Representor Spring 2023 - ERA XCOM Digest

Spring 2023 – ERA XCOM Digest

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Industry Update – by Kingsland Coombs, CPMR, CSP

Kingsland Coombs, CPMR, CSP
Control Sales, Inc.
Sr. Vice President at Large

EV charging infrastructure: What does it mean for your territory?

I am not a subject matter expert, only a rep owner trying to wrap my brain around the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure market. In doing so, I have spent a fair amount of time searching the internet and talking to industry contacts. This is my current understanding of some of the implications for reps arising from public investment in the EV infrastructure.

With over three million EVs on the road and projections of over 26 million by 2030, the time for highway charging infrastructure has arrived. Meeting the ambitious goal of a network of highways with EV charging stations every 50 miles will require substantial public and private investment – by some estimates as much as $40 billion.

If you are like me, February’s announcement of the U.S. Department of Transportation NEVI (National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula) program got your attention. It is a five-year, $5 billion commitment to funding EV charging infrastructure. NEVI establishes a framework that includes rigorous standards; for instance, a 97 percent station uptime and a minimum of four 150kW Level 3 DCFCs (DC fast chargers) per location. States will distribute the federal funding to installation projects, and some states are requiring 350kW DCFCs in anticipation of the growth of medium and heavy duty EVs.

As a compliment to the NEVI program, Congress also announced the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (“CFI”) discretionary grant program. The CFI Program will provide $2.5 billion over five years to applicants, including cities, counties, local governments and tribes, for the strategic deployment of electric vehicle charging and an alternative vehicle-fueling infrastructure. Much of the grants are meant to fund Level 2 AC chargers which are less expensive and easier to install.

Importantly, NEVI and CFI funds are tied directly to Build America, Buy America. All EV chargers funded through this program must be built in the U.S. and, by July 2024, at least 55 percent of the cost of all components will need to be manufactured domestically as well.

The opportunity for EVSE (EV supply equipment), more commonly known as EV chargers, is immense. You may already see the impact. U.S. startups and established EV charger manufacturers from the U.S., Europe and Asia could be in your territories building factories or partnering with CMs, incentivized by Buy America requirements, government grants, and state and local tax credits. Other potential customers buying components for EV chargers are large industrial manufacturers, EMS providers, wire and cable assemblers and power companies looking to support the power transfer technology to the EV chargers.

In order to provide power to the EVSEs, each NEVI EV charger location (4 charger minimum) will require a distribution transformer (480 Vac utility power to the site), switchgear (receives 480 Vac utility power and distributes it to on-site equipment), a transformer (converts 480 Vac power to 120/240 Vac to supply low voltage site equipment), and possibly an EV power cabinet (converts AC to DC power if the fast charger does not convert AC to DC on its own).

A location with at least four 150kW DCFCs may require a large-scale stationary power utility infrastructure. This will most likely involve running new power and new utility service to sites which can take 18 to 24 months.

Some of the components inside DCFCs include a power conversion system (thermal management system, fans, an inverter and enclosure), passive components (relays, contactors, motion sensors, switches, filters), displays, vehicle interface thru PWM and CANbus communication, remote connectivity (GPRS/4G) and power supplies.

To date, EVSE manufacturers have been building chargers with a wide variety of connector types, requiring EV owners to carry adapters with them. Federal dollars will be directed toward creating a predictable and relatable experience, in part by standardizing connector types.

Key provisions in the final NEVI rule require that each DCFC charging port must be able to charge any combined charging system (CCS)-compliant vehicle. (CCS compliance allows for both AC and DC charging through the same input port.) Each DCFC charging port must have at least one permanently attached CCS1 connector.

NEVI provisions also require that each AC Level 2 charging port must have a permanently attached J1772 connector and must charge any J1772-compliant vehicle. I spoke with Murtaza Fidaali, business development manager at ITT Cannon, LLC, a connector solution provider who has been at the forefront of EV charging technology for over a decade.

He said: “EVSE manufacturers are very interested in the thinner, cold flex cable design of our connector solutions. With customer ease of use and reliability in mind, our design is IP67 sealed, lightweight and remains flexible in extreme temperatures (-40C). Also, an additional wire feature allows for future customization with sensors and LEDs.”

While the opportunities for reps in this market are consequential, there are also substantial headwinds. There will be high demand for charging equipment as states compete with other states for components.

