Graybar, a Fortune 500 company, specializes in supply chain management services, and is a leading North American distributor of high quality components, equipment, and materials. We serve the construction market, the commercial, institutional, and government (CIG) market, and the industrial and utility markets. Graybar products and services support new construction, infrastructure updates, building renovation, facility maintenance, repair and operations, and original equipment manufacturing.
The Minnesota State Fair, located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, has the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the country.
An average of 166,000 people per day at the fairgrounds send and receive approximately 8 million texts and require capacity for data downloads, mobile streaming, mobile payments and cell phone calls.
The State Fair needed a permanent, always-on, guaranteed mobile data delivery system – and that’s where Graybar and contractor MP Mobile Solutions stepped in.
The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. In addition to the 12-day State Fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds hosts hundreds of additional events each year.
Minnesota State Fair leaders were looking for an alternative to importing multiple, bulky COWs (cells-on-wheels) to ensure mobility service for the annual Minnesota State Fair. They wanted an on-site, permanent, multi-carrier Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that could handle a huge influx of people – and connected devices – without issue. Such a system would need to support the diverse needs of both fairgoers and fair vendors.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
Graybar joined with MP Mobile Solutions, a systems integrator, to design and specify a DAS solution before the 2017 State Fair. The team recommended a DAS system manufactured by SOLiD that was pre-loaded and pre-configured at the factory. Over the three-month installation period, the Graybar team provisioned and staged the sophisticated system at its Minneapolis Service Center. And Graybar’s Just In Time (JIT) delivery service made sure that the appropriate parts and materials reached the fairgrounds at the exact time they were needed.
The Minnesota State Fair now has permanent, reliable mobile connectivity that provides a more positive experience for fairgoers and also enhances the abilities of vendors for both the State Fair and the many other events held at the fairgrounds throughout the year.
Furthermore, the State Fair was able to reclaim valuable square footage previously used for COWs for more productive uses and sell more fully integrated mobile marketing packages without worrying about overloading its mobile network.
Several important deadlines written into the Florida Fire Prevention Code (NFPA 1) are approaching, and building owners may need to act sooner than they think. The deadlines are related to a serious safety issue: Walls and low-e glass windows can block radio waves, reducing signal strength for firefighters and first responders who desperately need open lines of communication during an emergency.
The Florida legislature responded to this safety challenge by establishing requirements for radio signal strength inside buildings. Section 11.10 of the Florida Fire Prevention Code states in part that “in all new and existing buildings, minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications shall be maintained at a level determined by the [authority having jurisdiction “AHJ”)].”
New construction must be compliant to receive a certificate of occupancy permit, and existing buildings are expected to be brought up to Code if they are not already in compliance.
However, Section 633.202 of the Florida Statutes extends the deadline for existing high-rise buildings. According to § 718.1085 of the statutes, a “high rise” is any building that measures more than 75 feet between the lowest level the fire department is likely to access and the highest floor that can be occupied.
§ 633.202 gives owners of these buildings until January 1, 2022 to meet minimum radio strength requirements for fire department communications and two-way radio system enhancement communications.
However, the statute also contains several other important deadlines. Owners and managers of high-rise buildings in Florida should be aware of the following compliance dates:
There are two exceptions to the 2025 deadline, however. Any apartment buildings that include assisted living must follow the earlier timeline to become compliant by January 1, 2022. Mixed-use facilities must comply with the strictest standard for which there is some use – for example, a building with residential space above and commercial space below will also be held to the earlier timeline.
It’s important to remember that these extensions only apply to high-rises, and all other existing buildings could see the code enforced at any time.
Enforcement is ultimately left up to the discretion of local AHJs, but delaying compliance isn’t worth the risk. While AHJs might prioritize inspecting high-value, high-occupancy locations, like schools and hospitals, ignoring the regulations could set up a building owner for a more expensive on-the-spot renovation or even potential legal liability in the event of an emergency.
