Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Aug 23, 2021

Sarah SilversteinBlake Marchand

Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. Together, they lead the company founded by their father, Steve Silverstein, who retired in 2018.

Although she initially pursued a career in outdoor education, Sarah was instrumental in the company’s expansion into architectural lighting and the U.S. market. She joined Liteline as a project manager in between stints working in outdoor education. Now she leads Liteline’s U.S. distribution arm and marketing department.

Not exactly accustomed to office worklife, she went into Outside Sales calling on distributors in the Toronto area, which bridged into the architectural sector. They didn’t have any salespeople working that market segment and Sarah took on the challenge of building their client base.

“I started calling on architects and interior designers, but we didn’t really have the products to service that market, at the time. So, I was going out and calling on them and figuring out what they wanted,” she explained. “I was able to bridge the gap between product development to make recommendations on what we should be developing and building to serve that market. And that’s been a huge growth for us in the last 8-9 years.”

They launched A-Line, their architectural product line, in 2010. Sarah was able to bridge the gap between sales and product development, allowing Liteline to develop products tailored to that market.

When she wanted to take on more responsibility, she proposed they expand into the U.S. Something the company had considered in the past.

“We had tried over the years but didn’t really have to much unique to offer – back in the 80s and 90s.”

At the time, they had launched their A-Line and introduced their SlimLED line, so they had an architectural product offering that would allow them to stand out a little more.

Sarah began reaching out to sales agencies in the U.S in 2015, growing their network to 44 rep agencies.

Along with managing their U.S distribution side, which they incorporated last year, she has taken the lead on Liteline’s marketing. Something she is really enjoying.

“I love getting creative, I like trying to find the easiest way and the simplest ways for people to understand what they need, what we offer and how to use it. The user experience is fun and exciting and it’s different.

“I had all these great ideas of what I wanted to do and now its great to implement them, and I have an awesome team that’s been super helpful and supportive in that.”

On their success as a company

“We’re lucky, my brothers and I, to have 40-years of a company behind us – but the recent success over the years is our excitement to grow the business. We’re all super eager, we’re all really engaged, really involved. Each of us has our own individual skills that balance each other out and we’re all really passionate about it, about growing the business and meeting change.”

“There’s a lot of moving pieces in the industry, we’re all sitting at the edge of our seats watching what’s happening and trying to guess the next move and be part of it.”

Meeting that change in the industry, as Sarah explains, also needs to be reflected internally. Not only to attract talented professionals, but to foster an innovative mindset.

“We’re modernizing our organization, we’re improving our corporate culture to attract young energetic people, passionate people and thought leaders.”

From Sarah’s perspective, you spend half your life at work so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your time there. Particularly, when it comes talented professionals who have plenty of options. Developing a strong, vibrant corporate culture goes a long way differentiating a company. Which is a major factor for attracting and retaining people, as well as motivation and productivity.

“We’ve done that successfully, its been a bit of a change, changing from a 70’s run organization, that mentality to more of a start-up culture in the last 5-10 years, and I would say we’re there now.”

“We have in-house massages every other Friday, ice cream trucks every long weekend, we’re in a company wide competition right now that runs all year...”

“It took some time to make that change happen, but we’ve made it happen and its fun.”

Growing into the IoT field

“Energy became a major topic when we switched over to LEDs, circadian rhythm was a main topic over the last two or three years, now its all about PoE and IoT. The internet of things is huge, that’s where everyone is going, that’s what they’re talking about and how all that connects to energy, to circadian rhythms – its all interconnected, so that’s a major focus for us right now in R&D. It’s a really fun field to follow what’s happening and to turn your house over IoT. And that’s what is going to keep us leading. I can’t tell you too much about what we have in the works for that, but…”

Liteline has really turned their focus to innovation. IoT is tying all these major trends together… energy efficiency, lighting control, human centric lighting. “For us to remain independent and growing we need to focus on bridging that gap a little bit.”

