September 19, 2019

By Mike Grossman


Jeffrey Burkhardt Promoted to Group President - Will Lead IDEAL Electrical,
 Canada, Latin America and Data Comm2019 IDEAL National Championship is on Record Pace 


September 19, 2019 - Sycamore, Illinois - Chairman and CEO Jim James has announced that the Board of Directors for the family-owned company has promoted Doug Sanford to Senior Vice President and General Manager of IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. Sanford was Group President for IDEAL Electrical for the past three years. Under his leadership, IDEAL Electrical significantly grew both its tool and wire termination businesses, and spearheaded the development and optimization of the IDEAL National Championship.


Sanford will report to Jim James and, eventually, recently announced CEO Steve Henn. Sanford will be responsible for the strategic leadership and operational efficiencies of the IDEAL (non-lighting) businesses that include: Anderson Power Products (APP), Casella, CMD, Enatel, IDEAL Electrical, Pratt Reed, SK Tools & Western Forge. 


“Doug is a proven leader,” said James. “He sees the big picture, manages complex market dynamics, complex product development, operating and distributing issues and does it all in a way that energizes and galvanizes his team. Doug is an extraordinary executive who has earned both the board’s and the family’s confidence.”


Burkhardt to Lead Largest Business Unit, its NA Operations and Data Comm


James also announced Jeffrey Burkhardt has been promoted to Group President, IDEAL Electrical, Canada, Latin America & DataComm. Burkhardt will report to Sanford. He will be responsible for the P&L of the businesses and will work with their leadership teams to deliver sustained growth and innovation with an end-user focus.


Burkhardt led the company’s expansion into advanced technologies and built a larger, more diverse presence in Europe. “He knows the markets that are important to our future,” James affirmed, “and has a keen understanding of how to create significant growth from emerging technologies and markets.”


Burkhardt previously led APP power connectors used in the vehicle, telecom, medical and energy industries; Casella noise, dust and vibration monitors for the global construction market; CMD integrated power and technology solutions for offices; DataComm/T&M electrical test and measurement solutions for the telecom and IT markets; and IDEAL Europe.


2019 IDEAL National Championship – Annual Competition to Determine the Industry’s Top Electricians to Exceed 100,000 Competitors


Heading into the final weeks of Qualifying Round events, participation in the 2019 IDEAL National Championship is surging. “We expect more than 100,000 competitors in this year’s competition. As of August 31, registrations are up 88 percent over the same eight-month period in 2018,” said James. “Yet, the more remarkable data point is the 122 percent jump in participation year-over-year through August. It’s one thing to register. It’s another to show up and compete. This shows how seriously electricians, contractors and schools are taking the IDEAL National Championship now.”


James and his team conceived and developed the IDEAL National Championship four years ago. Each year the competition has grown in scale and participation. This year, competitors from China and Australia will join their fellow brother and sister sparkies from the United States and Canada. The team competitions have also slightly changed this year, going from three person teams to two person teams. Additionally, with the new Contractor Challenge and School Challenge, there are new incentives for teams to participate.


The top Professional and Student/Apprentice from each state/territory, the top five Contractor Challenge and School Challenge teams of 2 from the U.S., and the top Contractor and School Challenge team from Canada will advance to Championship Weekend, November 7 - 9 in Orlando, Florida.


Qualifying Round events are open through October 4, so there is still time to register and compete. For a complete listing of Qualifying Round events, go here.

For a complete look at the U.S and Canadian leaderboard, go to: 




IDEAL ELECTRICAL is a company of IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. IDEAL is a global leader in electrical tools and wire termination, as well as the development, manufacturing and marketing of enhanced energy management systems, products and technologies for professional electricians, design engineers and facilities executives.




IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. is a diversified global family business designing and manufacturing superior products, tools, and advanced technology solutions for the electrical, lighting and wireless lighting control, energy management, wire processing, data communications, aerospace, automotive, power, construction and manufacturing industries. The company has grown consistently by being true to its foundation platform: plan and manage for the next generation, not just the next quarter.  The family and its management team are guided by its founder’s values: build an ideal company by creating ideal relationships with customers, employees, partners and communities.