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Let’s hear your opinion: answer our one-question product development poll.

2013 July 22

In the close collaborations that we form with the manufacturers whose products we sell on our site, we frequently get into deep “what if”-type discussions about products, industry trends, and how to work together to meet the challenges of building automation pros such as yourself.

And usually what happens next is that those manufacturers return to their design and engineering teams to come up with exciting and innovative new products for you to use.

We were recently kicking some ideas around, and decided that we’d reach out to you to weigh in:

Would you be interested in purchasing a wireless CO2 sensor - one that could be installed without the need to attach power or a signal wire?

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Thanks for your opinion!

Join us for our June webinar: Creating Material Kits on

2013 May 31

Last month, we hosted our first Project Management Tools webinar, and in fact we pulled it off – if we humbly do say so ourselves – rather successfully. Both webinar sessions were filled to capacity, we took a handful of great questions, and our attendees have given us some terrific feedback.

jim kalafatis june material kits webinarSo naturally, we’ll tempt the gods of fate once more and ask our resident Senior Webinar Host and Online Tools SuperGenius™ Jim Kalafatis to cover a new topic in June.

Is that overselling it? We certainly hope so.

Either way, on June 11th, 2013, at 10:00 AM EST and June 18th, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim will show you how to build a material kit in your customer dashboard.

“What’s a material kit,” you say? Good question!

  • It’s an online tool that helps you create a kit of parts that you order with regularity.
  • This allows you to build, for example, a panel with all of the parts inside it, or a VAV box assembly, or anything you want, with as many parts as you want.
  • And once you’ve built a material kit, you can save it in your online account and order it with a single click as many times as you want in the future.

The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, you can register here and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.

Join us for our May webinar: learning to use project management tools on

2013 April 30

We’ve mentioned to you a number of times that your customer dashboard on offers a robust set of project management tools that will change the way you order control parts for your projects — and save you plenty of time and truckloads of money. But even though we tell every single person we know about these tools, we occasionally meet a customer who isn’t taking advantage of them.

jim kalafatis project management webinarSo if you’re one of those folks, it’s time for us to bring out our big guns: Jim Kalafatis.

Because on May 9th, 2013, at 9:00 AM EST and May 23rd, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim’s hosting a webinar jam-packed with tips and tools that’ll help you save time, reduce errors and make your projects run more efficiently. You’ll learn:

  • How easy it is to upload an entire valve schedule or material list into your online shopping cart
  • How to organize your projects into purchasing phases and keep track of what’s been ordered, invoiced and shipped
  • Where to view all of your product documentation in one place
  • How to find all your invoices for a single project on one screen
  • …and lots, lots more.

The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, just click the orange REGISTER NOW link at the top of the homepage and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.

If you’re going to the AHR Expo next week, stop and see some of our site’s suppliers!

2013 January 21

ahr expo 2013Next week, a handful of us from will be traveling to Dallas, Texas to attend the 2013 AHR Expo with a couple thousand of our closest pals in the HVAC industry.

Will we see you there? It’s certainly possible, but we’d also like to suggest that you stop by and visit a bunch of our supplier-partners who will be exhibiting their newest and greatest products at the show. Here’s a quick peek at who among our manufacturers will be there, and where to find them:

  • Automation Components (ACI), Booth #940
  • Bacharach, Booth #1118
  • Badger Meter, Booth #2616
  • BAPI, Booth #825
  • Belimo, Booth #733
  • Blue Ridge Technologies, Booth #933
  • CAN2GO, Booth #945
  • Cleveland Controls, Booth #2313
  • Connect-Air International, Booth #715
  • Contemporary Controls, Booth #889
  • Continental Control Systems, Booth #761
  • Danfoss Graham, Booth #1333
  • Dent Instruments, Booth #823
  • Dwyer, Booth #675
  • E+E Elektronik, Booth #766
  • Eaton Cutler-Hammer, Booth #2349
  • E-Mon, Booth #5620
  • Functional Devices, Booth #779
  • GE Sensing-Telaire, Booth #804
  • KMC Controls, Booth #729
  • Neptronic, Booth #629
  • ONICON, Booth #925
  • SenseAir, Booth #720
  • Setra Systems, Booth #890
  • Solidyne, Booth #972
  • Spartan Peripheral Devices, Booth #739
  • Vaisala, Booth #872
  • Viconics, Booth #953
  • WattStopper, Booth #839

Have a terrific time in Dallas, and we hope to see you there!

Here are five spectacularly great reasons for you to buy all of your wire from

2013 January 14

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a word to you today, just one word:


See, we know that wire is important to the everyday operation of gettingwire and cable from connectair on your building control projects done – but the way that you’re currently purchasing wire for these jobs is, most likely, inefficient and costly.

As always, we’d like to help you with that. So allow us to spend a few minutes acquainting you with these Five Spectacularly Great Reasons to Buy All of Your Wire from

  1. The glorious convenience of one-stop shopping.
    You’re already coming to for so many parts that you need for your projects, but did you know that you could add wire to your shopping cart as well? In fact, you can find hundreds of wire and cable variations on our site, filter them by gauge, conductor, shielding and rating, and choose specific packaging options: reels, in boxes, or reels-in-boxes.
  2. Consistent, reliable pricing.
    This one is a pretty big deal. Pricing on wire and cables is subject to wild fluctuations because copper – wire and cable’s primary component – is a worldwide commodity item.So when most wire distributors quote you a price, you’re never really sure if they’re treating you fairly. Today they might cut you a deal because copper prices are low and they want to win your business; tomorrow they could gouge you on price because the market’s more volatile.

    So what do you do? You end up spending way too much time and effort chasing the best prices on wire, but you can never truly be sure if you’re getting the best price.

