All The Latest News from NECA

Oct 14

Affordable Care Act Panel at Labor Relations Special Session

This year’s Labor Relations Special Session was especially timely with its panel discussion on The Impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on NECA Contractors.

“Let’s start with how we got into this mess,” said Marco Giamberardino, NECA executive director, government affairs. “This is legislation that has completely spiraled out of control because no one really knew what they were getting into. Now the Tea Party has used this to partially shutdown the federal government, and even the full faith and credit of the U.S. is on the line.”

Geary Higgins, NECA Vice President, Labor Relations, and Trustee of the NECA/IBEW Family Medical Care Plan, moderated the panel which included Tiffany Downs, Attorney at Law, FordHarrison LLP, and Travis Smith, President, Foster & Foster Actuaries.

“Bigger plans are going to be better very soon,” Smith commented, when asked about how the ACA with affect the Family Medical Care Plan. Smith outlined several compliance issues for local multiemployer health and welfare plans.

Downs addressed the moving-target of ACA reporting requirements. “One reason the Obama Administration delayed the plan for a year for businesses is that they couldn’t get the requirements to line up. However, multiemployer plans aren’t necessarily a part of that extension.” Downs gave a checklist that NECA contractors and local plan trustees can review to assess their burden and responsibilities.

Giamberardino offered what NECA is doing to attain relief and reform of the ACA. He mentioned NECA and IBEW’s joint letter to all Members of Congress about how the ACA was a direct threat to the tradition of healthcare insurance signatory contractors had offered their employees since WWII; the letter was cited in two separate Congressional hearings on the ACA in late summer. “The President promised us that if we liked our doctor, we would get to keep our doctor. Now we find out that’s not going to happen for all multiemployer plans. That’s not right, and we have to get it fixed.”

Oct 14

2013 Showstoppers Announced!

The 2013 Showstopper Showcase, sponsored by ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine, features the newest innovations from NECA Show exhibitors. Every year, the top products are recognized by an industry panel for the best solutions they can offer the electrical construction industry. The 2013 Showstopper winners are:

Exhibitor                                          Product/Service

  1.  Southwire                              SIMpull CoilPak
  2. Mag Daddy                             Magnetic zip tie
  3. Amprobe                                  LT-10 lamp tester
  4. Day & Night Solar                Sun Commander series
  5. Milwaukee                              Heated Hoodie
  6. Greenlee                                  G-3 tugger
  7. LeGrand                                  ITray Cable Tray
  8. Eaton                                       Hospital-grade USB charger
  9. SP Products                            Four-way conduit support
  10. L.H. Dottie                             Eighty-piece master electrician’s toolkit
  11. Cree                                          LED 9.5W replacement lamp
  12. Viribright                               Benchmark 10W LED lamp
  13. Westex                                    TrueComfort flame-retardant clothing
  14. Spexco                                     Raceway crown
  15. Thomas & Betts                    Carlon non-metallic adjustable box
  16. Schneider Electric                Model 6 arc-resistant motor control center
  17. Leviton                                    Four-port USB charger
  18. Wahoo Innovations            Escort light pole and material cart
  19. Fluke Corp.                            1730 3-phase energy logger
  20. Trimble                                   TX5 3D laser scanning system

Please visit their booths to check out their winning products!

Oct 14

When National Security Comes Down to a White House Chef and a Pair of Spoons

by Trent Evans

Three former White House chefs opened their lively and free-ranging discussion at the NECA13 Lifestyle Program with a joke about the recent shutdown status of the federal government:

“We are now officially closed, so there’s the exit doors.”

Guy Mitchell, Woody Raber, and Julianne Koski delivered an insiders’ account of life as chefs for the leader of the free world … duties which often include much more than cooking.

Koski and Raber both described having to serve on a security detail for the President. One encounter required Koski to hide a gun under her chef’s whites, and Raber standing next to the President in bodyguard mode at a meal with other leaders abroad.

“One time in history, national security came down to Woody and a pair of spoons,” he quipped.

Working with over 50 other chefs, a select group of culinary over-achievers is culled from the ranks of the Navy. Once they make the cut, they are responsible for feeding 350-400 people per day in the West Wing from a kitchen right below the Oval Office.  The chefs worked a 12-hour shift from 3:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. when in D.C., and they were on call at a moment’s notice to travel with the President around the world.  They explained how in addition to their cooking duties, they rotated other jobs including dishwasher, waiter and maître d’.

