Wednesday 24 October 2012

Davis Controls Ltd. - Expand Your Borders

I am very fortunate that my role at Davis Controls Ltd provides me the opportunity to network regularly with some of brightest minds and best companies in our industry.  For me, the most important of these peer group opportunities comes from our participation in the Association for High Technology Distribution, the primary industry resource for increasing efficiency and opportunity.


As President of the AHTD (an association comprised of automation solution provider and manufacturer members who deliver technology-based products, services and solutions to the automation marketplace),  it was an honour and a pleasure for me to welcome members and their spouses to our Fall Meeting in historic Quebec City last week.  It was exciting for us to have our meeting at the picturesque Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world.  A record number of members and a record number of spouses from around the world attended this meeting.   Being in the heart of Old Quebec, we had the opportunity to explore this charming city, stroll the boardwalk, ride the funicular, taste poutine and enjoy the history and hospitality of the most European city in North America.


We were extremely pleased to open our fall program with General Rick Hillier (Ret’d).  During his illustrious career, General Hillier was appointed the Deputy Commanding General of III Corps, US Army in Fort Hood, Texas.  He went on to assume command of NATO’s Stabilization Force’s (SFOR) Multinational Division in Bosnia-Herzegovina and NATO- led International Security Assistance (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan.   General Hillier was appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff in 2005, the highest rank in the Canadian armed forces and retired from the Canadian Forces in July 2008. General Hillier is an Officer in the Order of Canada and he spoke to our group on the subject of leadership.  His anecdotes from the field were spellbinding.


One of the workshop presenters on Thursday afternoon was Todd Youngblood, Managing Partner & CEO of the YPS Group.  Todd is a recognized authority on Sales Process Engineering and hosts a radio podcast dedicated to the methodical, relentless and continuous improvement of the sales process.  I had the pleasure of participating in one of Todd’s interviews and was given the opportunity to talk about Davis Controls Ltd and my role in the AHTD

Click on this link to hear the interview:


Our Friday’s keynote address featured Tom Koulopoulos, the author of nine books and founder of The Delphi Group, a 20 year old Boston based think tank.  Tom was named one of industry’s most influential consultants by Information Week magazine and his work has been praised by Tom Peters, who called his writing a “brilliant vision of where we must take our enterprises to survive and thrive”.  Tom’s presentation was both stimulating and entertaining.


We all appreciate a good musical performance, a concert or even a symphony orchestra, but I’ll bet that most of us have never had the experience that we enjoyed Friday evening.  The Painchaud Family of Quebec City are internationally renowned for their musical talent and entertaining performances.  Classical multi-instrumental musicians and Grammy nominees in their own right, this family of four brothers and a sister are phenomenally talented and hysterically entertaining performers.   This special evening will not be forgotten by anyone who was there to witness their entertaining performance.

We concluded our stay in Quebec City on Saturday morning with a talk by Barry Lane, Vice President of Mendel Tours.  Barry provided us with a fascinating history of Quebec, a World Heritage City. 


As wonderful as Quebec City is, it’s the people and the program, not the place that make our meetings so special….Thank you to all of our members and spouses for the wonderful memories from my five day stay in QC.  Some are even saying that it was our best meeting ever.


Only six months until our next AHTD meeting in Palm Springs, California.



Monday 1 October 2012

Davis Controls Ltd. - Where We Work And Play

Saying that we are a high tech company is one thing.  Having the right people and products to prove it on a daily basis is another.  Having the advanced business software to facilitate instant and accurate execution is yet another and we have talked about them all in this blog series.  But almost as important as who we are and what we do and how we do it, is how we look.  It’s one thing to say that we are high tech, but we also have to look high tech and we go to great pains to project a clean, efficient and professional image to our customers, suppliers and employees.

In Montreal we have recently moved our office one floor down from where we have been for the last 21 years.  We elected to stay in St Laurent for a number of reasons, including the concentration of high tech companies in the area, close proximity to the airport, good highway access and the fact that we liked the facilities.

Our new office is larger, quieter and more functional than the space we had before and our Montreal staff are delighted with the new location.  Two new features of Suite 302 include a dedicated reception area, where guests have an opportunity to sit and relax, as well as a proper training room, where we can meet with customers and suppliers to discuss new products and/or applications.  We have used the move as an occasion to reclaim and reorganize our Montreal stockroom and this area once again reflects a cross section of the day to day inventory requirements of the district.  If you are ever in the area, we encourage you to drop in to take a look and say Hi.


 At our head office in Oakville, we continue to be more than satisfied with the location and facilities that we built in 1989.  The office has proven to be everything that we had hoped it would be when we first designed and furnished it, 23 years ago.  Over this period, the shrubs and trees and garden beds that looked so scrawny and small when they were first planted are all now full and lush, creating a picturesque sight for anyone coming to visit.  I regularly sit out on the patio after work just to relax and read the paper and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  But I am not the only one making good use of this setting.

Each year, beginning in May and continuing once a month until at least October, the Oakville BBQ committee organizes a lunchtime feast out on the patio.  While Larry is at the grill cooking hamburgers, sausages and chicken breasts to perfection, Joan, Leanne, Debera and Kim are tossing salads, preparing condiments and pouring drinks at the same time that Roy is setting up the sound system and sun umbrellas, getting ready for the Bar-B-Que buffet.

We like to have the entire office participate in these events and encourage all of our field sales reps to plan calls in the area on these days so that they can drop in at lunch time to enjoy the good food and music with their friends and colleagues. 


In early June of this year, we combined an after work, steak dinner BBQ with a sales training seminar that we were hosting at the same time.  Participating in this event were all of our sales reps, including our friends from Montreal, Vancouver, Sarnia, Hamilton and Cambridge and our lunch room / patio facility is just perfect for this kind of social gathering.


On June 16, we used our expansive back lawn to host a multi-employee yard sale.  The day turned out to be hot and sunny and we had a steady stream of bargain hunters arriving all morning, hoping to find and deal for that one rare or unusual item that they just couldn’t live without.  We were all set up in time for the early birds who began arriving at 7:00am and by noon, we were all ‘haggled’ out with nothing left to do but pack up and count our booty.  None of us got rich, but it was good fun and we all achieved our main objective, that being to purge the basement, garage or storage closet of years of accumulated treasures.