NECA’s Board of Governors recognized Dr. David Riley as the association’s 2012 Industry Partner Award winner during their annual meeting today.
The NECA Industry Partner Award recognizes organizations or individuals who are not NECA members, yet have significantly contributed to the electrical contracting industry’s success through their decisions, actions, or cooperation with NECA.
Riley, an associate professor of architectural engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, has been a regular contributor to NECA’s education programs for several years, urging the association to reach out to students to promote electrical contracting and using his own research talent through ELECTRI International to help NECA members improve their business.
“The first research grant award I won from NECA changed my life,” Riley remarked when he accepted the award today. “It enabled me to pursue something I believe in – learning outside the classroom. NECA has been a true education partner and supported this mission for over 10 years.”
Riley described Penn State’s entry into the 2006 Solar Decathlon, when funding had tried up and the student team was struggling to overcome design and technical challenge. Several NECA chapters and ELECTRI International came through with financial support to help complete the team’s project, and IBEW members personally helped the students with the final construction of their solar-powered green house for the Dept. of Energy competition. “Our successes have been shared with NECA,” Riley said.
Riley currently serves as the executive director of the Penn State Center for Sustainability, which is focused on the engagement of students in sustainability challenges. He is also leading the development of multiple initiatives at Penn State funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that address the integration of commercialization, workforce development, and education programs in the fields of energy efficiency, solar, wind, and smart grid technologies, and he spoke about how his connection with NECA has made these advances possible.
Riley has led many ELECTRI studies related to energy efficiency and green building power systems, and he was the first faculty member to champion ELECTRI’s Student Talent Initiative and Green Energy Challenge, a design competition for NECA student chapters. He has also worked with NECA’s Management Education Institute to develop and deliver in-depth courses reflecting these findings in order to help contractors succeed in new and emerging green electrical construction markets.
“Multiple partners are necessary to make this kind of innovation possible,” Riley said. “NECA has been a true partner for me.”