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Patrick Hines

Patrick Hines

Vice President of Sales
John O'Brien

John O'Brien

Director of Distribution
Be Of Good Cheer
Author: Patrick Hines

For the last couple of years, our Director of Distribution Sales, John O’Brien, and I have taken what I’ve come to call our “Christmas Tour”. Starting a week or so before Thanksgiving, John and I “hit the road”, traveling together five days a week, usually right up to Christmas Eve, meeting with our Distributors. We spend time talking about what worked (and what didn’t) during the year just ending and looking ahead to how we’ll work together in the year to come. We get a chance to break bread and let our Distributors know how much the relationships we’ve built over the years mean to us and to all the folks at Toshiba International Corporation. Our Distributors are the backbone of our business. Their integrity, commitment, and the quality of their work are an example to us all. We wouldn’t be who we are as a Company without these folks.

Sometimes, I confess, John and I get a little carried away in our efforts to recognize and spend time with these people who’ve come to mean so much to us. I remember, a year or two ago, John and I were hustling through the Charlotte airport on what might’ve been Christmas Eve on our way to our homes after a Customer lunch. I looked around the airport at all the travelers heading “home for the holidays” with bags of presents, carry-ons, winter coats…and then I looked at John and said, “You know, we’re the only people in this whole place carrying briefcases…John, we’re gonna have to give next year’s schedule a think…” We had a good laugh on that one.

But here we are this year, having had to cancel the “tour”. Breaking the streak was hard. I miss traveling with my friend and meeting with so many great people I’ve come to know personally and professionally. COVID has impacted us all in so many ways. I know we’re all looking forward to better days ahead. Those days can’t come soon enough for me. My team and I are itching to get back on the road where we do what we do. Until that time, I remain full of gratitude for the memories I have, the friends I’ve made, and the knowledge that we’ll get through this together.

Reach out, and let us know how we’re doing and how we can help you.

Toshiba Strong.

Industrial Electrical Company
Author: Colin Joeright

Adaptation. Change. Perseverance. Trust. These words are what best describe Toshiba International Corporation’s distributor, Industrial Electrical Co. (IEC), based out of Modesto, California. IEC is a distributor of Toshiba low voltage electric motors and adjustable speed drives, and power apparatus and components. IEC has been serving the California valley’s vast market since 1935 and has built a reputable presence as a total solutions provider in the heavy commercial, industrial, and agricultural markets.

IEC is a 3rd generation family owned business started by the grandfather of its current President, Dave Howell. The company’s original foundation of electrical contracting and motor repair services remain at the core of IEC. However, IEC has expanded into many other areas, including advanced motor technology, field services, welder/servo repair, generator service and sales (including small engine repair), predictive maintenance solutions, complete machine shop services, and electrical safety training.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Howell, and several IEC employees to discuss some of the company’s history. When asked what makes IEC unique, two employees, both of whom are long-time IEC employees, expressed that it was IEC’s willingness to adapt and to trust in the company’s employees. Dave also shared a story with me that showed how IEC exemplified those characteristics. A year after Dave took over the business, IEC experienced a massive fire that devastated a large portion of the company. Dave received a call notifying him of this while vacationing with his family and, when his family asked if they should head back home, Dave insisted that his managers and employees at the shop were very capable of working through the crisis. Upon Dave’s return, the company was already back up and running though under modified conditions as if it had not missed a beat. It is this trust that Dave had in the employees, as well as the perseverance of IEC’s employees that has resulted in IEC’s longevity.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have had to reduce staff, sell assets and/or close their businesses altogether. On the contrary, IEC has overcome hardships and has even expanded its business by building new facilities and adding testing equipment, including increasing overhead crane capacity during this time. The substantial investments made by the company are evidence of IEC’s enduring ability to adapt and progress even during difficult times. IEC now has the flexibility to reach a much broader customer base due to increased testing capabilities and overhead crane capacity.

Toshiba International Corporation is proud to do business with IEC, a company that is capable of providing customers with complete system solutions that range from the power source to the last piece of rotating equipment. Please visit IEC’s website at https://industrialelectricalco.com/ to learn more about how Industrial Electrical Co. can help your business.

Colin Joeright
Regional Sales Manager

Toshiba Strong
Author: Patrick Hines

The Employees at Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) are really an extraordinary group. Even as COVID numbers rise across the Country, and many of us are still in WFH mode, the team is finding ways to give back to our Community. Last week, at our West Little York Facility, we coordinated with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to donate 53 Units of blood!! They tell me that could save as many as 159 LIVES!

The same week, a team of TIC folks reached out to our local Horne Elementary School, not far from our Houston, TX campus, to do some good work. Several employees put in hours of volunteer time to paint outdoor seating, help with the garden, and enhance the outdoor learning area.

What we do in our work is to build and sell some of the best motor and drive products in the world. But what we do outside business hours can be more important. To help save a life or to make a child’s life better is answering a higher call. At TIC, a lot of good people do a lot of good work, both on and off the clock.

We’re committed to people. Committed to the future.

Reach out and let us know how we’re doing and how we can help you.

Toshiba Strong.

What We’ve Learned
Author: Patrick Hines

Adversity creates opportunity. And I’m proud of the opportunities TIC has discovered and leveraged during this unprecedented period in our lives. Early on, for example, we mobilized the entire organization so that, within a few days, we had the front office and engineering sections working remotely and implemented processes in the plants to allow them to work safely. But that was months ago, and only the beginning.

Since then, we’ve been pretty busy. We’ve created hours and hours of online training content for our Customers. We’ve been a leader at innovating participation in online conferences and conventions. We figured out how to operate a complex manufacturing, engineering, and sales organization effectively under extraordinary circumstances. We found new ways reach Customers and each other (that's Senior Sales Rep, Tim Baylis as he visits customers). We’ve created virtual plant tours, supported virtual symposiums, and adapted to virtual meetings (with all the attendant interruptions, miscues, funny moments, and reminders we’d all rather be meeting in person).

What we’ve learned about ourselves and our organization are lessons we’ll take with us long after COVID is a memory. Certainly, all of us who’ve worked through this pandemic era will remember it the rest of our lives. But what we must never forget is how we pulled together to get through it and how we were made stronger by it. Here then is perhaps the greatest opportunity for us to uncover in adversity -; the opportunity to discover we are better than we knew, stronger than we thought, and that together we can do more than we ever thought possible.

I’ll see you on the road.

Author: Patrick Hines

As we wrap up our first semester of fiscal 2020 at TIC, a time of COVID, social and political challenges, adverse business conditions, and all manner of stresses, I’ve been doing some thinking. After 35 years in this business, I’m still learning as we manage through these times. When I started in the ‘80s, we were just getting pagers, thermal fax machines, and car phones (that’s a phone mounted in your car). If you were really big time, you’d get a brick or bag phone (not sliding THAT in your jacket pocket, for sure!). In the distributor office where I started out, we had someone still typing manual invoices and the company had just migrated from inventory cards to a computerbased system. The tech was…very different from today.

In my three and half decades of work, I’ve witnessed a lot of change. And it’s come at an ever accelerating rate. Adopting the ‘80s technologies seemed to come slowly, but, by the ‘90s, the Internet, email, social media, flip phones, and smart phones had all begun to “happen”. The tech was changing almost faster than we could figure out how to leverage it.

Now here we are in the 2020’s with whole generations raised on the technology folks my age had to learn and apply on the fly. I am thankful we figured it out. Imagine working in the COVID era without all these tools that allow us to “Work From Home”, “Work Safe”, and stay connected across miles, time zones, and industries!

We are yet again on the cusp of so many new leaps forward. Imagine where the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), higher-efficiency motor/drive packages, new mechanical and electrical designs and applied materials, and even faster order fulfillment might take our business and markets. Think of all the ways our industry (both in products and practices) has changed in the last 35 years, and free your imagination to consider what’s possible in the ten or even thirty years ahead. And remember the acceleration rate of development and deployment is constantly increasing!

At TIC, we’re thinking all the time about where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re headed. We are committed to people, committed to the future. I invite you to join us on this journey as we adapt to an ever-changing world and continue our unwavering drive to make and do things that lead to a better world.

In the coming weeks, we will be introducing our Industrial Exchange page where ideas and topics are discussed with Product Managers, Application Engineers and Research & Development regarding several industries. Join us as we showcase products, articles and digital tools!

I can’t wait to see what’s next!


See you on the road.


On The Road Again
Author: Patrick Hines

The best thing about being in Sales, if you really love the work, is being with your Customers, building relationships and solving problems. For the last ten years, it’s been my honor and privilege to lead the TIC Motors and Drives Sales Team in North and South America. That means getting to work with and support some of the best sales people in our industry and meeting with Customers who really “get” what we do at TIC.

I like to fly. I normally rack up around 150,000 miles of air travel each year. Flying makes what I do possible. And it affords me the opportunity to meet, face to face, with our sales team that drives our business and our Customers who are the purpose of it. Of course, all that changed for me (and many of us) in March of 2020. After wrapping up some business in Vietnam and Japan, I flew back to the US for a quick swing through the Southeastern USA. I had to cut my itinerary short, returning to Houston on March 12th….and that was it….for just about seven months. Until last week when I boarded a United flight and headed north to see some our valued Distributors in Ohio and Indiana.

I wore a lot of masks. I socially distanced. My hands smelled constantly of sanitizer. And I cleaned more surfaces with alcohol wipes than I can count. A small price to pay to “get back out there”. It was great!

We all need to operate our businesses; and we need to do so safely. TIC’s approach to COVID has, I’m proud to say, put the safety of our Employees and Customers first. And, as the economy opens up, and in-person meetings resume, I am seeing they can be done safely, if a little differently than before COVID. I appreciate our Customers’ understanding as we wear masks, socially distance, and observe safety protocols when we work. We will get through this.

In time, we’ll look back on these days and remember how what kept us apart drew us closer together. We’ll recall how our teams got stronger. We’ll be reminded that we found opportunity in adversity. And we’ll carry forward the lessons we learned today that will make us better tomorrow.

Stay well and I’ll see you on the road!

TIC Distributors
Author: Patrick Hines

For as long as Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) has existed, the company has excelled at delivering innovative, quality products to market. We help our Customers solve problems. We add value with our products, experience, service, and technology. Our core competencies of manufacturing, product development, and commitment to supporting our Customers are at the heart of what we do every day.

But it’s a big world out there, and reaching all the folks that we can help would be impossible without our Distributor network. In this area, we are fortunate. Over the last fifty or so years, we’ve worked hard to develop long-lasting relationships with many of the top industrial distributors and EASA shops in North America. It’s those relationships and the benefits they provide that truly help us reach and support the users of our products across industries and geographies.

Our Distributors have so much to offer. Most have strong technical expertise and service capabilities. They position inventory close to where it’s needed. They have intimate knowledge of the local markets they serve. And, because many are independently owned, their owners are close to the business, nimble enough to take fast action, and driven to sustain their enterprise for the long-term benefit of their employees, families, and clients.

At TIC, we would not be the great company we are without our valued Distributors . It’s the teamwork and shared vision of doing our best work together that makes our collaboration work and provides the high level of service to shared Customers.

