaces in data centers.

Site Selection. This chapter provides guidance on a wide variety of considerations when selecting the site of a data center. They apply both for new data center construction and for rating the desirability of an existing data center. The following site selection considerations are addressed in the standard:

Power, telecommunications, water, fuel and sewage utilities, including routing, redundancy and reliability

Transportation access and proximity to hazards presented by transportation systems such as airports, railways and highways

Natural hazards such as earthquakes and floods

Manmade hazards such as power plants, water towers and radio transmission stations

Cost factors such as taxes, relocation costs and proximity to other sites

Architectural. This chapter provides information regarding the architectural and general construction considerations for a data center. The guidance applies both to stand-alone data centers and data centers located in buildings used for other purposes. Subjects addressed in this chapter include the following:

Location of computer rooms within the building

Designing for reliability

Energy efficiency metrics and energy saving design opportunities

Access routes to the data center general spaces and computer room

Types of rooms and spaces that should be considered in the design and some of the special programming/design requirements for these rooms (e.g., filtration requirements for printer rooms)

Computer room wall, ceiling, access floor, floor slab, door and finish requirements

Structural. This section provides minimum requirements and recommendations regarding the structural aspects of the data center, including wind resistance, floor loading, ceiling hanging loads and seismic considerations.

Electrical. The electrical chapter composes approximately one-quarter of the content of the standard. It addresses all aspects of electrical system design for a data center, including the following subjects:

Utility service planning

Distribution, switching and bypass from power sources

Power strips

Input source transfer

Generator controls and paralleling

Unit substations

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and technologies

Standby power systems (such as generators)

Critical power distribution

Power distribution units (PDUs)

Automatic static transfer switches

DC power systems

Mechanical equipment electrical systems design

Computer room equipment power distribution design

Surge suppression

Emergency power off (EPO) systems

Automation and control

Lighting

Bonding and grounding, including design of grounding systems for data centers

Labeling and signage

Testing and quality assurance

The standard presents a variety of solutions, requirements and recommendations for the subjects described above. Additionally, because each data center has different design requirements based on budget and desired availability, this chapter includes different requirements and recommendations for five different classes of reliability, which are defined in the reliability section. The criteria for each of the classes of reliability are performance based. The standard does not endorse any given electrical design style or technology but provides a number of options for obtaining the level of reliability.

Mechanical. This chapter deals with the design of mechanical systems for data centers. It provides requirements and recommendations for the design of the following systems in data centers:

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

Ventilation (outside air) for computer rooms and battery rooms

Computer room pressurization

Airborne contaminants

Environmental limits for temperature and humidity for computer room and tape storage areas

Impact of high altitude

Leak detection

Thermal management

Calculation of equipment heat loads

Humidification and dehumidification equipment

Computer room cooling design, including equipment placement, HVAC equipment placement, use of access floor, supplemental cooling, in-row cooling, supply air layout, return air layout and cable pathways

Mechanical equipment design and operation, including computer room air conditioner (CRAC) units, central air handlers, supplemental cooling systems, chilled water systems, chillers, cooling towers, thermal storage, fuel oil tanks, generators, piping and pumps

Fire Protection. This chapter provides requirements and recommendations for fire protection in data centers, including fire-rated construction, fire suppression, fire detection, flammability of computer room contents, handheld fire extinguishers, signage, fire protection system testing and fire protection system operations and maintenance.

Security. The data center security chapter is extensive, composing approximately 10 percent of the content of the document. It defines the physical security practices and countermeasures required to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data center. The standard addresses the following subjects related to data center security:

Physical security plan

Risk and treat assessment

Regulatory requirements and legislation related to data security

Data center security plan, including the requirements for such a plan

Access control policy and procedures

Badging policy and procedures

Monitoring and alarms

Material control and loss prevention

Surveillance policies and procedures

Disaster recovery

Personnel policies

Application of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) to data centers

Access control system design, including mechanical locks electrified locks, cipher locks, combination locks, touch pads, card systems, biometrics, turnstiles and gate houses

Alarm system design

Surveillance system design

Use of barriers in security design—walls, fences, vehicle barriers, window security, gates and other metal barriers

Use of lighting in security design

Guards

Building site security considerations

Building design security considerations

Building Automation Systems. This section addresses building automation systems for data centers and provides design requirements and recommendations for supporting building automation systems, including security, building management and cameras on generic structured cabling.

