Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a tool junkie.

I'm obsessed with multi-function features and sleek ergonomic designs. I wake up early on Sundays and tear through the sale papers for a glimpse of that next I-just-have-to-have-that item. I'll tackle most any home improvement project, as long as it gives me an opportunity to rush out and buy a new tool. I've even been known to channel surf in the wee hours of the night in hopes of running across an infomercial promoting the next great all-in-one combination device. I just can't help myself. I'm addicted to tools.

Fortunately, my obsession with new tools offers a direct benefit to you. You see, I actually get paid to review new product introductions for an entire industry and then bring them to your attention through the pages of EC&M and via the EC&M Web site (www.ecmweb.com). This is one addiction my employer actually supports.

And believe me when I tell you there are plenty of new product introductions coming into this marketplace. My overflowing inbox is a testament to this fact. So is the record number of entries submitted for EC&M's fourth annual Product of the Year competition. And let's not forget about the new products that are debuted at one of several industry trade shows throughout the year.

The difficulty I face on a day-to-day basis is in figuring out how to share my excitement by introducing you to as many of these wonderful new products as I can, while still bringing you all of the Code, how-to, and technical articles you're accustomed to receiving.

One way I feed my addiction for new tools is by selecting one product a week that I think you'll find as interesting as I do and then posting it on the EC&M Web site. But when selecting the EC&M Web site product of the week I don't limit myself to just handheld tools. One week it might be a simple conduit bending tool and the next a sophisticated UPS unit. However, rather than deprive those of you who neglect to visit our Web site on a regular basis, we decided to promote a year's worth of products in this issue (The product listing starts on page 24).

I also get my new product fix by overseeing the EC&M Product of the Year competition. The prestigious Platinum Award honors the most innovative product introduction of the past year and recognizes the talent and commitment of the people involved with its development, from concept through sales. This year's award was bestowed upon Pass & Seymour/Legrand for “thinking inside the box” with its launch of TradeMaster Decorator Combination Devices. See the full story on page 12.

Not only is this issue chock-full of great products, it also provides you with the most comprehensive list of electrical manufacturers and suppliers specific to the electrical industry. Featuring contact information and product listings for more than 1,100 companies, this directory is your outlet to an entire spectrum of electrical products, from access control systems to torque wrenches.

The steady stream of new products that I'm continuously exposed to comes from many different sources — electricians turned inventors to high-profile manufacturing teams. But one thing never changes. I'm consistently amazed by the ingenuity of the people who develop these products and bring them to market. Many times I find myself saying, hey, why hasn't someone developed this before now?

Hopefully, some of you share my passion for new products. Now, do you know where I can get my next tool fix?