Watch: Investigation into Counterfeits

Published On
Aug 22, 2018

In the electrical industry, counterfeits are estimated to be a multi-million-dollar problem. From circuit breakers that do not trip when they should to batteries without vents for built-up gases to grounding rods with only a fraction of the required copper coating, counterfeit electrical products fail to meet standards and pose risks of injury and even death. Furthermore, contractors may be liable if they install a counterfeit product, and for years, manufacturers have considered contractors the men and women on the front lines in the battle against counterfeiters.

On Sept. 19, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and Eaton hosted an investigation of counterfeit electrical products. The recording is now available for all.

Viewers will learn how to quickly identify at-risk and suspect packaging, extraneous marks and labeling, product modifications, and how counterfeit products are sold. Viewers will also learn how today’s technology is being used to help contractors easily detect counterfeits in the marketplace, along with intuitive digital tools to assist contractors in the field.


Erika Healy Head ShotErika Healy received her B.S. degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from Purdue University. She completed two summer internships with Eaton while at Purdue (Operations in Beltsville, Md., and Sales in Pittsburgh, Penn.) and started her full-time career through Eaton‘s Technical Sales Leadership Development Program in 2014, based in Atlanta, Ga. She moved to Houston in January 2016 to take on the role of Distributor Sales Representative. In April 2018, she became a Marketing Specialist where she works in the Gulf Region to ensure distributors understand the dangers of purchasing from unauthorized resellers and sets them up with competitive pricing, marketing and promotional campaigns, as well as training and education for their workplace personnel. She also works with contractors in the area to ensure they are purchasing product from only authorized resellers.

Tom GraceTom Grace has more than 22 years of experience in Eaton’s electrical business, focusing for more than 10 of those years on the impact of counterfeiting on Eaton and the electrical industry. As brand protection manager of Eaton’s Electrical Sector – Americas, he has undertaken the global coordination for brand protection and continues to promote counterfeit awareness, product enhancement, and policy enforcement throughout Eaton’s electrical sectors in the Americas, EMEA and APAC.

Tom has done extensive field work that includes market research and administrative actions in China, research and investigations in the Middle East, as well supporting federal authorities conducting criminal investigations of counterfeit products in the United States. Tom is actively engaged in training with federal agencies and local law enforcement and has conducted anti-counterfeit training at most of the major U.S. ports. To raise the awareness of the risks of counterfeit electrical products, Tom frequently collaborates with industry associations such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), North American Electrical Distributors (NAED), Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi), and the Professional Apparatus Recyclers League (PEARL). Tom holds a BS degree from the University of South Florida.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


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

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