A message from our president…

Egret Consulting employees began working from home when Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker, enforced a “stay at home” order last week.

Working remotely is new to us, as I imagine it is for many of you. We are all adjusting to our current circumstances and our new “coworkers” like children and pets; but we’re adapting and remaining positive. Egret Consulting continues to serve the Electrical Industry. We’ve survived two recessions; and we will continue to serve our amazing clients and candidates.

Egret Consulting is committed to helping our clients and candidates through this situation. Please reach out to us with any questions, comments and concerns. We are happy to guide you, your company and offer any help with your strategy through this COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay safe. Thank you!

 

Brooke Ziolo President Egret Consulting Electrical Industry Lighting

Brooke Ziolo is a contingent and retained executive recruiter working exclusively within the Lighting Industry. To learn more about how she can help your Lighting company, LED company or Lighting Design Firm attract talent, check out her biography, LinkedIn profile or email her at bz@egretconsulting.com.

How to be a Work From Home Rockstar

I spent the first 19 years of my career in Egret Consulting’s office. Early last year, I transitioned to a home office, and I have learned more than a few things about how to maximize productivity while working remotely. I hope that by sharing some of this hard-earned wisdom, I can help you make your work at home experience both positive and productive! 

Here are my tips: 

Go To Work 

Literally, actually “get ready” for work; whether you go to the gym, go for a run, read the paper, or have other a.m. rituals before work: do them; then get dressed and go to work. Sure, PJs all day sounds fabulous, but even stepping it up a notch with stylish athleisure wear puts you in a better work mindset. I’ve done it both ways, and I have always found myself more productive when I’m in full battle gear!  

Commit to your start time and be in your workspace, showered and ready. End your day like you would any other day in the officeMany think that working from home can create a lax work ethic, and have found myself working well into the evening…when it’s time to go home, go home.  

Find Your Office 

If you haven’t worked from home before, this can be a bit challenging, but it’s of the utmost importance for productivity. Most people who go into an office everyday think of a home office as the couch and a laptop. In a perfect world, you have a dedicated room that you can repurpose as a workspace, where you set up your laptop, phone, and other work supplies free from distractions. If possible, repurpose a spare bedroom, so that your “office” doesn’t interfere with your personal space; avoid your personal bedroom and your couch (believe me, I know). Find a space where you can close the door and “go to work.” 

If you don’t have a spare room, dedicate a space in your home that is away from the major gathering areas of your home. It’s important to minimize distractions while you are working and also ideal to have your workspace separated from your living space, so in the off hours there is a physical separation or at least some distance. This helps the mindset of going to work and leaving work.  

Minimize Distraction 

Since this is new, I’ve needed to ‘train’ my family. When I walk down the hall to my office, I am “at work” just like if I was in my traditional office. They can’t pop up and ask me where their (fill in the blank item that clearly only you can locate) is or what’s for dinner. It takes some gentle reminders but your family will adapt. You are not accessible unless theres an actual crisis that involves bodily harm. Avoid working in the kitchen where, in addition to temptation from the fridge, your mind can wander to making lunch, starting dinner, doing the dishes, etc. Think about your optimum level of noise: if you like it quiet, find a quiet place. If you like music, set up a playlist that creates the right mood and use your AirPods or a Bluetooth speaker. Keep the TV off and make your home office mood professional and productivity-inducing. Close the blinds that face the road if you’re a dog person, I learned that the hard way with 3 Rottweilers deciding the squirrel in the yard was poised to assassinate us all, all while I, red faced, worked through a critical call with a client.  

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan 

Working from home often disconnects you from your best practices, so be sure to keep this key habit intact. I typically am working on a variety of projects that require me to really focus on only that task. Consider scheduling blocks of time dedicated to a singular task, if you have a publicly accessible calendar as I do, be sure to schedule yourself as unavailable during these important tasks that require you to focus. If mom calls, let it go to voicemail…and call her after you complete the scheduled block of time.  

