The annual Klein Tools Electrician of the Year contest is underway. The award recognizes U.S.-based electricians who exemplify professional achievement, safety and community dedication.
The grand prize winner receives a choice of a trip to one of four U.S. destinations, including Charlotte, N.C.; New York; Las Vegas; or Sturgis, S.D. The grand prize winner will also receive $1,500 worth of premium-quality, professional-grade Klein Tools products.
Entries, including self-nominations, will be accepted online at www.kleintools.com/eoy until Aug. 6, 2017. The contest is only open to U.S. residents.
Klein Tools will announce six regional winners on Aug. 16, 2017. Each regional winner will receive the Ultimate Garage Package, which includes a 41-piece Journeyman™ Tool Set, $500 to $1,000 in additional Klein Tools products* and a trip to Klein Tools’ manufacturing headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, to experience how the premium-quality tools are made.
Visitors can vote online for their favorite regional winner from Sept. 11-15, 2017. The grand prize winner will be announced on Sept. 27, via Klein Tools’ Facebook Live.
Following the results of the fan vote, a select group of Klein family members will review the submissions to calculate the grand prize winner. As descendants of Klein Tools’ founder, Mathias Klein, each member takes into account the company’s 160-year heritage to help determine who should represent the electrical industry as the next Klein Tools Electrician of the Year.
“Over the last 160 years, we have heard amazing stories of how electricians dedicate time to their communities, take ownership of difficult work and strive for professional achievement. They do all this while powering the destinations and events that embody the American spirit, like the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, NASCAR® races, music venues and other entertainment that Americans look forward to every year,” says Greg Palese, vice president of marketing at Klein Tools. “We want to celebrate these electricians for their hard work and for powering America’s passions. Through the Electrician of the Year contest, Klein Tools showcases the finest U.S. electricians who do just that.”
*Prize amount will depend on each winner’s standing in the awards. Value based on Klein Tools’ published list price.
Tools looking a little battered, a little rusty, perhaps gone missing from your tool box? Just like handling and owning some of the newest tools on the market from some of the industry’s leading brands? If so, come out to the Hobart (Ind.) Branch of Steiner Electric for its 8th Annual Super Tool Tent Sale and achieve fantastic savings on a variety of tools.
This once-a-year, big-white-tent sale runs from 3:30pm to 6:30pm on Aug. 3 and includes free food. Find great deals on hand and power tools spread throughout 1350 sq. ft. of tent space from vendors, including:
In addition to great products, enjoy great food cooked on-site by district branch manager, and grill cook, Brent Stack who will be serving up burgers and hot dogs for our customers. Thirst quenching soft drinks and water will also be available.
Steiner Electric might be 100+ years old, but it is still growing and isn’t too old to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of its newest facility–the Hubbard Street Branch in Chicago–with a week-long event featuring food, giveaways, and some of the newest products available from Steiner and its leading vendors.
Come out to the July 24 to July 28 event and see products from vendors including Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, Fluke, Burndy, RAB Lighting, Lutron, 3M, and Lake Michigan Sales. Each day, vendors will sponsor free food ranging from tacos to ice cream sundaes and culminating in a cookout with food grilled by Chef, and Steiner Electric district branch manager, Brent Stack.
Other days will feature giveaways and raffle prizes, product demonstrations, and rolling showrooms known as the RAB Van and the Burndy Van. Also, each day, you can enter a Steiner Electric raffle to win tickets to a White Sox baseball game. The drawing for the tickets will be held on Friday, July 28. Winners need not be present.
During the celebration, the Will Call Counter will remain open. Any order of more than $100 that is placed at the Hubbard Street Will Call counter will earn a $5 certificate that can be used at nearby Tortorice’s Pizza,1746 W. Grand Ave., or at any of its other locations.
Please note that while the Branch, located at 2225 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, will open for regular hours at 6am to 5pm on those days, vendors plan to set up their displays later in the morning. For instance, on Monday, Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, who is sponsoring a free breakfast, is scheduled to set up at 7am. While on Tuesday through Thursday, vendors are scheduled to set up displays around 11am. And, on Friday, Brent Stack will don his apron and grab his spatula and begin grilling about 11:30am.
