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alpscontrols.com – an internet-only distributor where flesh-and-blood technical support people make the whole thing work.

2012 June 8

Let me start out by saying that at alpscontrols.com, we LOVE the internet. We’re huge fans. Each day it’s a thrill for us to engage in this cross-generational, multi-cultural communication space in which opinions and art and entertainment and philosophy and government all come together for the purposes of information exchange and commerce!

We were particularly tickled recently to discover this blog post, in which internet-only building control distributors are called out for a number of perceived shortcomings, and in which alpscontrols.com is specifically — in super-duper secret coded fashion! — mentioned:

…Stocking no inventory, having manufacturers ship direct to customers, providing no technical support, and bragging about it. Really? Give us a break, even Clint knows there is no free lunch. One way or another you get what you pay for. Not to name names, but if you are using these guys you have A lready L ost P erspective and S ensibility.

To use a phrase popularized by the kids on the internet: we see what you did there!

But the fact of the matter is that the statement above gets at least one item glaringly, stupendously wrong: at alpscontrols.com, we do provide technical support. In fact, a good 35% of our staff is dedicated to delivering experienced, immediate, efficient and product-based customer support that also includes specifying and quoting. There’s really no way that our innovative business model could be successful without it, and a large percentage of our customers, when asked about the strengths of our company, tell us that our support personnel are what bring them back to alpscontrols.com day after day.

Why is that? Setting aside for a moment that our people are quick, friendly, and know their stuff, it comes down to three main reasons:

  1. Our use of advanced communication technology, in which we leverage Skype, in-house training, webinars, online video, live support and even email and telephone calls to quickly serve our customers’ support needs;
  2. Our ability to deliver more customer support than traditional wholesalers. We’re able to do this because we take all the time that we’re not stocking shelves, performing inventory and driving trucks and we spend it working with our customers; and finally,
  3. The fact that, in those instances where more comprehensive product answers are needed, we immediately bring our customers together with our manufacturers to find the information they need. There’s complete transparency on alpscontrols.com between suppliers and contractors, primarily because we actually want our manufacturer-partners to know who their customers on our site are.

We’re just funny and generous like that.

Here’s the thing: there is still a need in the marketplace for local brick-and-mortar distributors to provide the immediate gratification of inventory-based product sales. Heck, sometimes we even purchase products from local distributors, and they buy from us as well. But our business model is designed for — and successfully fulfills — a much broader, global need. In a single online space, we’re able to offer over 8 million products that couldn’t possibly be warehoused efficiently; we handle hundreds of transactions every day for control contractors who seek a cost-effective way to order an entire project’s specification list on a single purchase order. And sure, we do it without stocking an inventory, and by having our suppliers ship directly to our customers — but we do it because it provides value and efficiency not only to our customers who appreciate it, but also to our manufacturers who, freed from the time and personnel it takes to support product transactions, are enabled to spend their time doing what they do best: design and create new and better products.

If you have any questions about our ability to provide technical, specification, product, or sales support, we’ll tell you what: why don’t you simply contact our non-existent support folks and find out for yourself?

Thanks for reading.

Eddie Johnson seeks to build, bolster – and yes, even nurture – supplier-manufacturer relationships as our new VP Vendor Development.

2012 June 4

With an ever-growing list of more than 150 supplier-manufacturers that represent the best and brightest in our industry, it should be a shock to exactly no one that we found a guy to create, maintain and strengthen those relationships who is himself among the best and brightest in our industry.

eddie johnson vp of vendor development at alpscontrols.comEnter Eddie Johnson, our new VP Vendor Development at alpscontrols.com.

Eddie brings with him a wealth of experience in OEM relationships, building automation controls, wireless technology and in working directly with control integrators and the particular challenges they face in leveraging high-end technology in the creation of modern, energy-smart buildings. Most recently, Eddie was Director of OEM Sales at EnOcean, where he worked to get manufacturers to embed EnOcean wireless- and batteryless-enabled technology into their products. He also helped get our sister site enoceanparts.com up and running; it’s the first and only site online where EnOcean-enabled parts can be purchased from multiple manufacturers.

As a self-professed, long-time fan of alpscontrols.com, Eddie’s looking forward to working with our current and future suppliers by leveraging what he calls our site’s “enabling technology”:

I am a passionate believer that what we have is the best way to buy stuff! What I want to do is to build on the phenomenal success that we’ve created — not only in exposing new suppliers to our existing customer base, but also in expanding how our current manufacturers interact with those who use our site. It’s a two-way street: we help buyers and sellers find each other, then we make it possible for them to easily transact business together, to their mutual benefit.

