2019 Top 200 Icon Final

What's New with the 2019 Top 200 Distributors?

Jan. 2, 2020
Distributors share what's been happening with their companies in 2018 and 2019.

Graybar Electric is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019, as well as 90 years of employee ownership.

Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, IA, was named as a Top Iowa Workplace for the seventh consecutive year and became an authorized Rockwell Automation Service provider. It also started up a new distribution partnership with Universal Robots.

Omni Cable Corp., West Chester, PA, expanded its circuit breaker initiative and announced a national program with Siemens. The company also opened a branch in Toronto.

Werner Electric Supply, Appleton, WI, is celebrating its 70th anniversary and acquired lamp specialist US Lamp, Green Bay, WI.

Utility specialist Gresco Utility Supply Inc., Forsyth, GA, started stocking drones and EV chargers. Rick Hall, president of utility specialist General Pacific, Fairview, OR, said his company is also stocking drones and EV charging stations and is doing drone certifications.

Werner Electric Supply, Cottage Grove, MN, opened a new location in Duluth, MN, earlier this year.

Canada’s Franklin Empire launched a new website with e-commerce capabilities in April.

Larry Stern, president, Standard Electric Supply Co., Milwaukee, WI, said the family-owned business now has a fourth generation in the company. It’s celebrating 100 years in business this year.

American Electric Supply hit 35 years of age as a single-location distributor operating out of Corona, CA.

John Kelly, process manager for Jo-Kell Inc., Chesapeake, VA, says his team moved into a new 35,000- sq-ft corporate headquarters in Nov. 2018 that’s twice the size of the old facility. Jo-Kell works closely with the U.S. Navy, and Kelly says it recently approved the simultaneous purchase of two aircraft carriers last year. He said the move should drive Jo-Kell’s marine electrical sales for the next few years.

Voss Lighting, Lincoln, NE, is 80 years old in 2019. Company President Rob Jensen said a challenge with new players in the lighting market is that “a lot of them are not truly manufacturers but ‘sourcers,’ so warranty and quality constantly are a problem.”

Steve Blazer, president, Blazer Electric Supply, Colorado Springs, CO, says its new “Night Strike” evening delivery service is really taking off. “Blazer 2.0” is now 10 years old. Blazer and his brother, Mike, got back into the electrical supply business in the company in 2009. They had sold the family business to Westburne (since acquired by Rexel) in 1999.

Rock Kuchenmeister said his team spent a ton of time prepping K/E Electric Supply’s new Port Huron facility before making the move in April. “This was the longest we ever to prepare a new facility, but the fastest we have ever moved into one. Preparation, preparation, preparation.”

Philip DeLoache, president and CEO of Houston’s FirstSOURCE Electrical Supply said the company celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and is in the process of moving into a much larger facility to support future growth plans.

Raymond deSteiger Inc., Sterling Heights, MI, installed a new Infor Sxe web user interface ERP system and announced new president and vice-president. Many other companies either recently upgraded their ERP systems or are now shopping for one. These companies include ATI Electrical Supply, Bend, OR; Furbay Electric Supply, Canton, OH; G&G Electric Supply, New York, NY; Idlewood Electric Supply, Highland Park, IL; Michigan’s Standard Electric; Sunrise Electric Supply, Addison, IL; Winkle Electric Co., Youngstown, OH; and Wholesale Electric Supply Co. of Houston.

Columbiana, OH-based YESCO Electrical Supply recently moved many company processes to the cloud. “We completely offloaded on email and collaboration tools to the cloud,” James DeRosa, general manager said. “No more hosting servers in house for email and office productivity software. This is big in the age where ransomware has affected other organizations, and we like to avoid those risks of data loss. We have also setup mobile tracking and logistics software for deliveries. Makes tracking and time estimating easier.”

Shingle & Gibb Automation, Moorestown, NJ, has taken on the full Siemens line.

Kirby Risk Electrical Supply, Lafayette, IN, established Kirby Risk Network of Women group (KNOW). It now has more than 100 participants.

Mark O’Day, president, Controller Service & Sales Co. Inc., Avon, MA, is working through a common challenge — replacing employees who are retiring. We are currently retooling personnel wise,” he said. “A lot of the older generation is retiring.  We have successfully replaced five-to-six retiring employees with much younger ones.”

Stephen Kleynhans, president, O’Neil Electric Supply, Woodbridge, ON, is dealing with the same challenge. “The company is very strongly focused on providing opportunities for and developing younger people, and utilizing experience and skill sets of older/mature staff and management to encourage on the job training of younger staff and new entrants into the industry.”