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ABB Expands U.S. Manufacturing Footprint with New EV Charger Facility

ABB E-mobility, a leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, recently announced the continued expansion of its global and U.S. manufacturing footprint with new manufacturing operations in Columbia, South Carolina.

The multi-million-dollar investment will increase production of electric vehicle chargers, including Buy America Act-compliant ones and create more than 100 jobs. The new facility will be capable of producing up to 10,000 chargers per year, ranging from 20kW to 180kW in power, which are ideally suited for public charging, school buses and fleets.

The operation builds on ABB E-mobility’s existing U.S. manufacturing operations, which produce transit bus chargers that range from 150kW to 450kW. This expansion will increase responsiveness to U.S. market demand, create a more efficient localized supply chain and reduce delivery lead times.

“The need for investment in the U.S. e-mobility sector has never been greater as 18 million EVs are expected to be on U.S. roads by 2030. Expanding our U.S. manufacturing operations will allow us to better serve our customers and help advance the adoption of EVs from private vehicles to public transportation and fleets,” said Bob Stojanovic, vice president for ABB E-mobility in North America. “Our facility in South Carolina is another example of how we are driving the American e-mobility economy forward with high-quality and reliable EV charging solutions that meet the needs of every part of a sustainable transportation ecosystem.”

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Top Electricians Named at 2022 IDEAL National Championship

IDEAL Industries Inc. concluded its seventh annual IDEAL National Championship in Tampa, Florida on November 5. Out of 145 electrical trade professionals and apprentices from the US and Canada who competed for more than $180,000 in cash and prizes in this year’s finals, Tom Kennedy from Big Bend, Wisconsin, was crowned the professional champion, winning the grand prize of $60,000. Jordan Finfrock from Greenup, Kentucky took the top spot in the apprentice competition, winning a grand total of $40,000.

A surprise Teams Competition was announced on the last day of competition. Professionals and apprentice semi-finalists who didn’t advance to the finals were paired together and competed in a Pro-Am Team competition for one last chance of taking home cash and prizes. Team members Seth Agnew (Linn Creek, Missouri) and Justin Frick (Rapid City, South Dakota) won the Pro-Am competition and won $10,000 in cash.

“I think everybody who competed can say that the IDEAL National Championship is a great thing for our industry,” said first-time winner Kennedy. “This is a competition that proves that we know what we’re doing and love doing it. I congratulate everybody who competed and tried to improve. This is awesome!”

The 2022 IDEAL National Championship Finals included four rounds of competition covering nine intense challenges. Favorites included an EV charger installation, hot tub wiring project and solar panel install. The 2022 IDEAL National Championship was hosted by Chip Wade.

Judging criteria was based on accuracy of work, workmanship, safety and compliance to the National Electrical Code (NEC).

2022 IDEAL National Championship Prize Winners

Professional Results

  • 1st place ($60,000) - Tom Kennedy (Big Bend, Wisconsin)
  • 2nd place ($25,000) Greg Anliker (Elgin, Illinois)
  • 3rd place ($10,000) - Josh Tower (Feeding Hills, Massachusetts)

Apprentice Results

Finfrock (Greenup, Kentucky)

  • 1st Place ($40,000) - Jordan
  • 2nd Place ($20,000) - Elliot Phillips (Wichita, Kansas)
  • 3rd Place ($10,000) - Luis Sanchez (Chicago, Illinois)

Team Results

  • 1st Place ($10,000) - Seth Agnew (Linn Creek, Missouri) and Justin Frick (Rapid City, South Dakota)
  • 2nd Place - ($5,000) Alec Perkins (Norwalk, Iowa) and Thomas Ladd (Mexico, New York)

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Legrand Acquires Encelium

Legrand has announced its acquisition of Encelium, an Ontario, Canada-based manufacturer of advanced commercial lighting controls.

The acquisition of Encelium brand and products, which takes effect immediately, comes as part of Legrand’s ongoing global strategy to further strengthen its position in the commercial lighting control sector. A leader in this category, Encelium is already an integral component within thousands of buildings, supporting the needs of occupants, tenants and facilities managers through people-centric lighting and energy efficiency. Encelium will become an integral addition to Legrand’s Building Control Systems division, thanks to its in-fixture control options, site lighting and DALI controls. It joins Legrand’s portfolio of market leaders such as Legrand Wattstopper, Legrand Shading and Vantage. Together, this collective of brands is poised to develop and support a broader range of new solutions to meet the ever-changing demands of agents, partners, specifiers, and contractors alike.

“We have a demonstrated history and proven track record of what can be made possible for innovation, quality and customer service when we invest in and acquire the right products and solutions,” said Andrea Lamieri, general manager, Legrand’s Building Control Systems business. “The synergy with Encelium was evident from the start—not only from a product and innovation standpoint, but from their ‘people first’ approach that drives their innovation, and their commitment to enhancing the experience of everyone that comes in contact with their products.”

