Energy conservation was the performance attribute most manufacturers cited at Electric West 2001.

The impact of the electric utility problems in California was evident at this year's Electric West 2001 Show held in Anaheim, Calif., in late February. In light of California's recent crisis, energy conservation was the phrase most frequently discussed by manufacturers and attendees and the product attribute most often touted by exhibitors. In the lighting market, for instance, compact fluorescent models and automated sensing and control devices took center stage.

Among the exhibitors showcasing new products to the electrical construction industry, lighting was the most popular market. More than 30 manufacturers displayed lines, including residential and commercial landscape lighting, commercial and industrial interior lighting, specialized applications such as hazardous location lighting, and several types of lamps.

In the distributed generator arena, six engine generator and five transfer switch manufacturers exhibited their products at the show. Many promoted special product offerings. For example, one transfer switch manufacturer showcased a switch specifically designed for light commercial and residential uses. Another manufacturer exhibited a technology that creates a gradual power shift as loads are switched from one power source to another. Not to be outdone, a gen-set manufacturer promoted a complete unit package that includes engine-generator set and power distribution devices in one enclosure.

Eleven exhibitors promoted software packages that ranged from estimating, business operations, and planning, to tool maintenance and usage. Estimating software was the major focus, as seven exhibitors showcased the specific performance characteristics of their products.

There were even a couple of electrical contractor companies exhibiting at the show. Two electrical contracting firms used this industry forum to promote their capabilities to the consulting engineering and maintenance portion of the show's audience.

Tony DeMaria of Tony DeMaria Electric, Wilmington, Calif., says the show offered the ideal format to tout his company's skills in troubleshooting and preventing electrical failures. He pointed to the firm's 15 certified field technicians who are capable of testing substations, distribution systems, and generators and controls. DeMaria felt the combination of California's current energy problems and the show's audience was well worth the expense of marketing his company.

Hampton Tedder Electric, Montclair, Calif., also promoted its capabilities in testing and troubleshooting MV systems. The focus was on hi-pot testing, MV cable splicing, and power distribution system analyses for state, federal, and utility systems as well as private systems.

Low-voltage and fiber optic wiring

The Voice/Data/Security Pavilion exhibited the products of more than 30 manufacturers to those active and interested in this popular and profitable market. The show also featured a seven-hour workshop that detailed wiring requirements for network security and scene lighting as well as fire, temperature, intercom, telecommunications, audio/video, and data communications in residential structures.

For those with a shorter attention span, the show included 90-min seminars that covered home automation, technology wiring and the NEC, codes and standards for the telecommunications cable installer, the TIA/EIA 570A standard revisited, and instant fiber optics.

Keynote speech

Pat Rummerfield's discussion of overcoming personal and physical obstacles was a departure from the topics of past keynote addresses. The award-winning race-car driver described his 20-year recovery from a car crash that left him a quadriplegic at the age of 21. Rummerfield's doctors gave him only 72 hours to live, but he survived, regained the ability to walk, graduated from medical school, competed in the Iron Man Triathlon, and set the world land speed record in an electric car. He also cofounded the Next Steps Foundation, a paralysis research organization.

Those who attended Electric West this year were treated to a unique experience. California's ongoing energy problems shifted the show's focus to conservation and economical use of energy, while Pat Rummerfield's presentation gave everyone a reason to be thankful.