All The Latest News from NECA

Sep 29

NECA 2014 Board of Governors

The NECA Board of Governors met on Saturday, September 27, at the McCormick Place West, Chicago, Illinois. During the meeting the board approved the 2013 meeting minutes and several items of association business including committee and officer reports, standing policies, ordinary proposals and bylaws amendments were reviewed.

5 Vice President Officer Elections were presented and approved:

  • Dan Walsh, replacing Greg Stewart for District 2
  • Jerry Schulz (second term) for District 4
  • Gloria Ashford, replacing George Adams for District 6
  • Bob May (second term) for District 8
  • Tom Halpin, replacing Gary Tucci for Distrct 10

NECA Secretary-Treasurer Traci Pickus reported that there are currently 119 US chapters and 14 international chapters, 4 new international chapters were added in 2014 including: British Columbia, Ontario, Ecuador and Greater Toronto.

NECA has also approved several new student chapters in 2014, including: Wentworth College, Stark State College, University of Toronto, Dunwoody College of Technology and Illinois State University, bringing NECA to 33 total student chapters.

NECA CEO John M. Grau updated the board on his top priorities including the current skilled worker shortage, calling it a “Recession Hangover,” resulting in a lack of trained apprentices. He also believes this is due to the recent industry growth of the Oil and Gas industry.

Grau also notes that keeping up with technology in the field is becoming an issue, stating that gadgets are no longer gimmicks and have become a staple in the workplace. It’s a growing trend in the field as well and how we deal with this going forward is going to be important.

NECA COO Dan Walter reported on NECA’s services, including an array of new mobile apps like the NECA Safety Meeting App, News App, Advocacy App, PPE Selector App, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine monthly issue app and more.

During the meeting new academy inductees were honored, along with past presidents, premier partners, and the recently deceased Tom Glavinich.

Outgoing President, Dennis Quebe gave his last report to the Board of Governors and President-Elect, David Hardt shared plans for his upcoming term in office and presented Quebe with an honorary membership at NECA, handing him a silver gavel in honor of his dedication and service to the association these past 4 years.

There were no votes this year. Complete information about the Board of Governors agenda and roster can be found on NECA’s website,

Sep 29

The Academy of Electrical Contracting Welcomes 16 New Fellows

Fellowship in the Academy of Electrical Contracting is one of the highest honors bestowed upon an individual in this industry. The following 16 individuals were honored for their exceptional service and leadership as they were installed into the Academy of Electrical Contracting on Sunday, September 28, 2014 during the General Session of the NECA Convention. Congratulations!










Craig Clark
Dynalectric – Colorado
Lakewood, Colorado

Johnny C. Dyke
D C Electric Company
Benton, Kentucky

Paul A. Guarracino
J.M. Electrical Company, Inc.
Lynnfield, Massachusetts

Thomas G. Halpin
Haughland Energy, LLC
Plainview, New York

Timothy G. Homer
Wasatch Electric
Salt Lake City, Utah

Mark A. Huston
Lone Star Electric
Fort Worth, Texas

Michael B. Joyce
Zenith Systems LLC
Bedford Heights, Ohio

Blair Mahan
Benson Electric Company
Superior, Wisconsin

Thomas McClure
McClure Electric, Inc
San Francisco, California

Todd A. Mikec
Lighthouse Electric Company
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Mark A. Nemshick
Chicago & Cook County Chapter, NECA
Westchester, Illinois

Jeffrey C. Ohman
Minneapolis Chapter, NECA
St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Rocky Sharp
Madsen Electric
Tacoma, Washington

Edward J. Shikany
Sweney Electric Company Inc.
Merrillville, Indiana

Thomas F. Theirheimer
Britain Electric Company
Houston, Texas

Jim Wilson
Los Angeles County Chapter, NECA
Pasedena, California

Sep 28

Opening General Session: Chris Gardner on the Pursuit of Happyness

Philanthropist and best-selling author Chris Gardner spoke powerfully about his hardships and dealings with homelessness during Sunday morning’s Opening General Session at NECA Chicago 2014.


Gardner, the subject of book and blockbuster movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” told the audience he was the leading authority on a concept he called “spiritual genetics.” He talked about his background and his relationships with his parents and grandmother.

Gardner paid credit to his mother for telling him he could go anything in life.

“The wit, the wisdoms, the lessons she shared with me made everything else possible,” he said.

Gardner said film based on his life, in which he is portrayed by Will Smith, was about a man wanting to give his son what he never had had. “And, to me, that’s priceless,” he said, detailing his involvement in the project, which grossed more than $300 million worldwide.

Gardner, currently working on a new book, recalled meeting Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali and conversations with Oprah Winfrey and President Clinton.

“Find your button,” the thing that ignites a passion in your life, he urged the audience. “You can’t change something until you own it.”

Hope is great, Gardner added, but having a plan is what’s important. And a person’s ultimate asset is time.

Gardner now has a 28-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old granddaughter. He counts himself among the biggest supporters of food banks.

“The greatest honor that you will have in your life is to have someone say, ‘I’ll be here,’” Gardner said. “If you’ve been there for me, I’ll be there for you.”

Before Gardner spoke, NECA President Dennis Quebe summarized the association’s accomplishments. It was his final address to NECA in the post saying, “NECA continues to be well-connected to what is happening around the country. It is up to the industry to wisely implement the tools at its disposal.”