Technology Is Your Friend And Your Enemy 

Egret works in a web browser-based system. These technologies allow for seamless remote work and, perhaps, your company has similar tools to allow you to work at home as effectively. But don’t let technology also turn into a distraction, it’s very easy to lose yourself to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram since no one is watching… DON’T DO IT! That’s a rabbit hole that you can go down and suddenly find yourself, hours later, having lost a chunk of productivity time. Keep in mind that each little peek not only distracts you of the task at hand, it’s been shown that it takes an additional 11 minutes to return your mindset to the task at hand. Believe me, I learned that the hard way.  

Stay Connected 

Face it, people need human contact. For some, the idea of being quarantined is like going to prison. Consider bypassing the conference call for video callsso you can put eyes on your customers and colleagues. Fed up with Skype? Check out these great alternatives; 

● Google Hangouts (iOS, Web, Android)

● Appear.in (Web, iOS)

● ooVoo (Web, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac)

● Viber

● Talky (iOS, Web)

● Voca (iOS, Android)

● WhatsApp

Find Out What Works For You 

We are all different! I work best without background noise, you may be someone who works best with headphones and music pumping. If it works in the office, it works at home!  

Working from home may feel a bit disjointed at first, but I expect that you, like me, 

 will surprise yourself at how productive you can be when the only distraction you have is you. Make the best of this crazy time and who knows, maybe you’ll learn a little bit about how to maximize your productivity along the way!

 

Prudence Thompson is a contingent and retained recruiter entirely dedicated to the Electrical Distribution industry. To learn more about how she can help your company attract talent, check out her biography, LinkedIn profile or email her at pt@egretconsulting.com.

Who’s Next?

Our industry has yet to see a slowdown in regards to mergers and acquisitions. But will COVID-19 affect current and future M&As? Companies are adjusting and proceeding using online meeting technology to fill the in-person void. Wexpect M&A deals will continue and be approached the same way with virtual meetings. We are treating this situation similarly to the last recession.  

Between 2007 – 2008, Sonepar, Viking Electric, CED, REXEL, USESI, among a few other distributors didn’t let their acquisition business falter. During the 2008 recession, companies managed to complete acquisition deals; and we trust organizations today will carry on despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Among power distribution, electrical distribution, wire/cable and lighting; our records show that there were well over 60 M&As in 2019. Legrand, Emerson and Siemens acquired manufacturers across three of the verticals, with Acuity Brands taking over in lighting. Companies strategizing to increase market shareexpand markets served, etc 

Here’s a review of M&As over the last few years (primarily focused on 2017 – now). 

Distribution 

In 2019, CED acquired several other distributors; expanding their market reach (Nu-Lite Electrical Wholesalers – Elmwood, LA and Sun Valley Electric Supply – Las Vegas, NV). And it was announced December of 2019 that CED purchased a historic St. Louis distributor with six locations, Frost Electric SupplyCED had a busy 2019, much more than the two previous years with a single acquisition in 2018 and none in 2017. 

In 2017, distributors only acquired one company for the entire year. Though, Winsupply was busy during this time, acquiring a handful of distributors across the US and diversifying their portfolio. Winsupply purchased companies in HVAC, plumbing, industrial (pipes/valves/fittings/tubes), wire/cable (conduit) and lighting. With an active 2017, Winsupply has since slowed down to buying one or two companies from 2018 – February 2020. Other onesie buys in 2017…Revere Electric Supply of Mokena, IL purchased Nelson Electric. Mayer Electric Supply Company entered the Arkansas market with the acquisition of Upchurch Electrical Supply Company. Lawson acquired Calgary-based distributor, The Bolt Supply House. Atlanta-based HESCO expanded its market to Savannah with the purchase of Georgia Electric Supply. Widening its market reach, Gordon Electric Supply purchased Pontiac Electric Supply of Pontiac, IL. Among a few other 2017 purchases, Crescent Electric Supply acquired two companies, Womack Electric Supply in Danville, VA and Ohio-based Mesco Electric Supply 

