Looking Back, Moving Forward

Another eventful year comes to a close. Here’s a review of this year and a few expectations for 2020.

2019 recap…

Egret Hoorays. As mentioned in November’s newsletter, we celebrated our official 20th year in business. A milestone we couldn’t have reached without the support of the industry. We’re also closing out a successful year under our new President, Brooke Ziolo.

Increased Policy. We’ve seen how new policies have affected both the HR/hiring side and the Electrical Industry. There’s now a total of 17 state-wide and 20 locals bans that prevent employers and recruiters from asking candidates their salary history. Tariffs have caused a decrease and delays in wire and cable productivity, to name a few reasons…the time of finding a new materials source, moving plants, etc. H1B laws affected both the lighting and power distribution sectors. There aren’t enough quality domestic candidates to fill the open engineering positions such as lighting design; though, manufacturers in Power Distribution are showing no interest in non-citizen or non-Green Card holders due to the challenges associated with obtaining H1B and TN visas.

Acquisitions. Mergers and acquisitions domestically and especially internationally increased this year. Some notable companies in the acquisition game are Acuity, NSi and Signify. Deals were prevalent in Power Distribution with the likes of Hitachi/ABB and Siemens/Russelectric. Consolidation and divestment was a key strategy in Utilities. M&A deals with DER companies that offer complimentary offerings and can expand coverage areas will be an aggressive means to grow market share.

2020 expectations…

Hiring. We expect hiring to pick up for some verticals. Lighting saw companies more willing to bring on new employees this year than last; we expect that to continue into 2020. Our distribution sector predicts an increasing need for switchgear and lighting quotation positions. Senior leadership activity has definitely picked up; with companies looking to add or strengthen their C-suite for growth expectations. Power Distribution and Automation Technologies continues to be challenged in finding technically savvy and qualified candidates to fill engineering, sales and technical sales roles. Growth in these areas will continue for Egret in 2020. HR laws concerning the salary ban question will continue. New Jersey and New York’s state-wide salary ban are effective in January 2020.

Policy. Tariffs and hiring laws will continue to affect the industry. More tariffs may be put in place, forcing companies to rethink their foreign plant locations. It’ll be interesting to see which companies will continue to absorb the extra costs or pass it down to their customers. A slow grow, but we may see more states enacting laws concerning consumer privacy. The California Consumer Privacy Act takes effect beginning January 1, 2020. Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota currently have similar bills being discussed.1

What to expect from Egret in 2020…

Newsletter. Trends we’re watching: mergers/acquisitions, then and now of emerging technology, policies, diversity in the workplace, drug testing and sales growth, among a few other topics.

Services. Wire and cable has partnered with a few companies to help with their succession planning efforts. Egret’s M&A activities have increased, with 3 companies currently in discussion and agreement to market them on a sell-side. For more information on M&A consulting and succession planning services, call us!!

Other industry fun. If you’re attending LightFair, receive career advice from our President and panel on Tuesday, May 5, 2020!

Thank you for a successful 2019. Happy Holidays and New Year!


1. https://www.varonis.com/blog/us-privacy-laws/#ma