Thank you TIC Distributors!

Distributor Highlight: ELCON Technologies
Author: Elizabeth Koenig

Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) is proud to collaborate with Elcon Technologies (ELCON), a systems integrator. Our working relationship, which began in 2018, has since prospered and successfully provided customers with quality long-term business support. Based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ELCON has been in business since 1988 and has developed extensive domain expertise and strong process knowledge of diversified automation and control systems while serving a variety of industries. ELCON designs and builds high-quality turnkey systems and equipment that serve as innovative and distinctive solutions.

ELCON’s seamless integration systems are supported by a team of specialized professionals that evaluate customer needs, examine project specifications and requirements, recommend design solutions for various applications, and provide the latest technical advances. ELCON offers a variety of products with the option of customization to fit customers’ needs.

In addition to specialized products, ELCON offers services such as equipment installation and start-up, equipment retrofitting, and aftermarket services. Their manufacturing facility is UL 508 certified, and their product certifications include ABS, CSA®, and CE.

ELCON is committed to helping companies improve performance and productivity by bringing to them the best products, accessories, services, and customized solutions. Among customized solutions, ELCON offers an innovative 18-pulse AS3 assembly line for ratings of 60 HP to 500 HP variable frequency drives. ELCON believes that it is their obligation to source the best of both, USA products and Green Certified products.

Together, ELCON and TIC have built an excellent business relationship that offers package solutions, including variable frequency drives and motor controls for use in various industries such as Water/Wastewater, HVAC and Power Generation. TIC’s and ELCON’s rapid response teams from quotation stage through onsite startup and support offer customers an unmatched customer experience.

From the Floor of the Motor Plant
Author: Patrick Hines

I’ve been looking forward since my last entry to talking about our Houston, TX facility. While Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) has been in business for over 50 years, construction on our plant and offices in Houston didn’t begin until the early 1980s. Back then, the facility was quite small with the focus being NEMA motors and included some engineering, logistics, sales, and product support. It was “in the middle of nowhere”, and you were as likely to see Texas wildlife as a passing car on the two-lane road in front of the site.

Things have certainly changed for the better with each decade that has passed. Today, our 55-acre Houston campus boasts 5 factories employing over 1,000 folks. In those plants we manufacture NEMA and other low and medium voltage motors, low and medium voltage adjustable speed drives of many types, power apparatus and controls, a wide range of UPS products, and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) motors. We have over a million square feet under roof!!

In fact, you can check out our motor plant for yourself with our brand new “Virtual Plant Tour” available on our website: Motor Plant

But this facility isn’t only about building great products. Managed by our President, Koichi Yanabe, our operations include a CFO-led Finance Group, a CTE driving development of new technologies, a VP and General Counsel leading our team of attorneys, a CIO-led group of IT experts, and an amazing number of product specialists, engineers, business managers, and sales folks all aligned with a common goal: adding value for our clients by providing quality products to the markets we serve. Having all those resources in one place gives us the ability to drive decisions and initiatives valuable to our Customers.

At Toshiba, we are Committed to People, Committed to the Future.

We share these common values:

  • Do the right thing
  • Look for a better way
  • Always consider the impact
  • Create together

As you can see we have much to be proud of about our people and our facility. I invite you to visit us, either virtually or in person, and to partner with Toshiba International Corporation and our 1,000+ Texas based employees, delivering great products and solutions to our Customers every day. We’re proud of what we do and we look forward to working with you!

Author: Patrick Hines

I’m extremely proud of the Engineering teams we’ve assembled at Toshiba International Corporation (TIC). As a company that both designs and builds many of the products we sell, it’s a real benefit to have so much talent under one roof in Houston, TX.

Our Research & Development folks are constantly at work developing and refining the technologies of tomorrow that will support our Customers in their quest to improve their operations.

Our product, design, and applications engineering teams, closest to our clients, are helping to solve Customer challenges daily. Their experience and commitment are key elements in how TIC strives to add value with every Customer interaction.

Our production engineering groups are focused on continuous improvement and problem solving from the design side, across the plant floor, and on to the shipping department. Solving the day-to-day challenges of manufacturing in the 21st century and getting high-quality products to our Customers are all in a day’s work for these folks.

And behind it all is an experienced team of engineering managers and other leaders to support our continued growth and to prepare the young engineers of today to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Engineers learn early that they can change the world by turning ideas into reality. We’re happy to share that vision since it aligns so clearly with Toshiba’s Values. . At TIC, we have an unwavering drive to make and do things that lead to a better world.

Thank you TIC Engineers for all you do and all the value you add for our clients.

To our Customers, please reach out with your applications challenges and opportunities. We’ve got an incredible team waiting to hear from you.

Author: Patrick Hines

Most great companies start with an idea, a leader, a small driven group, and a market ready for just the sort of innovation they’ve got in mind. Toshiba’s story is no different. Toshiba’s predecessor emerged in 1939 as the result of the merger of two companies that were pioneers in the development of electrical equipment in Japan. After a series of gains and setbacks, and a whole lot of amazing products and innovations, Toshiba is today one of the leading designer and manufacturer of motors and drives (and many other things) in the world.

But it’s not great ideas or great products that ultimately make a company. Because, of course, where do those things come from? They come from the people inside the company. That’s the real magic. That’s what any strong business is ultimately constituted from. And, at Toshiba International Corporation, we have a wealth of talented, hardworking, committed folks who show up every day to do good work and take care of our customers. We constantly look to a future where we can find new ways to add value and improve quality of life.

Toshiba. Committed to People. Committed to the Future.

We have an unwavering drive to make and do things that lead to a better world.

At Toshiba International Corporation in Houston, TX, our work in motors and drives is part of that broad and powerful vision. In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with you some stories and insights about who we are and what we do as part of the Toshiba group. Along the way, I hope you’ll gain an understanding of why we exist as a company and how our purpose matters to our employees, our customers, and a better tomorrow.

That's a wrap!
Author: Patrick Hines

Well here we are coming to the end of another, and most unique, EASA convention. The events of 2020 will be forever in our memories. We’ll remember how being forced apart helped us find new ways to come together. We’ll recall how we came to recognize how much the people in our personal and professional lives really mean to us. We’ll tell stories of how the challenges we faced together made us stronger together.

I’ve long said we are fortunate in our friends at Toshiba. We’ve been blessed with truly great business partners in the form of our independent Distributors; many of whom are EASA members. Their creativity, sound judgement, resilience, and steadfast commitment to shared values have helped shaped both their success and ours. They are the backbone of our business in North America and I am proud of our partnership.

As we wind things up today, I encourage all of us to reflect not on what’s wrong in the world but what’s right. It’s in the crucible that iron become steel. It’s against all odds that the legend writes his page in history. And it will be in these times that quality will show. I can see it every day in the efforts and successes of my colleagues at Toshiba…and I can see it every day in the lived values and commitment of our EASA partners.

Thanks to all for your partnership, your friendship, and your continued support of our business together.

Stay well and I’ll see you on the road…that’ a wrap!

The Good Old Times
Author: Mario Lanaro

I am a member of Florida Power & Welding International, LLC (Flopower), Toshiba's primary channel to market for the Caribbean, Central and South America, offering full range of Toshiba motors, adjustable speed drives, and motor control products. Flopower Chile was open a couple of years ago to better service the Chilean market with direct sales in that country. Flopower is currently working on opening Flopower Peru to service not only the mining industry but the general industry as well.

I have not been much of a musician and playing a musical instrument is not my strength. When I was around 10 years old, my parents gave me an electric piano which I tried to play without much success. The only song I manage to memorize (partially) was "Happy Birthday" which I promptly played when anyone visited home. I soon left that instrument aside.

Later in life, in my mid-teens, I started to listen to music and pretty much enjoyed what you will now call classic rock. With groups like Police, Asia, Yes, Genesis, Queen, Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, Dire Straits, and many other leading bands I still listen to today- with Mark Knopfler being the number one. Last summer, I even flew to Verona, Italy, to attend his last concert before he retired after 40 years. The venue was the Arena di Verona which is a massive Roman amphitheater. The 2,000 year old arena which once played host to great warriors, is still a source of entertainment today.

With the joy of listening to music came the passion to collect antiques related to music. Although I have several vintage phonographs (turntables), the one I prefer the most is the Thorens Excelda which is a folding and portable gramophone. It was built in the 1930's by the Swiss manufacturer of high-end audio equipment called Thorens. It plays a 10" disk but it is necessary to clamp the record to its tiny turntable.

Later in life, I started to appreciate the blues with Louis Armstrong on top of my list and classic music with the Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi as my favorite.

Although I do not play musical instruments, Flopower has a couple of talented associates that do and do it very well. Larky Delgado is Flopower's Mechanical Design Engineer and Operations Manager; In his time off, he is member of a local band and plays the piano.

Alfredo Moncada is one of Flopower's Inside Sales with more than 30 years of experience in the motor business and he is also a vivid guitar player!

Music Then and Now
Author: Mark Ellis

Hey everyone, my name is Mark Ellis and I work as the Interactive Media Supervisor at TIC in Houston, Texas. If you’ve seen a TIC video, commercial, or a cool trade show animation, that’s me.

Much like many of you, I’ve lived a past life. Shortly before going to work at Toshiba, I was a full time, touring musician living in Southern California. I’ve toured most of the US, been on US & Canadian radio, and was even on MTV Japan (back when MTV actually played music videos). I’m a multi-instrumentalist, playing somewhere around 20 instruments last count, and most recently an audio engineer and amateur luthier.

Since the Covid-19 quarantine happened, I’ve been trying to put my time at home to good use (creatively), and have been recording a bunch of new music in my home studio. I even wrote a song about the Quarantine, while in Quarantine called “Covid Radio”.

In the past few days, I finished completely restoring my first bass guitar and am working on building a Gibson Flying V as well.

Music is something very important to my family. I’m happy to say even my 2 year old daughter plays a mean drum kit. In addition, my 5 year old son just wrote his first song, so I told him we were going to have to record it. I’m a proud papa.

Mark Ellis

Interactive Media Supervisor - Toshiba International Corporation

The "MELT" Unit
Author: Colin Joeright

It was the summer of 1986 when a young and accomplished accountant from the "show me" state received the opportunity of a lifetime. Chip Toth, now CEO/President of JCI Industries, graduated from The University of Missouri Columbia with a degree in accounting. Chip went to work for Peat Marwick International (now KPMG) and after three years, he applied for the firms’ international program. After acceptance, Chip was transferred to London, England where the term “MELT” would gain an entirely different meaning.

While stationed in London, Chip was assigned to the media, entertainment, leisure, and tourism division (MELT). Unbeknownst to Chip, KPMG had been financially managing Pink Floyd which gave him the opportunity to travel with the band. Chip traveled with Pink Floyd during the “Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour” in the summer of 1988 which took him clear across Europe seeing nearly a dozen shows. For those whom are not avid Pink Floyd fans, the band started in the 1960’s under the leadership of Syd Barrett. Gaining quick stardom as a psychedelic rock group, their long riffs and elaborate shows were trademarks that garnered a large following. By the 1980’s, they were wildly successful and this particular tour was the highest grossing tour of the decade with guitarist David Gilmore taking over for Roger Waters.