“The Luna series has been a major product for us. We’re putting a lot of effort into growing that product line. Edge fixtures are changing the way troffers or panels are done.” And they also have a new step light released last year that molds into the wall.

“So, lots of fun things coming out.”

Challenges

When it comes to being in a leadership role for Sarah, “The biggest challenge is finding the right people.”

When you have people working remotely, finding people you can trust can be difficult because its harder to integrate into the company culture established at headquarters.

“Finding people who are as motivated as you are – nobody’s going to be as motivated as you are if you’re running the company – but people that can work with that level of excitement and energy everyday, and do it from their remote office, can be tough.”

“The excitement that we all have in here, that honestly radiates through the organization. Everyone in the headquarters, here, is excited about what they do and feel the pulse of it. We have a lot of really engaged people. I find it hard to find people that are working remotely that can get that level of engagement. It’s hard to do that remotely.”

Coming into a new industry is always a challenge, for Sarah it was understanding the business models.

“I’d say the products was probably the easiest part of it for me. But Just understanding how the decision-making channel works was tough at the beginning. But even for us as a company, we weren’t in specification at the time, so we were all kind of learning that together.”

Another challenge for her personally was being a young woman in the industry, particularly being in sales. She was 23 at the time she went into outside sales calling on electrical distributors that, for the most part, were used to a different demographic of salesperson.

“It was uncomfortable at times for me to assert dominance and develop those relationships with people who were 3-times my age, mostly male, and used to a different type of person coming in to pitch them. It had its challenges.”

That was part of the reason she wanted to go into architectural sales and grow that client base. An area that has really taken off for Liteline.

And now, being in a leadership position presents a similar challenge. But one that Sarah hasn’t shied away from.

“It’s just being confident, knowing yourself and knowing the company. And knowing that you can’t control others or their perception. You just got to do the best that you can, do the right thing and do it the right way and that comes across to people,” she said.

It can be easy to second guess yourself in the uncertain territory of a new position, company or industry. But focusing on what you can control and working hard ultimately translates into the confidence required to excel. Something Sarah has clearly done.

Given her experience and success, Sarah’s advice for young women in this industry is: “Be confident.”

“If you know your stuff, nobody’s going to question you in what you’re doing. Be knowledgeable, get back to people, show up, respond, and the right people find themselves to you.”

“You kind of have to let some things roll off your shoulders, as well. It can be tough, but its rewarding if you work hard.”

Blake Marchand is Associate Editor with Kerrwil Electrical Group


 

The EPLAN AdvantageWhat is EPLAN?

One platform, multiple solutions – the Eplan Platform offers engineering software such as Preplanning for systematic preliminary planning, Electric P8 for preparing circuit diagrams and Pro Panel for 3D enclosure planning, all from a single source. Standardised interfaces and integration processes enable continuous data flows throughout the value chain, with additional links to various system solutions from Rittal.

This year, EPLAN has introduced its new EPLAN Platform 2022 to help address challenges in the design, engineering and manufacturing phases of the panel building process...

Read More


 

Changing Scene

  • Prev
The Ontario Electrical League (OEL) is celebrating 100 years of reliability within the electrical ...
ECAO and NECA have announced that on January 1 ECAO officially joined NECA as their 119th Chapter. ...
A virtual event hosted by CAF-FCA to engage employers about the business case for apprenticeship. ...
British Columbian organizations developing low-carbon building solutions can now apply for a third ...
More and more businesses, industries and people are going ‘grid independent.’ This means Licensed ...
CSA Group, a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification, has announced the opening of a ...
Sense announced a new standards-based open source effort to enable software to ...
In November, the 2021 Virtual AD Supplier Summit Industrial & Safety–Canada Division event saw ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC), through the support of its members, is proud to support university ...
 Ontario is investing an additional $90 million over three years to further promote the ...


EIN NECA ECAO 400ECAO and NECA have announced that on January 1 ECAO officially joined NECA as their 119th Chapter. Executive Director Graeme Aitken joined NECA CEO David Long on LinkedIn Live to announce the partnership.

