Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Apr 30, 2017

Ilan and JasonBy Line Goyette

Together they have re-imagined and introduced to international markets a company founded by their father in the basement of the family home. Their father Raymond had started the business buying and selling electric components for industrial heating.

In 1975, seeing an opening in this market, Raymond purchased a building and under the name of Wattco began manufacturing his own components. After Raymond’s retirement in 2011, his sons Ilan and Jason again expanded the scope of the family business, now offering custom heating solutions for any industry with efficiency and services they need.

Jason joined his father in the family business straight from university in 1997 with a degree in business and economics. He had worked for Wattco during the school holidays and found it natural to join the company when he graduated. “With my father I learned all the old-school notions of customer service — how to talk to customers, maintain relationships, and other important aspects, all in French even though I had always lived and studied in English. “We were doing business in Quebec, so I should be conducting business in French.”

As the company grew, Jason would tell his brother about the immense pleasure he felt in growing the business, and urge Ilan to join him. In 2002, Ilan finally decided to come on board. With a degree in finance, he had already been working for large construction companies.

“Ilan has really filled a gap that we had in the company,” says Jason. “I now have my childhood accomplice to share my ideas with and talk about marketing. His expertise has helped the company grow quickly and expand its market.”

In 2011, when Raymond retired, the two brothers bought the family business and changed the vision for the company. “My father had established limits that he didn't go beyond,” says Ilan. “He had grown his business within those boundaries and was satisfied with the results. We decided to expand our customer base because, going forward, the business model we inherited from the 1970s was no longer suited to new technologies.”

“The oil industry was booming, and we saw it as a great opportunity,” says Jason. “Oil companies around the world needed devices tailored to heating liquids and gases in their refineries. Companies in the United States, Mexico and China were already offering these products, but the market was looking for high quality, custom equipment, delivered quickly. We introduced an engineering department, then an on-site welding shop, and offered tailor-made solutions. The on-site welding is important because it allows us to ensure a high quality product and timely delivery. We’re now producing our own control panels. Since we make commitments to our internet customers, we have to be able to meet these commitments, and controlling the supply chain allows us to do that.”

For both brothers, clean energy is an essential corporate value. Jason says they’re not prepared to leave a carbon footprint from either their processes or their solutions. “We want to encourage customers to use our product because it's a clean product that uses electricity. We're going into polluted areas and proposing clean solutions.”

Ilan continues the theme: “We have a mature product, it’s not like an electronic gadget, but every industry is going through change and today they need clean products. We have invested in manufacturing and automation, and are working with engineering firms that help us access their networks.”

They speak only about the fun they have working together to develop products that meet their values, but they still have some challenges. “The nicest thing is to work together and open up our market, but our challenge is to put in place a team that shares our vision. We couldn’t work with a team that didn't feel as involved in every project, that doesn’t share our passion. This sounds like a cliché; people have already heard other managers talk about these things, but they realize that Wattco is a true home, and employees stay with us. We give them an opportunity to improve, to participate in various processes throughout the chain of design, engineering, assembly, shipping, and installation on customer sites.”

The two brothers seem to get along so well, and I ask them if it was always this way. They say they’ve always had complementary strengths and that Ilan has always been the brains behind the operation and Jason, he talks a lot. I continue, asking if they have personal lives. The surprised look on their faces speak volumes about the hours they spend at work, but both say outside working hours, during unscripted time, they spend a lot of it with their families. Ilan has three daughters and Jason a boy and a girl.

Line Goyette is Managing Editor of EIN;


Changing Scene

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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion



Surgelogic RecallProduct: Surgelogic™ NQ SurgeLoc™ Surge Protection Device.

Issue: The Surgeloc Surge Protection Device can experience an arc event, which can result in a fire hazard.

What to do: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled surge protection devices and contact Schneider Electric for instructions on receiving a free equivalent replacement surge protector.



