Graybar, a Fortune 500 company, specializes in supply chain management services, and is a leading North American distributor of high quality components, equipment, and materials. We serve the construction market, the commercial, institutional, and government (CIG) market, and the industrial and utility markets. Graybar products and services support new construction, infrastructure updates, building renovation, facility maintenance, repair and operations, and original equipment manufacturing.
The Minnesota State Fair, located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, has the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the country.
An average of 166,000 people per day at the fairgrounds send and receive approximately 8 million texts and require capacity for data downloads, mobile streaming, mobile payments and cell phone calls.
The State Fair needed a permanent, always-on, guaranteed mobile data delivery system – and that’s where Graybar and contractor MP Mobile Solutions stepped in.
The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. In addition to the 12-day State Fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds hosts hundreds of additional events each year.
Minnesota State Fair leaders were looking for an alternative to importing multiple, bulky COWs (cells-on-wheels) to ensure mobility service for the annual Minnesota State Fair. They wanted an on-site, permanent, multi-carrier Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that could handle a huge influx of people – and connected devices – without issue. Such a system would need to support the diverse needs of both fairgoers and fair vendors.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
Graybar joined with MP Mobile Solutions, a systems integrator, to design and specify a DAS solution before the 2017 State Fair. The team recommended a DAS system manufactured by SOLiD that was pre-loaded and pre-configured at the factory. Over the three-month installation period, the Graybar team provisioned and staged the sophisticated system at its Minneapolis Service Center. And Graybar’s Just In Time (JIT) delivery service made sure that the appropriate parts and materials reached the fairgrounds at the exact time they were needed.
The Minnesota State Fair now has permanent, reliable mobile connectivity that provides a more positive experience for fairgoers and also enhances the abilities of vendors for both the State Fair and the many other events held at the fairgrounds throughout the year.
Furthermore, the State Fair was able to reclaim valuable square footage previously used for COWs for more productive uses and sell more fully integrated mobile marketing packages without worrying about overloading its mobile network.
Several important deadlines written into the Florida Fire Prevention Code (NFPA 1) are approaching, and building owners may need to act sooner than they think. The deadlines are related to a serious safety issue: Walls and low-e glass windows can block radio waves, reducing signal strength for firefighters and first responders who desperately need open lines of communication during an emergency.
The Florida legislature responded to this safety challenge by establishing requirements for radio signal strength inside buildings. Section 11.10 of the Florida Fire Prevention Code states in part that “in all new and existing buildings, minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications shall be maintained at a level determined by the [authority having jurisdiction “AHJ”)].”
New construction must be compliant to receive a certificate of occupancy permit, and existing buildings are expected to be brought up to Code if they are not already in compliance.
However, Section 633.202 of the Florida Statutes extends the deadline for existing high-rise buildings. According to § 718.1085 of the statutes, a “high rise” is any building that measures more than 75 feet between the lowest level the fire department is likely to access and the highest floor that can be occupied.
§ 633.202 gives owners of these buildings until January 1, 2022 to meet minimum radio strength requirements for fire department communications and two-way radio system enhancement communications.
However, the statute also contains several other important deadlines. Owners and managers of high-rise buildings in Florida should be aware of the following compliance dates:
There are two exceptions to the 2025 deadline, however. Any apartment buildings that include assisted living must follow the earlier timeline to become compliant by January 1, 2022. Mixed-use facilities must comply with the strictest standard for which there is some use – for example, a building with residential space above and commercial space below will also be held to the earlier timeline.
It’s important to remember that these extensions only apply to high-rises, and all other existing buildings could see the code enforced at any time.
Enforcement is ultimately left up to the discretion of local AHJs, but delaying compliance isn’t worth the risk. While AHJs might prioritize inspecting high-value, high-occupancy locations, like schools and hospitals, ignoring the regulations could set up a building owner for a more expensive on-the-spot renovation or even potential legal liability in the event of an emergency.
Most importantly, building owners have a responsibility to keep their facilities safe for occupants. Anything that gets in the way of first responders doing their jobs could have tragic consequences.
