All The Latest News from NECA

Oct 28

Perfect Night for Endless Summer Closing Celebration

This year’s Closing Celebration got started just after sunset over the San Diego Bay, on the North Embarcadero behind the Convention Center. Guests arrived to find concert seating flanked with smaller cocktail tables and outdoor heating lamps to keep the evening chill away. Cash bars and snack boxes added to the late-summer picnic atmosphere, as friends and families spread their NECA 2011 San Diego fleece blankets on the soft turf.

Former Beach Boy Al Jardine and his Endless Summer Band took the stage shortly after 8 p.m., playing both old favorites and new surf tunes.  The good weather held for convention-goers to enjoy one last night of catching up with old friends and making new ones. Couples, parents and kids all took spins on the grassy dance floor, each doing their best “surf board boogie.” The music was occasionally overshadowed by planes from the San Diego Naval Base, but nothing could block out the stars winking overhead and on the stage.

It was wonderful way to end another wonderful NECA convention and trade show. We’ll see you all in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2012! Check out our new website at for preliminary event and exhibitor info!

Oct 28

Closing Keynote Steve Farber Brings Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof

You have to get excited about a speaker who named his company Extreme Leadership, Inc., and starts off his remarks about what’s going through the mind of a skeleton-sledder (a Winter X-Games event that in Farber’s words, “involves sliding face-first down an ice-slicked course on a roasting pan.”) But that willingness of face-first leap off an icy mountain is exactly what Farber sees as the best characteristic in real leaders. He called that realization that you’re doing something unnatural as the “OSM,” for “Oh [redacted] Moment,” and said it’s usually the first indication that you’re doing something extraordinary. Farber focused on four primary things extreme leaders will do – radical stands they will take daily at their companies: Cultivate Love: “This is about making the customer, the clients, the community love what you’re doing. And you have to love it, too.” Create Energy: “Ask what’s the higher purpose in our work. You can’t make other people think it’s important unless you can describe it in a way that energized people to be a part of it. Show you’re a part of something great.” Inspire Audacity: “This isn’t just a blatant disregard for normal constraints. It’s asking, ‘how are we going to change the world of our customers, employees, or company?” It’s stepping up to the challenge.” Provide Proof: “Basically, it’s Do What You Say You Will Do. As a leader, people are watching everything you do and comparing it to what you say.” Farber is the president of Extreme Leadership, Incorporated, an organization devoted to the cultivation and development of Extreme Leaders in the business community. His latest book, Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson In Leadership, was a Wall Street Journal® and USA Today® bestseller. His second book, The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World, was hailed as “a playbook for harnessing the power of the human spirit.”  And his first book, The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership, is received Fast Company magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award and was recently named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time.

Oct 28

NECA Honors Leaders at Closing General Session

Six outstanding members of the electrical construction industry were recognized as this year’s award winners at the NECA 2001 San Diego Closing General Session.

Association Executive Distinguished Services Award: Danal W. Neal
(Western Ohio Chapter, NECA)
This award recognizes a staff executive or chapter manager who has made significant contributions to the association and the industry. Neal is renowned as both an educator and a first-rate manager of NECA-IBEW labor relations. He has been the executive director of the Western Ohio Chapter, NECA since 2000 and an NTI faculty member since 1989. He was recently honored by the Dayton Building & Trades Council with its 2011 Labor Relations Award.

Wendt Award: Thomas F. Curran
(Red Top Electric, Livermore, CA)
The Foundation for the Electrical Construction award its highest annual honor on Curran this year.  The award is named for Albert G. Wendt, President, Cannon & Wendt Electric Company, Inc., in honor of his outstanding philosophical and financial commitments to the electrical industry. Mr. Wendt passed away at the age of 89 a few days before the ceremony, and Curran was touched to be recognized as “ELECTRI’s chief ambassador.”

Coggeshall Award: Wayne Brinkmeyer
(Britain Electric, Houston, Texas)
The Coggeshall Award recognizes NECA members who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry in technical or training activities. Its namesake, who worked for electrical contracting firm Hatzel & Buehler, Inc. in New York City, was integrally involved in the development of the National Electrical Code for many years. This year’s recipient, Wayne Brinkmeyer, has similarly contributed to refining the Code for a long-time; 2012 will be his 25th year on NECA’s National Codes & Standards Committee and on the National Fire Protection Associations NEC Code-Making Panels.

Comstock Award: John R. Colson
(Quanta Services, Houston, Texas)
The Comstock Award honors a NECA member who has made great contributions in the complex field of labor relations. Colson is noted for his role in developing new labor agreements focused on making NECA/IBEW line contractors the electrical utilities’ first choice — whether responding to disaster or tackling non-emergency transmission work.

