September 25, 2023
By Blake Marchand
Earlier this year, Rexel announced the acquisition of Lineman’s Testing Laboratories (LTL), which allows Rexel to offer a complementary range of products and services and enhanced opportunities in the value-add market.
LTL is a unique company with three comprehensive areas of expertise, Power Technical Services (Electrical Engineering & Substation Services); LTL Utility Supply; and NAIL-accredited High Voltage Testing, Calibration and Factory Authorized Tool and Equipment Repair Services.
We spoke with LTL President, Rob Burgess on the history of the company and how the sale to Rexel will impact the company moving forward.
LTL was previously a privately owned company, founded in 1958 by Burgess’ father, Bill Burgess who passed in 1971. LTL remained in Burgess’ Mom’s name until he purchased LTL in the 1990”s. Rob’s uncle Jack Burgess ran LTL from 1971 till 1991.
Burgess is a power lineman by trade and grew up around the company, that was key experience for him, “All the equipment that we sold I used on my job, all of the testing, all the requirements of the equipment I had training on and knew all the safety ramifications and parameters required, he said, “and because my family owned the company, I paid a lot of attention as a young man and was always on committees and doing things to understand the safety aspects of our trade,” he explained.
The company is made up of many employees with technical expertise and experience in the field, like Burgess, which is key to their success as an all-around solutions provider for the utility industry. They employ linemen, electrical engineers, and technologists.
“We’re very different from any other supplier. We’re known for our rubber gloves and line hoses and safety products, but we’re a massive distributor when it comes to every type of product that linemen use.”
As Burgess noted, they handle every piece of equipment on the utility truck. They do testing, calibration, repair, recertification, and equipment programs. For example, Burgess noted, they have contracts where they service every single tool for a particular utility.
“Even if it’s something that we don’t necessarily service,” he said, “they still want to bring it to us so that it’s just one point of contact.”
How will the acquisition impact LTL going forward?
Following the sale, Burgess has remained in his role and the company will continue to offer the same solutions and services. The acquisition, Burgess said, will allow them to grow their product lines and compete with larger firms.
“Well, the reason why I sold,” he explained, “it was an amazing company and I loved it, it’s just that we kind of plateaued.”
“All our services are staying the same. What we have is phenomenal services and what we are going to be doing is leveraging all of the Nedco locations and all of the different stores and associations and customers that Rexel currently has, and we’ll just build on that.”
“We have access to more product lines that we couldn’t get in the past, that will be substantial, so I think the plan is to continue to grow over the over the next few years based off of all the additional strengths that we obtain from becoming Rexel.”
Looking ahead, with the sale to Rexel, Burgess said, “The growth opportunities are endless. We plan on doubling or tripling the size of Lineman’s in the coming years.
“I’m really happy where we landed. I’m happy for my employees,” he said. “The growth opportunities are phenomenal and it’s just a great crew to work with.”
Burgess noted that LTL had a lot of offers come in once they decided to sell, he was impressed by Rexel, Roger Little, and the way they do business.
“They’re (Rexel) just a really well-run company.”
More on LTL Testing Laboratories of Canada
LTL currently has around 70 employees, servicing customers across Canada. Their distribution centres are based in Toronto and Alberta, which allows for coast-to-coast coverage.
They were the first NAIL (North American Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing) accredited lab in Canada. It is the largest NAIL-accredited lab in Canada. NAIL works closely with ASTM and ANSI to ensure uniformity with testing standards.