In the complicated, ever-evolving world of electronic technology, an OEM that is trying to build an electronic device sometimes has trouble locating a supplier for its components. Similarly, companies that manufacture electromechanical or electronic components have difficulty knowing what components are being sought by OEMs. Bringing the two together with product expertise and market knowledge are the manufacturer’s representatives of O’Donnell Associates North.

“Our primary job is to help the manufacturer create demand in the marketplace for their products,” President Mark Conley explains. “We do that primarily by calling on the engineering community to understand what our customers are building, and then offer products that match what they need for their product. We match up the manufacturer with the customer and are extremely involved throughout that process.

At Northwinds Corp., every employee strives to do the right thing for clients. “We walk our talk,” the company says. “We always do what we say we’re going to do. That’s an important thing for us.”

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the company represents manufacturers in the electrical industry, including General Electric Co.’s Lighting Division, The Eden Corp. and Lennox International Inc. Northwinds Corp. started operations in the 1990s as a service provider for Affiliated Distributors.

The company followed that path for 11 years. “In 2007, we changed our format to become a traditional sales agency, and the rest is history,” it says.

With fewer people pursing vocational careers, trades-oriented businesses such as MJM Associates Inc. are putting a premium on recruiting capable employees. “One of the biggest challenges we have are the lack of qualified people entering the industry,” says Cam Marklowitz, president of sales and marketing for MJM Associates, a company that represents manufacturers in the plumbing, heating, ventilation, refrigeration and air conditioning industries.

A lack of knowledgeable, skilled workers could hinder MJM Associates’ ability to grow and provide a high level of service for its wholesaler and contractor customers. This is why the company is assisting trade schools in recruiting high school students. MJM Associates employees travel to vocational schools to lead training classes and Marklowitz serves in an advisory board at a community trade school near the company’s headquarters in Centennial, Colo.

Founded by Roy Hollabaugh Sr. in 1945 in Portland, Ore., Hollabaugh Brothers & Associates (HBA) is today a fourth-generation family business. The company’s aim is to be the top manufacturer’s representative in the plumbing and HVAC wholesale industry in the Pacific Northwest through superior marketing, sales, service and product knowledge.

“Each generation of family leadership has made the commitment to strengthen and improve upon the great opportunity of Hollabaugh Brothers & Associates,” President Chad Hollabaugh says. “We’ve made the commitment to a smooth transition from one generation to the next, and we always recognize that long-term relationships are built on trust.  Trust is a major foundation block that is crucial to a strong family business.”

For more than 67 years, Dawson Co. has represented and distributed some of the biggest and best-known names in the plumbing and HVAC industries throughout Southern California. The reasons for the company’s prolonged success in one of the nation’s largest markets are rooted in its bedrock principles of exceptional customer service and strategic financial management, according to Executive Vice President Frank Dunn. As the company looks forward to the future, it’s safe to say that those business principles will continue to be the foundation on which Dawson Co. builds its continuing success. 

Just as slow and steady wins the race, hard work and integrity have served Clark and Associates well during its 30-year history. Founded by President Gary Clark and his father in 1985, Clark attributes the company’s longevity to hard work and values. “We run our business by our value principles,” he stresses. “That includes our integrity, hard work and our dedication to our employees and customers. We have a reputation for success and winning.”

Indeed, while other companies are consolidating, Clark and Associates – referred to as “Team Clark” – is prospering with double-digit growth. Clark cites the ability of his company’s inside and outside marketing teams to work together as one of its competitive advantages. “We’ve added an entire inside sales department, which consists of three salespeople and two marketing communications people,” he says. Another competitive advantage is the synergy among the variety of industries that the company serves.

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