Smart Pathways Joins Madison Electric Products!

Exciting week here in Cleveland! We recently added Smart Pathways LLC – a leading manufacturer and distributor of Smart LB telecommunications conduit bodies – to the Madison Electric Products family.

Conduit bodies have long been part of the installers’ toolbox, but Smart Pathways offers a more advanced solution that solves numerous problems we face on a daily basis. That’s why Smart Pathways – brought to us by inventor, Ken Bing – is exactly the type of partner we look to work with. Their vision to revolutionize installation practices underscores our ongoing commitment to innovation. Together, we’re pushing the electrical and data communication industries forward.

We’ll be working closely with Ken and his team over the next few weeks to maximize the potential of the existing Smart LB product line, while also making plans to take the concept further into the market.

Want to learn more? Check back next week for a Q&A with Ken!

And, if you want help bringing your innovative products to market, submit your idea to the Sparks Innovation Center and let’s chat.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Business, Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Industry, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Partnership, Products, Smart Pathways LLC, Sparks Innovation Center | Leave a comment

Cleveland Embraces Innovation

It’s no secret that Clevelanders love Cleveland. Being an extremely loyal city, it’s safe to say that we accept our flaws and proudly celebrate our successes. (Just ask any Browns or Cavaliers fan!)

Over the past few years, there have been a number of revitalization efforts in the land that we love. Cleveland has become a city that truly embraces innovation. We’ve become a passionate community of creators. A couple of our favorite examples:

  • Great Lakes Brewing Company has returned to their roots (literally) for innovation with their partnership with Ohio City Farm.
  • The Cleveland Clinic developed Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI), a research program that takes inventors and their ideas and turns them into patient-benefiting medical products and services.
  • The Flats are back and better than ever! This evolution has created a home for new businesses and it is only the beginning of what’s to come.
  • Our local colleges are home to a young community of creative practitioners, encouraging innovation with unique programs. Check out Case Western’s Think[Box] as an example we’ve got our eye on.
  • Product innovation has made Cleveland home to many inventions. (Did you know Cleveland is home to the first electric street car, electric traffic light AND lifesavers candies?)
  • Iron Chef and star on ABC’s The Chew, Michael Symon, is a proud Clevelander who adds to the city’s culinary renaissance.
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame preserves the impact rock has made on the world, exhibiting the story of rock with innovative musicians being inducted every year.
  • And last but not least…we have to give a shout out to our personal favorite Cleveland innovator, Earl Atkinson, who founded Madison in 1929. (Learn more about his legacy here!)

As we improve with new technologies and innovations, we remain true to our humble roots. A lot has progressed in the city we call home, but our passion to be genuine partners has remained the same throughout the years. If you have an innovative idea, let us help you make it a reality. (Submit your product idea here!)

Do you have further proof that Cleveland is embracing innovation? Share what you would add to the list in the comments below!

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Company History, Innovation, Leadership, Sparks Innovation Center | Tagged | Leave a comment

Meet Our Sparks Inventors: Bruce Finch

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

Last (but definitely not least!) in our Sparks inventor series, meet Bruce Finch, an innovator on a mission to simplify electrical work. Growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bruce started doing electrical work at a very young age with his father and continues to do so.

He is passionate about helping others in our field understand that good workmanship will go a long way in making their future brighter. And, just because we call it work, it doesn’t have to be hard.

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

Someone that likes to enjoy life and see others enjoy it as well.

Q2: What is your innovative product?

Ladder Horse

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

After watching others making a simple job into a difficult one.

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Yes

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

Working as a team.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Other than family, receiving my electrical license in 1979.

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

I actually enjoy working (although not as much now as when I was a little younger).

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

In Harms Way.

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Golf

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Partner Spotlight, Partnership, Products | Leave a comment

Meet Our Sparks Inventors: Jeff Locher

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

We are very excited to introduce you to Jeff Locher, a successful inventor that we are proud to work with. Coming from a large close-knit family of 13 aunts and uncles, it is no wonder we wanted Jeff to be part of the Madison family, too.

A master electrician, Jeff has also worked closely with his uncles in other trades. Some of his passions include woodworking and carpentry. As a father of two young sons, he is already looking forward to passing his trade knowledge on to them as they grow up.

Want to get to know him better? We asked Jeff a few questions:

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

I have a hyperactive mind and I am always thinking how I can make a better wheel.

Q2: What is your innovative product?

The Stingray

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

I was trying to find a better way to pull wire through a ceiling without damaging the grid or the wire.

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Always.

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

Everyone is easy to work with and super helpful.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

My wife and kids.

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

That I actually have a product on the market and am working on another one.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

Waterboy.

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

“So that’s what opening up a can of whoop-ass feels like.” “Son, you just opened up a whole case of whoop-ass!”

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Hunting, shooting sports, spending time with family.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Inventor Spotlight, Partnership, Sparks Innovation Center, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet Our Sparks Inventors: Malcom Duncan

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

Have you heard of our Super Rod system? Today, meet Malcolm Duncan, the experienced electrician who came up with the idea.