James H. McGraw Award: Daniel Palmer
(Tri-City Electric, Davenport, Iowa)
The McGraw Award is NECA’s top annual honor for a member, given in recognition of important personal contribution to progress in the electrical industry.  This year’s recipient Daniel F. Palmer, CEO of Tri-City Electric in Davenport, Iowa, has a knack for acting locally while thinking globally. He has spearheaded several innovative labor relations initiatives with the Quad Cities Chapters that have been adopted nationally and makes a point to lead by example, going so far as to loan his company’s tools to his local training center.

Industry Partner Award: Robert M. Gasperow
(Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC))
The NECA Industry Partner Award recognizes those organizations or individuals that, though not members of the National Electrical Contractors Association, contribute to the electrical contracting industry’s success through their decisions, actions, or cooperation with NECA. Gasperow  earned this recognition on the basis of the benefits, both direct and indirect, that our association has gained due to his work as former Executive Director of the Construction Labor Research Council.

Oct 28

2011 Showstopper Award Winners!

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine,, recognized 20 exhibitors with Showstopper Awards during the 2011 NECA Convention and Trade Show, Oct. 22-25, at the San Diego Convention Center. Judged by a panel of electrical contractors, the magazine’s annual Showstoppers awards program recognizes the most innovative items featured in this year’s exhibition among many new products and services submitted.

“We’re thrilled to honor these innovations selected by electrical contractors around the country,” said ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR publisher John Maisel. “They represent the best in emerging technologies for our industry and add excitement throughout the show, and they will most likely become the new standard for electrical contractors’ product expectations.”

Displayed at the front of the show hall with blue ribbons and awarded commemorative plaques, this year’s Showstoppers represented diverse products, equipment and systems from a range of manufacturers and systems developers.

More information about the 2011 Showstopper products will be published in the January 2012 issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR.


Company:  Booth#: Product:
Cooper Industries 2027 All-Pro RL7 LED Retrofit Series
Copper Wire Stripper 503 Copper Wire Stripper
Cree LED Lighting 2233 CR24™ Recessed LED Troffer
DAS Simplified 2203 DAS Simplified
FireLite Alarms 1936 IPGSM-DP Fire Alarm Communicator
Fluke Corporation 1234 Fluke 381 Remote Display AC/DC Clamp Meter w/iFlex
Greenlee, A Textron Company 827 FF200 Fishfinder Plus Vision System
Harger Lightning & Grounding 1135 Ultraweld NUWTubeTM Exothermic Weld Metal
KNIPEX Tools LP 1634 Cable Shears (Ratchet Action)
Legrand 1621 Evolution™ Series Floor Box
McCormick Systems, Inc. 705 WIN 1000
Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. 1505 Fluorescent Lighting Tester 2226 Rotohammer Lift
Redwood Systems 2218 Redwood Systems
Siemens Industry, Inc. 1513 PL Series 3 Phase Load Centers
Southwire/Maxis 915 SIMpull™ Truck
T3 Innovation 1739 Snap-Shot
The M. K. Morse Company 1911 Advanced Edge Hole Saws
Thomas & Betts 805 Carlon® Kitchen Pop-up Receptacle
Wahoo Innovations 635 Pole Dancer ™

Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine is the electrical construction industry’s leading publication, with more than 86,000 subscribers. For more information, visit

Oct 28

Guest Post: Mir Mustafa on Business Development at NECA 2011 San Diego

By Mir Mustafa, NECA Director, Business Development

NECA 2011 San Diego may have been my first convention as NECA’s new Business Development Director, but I immediately got a sense of renewed purpose for electrical contractors diving into new and emerging energy solutions markets. Whether renewable and alternative power generation or advanced lighting and building controls, many attendees were there to learn as much as they could about business and market development.

There were many new things about NECA 2011 San Diego. The conference hosted the first-ever NECA Energy Forum, an event that saw a capacity crowd and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback.  It would have been impossible for anyone sitting in the audience to miss one speaker after another reinforcing the same positive message: Emerging technologies represent the direction in which our industry is moving and represent a tremendous opportunity for any contractor willing to tackle a new way of doing business.

In addition to the Energy Forum, NECA also unveiled NECAWORKS™, an energy economic modeling tool. The web-based screening tool provides NECA members with the fundamental tools and resources to capture renewable and energy efficiency project opportunities by determining the Benefit/Cost Ratio. Since transitioning to a new way of doing business is never easy, even with the help of impressive tools like NECAWORKS, NECA went the extra mile in San Diego to describe the importance of business development.

IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill spent much of his time as a guest at the podium for NECA’s 2011 Board of Governors meeting detailing the IBEW’s new emphasis on business development and expressing his strong belief in its importance in recapturing lost market share and gaining new market share.  NECA President and President/CEO of Valley Electric Consolidated, Inc. Rex Ferry also stated the importance of business development for electrical contractors during his keynote address at the conference’s opening general session. Ferry spoke of how there was a new paradigm at work and that NECA members could no longer afford to sit around waiting for bids, but how they needed to proactively engage in business development to capture work.  He talked about how VEC, Inc. was doing just that.

NECA also successfully convened the first meeting of a new business development task force chaired by Daniel G. Schaeffer, NECA District 7 Vice President and President of Schaeffer Electric Company, as well as two meetings on the topic of business development. The first was an internal meeting of the business development working group for NECA and Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC) business developers, NECA chapter managers and staff working on business development, and IBEW business managers and staff working on business development. I was honored to host the meeting, and I had a great team of panelists: Jim Ayrer, IBEW International; Darlene Besst, Northern California Chapter; Jim Curran, St. Louis Chapter & IBEW Local 1, LMCC; Terry Hatch, Washington, Statewide LMCC; Bernie Kotlier, California, Statewide LMCC; Ken MacDougall, Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter; Thomas Martinez, Los Angeles Chapter & Local 11, LMCC; Jennifer Mefford, SE Michigan Chapter & Local 58, LMCC; and Karen Prescott, San Diego County Chapter.  Together, we updated the audience on our local and national initiatives and described the wide range of activities that constitute business development. James Willson, NECA Los Angeles County chapter manager, also spoke passionately at the event, as did President Ferry, reiterating his belief in the importance of business development.  The audience also deserves thanks for their interest, their questions and thoughtful interactions with the panelists.

The second business development meeting was held as a convention management seminar. Karen Prescott started off the meeting with introductions. I followed with a recap of the prior day’s meeting and emphasized the wide range of activities a successful business development program can consider.  Next, Jennifer Mefford gave an impressive presentation on the nuts and bolts of business development and how to get started when it seems like you don’t know where to begin. Bernie Kotlier closed with specific game changing examples, including the California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (CALCTP), the Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP), and the Sustainable Sales Placement Program which is focused on retraining highly successful sales people on the art of selling sustainable services and placing these individuals at member contractor firms.

NECA will hold its next meeting on business development at the Association Executive Institute (AEI) in at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.  You can also expect to hear more from me on our business development blog, along with guest blogs authored by my business development peers from throughout the country. They are doing some amazing work, and they are growing in numbers. I wish all of them could have spoken at this year’s conference, but you will hear more from them shortly.

I would like to close by giving thanks to all that help raised awareness of the importance of business development at this year’s conference. Emerging energy technologies and business development truly represent a paradigm shift for our industry and NECA will do everything in its power to help members prepare.

See recent energy solutions projects from NECA Members >> Learn more about NECA’s business and new market development strategy >>

Oct 28

Energy Forum Featured in San Diego Daily Transcript

Mir Mustafa, NECA Director, Business Development, and other speakers and participants from NECA’s first Energy Forum held Oct. 21 in San Diego, immediately prior to NECA’s convention and trade show, was quoted extensively in an article about the event by James Palen in the San Diego Daily Transcript. From the article:

After opening remarks from Stan Lazarian, president of Pasadena’s Electric Service & Supply Co. as well as vice president of NECA’s ninth district, several high-profile names from both in and out of the immediate NECA family took to the podiums and convention halls, touching on everything from opportunities to challenges facing the crowd.

“Is there anyone here that doesn’t think that this energy solution market does not represent an opportunity for them?” Mir Mustafa, NECA’s director of market development, asked the crowd at the last of Saturday’s general session addresses.

Not a single one of the hundreds in attendance raised a hand.

Mustafa then asked how many of them were confident they knew how to go about seizing that opportunity. Just three hands flew to the air.

“It is very confusing,” Mustafa responded.

He then went on to explain how his interest in green energy was brought on by chance through a conversation with a client — Mustafa was previously a lawyer — about energy efficiency. Despite his lack of working experience as an electrician or engineer, he and the client wound up starting a company together doing energy retrofit work.

“We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, but we learned quite a lot along the way, so it’s quite possible for all of you to become quite efficient at it,” Mustafa said.

And so set the tone for the forum. Through six morning breakout sessions and three in the afternoon, electricians learned how to incorporate detailed energy financial analyses in their proposals, listened to what their place may be in the emerging electric vehicle infrastructure market and learned about options regarding the financing of energy projects so they can better approach potential customers.

>>Read the full article from the San Diego Daily Transcript online or NECA’s recap of the event on