Later, NECA 2014 Political Leadership Council National Chairman David Nielson gave a brief update on the activities of the PLC and the Electrical Construction Political Action Committee (ECPAC).

Finally, former President Rex Ferry, chair of the Academy of Electrical Contracting, updated the session on the academy’s progress. Sixteen new fellows also were introduced. Look out for a special blog post highlighting the new inductees shortly!

Sep 28

Showstopper Showcase is Now Open!

Check out the Latest and Greatest Electrical Products of 2014

showstopper 14

The NECA Showstopper Showcase offers a select sampling of the latest and greatest in electrical product innovations which will be on display in the New and Featured Product Room at the 2014 NECA Show.

Showstopper_2014 final

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine has presented the annual NECA SHOWSTOPPER winners for the past 15+ years.

The NECA SHOWSTOPPER Showcase and Awards is the most prestigious recognition event in the electrical construction industry. The Showcase is designed to highlight new products and services that will help electrical contractors on the job. This highly effective and cost efficient area opens one hour before the NECA Show each day. A blue ribbon will be placed on the winning products and services, and a trophy will be presented to the winning company.

Available Dates & Times

10:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Monday, September 29, 2014
10:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Sep 28

Exciting Finish for ELECTRI’s Green Energy Challenge 

The results are in for ELECTRI International’s 2014 Green Energy Challenge and the winner is Iowa State University.

Iowa State University NECA Student Chapter, Photo by Chuck FazioThis year, ELECTRI challenged each college team to select a student use facility, conduct an energy audit of the building’s power and lighting systems, and design and propose a retrofit for both. The teams entered in the competition included construction management and engineering students who actively participate in their university’s Student Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Competition judges, including contractors and industry partners, evaluated 15 entries from top universities throughout the United States. The three finalist teams were hosted by ELECTRI International at NECA’s National Convention in Chicago where they made their final oral presentations.

Best Presenter, Maggie Holt, Iowa State University, Photo by Chuck FazioELECTRI awarded Iowa State $4,000 for the win. Iowa State proposed updating the on-campus Memorial Union by improving the multi-use facility’s lighting, adding solar technology, and sub-metering. San Diego State placed second and received $3,000.Colorado State was third with a grant of $2,000. Iowa State team member Maggie Holt was selected as the competition’s Best Presenter and received an ELECTRI award of $500.

Poster Competition Results

San Diego State NECA Student Chapter, Photo by Chuck FazioNine teams entered the Green Energy Challenge Poster Competition. The top schools receiving awards for their posters included: San Diego State ($1,000); Iowa State ($750); and Illinois Institute of Technology ($350).


For additional information about ELECTRI International and its Green Energy Challenge, contact Sylvia Selwood, ELECTRI Director of Operations and University Relations, at 301-215-4539 or


Sep 28

Business Development Meeting Recap

Business Development Panel Kicks off NECA 2014 Chicago!

On Saturday morning, two-panels of member contractors and industry professionals shared their insights on business development, kicking off NECA 204 Chicago.

The panels represented various sized companies from across the country.

ottokirshModerated by Skip Perley, NECA District 7 Vice President and Business Development Task Force Chairman, the first panel included: Dan Henrich, President, Total Energy Solutions (PDE Inc.), Santa Fe Springs, CA; Otto Kirchheiner, Vice President, Tri-City Electric Company Inc., Miami, FL; David Peterson, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, ERMCO Inc., Indianapolis, MN; and Elise Bourgeois, Oneida Electrical Contractors Inc., Unita, NY.

Perley said his company – and the industry as a whole – struggles to go out and develop new business. Last year, he enlisted a new staffer in that area. “It has been really fun.”

“Business development is an excellent avenue for a future leader to come in and make their mark in a company and in the industry,” Bourgeois added. She also said she can add a different perspective because she’s not from the industry.

Peterson said everyone in his office does business development. It’s generational, he said, adding “You have to position yourself well and educate your clients.”

nacac14_3Henrich said the industry is in a paradigm shift in the United States and that the grid is changing from centralized to decentralized. It’s important for a company to get out of its comfort zone, he added.

Henrich also said finding new business means talking to utilities and establishing new relationships by going to conferences, for example. Also, it is important to get involved with NECA and its committees.

The second panel covered how to utilize tools in business development. Panelists included Tony Frantal, Graybar; Bob Eaton, Day & Night Solar; Gerard Darville, Lutron; and Caitlin Gross, Manager of Business Development, NECA.

Frantal said one of the toughest things a company is faced with is building trust with customers but that it can be overcome.

Eaton said that devoting time to business development has helped his company become a leader in the solar space.

“At the end of the day, we’re all here to make money and grow our businesses,” Eaton said.

Gross closed the meeting by spending a few minutes on NECA’s Energy Conservation and Performance Platform (ECAP). The program removes the obstacles to the implementation of a company’s energy projects by integrating the inclusion of best practices into its project development process.

“The whole idea is to create new opportunities for NECA contractors,” Gross said.

For more information on ECAP, go to

Sep 27

Welcome to NECA 2014 Chicago!

We are glad you made it to the Windy City for this year’s annual convention!

credit: wikipediaBe sure to download our NECA 2014 Chicago mobile app for your smart phones and tablets to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings and events.

And, don’t miss the Opening General Session, which will begin at 10:15 a.m. (Sunday) with speaker Chris Gardner, the subject of the memoir and film “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Gardner will sign copies of his book on the Show floor after he speaks.