Today, Pink Floyd remains one of the most commercially successful bands in music history. While interviewing Chip, I asked what his most treasured memory was of his time with the band and Chip recalled his tour stop at the Palace of Versailles in France. Chip was backstage looking out at a sea of over 100,000 people, “It was a breath taking moment that will always be with me”. Chip also noted that while backstage, he enjoyed this euphoric experience with none other than fellow University of Missouri grad Sheryl Crowe, who as the time was singing backup for the Michael Jackson tour.

Chip spent two years abroad and upon his return to Kansas City, he found an opportunity to work for a company called JCI Industries. Chip joined JCI in 1988 as the Controller and in 1992 he became Vice President. Chip was named President in 2000, CEO in 2017 and has played a pivotal role in the aggressive growth and expansion of the company’s capabilities. JCI is the leading regional provider of electrical and mechanical solutions for industrial and municipal water and wastewater markets. JCI provides mechanical and electrical equipment and parts, pump and electric motor repair, equipment packaging, fabrication and factory authorized repair services throughout the Midwest region. JCI’s Lee’s Summit headquarters near Kansas City includes an 82,000 square foot complex consisting of offices, shop and a distribution center with more than 2,000 motors and drives in stock. For more information about JCI please visit www.jciind.com.

Colin Joeright
Northwest Regional Sales Manager

One More For The Road
Author: Patrick Hines

This is my last installment from the “Road to EASA” this year. Maybe I’ll have an update or two from our Virtual EASA event next week. I couldn’t be prouder of the work our MARCOM, Marketing, Product Teams, and John Obrien’s Distribution Sales Group did putting this whole thing together. Another year, another job well done by the Toshiba Team. #ToshibaStrong

I guess I’ve shared about all the stories I could come up with to support this year’s “music” theme. If you’ve managed to hang in there this far you know what music means to me and my family and friends. For that I appreciate your patience and indulgence.

Who’d have ever thought we’d be looking at a virtual EASA event? I’m still shaking my head. And consider all we’ve learned along the way. Just since we started this “road trip” together we’ve seen the country begin to reopen, hundreds of thousands of workers return to their jobs, companies large and small adapt to these new circumstances; even the stock market has shown signs of recovery. As a nation we’ve faced down a pandemic and continue to find ways to keep our country running. We all have a lot to be proud of.

Like many of you I’ve been at this a while. 2020 is my 35th year in the business. We’ve seen booms and busts, crashes and crises, trade wars and fighting wars and wars of words and ideas. Through it all Toshiba has been lucky to share the journey with our EASA and Distributor Partners. I’ve always said we’re fortunate in our friends.

Now I figure I’ve got a few good years left to serve my team, our customers, and this great industry of ours. Toshiba is in it for the long haul. But you can bet, at the end of every long road trip or office day, you’ll find me at home in the front room, guitar in hand, a happy man.

Stay well and I’ll see you on the road.

Author: Patrick Hines

In 1894, Guglielmo Marconi, on the shoulders of Farady, Maxewell, and Hertz, changed the world by sending a radio signal from a transmitter to a receiver causing a bell to ring. The progression from there was rapid and transformative. By the 1920’s broadcast radio started reaching American homes and in the 1930’s people across the country could all hear the same news at the same time. FDR used the medium to inform and unite a nation. Advertisers found new ways to reach their customers. And, there was the music…

Those among us of a certain vintage will recall the days before digital radio, before Apple music and the myriad of derivatives; before CDs and the Walkman and iPods and streaming. Once upon a time there was really only analog radio (and of course live performance or recorded music on Vinyl or Tape). And the only way for most of us to access the “latest thing” was to keep that radio on in the hopes of catching or discovering a new favorite song or act. Some among us even lined one of the radio “outputs” to our cassette deck in order to try to catch a tune for free…the early, if now dated, “mix tape”. It’s since been usurped by the more banal and benign “playlist”. How many hours did I sit near the tuner listening to KC Kasem and the Top Forty Countdown, waiting to press the record and play buttons simultaneously just ahead of a new favorite?

In these days of Corporate control of the airwaves it may be hard to imagine a time when, even in a small market town like Baltimore near where I grew up, you could get college radio, major media, AM, FM, and best of all, Independent Radio. These varied formats presented no end of material for those with a ceaseless appetite for more. There were DJ’s spinning actual albums, interviewing bands in the local studio, and their shows were their shows. Who can forget the Wolfman at the end of “American Graffiti” or Howard Hessman as “Dr Johnny Fever” on WKRP? No soul-less algorithm picking my next tune based on the last three.

Before radio became the passionless monolith we face today, it was a cultural conduit to who we were and who we could become. I found countless acts I’d have otherwise missed along the way. Some folks I found on the independent dial way before they hit the mainstream (or didn’t): The Police, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Al Di Meola, Pat Metheny, Alison Krauss, Django Reinhardt, David Wilcox, the list goes on and on and on.

If music is a fuel that fires our hearts, connects our memories, and becomes the soundtrack of our lives then for many of us it was radio that delivered it. In the world of competing media formats radio might seem dated, even quaint. And with the consolidation of stations over the years it has lost much of its unpredictability and capacity to deliver a new surprise at any turn. But I can still appreciate what radio was and what it represented. I still Iook forward to turning on the box, seeing the glowing dial, and wondering what’s in store. Letting Steely Dan’s “FM” make its silky way from the speakers…

I leave you with the words of the late Neil Peart who captured it all better than I can:

“Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive…plays that song that’s so elusive and the magic music makes your morning mood” -Spirit of the Radio, 1980

Stay well. I’ll see you on the road.

Music Chapters
Author: John O'Brien

This summer we won’t be physically traveling to EASA and Nashville, TN. However, as I make my virtually trip to the Country Music capital of the world, of course I would have some country music playing. I’ve enjoyed a few country music concerts along the way, mostly because of my beautiful wife (Barb) is a huge country music fan.

As I recall memories over the years I realize how many of them are defined by the type of music relevant during that time period. Growing up in the 70’s it was a time of great rock and roll bands being formed. A few of my favorites: ZZ Top, BTO, Jethro Tull, and Kansas. I guess you could call me a progressive rock fan.

Many other types of music have been part of my life story. Barb’s dad love of the 50’s and 60’s crooners Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Louis Armstrong has Barb and I slow dancing so many times.

You may not be familiar with a band that was formed in the early 2000’s, SPF 70. It was my son Michael, and his best friend. Two Irish boys who’s Moms wouldn’t let them leave home without sunscreen, hence SPF 70. They had their own brand of music, not really sure what it was.

No matter what music or what period of time it came from, my Irish roots would always bring me back to that fun, toe tapping, heart filled music being played in every Irish Pub every night of the week.

Last summer my entire family travelled to Ireland to celebrate Barb and my 40th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful time filled with memories that will last a lifetime. We drank and toasted with few (maybe more than a few) Guinness during that trip. Our memories will forever return us to that special trip every time we hear the beautiful sounds of Irish music. As my granddaughter, “Sweet Caroline” puts it so simple, “Irish music and dance makes me feel happy!”

So as we are finishing up this virtual trip to Nashville, I couldn’t put it any better than the man known best for country music Willie Nelson: “On the Road Again, I can’t wait to get on the Road Again”. I would add to those lyrics: “I can’t wait to get on the road again to see and visit all of my customers and my friends”.

Hope to see you soon friends.


Author: Patrick Hines

Somewhere in the sixth grade it appeared the obvious thing to do was get a few friends together, start a band, and become famous. How hard could it be? Across a crowded lunch table, we planned our careers and imagined the rock star life. That first band lasted exactly one rehearsal but that’s all it took to light the fire. The next five or six years through middle and high school saw many iterations of “the band” with a rotating cast of players. Always there were a few of us at the core.

It’s funny looking back now at how alternatingly serious and fantastical those times were. It was the eighties, the decade of excess. We had this new thing called MTV (that actually played music videos). Thankfully there were NO smart phones. We were just past the age where mom said to “come home when the streetlights come on” and were entering the time of staying out past curfew, driving cars, and making friendships that would last a lifetime. And always at the center of our social life was the music. It’s what we talked about when little else made sense. It was rock concerts, albums, Rolling Stone, remarkably bad haircuts, fashion hits and misses, good music, bad music, the occasional gig (not the paying variety), and countless songs written and records that never got made.

Of that long-ago group of dreaming teenagers a few of us still remain in pretty close touch. These are connections that have lasted more than four decades and of which I am immensely proud. We never became rock stars, but we got something much better. We got the lifelong bond of friendship. Even now, at the end of middle age and spread out across the country, we write regularly and, with the advent of Zoom, grab the odd “happy hour(s)” on a Saturday. For the last few years, we’ve even managed to reunite annually for a weekend to play music, talk about all that stuff that 50+ years of living gives you, and pick up the conversation like we were still sixteen. Sure, the set list is a bit dated. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

On this virtual “Road to EASA” I think of the long-standing professional bonds I’ve been privileged to be part of with my colleagues and customers. We take our “show on the road” each week and get to spend time with people I genuinely appreciate and respect. Our Distributor Partners are the backbone of our business at Toshiba. Our relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, complimentary talents, and some shared dreams. It’s not always a rock show but it’s a little like a band. Maybe like the best parts. Join us on stage!

We all learn the life lessons of trust, friends, the benefits of hard work, and the reality that we exchange some dreams for others as we get older. If we’re lucky we learn these well, live them daily, and pass them to our children. Much of who I am today I owe to the time spent with a small but mighty group of kids in basement and garage bands, on summer Saturdays, at rock concerts, and in record stores dreaming big dreams. And I carry the things we learned together with me. What brought us together was the music. What keeps us together is the friendship.

Here’s a shot of us playing not too well in my front room last year. And another snap of Sunday brunch at Torchy’s with my wife. What can I say, we stayed up past curfew…isn’t that what rock stars do?

Stay well and I’ll see you on the road.

Author: Patrick Hines

Let’s fast forward to one of the many “pay days” that come along with a musical life. I’ve been blessed with 5 beautiful, wonderful grandchildren, all of whom, in one way or another, share my love of music. Some are singers, some play the piano and other instruments, some are dancers, and some just like to listen. It’s all good.

My wife, the real photographer in our house, is always around to capture the odd moment and I thought I’d share some of these happy times with you in these stressful days. Music is memories and I hope that my grandkids look back on these moments with the same sincere affection and gratitude that I do. Pretty sure I’m smiling in every one of these. No accident.

Note: Found this autoharp on a dusty shelf in a music store. Couldn’t resist bringing it home. Hadn’t played one since Elementary school. We had a blast.

Note: My youngest grandchild; keeping the beat before her feet reach the floor!

Note: This little girl can sing! Trust me when I say that is one proud and happy grandpa accompanying on the Uke.

Note: My now ten year old grandson a few years back getting an early start on his rock and roll future!

Stay well. Do good work. And I’ll see you on the road.