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Arlington Wins NECA 2022 Showstopper Award for Outstanding Product

The 2022 NECA Showstopper Award was awarded to Arlington’s Quad Concrete Floor Box Covers (FLBC5570 series) at the 2022 NECA Show held October 16-18 in Austin, Texas.

Arlington’s FLBC5570 Recessed Cover Kits fit 5.5” concrete floor boxes including our FLBC5500. Get the plated or powder-coated cover with two installed receptacles—or with a power and low-voltage port in each side.

The annual Showstopper Showcase at the NECA Convention and Trade Show highlights the newest products and services on the market. Open every day, one hour before the Trade Show, the Showcase gives attendees a chance to explore and try the newest products available, while a panel of anonymous, expert judges selects the 25 winners out of approximately 230 entries this year.

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Encore Wire Appoints Executive Vice President

Encore Wire Corp. has appointed Bret J. Eckert to the role of executive vice president. In addition to this role, Eckert will continue to serve as the company’s chief financial officer.

Eckert joined Encore Wire Corp. in September 2019 as vice president—finance, formally assuming the role of chief financial officer of Encore Wire Corp. on January 1, 2020. Prior to joining Encore, he served as executive managing director for the Houston office of Riveron Consulting LLC from June 2018 to August 2019. Previously he was senior vice president and CFO of Atmos Energy Corp. in Dallas for approximately five years. He spent the first 22 years of his career with Ernst & Young LLP where he was a partner for 10 years.

Daniel L. Jones, chairman, president and CEO of Encore Wire Corp., said, “We are delighted to appoint Bret to the position of executive vice president. Since his appointment as chief financial officer in 2020, he has served the company with distinction as a vital member of our executive team, overseeing the most profitable period of growth in our company’s history amid significant operational challenges. This appointment demonstrates the confidence of our Board of Directors in Mr. Eckert and formalizes the organizational hierarchy that has evolved at Encore during his tenure.”

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Mersen Appoints VP Distribution Sales and Customer Care US

Mersen announced that John Hargis has joined Mersen Electrical Power as vice president distribution sales and customer care U.S., reporting to Ferran Sacrest, vice president sales and customer care Americas. Hargis is replacing Tom Pankratz, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Hargis brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. electrical industry, the majority of which he spent with a division of Emerson—Appleton Group, where he held several positions of increasing scope and responsibility in the U.S. and internationally. In his last position, he was the west and south region director of Appleton, the largest for the group globally. His experience with both the electrical and the electronic channel as well as his deep understanding of the NEMRA rep ecosystem make him the ideal candidate to lead Mersen’s distribution sales team in the United States.

Prior to joining Emerson, Hargis spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and four in the Army National Guard. Hargis holds a Bachelor of Science from Texas State University.

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NSI Names First Sales Manager for Cable & Conduit Fittings

NSI Industries LLC has named industry veteran Tom O’Gara the company’s first national sales manager for its Electrical Division Cable and Conduit Fittings Product category. O’Gara has been with the company’s Remke brand for the past 15 years, most recently as vice president of sales and marketing.

“Since 2019, NSI has gone through a period of tremendous growth, including our Cable and Conduit Fittings Product category,” said Joe Saganowich, NSI’s Electrical Division president. “This new leadership represents a focus on this category, positioning the Remke and Bridgeport Fittings lines as leading brands in the industry. Tom’s intimate knowledge of these lines makes him the perfect candidate for the category’s national sales manager, which will further strengthen our footprint in these markets.”

In his new role, O’Gara will report directly to Tom Wallace, NSI vice president of sales and will be collaborating with regional vice presidents, the national accounts team and regional sales managers to support the company’s strategic initiatives related to NSI’s Cable and Conduit fittings products.

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Dan Van Belle Named OmniCable’s Northeast Regional Vice President

Omni Cable LLC (OmniCable) headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, has named Dan Van Belle the Northeast Regional Vice President. In this role, Van Belle is responsible for managing and leading OmniCable’s Boston, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia branches.

OmniCable’s Bryan Dabruzzi will continue to lead the Atlanta, Charlotte and Tampa locations now as the Southeast Regional Vice President. The Northeast Regional Vice President is a new role created because of the company’s growth over the last 15 months.

Van Belle has more than 25 years of industry experience. He began his career with Houston Wire & Cable (HWC) in sales. During his tenure with HWC, he served as the Charlotte regional manager, then was promoted to southeast regional vice president.

“In the past year and a half, Dan’s experience has helped us integrate our sales teams and manage our two-brand strategy during the company’s integration process,” said Greg Lampert, OmniCable’s president and CEO. “He is a leader who has contributed to our success in growing the company and bringing our people together.”