Telecommunications. Approximately 15 percent of the content of the standard deals with data center telecommunications system design and implementation. Many of the existing standards such as ANSI/TIA-942, Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers, address this subject. The material in this chapter is meant to supplement rather than repeat the content of existing data center telecommunications standards. This chapter addresses the following subjects:

Design of demarcation with access providers

Coordination and communication with access providers

Telecommunications entrance facility design, security, redundancy and pathway separation

Data center telecommunications space design (e.g., entrance rooms, main distribution areas, horizontal distribution areas, maintenance holes)

Telecommunications pathway design (e.g., conduits, cable trays, floor matting)

Computer room equipment cabinet and rack requirements and recommendations

Data center telecommunications cabling system and network redundancy

Telecommunications cabling types, topology and management

Testing of telecommunications cabling

Administration of telecommunications cabling

Information Technology. This chapter deals with information technology aspects of data center planning, including channel and console cabling, IT equipment layout and disaster recover considerations such as off-site storage, data center redundancy and distance between data centers.

Commissioning. This chapter provides an overview of the components, processes and procedures associated with data center commissioning. The following subjects are covered in this chapter:

Recommendations regarding the systems that should be included in the commissioning plan

Description of the commissioning process and the phases of commissioning

Types of commissioning performed in data centers

Types of testing performed during commissioning

Commissioning documents that should be produced during commissioning

Examples of commissioning reports and checklists

Data Center Maintenance. This chapter provides general guidelines and recommendations for maintenance in data centers, including the following:

Telecommunications cabling

Electrical systems

HVAC systems

 Information technology and telecommunications equipment

Access floor systems

Fire protection and suppression systems

Security systems

Building monitoring and management systems

Maintenance record keeping

Design Process. The annex on the data center design process describes the various design processes used to design and build data centers. It describes various project delivery methods, including the following:

Design-bid-build

Design-build

Construction management

The annex describes the facility design phases:

Planning and concept development

Schematic design

Design development

Prepurchase

Construction documents

The annex also describes the technology design phases, which will be accomplished in parallel with the facility design:

Needs assessment

Design analysis

Acquisition

Implementation

Reliability. The annex on reliability provides information for the reader to understand reliability concepts, methods to calculate reliability and a process for determining a data center reliability class.

Conclusion

Already garnering unsolicited praise, BICSI 002 is a comprehensive reference and guide that will be useful to anyone involved with the design, implementation and operation of data centers. While the standard is expected to be published in the second half of 2010, material from the standard has already been added to other BICSI offerings, like the DC 110 Data Center Design Best Practices class.

Jonathan Jew is President of J&M Consultants (www.j-and-m.com), an IT and telecommunications consulting firm that specializes in data center design and relocations. He is the co-chair and lead editor of the BICSI Data Center Standard Subcommittee and this year’s recipient of the Harry J. Phister Award.

Reprinted with permission from BICSI NEWS. www.bicsi.org

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The International Paradox - Executive Letter

Jerry Bowman, RCDD, NTS, CISSP, CPP, TPM, BICSI President-Elect, jbowman@bicsi.org

The International Paradox

It’s pretty clear that the founders of BICSI intended for our membership, educational products and certifications to reach more than North American stakeholders. After all, the final “I” in BICSI stands for International. At almost every conference and committee or Board meeting I’ve attended since my first back in the 90s, there has been some mention of being more inclusive of the international community. Despite some pockets of success, most in the ITS industry who live or work outside of North America would not give BICSI a passing grade for our international progress. I have been witness to and part of many decisions to become an international organization. The problem is that becoming international isn’t a decision—it’s a process. You can decide to speak German by 2011, but unless you put a process in place and invest the time and money; simply deciding won’t get you there.