B.O. and The Armpits
Author: Bob Oliver

Video was very uncommon back then. I actually started a little band in 1965 or ‘66 and played lead guitar. We called ourselves the “Rare Breed” and played some school dances, church teen mixers and such. I wish I had pictures because we looked better than we played. Sheep skin vests, paisley shirts, bell bottom pants, black boots and rose colored mini sun glasses. We could have inspired ZZ Top’s song “Well Dressed Man”!

I learned to play harmonica when my brother introduced me to the blues in the early 1970’s. I’d listen to Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Sonny Boy Williamson records for hours and hours and that’s how I got started. In University I started a little 3 man blues band with me on harmonica and some vocals, Randy Romaneki on guitar and vocals and Lindsay Holton on snare drum, bass drum, high hat and one cymbal. The band’s name was based on an acronym of my name ”B.O. and the armpits” We had a lot of fun playing for beer money in small bars, and coffee houses in Halifax N.S. I always liked to say “we had a great time but pretty much stunk”.

The only claim to fame that I can think of is while in Halifax our band used to visit the Arrow Club. They used to bring in some pretty good blues and other acts like Ike and Tina Turner. A band called the Drifters played there on several occasions (Under the board walk was one of their biggest hits). They’ve been around forever, maybe even today, and had dozens of different members over the years. I took my harmonica (harp) one night and they let me play Stormy Monday Blues with them. That was a big thrill for me.

Later on in the late 80’s I was involved in a little theater group in Waterdown, Ontario. One production we did was “Of Mice and Men” where I had a small part as “Whit”. I played harmonic and guitar for the audience before the play started and a bit in the play. I remember playing “swing lo sweet chariot”, “My Baby Done Changed the Lock On The Door” and “The Sun’s Going to Shine In My Back Door Some Day”.

The Univox
Author: Patrick Hines

Two things happened in 1979 that would change my life. The first was my when my sister Karen, twelve years my senior, gave me three records for my birthday. Some of you may know these discs and recognize them for the foundational pieces of rock n roll that they are: Steve Miller Band’s “Book of Dreams”, Queen “Live Killers”, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors”. Talk about drinking straight from the bottle! The other “big deal” was when I convinced my parents I needed to become the bassist for the Middle School Jazz Ensemble. Some things simply defy logic. To their credit, they acquiesced and, to ensure my commitment, had me sell my violin AND my six years collection of Topps football and baseball cards to cover the cost of the electric bass the position required. Ouch.

Farewell orchestra, hello rhythm section.

So, there I was, perusing the local paper (because in the ‘70s they had “classified ads” for things like instruments…no Amazon…no Ebay). Just then, on a Saturday morning…someone with a phone number who’s exchange sounded close was selling a Univox bass guitar and amplifier for $250. That’s just what I had in my stash. By the way that was a LOT of money for a 12-year-old kid in 1979. This was a serious transaction. Dutifully my folks drove me to the seller’s house, not far from ours, and the purchase was concluded before I knew it. And then…I WAS A BASS PLAYER!!!! Well, I was a bass owner. I bought books. I listened to records, tapes, and yes, 8 tracks. I studied Paul McCartney, Lee Sklar and Jaco Pastorius, John Deacon and Chuck Panozzo, Anthony Jackson and Sting, and countless others. And slowly, with blisters on my fingers I worked up the nerve to audition for the Jazz Ensemble. I guess no one else did because they gave me the slot. I played bass there for three years before joining the High School group and switching to guitar (they had an opening and a good friend of mine wanted the bassist job).

Now about that Univox bass. It was a ¾ size instrument of unremarkable quality or appearance. But none of that mattered. It was the axe I cut my teeth on. When the time came for me to “trade up” I sold it to my friend (the one who would take over bass duties in High School). He traded up and sold it to another guy (who I was in several bands with…more on that later). Fast forward 30 years and I reconnect with my bandmates- one guy STILL HAS THE UNIVOX! That bass is now hanging on my guitar wall, a gift of an old friend from an old friend.

A lot happened in those years between 1979 and 1983 which we’ll skip for reasons that don’t need amplification here. Suffice it to say I got older and moderately less awkward, played a LOT of music, moved back and forth between bass and guitar, jazz and rock, and began to imagine life after high school. I turned sixteen just before that magic summer of ’83 with Journey, Rush, and the Police all touring; A few years before Live Aid, a Reagan White House, MTV…it was an amazing time to…have a newly minted driver’s license!

Nostalgia is a fun indulgence. But in every reflection, we find not only ourselves but the times we lived in. Of course, the edges get a little fuzzy. The good times get a little better and the bad times get a little harder to recall. Like our current condition I was on the cusp of discovery. The world was about to change and so was I. And through it all was the music.

This is not a new story and it’s not unique. It’s just mine and that Univox’s and those kids I pal’d around with making music. Here’s a picture of that 43-year-old bass hanging on my wall and another of me and some of my friends from the Jazz Ensemble rhythm section. That’s me in the middle, trying to look cool in that shirt. Didn’t we all own the world at sixteen?

Soul of the Universe
Author: John Liuzzi

For me, music started with my father playing his big band 33 LP records, his AM radio tunes, and his tapping on the steering wheel while driving.

Music is a drum pad, drum lessons, a snare drum, a drum kit, marching band, concert band, and a garage band. Music defines moments; FM radio, record club, weekend concert trips, dating, weekend gigs, early morning breakfasts, sharing with my son, late nights with my wife, family road trips, and now, grandpa and granddaughter time.

Music is my balance, imagination, creativity, and harmony. Music is the soul of the universe.

Author: Patrick Hines

Somewhere around fourth grade, on AM radio in my parent’s kitchen, I heard Billy Joel being interviewed. This is like 1977. He was answering questions at a local Baltimore station and playing bits of songs to demonstrate his work and amplify his answers. When the interviewer (I still remember his name- Alan Prell) asked Joel to what he credited his success as a pianist and performer, Joel answered, without hesitation, “Practice”.

How can a kid hear “Only the Good Die Young” or “New York State of Mind” and not think, “I want to do that…”? I had the piano bug and before I knew it, I was enrolled in lessons at a local music studio near home. My instructor was, well, remarkable. She introduced herself as Madame Cheng and appeared to my fourth-grade personage to stand about seven feet tall and be only slightly less intimidating sitting next to me on the piano stool. She was extremely thin and had the long dexterous fingers of a keyboard player.

At this point I was also playing a lot of violin, so I came to piano with at least the ability to read music. I took to the piano readily and could manage my lessons with minimal practice (a concept that did not please Madame Cheng in the least). She taught me the basics of hand position, posture, sight reading, etc. But the two things I really took from lessons with this intimidating, articulate, talented, and very tall woman were drills and music theory.

Each week she’d send me home with two new songs to learn, a written lesson on music theory to complete (think how chords are structured or why some things sound well together when others sound like fighting cats, etc.) and she’d mark off one or two new “drills” for me in the book. The drills forced you to play a series of notes over and over with little variations to build dexterity and speed, practice good form, and improve mastery of the keyboard.

For me, music is as much a visual as an acoustic art form. It’s always been numbers and math and I love math. The notes on the page, the pitches, the harmonies, the intervals, the values of the notes having to add up and the ability to infinitely divide them into smaller and smaller fractions (getting to play faster and faster!) till the page looked like a spatter drawing or Rorschach test…and yet made perfect mathematical sense.

I own a piano and play it as often as I can. I’ve included a couple of pictures here. One is with my old boy Max who always lay at my feet. I lost him last year to the big C. The other is a stolen moment at EASA 2 years ago at the Hyatt baby grand. My wife took the pic. Never miss an opportunity to play a good piano.

The lessons of the piano are the lessons of life. Have passion for what you do. Commit to the hard work, study, do the drills, learn the theory, and it doesn’t hurt to have a Madame Cheng looming over you at first to help you focus!

I bet there a lot of engineer musicians out there who get the math and the music. Can’t wait to hear some of your stories.

Stay safe. Stay well. And I’ll see you on the road.

Author: Patrick Hines

Ok, it isn’t glamorous but it’s typical. I was so anxious to do anything that looked like playing music in our suburban Maryland household that I signed up for the violin in third grade. If they’d have let me do it in Kindergarten I’d’ve been first in line. Thank goodness for patient parents as I squeaked and screeched my way through “Morning Has Broken” and “Gaiety Parisian”! But around that time something amazing happened. This guy named George Lucas put out a little sci fi film called “Star Wars” and got this other fella named John Williams to score it. And guess what, John used an ORCHESTRA! Next thing I knew I was practicing hours a day AND imagining I was rescuing a princess and saving the rebellion. Hey, it was third grade in 1977. All things seemed possible. Of course, “Jaws” happened too and the scariest orchestral piece since Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” would enter the Zeitgeist. Kids my age wouldn’t go into the ocean for some time.

Anyhow, I guess I owe it to John and George (the composer and film maker… the Beatles appear later in our story) for getting me excited enough to understand that practice mattered. I had a great, if slightly unconventional, violin teacher…Mr. Angus. He was the first adult I had contact with who had hair that grew past his collar! The guy changed my life. Think “Dead Poets Society”. His passion for music and for teaching are with me to this day.

With his patient coaching I wound up sitting “first chair” and playing in various ensembles. Music was opening doors for me even then as I met kids from all walks of life, some of whom would become lifelong friends. It was one of the first times I learned that hard work had rewards and that I was capable of challenging and holding myself accountable.

The violin would, in a few years, be left behind in favor of electric guitars, basses, and other, more adolescent pursuits. But the violin will forever be my entre into a world of playing music.

As we head to EASA and seek our way forward in the COVID 19 world, this story takes me to a happy memory- but also to some great life lessons. We are most successful when we have a passion for what we’re doing. Hard work and focus generally lead to good outcomes. Mentors matter. And unintended benefits, like finding lifelong friendships in unexpected places, are collateral gifts collected on our journey.

All these experiences have impacted my work and my working relationships. At Toshiba I’ve been blessed with strong mentors, great colleagues, and have been inspired to do my best work because it was rewarding professionally and personally. Funny how a little wooden box with a few strings can teach us lessons that will bear fruit throughout our lives. Play on, play on, don’t let the music end.

Stay safe. Stay well. And I’ll see you on the road.

A Life of Music
Author: Patrick Hines

Welcome to this blog series leading up to EASA 2020. Our theme is a musical one owing to the planned location in Nashville, TN. We’ve taken our “road show” digital this year just like the convention. Instead of a Harley ride to Milwaukee or driving my FJ across four American deserts en route to Las Vegas, this year I, and many others, will be sharing some stories of music in our lives. I look forward to reading the stories our Toshiba folks and customers share as well as offering up a few of my own.

I’m fifty-three years old so I guess that makes me a failed rock star for the last forty-two years (I got my first electric bass when I was 11). When I was a kid, I didn’t know much about how the world worked but I was a dreamer. The stars shown bright in the night sky and I was sure my lucky one was up there. I wanted nothing more than to write and play music, hit the road with the band, see the big world up close, and meet some interesting people along the way. You know, Keith Richards, Geddy Lee, the Police, the Queen of England…people.