Steiner Electric opened the 26,000-sq.-ft. location in March 2016 to showcase its wide-ranging product line. The facility features a Will Call counter that was designed for the professional electrician, facility, engineer and maintenance person, and an innovative Lighting and Control Technical Center, highlighting commercial and industrial products from leading lighting manufacturers.
Milwaukee Tool is voluntarily expanding the warnings and instructions of its M18™ HIGH DEMAND™ 9.0 battery pack (model no. 48-11-1890). The expanded product warnings, made in consultation with the Consumer Product Safety commission, addresses situations that could lead to a battery pack failure or other safety hazards. This safety notice does not require users to return their M18™ HIGH DEMAND™ 9.0 battery packs.
Should highly conductive or corrosive fluids get inside the M18™ HIGH DEMAND™ 9.0 battery pack in sufficient quantities, it can cause battery pack failure.
Failure can include, a short-circuit that, in an extreme situation, can result in smoking or fire, even when not in use. Examples of highly conductive or corrosive fluids include seawater, certain industrial chemicals and bleach or bleach-containing products.
Milwaukee Tool is urging its customers to download, read and understand the expanded warnings and instructions in their entirety at milwaukeetool.com/safetynotices, where they will also find frequently asked questions and answers.
Any customers who believe highly conductive or corrosive fluids have entered their M18™ HIGH DEMAND™ 9.0 battery pack should immediately contact Milwaukee Tool at 844.577.5515 (7am to 10pm Eastern Time Sunday through Saturday).
Do you consider yourself one of the country’s best electricians? If so, test your abilities at the qualifying rounds of the IDEAL National Championship being held at Steiner Electric’s Rockford facility on June 22, and its Elk Grove Village facilities on June 29.
The events coincide with customer appreciation days at the two venues. In Rockford, Steiner will host its 20th Annual Pig Roast, which, in addition to the electrical competition, will also feature new products and prizes. The following week, in Elk Grove Village, Steiner will host its Great American BBQ.
It was at a Steiner event last year that the 2016 IDEAL National Championship winner, Greg Anliker, qualified to move on in the competition. Anliker, an electrician with 20 years’ experience, will defend his title as the country’s best professional electrician at this year’s Championship Weekend, Nov. 10-11, 2017, in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Will you make it through the gauntlet of challenges to get a chance to challenge Anliker as this year’s champ?
In the IDEAL National Championship qualifying rounds, contestants are required to demonstrate problem-solving and physical skills across four categories: wire cutting, stripping, termination, and testing through a multi-station speed test judged by fastest completion time and overall accuracy of the wire connection.
Are you getting the most money back on your investment in LED lamps, fixtures and other energy efficient products? If you buy your lighting products from ComEd-approved distributor Steiner Electric, you can receive rebates on your lighting purchases.
Steiner participates in two programs with ComEd to garner the greatest amount of savings for our customers. These rebates can provide significant financial incentives for the installation of energy-efficient products. Best yet, Steiner handles most of the paperwork.
The Standard Program
The ComEd Standard Program is a program designed for nonresidential applications such as for commercial and industrial uses. The products covered include new fixtures and other approved energy efficiency products. To be eligible, every project needs to be pre-approved before the customer purchases and installs the material.
Steiner handles all of the paperwork. After the project is complete, a final application is submitted and the customer receives a rebate check about 4 weeks later.
Examples of applications that are eligible for these discounts, includes: relighting a warehousing facility from 400W metal halide (MH) to LED lighting or changing out a parking lot from HID to LED.
Another option for garnering additional rebates is by reducing wattage while still using the same technology. For instance, if a customer wants to change out its warehouse lighting with a 200W LED replacement fixture, but a second, equally viable option is to utilize a 175W fixture, the second option can increase the amount of rebate. Even though the application is the same, the rebate is determined using a formula that factors in the amount of wattage saved.
Essentially, the more energy you save, the higher the rebate.
Program 2, Instant Discounts
Another program administered by Steiner Electric allows you to get your rebates immediately at the time of purchase, without any pre-approval process. Previously known as ComEd Business Instant Lighting Discounts (BILD) Program, ComEd has simplified that name, rebranding the program as “Instant Discounts.”
How instant? Come to any of the Will Call counters at one of Steiner’s 9 convenient locations, purchase an energy efficient product from the Qualified Product List, and immediately get your rebate taken off the top of your invoice.
The program offers incentives to purchase high-efficiency lamps, exit signs and other energy efficiencyproducts. Instead of a pre-approval process, Steiner Electric takes the rebate off the price of the material at the time of sale. On every applicable invoice, a line item is included stating the ComEd rebate. The objective of the program is to provide an incentive to customers to use more energy efficient products; for example, using (100) 4-ft LED lamps instead of 32W T8 lamps.”
To help you better understand the available lighting incentives, contact your local Steiner lighting consultant or visit one of Steiner Electric’s 9 convenient locations and we will help you sort out your lighting needs. Steiner’s lighting experts can help determine the most appropriate lighting technology for a job, and help ensure that you receive the most bang for your lighting buck.
Last March, Richard Kerman, or Rick as he is known in the halls and cubicles of Steiner Electric, gave a speech to a group of first-year college students enrolled in the business program of Champlain College, a small college in Burlington, Vt.
Kerman explained the concept of the wholesale distribution channel and how material and services flow from the factory to contractors, original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s), and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO’s) and, ultimately, to the public.
But, the open discussion evolved into much more and received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the students.
The dialogue was about family and community, history and hard work. He told stories of an 11-year-old sweeping warehouse floors and washing winter’s grime from company trucks, and of multiple generations of family working to sustain and grow a business, and of those that came before him, and those that will succeed him. It was in the articulating of those ideas that kept the attention of 24 young adults who otherwise might be checking Facebook pages or Instagram accounts.
Robert Bloch, adjunct faculty member at Champlain, says he asked the students about what they thought about the presentation, and he was met with “an outburst of ‘yeahs,’ ‘greats,’ ‘awesomes,’ and “generally positive vibes.”
“They appreciated getting an inside look at an industry to which they normally are not exposed,” Bloch says. “They felt that [Rick] shared a unique perspective as a CEO and family member. [He gave] a multi-dimensional view. They liked the personal stories and felt that he was a CEO at a big firm that [they] could relate to as a person. They appreciated his candor about the challenges the company faces, and the obvious pride he takes in the company.”
While Kerman is a successful businessman, well-practiced at giving presentations in front of groups, he found it was especially easy to talk to these students about something he knows so well, something that he grew up with, something that is in his Steiner-blue blood.
The lecture started with an overview of what is distribution. He explained about distributors and how independent organizations such as Steiner act as the conduit between manufacturers of products and services to the consumers of these goods. He discussed the challenges a company in this industry faces that include the traditional electrical distributor, and newer competitors such as massive home improvement stores, and the Goliath’s of the e-commerce world such as Amazon. While he focused on the electrical products distribution industry, he discussed how the broader industry works to get goods and services into the hands of those who need them. Eventually, however, the discussion transitioned into the history of the company, and the role of family in its success.
Steiner and Family
Steiner Electric is many things. It is a 100-year-old distribution business that over the years has grown to become one of the top 40 electrical supply businesses in the country, with more than 1,000 vendors, and operating 9 facilities throughout the Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana area. It operates five business units under the Steiner name, including electrical supplies, lighting and controls, generator power systems, automation products and metalworking supplies. Steiner Electric is, indeed, many things. But, at its heart, it is a family business. Rick is just the 4th president and third generation of the company his grandfather founded in 1916. The company is proud that the next generation has already began making their individual contributions in various capacities throughout the company.
For instance, Adam Kerman, Rick’s oldest son, worked summers at the business, and now has worked full-time for five years calling on the property managers at major commercial buildings in downtown Chicago and the surrounding area. His middle brother, Jason, a graduate of the University of Colorado-Denver’s film school, has worked in the marketing department during summers from school and after graduation before taking position as an assistant flame artist at a local production company. A flame artist utilizes Flame software primarily in the video postproduction industry to create visual effects for video and film production.
Family is a common theme when speaking with Rick, but that does not mean that family always equates to blood lines. In fact, there was a period of 40 years when the only family members at Steiner were Rick and his father, Harold Kerman.
Today, the company employs nearly 430 co-workers who average 12 years with the company. Many of them have cross trained jobs; some currently do jobs vastly different from when they were hired. Rick points to the men and women who gave most of their working lives to the company. Literally decades spent in the Steiner “family.” Recently, five members of the team retired and their length of service ranged from 21 to 50 years.
The company must always look at succession planning and making sure the right people are in the right position doing the right things. As Steiner honors its past, it must stay focused on the changing demands required for future growth. One of the newest members of the staff is Josh Kerman, Rick’s youngest son, who recently graduated from Champlain, and now has begun working on a part-time basis in the social media department at Steiner while continuing to operate a successful DJ music business in Burlington.
Josh, like his father, swept the Steiner warehouse floor as a child, dodging forklifts, and was, according to Rick, always an entrepreneur at heart. At one point, he gathered scrap wood, trimmed and finished them and then toured the neighborhood, pushing an old, squeaky TV cart to sell his “Kid Made Music.” Later, to satisfy his Boy Scout Eagle project requirement, he collected gently used sporting goods that he donated to a homeless shelter.
It was Josh Kerman who asked his father to speak at the college, some 900 miles from the company’s typical customer. It wasn’t to make a sale, but it was a chance to impart some knowledge to young, business-minded men and women about an industry that might not have been at the forefront of their thinking.
Rick says “the unique program of Champlain College allows students to start in 101 business classes, not prerequisites. “It gets them excited about business and helps them discover what they want to do,” he says. “They learn the practical aspects of running a business allowing them to better relate to the concepts of what they want to do. The program is designed for creative minds.”
Bloch calls Champlain a professionally oriented college. “We teach a solid chunk of liberal arts, but we emphasize professional preparation,” he says. “We believe in an educational philosophy known as experiential learning, which we value very highly … The more we can offer real-world experience to the students tends to be good.”
Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience. Not just hands-on experience, but in the reflection, critical analysis and synthesis of the experience. One method to deliver an “experiential learning experience” is by inviting people from the real world to come into the classroom to talk in depth, not only about what they do, but about their lives and how they got there, Bloch added. “This is why I jumped at the chance to have Rick speak.”
For instance, when discussing Kerman’s speech, the question of the company’s worth was broached, which led to a discussion on how companies are valued in general: cash-flow multiples; underlying assets, both hard and soft (e.g. customer and supplier relationships); growth potential. “It was a nice, bonus learning moment,” Bloch says.
“So much of what kids are exposed to today tells them that business sucks, and that business people are all a bunch of money-grubbers, but I believe business is one of the most creative forces we have in society for good, and so, it was great to have a guy like Rick come into the classroom and exude his passion for his business. A 20-year-old might not think the industry is glamorous, but they were able to see someone like Rick who was able to make wholesale distribution stimulating and fun.”
While Bloch understands that with Josh graduating, there might be less incentive to visit the school that is situated on the shores of Lake Champlain near Canada, “but if he does,” says Bloch, “I would love to have him give the presentation again, and this time in front of a larger audience.”
Huntington’s Disease has been called the “quintessential family disease” because every child of a parent with HD has a 50 percent chance of carrying the faulty, deadly gene. Steiner Electric was proud to be a corporate sponsor at this year’s fundraising event on May 21.
Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain can causes a lessening in a person’s physical and mental abilities. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 to 50, and can worsen over a 10- to 25-year period. There is no cure.
Approximately 30,000 Americans are symptomatic of the disease, and more than 200,000 others are at-risk of inheriting a gene that over time can mutate and trigger HD symptoms. Within many families, multiple generations have inherited this expanded gene.
According to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), symptoms of HD varies from person to person, even within the same family. The progression of the disease can be roughly divid
ed into three stages. In the early stage, HD usually includes subtle changes in coordination. In the middle stage, movement disorder becomes more pronounced, and in the late stage, the person with HD is dependent on others for their care as their brain cells die.
Donations to the HDSA advocacy group supports research into new therapies, provides services and referrals to HD families and individuals trying to cope with the effects of the disease, and expands educational programs and develops informational materials to bring great awareness and further education about HD.
To learn more about HD, and the work of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, visit www.hdsa.org or phone (800) 345-HDSA.
From the battlefields of the Revolutionary War to the armed conflicts being waged today, more than 1.2 million men and women have died for our country and for the cause of liberty.
To those who have paid this, the ultimate sacrifice, Steiner Electric gives its humblest and most heartfelt thanks. We will never forget what you have done to protect our freedoms.
To all U.S. veterans, those who served in war and in peace, including the 30 current Steiner Electric employees who served in the cause of liberty, and to their families back home who carried their own burdens, we salute your efforts and wish you our best.