Latest from Industry Perspectives


Jim Lucy2012 770 5efa2cc62d366

Our Electrical Neighborhood

June 29, 2020
The job electrical distributors, manufacturers, reps, electrical contractors and other customers do every day really matters in this world.

We have all probably experienced a wide variety of mentoring styles during our careers. There’s the “tough love” approach where a mentor may hope to make their point with a stern explanation of what you did wrong. At the other end of the spectrum is the “lead by example” approach, where the mentor may hope you will quietly follow their lead.

When I interviewed Sonepar USA’s Tammy Livers for a feature article in this issue, “Mentoring: Lessons Learned” (page 19), she said her first mentor in the electrical industry, Mark Reinders (now VP of channel sales for Eaton; then with B-Line), had an infectious enthusiasm for the electrical market and that his passion for how the industry touches everyone on this planet in one way or another got her excited about the electrical industry as a career.

While writing The Electrical Marketer’s Survival Guide about 20 years ago, I remember struggling with the best way to introduce the electrical market to readers new to our “neighborhood.” Eventually, I finally figured out an approach that I think conveys that same concept of just how big this industry really is that Tammy Livers learned from Mark Reinders and passes on to anyone she is mentoring. Here is part of that introduction to the industry. I think it holds up pretty well after 20 years. Feel free to pass it on to anyone you might be mentoring.

“Somewhere, somehow the electrical market affects everyone. A homeowner turns off a porch light after saying good night to a visiting neighbor. A utility crew repairs a downed power line during an ice storm. A baker in a small town turns on an oven at 3 a.m. to get ready for the early-morning rush.

“Before you even wake up in the morning, thousands of times the products that electrical distributors sell have somehow affected someone in the world. By lunch, you could count a million more examples. The thousands of different products that electrical distributors sell quietly and efficiently do their jobs, without most people ever noticing.

“You notice. Every electrical or electronic product or system in use results from a successful sale. Someone, somewhere, somehow sold that product or system to a person whose company installed it or had it installed for them. The salesperson’s old battle cry, ‘Nothing happens until somebody sells something,’ rings true in the electrical business, too, although it could be modified to say, ‘Nothing turns on, lights up, moves or gets manufactured unless an electrical system is in place doing its job.’

“That concept makes pretty heady stuff for an electrical marketer hungry for another sale. Major sales opportunities exist here — building, repairing and renovating the entire electrical infrastructure of the civilized world. Electrical distributors supply products for the electrical systems powering houses, apartments, strip shopping centers, Main Street America, offices, factories, churches, schools, universities, utilities, sports stadiums, roadways, parking lots and dozens of other applications.

“In any building and on any street you will find the products that a salesperson for some electrical distributor had to sell. You live in this world.” 


An eagle-eyed reader caught two errors in the print version of the 2020 Top 200 Distributors ranking that slipped through our proofreading process. We had listed two companies twice — Hein Electric Supply, Milwaukee, WI, and Loyd’s Electric Supply, Branson, MO. Eliminating these duplicates allowed us to add two other deserving companies to our listing – Stanford Electric Supply, Corinth, MS, at #181, and Kern Electrical Distributors, Bakersfield, CA, at #198. An updated version of our Top 200 listing is posted on

About the Author

Jim Lucy | Editor-in-Chief of Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing

Jim Lucy has been wandering through the electrical market for more than 40 years, most of the time as an editor for Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing newsletter, and as a contributing writer for EC&M magazine During that time he and the editorial team for the publications have won numerous national awards for their coverage of the electrical business. He showed an early interest in electricity, when as a youth he had an idea for a hot dog cooker. Unfortunately, the first crude prototype malfunctioned and the arc nearly blew him out of his parents' basement.

Before becoming an editor for Electrical Wholesaling  and Electrical Marketing, he earned a BA degree in journalism and a MA in communications from Glassboro State College, Glassboro, NJ., which is formerly best known as the site of the 1967 summit meeting between President Lyndon Johnson and Russian Premier Aleksei Nikolayevich Kosygin, and now best known as the New Jersey state college that changed its name in 1992 to Rowan University because of a generous $100 million donation by N.J. zillionaire industrialist Henry Rowan. Jim is a Brooklyn-born Jersey Guy happily transplanted with his wife and three sons in the fertile plains of Kansas for the past 30 years. 

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