Funny how life works out. I wrote and played a LOT of music over more than four decades (and still going!) but it was my work at Toshiba that allowed me to reach most of my goals. I’ve traveled the world with colleagues I genuinely appreciate and admire. I get to create opportunities and solve problems along the way. And the people I’ve met and had the privilege to work with (our Customers and our Distributors) have enriched my life in ways I’d never imagined. I never got to be a rock star. But I have been granted the chance to see many of my boyhood dreams come true.

So let’s get this show on the virtual road. Here’s a picture of the “guitar” wall at my home in Cypress, TX. Some of these will turn up in future stories in this series. The house is full of other instruments including a Charango purchased in Bogota (with my friend Mario), an Oud from Dubai (while chasing Oil and Gas business in Saudi Arabia, and a beautiful Ukulele I still play every day bought a few years back in Maui (during maybe the most incredible sales meeting in memory). Mine continues to be a life of music and travel. I look forward to sharing these stories on the road to EASA.

I also look forward to seeing you at our "virtual" booth.

Register Here to be part of the excitement!

Stay safe. Stay well. And I’ll see you on the road.

IPS Canada
Author: Colin Joeright

I am new to the Canadian region and am still learning the lingo but I have learned a few things over my short two year stint as the Western Canada sales manager. I fully understand the meaning of a 2-4 and a double double, and if you don’t know, those are two very important things in Canada. Hockey is life in Canada but I have also come to appreciate the beauty of this country.

Integrated Power Services (IPS) of Canada is nestled in the heart of the Canadian prairies in Winnipeg, Manitoba with branch locations in Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The now IPS owned company has gone through significant changes since its incorporation as B+B Dynamo + Armature Ltd in 1978. In 1981 B+B started a distribution arm of its business called KVA Dynamo. As a matter of fact, KVA actually hosted the first annual Canadian distributor meeting back in 1997. KVA continued its expansion over the years opening its Saskatoon office in 1999 and Regina office in 2012. It wasn’t until 2013 that Integrated Power Services purchased B+B/KVA Dynamo to add to its already large network of rotating apparatus repair facilities across North America.

The IPS slogan “We Keep Motors and Generators Running” couldn’t be more apparent as I walked through the Winnipeg facility. While on tour, IPS was finishing up a repair on a 2.3 mega-watt generator for a wind turbine. When speaking with Jeff Vincent, IPS Area Manager Canada, he stated that this market represents a small portion of his business today but certainly has a large growth potential in the near future. IPS Winnipeg services industrial AC & DC electric motors, generators, and mechanical power transmission equipment such as gearboxes, pumps, fans, compressors, shafts. Their capabilities include in-shop repair, field services, distribution and storage of critical assets. They also feature an in-house Custom Control Panel Shop where they build CSA approved panels to customer specifications. IPS serves all industries including: power plants, mining, steel mills, cement plants, paper mills, refineries, pipelines, chemical plants, food & beverage and manufacturing facilities.

IPS Winnipeg is one of many IPS North American Service Centers offering local, regional and national coverage, all backed by a single Quality Management System, Health Safety & Environmental program, Continuous Improvement culture and Customer Service that offers you an Unmatched Customer Experience (UCE).

Today the relationship with IPS remains strong with many of the working relationships dating back twenty plus years. I was fortunate enough to tour their facilities in November and still see their strong commitment to Toshiba with low voltage motor inventory up to 350hp and low voltage adjustable speed drive inventory up to 700hp. Not only does IPS stock the power devices but also the parts to support as an authorized Toshiba service center. With over 38 years of service to Toshiba, IPS has earned a spot in an exclusive club within our distribution network. Please join me in congratulating the many years of past and future success, what do you say eh?

Northwest Regional Manager

Colin Joeright

B & B Electric
Author: Bob Richardson

This month I am proud to highlight another of Toshiba’s legacy distributors… B&B Electric and owner Danny Thompson, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

B&B was established in 1972. In 1962, Ellis Sweeten bought the company from the Botenfield family. Ellis and Floyd Bender, past president of Toshiba first worked together at Marathon Motors. Ellis started buying Toshiba motors in 1970, when Toshiba was located in Chicago. It said that B&B was either the first or second distributor to sign up with Toshiba. Danny began working for B&B Electric fresh out of school in February 1968. Danny remembers his first day at work pushing a broom and doing any other task asked of of him. After doing many jobs, Danny was promoted to shop foreman in 1976. In 1991 he became operations manager and eventually bought B&B Electric in 1999.

B&B’s primary business involves the oil and gas industry in Tulsa. His success is based on providing the best product and service to his customers. He often says, “I love selling Toshiba. You never have a problem”.

When I asked about his hobbies, Danny replied “work”. He clearly loves what he is doing and, also enjoys working on his street rods and classic cars. This appears to be a common interest among shop owners. It must be the feel of grease under their finger nails. It is always pleasure to talk with Danny about the old days at Toshiba. He was there but, looks forward to the future relationship as well.

Regional Sales Manager

Bob Richardson

CD Electric
Author: Bob Richardson

With summer behind us and fall approaching, there’s no better time to visit Corpus Christi, Texas and our friends at C-D Electric. C-D Electric opened in 1973, with Bill Pittaway as the second employee to join the company. Bill later purchased the company in 1985. Back in 1985, C-D Electric consisted of a shop of 6,000 square feet. Since then Bill has added two additional buildings, for a total of 40,600 square feet today. The company has also branched out to Port Lavaca, 90 miles north of Corpus Christi. This location has three buildings consisting of 10,000 square feet total. The facility operates primarily to stock and repair motors for the local chemical industry. Between the two locations, C-D electric is 18 employees strong, dedicated to supporting their customers.

C-D Electric never looked better. As an active member of EASA, Bill recently entertained those at the EASA Southwestern Chapter Summer Meeting. C-D Electric and Bill believe in giving their customers the best service and repair possible. This also means keeping up with the latest technology. The company just installed a new Phenix test stand, which is state of the art. They have the capability to test up to 5000HP at 4160 volts. This along with their 8 foot VPI tank, assures that customers are getting the best quality in repairs and workmanship.

C-D Electric was one of Toshiba’s first Texas’s distributors, dating back to 1977. In addition to servicing customers with repairs, the company carries a complete line of inventory to support the local refinery, agriculture and municipal markets. Carrying an inventory of up to 300 horsepower Toshiba Low Voltage Motors and Low Voltage Adjustable Speed Drives, C-D Electric is the go to company for new products.

It’s a wonder that Bill finds time to get away from his shop. He is very active in the local Boy Scouts, has a ranch outside of Corpus Christi and is passionate about car racing. It’s not uncommon to see car number 137 at a race track in Texas competing for that checkered flag. I’m proud to say that C-D Electric is a long and dedicated Toshiba distributor. Their continuing growth has been a win, win for both C-D Electric and Toshiba.

Southwest Regional Sales Manager

Bob Richardson

Industrial Electric Motor Works
Author: Tom Dubrouillet

I’m fortunate to have been posted to the Southeastern US for the last 29 years. One of my favorite places to visit is Meridian, MS. Whether you’re traveling west on I20 from Alabama into Mississippi, or east on I20 from Jackson, you see nothing but pine trees. The city of Meridian emerges out of the pines as little more than a couple of curves in the interstate and a few hotel signs. Oh and the signs for the Navy Base. No there’s no ocean near Meridian, but they do have a large number of good flying days annually, so the Navy put a Naval Air Training wing here. There used to be direct flights to the Meridian Airport from both Atlanta and Charlotte, but now the only direct flights come from Chicago. I usually fly into Jackson, MS and drive an hour and a half east to Meridian. It’s hard to believe that this sleepy little town is home to one of the largest Independent Industrial distributors for Toshiba International Corporation.

Industrial Electric Motor Works, Inc. began in 1965 when Thomas McDaniel purchased a small electric motor repair business. In the early days Thomas would go out and pick up a motor, drive back to the shop and help / oversee the repair, and then drive it back to the customer. Things have changed considerably in the last 54 years. The company is now located on 18 acres at 1551 Redman Road in Meridian, occupies 6 buildings totaling 110,000 sq ft, and employs 50 people. Under the guidance of Thomas’ sons Tony and Steven, the company has continued to grow it’s motor service capabilities and added new equipment sales, and field service capabilities. The third generation is now involved in the company with Tony’s son William, and son-in-law Adam.

The motor repair facilities include: high bay with 15 ton crane capability, separate outdoor cleaning area, a climate controlled clean, well-lighted winding room, state of the art immersion tank for cleaning parts, complete machine shop, a 10 Ft VPI tank and, testing capabilities to 5000 HP at 7200 Volts.

The New product sales include Toshiba LV Motors, MV Motors, LV and MV drive lines and the Toshiba UPS line. A large inventory is on hand to support immediate customer needs to 500HP in motors and drives. Other products are available to provide complete solutions for low and medium voltage motors and motor control needs.

On the Field Service side IEMW provides; laser alignment, vibration testing, complete service and repair of variable frequency drives, solid state starters, troubleshooting and installation of PLC controls, and startup services for all products that they represent.

All successful distributors today, owe their existence to customer service and customer satisfaction. I’ve yet to meet a company that does a better job of achieving it, than IEMW. I remember one of the first projects I got to work with IEMW on. I was supporting an OEM out of Atlanta, the project was at Masonite in Laurel, MS. Due to the support provided by IEMW, Masonite specified the purchase of Toshiba LV Drives. We traveled to Laurel for a meeting where the OEM was going over details of the equipment electrical requirements, at one point the OEM asked the Plant Engineer what amperage service was available at one area of the facility. The engineer thought about it, then looked to Tony McDaniel and asked him what size the feeder breaker was at that panel. Tony knew exactly what it was, and how many amps that had spare on the panel.

We greatly appreciate the continuing support of Toshiba products by the outstanding Team at Industrial Electric Motor Works in Meridian, MS.

Tom Dubrouillet – SE Regional Manager

Two Wheels To The Pavement
Author: Patrick Hines

August in Quebec, more specifically Montreal and points north, are a time and place not to be missed. Everything is green and the city shines with late summer glow. The crops are ready for harvest with rows neatly ordered. The river reflects the passing clouds and just outside of town, the open road beckons. It was in this idyllic setting that I had the pleasure of joining up with my friends at Toshont Power Products for a ride through the bucolic lands outside Montreal.

The lead up to the trip rivaled the ride itself. Dave Chouinard, a long time biker and key member of the Toshont team, who I’ve known for several years, was kind enough to put the whole thing together. The adventure was almost 2 years in the planning. He was persistent in his follow up and creative in the trip plan. A seasoned touring biker (and proud owner of a Yamaha Royal Star Venture Midnight), Dave’s route took us through some of the best sites outside the city at a pace that allowed us to enjoy all of it.

Michael Enright, who runs Toshont Operations, joined Dave and I for the trip. I have to give Michael special mention. He rode up from Toronto the night before on his Suzuki Boulevard C90T, battling heavy rain, unlit highways, and fatigue (a 12 hour ride will do that) in order to get to the hotel in time to leave with us in the morning. A true Iron Man on the team.