To determine whether or not they are compliant, building owners in Florida should schedule a test of the radio strength within their facilities. Graybar can coordinate this testing and provide proof that a building satisfies Code requirements.
If a building doesn’t meet radio strength requirements, the owner may install in-building radio enhancement systems that can boost signal strength to ensure first responders maintain radio contact everywhere in the building. A Graybar representative can help identify the right telecommunications installation for a particular building.
Click here to schedule a test and determine if your building is in compliance with the latest regulations.
Headquartered in Albany, New York, Advanced Network Services (ANS) is a turnkey engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) provider of telecommunication solutions. In today’s fast-paced work environments, flawless connectivity and mobile coverage is an essential component of doing business. “Distributed antenna systems (DAS) allow enterprise customers to build out infrastructure inside their facilities that take carrier signal from wireless providers through a series of conversions and transfers them back to phones, devices and large automation in inside environments,” explains ANS Program Manager Brendan Delaney.
To improve its coverage, a large governmental agency with facilities located nationally contracted with ANS for DAS installation at two initial locations in Wichita, Kansas and Greensboro, NC.
The government agency’s facilities execute complex operations on a large scale. Many are operational on a 24/7 basis. In addition to fast and cost-effective installation, it was important that the installation process not interfere with customer operations. Storing large amounts of equipment, product and parts at the facility was impractical. Shipping as needed or through a third party would lead to delays and add extra expense.
“For efficient, cost-effective deployment of these systems, it was important to ANS to find a distribution partner with local warehouses that we could trust to store, ship and manage materials,” says Brendan.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
With 290 locations across the U.S. and a complete selection of data communication products including everything needed for DAS installation, working with Graybar made sense for ANS and for their customer.
Graybar supplied ANS with all of the DAS materials including co-ax, radio frequency systems, antennas, connectors and more.
“Graybar’s service stood out with consistent communications and the ability to have Danielle as the single point of contact on these projects,” says Brendan.
“Once a PO was issued, Inside Sales Representative Danielle Pustolka from our Albany office, got everything rolling. She created a spreadsheet and sent it out once a week with quantities that had shipped. She communicated proactively with Brendan and our local team near the installations. Everyone was in the loop,” explains Graybar Comm/Data Business Manager James Sweet.
“We didn’t deliver $300,000 of material, set it in front of the facility and say, ‘Have at it.’ We released as the project needed,” adds Danielle. “There was no foreman or project manager wandering around a giant facility looking for material.”
In addition to preventing loss or damage to materials, hold and release gave ANS more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that worked for the job and the facility.
“In one location, there were concerns about too much noise in a call center area. Another facility was operational 24/7. If there was downtime at either, it would result in a huge monetary impact on the end users,” says Brendan. “Having materials stored locally at Graybar gave us more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that didn’t interrupt their business.”
There were also consumables and items that couldn’t be forecast: conduit fittings, j-hooks, fire rated penetrations and more. Once ANS installers were on site, they had a better idea of what was needed. With Graybar close by, ANS could send someone to the counter for pick up rather than over ordering or waiting for delivery.
“Without Graybar’s staging and delivery, our logistics costs would have been higher and our response times reduced. We look forward to continuing to work with Graybar on these kinds of projects,” says Brendan.
ANS’ customer was satisfied with both the process and the results of their DAS installation. Negotiations are underway to do more installations.
For both locations together, three weeks of end-to-end time to market was saved getting the projects scheduled and installed and more than $1,000 was saved in third party logistics and shipping costs.
Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products and provider of related supply chain NJATC logo management and logistics services, is proud to announce its platinum level partnership with the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Industry (NJATC). This demonstrates Graybar’s commitment to the training and development of members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the NJATC.
“Graybar is the first distributor to become an NJATC Platinum Level Training Partner, which demonstrates our commitment to the future of the electrical industry,” said Bill Mansfield, Graybar Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “We believe that the education of current and future electricians is vital to our industry and are pleased to show our support.”