A significant problem is that thinking internationally versus locally requires the ability to maintain two opposing ideas at the same time. There are two important points that we can draw from, which I refer to as The International Paradox. First, those who are fortunate enough to speak more than one language understand that most people initially think in their native language and do real-time translation into the second language when speaking, listening or writing it. It’s only after many years of using a second language that it becomes automatic. So we can decide to be truly international for the next 30 years, but never reach our goal without individual commitment and investment. Secondly, learning a second language doesn’t require abandoning the native language. It is perfectly natural to think locally; however the decision to become more international seems to frequently be preceded by a condemnation of local thinking. As in the case of all paradoxes, this isn’t necessary. True balance as an industry association requires having both local and international thoughts at the same time—The International Paradox.

There are a number of commendable efforts underway within BICSI that if successful, will allow us to integrate both our North American legacy with our international future. These efforts will result in empowerment of members outside of the North American volunteer structure through the creation and support of stronger international communities. I am encouraged by the emerging thought leadership regarding BICSI as a truly international association. There is even talk of an international NxtGEN effort. It’s important to remember that a true commitment to international success will require more than a decision, and that being international doesn’t require walking away from our local legacy. It does require the ability to weave international thinking, members and content into our conferences, manuals, training and credentials. Don’t forget that Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 18 through 24. See you in Bogota, Montreal and Dublin.

Reprinted with permission from BICSI NEWS. www.bicsi.org

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Managing Data Center Structured Cabling

By Brian Ensign, RCDD, NTS, OSP

The most basic purpose of a well-designed data center is to store, process and transmit data. One of the most critical resources for accomplishing this is a properly installed and managed cabling plant.

If you ask an IT professional about infrastructure management as it relates to data centers, you will often hear them talking about virtual servers, cloud computing and the like. If you ask a facilities manager about the same subject, you will most likely spend a good amount of time talking about power utilization and monitoring, air conditioning and data center set points. Ask a structured cabling expert about infrastructure management, and you can expect to receive some critical advice on how to maximize network performance.

When you reference the ISO/OSI Model for networking, Layer 1 covers the structured cabling components such as the connectors and cabling. However, there are no provisions for cable management and network support structures. A properly designed infrastructure management system includes many essential elements that are required to accomplish three important goals—performance, protection and profitability.

Infrastructure Management = Increased Performance

Structured cabling is critical to overall network performance, as the network bandwidth is directly related to the quality of the cabling used in the network infrastructure. As network bandwidth demands are increasing, the level of cabling performance is following suit. Today, there is much discussion around TIA category 6A for copper systems and OM4 for optical fiber systems. If this structured cabling is not properly installed, tested and maintained, the cabling performance may degrade below acceptable requirements, which will lead to network failures and other issues.

Infrastructure Management = Protection

Thanks to TIA and BICSI standards, we all know how important a properly managed cable plant is. Deviations from proper installation practices directly relate to increased risk of damage and failure.

Example 1: Fiber Performance—Cable routing and management of installed optical fiber patch cords impact critical channel loss budget (maximum channel attenuation) values. TIA-568-C.0 defines acceptable channel loss budgets by application. As shown in Table 1, multimode optical fiber maximum channel loss budgets impact Layer 1 optical fiber selection and increase the importance of infrastructure support. During a demonstration at a BICSI conference, an OM2 optical fiber patch cord was subjected to a bend like the one illustrated in Figure 1. As a result of the macrobend, the insertion loss increased by more than 5 decibel (dB). This type of performance degradation can be minimized through proper patch cord management or in combination with bend insensitive fiber.

Table 1: Multimode optical fiber channel loss budgets

Application

OM1 Optical Fiber

OM2 Optical Fiber

OM3 Optical Fiber

1000BASE-SX

2.6 dB

3.6 dB

4.5 dB

1GBASE-SR

2.4 dB

2.6 dB

2.6 dB







Example 2: Port Protection for Network Equipment — Some networking equipment manufacturers provide patch cord managers that do not compensate for the stress that can be introduced at the network port by poor patch cord routing practices. Outboard equipment ports can be damaged because of uneven pressure placed on the pins as patch cord tension causes misalignment. The cost of replacing a patch cord is insignificant. However, a damaged equipment port cannot be individually replaced when it becomes disabled—the whole module must eventually be replaced. Protecting the network means safeguarding the switch ports in addition to the copper and fiber cords.