Most importantly, building owners have a responsibility to keep their facilities safe for occupants. Anything that gets in the way of first responders doing their jobs could have tragic consequences.
To determine whether or not they are compliant, building owners in Florida should schedule a test of the radio strength within their facilities. Graybar can coordinate this testing and provide proof that a building satisfies Code requirements.
If a building doesn’t meet radio strength requirements, the owner may install in-building radio enhancement systems that can boost signal strength to ensure first responders maintain radio contact everywhere in the building. A Graybar representative can help identify the right telecommunications installation for a particular building.
Click here to schedule a test and determine if your building is in compliance with the latest regulations.
Headquartered in Albany, New York, Advanced Network Services (ANS) is a turnkey engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) provider of telecommunication solutions. In today’s fast-paced work environments, flawless connectivity and mobile coverage is an essential component of doing business. “Distributed antenna systems (DAS) allow enterprise customers to build out infrastructure inside their facilities that take carrier signal from wireless providers through a series of conversions and transfers them back to phones, devices and large automation in inside environments,” explains ANS Program Manager Brendan Delaney.
To improve its coverage, a large governmental agency with facilities located nationally contracted with ANS for DAS installation at two initial locations in Wichita, Kansas and Greensboro, NC.
The government agency’s facilities execute complex operations on a large scale. Many are operational on a 24/7 basis. In addition to fast and cost-effective installation, it was important that the installation process not interfere with customer operations. Storing large amounts of equipment, product and parts at the facility was impractical. Shipping as needed or through a third party would lead to delays and add extra expense.
“For efficient, cost-effective deployment of these systems, it was important to ANS to find a distribution partner with local warehouses that we could trust to store, ship and manage materials,” says Brendan.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
With 290 locations across the U.S. and a complete selection of data communication products including everything needed for DAS installation, working with Graybar made sense for ANS and for their customer.
Graybar supplied ANS with all of the DAS materials including co-ax, radio frequency systems, antennas, connectors and more.
“Graybar’s service stood out with consistent communications and the ability to have Danielle as the single point of contact on these projects,” says Brendan.
“Once a PO was issued, Inside Sales Representative Danielle Pustolka from our Albany office, got everything rolling. She created a spreadsheet and sent it out once a week with quantities that had shipped. She communicated proactively with Brendan and our local team near the installations. Everyone was in the loop,” explains Graybar Comm/Data Business Manager James Sweet.
“We didn’t deliver $300,000 of material, set it in front of the facility and say, ‘Have at it.’ We released as the project needed,” adds Danielle. “There was no foreman or project manager wandering around a giant facility looking for material.”
In addition to preventing loss or damage to materials, hold and release gave ANS more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that worked for the job and the facility.
“In one location, there were concerns about too much noise in a call center area. Another facility was operational 24/7. If there was downtime at either, it would result in a huge monetary impact on the end users,” says Brendan. “Having materials stored locally at Graybar gave us more flexibility to schedule deliveries at a time that didn’t interrupt their business.”
There were also consumables and items that couldn’t be forecast: conduit fittings, j-hooks, fire rated penetrations and more. Once ANS installers were on site, they had a better idea of what was needed. With Graybar close by, ANS could send someone to the counter for pick up rather than over ordering or waiting for delivery.
“Without Graybar’s staging and delivery, our logistics costs would have been higher and our response times reduced. We look forward to continuing to work with Graybar on these kinds of projects,” says Brendan.
ANS’ customer was satisfied with both the process and the results of their DAS installation. Negotiations are underway to do more installations.
For both locations together, three weeks of end-to-end time to market was saved getting the projects scheduled and installed and more than $1,000 was saved in third party logistics and shipping costs.
The 500,000 square-foot Raleigh Convention Center located in Raleigh, North Carolina, includes a soaring street-level lobby, an elegant ballroom and a massive exhibit hall. Completed in 2008, the facility averages between 250-350 events per year and more than 440,000 visitors.
In 2014, Graybar worked with the Raleigh Convention Center on a lighting retrofit for its 45,000 square-foot underground delivery area. The retrofit consisted of replacing existing HID fixtures with high bay LEDs with integrated occupancy sensors from Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds series. The new fixtures helped to reduce energy usage by an estimated 18,480W per day, not including the additional energy savings from the occupancy sensors, which turn the lights off when no one is in the area.
So when the time came to upgrade the lighting of its exhibit hall, the Raleigh Convention Center turned once again to Graybar for a solution. Committed to having the most environmentally efficient convention center in the nation, the Raleigh Convention Center wanted an energy-efficient solution that would uphold the aesthetic as well as functionality standards visitors expected.
“We’re always striving to make better environmentally sound choices,” said Raleigh Convention Center Facilities Manager Tim Greene. “And saving on electricity is a no brainer. Looking back at the way LEDs have progressed and their longer lifespan, the benefits in converting from traditional lighting to LEDs just made sense.”
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
By utilizing the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Cooperative, Graybar helped the Raleigh Convention Center secure the right fixtures for the exhibit hall. According to their website, U.S. Communities is the leading national government purchasing cooperative, providing world class government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies looking for the best overall supplier
The large, 150,000 square-foot exhibit hall contained approximately 160 sets of lights, with each set including one 750W HID and four 500W quartz fixtures. Graybar worked with several manufacturers to provide the convention center with a number of sample fixtures to install and evaluate based on functionality and appearance.
To replace the existing fixtures, Graybar proposed an LED combination that included 300W high bays and 85W cylinders, paired with Lutron dimming controls. With events being held year-round, shutting down the space to install the new fixtures was not an option. Instead, Graybar stored and received all fixtures at its local Raleigh branch, and worked closely with the installer to deliver the fixtures for quick installation between shows.
Completed in October 2015, the convention center now has a much more modern and contemporary look. Plus, the lights turn on much quicker than before.
“Overall, the look is much softer and the lights are not as harsh as before,” said Greene.
In addition, the exhibit hall lighting upgrades have helped to significantly reduce energy usage and related maintenance by an estimated 318,230W per day.
“Before the lighting retrofit we were changing around 170 bulbs a year,” said Greene. “Now, that number is down to zero.”
Pleased with the results, the Raleigh Convention Center is currently working with Graybar to retrofit the lighting of its 45,000 square-foot ballroom, along with a number of other projects.
When the City of Hudson Director of Public Works & Parks Tom Zeuli first met with Graybar, he was quickly impressed with the number of services and solutions Graybar had to offer. For the past few years, Zeuli had been looking into upgrading the city’s lighting system, but poor timing and issues with budgeting had left the project at a standstill.
With 8,700 employees in 289 locations across North America including Canada and Puerto Rico, Graybar is a national company with local career opportunities, including:
• No. 57 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2018)
• Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 17th year (2019)
• No. 423 on the FORTUNE 500 ranking of America’s largest companies (2019)
• No. 55 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2017)
• Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 16th year (2018)
• Named by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” (2018)
• No. 13 on the National Center for Employee Ownership “Employee Ownership 100” list (2018)
• No. 3 on the Modern Distribution Management Market Leaders list (2018)
• No. 3 on Electrical Wholesaling’s Top 200 Electrical Distributors list (2018)
• Named one of the Top Workplaces in Atlanta, the California Bay Area, St. Louis, Oregon and Southwest Washington (2018)
• On Broadband Communities’ Fiber to the Home Top 100 list (2018)
• Named one of Selling Power’s “Best Companies to Sell For” (2018)
As a leading North American distributor, Graybar operates with one clear mission: to serve as the vital link in the supply chain, adding value for customers and suppliers with innovative solutions and services. Graybar’s strategy is to sustain the organization as an independent and employee-owned company, while achieving the results that position the company as an industry leader and allows Graybar to work to the advantage of those it serves.