Originally from England and having lived in Europe, the Far East and the Middle East, Eddie currently resides in Louisville, KY, where he has a 13-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son. He’ll be traveling extensively for his new position, and will be based both out of our Pittsburgh, PA, offices as well as his home office in Louisville.

Would you like free shipping on all Setra Systems SRH orders for the whole summer? Yes. Yes, you would.

2012 June 1
by admin; 4,240 views

“Accurate,” “durable,” “dependable” and “reasonably priced” are just a few of the words you could use to describe Setra Systems’ spectacular line of SRH humidity sensors.

Well, go ahead and add “shipped for free” to that list, starting right now.

Because if you visit alpscontrols.com from now through August 31, 2012, and purchase a Setra Systems SRH wall mount, duct unit or outdoor mount humidity transmitter, your entire Setra Systems order will ship for free.

Soak that in for just a moment. You won’t hear a better summer offer unless Duran Duran reunites and plays a half-dozen shows at your local Ribs ‘n’ Wings Festival.

Setra Systems’ SRH humidity transmitters feature:

  • Field replaceable sensor tips
  • Choice of 2%, 3% or 5% RH accuracy
  • Active or passive temperature
  • 4-20mA or field-selectable 0-5 and 0-10 VDC
  • NIST traceability (optional calibration certificate)
  • Recovery from repeated saturation

Tell you what: we’ll stop bending your ear about it. Go take a look at Setra Systems SRH humidity sensors on alpscontrols.com right here and see what you think.

Offer good from 6.1.12 through 8.31.12. Customer must order at least one SRH transmitter and ground shipping charges are free for that Setra order. Continental United States only.

All this week at alpscontrols.com: exclusive U.S.-based CAN2GO product training for control contractors and system integrators.

2012 May 7
by admin; 3,873 views

We’ll be giving you a few peeks this week at the exclusive CAN2GO product training we’re hosting here in our offices, so if you weren’t able to attend, check back here to see what’s new.
can2go training at alpscontrols.com
And naturally, we’ll be having more of these in the future, so stay tuned.

ACT NOW! Get exclusive CAN2GO product and programming training, May 7 – 8, at the Pittsburgh office of alpscontrols.com.

2012 March 20
by admin; 11,884 views

can2go controllerHere’s a softball question to start your week out right: If you’re a controls contractor or system integrator, should you know more about CAN2GO products?
Answer: What are you, kidding? OF COURSE you should know more about CAN2GO.

Here’s why: CAN2GO offers wired and wireless solutions for HVAC, lighting and metering building automation applications. With their products, you can save time on the job and money on electrical costs by:

  • Controlling lighting and HVAC in one controller
  • Controlling EnOcean and ZigBee end-devices
  • Controlling wired end-devices
  • Supporting metering applications
  • Creating gateways from EnOcean to BACnet, ZigBee to BACnet and more
  • Deploying wired and wireless solutions
  • Managing your BAS using a web BEMS

And now we’ve got your chance to learn much more about CAN2GO when we host an exclusive training session on May 7th and 8th.

In this jam-packed two-day session, you’ll get an overview of network design and CAN2GO wireless technology planning; an overview of CAN2GO product capabilities and Lua scripting – including how to program HVAC and lighting applications; and you’ll receive hands-on exercises in configuration, wireless planning and Lua scripting.

This is a must-attend training event because alpscontrols.com is the only U.S.-based resource for purchasing CAN2GO products and we have limited availability that’s getting scooped up fast.

Here are some incredibly important links for you to click:

And we really can’t stress this enough: register NOW to ensure you get a seat and to save money.

We look forward to seeing you in May!

Ordering Vaisala Products on alpscontrols.com? Read this if you live in one of these 34 United States.

2012 March 7

As a matter of fact, we at alpscontrols.com DO consider ourselves innovators and cutting-edgesters when it comes to the ever-changing best practices of online commerce – so it’s important for us to let you know when something’s come up that could impact how you purchase parts on our site.

vaisala gas transmitters, humidity and condensationStarting today, if you purchase gas transmitter, humidity or condensation products from Vaisala and you live in any of the U.S. States listed below, alpscontrols.com will assess sales tax to your online order.

Here’s the list of States:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

The good news? If your organization is tax-exempt, it’s quick and easy for you to upload your exemption certificate via your My Account dashboard:

  • Once you’re logged in, click MY ACCOUNT at the top of the page
  • Under the My Information heading, click the link for Tax Exemption Certs.
  • On the new window that opens, find the Click here to register a Certificate link
  • Then follow the directions on the next page.

Questions? Please feel free to contact our customer support or give us a call at 412.464.1730.

Thanks for reading.

We welcome HVAC industry superstar Travis Haas to alpscontrols.com.