Born in North East England, Malcom has always been a family man. In fact, Malcolm got his start in the electrical industry alongside his father, who left the Royal Air Force while Malcolm was still young to become an electrician.

After serving an apprenticeship with a local newspaper, Malcolm made his way back to the electrical industry when he was 21 – initially working for a distributor, and then a manufacturer. Twenty years later, he began working for himself at Super Rod.

Bringing over 30 years of experience working with installers and an in-depth understanding of the electrical industry to the table, we have been fortunate to work with an innovator like Malcom. Interested in learning more about him? Keep reading:

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

Serial inventor, creator and entrepreneur with a passion for all types of innovation.

Q2: What is your innovative product?

The Super Rod, a system designed to save labor whilst installing multiple types of cable.

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

Initially from working with my father as a child, but then complimented with over 30 years experience working with installers from all over the world.

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Innovation is a continual process, as soon as you stop you fall behind, so yes we are always working on new products.

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

They share my passion for innovation and creativity, which extends beyond the product and encompasses their whole marketing philosophy.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Outside work, it would have to be the achievements of my daughters. Inside work, having actual contractors vote our system “The Best Product of the Last 50 Years” is definitely up there.

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

That I left school at the age of 16 and have been learning ever since.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

Quadrophenia

Q9: What’s your favorite movie song quote?

You don’t need eyes to see, you need vision.

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Anything out doors, time with my family, walking the dog, riding the horse.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Sparks Innovation Center | Leave a comment

Inventor Spotlight: Michelle Laramee

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

We are excited to spotlight, Michelle Laramee, an ambitious, successful inventor. Michelle grew up in a suburb of Norton, Massachusetts. Even at a young age, she had great determination. At the age of 10, she got her first job delivering newspapers. From there she moved on to a variety of neighborhood jobs.

While Michelle’s involvement in sports kept her in school, she had little interest in classes. She decided she would rather go out into the world and start making money, but stayed in school to graduate in 1987.

After high school, Michelle attended a technical school to learn drafting. She found that she had a lot of interest in technical skills, which became the foundation of her success. In 2003, she graduated with honors and a Masters of Science in Management.  Four years later, she started ByerSource.

Today, Michelle holds a full time position with a Fortune 500 company and runs her own business on the side.

Want to learn more about Michelle? Check out the questions below!

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

I can describe myself with the three Ds.  I am a doer, a dreamer and determined.

Q2: What is your innovative product?

The In-line Bonding Device.

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

My business partner, Michael Federowicz, Licensed Electrician, decided there was a much easier way for installing a grounding point for low voltage installers.  We saw an opportunity to market this product to work with all kinds of electrical fittings, conduits and boxes.  It was the perfect part that could mate with ease with all other products on the market.  A perfect up-sell opportunity.

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Yes, we have several prototypes for electrical products we are working on now.

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

I share Madison’s vision for listening to the electricians on wonderful product ideas and working to bring them to market.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest moment is when we received our first patent.

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

I think most people are surprised to hear the successes that I have accomplished personally and professionally such as owning and operating my own company.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

Star Wars

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

Goonies never say die.

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Golf and travel

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Collaboration, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Partner Spotlight, Partnership, Products | Leave a comment

Meet Our Sparks Inventors: Greg Herth

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

We’re proud to introduce, Greg Herth, the first to go through our Sparks Innovation Center! Greg has been a member of the Madison Family since 2009, after running into our president, Brad Wiandt, at a trade show.

Greg is from Long Island, NY. A true family man, he is a proud husband and father of three beautiful children. His wife, Madeline, is the one who encouraged him to move forward with his innovative idea.  Prior to entering the electrical industry, Greg worked as a bartender and a firefighter for FDNY. When he started working as an apprentice electrician on the side, he found a passion for the electrical industry and we are glad he did.

In 1999, he retired from his 20-year career with the NYC Fire Dept. and started Smart Box Inc. Over the past 6 years, we have formed a strong partnership with the Herths and are happy they found a home at Madison.

Here are a few more interesting facts from Greg:

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

A hard working, creative, family man who is always thinking about the next big idea.

Q2: What is your innovative product?

A multi purpose, interior mounted, electrical box. (SmartBox)

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

In 1982, I discovered a void in the nonmetallic electrical box. I found myself and other electricians pulling the nails out of the nonmetallic boxes and then driving two sheet rock screws through the side wall of the box. We did this for several reasons. The biggest reason was that it created a more diversified electrical box to be used in kitchens and baths.

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Yes, I have many more products to introduce to Madison. Specifically, a new design for an electrical box to be introduced by mid summer.

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

In short, working with the down-to-earth people of this company was the best part. I have been approached by and gone into business partner discussions with several other large companies in the past; none can match the integrity of Madison Electric Products.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

My three children.

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

It depends on who you’re speaking to. I have worked in several trades; electrical, mechanical, refrigeration, manufacturing and the FDNY. I’ve enjoyed them all equally. I think what surprises most people is how I was willing to leave the comfort of one trade to go into another.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

Shawshank Redemption.

