All Aboard!

So you might notice a change. The Integrated Systems Contractor section has graduated to become an integral part of ­ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR’s monthly coverage. We have written about these topics (systems, security, fire/life safety, etc.) for many years, but it’s apparent they are no longer exceptions to what electrical contractors do; they are a rule. Because low-voltage systems need power, ECs have muscled their way into this work, and it’s become a freight train market all on its own. If you’re not in one of these cars somewhere, hop aboard!

Meanwhile, we’re keeping our focus on cabling and building controls, with the internet of things (IoT), networking and security access, and lighting taking center stage. We also debut the Industrial column by Jeff Griffin and a National Electrical Code quiz by Mike Johnston.

We know Cherry City Electric of Salem, Ore., is already on board, and it has a special story for us. Did you know elephants like music? According to Claire Swedberg’s project profile of Cherry City Electric’s work at Oregon Zoo’s Elephant Lands habitat, the company installed a small audio system expressly for the animals’ enjoyment. Read about how the elephants kept Cherry City employees on their toes here.

If elephants are too big for you, get into the minutiae of integrated systems with the IoT. In “A Fast-Moving Train,” by Jeff Gavin, you’ll not only learn where we got all of this train allegory material, but you’ll also discover how you can get your business into the small networked devices that you know from the consumer market.

Of course, if these newfangled devices are too high-tech for you, we’ve got the systems bread and butter with “The Great Awakening,” by Deborah O’Mara. She explores access control and the integration opportunities it presents. It was how the market began, and it’s still true today: security can be your way into connecting other systems.

How do we know so much about electrical contractors? Like any good journalist, we do our research, and you, our faithful readers, are our most important subject. Every two years, Electrical Contractor conducts a massive research study, and 2018 is time for another. It’s called the Profile of the Electrical Contractor, and guess what—we need your help.

The data we gather in this study covers who you are, what types of work you do, where and how you do it, and much more. By learning about the various “yous,”—confidentially, of course—we are better able to tailor our coverage to the various aspects of the electrical contracting industry. In other words, we can better find and deliver to you the information you need to succeed with your business. To see what we’re talking about, read 2016’s Profile at It’s how we knew about your moves into low-voltage work!

In a month or so, you may receive an invitation by postal mail or email to participate in the survey. (Invitations are sent to subscribers at random.) If you receive an invitation, please consider taking the survey to help us to help you.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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