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 all 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 by calling 1-800-STEINER (783-4637) 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.
May is National Electrical Safety Month and this year the focus of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) annual effort is to foster a clearer understanding of the National Electrical Code. The campaign, “Decoding the National Electrical Code® (NEC) to Prevent Shock and Electrocution,” features illustrated graphic resources to promote common ways to prevent electrical hazards.
According to the ESFI, which launched the safety campaign, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents and electrocution. Additionally, an estimated annual average of 70 electrocution fatalities are associated with consumer products.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) creates a universal electrical safety standard that applies to new construction and renovations. The code is only in effect after it is adopted by the state or local jurisdiction. First published in 1897, the NEC has been adopted in all 50 states as the standard for safe electrical installation, inspection, and used to protect people and property from avoidable electrical hazards. Every three years, the Code is updated to include new, but tested safety technologies. There have been 15 code revisions since 1974.
As part of the ESFI’s safety effort to improve understanding of the NEC, the group developed the illustrated program, the “Electric Safety Illustrated 2017: Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution.”
The program is financially supported by many leading companies in the industry, including several firms whose products are distributed by Steiner Electric. For instance, ESFI is promoting the use of ground fault circuit interrupters, and several Steiner vendors offer these products, including: Lutron, Eaton, Hubbell, Siemens, Legrand and Leviton. Other Steiner vendors participating in the program, include: Schneider Electric and Ilsco.
To all those who ran, walked and biked, as well as those whose physical contribution equated to reaching into their wallets, congratulations on helping Team Steiner surpass its 2017 goal to raise funds for the American Cancer Society in its annual Walk & Roll event.
On April 22, 49 active members of Team Steiner participated during the American Cancer Society’s Walk & Roll event that kicked off at Soldier Field. Not only did they work up a healthy sweat by walking or running a 5k race, skating in a 10k, or biking a 15k, Team Steiner helped raised $6,571, which is 31% greater than the goal of $5,000 set before the event occurred.
In addition, an online auction of various prizes brought in pledges of more than $10,600. The auction included Cubs vs. Reds baseball tickets donated by Steiner Electric that garnered a $190 winning bid.
In total, Walk & Roll Chicago raised more than $450,000 with donations continuing to come in. According to Samantha Kuderna, community manager, special events for the American Cancer Society, donations are expected until June 30, “when we most likely will be over $500,000.”
Steiner Electric raised money in conjunction with the Chicago Electrical Industry (CEI). In all, there were 22 teams with 450 participants under the CEI Community Outreach umbrella and more than $110,000 was raised to date. The CEI program, launched in 2011, is comprised of Steiner and more than 20 other distributors, electrical contractors, and manufacturers. Since its inception, the group has raised over $1.5 million for the American Cancer Society.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than one million people get cancer each year. Most of the money raised from this event, and others like it across the country, is funneled directly to research in an effort to gain a better understanding of what causes cancer to form, how to treat it, and, in the end, prevent the myriad of cancers from forming in the first place.
Kuderna added: “Thank you so much for your continued hard work and dedication, it is truly inspiring. The amount of passion Steiner has for our life-saving mission is truly incredible. I am extremely grateful to be able to work with such passionate volunteers like yourself and companies that rally their employees around this critical cause.”
The U.S. LED market is flooded with a variety of products that can vastly differ in terms of quality and cost, and purchasing LEDs based solely on price could be a bad idea with long-term consequences. At an upcoming seminar at Steiner Electric, learn how some LEDs do not have the same color consistency, light output or cost effectiveness as would other higher-cost, higher-quality LED lamps.
According to the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the U.S. market is being bombarded with low-cost LED luminaires that “produce blobs of light rather than [offering] precise optical control.”
Naomi Miller, an award-winning lighting consultant and researcher, will explore optical control and LED light quality at a May 24 IES seminar to be held at Steiner Electric in Elk Grove Village. The presentation is titled: Does Anyone Care about Luminaire Light Distribution?
The talk will examine where and when light distribution matters, and how it affects visual comfort and visibility, not to mention visual composition, for indoor and outdoor applications. It will also address glare metrics, and how the distribution of luminance across the luminaire itself may affect the glare response, even though that is not included in the glare formulae.
Miller is a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory after spending 10 years as the principal designer for Naomi Miler Lighting Design in Troy, NY, where she won more than 30 architectural lighting design awards for projects ranging from churches to university science buildings, boutique hotels, supermarkets and parking lots. She is the author of numerous papers on lighting, chaired the Illuminating Engineering Society’s (IESNA) Quality of the Visual Environment committee for 8 years and was a principal member of the writing team for the IES’s Light + Design: A Guide to Designing Quality Lighting for People and Buildings. She is a Fellow of the IESNA and Fellow of the IALD.
The event will take place at: Steiner Electric (Training Center) 1275 Touhy Avenue Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Clean. Elegant. A control panel that can be described in that fashion can also be thought of as one that is efficient, reliable, safe. Contrasted to individually wired, point-to-point systems, where operators need schematics to track a jumble of cables and wires that have been cut to various lengths, an optimized and efficient control panel can be installed more quickly, tested more confidently, and maintained more reliably.
Today, OEMs face increasing needs for faster turnaround times to build and install the machinery they make, as well as the control panels that provide the power to the motor starters, contactors, relays, and pilot devices, as well as the myriad sensors, valves, actuators, pumps and other ancillary devices used in manufacturing facilities. Contractors and maintenance people also face pressure to maintain and troubleshoot control panels as quickly as possible; machinery downtime is a bottom-line killer.
The control panel of today has changed in design and build and its wiring needs have become more complex. To ease these challenges, suppliers have stepped in with new, smarter wire and cabling products.
One of the leaders in this wiring evolution is ERIFLEX, a Pentair brand that produces low-voltage power and grounding connections. The company has developed products to streamline control panel assembly and installation that can also be adapted to specific applications and customer needs.
Recently, the company introduced its ERIFLEX Flexibar solution, a flexible busbar wire replacement concept, that is designed to reduce weight and space and make cleaner connections using fewer materials. The company says that the ERIFLEX low-voltage power and grounding connections are the next-generation alternatives to bulky wires and cables.
The Flexibar busbar is designed for low-voltage applications from 27 sq. mm up to 1,200 sq. mm and 125A to 2800A. A bus bar is essentially an electrically conductive strip or bar used to distribute power to multiple circuits in parallel. Busbar can also be used as a common tapping point for multiple ground or neutral terminals.
ERIFLEX’s Flexibar is made from thin layers of tinned electrolytic copper formed into a stack that can be easily bent, folded and twisted, improving assembly flexibility, shortening connections and decreasing foot print.
The copper layers are insulated with a high-resistance, self-extinguishing PVC or silicone compound. The insulating sleeve is grooved on the inner surface, reducing the contact surface with the laminates to less than 20%, increasing flexibility and making installation easier.
The OEMs and electrical contractors who leverage this type of innovative, flexible technology for power distribution and grounding can gain competitive advantage. Because of installation speed, high-quality electrical connections and long-term reliability, early adopters will quickly see the bottom-line benefits, and be better positioned to stay ahead of the competition.