“You might get called back to be dishwasher at the White House after having been executive chef for the President on the road the day before,” said Raber.

The chefs explained that after the events of 9/11, they could no longer have food delivered to the White House.  Currently, staff dressed in plain clothes fan out in five or six vans to different suppliers in the D.C. area. They always pay cash for their ingredients, never letting on that they are working for the President.  “No one can know who we are buying for,” explained Raber.

Throughout their lighthearted exchange, the chefs prepared recipes from the kitchen of the White House and ended the session by raffling off a taste of the presidential fare to one of the lucky attendees.

Oct 13

Twenty Fellows Inducted Into Academy of Electrical Contracting

Rex Ferry, chairman of the Academy of Electrical Contracting, introduced 20 new Fellows of the Academy of Electrical Contracting at today’s Opening General Session. “Each of these new Fellows has performed exceptional service or made an outstanding contribution to our association,” Ferry said. As he called each new Fellow to the stage, he recognized some of their major accomplishments.

>> Read the report from the Academy’s 2013 spring meeting in Williamsburg online. A complete archive of papers authored by Academy Fellows is online as well.

2013 inductees to the Academy of Electrical Contracting are:

Gina M Addeo 
GMA Electrical Corporation
Staten Island, New York

Orvil Anthony 
Fisk Electric
San Antonio, Texas

Eric Aschinger
Aschinger Electric Company
Fenton, Missouri

Ted H. Brady 
Progressive Electric Inc
Charleston, West Virginia

Brad Butler
McInnis Electric
Brunswick, Georgia

Darrell Gossett
Indianapolis, Indiana

Don W. Jhonson
Interior Electric
North Miami Beach, Florida

Lenny Lynch
Edward W Scott Electric
San Francisco, CA

Michael McPhee 
McPhee Electric Ltd
Farmington, Connecticut

Marvin Nelson
Nelson Electric Inc
Seattle, Washington

Traci Pickus
NECA National
Bethesda, MD

B. David Roberts
Southern Region NECA
Covington, Louisiana

Clay Scharff
Sachs Electric Company
Fenton, MO

Frank Schetter
Schetter Electric Company
Sacramento, California

Jody Shea
Service Electric Company
Chattanooga, Tennessee

James Strange Jr
Advanced Electrical Systems Inc
Louisville, Kentucky

Michael D Toman
Mega Power Electrical Services
Gaithersburg, Maryland

Donald Turner
Turner Electric Co
Sylvania, Ohio

Bradley Weir 
Kelso-Burnett Co
Rolling Meadows, Illinois

Oct 13

Two Doors That Lead Into One Room: Michael Hayden at Opening General Session

You don’t know what America’s top intelligence officer will be willing to share with you when you invite him to speak at NECA’s Opening General Session, but General Michael Hayden was extremely open and direct with his assessments of the U.S.’s changing place in the world today.

Hayden is a retired Air Force four-star general and former director of the National Security Agency and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He has been the highest ranking military intelligence officer in the armed forces. He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and visiting professor at the George Mason University School of Public Policy.

He summed up his experience as the nation’s leading intelligence officer as a process of a fact-based, inductive, pessimistic analyst working with a vision-based, deductive, optimistic policy maker. “Basically, everything I was going to say was going to make that person’s day worse,” Hayden remarked.

Hayden is pragmatic about the world we live in. He discussed the threat Iran poses and international disappointment in how many “Arab Spring” democratic struggles have floundered since their start. “Those autocratic dictators were on the wrong side of history,” Hayden said. “They were going to fall. And we desperately wish the time since had been used to build up the necessary institutions of democracy.”

However, China’s rising dominance doesn’t rattle Hayden. “China is not a threat – they just are. China is a rising power, and America is a status quo power. We simply need to be smart in how we deal with each other.”

Whatever pessimism may be part of Hayden’s intelligence analyst nature, he offered optimism in America’s abilities to respond quickly and innovate our way through challenges. “Ours is a diverse country, which is an advantage when we’re dealing with a diverse world. There is great strength there.”