2018 was not nearly as lively as the previous and succeeding year. Distributors were acquiring companies on to enter and/or increase market share. Cresent Electric Supply Company acquired National Electric Supply, market leaders in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico areas. Connexion bought Van Meter Inc.’s Chicago location, expanding its already Chicagoland-based presence. Mayer Electric Supply, a Birmingham, AL based firm bought and added The Hite Company to its Northeast division. Spring Electric Supply Company expanded its Indiana coverage with the acquisitions of Valley Electric’s operations in Vincennes and Terre Haute, INand Tri State Lighting & Supply, serving Evansville market. There was not one distributor that purchased multiple distributorsThe years 2017 and 2019 saw more buys from a single company than 2018.  

Lighting 

Lighting companies have maintained a steady buy from 2017 to now. More notably, Acuity Brands had expanded their offerings in lighting efficiency and design with WhiteOptics and a location-as-a-service platform, LocusLabs. More interestingly, Acuity Brands acquired The Luminaires Group (in 2019) that gave them ownership of five brands in interior/exterior lighting, outdoor luminaires, architectural lighting design and more across the United States and Canada. Also notable in 2019, Cree Lighting was sold to IDEAL INDUSTRIES, which was finalized in May of that year. There were other one or two lighting acquisitions in 2019. Signify purchased Once Inc and iLOX to expand in agricultural lighting, as well as WiZ Connected to expand its presence in the wi-fi based smart lighting market. Lutron and Leviton also expanded their markets with a 2019 purchase. Leviton acquired Canada’s largest independent lighting manufacturer, Viscor, which provides solutions in architectural, commercial, medical, institutional and industrial applications. Lutron widened its outdoor lighting control offerings by acquiring Limelight in early 2019. 

With a busy 2019 for lighting, 2018 was a lot lighter in the M&A business. Acuity Brands acquired IOTA Engineering, which produces emergency lighting products (and power equipment). Siemens had at least two handfuls of acquisitions in 2018 but one in lighting; they expanded into lighting with a lighting controls and IoT solutions company, Enlighted.  

Serving both the lightingpower distribution and wire/cable sectors, Legrand has steadily acquired lighting companies from 2017 to now. In 2017, Legrand acquired Fineline, a high performance environmentally sustainable lighting company; and a decorative and custom lighting manufacturer, Original Cast Lighting (OCL). The same year, Fulham Co, Inc. of California acquired assets of UK-based company Control Network Solutions to expand its presence in Europe with smart lighting controls. Another international buy in 2017…Chinese venture capital firm, IDG Capital, purchased LEDVANCE only to sell to Chinese LED lighting company MLS the following year.  

Power Distribution 

With only a few acquisitions in 2019, Emerson has acquired many more companies in the previous years. Between 2017 – 18, Emerson bought a few handfuls of companies. Emerson expanded into oil and gas with the purchase of Paradigm and Geofields in 2017.   

In 2017, Power Distribution saw quite a few international buys. To name a few…Siemens acquired Infolytica, Canada-basedGM bought LM Wind Power of DenmarkSchneider Electric purchased India-based Luminous Power Technologies and ABB acquired B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH) of Austria. As mentioned in lighting, Legrand serves multiple electrical industry verticals. Legrand expanded its data center power and controls solutions with the acquisition of Server Technology in 2017. Some domestic buys…Hubbell expanded its solutions to utilities with the acquisition of Aclara Technologies.  

2018 had more notable buys. Among Emerson’s acquisitions, Hitachi sealed an $11 billion deal with the purchase of ABB Power Grid Business and ABB acquired GE Industrial Solutions for $2.6 billionSiemens alone expanded its building automation and IoT solutions with the purchase of Building Robotics and J2 Innovations, plus their expansion of power controls systems and switchgear offerings with the acquisition of Russelectric 

There were a few acquisitions in 2019 but not as striking as 2018. Eaton widened its switchgear offerings with the acquisition of Innovative Switchgear Solutions (ISG)Emerson broadened their SCADA solutions by purchasing Zedi.  

