Grounding Site at NASA-Ames
Plans are underway for the installation of a grounding electrode test site at the NASA-Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., for the National Electrical Grounding research project. The technical advisory committee will oversee the installation. The six-year study will evaluate the long-term effects of different soil conditions on grounding electrode systems. For more information, contact Steve Hanly at (617) 984-7284.

Online Inventory Speeds Purchases
Phillips Electric, Cleveland, recently unveiled an online motor inventory tracking system for Ford Motor Co. to help the company reduce downtime. This program enables managers at 12 metalworking plants to find replacement motors located in the Ford system and at vendor warehouses. The site could potentially locate 10,000 pieces of equipment.

GELcore Acquires Ecolux, Goes Online
GELcore L.L.C., a joint venture of General Electric Co. and EMCORE Corp., recently announced the agreement for the acquisition by GELcore of all the assets of Ecolux Inc., an LED Signal manufacturer based in Canada. When the transaction is complete, GELcore and its affiliates will operate Ecolux's business. For more information, call (216) 266-2185, or visit the company's new Web site at www.gelcore.com.

Customers Gain Load Management Control
EPRI is helping power providers and their customers understand how to manage risk and increase profitability in these turbulent times, using Internet-based load management systems.

EPRI's William M. Smith says energy service providers can gain more control over the price they pay for bulk power through their ability to adjust demand in response to variations in the price and availability of electricity. Meanwhile, customers participating in the program gain the ability to control their costs through energy management. The programs are described in Destinations, EPRI's new 2001 offering at www.epri.com/Destinations/index.html. EPRI also offers customized services in support of market-driven load management.

EqualFooting.com Secures $60 million
EqualFooting.com, a B2B online marketplace that places small businesses on "equal footing" with large companies in the areas of purchasing, financing, and shipping, finalized its second round of funding - totaling $60 million.

Textron Inc. led the second round of funding, followed by Safeguard Scientifics Inc., Nextel Communications, NationsRent Inc., Women's Growth Capital Fund, Yahoo! Inc., and Thomas Publishing. The funding also included investments from all of EqualFooting.com's first round investors, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Capital Investors, FBR Technology Venture Partners, Draper Richards and former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Reed Hundt. The total amount raised by the company is now more than $70 million, since its inception in June 1999.

MagneTek Drives and Systems Regroups
MagneTek recently announced it is regrouping into two business units, to couple maximum customer focus with emphasis on key growth markets. As part of the change, it will consolidate products and services for the crane and hoist, materials handling, elevator, mining, and power conversion industries into a new industrial Controls Business Unit.

Its new Drive Products Business Unit will focus on the automotive, textile, food and beverage, commercial HVAC, semiconductor fabrication, and commercial laundry industries. Both units will continue to operate as elements of MagneTek Drives and Systems.

NEMA Approves Adoption of Latest NEC
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has taken a position advocating direct adoption of the latest edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) by governmental agencies. The association's new policy is communicated directly to the International Code Council (ICC) and is intended to clarify the association's position in a contentious debate between the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the ICC.

NFPA announced it was moving forward in the development of NFPA's Consensus Codes - a full set of codes for the built environment. That announcement followed one by the ICC saying it was not able to meet an NFPA-imposed deadline to respond to its final offer to partner in the development of a single family of comprehensive and coordinated model codes and regulations.

NFPA has enlisted the Western Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials to participate in its proposed Consensus Codes. As part of that project, NFPA is developing the NFPA Building Code. The draft will be available on the Internet at http://buildingcode.nfpa.org.

SurplusChannel.com to Work with EDN
SurplusChannel.com recently announced it has signed an exclusive agreement with Electrical Distributors Network (EDN) to design, build, and implement a total e-procurement system. The Web-based solution will link EDN Headquarters, member electrical distributors, and the company's Preferred Vendors for the purpose of expediting all procurement transactions.

Vision Infosoft Unveils Plans for Spin-Off
Vision Infosoft Corp., Encinitas, Calif., recently unveiled plans for a new company called Material Express.com. With this new company, contractors can purchase merchandise over the Internet using lists created in their Electrical Bid Manager estimating software and Time and Material Billing Manager program.

Material Express.com is currently working with seven distributor fulfillment partners to fulfill orders placed through the Internet-based system. More than 250 customers have been registered, and orders are actively being completed in Southern California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New England.