Rounding out our group were Gilles Laporte (VP Sales at TPP) and a recent addition to my Distribution Sales team, Francis Bissonnette. Neither of them ride but, to their credit, the rented a Polaris Slingshot and rode chase on the group all day. Given the distance from home for me, I rented an Indian Scout 1200. Fun bike but not much for power or comfort. Reminded me of my HD 48 with a little less “giddyup”.

Once assembled and full of breakfast, we headed more or less north out of town winding our way through countless villages and towns that dotted the open country. The weather coöperated all morning and we made stops along the way for fuel and a little sightseeing. Rain showed up just in time for lunch but, without fail, Dave knew a great spot where we could wait it out (La Caillette bar and restaurant). Poutine, smoked meat, hot dogs, and good company made the rain delay slip quickly by. We were soon back on the road dodging the summer squalls as we cruised south along the St Lawrence River and home.

As usual, the road wasn’t quite done with us yet. As we turned in our rental Indian and Polaris, storm clouds gathered in dark billowing towers. Francis and I hopped in Gilles truck for the ride back to the hotel but no such luck for Dave and Michael. How they made it back through the sheets and buckets of rain is a testament to their skill and their love of putting two wheels to the pavement at any opportunity. What a great day. Thank you to Dave and TPP for your support and for your partnership.

I get no end of pleasure spending quality time with our Distributor Partners. Toshont Power Products and Toshiba have grown together in Eastern Canada for nearly three decades. The services and solutions they provide to users and OEM alike have proven their value time after time in the markets they serve. Toshont is a great example of how a channel partner can work with a manufacturer to bring out the best in both to serve a market.

I know I’ll be back out this way again and with any luck it’ll be on two wheels. For now, I’ll see you on the road!

Viva EASA!
Author: John O'Brien

The convention was a great success for us at Toshiba. Many distributor partner meetings were scheduled around the clock!

Our theme for the 2019 EASA Convention was Classic Cars, Coffee and Conversation. Outstanding creative in the design of the Toshiba booth featuring a Classic Car as a bar that encouraged our partners to stay and start a conversation. Well Done by Toshiba’s Marketing Communication Team (Irene Becerra, Alexis Sammons, Mark Ellis, Wayne Gill and Connor Sipes)!

The highlight of the convention was our Toshiba Celebrity Classic Car Customer Appreciation Event. We want to thank all of our distributor partners who attend a night of music, classic cars and conversation.

As I travel home, I am starting to think about the Road to EASA 2020 Nashville! Safe Travels home to everyone! See You Soon!

The Classic Finale | Evans Enterprises, Inc.
Author: John O'Brien

Fifth stop: Tulsa, OK

The final stop on the Road to EASA 2019 is at Evans Enterprises Inc. in Tulsa, OK. I met up with Derek Thompson the Toshiba salesperson who supports Evans Enterprises. The story of Evans Enterprises is about a family owned business that started in 1954. In the early days, the owners would spend all day soliciting business, load their pickup trucks then work late into the night completing the jobs and then deliver completed jobs the following day.

Today Evans Enterprises Inc. is a third and fourth generation family business that is led by CEO and President Syndy Evans-Thrush and Senior Vice President Rusty Thrush. Evans is spread across five states with 10 plant locations. The 10 Locations are located in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Washington. In 2016, Evans Enterprises moved its corporate headquarters into a new 86,890 square foot state of the art facility (campus) in Norman, OK.

Markets and customers change over the years and Evans management recognized that for their company to remain relevant, competitive, and profitable that their organization had to find many new sources of revenue. To better, serve their customers the Oklahoma City (OKC) plant was the first to diversify into the new market of AC Variable Frequency Drives. OKC became a leader in applying, supplying and commissioning Toshiba AC Variable Frequency Drives. The success in OKC lead to all Evans locations to sell and service Toshiba AC Variable Frequency Drives. Evans next expanded into the Air Compressor market. The Tulsa plant expanded into the large motor repair and developed the Re-Manufacturing Operation that provided Rebuilt and Guaranteed Equipment to customers around the world.

We at Toshiba are proud of the distributor partner relationship with Evans Enterprises. We have enjoyed many years of growth in business with Evans Enterprises. The future is bright for Evans and Toshiba as a partner with this dynamic company. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Evans to find out where they are going next. We at Toshiba want to be in the front line supporting the people of Evans Enterprises.

The Road to EASA changes tomorrow. I will get on a flight in Tulsa to fly to Las Vegas. Looking forward to seeing you at EASA!

Travel Safe!

Off I-17 and I-10 in Phoenix, AZ | Keller Electrical Industries
Author: Patrick Hines

Every time I visit our long time Distributor Keller Electrical Industries (KEI), the first thing I think about is the incredible team they’ve assembled. But the second thing is…BIG. More on the great people in a sec. KEI is located in a 105,000+ square foot facility on about 9 acres just off I-17 and I-10 in Phoenix, AZ. There’s a lot going on under that roof. The 50,000 square foot EASA Accredited Motor Shop and the 15,000 square foot UL 508A panel shop are impressive for both their size and the quality of work they’re producing. The 1,500KVA test stand is equal in scale capable of voltages up to 13.8kv. Above our heads, countless cranes with serious capacity and below our feet one of the largest VPI tanks in the region. A superior (and very environmentally conscious…solar power, natural agents for blasting materials, strict recycling programs) campus with state of the art infrastructure is just the beginning at KEI.

What goes on outside the building is every bit as important. Their 24/7 commitment to on site work is evident in the long list of loyal clients they’ve developed since their start in 1982; they became a Toshiba Distributor Partner the year they opened! Keller’s list of Field Services include supporting plant maintenance operations, vibration analysis, welding and fabrication, Toshiba Medium Voltage Drive Start Up and Service, not to mention turn key design/build electrical projects, power distribution systems, machine shop services, laser alignment, and more.

At the end of the day, however, like any great Company, it comes down to the people. The roughly 130 employees at KEI are committed to their customers. The leadership at Keller recognizes that to grow successfully you need talented, hardworking team members and, as the company has added services and capabilities, they’ve staffed with that in mind. Licensed Professional Engineers, key hires from the industry, and homegrown talent all contribute to chemistry at KEI that makes them an asset to their clients, a valued partner for Toshiba, and a business on a path to grow for years to come.

As for the travelogue? Starting out in Las Cruces and intent on arriving late morning in Phoenix I was on the road around 4:30 AM. No problem as I’m an early riser. But it did mean driving in the dark. Dawn in the desert is always striking and I stopped for gas and a snack just in time to see the sun break the horizon. I’ve been attracted to deserts since I was a little kid and have seen them on three continents. The American Desert will always be special to me. It’s strange mix of browns and greens, wind shaped mountains, intermittent towns, some long abandoned and some inexplicably holding on, the iconic filling station signs, dirt road turn offs, and horizons you can only “approach” make it a magical place unlike any other I know.

Friday is the “big push” to Vegas, the EASA Convention, and time with friends and colleagues. Looking forward to some rural route detours along the way. I’ve asked around and got some good ideas from the locals. It’s been a fantastic and rewarding week. Toshiba is lucky to have so many talented Distributor Partners representing us so well in the market. I’m sure I’ll send an update from EASA.

In the meantime, I’ll see you on the road.

A Historic Day - JCI Industries Inc.
Author: John O'Brien

Fourth, stop- Joplin, MO

Today is an important day in the history of Route 66. On June 27, 1985, the American Association of State Highway decertified Route 66. Transportation officials voted to remove all of its Route 66 highway signs. Five Interstate highways replaced Route 66: I-55 Chicago to St. Louis, I-44 to Oklahoma City, I-40 to Barstow, I-15 to San Bernardino, and I-10 around Los Angeles.

This week I started on Route 66 in downtown Chicago, on Tuesday I traveled to Peoria on I-55, Wednesday and Thursday I traveled on I-44. Tomorrow, I will get back on I-44 into Tulsa, OK for my final stop on the Road to EASA.

JCI Industries was founded in 1975 and moved its headquarters to its present location Lee’s Summit, MO (Kansas City, MO area) Today JCI is supported by six locations: Jefferson City, MO., Joplin, MO., Dodge City, KS., Wichita, KS., Lincoln, NE. and Rogers, AR.

In 1995, JCI Industries started its Machine Shop along with their Motor Repair Shop. JCI is a unique company because of their expertise in rotating equipment in both the Industrial and Municipal markets. I have enjoyed calling on JCI Industries since 2001 because of their people, their capabilities and facilities. Another example of JCI expertise: EASA recently selected JD McGlone to serve on EASA’s Technical Education Committee.

Mike Tharp and I met at the JCI Industries branch in Joplin, MO. My first time to the Joplin branch; we met up with Brenton Stanton (Regional Mgr.) and Kevin Schupp (Electrical Technical Support Mgr.). During our tour of the Joplin branch, I got see the commitment JCI has for mechanical repairs- very impressive- and their full warehouse of Toshiba Motors. As Mike Tharp and I were leaving JCI, the branch employees wanted us to know that the Joplin branch has the best skilled people with the most capabilities of all the JCI branches. As those comments were being said, I looked over to Kevin Schupp and he smiled and nodded. My thought running through my head: I have to get to more JCI branches and see what they have!

See you in Las Vegas.

Travel Safe!

40 years with Toshiba and expanding - Richards Electric Motor Company
Author: John O'Brien

Third, stop Quincy, IL. Richards Electric Motor Company. Another trip down memory lane for me. My first sales call as a Toshiba salesperson was to Richards Electric Motor Company in July 1986.

"Whatever you are, be a good one”. - Abraham Lincoln

That quote from President Lincoln applies to Richards Electric Motor Company. What started out as electric motor repair business has expanded in many different directions. Richards Electric Motor Company still repairs electric motors, but their expertise has expanded into many services such as Construction Management, Design System Capabilities, Electrical Contracting, Electrical Engineering Services and much more. None of those services speaks to the broad Toshiba Products that Richards Electric stocks, sells and services. Richards Electric Motor Company has the largest inventory of Toshiba HVAC Drives in North America.

What Carl Richards started in 1954, Bill Dietrich (current owner) has only improved upon. The future is bright for Richards Electric Motor Company that continues to find new products and service to support their customer base. Bill never rest as I am writing about our visit today Bill is moving to a much larger facility where all of the services and inventory will be in one building. The move will be completed by the end of July. As a family owned company, Bill has an eye to the future. With two sons in the business, Bill has purchased enough land to expand his facilities.

One final thought, we at Toshiba are proud of our 40-year relationship with Richards Electric Motor Company. Here is to another 40 years!

See you in Las Vegas.

Safe Travels!

Desert Hills Electric Supply - A New Distributor to Grow With
Author: Patrick Hines

Toshiba International Corporation (TIC)
was established in the US 52 years ago. In that time we’ve created many long term and much valued relationships with our Distributor Partners. I’ve always attributed those extraordinary connections to the selectivity our Distributors demonstrate in picking suppliers and the effort Toshiba puts into finding excellent channel partners. Late last year the Southwest Distribution Sales Team started a relationship with Desert Hills Electrical Supply and I have a feeling this will be another Partner with decades of growing together in our future. On Wednesday I visited, for the first time, with the folks in Desert Hill’s Artesia, NM headquarters and left very excited about the possibilities!