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Southwire Collects Supplies for Families Affected by Hurricane

On September 28, Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, causing widespread damage and leaving millions without power.

In response, Southwire’s Project GIFT hosted disaster relief drives across several of the company’s Giving Back communities. Through this effort, nearly six tractor-trailers full of much-needed supplies were collected for those impacted by the devastating storm.

“Project GIFT started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a way for employees to help meet the needs of communities affected by natural disasters,” said Wil Rainey, Project GIFT coordinator. “As Southwire continues to expand our Giving Back efforts, it is important to us to stick to these roots. The people of southwest Florida were genuinely appreciative of Southwire’s support, and it was an inspiration to see some of the impacted residents jumping in to help others even when they, personally, had lost everything.”

Volunteers from Project GIFT and Southwire’s agent, John Carter & Associates (JCA), were on site for the delivery and distribution efforts at Cape Christian Church in Cape Coral, Florida thanks to a connection made from Southwire customer, Wesco Anixter. Because of the tremendous level of support from Southwire employees and communities across the country, an additional donation of more than $9,000 was made to Second Harvest Food Bank, which aided in providing meals to those affected by the storm.

“I have worked with Southwire for more than 30 years and know that they are the best at responding with resources to help customers get their power back on,” said Ed Hanner, president of JCA. “After participating as a volunteer with the Southwire folks that came to Florida and seeing and hearing from the storm victims that received our help, I now know it is more than just a great program, it is truly something special. It’s hard for me to put into words how thankful we all are for the gifts from all of the folks at Southwire.”

Southwire’s disaster relief drive was made possible by the generosity of community members, employees, volunteers and Project GIFT teams from west Georgia; Heflin, Alabama; Bremen, Indiana; Huntersville, North Carolina; Medford, New York; York, Pennsylvania and Denton, Texas who came together with the same passion for helping and ensuring that the supplies made it to the families affected by this tragedy.

“As a native Floridian, I have seen my fair share of hurricanes and the everlasting trails of destruction they leave behind,” said Kyle Tafelski, Southwire regional sales manager for tools, components and assembled solutions.

“I am beyond grateful to have participated in the Project GIFT effort. The opportunity to provide just an ounce of hope and joy to the families of southwest Florida is something that I will never forget.”

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Moblico and Apex Order Pickup Solutions Announce Partnership

Moblico and Apex Order Pickup Solutions have partnered to help independent distributors take advantage of the growth in the use of mobile-connected devices with smart pickup lockers.

The integration between Moblico and Apex Order Pickup allows distributors to send automated triggered notifications when an order is available for pickup via smart locker. With this integration, contractors and distributors work more efficiently, utilizing two-way messaging and in-app push notifications in Moblico’s platform to confirm orders and then send custom codes for contactless order pickup. In addition, contractors will be able to respond to the notifications they receive with questions and comments sent directly to the distributor’s Team Inbox provided by Moblico.

Moblico’s platform combines incoming messages into a single, easy-to-use, team-wide inbox that’s accessible from anywhere, anytime. This enables the distributor to quickly respond with the most appropriate team member, who can see message history and customer info and provide information and solutions for their customers. This quick and effective response not only builds customer trust, it provides real value in the form of time savings for all involved.

Apex Order Pick Up Solutions smart lockers make order pickup even faster and more efficient. This technology streamlines employee workflows to optimize labor, eliminate wasted steps, and increase throughput—without increasing effort. The software reveals valuable data on order handoffs for a comprehensive view of the operation and a customer’s digital journey.

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Yanow Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Yanow Inc., a New England-based NEMRA founding member, manufacturers’ representative and leader in the marketing and specification of electrical construction and energy products/services, is now celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Founded on June 6, 1948 as “The B.N. Yanow Company,” Bernard “Ben” Nathan Yanow, who was working for an electrical distributor, resigned to create his own business. Working from the trunk of his car, he began by representing two small manufacturers.

Today, Yanow Inc. boasts a national leadership position, has enjoyed exponential growth and collaborates with some of the largest and most respected manufacturers, wholesalers, contractors and specifiers in the industry.

“I was fortunate to work for Ben,” said Randy Pinkofsky, president of Yanow. “He was an incredibly committed, hard-working entrepreneur. My father Alyn, after serving in the Navy, accepted a position there, bought in as a partner, and eventually purchased the rest of the company. Over time, Alyn partnered with Kevin Kossbiel and together created ‘Yanow of Connecticut,’ successfully enhancing the strength of the agency.”

Pinkofsky continued, “Technology and mechanics may change. But our industry is unique. Everything is gray. And no two situations are ever the same. You need a certain mindset, deep knowledge and experience to be successful. We confidently apply the same tenets and principles, Ben and Alyn lived by. Ben’s favorite statement was, ‘The power of the call.’ In fact, this was framed and behind his desk throughout his career. Our manufacturers, distributors and contractors will tell you—our personnel understand the business, know everyone, are always there and know what they are doing. Here’s to another 75.”