Given the similarities between the two organizations, ECAO is looking to create more opportunities for its electrical contractor members and this further collaboration will allow them to facilitate that. As well as drawing on the educational opportunities that NECA can offer.

“What we’re looking for is integration, professionalism, but most importantly to expand our community."

Read more


 

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 permit....no 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

 


 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
This technical Q&A was done as part of ESA’s annual Licence Holder Meeting on November 18th. A ...
ECAO and NECA have announced that on January 1 ECAO officially joined NECA as their 119th ...
Rule 54-000 states that this is a supplementary or amendatory section of the code and applies ...
This is the third article we’ve done in this series with Trilliant Canada Managing Director, Steven ...
Rule 52-000 Scope - states that Section 52 is a supplementary or amendatory section of the code ...
Clarifies requirements for installing, altering, or adding to lightning protection systems. ...
Investment in building construction declined 0.7% to $17.5 billion in September, ...
The total value of building permits increased 1.3% to $10.3 billion in October, led by ...
As part of Schneider Electric’s Innovation Summit held virtually on November 10th, Electrical ...
As I come to the end of my second year of apprenticeship, I find myself reflecting on the last ...


 

 ESABy Blake Marchand

This technical Q&A was done as part of ESA’s annual Licence Holder Meeting on November 18th. A recording of the entire meeting is available online. The technical Q&A began with a general overview of ESA’s top 5 changes provided to the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code by Malcom Brown. 

Following that, Brown goes through a number of questions submitted by LECs (Licenced Electrical Contractors), covering several topics, including EV energy management systems, GCFI and AFCI protection, nuisance tripping for washing machines and microwaves, smoke alarm requirements, and common inspection defects.

Read More


 

Product News

  • Prev
Low-dosage LED UVC device for continuous disinfection in occupied spaces provides an additional ...
Greenlee, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio, introduces the new ESG45LX Gator Hard ...
The Fluke 417D is accurate, durable, and easy to use—just point and shoot. The simple design and ...
Mercmaster™ LED Luminaires deliver exceptional efficiency, performance and advanced engineering. ...
The SSW Series of Sealed Screwless Wall Plates from SensorSwitch™ is designed to protect wall ...
The Fluke TiS75+ thermal camera offers features to help tackle almost anything teams face in the ...
The M18 FUEL™ 1/2" Hammer Drill is one of the industry's most powerful brushless battery powered ...
Klein Tools introduces the KTB1000 Portable Power Station, providing up to 1500W of continuous ...
Eureka announced the release of its Billie large-scale architectural luminaire. With its ...
The Amprobe BT-250 Circuit Breaker Tester works on powered systems from 90 to 250 V AC and is ...


Gator Hard CutterGreenlee, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio, introduces the new ESG45LX Gator Hard Metal Cutter, a tool solution for the high-voltage industry, featuring an industry-first shock-load damping system that minimizes released energy while making cuts.

The ESG45LX is ideal for overhead one-handed operation and cuts up to 1/2-inch Rebar (Schedule 60) and EHS Guy Strand and 5/8-inch Ground Rod and Standard Guy Strand. It has a compact, lightweight design, weighing less than eight pounds with battery, and is 33 percent lighter than an earlier model thanks to a redesigned flip-top style latch that reduces overall weight.

Read More


 

 



Watt's The WordBy Blake Marchand

Watt’s the Word is a recently launched Electrical Industry Podcast hosted by Zack Hartle and Jason Cox, who are Electricians and Electrical Trade Instructors at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology).

Cox is a Calgary based Alberta Master Electrician; he’s been an instructor for the past 15-years with a Master of Education, specializing in adult education. He also gets on the tools volunteering every year for the Calgary Folk Festival electrical crew. “I’m interested in education obviously, and we’re hoping to connect our industry, its such a large vast industry,” he said about the podcast.

Read More


 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2022 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil