Oct 13, 2020
By Blake Marchand
Bogdan Botoi is Division Manager for Automation and Control with E.B. Horsman out of British Columbia.
Before joining the company, Bogdan spent a number of years as an electrical engineer across different industries. Working as a lead designer with cREO in the semiconductor industry. “I did everything from system engineering to PLC design to motion control,” he noted. From there he took a job with a pharmaceutical company as senior medical devices engineer. “We developed new innovative medical devices and automation for production lines to build those devices.”
After three years, Bogdan moved industries once again, as an electrical engineering manager in power generation. It was in this role that he began taking on more of a management role. While still involved in commissioning and field work, he was responsible for leading a team of engineers as well as their in-house panel shop.
“It was very different,” he said. “I was looking for a change.
“I moved from medical devices, semiconductor industry where everything was clean, and the first thing I saw on the production floor was a generator larger than a locomotive. So, that was my new world.”
Bogdan noted he enjoyed the challenge.
“There was a lot to learn, I was managing this engineering group, coordinating 10 to 12 people, as well as being involved with the panel shop and the field crew for commissioning.
“It was challenging, it was interesting, it was good.”
Bogdan would then take a step up, taking a similar role with Wayjax as electrical engineering manager for Canada.
“I was deeply involved in all aspects of design and commissioning, but in more territories and different products,” he said in comparison to his previous power generation role.
In the meantime, Bogdan got an MBA with the intention of taking on more management positions, which would influence his decision to pivot his career in 2016 and take his current position with E.B Horsman & Son.
While with Wayjax, Bogdan was a customer of E.B Horsman & Son, and the company had an opening in BC for divisional manager for automation and control. This was interesting for Bogdan because it was an opportunity to use his experience as an engineer while taking on more of a business development role.
“That attracted me a lot. Because now I can use my experience, both in management and engineering to guide the group and get involved in all these industries. We are very much hands on, we are not your typical electrical distributor where you just sell stuff. We get down to the ‘nitty-gritty’ with the customer, to help them define their design.”
Bogdan elaborated on this last point, explaining, “For some of our customers I designed their system myself, just to help them with the initial stage. Where they couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it or they didn’t know exactly what they needed.”
Wholesale is becoming increasingly competitive with e-commerce being a major factor, and you’ll also see that manufacturers, in some instances, will sell directly to end-users. That increases the competition level.
“That creates a bit of a challenge because cost-wise you’re not as effective. On the other hand, with the added value we provide something more than other companies do. We have a very strong automation and controls group as well as process instrumentation, data communication and lighting.”
This is how a company like E.B Horsman & Son can distinguish itself, not just from other wholesalers, but within the overall competitive landscape.
“You don’t give me a part number and I sell you that part. No, we help you refine and define your system, find the proper solution and we’re very honest with our customers.
“This helps us establish trust.”
These types of services is particularly valuable given the pace of IIoT and the associated trends and technologies.
“The industry is going to transform quite a bit in the near future.” IoT, cloud computing, edge computing and these data driven technologies will undoubtedly impact the trend toward smart data. Alongside the focus customized solutions, like they are doing with Rittal and custom panels.
“It’s one thing to get the data, but it’s a different thing to know where to place it, how to use it, what you understand from it ” he said. “All these data analytics are going to be crucial for all the industries we are in.”
Understandably, this fluctuation and change is a major challenge for the industry, but one that Bogdan says is invigorating, “it gives you this energy to keep going and reinvent yourself.”
Blake Marchand is Associate Editor with Kerrwil Electrical Group