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Leviton Joins Green Building Initiative as Visionary Member

Leviton has joined the Green Building Initiative (GBI) as a visionary member. Partnerships with organizations such as GBI are a core component of Leviton’s CN2030 program, the company’s refreshed and formalized sustainability commitment with the goal of achieving company-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.

GBI is an international organization focused on sustainability through education, thought leadership, consensus-based standards and validation of space through its Green Globes certification process. As a visionary member, Leviton will make a financial commitment and contribute to shaping future GBI programs, as well as gain educational opportunities focused on sustainability.

“With Leviton’s long history of providing sustainable solutions for their customers across the globe, they bring a unique, valuable perspective to GBI’s efforts,” said Adam Wellen, GBI’s director of membership and community. “We look forward to working with Leviton to shape a more sustainable future.”

To further strengthen Leviton’s partnership with GBI, Randy Mortensen, Leviton’s senior vice president of global sales and marketing, has been invited to serve on the GBI Board of Directors. “I am honored to have been nominated and accepted to join this prestigious group of dedicated professionals,” Mortensen said. “I look forward to working towards a more sustainable future for us all as part of GBI’s esteemed board of directors.”

“Randy has a unique perspective from a long-standing company in the electrical industry that is committed to innovating safe and sustainable products that enhance the built environment,” said Wellen. “He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our organization that will only make us stronger.”

“While our CN2030 program focuses on what we as a company aim to do to empower a more sustainable future, partnerships with leading organizations like GBI are key to further strengthening our efforts,” said Ross Goldman, Leviton’s chief sustainability officer. “I’m incredibly energized by the progress Leviton has made as part of our sustainability commitment over the past year – launching CN2030, establishing our Global Sustainability Steering Committee (GSSC), and with today’s announcement, aligning our efforts and investments with GBI. We look forward to collaborating with GBI to continue building on the major strides in sustainability we have made this year and throughout our company’s history.”

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NSI Industries Moves Into New HQ

NSI Industries LLC has moved into its new corporate headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina. The new 152,000-square-foot facility, two-and-a-half times the size of NSI’s previous building, is also home to its new, state-of-the-art warehouse and distribution center. The new facility is more than three times larger than its old space, creating additional capacity to serve more customers.

“As NSI has continued to expand with its recent acquisitions the past couple of years, we needed a new home that would allow us to consolidate all of our brands’ warehousing needs into a new, more modern and streamlined corporate and distribution operation,” said G. R. Schrotenboer, CEO of NSI Industries. “The investment in the new facility reflects the company’s recent exponential growth. We’ve been in Huntersville since our founding, and our employees are considered family. As such, we developed a plan that would allow us to create a brand new HQ from the ground up that is not only centrally located for our employees but would also allow us to create a better employee experience to our exacting standards and precise specifications.”

The new facility includes a larger, more open office with inviting spaces for collaboration, conference rooms for group meetings and one-on-one meetings, a noise-dampening system to help staff focus on the tasks at hand, the latest technology for virtual and in-person meetings, recycling areas, a bright break room, covered outdoor patio, easy access to walking paths, bike lanes throughout the business park, bike racks on campus and a locker room with showers.

The new headquarters is also home to lab space as well as quality control and new product development departments.

“Creating one HQ and distribution center for all of our brands has allowed us to consolidate seven locations into one,” Schrotenboer said. “Efficiency was our goal. We can now drastically accelerate shipping by streamlining the ordering, packaging, and distribution processes with modern, up-to-date warehouse and distribution technologies. Also, we are making progress toward our new ‘one order—one invoice’ method enabling customers to order multiple NSI brands on one order, receive one invoice and in many cases one shipment.”

NSI’s new headquarters and distribution facility address is 13235 Reese Blvd., Huntersville, N.C. All other contact information, including phones, fax, email, etc. will remain the same.

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IDEA and TradeTech Solutions Sign MOU

The Industry Data Exchange Association Inc. (IDEA), the industry-owned technology company and leading provider of electrical product data, announces that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with software company TradeTech Solutions. This agreement is intended to finalize an effort to jointly develop a centralized industry portal that will provide real-time order tracking information to authorized distributors and manufacturer’s reps.

Currently, accessing real-time information on orders can be a challenge. A lot of time is wasted in the industry calling and checking on order status with the manufacturer. A centralized portal will save the industry valuable staff time and increase productivity.

“Representatives from NEMA, NAED and NEMRA see value in providing a centralized order tracking portal. This would enable everyone in the supply chain—including authorized end users—to immediately get their order information from the portal without having to make any calls,” said David Oldfather, President & CEO of IDEA.

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