All The Latest News from NECA

Sep 23

San Diego Mayor Recognizes NECA Member: Installation of Energy-Efficient Fixtures to Save $2.2 Million Annually

Tim McBride, President of San Marcos, Ca –based Southern Contracting Co.and Board President of the San Diego Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), was recognized by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders this week at a citywide press conference as installation began on the new lighting upgrade project which will retrofit 80 percent of the city’s street lights to energy-efficient fixtures. San Diego will save $2.2 million annually from reduced energy and maintenance costs.

Street Lamp Before & After Photos Courtesy:

The $16 million retrofit is funded by a financing package that includes a $13 million bond, $2 million in federal grant stimulus funding, and a $3 million low- interest state loan. The $13 million bond is a federally-backed Qualified Energy Conservation Bond, a program that came out of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the original recession stimulus legislation. In addition, San Diego Gas & Electric will provide a one-time $1.2 million rebate for the lighting change.

More than 35,000 induction technology street light fixtures, using broadband light technology, will replace the old sodium vapor lamps. The new light fixtures will be brighter and make colors easier to see at night because they produce a broader light spectrum than sodium vapors. McBride has also pledged to make the job “zero-waste” by recycling all the old building materials rather than hauling them to a landfill.

Read full story on NECA’s website >>

Sep 20

New at the Closing Celebration: Outdoor Venue and After-Dinner Snack Boxes!

By Beth Ellis, NECA Executive Director, Convention/Exposition

Can you believe that we are now just a month away from the NECA Convention? We have some amazing events and education that we are offering in San Diego, and we’re working hard to make sure every aspect of our convention and trade show offers the best experience for NECA members.

That’s why I want to make sure everyone understands that we are having our Closing Celebration outside the Convention Center by the San Diego Bay, starting at 8 p.m., just as the sun sets. I know the weather will be perfect, the music by Al Jardine and the Endless Summer Band will be fantastic, and the setting will be a ton of fun! We will have an area where you can spread out and dance, or sit on the grassy area on blankets or chairs we’ll have set up. There will be cash bars and cocktails tables for your convenience to have a cold beverage or glass of wine.

To add to the beverage selections this year, we are offering a unique snack box that will have a selection of cheeses, flatbread, fruit and chocolates. The only thing is, I need your orders for snack boxes by Oct. 14! Please download the PDF order form below and fax it to 301-215-4553to order your snack boxes for the Closing Celebration. Boxes are only $9 each and make the perfect  after-dinner snack while enjoying the concert!

Thanks, and l look forward to seeing you in San Diego! If you have any questions about ordering snack boxes for the Closing Celebration, feel free to email

Click here to order your snack boxes for the Closing Celebration!>>

Sep 19

Socialize in San Diego!

The easiest way to connect with your fellow NECA contractors and convention-goers fits right in the palm of your hand. Use your smartphone, iPad, Android, or tablet device and keep the conversation going!

Use #NECA11 to tweet your San Diego experiences! Win prizes – 2011 San Diego exhibitors tweet exclusive offers, don’t miss out!




Become a fan — stay up-to-date with your interests in NECA:

Association news and Industry Updates /NECAnet

Women of the Industry Exclusive — Network with peers and plan for the 2012 Summit in Chicago, IL! /NECAWPG

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Get a jump on NECA 2012 Las Vegas! /NECAConvention

New emerging markets, technology, and project success stories /NECAEnergySolutions

Student exclusive! Network with classmates, and prepare for the 2012 Green Energy Challenge! /NECAStudentChapters

Want to see photos from San Diego and year’s past? View NECA’s Flickr feed at

Watch a daily digest of video recaps, live from San Diego on YouTube!

Missed a session, technical workshop or just can’t get enough of NECA 2011 San Diego? Read daily posts and exclusive interviews right here on the exclusive blog!

Sep 16

Why San Diego?

By Andy Berg, Executive Manager, San Diego County Chapter, NECA

Every year at the Association Executives’ Institute, the chapter manager for the NECA Convention host city – AEI is always held in the same city, usually six months prior to the convention – is asked to give a brief introduction to the area.