Infrastructure Management = Increased Profitability

With any data center or network, downtime is directly related to loss in revenue and decreased profitability. Losses in revenue can add up to thousands or millions of dollars per minute when the network is down. Another factor to consider is the additional costs related to the corrective actions needed to get the network back in operation. Proper installation practices and infrastructure management will protect the company’s profit and revenue and will limit downtime.

Best Practices for Managing Data Center Infrastructure

Let’s look at some common cable management products and the best practices that support a properly installed communications network.

Stuffer caps (also known as dust caps) installed on copper jacks and patch panels—It is important to protect the cable terminations from strain and pulling forces, which will properly secure the punch downs in place. In addition, it provides a clean, finished look for the installation.

Lacing or cable management bars provided with the patch panels—Cable management bars ensure that cables don't shift after testing and ensure that cables maintain proper bend radius requirements. It is critical to support the horizontal cable at the termination points to remove strain from the termination or the punch down itself. This will properly maintain the terminations.

Hook-and-loop cable management straps—It is not a good practice to use basic plastic cable ties, as it is difficult to control the pressure the plastic ties exert on the cable bundle. The more the cable bundle is restricted, the greater the amount of performance degradation and points of failure. It is a much better practice to use hook-and-loop cable management.

Locking covers on fiber cabinets—Locking covers not only will support network security at the fiber terminations but also will keep the doors closed and facilitate a cleaner environment.

Optional doors for open racks—This is a great option in a data center to aid in setting up cooling schemes. It also maintains a more secure and cleaner environment for the structured cabling termination fields. If you are installing switches or servers in the racks, the use of doors will facilitate proper cooling requirements, as well as provide added security.

Reduced number of cable bends—Each bend in copper or fiber cables is a potential failure point—the fewer bends the better. It is also important to pay close attention to the bend radius.

Bend limitation throughout the infrastructure—Bends in the cable (copper or optical fiber) are an enemy to performance and will decrease the margins of the channel. They may cause performance and network failures. To protect the performance of the cable, it is important to always pay attention to bend locations and maintain the requirement of no more than 4X the outer diameter (OD).

Use of cable tray waterfalls—The transition from the overhead trays to the racks or cabinets is an area that needs protection in the form of waterfalls. There is usually a good deal of stress on the cable at that point, especially when the tray is fully loaded. To further reduce cable bends, install waterfalls to gently transition the cables to the rack or cabinet.

Rack or cabinet cable management—Rack or cabinet cable management is designed to protect the ports on both patch panels and switches. The use of vertical cable management is critical to transition cable up and down within the rack or cabinet. Horizontal cable management is also important when using flat patch panels to maintain the correct cable bend radius and to relieve tension on the patch panel ports. If angled or curved patch panels are installed, horizontal cable management is not required as the natural transition angle of the patch cords is sufficient. Don’t forget to install horizontal cable managers when using switches that require the patch cords to be managed to one side of the rack or cabinet only. You will need to have a path to transition to the other side if you do not want to accomplish this through the transition at the tip of the rack or through the raised floor.

Racks and cabinets designed to support switches adequately—The size and capability of the rack or cabinet need to align with the type of switch that is going to be used. It is important to know the weight, cooling scheme and other switch requirements when choosing a supporting infrastructure. There are standard TIA racks, server cabinets, networking cabinets, 4-post racks and others available. It is critical that this component is addressed during the design process.

Protection from radio frequency (RF) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise—Make sure to follow the National Electrical Code (NEC) for installation requirements for separation from power and the location of the cable pathways in relation to potential RF noise.

Conclusion

Infrastructure management has a different meaning for different audiences. When related to the structured cabling in the data center, it is critical to consider the cable management, termination fields and pathway support as you design the cable plant. The areas for potential failure need to be addressed in order to maintain the three critical elements of performance, protection and profitability.

Brian Ensign, RCDD, NTS, OSP, CSI, is the U.S. Northeast Region Director for BICSI and director of training and technology for Legrand ORTRONICS. He can be reached at brian.ensign@legrand.us.

Reprinted with permission from BICSI NEWS. www.bicsi.org

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