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Terry BeckerBy Terry Becker, P.Eng., CESCP, IEEE Senior Member

The electric shock hazard has been neglected.  Journeyman Electricians have accepted been shocked as part of the job, a “right” of passage, a badge of honour. 

This has not been acceptable and Journeyman Electricians may not be aware of the long term sequela health effects of receiving multiple low voltage electrical shocks and how it may have impacted them.  With respect to treatment there is only a single formal recognized treatment centre in Canada, the St Johns Rehab Centre. Electrical Injury Program.

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EIN Code Quiz 2Take this opportunity to test your knowledge of the Canadian Electrical Code - Part 1. Here are two questions on essential electrical systems: health care. 

You'll find the answers in EIN articles written by our code experts — mainly Bill Burr and Terry Becker — and of course in your own best practices. Answers will be posted on our website in a few days and published in our next issue. Good luck and share your results with our Facebook group: Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussions.



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Product News

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Extech Non-Contact High Voltage DetectorFLIR Systems has announced the availability of the Extech DV690 its first non-contact high voltage detector with a detection range of up to 69,000 volts (69 kV). The industrial-grade DV690 provides early warning alerts of energized electrical components for utility lineworkers, telecommunications installers, first responders, search and rescue teams, and tree removal services.

The DV690 features five flexible mounting options: handheld, around the neck, clipped to a belt, strapped to an arm, or attached to a universal spline hot stick. The three handsfree possibilities allow the most optimal operation to efficiently and carefully complete a job. Using a hot stick creates a safer distance to target, extending operator reach.

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Milwaukee Radius Compact Site LightThe M18 RADIUS Compact Site Light with Flood Mode provides a two-in-one solution for area and task lighting with less to carry. The compact LED light delivers 2,200 lumens in area mode and 1,000 lumens in flood mode. The light offers up to 16 hours of run-time with the option to be plugged in using the AC inlet for extended run-time.

Its compact size allows you to take this site light on and off the jobsite effortlessly and its 4-1/4" metal hanging hook allows you to easily hang the light overhead. The durable light is equipped with a high impact polycarbonate lens to withstand harsh jobsite abuse. The LEDs never need to be replaced and are backed by a limited lifetime warranty. 

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Panel PC1200With the Panel PC 1200, B&R introduces a compact and cost-effective all-in-one PC. Equipped with the latest Intel Atom processors and up to 256 GB of mass storage, the Panel PC 1200 is ideal for running HMI applications under Windows or Linux operating systems.

With 2x Gigabit Ethernet and 2x USB 3.0, the Panel PC 1200 is ready for integration into any machine network. Compact CFast cards are used for data storage.




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Peers & Profiles

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EIN Green 100 400

By Blake Marchand

This past December Jennifer Green was honoured with Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award for the Skilled Trades category by WXN (Women’s Executive Network).

“It is truly an honour to be recognized by WXN and to be among this group of amazing women,” said Green of earning the distinction. “Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many great mentors and team members – to them, I say thank you for always inspiring me. I am absolutely thrilled.” Green is an industrial mechanic millwright by trade and works with Skills Ontario as Director of Competitions and Young Women’s Initiatives. 

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Jo Istanbul Four Seasons ABy Owen Hurst

Recently, Electrical Industry Canada has developed a relationship with Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), a non-for-profit group developing resources and networking potential for women and all working or planning to work within the renewable energy sector. Aside from being the WiRE President & CEO, Joanna Osawe is the Global Business Development Manager of Major Projects for DMC Power Inc.

EIN sat down with Osawe to learn more about WiRE and the substantial benefits it provides. Joanna is very personable and open regarding her career and her ambition, as well as the opportunities she is developing for women nationally and globally. 

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Stephanie SmithBy Blake Marchand

“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. “Leadership in 2020 has certainly been a challenge for everybody in the world let alone the nuclear industry or the electricity industry.”

An engineer by trade, Smith spent the majority of her career with Ontario Power Generation (OPG). She was the first woman to be certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station where she served as Plant Manager and was recently named the first President and CEO of CANDU Owners Group. Smith is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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