Wire and Cable 

Wire and Cable (and Tool) companies tend to acquire one or two companies a year; in general, they do not acquire nearly as much as the rate as a company like Emerson. The more notable acquisition was Prysmian of General Cable in 2018. In 2018, Southwire also grew its wire in lighting business with the acquisition of Garvin and ProBuilt Lighting. Emerson was heavier in acquiring tools companies in 2018. They acquired Greenlee and Klauke Tools and Test. Klein Tools also expanded its safety products business with the acquisition of Ergodyne in St. Paul, Minnesota. Milwaukee Tools acquired Imperial Blades to widen its multi-tool blade and accessory offerings in 2018. There were other “smaller” buys in 2018. 

Again, as mentioned in lighting and power distribution, Legrand purchased companies in this vertical in 2017 and 2019. In 2017, Legrand acquired ACFO systems to expand their cable management and cabinets solutions; and they purchased Connectrac last year, a cable management solutions provider that brings power, data and communications to commercial interior applications. In 2017, Zekelman also acquired Western Tube & Conduit to expand its offerings in steel and aluminum electrical conduit. Littelfuse had a 2017 and 2018 purchase. In 2017, Littelfuse acquired the assets of US Sensor Corp to expand their product offerings in thermistors, RTDs and assemblies. Littelfuse also acquired IXYS Corporation in 2018 to widen its solutions in medium to high voltage power semiconductors.  

In 2019, there were at least two companies that acquired two companies otherwise it was fairly quiet for wire and cable. Atkore purchased Cor-Tek, a manufacturer of PVC conduit and duct products from Rocky Mountain Colby Pipe Company; and the assets of United Structural Products, which manufactures welded aluminum and engineered-to-order cable trays. NSi dipped into the datacom and telecom market with the purchase of SullStar Technologies, which designs tools and connectors. NSi also expanded its hand tool lines with the acquisition of Platinum Tools; and Connecticut-based Bridgeport Fittings, which manufactures electrical fittings for cable and conduit installations. One-Pull Wire and Cable Solutions also acquired a bundled cable manufacturer, Quik-Pull in 2019 to expands its offerings in spiral configurations, insulated multi-conductor wire bundles and custom UL-rated tray cables.  

So far in 2020 

There has been some M&A movement the first quarter of 2020Power distribution, electrical distribution and lighting has already seen some noteworthy purchases. Earlier this month, Cooper Lighting became a business unit of Signify and Legrand’s unexpected acquisition of Chicago lighting manufacturer Focal Point. Ecosense just expanded its LED lines with the purchase of Soraa, a California-based LED designer and manufacturer. 

ABB, Eaton, Danfoss A/S and IES Holdings have started off their years strong with at least one acquisition. ABB solidified its purchase of Cyclone Controls in early March. Eaton purchased Power Distribution Inc. Expanding its data center power distribution and monitoring solution; and in turn, Eaton sold its Hydraulics Business to Danish industrial company, Danfoss A/S.   

Wire and cable’s saw a change in PE firm ownership with Odyssey Investment Partners’ acquisition of NSi from Blue Sea Capital.  

The Anixter war heated up in January until Wesco’s big and final bid was acceptedWinsupply already has two acquisitions under its belt with the purchases of Morgan Brothers and Rosen Supply to expand in the plumbing and heating market.  

If the past few years and the recession are any indication, electrical distributors will continue to acquire in the next three quarters. M&A deals may slow down in quarter two as we all work out the kinks of our current situation with the Novel Coronavirus; but we expect business to continue as usual.  

 

Who’s Next – Wire & Cable

Our industry has yet to see a slowdown in regards to mergers and acquisitions. But will COVID-19 affect current and future M&As? Companies are adjusting and proceeding using online meeting technology to fill the in-person void. Wexpect M&A deals will continue and be approached the same way with virtual meetings. We are treating this situation similarly to the last recession.  