The Buy America requirement of a 55 percent domestic cost is very aggressive, especially short-term. A strategy for some components suppliers may be to use Mexico assembly as long as 55 percent of the material content is produced in the U.S.

Utility costs are also difficult to predict. All these factors have the potential to increase station installation costs and reduce the number of stations the state can install with NEVI and CFI program funding.

Furthermore, advances in battery technology have the potential to radically impact demand.

The bottom line for reps interested in supporting the EV charging highway infrastructure is to pay close attention to EVSE manufacturers coming into your territory and understanding your states’ EV infrastructure plans ( Don’t forget to scrutinize your first time buy data! Good luck to all. It is going to be quite a ride!

Education Update – by Ellen Coan, CPMR

Ellen Coan, CPMR

C C Electro Sales, Inc.
Sr. Vice President/Education

Back in the whirlwind

Back in the whirlwind and looking for the calm waters but aware of the boulders I may hit…

If you attended ERA’s “Moving On, Moving Beyond” 2023 Conference in Austin in February, or not – you understand! As a rep, my “WIG” – Wildly Important Goal – is to be the best rep for all my principals and distributors and together for our customers! I say “Yes, AND” (not “Yes, but”) as I communicate and collaborate. I listen like a dog and stay curious. I have choices (and the chance to change) and use them wisely. All of these statements were made at one point in a general session, breakout or table discussion at the ERA Conference. (Please note I did NOT write this using ChatGPT. But I thought about it – ha!) My head is always spinning when I return to the office after the Conference and my team hides for a few days to miss my target practice hits of new ideas, but we all gain from the experience. I know we sold out (fire codes are important for a reason) and that was disappointing to some – but register early next year and join us! We might be competitors but we all want to take the tips and tricks we’ve learned back home and incorporate them accordingly. Together we are better!

ERA education continues with the STEP (Sales Training for Electronic Professionals) program (previously called Virtual Sales Training) and new live training and materials scheduled for the fall of 2023. ERA now offers archived training on the website as well. Ask info@era. org for more information on how to use the archived modules to train new employees and/or sharpen your skills. Look for the 2023 module topics and save the date for Oct. 17-19, 2023. If you have any input on what you would like to learn, please email us at

ERA is known for education and networking. Many ERA NEXGEN members met face-toface in Austin. As this group of new talent from ERA reps across the country meets virtually each quarter to discuss their successes and concerns across the country, they are forming the ERA of tomorrow. Reps can nominate an indivudal for the NEXGEN group on

Thank you to all the volunteers at ERA – reps, distributors and manufacturers! We all know the importance of working together and understanding all the challenges in every segment of our businesses. Thank you to ERA and the amazing staff for understanding your members and being there with us every step of the way!

Manufacturing Update – by Ken Bellero

Ken Bellero
Schaffner EMC
Sr. Vice President/Manufacturers

How important is succession planning within your organization?

One of the many key issues facing our industry today for all manufacturers, representatives and distributors is successful succession planning within their organization. It is vital that the right people join any organization that can continue with the same strategies and plans implemented without any interruption. With many of us aging quickly and planning our retirement and exit from the industry, younger and more energetic talent is needed to provide consistency. For manufacturers specifically this is a main concern that their rep organizations may be aging with no plan in sight. This can become the reason for either termination or a forced change.

Succession planning is a critical process for any organization, including manufacturers’ representative organizations. It involves identifying and developing talent within the organization to ensure that there are qualified individuals ready to take over leadership positions in the event of retirement, promotion or unexpected departures.

Here are some steps to implementing a good succession plan for manufacturers’ representative organizations:

1. Identify key positions. Identify critical positions within the organization, such as sales managers, marketing directors or technical experts.

2. Assess current talent. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of current employees to determine who has the potential to fill these key positions in the future. This could include reviewing performance evaluations, conducting interviews or assessments and examining employee development plans.

3. Develop talent. Once potential candidates are identified, provide them with development opportunities to help them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for future roles. This could include training programs, mentoring and job shadowing.

4. Communicate the plan. Once the plan is developed, communicate it to all employees to ensure they understand their role in the process and feel invested in the organization’s future.

5. Monitor progress. Continuously monitor the progress of the plan to ensure it is working effectively. This could involve regular performance evaluations, feedback sessions and revising development plans as needed.