Most of us have learned to include the phrase, “No, I cannot help you get baseball playoff tickets.”  Of course, this year I didn’t even have to worry about that.

Since you won’t be heading over to PetCo Park to watch a World Series game,  you can spend some of your time in San Diego thinking about what you want your company’s future to look like.  Chances are, it’s going to look a lot different than its past.

San Diego and the state of California have been on the leading edge of the green energy revolution which makes it entirely appropriate that NECA’s first-ever Energy Forum will be held in our fine city.  That’s where I will be on Saturday, Oct. 22, and you should be there as well to learn about everything from Utility Grade Wind Power to Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, and even financing options for your customers that want to “go green.” Starting Sunday morning, Oct. 23, please make sure to spend time at the NECA Show where almost 300 exhibitors will be on hand to show the latest and greatest tools and technological advancements to help make your business more successful.

Don’t worry; you will have plenty of time to explore America’s Finest City and some of its world-famous attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and my favorite, the Wild Animal Park.  If you are looking for a great restaurant, San Diego has hundreds of them. Perhaps the easiest way to find one is just to walk up 5th Avenue into the Gaslamp District and read the menus posted in front.  You cannot go wrong eating at any restaurant on 5th Avenue.  For you golfers out there, no trip to San Diego would be complete without playing a round at Torrey Pines. But if you don’t want to challenge the course the pros play on, there are many other alternatives less than 30 minutes from your hotel.

One other thought on how to spend your free time:  Since the Opening Reception aboard the USS Midway is going to give convention-goers a behind-the-scenes look at the ship you wouldn’t ordinarily get on a standard tour, consider using free time you may have to take the water taxi to visit sites across the San Diego Bay, like the Hotel Del Coronado. You can pick up the water taxi from the terminal right behind the Convention Center or just stroll along the Bay’s pathways and bridges for a breath of fresh air.

Actually, NECA 2011 San Diego promises to be big breath of fresh air for everyone. Our industry has gone through a lot in past few years, and I always appreciate spending time with my colleagues from across the country who can give me a different perspective and some new ways of thinking about our work.  And although the nearest baseball playoff game will be in neighboring Arizona, I am sure that you will still enjoy the Convention and your stay in San Diego.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help make that so.

 Check out other special NECA 2011 San Diego tours >>


Sep 16

Allen Breeze Is New Keynote Speaker for NECA 2011 Energy Forum

Allen Breeze, Senior Vice President for Schneider Electric – Power Business USA, will be a keynote speaker at the first NECA Energy Forumin San Diego, Oct. 22. Breeze replaces Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who was unable to attend due to an overseas meeting.

Allen Breeze, Senior VP, Schneider Electric

Breeze brings a passion for the energy solutions market to the Energy Forum. At Schneider, he has championed new initiatives, such as providing customers with solutions to help solve the energy dilemma and solutions for the changing market opportunities such as electric vehicles. He is also a strong proponent of energy audits as a way into the energy solutions market.

“An energy audit allows us to identify energy efficiency opportunities in a building and make recommendations to optimize energy use through monitoring and control. There is a tremendous opportunity for companies to save up to 30 percent off their energy bill by putting in place both passive and active energy efficiency measures,” Breeze wrote in TED magazine.

Breeze joined Schneider Electric in 1984, as a marketing engineer in the commercial product group while finishing his undergraduate degree. Upon graduation from the University of Kentucky in 1986 with his bachelor’s degree in from electrical engineering, Breeze joined the company full time as a product application engineer for low voltage circuit breakers. Since then, he has worked held several sales and marketing positions within the company.

In 2010, Breeze was named Senior Vice President for the Power Business USA. He is responsibilities include sales and marketing for the Power product and solutions, along with market and customer segments such as residential, electrical contractors, and consulting engineers.