Over the next several years, Graybar intends to support the NJATC in the development and expansion of its training efforts. By providing assistance to the NJATC’s National Training Institute, Graybar will support the NJATC in its transition to a blended learning training model. This model, which consists of immersive, interactive simulations and virtual exercises, is designed to prepare students for hands-on lab work and on-the-job training. The blended learning model adds a dynamic, online training component to the traditional mix of textbook, classroom, and lab experience. To better bridge students’ classroom curriculum with real-world application, Graybar will integrate some of the products it sells and its systems into IBEW/NECA training centers in the U.S. and Canada.
Furthermore, Graybar will establish a scholarship and awards program in which it will provide two scholarships per year during the term to support the costs associated with NTI Instructor group graduates’ continued participation at the National Training Institute.
“The NJATC could not be happier to have Graybar become a Platinum Level Training Partner,” stated Michael Callanan the Executive Director of the NJATC. “We recognize Graybar’s position as a preeminent electrical distributor and look forward to all of the exciting initiatives which are planned to enhance the opportunities for NECA contractors and IBEW members to benefit from new and innovative ways to learn within the electrical industry.”
About GraybarGraybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, communications and data networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, helping its customers power, network and secure their facilities with speed, intelligence and efficiency. For more information, visit www.graybar.com or call 1-800-GRAYBAR.
About NJATCThe NJATC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1941 by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The organization is committed to developing and standardizing education in the electrical industry to properly and effectively train members of NECA and the IBEW; providing the electrical construction industry with the most highly trained and skilled workforce possible. Since its inception, more than 325,000 apprentices have completed NJATC training programs and become competent Journeymen, making the organization one of the largest training and apprenticeship programs of its kind. For more information, go to www.njatc.org.
About National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)NECA is the voice of the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light, and communication technology to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 119 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. For more information, visit www.necanet.org.
About The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)The IBEW is an international labor organization that has trained the most qualified electricians in the trade for more than 117 years. With approximately 725,000 members in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Republic of Panama, the IBEW has members in construction, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting, railroads and government. For more information, visit www.ibew.org.
Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products and provider of related supply chain management and logistics services, announced today that Danna N. Ellison has been named Vice President, Strategic Accounts, effective June 1, 2014.
Ellison has worked in the electrical distribution industry for more than 14 years, most recently as Vice President, Supply Chain with Gexpro, a division of Rexel Holdings USA. In her new role, she will lead Graybar’s strategic accounts organization, which focuses on business development, service and support for large, multi-site and global customers.
“We are delighted to welcome Danna to the Graybar team,” said Graybar’s Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Bill Mansfield. “Danna is a proven leader with the experience to succeed in this important role. We are confident in her ability to grow our business profitably as we work to the advantage of our strategic account customers.”
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, communications and data networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, helping its customers power, network and secure their facilities with speed, intelligence and efficiency. For more information, visit www.graybar.com or call 1-800-GRAYBAR.
With 8,700 employees in 289 locations across North America including Canada and Puerto Rico, Graybar is a national company with local career opportunities, including:
• No. 57 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2018)
• Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 17th year (2019)
• No. 423 on the FORTUNE 500 ranking of America’s largest companies (2019)
• No. 55 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2017)
• Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 16th year (2018)
• Named by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” (2018)
• No. 13 on the National Center for Employee Ownership “Employee Ownership 100” list (2018)
• No. 3 on the Modern Distribution Management Market Leaders list (2018)
• No. 3 on Electrical Wholesaling’s Top 200 Electrical Distributors list (2018)
• Named one of the Top Workplaces in Atlanta, the California Bay Area, St. Louis, Oregon and Southwest Washington (2018)
• On Broadband Communities’ Fiber to the Home Top 100 list (2018)
• Named one of Selling Power’s “Best Companies to Sell For” (2018)
As a leading North American distributor, Graybar operates with one clear mission: to serve as the vital link in the supply chain, adding value for customers and suppliers with innovative solutions and services. Graybar’s strategy is to sustain the organization as an independent and employee-owned company, while achieving the results that position the company as an industry leader and allows Graybar to work to the advantage of those it serves.