2012 February 7

travis haas of alpscontrols.comIt’s entirely possible that you’re already familiar with this smiling gent, because as Travis himself humbly puts it, “I do know quite a few people in our industry.”

He’s being modest – which is just one of his qualities that makes it so exciting for us to give you the news that Travis Haas has joined our sales team at alpscontrols.com.

You probably met Travis during the nine years he spent in marketing and sales at ACI, where he learned to enjoy the fast-moving technological advances so common in the HVAC world. He says,

“I’m really a gadget guy, so I think that being able to find new advances in our industry is what has helped me connect with people over the years. I just enjoy getting out there, meeting everybody I can, and sharing with them the newest, best devices I can find.”

Travis looks forward to reaching out to new and potential alpscontrols.com customers, helping them find the right products for their applications and getting them up and running on our site. He’s long been a fan of our online business model, and is excited by the challenges of exploring new markets that could benefit from our different and better way to buy building automation products online.

Travis was born and raised in Wisconsin, and currently resides there with his wife, three daughters and one son.

Find out more about Travis on our site here.

In which we invite you to unwrap these delightful closure alerts from our product manufacturers.

2011 November 22
by admin; 4,635 views

santa is watching youYes, it’s true: we here at alpscontrols.com are watching you. We see you when you’re sleeping and we know when you’re awake. So that’s why we thought you’d like to know more about the holiday closure calendars of our manufacturer-partners so that you can adjust any of your product-ordering accordingly.

We’ll be updating this list as the season continues, so check back here from time to time to ensure that you avoid any delays to your projects.

  • alpscontrols.com will be closed on Friday 12.23, Monday 12.26 and then Monday, 1.2.12.
  • BAPI will be closed on December 23rd, December 26th and January 2nd.
  • Belimo will be closed Friday 12.23 and Monday 12.26.
  • Connect-Air is closed on December 26th and Monday, January 2nd.
  • Electro Industries plans to close on Friday 12.23, Monday 12.26 and Monday 1.2.12.
  • Functional Devices will be closed on Monday through Wednesday, December 26th through 28th and also on Friday, December 30th. Functional’s production facilities will also be closed from Monday through Friday, December 26th – 30th. They’ll resume normal operations on Monday, 1.2.12.
  • Hoffman will be closed on Friday 12.23 and Monday 12.26.
  • Innovative Solutions will be closed from Friday 12.23 through Monday 1.2.12 inclusively.
  • KMC Controls will be shutting down their shipping capabilities while they do a physical inventory from the 19th through the 23rd. Then the plant will be closed from 12.26 through 12.30. They’ll accept orders through December 23rd, but your best bet in receiving orders by the end of the year would be to place them by November 28th. Normal shipping will resume on 1.2.12.
  • Metropac will be closed on Thursday, 11.24 and Friday, 11.25.11.
  • PECO will be closed from December 23 through January 1, 2012.
  • Saginaw is closing for the holidays on December 23rd, 26th and 30th.
  • Setra is closed Friday, December 23rd; Monday, December 26th; and Monday, January 2nd.
  • Siemens will be closed on Friday, 12.23; Monday, 12.26; Friday, 12.30 and Monday, 1.2.12.
  • Spartan Peripheral Devices will close at 12:00 PM on Friday, December 23rd and will reopen on Monday, 1.2.12.
  • Vaisala will cease shipping products at the end of the day on Monday, 12.19, and will begin again after the first of the year.
  • Viconics will close down from Monday, 12.26.11 through Monday, 1.2.12, inclusively. Orders placed on or before 12.2 will ship before December 22nd, if units are in stock.
    • On behalf of everyone at alpscontrols.com, we wish you and yours a merry and peaceful Christmas!

      No, seriously: we’re watching you. Right now. So you’d better be good, for goodness sake.

      (photo credit: pagedooley on Flickr)

No surprise here: alpscontrols.com voted one of the top ten 2011 Best Places to Work in Western Pennsylvania.

2011 October 25

alpscontrols.com 2011 best places to workIt came as a shock to exactly no one working at alpscontrols.com when the Pittsburgh Business Times recently rated our company as one of Western Pennsylvania’s Best Places to Work for 2011. And not only were we rated along with nearly 100 other companies, but our employees were happy and content enough to be rated #10th on the entire list.

Top-ranked companies were sent an employee questionnaire that covered such issues as trust, work effectiveness, management relationships and feelings being satisfied and valued. Employees of alpscontrols.com rated the company 80% or higher in every category, and 100% in many of them.

“I felt excited and proud that our company was honored as one of Pittsburgh’s best places to work,” says alpscontrols.com President Dave Meyers, “we work hard every day for our customers, so it’s pretty terrific to know that we’re happy doing it at the same time.”