Breeze believes that the energy solutions market is best viewed as a collaboration between industry stakeholders – manufacturers, distributors, electrical contractors, and most importantly, the customers they all serve. “For example, there is a role for distributors and contractors to work with an energy management provider throughout an energy audit process in the private and public sectors, but who they work for – either the end-user or the energy service company – is really determined on a case-by-case basis. That’s why it’s important for everyone to be aware of these new market opportunities,” he said.

Allen is a member of the NEMA Power Equipment Board, a Professional Manager Development Program Alumni, a Trophy Award Winner – Be More Customer Center (TRE Campaign) and Six Sigma Green Belt. 

Come to NECA’s 2011 Energy Forum to hear directly from industry leaders like Allen Breeze about how electrical contractors can make the energy solutions market their own!

Sep 13

2011 San Diego Construction Zone Bar Sponsored by Schneider Electric

The Construction Zone Bar (booth #311) is the perfect gathering spot. Grab a cool drink at the cash bar, enjoy complimentary popcorn, watch the Sunday NFL games, or check the scores of your favorite Major League Baseball play-off teams.  Internet access is available to catch up on email too.  Our sponsor, Schneider Electric, is offering complimentary drink tickets, so be sure to stop by their booth (#1325) early to pick one up and take it over to the Construction Zone Bar. Very limited quantities are available so don’t miss out!  The Construction Zone will be open during all Show hours.

Sep 12

Help! I’ve already registered, but now I want to add a pre-convention event to my registration!

First of all, congratulations to you for taking advantage of NECA’s 2011 San Diego pre-convention workshops and all new Energy Forum. Pre-convention workshops run Friday, Oct. 21-Saturday, Oct. 22.

Second, you can add pre-convention workshops and tours to your existing registration online or call Katie at 301-215-4506 for help.

If you want to make the changes to your registration online, follow these steps:

1. Visit the 2011 San Diego registration page:  (Click on Attendee Registration button at the top right of the NECA Convention website, then click again on the Register Now button.)

2. Scroll down to “Already Registered?” You will be prompted to enter the confirmation number and email address included in your registration confirmation you should have received by email.

3. Click “Review or Change Your Registration.” Your registration contact information will be displayed.

4. Click through the pages until you reach “Pre-Conference Workshops.” Select any workshops you would like to add to your registration.

5. Click through the pages to see if you need to update any other information. The cart at the top of the page will display any items you have added.

6. Click “Update Registration” once you’re finishing reviewing. You will receive an email confirmation of your additional registration items.

That’s it!

Sep 06

Joan Embery Wins San Diego Zoo’s Highest Honor

Photo courtesy:,0,5772026.story

Renowned animal and environmental advocate Joan Embery and headliner of the Lifestyle Program at NECA 2011 San Diego recently added another accolade to her already bulging portfolio. Embery and her husband Duane Pillsbury received the Conservation Medal, the top honor from San Diego Zoo Global, on August 11.

To celebrate her latest achievement and to share her love of “walking on the wide side” with Lifestyle Program-goers, five special volunteers will be selected to help Joan on stage during the program. The actual assignments will remain secret until the big day, but rest assured, Joan wouldn’t ask you to do anything she didn’t have Johnny Carson do when she was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show.  For her grand finale, the lucky winners will get to have their photo made with Joan and one of her special no-footed friends. (Got a guess for what animal it could be? Leave it in the comments below!)

To get your once-in-a-lifetime chance to help a real zookeeper and wildlife champion, simply look for a “Walk on the Wild Side” flyer on-site in San Diego, fill it out, and drop in the drum as you enter the Lifestyle Program room.

And in case you’re still worried about how wild things could get at the Lifestyle Program, know that Joan is a Trustee of the Morris Animal Foundation, a professional Fellow of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and a member of the Advisory Board of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Wildlife Health Center, and founder of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. She has been a goodwill ambassador to the San Diego Zoo‘s Zoological Society of San Diego for 32 years. You’ll be in excellent company and care when you take a Walk on the Wide Side at the NECA 2011 San Diego Lifestyle Program with Joan Embery!