Desert Hills started in 2010 as a natural extension of what was a successful electrical contractor. With their focus clearly on Distribution and with a strong leader (Bill Mathews), this employee owned group has already expanded to three locations (Carlsbad, NM and Hobbs, NM in addition to Artesia) with eyes to grow further. The leadership team including Dillon Goodloe, Jason Bolin, and others share a common vision for success focusing on great customer service, the right inventory in the right place at the right time, and continuous reinvestment in the business. Desert Hills came on board with Toshiba at the beginning of the year and I’m looking for big things ahead.

After lunch with the Desert Hills leadership and a tour of the facility, it was back on the road. To get to Artesia this morning from Pecos, TX I took, unbeknownst to me, what is widely considered the most deadly stretch of highway in the country; namely state road 285. Because of the explosion of business in the Permian Basin, the truck traffic has swelled to thousands per day on this 2 lane, crumbling stretch of largely shoulder-less black top. In spite of efforts to widen the thoroughfare there are stop signs where stop lights should be and it seems unlikely they’ll get the infrastructure where it needs to be in the near future. I was told that it’s not unusual for fatal injuries to occur on this stretch weekly. Fortunately, my journey was without incident. One of those cases where I didn’t know the danger till I arrived at the destination! Ignorance is bliss.

The path from Artesia to Las Cruces (where I called it a night) was fantastic. Flat desert scrub for the first thirty miles led to a gentle ascent into the Sacramento Mountains. The twists and turns on the way up were made all the more interesting at altitude by the squalling rain and even occasional hail that peppered the FJ. Cresting at 8,650 ft ASL, I stopped in Cloudcroft for fuel and a water break. Neat town on the top of a mountain. Wish I had more time to explore but back on the road for the descent…which was extraordinary. The temperature at the summit was 60 degrees F but on the way down the thermometer soared to almost 90 by the time I reached the base. With the rain on the far side of the mountains and the truck window down you could feel the hot, dry air rushing up the cliffs and across the pavement. The vistas on the way down were not to be missed. Around every corner a new rock face, a vertiginous drop, a craggy gorge with a dry river bed. The tall pines- so different from the squat desert trees below- reached high toward the clouds above. And in the distance, the White Sands National Monument. It really must be seen to be believed. From the mountains, it almost looked like a giant cloud painted on the desert floor.

Another 400 miles on the odometer and a new Distributor to grow with. A very good day. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful country and the freedom and opportunity to build business Partnerships based on common interest, a shared quest for excellence, and mutual trust and respect.

I’ll see you on the road!

Westward bound towards San Antonio Armature Works
Patrick Hines

After heading out of Houston Monday afternoon, my first stop was our longtime Partner, San Antonio Armature Works. Owner Steve Staglik has put together a truly top quality EASA shop capable of servicing both large rotating equipment and power electronics. They are one of only 130 EASA Accredited Shops as well as being UL Certified and UL 674 compliant. But it’s not just their repair capabilities that allow them to deliver value to the market. Aided by strong, experienced applications folks like John Liuzzi (a long time Toshiba supporter and fellow biker), San Antonio Armature Works is out there solving problems, making application recommendations, commissioning drives, and creating loyal and highly satisfied customers. What they do day-to-day for their clients is a perfect fit for Toshiba Motors and Drives. No wonder we’ve had a decades long relationship.

After a great dinner with the SAAW Team( Bob Richardson (Toshiba Southwest Regional Distribution Manger), Patrick West (Toshiba Distribution Sales and FY2018 Sales Person of the Year)) it was early to bed for yours truly. Tuesday was programmed for a 400 mile ride in the FJ and I wanted to be well rested and ready to go.

The day started (as they often do) with email, the odd fire to put out, a little PT, and, this week, writing a blog post! Gassed up just outside of town and headed west on I-10 toward Junction, TX. riding through the Hill Country never disappoints. It is- I think- one of the most beautiful parts of the state. I was reminded of the ride John Liuzzi and I did together at Three Sisters last year. Good times.

At Junction I veered North and the “explore” began. There’s a great stretch of road on the way to Menard where I turned West passing through Eldorado and Iraan before rejoining I-10 near Ft Stockton. Along State Road 190 beginning in Menard, the landscape changed again. The earth flattened out, the trees and bushes grew lower to the ground, and wildlife made a few appearances. There were times over that 150 or so miles where I didn’t see another car for a long time. Texas is a state of remote places and I’m a fan.

It’s also a state where the deer and the antelope play (sometimes) too close the road. It was near miss for Bambi at 80 mph (the posted speed) but it wasn’t the little guy's time and he made it safely back to the tree line. It was close. Hopefully he made it back to momma a little wiser. The six foot rattler (he stretched more than half way across my lane as I approached at speed) was less fortunate. Based on what I could see along the road, this was not an unusual occurrence. Such is life.

What continues to impress is the rugged landscape and the constant, ceaseless beauty of the open country. As I continued Westward with the sun swung out front, the sinking daylight illuminated the rocks, the sand, and trees with a range of color almost beyond words. The road, at times, looked like liquid mercury. There were pinks and oranges, rusty browns, deep greens, blue skies and white clouds. The last stretch of yesterday's drive led North on 285 to Pecos, TX.

As I approached within 20 miles of town the gas flares appeared in the waning light; the truck traffic increased. Pecos is truly a working Oil and Gas town. Camps for the workers are everywhere and this sleepy one light village is now full of folks out to seek their fortune in the energy business. We’re a long way from the big city now. It’s great. I hit the rack happy and exhausted.

Next stop New Mexico.

I’ll see you on the road!

A Nostalgic Return to Foremost Industrial
Author: John O'Brien

Second stop, Peoria, IL.

Driving from Chicago to Peoria area brings back a lot memory for me. I started calling on Foremost Industrial Technologies in July 1986. Back then Foremost was a small EASA Shop with a couple of people in the shop and sold primary competitors motors and power transmission equipment.

The phrase, “timing is everything” applies to my first sales call at Foremost. I met Jeff Bahnsen and Jim Schmitz. We were salespeople; we were young, hungry for success and had young families to support. Foremost was an early adapter to Variable Frequency Drives.

The biggest opportunity for us was getting Caterpillar to approve Toshiba as a supplier. Many sales presentations, many dinners, trips to Houston and finally Caterpillar approved Toshiba International Corporation as a supplier in 1988. Approved by Caterpillar only means it allows Foremost to quote Toshiba against a couple competitors. Since 1988, we have won our share of jobs for Motors and Adjustable Speed Drives. Today, we continue to be a supplier to Caterpillar though our distributor partner Foremost Industrial Technology.

The current ownership of Foremost is unique and interesting. Mike Moran owns several businesses and Foremost is one of them. Before purchasing the first Motor Repair business, Mike was in the Television business and one of his responsibilities was creating viewer habits. The station was sold; Mike Moran was looking to buy a business with plans to expand.

Mike purchased JANDA Motor Repair Company in Cedar Rapids, IA. JANDA caught Mike’s eye because of the great job of capturing customer awareness through their television commercials that played on Mike's station! In 2013, Mike purchased Foremost Industrial Technologies. Mike's other businesses were located in similar size cities, Cedar Rapids, IA and Davenport, IA and were also complementary to one another.

I learn something today during our celebration visit to Foremost. I met Jim Brija today. Jim works in the shop. Jim is well known for his charity work as GhostBusters Peoria. Please check out the picture of Jim’s unique GhostBusters car!

It has been 33 years since I walked into Foremost. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I have always looked forward to seeing the people of Foremost; they are more than customers to me- they are people that I grew up with!

See you in Las Vegas!

Travel Safe!

A Young Entrepreneur
Author: Patrick Hines

It isn’t every day you get the chance to work with a young entrepreneur in our industry. Many of our partners are established, often multi-generational enterprises. Cal Lamb, President of Zone Industries, is one such entrepreneur. With a degree from Texas A&M (2009) in Industrial Distribution and after a few short years working in the Motor and Drive sales world, Cal, in his mid-twenties, bought Power and Pump Equipment; A Texas company with more than 50 years of history in the market. Cal split this company into two groups. The municipal team operates as Precision Pump Systems and the industrial pump group rolled into Zone Industries.

Since that move in 2012 it’s going “full throttle” as Cal assembled a dynamic team with a great combination of experience and youthful exuberance that’s become a force in the market. What Zone understands is that to serve their customers they need the right mix of great people, great resources, and great products. They’ve hit several milestones including adding to the Houston (Spring, TX) location with facilities in Dallas (2018) and the “Valley Office” located in Edinburg, TX (2019). Cal continues to invest in assets including 5 new cranes trucks and increased crane capacity in the Dallas and Houston shops for motor and pump repair. Most important is the company’s focus on its people. They hit the 50 employee mark (2019) and show no signs of slowing down.

Zone Industries
has proven to be a strong partner and advocate for Toshiba Motors and Drives. Their commitment to servicing customers, maintaining healthy inventory, and deploying knowledgeable motor/drive folks to solve customer problems is exactly the sort of business model that makes a successful Toshiba Distributor. I can only imagine where Cal will take Zone in the future. I’m just happy that Toshiba is a partner in this exciting relationship. We’re proud to have Zone on our team.

As for the Road to EASA so far, the FJ proved the right choice out of the gate. The day started and finished with several inches of rain and fantastic lightning displays. These are best viewed from the inside of a truck and not the saddle of the iron horse. After enjoying a lunch and business update with Cal and his team it was time for “points West” on I-10 toward San Antonio. There wasn’t much opportunity today for sightseeing as I had a dinner meeting (more on that tomorrow). I couldn’t take the road less traveled. Even along the generally unremarkable interstate, it’s hard not to appreciate the natural beauty of East Texas. The big city and verdant country side slowly transforms across the Katy Prairie to something more open, with distant horizons, rain in sheets you can see coming miles away, and sense of unlimited possibilities as you barrel on to your destination.

It’s easy to imagine how, for years, this place has inspired some of America’s greatest writers, thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators from cowboys, to tycoons, to Presidents. It’s a hard land, still untamed, but with so much to offer it continues to beckon all who accept the challenge. It’ll take me another full day and a half to drive across what I’ve got left to see on the Texas leg of the trip. Can’t wait to discover what today will hold.

Meanwhile, I’ll see you on the road!

Eastland Industries, Inc. - Starting at the beginning of Rt. 66
Author: John O'Brien


Today I started the Road to EASA journey to Las Vegas. First, stop Chicago to see where the historic Rt. 66 began. The signpost is located on Adams Street in downtown Chicago just off Michigan Ave. Chicagoans will recognize Michigan Ave. as the “Miracle Mile”.

I wanted to start my day by having breakfast with Doug Fullerton Toshiba Northeast Regional Mgr. at Lou Mitchells Restaurant and Bakery. This famous Chicago restaurant has been going strong since 1923 and is located on Rt.66. Unfortunately; our friends at United Airlines had a different travel plan for me today. We were unable to have breakfast at Lou Mitchells.