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

“Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’”. Morgan Freeman.

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Traveling with my wife and playing chess.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Business, Collaboration, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Partner Spotlight, Partnership, Products, Sparks Innovation Center | Leave a comment

Inventor Spotlight: Greg Spells

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

Greg has been a Madison partner since 2011. That’s when he first brought forward the idea for The Power Pull-It, his innovative solution for pulling cable. Greg had a flash of genius while serving at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita Kansas that sparked his final product. Tasked with the laborious work of pulling up pull ropes from manholes, Greg wanted to make it easier. So he put a piece of rebar in his drill and wrapped a jetliner around it, hitting the trigger. And that, my friends, is how his great idea was born!

Greg is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and has been married to his wife for 26 years. Together they have a son and daughter-in-law, three daughters and seven grandchildren. He has a close relationship with his eldest grandson, Kordell, and likes to say, “He’s my son, but my daughter had him for me!”

Greg also has a deep compassion for people and loves to fish. He enjoys staying current with consumer technological trends, and is an electrical instructor.  Every chance he gets, he enthusiastically introduces his students to Madison/Sparks products in the lab!

Here are a few more interesting facts from Greg:

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

Solemn

Q2: What is your innovative product?

The Power Pull-It

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

Installing pull rope in runway conduit

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

I have more ideas where the first one came from.

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

Madison’s network of resources that cover a product’s inception, marketing, distribution and final sale.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

When Rob Fisher stood up in the conference room at the end of my PPT presentation and said, “We can sell that!” —and they did!

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

Besides inventing the Power Pull-It, people are surprised I’m an electrical instructor.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

The Equalizer

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

You can’t handle the truth!

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Fishing excursions with my closest family and friends.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet Our Sparks Inventors: Ron Hill

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

If you’ve been to our offices, you’ve likely met Ron Hill. He’s an important member of the Madison/Sparks family and a true industry expert! In case you haven’t had the pleasure of making Ron’s acquaintance, here are a few details you should know.

Growing up in Brook Park, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) Ron spent most of his time with family. He is now a third generation electrician and attributes everything he learned back to his father, fellow Sparks inventor, Doug Hill. Surrounded by so much electrical influence, rumor has it that Ron was the only kid in third grade that could bend a three point saddle (electrician humor!). Ron went to Kent State University and tried a few different paths but he migrated back to what he knew best: electricity.

We’re happy about that.

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

Someone who tries to remember we only go around this big blue marble once.

Q2: What is your innovative product?

Clip-It

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

It was born out of necessity; no product existed to make MC Cable look good.

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Of course!

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

Getting hired.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

I am the first Hill to graduate from college.

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

I enjoy the theatre so much I have season tickets.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

Casino

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

From The Big Lebowski: Walter Sobchak- “You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways Dude. You don’t want to know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon….With nail polish!”

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Cleveland Browns Football, golf and my family.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Employee Spotlight, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Partner Spotlight, Partnership, Products, Sparks Innovation Center | Leave a comment

Meet Our Sparks Inventors: Doug Hill

As we expand our innovation center to Sparks 2.0 we want to reintroduce the inventors we currently partner with and share more of their personal stories. This post is part of a series that not only explores our inventors and their products, but shares details about their passions outside of electricity.

We’re happy to introduce you to Doug Hill (or reintroduce, if you’ve been reading since 2011!), inventor of MC Supports, MC Cable Dispenser and co-inventor of Clip-It, a MC and pipe support system. Working in the trades since 1970, Doug has more than 40 years of experience as a contractor. Impressively, he also started his own contracting business in 1998 and later formed a business that built high-end custom dentist offices (Quite the array of accomplishments!). Doug now works with the Sparks Innovation Center and concentrates on developing innovative products for the electrical industry.

Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his wife, four children and eight grandchildren. They are his main focus and source of joy in his life.

We asked Doug some quick questions so you can get to know him better. Check out his answers below!

Q1: Describe yourself with one sentence.

My father told me work hard every day for your family…so that’s what I do and who I am.

Q2: What is your innovative product(s)?

MC Supports, MC Cable Dispenser

Q3: How did you come up with the idea?

Using a plastic bottle cap to incorporate our patented rifling to hold MC Cable

Q4: Are you working to develop more products?

Just completed our new 2000’ MC twin spool Cart

Q5: What did you enjoy most about working with Madison?

It can be frustrating when you’re working with large companies to get things accomplished.  But at Madison, it is more like a family. If you need to talk to the president, pick up the phone and call him.

Q6: What is your proudest accomplishment?

My children

Q7: What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

Even though I’ve spent most of my life as a contractor, my favorite business is an Ice Cream shop I own with my daughter.

Q8: What’s your favorite movie?

Cool Hand Luke

Q9: What’s your favorite movie quote?

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Q10: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Golf

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • RSS Feed
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
Posted in Collaboration, Company History, Crowdsourcing, Innovation, Inventor Spotlight, Partner Spotlight, Partnership, Products, Uncategorized | Leave a comment