Between 2007 – 2008, Sonepar, Viking Electric, CED, REXEL, USESI, among a few other distributors didn’t let their acquisition business falter. During the 2008 recession, companies managed to complete acquisition deals; and we trust organizations today will carry on despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Among power distribution, electrical distribution, wire/cable and lighting; our records show that there were well over 60 M&As in 2019. Legrand, Emerson and Siemens acquired manufacturers across three of the verticals, with Acuity Brands taking over in lighting. Companies strategizing to increase market shareexpand markets served, etc 

Here’s a review of M&As over the last few years (primarily focused on 2017 – now). 

Wire and Cable 

Wire and Cable (and Tool) companies tend to acquire one or two companies a year; in general, they do not acquire nearly as much as the rate as a company like Emerson. The more notable acquisition was Prysmian of General Cable in 2018. In 2018, Southwire also grew its wire in lighting business with the acquisition of Garvin and ProBuilt Lighting. Emerson was heavier in acquiring tools companies in 2018. They acquired Greenlee and Klauke Tools and Test. Klein Tools also expanded its safety products business with the acquisition of Ergodyne in St. Paul, Minnesota. Milwaukee Tools acquired Imperial Blades to widen its multi-tool blade and accessory offerings in 2018. There were other “smaller” buys in 2018. 

Again, as mentioned in lighting and power distribution, Legrand purchased companies in this vertical in 2017 and 2019. In 2017, Legrand acquired ACFO systems to expand their cable management and cabinets solutions; and they purchased Connectrac last year, a cable management solutions provider that brings power, data and communications to commercial interior applications. In 2017, Zekelman also acquired Western Tube & Conduit to expand its offerings in steel and aluminum electrical conduit. Littelfuse had a 2017 and 2018 purchase. In 2017, Littelfuse acquired the assets of US Sensor Corp to expand their product offerings in thermistors, RTDs and assemblies. Littelfuse also acquired IXYS Corporation in 2018 to widen its solutions in medium to high voltage power semiconductors.  

In 2019, there were at least two companies that acquired two companies otherwise it was fairly quiet for wire and cable. Atkore purchased Cor-Tek, a manufacturer of PVC conduit and duct products from Rocky Mountain Colby Pipe Company; and the assets of United Structural Products, which manufactures welded aluminum and engineered-to-order cable trays. NSi dipped into the datacom and telecom market with the purchase of SullStar Technologies, which designs tools and connectors. NSi also expanded its hand tool lines with the acquisition of Platinum Tools; and Connecticut-based Bridgeport Fittings, which manufactures electrical fittings for cable and conduit installations. One-Pull Wire and Cable Solutions also acquired a bundled cable manufacturer, Quik-Pull in 2019 to expands its offerings in spiral configurations, insulated multi-conductor wire bundles and custom UL-rated tray cables.  

CLICK HERE to read about more M&As in electrical distribution, power distribution and lighting

So far in 2020 

There has been some M&A movement the first quarter of 2020Power distribution, electrical distribution and lighting has already seen some noteworthy purchases. Earlier this month, Cooper Lighting became a business unit of Signify and Legrand’s unexpected acquisition of Chicago lighting manufacturer Focal Point. Ecosense just expanded its LED lines with the purchase of Soraa, a California-based LED designer and manufacturer. 

ABB, Eaton, Danfoss A/S and IES Holdings have started off their years strong with at least one acquisition. ABB solidified its purchase of Cyclone Controls in early March. Eaton purchased Power Distribution Inc. Expanding its data center power distribution and monitoring solution; and in turn, Eaton sold its Hydraulics Business to Danish industrial company, Danfoss A/S.   

Wire and cable’s saw a change in PE firm ownership with Odyssey Investment Partners’ acquisition of NSi from Blue Sea Capital.  

The Anixter war heated up in January until Wesco’s big and final bid was acceptedWinsupply already has two acquisitions under its belt with the purchases of Morgan Brothers and Rosen Supply to expand in the plumbing and heating market.  