I met up with Doug Fullerton in Chicago and we traveled to Eastland Industries. Eastland Industries is a family owned second-generation business servicing customers in the Chicagoland area. I enjoy reading about history and as I discussed planning this trip to Eastland with the owner, Gary Jindra and Justin Jindra I learned about a Chicago tragedy and how it affected the Jindra family. I encourage viewing the attached video clip about Eastland Industries. To celebrate our long time relationship with our distributor partner Eastland we did what Chicagoans love to do. Eat the world’s best Pizza.

Looking forward to my car road trip this week. No planes until Saturday! Next, stop Peoria, IL. See you in Las Vegas.

Travel Safe!


The history behind Eastland Industries, Inc. and the family owned business in Hillside, Illinois. We are grateful for their Distribution of Toshiba products and partnership growth!

Director of Distribution, John O'Brien, will be stopping by today with Salesman Jeff Bahnsen and we'll post their trip update here!

A Classic Move
Author: Patrick Hines

John Lennon said something like “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. Last week, life happened…I wound up not making it to Alaska after all. My 49th state will have to wait. I had a bug and couldn’t make the trip. Too bad. I’d have been there on the solstice where parts of the state had 22 hours of daylight. That would have been something to see. Fortunately, Mitch Clark, Director of Oil and Gas Sales, came through and executed productive customer visits as he always does.

So today’s the big day and I’ve determined to go with the FJ for this trip. In spite of my desire to do this one on two wheels, I’ve now got to get back by Friday (leaving Vegas next Wednesday morning) and I can’t cover the 1,550 miles in the three day’s on the bike (maybe a younger me…). My daughter will be celebrating her last round of chemo at MD Anderson and I’ll be there when she rings that bell!

The FJ will be great and I look forward to crossing the open country of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada over the next 5 days visiting so many customers along the way. I’m sure to have the radio up and windows down. These “ Road to EASA” events are not only a chance to acknowledge the strong relationships we have with our Distributor Partners but also present a unique opportunity to experience first hand the wonder and beauty of our Country.

Last year’s ride to Milwaukee lead mainly through green rolling hills, mile upon mile of planted fields, and some pretty big urban centers. This time around it’ll be stretches of the American desert and maybe a mountain or two along the way; I might even get a close look at the Grand Canyon (I’ve only seen it from 36,000 feet).

I’m counting on making this one for the books. Can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones at EASA. Come by the booth and say hello!

In the meantime, I’ll see you on the road!

30 Years In The Making
Author: John O'Brien

Just one day out before, I start the Road to EASA Las Vegas. I will be meeting up with Doug Fullerton, Toshiba Northeast Regional Manager, in Chicago. How time flies! This will be my 30th EASA Convention!

EASA is a unique trade show experience. It is the only trade show that I have attended where you routinely see families. Over the years, I have looked forward to attending EASA , especially the Toshiba Customer Appreciation Night where we invite our customers to celebrate our business together. Our customer appreciation nights have included:

  • San Francisco Bay Dinner Cruise and in Washington DC Potomac River Dinner Cruise.
  • Dinner on a World War 2 Battleship in Tampa.
  • Chicago Cubs game seating in the famous Roof Top Seating, attending a game in Boston at Fenway.
  • Dinner at the Harley Davidson Museum.

Looking forward to this year’s Customer Appreciation Dinner at the Celebrity Cars in Las Vegas!

The trend today is that trade shows are dead; the trade show participant could gain the same information via the internet. Not so with EASA. Much of the EASA convention focuses on the education of its members in all aspects of repair, electrical, electronic and mechanical. There are training sessions on how to run a business, sales training, networking and much more.

Facts about EASA that I did not know:

  • Started in 1933, under the name of National Recovery ACT Industries.
  • Purpose: to establish codes of practice to bolster the national economy. Members resolved to develop solutions to problems with competitors, discuss plans of operation and to learn from each other.
  • Responding to changes in the Electro-Mechanical Industry and better represent members activities in 1962 the association adopted a new name, “Electrical Apparatus Service Association”. (EASA)
  • Today EASA serves members who sell and service electrical, electronic and mechanical apparatus by educating, informing and promoting the highest standards in performance. EASA is an international organization with members in North & South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

On Monday, June 24, the Road to EASA starts on Route 66 in Chicago. We have a great week planned to see our Distributor Partners. First stop is at Eastland Industries just outside Chicago. On Tuesday, June 25, I will be traveling to Peoria, IL to see Foremost Industrial Technology. On Wednesday, June 26, we stop in Quincy, IL to see Richards Electric. Then Thursday, June 26, I will travel to Joplin, MO to see JCI Joplin branch. Our final stop on Friday June 28, I will be traveling to Tulsa, OK see Evans Enterprises.

See you at Booth 811 at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas at the end of this road trip! Safe Travels!

Road to EASA...Final Countdown
Author: Patrick Hines

We’re in the “final countdown” before starting the trip!

A week from today I’ll be on the road heading to San Antonio and points beyond. Last year, I had the entire week to pack, recheck the route, confirm details, and get rested. But why do things the easy way? Tomorrow, at 5AM I’ll be on a flight to Anchorage, Alaska for 4 days of customer meetings with Mitch Clark and our Oil and Gas team arriving home in the early hours on Friday 21JUN. I honestly can’t wait to get up north and take these meetings to grow our business. That’ll still leave three good days to prep before rolling down the driveway and out of town. I know John is also on the road this week in the lower 48 working with our valued Distributors, chasing orders, and solving problems like he does every day.

John O’Brien’s work ethic is a great example to his Sales team and mirrors closely the character of our Distributor Partners: problem solvers, innovators, hard workers, and reliable partners. We are fortunate in our friends.

John heads out on Monday, June 24th as well and I look forward to his updates along the route. We’ll both be knocking down the miles, meeting with our customers, and getting closer to EASA in Las Vegas one day at time. Can’t wait.

I’ll see you on the road!
Traveling US Route 66 with Director of Distribution, John O'Brien

My Road to EASA 2019 to Las Vegas will be starting in Chicago. Chicago is where I was born and raised. It is always good to go home. The theme of EASA this year is Classic Cars and Conversation. My Classic Car at least in my mind is my 2002 Lexus SC 430 Hard Top Convertible. There is nothing like putting the top down on a sunny warm day in Columbus and let the wind blow in your air. Unfortunately, I will not be taking my pride and joy on the Road to EASA this time.

Couple of Facts about Route 66

  • John Steinbeck, 1939 proclaimed Route 66 as the “Mother Road” in his classic novel the Grapes of Wrath. When the movie was made in 1940, it immortalized Route 66 in the American consciousness. The movie is credited with 200,000 people migrating to California to escape the Dust Bowl of the Midwest.

  • Route 66 starts in Chicago, IL and ends in Santa Monica, CA. Route 66 was 2,248 miles long. It crosses eight states. (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The first McDonalds restaurant was located in San Bernardino, CA. The site is currently home to McDonald’s Route 66 Museum.
  • The end of Route 66 came in the mid 1950’s President Dwight Eisenhower was demanding federal sponsorship for a divided highways system. On June 26, 1956, Congress passed the Federal Aid Highway Act for a national highway program. The act was also known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act allocated $30 Billion for the construction of over 40,000 miles of interstate highways, the largest public construction project in US history at that time.

My goal, the Ride to EASA is to travel as much as I can on Route 66 and to stop and see five of our distributors along the way. My journey starts on Monday June 24. My first stop on Route 66 is to stop and have breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s Café in Chicago. This restaurant has been open since 1923. In 1926, Route 66 was commissioned starting out in Chicago is close by to the Lou Mitchell’s Café.

Two Weeks To Go
Author: Patrick Hines

We’re another week closer to hitting the road and I’ve started planning in earnest. Hotels are booked along the route to Vegas and meetings with our Distributors are scheduled. The long term forecast is favorable (little rain and very hot). Saturday I took the Iron Horse out for a few hours; it was a great ride through the open country west of Houston. I'm pretty sure it’ll be the Harley and not the FJ on this trip and getting excited about the possibilities!

Since the week after EASA includes the Fourth of July, I won’t be scheduling any customer visits on that half of the journey- just a sort of unplanned meander back home to Cypress, TX. I'm hoping to capture a bit of the American West during one of our most important national holidays. Definitely open to suggestions on the route or points of interest.

Still two weeks to go and lots to do before heading out. EASA is going to be amazing this year with the locale, lots of attendees, and great opportunities to reconnect with our partners and make new connections.

Make sure to come by, visit our booth 811, and say hello!

I’ll see you on the road!

Road to EASA...Covered Wagon or Iron Horse?
Author: Patrick Hines

I’m very excited to be planning another “ Road to EASA” event this year. And this year I won’t be exactly alone. Director of Distribution Sales, John O’Brien , is taking his own “Road” heading West from Columbus, OH. We’ll meet in Vegas to swap stories to meet up with Customers and Toshiba folks for some great 2019 EASA memories.

The idea of crossing large expanses of the American desert on two wheels (or four) and getting to visit our Distributor Customers along the route sounds like a great way to spend a couple of weeks. Distance riding is something I'd never thought I’d get into but I love it. And this year’s location (Las Vegas) presents some new and interesting challenges as a rider. There’s lots of open country to see and enjoy with terrain I’ve only sampled on trips as far west as San Antonio. Some of the stretches between our Distributors are pretty long. Normally I try to keep it between 250 and 300 miles a day in the saddle. There are a few days of desert riding that could stretch to 400. But I’m thinking, if I keep my schedule a little loose (maybe a lunch meeting becomes a dinner meeting!) and keep an eye on refueling stops and good hydration, the trip could be one for the books.

It’s important to have a Plan B in life and in work. My backup for this trip is to take the “Covered Wagon” (2014 Toyota FJ) instead of the “Iron Horse” (2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited). In keeping with this year’s theme of classic cars and classic conversations both these iconic rides fit the bill. The FJ was built in the badges last model year (Toyota relaunches the FJ every few years). At the dealership where I have it serviced, they call it the “Unicorn FJ” and I get offers to buy it almost monthly. One of the few truly “off road” production vehicles on the market.

On the other hand, and my preference really for this trip, is the Ultra. Sure, HD has issued new versions with bigger engines in recent years but this American Classic has a lot left to give. On last year’s Road to EASA she performed well rain or shine (had plenty of both) and there’s nothing to compare to the sound of that motor, the road racing beneath your feet, and feeling of absolute freedom that comes with motorcycling.

In the end, it might be a game day decision. Covered Wagon or Iron Horse? If we’re not about to get hit with a hurricane (last year’s “ Road to EASA” started with a race ahead of terrible weather all the way to Oklahoma) and if this old man’s back is up to 3,000 miles in the seat, it’ll be Iron Horse for sure.

What I’m looking forward to most of all is time with our valued Distributor Partners. They are the backbone of our business working together with Toshiba to support thousands of user customers all across North and South America. The Road to EASA, like our journey with our Distributors, is a long one, with challenges along the way, and opportunity for growth around every bend.

See you on the Road!

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