6. Adjust as needed. As the organization grows and changes, the succession plan may need to be adjusted to accommodate new positions, changing job requirements or emerging skill sets.

For Schaffner, as a manufacturer, we will be addressing these issues in the next several years. For me it is very personal and important to leave the organization in a state of complete control and connectivity to a new team. Over the next few years this will be a priority for me as a manager and as a leader who wants the best for the entire organization and channel. When this kind of attention is given to a business, it can only lead to a more consistent transition not only for the rep but for the manufacturer as well.

In summary, an effective succession plan in a manufacturers’ representative organization requires a clear understanding of key positions, a thorough assessment of current talent and a commitment to ongoing development and monitoring. By taking these steps, organizations can ensure a smooth transition of leadership and continued success for the organization. This is expected and will continue to be monitored by all manufacturers using the rep model for their sales channel.

As always if you would like to reach out to me directly, please do not hesitate to email me at or give me a call 732-910-1717 anytime.

Distribution Update – by Gary Zullo

Gary Zullo
Arrow Electronics
Sr. Vice President/Distributors

Sharpening the focus on our priorities

As I sat to draft my introductory update as a new member of the ERA XCOM team, I couldn’t help but reflect and recognize the tremendous support and commitment of my predecessor, Craig Sanderson. I have big shoes to fill.

It’s hard to believe the first quarter of 2023 will be behind us by the time this reaches publication. The new year started with a market in transition and we continue to deal with a level of uncertainty for the foreseeable future. It has sharpened the focus on our priorities and how, where and when do we invest.

We’re very fortunate as an extended organization that our community broadly invested in the 2023 ERA Conference, with over 600 attendees setting a new attendance record. I was personally struck by the number of attendees that were experiencing the event for the first or second time. The driving force of ERA is education, and it was on full display in Austin. Whether it came from thoughtful general session content targeted at thriving in uncertain times, or the many breakout sessions with subject matter experts, openly sharing best practices for the benefit of all – the timing for us all to be together to align on attacking the opportunities in 2023 was perfect!

We’re also fortunate to have another opportunity to engage face-to-face in May at the EDS Summit in Las Vegas. Again, the timing is perfect. We’ll be halfway through the second quarter of 2023 and should begin to have additional clarity on how the back half of the year will shape up. Whereas the ERA Conference is largely focused on education, EDS provides an opportunity for more targeted business strategy and performance sessions. It’s an opportunity for us all to take stock of the first half of the year and align on any needed adjustments for the remainder of the year. It’s a whirlwind of a few days, as we all typically stack the schedule with manufacturer/distributor/rep sessions, but it’s an extremely productive week and probably even more important this year.

Approaching forty years of industry experience, I feel uniquely qualified to highlight the importance of building influential and trusted relationships across the manufacturer/distributor/ rep spectrum. Our collective customers are best served when our teams are aligned and focused on providing leading edge solutions. I look forward to the opportunity to engage in a more meaningful way with ERA XCOM and to support the charter of providing continuing education, the sharing of best practices and for providing opportunities to enhance relationships broadly across our membership.

Membership Update – by John Hutson, CPMR

John Hutson, CPMR
The MacInnis Group
Sr. Vice President/Membership

Growing membership across the channel

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve on the ERA XCOM Board as senior vice president of membership. It is an absolute honor to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor, Dave Fitzgerald, managing partner with WESCO Sales. Dave’s passion and dedication to ERA membership is truly inspiring, and I want to thank him for all he has done to advance the organization. I am committed to building on his vision for creating value for reps, distributors and manufacturers.

I am taking on this role at a time when ERA membership is on the rise, and there is a tremendous buzz around the organization. We recently had a record-breaking conference, and our members are benefiting from tools that provide an immediate return on investment. This is an exciting time to be part of ERA, and I am committed to ensuring that we continue to deliver value to our members.

However, we cannot rest on our laurels. Membership requires continual improvement to remain fresh and valuable.

I welcome any ideas and suggestions from our members that will help us reinforce the value of an ERA membership today and in the future. The freshest ideas come from the collective, and I am eager to hear your thoughts.

I am grateful for the opportunity to represent you on the ERA XCOM Board and pledge to work hard to grow membership across the channel while identifying ways to ensure that our membership remains valuable. I appreciate any ideas you may have to help me achieve these goals.

Thank you again for entrusting me with this important role. I look forward to a productive and prosperous 2023.