    We do it differently. Our wire manufacturer ConnectAir International works with us to keep prices consistent and reliable over time, despite fluctuations in market prices. Because ConnectAir buys in bulk, they’re able to keep their prices steadier than just about any other cable supplier in the industry.

  3. ConnectAir has specifically designed cables for the controls industry.
    In fact, very few other companies even stock cables and wire designed for your controllers. ConnectAir is the source of cables expressly made for systems by:

    • Alerton
    • BACnet
    • Johnson Controls
    • LonWorks
    • Siemens
    • Trane

    So that means you can easily find a dependable cable solution for your system on our site – and feel confident that it’s the right one.

  4. We save you money on shipping, too.
    We save you time and money on your shipping because ConnectAir sends it directly to you, not to a distributor’s warehouse where it has to be rerouted and shipped again. And even better: ConnectAir has multiple shipping locations (in Anaheim, CA; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Tracy, CA), so they can deliver your wire and cable order anywhere in the United States within three days – and they’ll ship it ground freight for free on orders over $1150!
  5. We know control contractors and we know how to solve your problems.
    Our many years of experience in the HVAC contractor world mean that we’re right there on the spot with you if you need advice and support (which you can find on right here!), and we work closely with ConnectAir to ensure that you can get everything you need. ConnectAir also offers customer-specific labeling options and colors through our site, and doesn’t require minimum orders.

Thanks for reading.

Take a quickie one-question poll about webinars on the blog!

2013 January 14

Here’s the thing: if you’re a registered user of, you’ve got at your fingertips an impressive assortment of project management tools that you might not be currently using, even though they could save you serious time and money on your building automation control projects.


If scheduled a free webinar so that you could learn how to maximize the free tools and functionality of our site to your time-saving advantage, would you want to participate?

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(keep in mind: voting on this question does NOT register you for a webinar. we’ll follow up with you separately if enough people are interested in signing up.)

How the creation of a simple – but brilliant – duct smoke kit solution saves you lots of money on shipping.

2012 November 9

Sometimes – in fact, lots of times – we’re amazed by the casual way in which our nearly 150 manufacturer-partners come up with new ways to solve problems in our industry. Sometimes it’s through the creation of a piece of technological brilliance: a new sensor chip or a more accurate wireless widget.

And sometimes, it’s simply a matter of cutting something up into smaller pieces.

Take the example of duct smoke kits, which are small plastic tubes that you stretch across the inside of an air duct in your building. The tubes gather air in and funnel it to a duct smoke detector, which then senses whether or not there’s smoke present in the duct. Then the detector sends a signal to your controller, activates smoke dampers to close – you know the rest.

But here’s the thing: these duct smoke tubes are most often purchased in 5- or 10-foot lengths, depending on your application. And they only weigh about a pound, but when you wanted to order them and have them shipped to you, you were locked into paying shipping on a big, long box.

Was that too many words? Here’s the idea:
long duct tubes in a long box
Now keep in mind that when you’d order these, you might pay 100% of the cost of the product – or more – just in shipping.

Well, someone really smart over at Space Age Electronics looked at this problem and thought “Golly, that’s just not right” (I’m paraphrasing) – and then came up with an incredibly bright and simple idea: invent a new tube kit that breaks down into sections, making it smaller and easier to ship.

Wow. Just: wow. Here’s the new idea:
small duct tubes in a small box
Now you can order Space Age duct smoke kits in 6-foot lengths that separate into three easy-to-fit sections, and you won’t have to choke on the shipping charges anymore.

Thanks for reading.

Are you getting the most out of our new e-newsletter? Here are three handy ways to find out.

2012 August 9 e-newslettersSince June, we’ve been sending out a monthly newsletter directly to the email inboxes of our customers and pals, and so far the response has been terrific. It’s been a great way for us to connect with both our site visitors as well as our manufacturer-partners, and to share news and product information on a regular basis.

All the same, we wanted to make sure you’re getting the most out of the newsletter, so we’d encourage you to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Wait, what? I’ve been getting an e-newsletter?
    You sure have! If you’ve ever bought anything from or if we’ve met you, called you, sent you quotes, visited with you at a tradeshow – whatever – we’ve most likely included you on our distribution list. If you haven’t seen it, however, it’s possible that our newsletter is stuck somewhere in your email program’s spam filter. Double-check there if you haven’t been getting it. If it’s in your spam or bulk mail folder, you can “clear” emails sent from us in the future, which will ensure that you get the next edition of our newsletter in September. (and by the way, if you have missed them and they aren’t in your spam filter and you WANT to see them, just email Alan Lopuszynski right here and we’ll send you out any back issues of the newsletter)
  2. Boy, would I LOVE to share the newsletter’s videos and product news with my friends and coworkers. How the heck do I do that? e-newsletter registration buttonA fine question indeed. If you’ve enjoyed or found valuable information in the content of our newsletters, why not pass it along to your industry pals? You can forward our newsletter directly to others, share it via our pages on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, or encourage people you know to visit the homepage and look for the dazzlingly orange Get Our e-Newsletter button near the bottom of the page.
  3. Why hasn’t sent me some goodies yet?
    Ah, the best question of all. Here’s the deal: if you share a video you saw in our newsletter* with your staff – perhaps at a weekly meeting – and then let us know about it, we’ll send you some goodies to enjoy at your next meeting. Just send your contact information and which video(s) you shared to and we’ll do the rest!

If you answered all three of those questions, congrats. You’re officially enjoying our e-newsletter. Any other thoughts or suggestions? Just give us a shout in the comment section below.

*or, truth be told, anywhere on our site. – 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, 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 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, 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 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 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

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 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, 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.