If the past few years and the recession are any indication, electrical distributors will continue to acquire in the next three quarters. M&A deals may slow down in quarter two as we all work out the kinks of our current situation with the Novel Coronavirus; but we expect business to continue as usual.  

Who’s Next – Power Distribution

Our industry has yet to see a slowdown in regards to mergers and acquisitions. But will COVID-19 affect current and future M&As? Companies are adjusting and proceeding using online meeting technology to fill the in-person void. Wexpect M&A deals will continue and be approached the same way with virtual meetings. We are treating this situation similarly to the last recession.  

Between 2007 – 2008, Sonepar, Viking Electric, CED, REXEL, USESI, among a few other distributors didn’t let their acquisition business falter. During the 2008 recession, companies managed to complete acquisition deals; and we trust organizations today will carry on despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Among power distribution, electrical distribution, wire/cable and lighting; our records show that there were well over 60 M&As in 2019. Legrand, Emerson and Siemens acquired manufacturers across three of the verticals, with Acuity Brands taking over in lighting. Companies strategizing to increase market shareexpand markets served, etc 

Here’s a review of M&As over the last few years (primarily focused on 2017 – now). 

Power Distribution 

With only a few acquisitions in 2019, Emerson has acquired many more companies in the previous years. Between 2017 – 18, Emerson bought a few handfuls of companies. Emerson expanded into oil and gas with the purchase of Paradigm and Geofields in 2017.   

In 2017, Power Distribution saw quite a few international buys. To name a few…Siemens acquired Infolytica, Canada-basedGM bought LM Wind Power of DenmarkSchneider Electric purchased India-based Luminous Power Technologies and ABB acquired B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH) of Austria. As mentioned in lighting, Legrand serves multiple electrical industry verticals. Legrand expanded its data center power and controls solutions with the acquisition of Server Technology in 2017. Some domestic buys…Hubbell expanded its solutions to utilities with the acquisition of Aclara Technologies.  

2018 had more notable buys. Among Emerson’s acquisitions, Hitachi sealed an $11 billion deal with the purchase of ABB Power Grid Business and ABB acquired GE Industrial Solutions for $2.6 billionSiemens alone expanded its building automation and IoT solutions with the purchase of Building Robotics and J2 Innovations, plus their expansion of power controls systems and switchgear offerings with the acquisition of Russelectric 

There were a few acquisitions in 2019 but not as striking as 2018. Eaton widened its switchgear offerings with the acquisition of Innovative Switchgear Solutions (ISG)Emerson broadened their SCADA solutions by purchasing Zedi.  

CLICK HERE to read about more M&As in distribution, lighting and wire & cable

So far in 2020 

There has been some M&A movement the first quarter of 2020Power distribution, electrical distribution and lighting has already seen some noteworthy purchases. Earlier this month, Cooper Lighting became a business unit of Signify and Legrand’s unexpected acquisition of Chicago lighting manufacturer Focal Point. Ecosense just expanded its LED lines with the purchase of Soraa, a California-based LED designer and manufacturer. 

ABB, Eaton, Danfoss A/S and IES Holdings have started off their years strong with at least one acquisition. ABB solidified its purchase of Cyclone Controls in early March. Eaton purchased Power Distribution Inc. Expanding its data center power distribution and monitoring solution; and in turn, Eaton sold its Hydraulics Business to Danish industrial company, Danfoss A/S.   

Wire and cable’s saw a change in PE firm ownership with Odyssey Investment Partners’ acquisition of NSi from Blue Sea Capital.  

The Anixter war heated up in January until Wesco’s big and final bid was acceptedWinsupply already has two acquisitions under its belt with the purchases of Morgan Brothers and Rosen Supply to expand in the plumbing and heating market.  

If the past few years and the recession are any indication, electrical distributors will continue to acquire in the next three quarters. M&A deals may slow down in quarter two as we all work out the kinks of our current situation with the Novel Coronavirus; but we expect business to continue as usual.