All The Latest News from NECA

Oct 06

Welcome to NECA 2016 Boston!

signphotoneca16You have arrived at the electrical construction industry’s No. 1 event — The NECA Convention and Trade Show — an exciting mix of opportunities for education, inspiration, networking, and fun! Now, through Monday, October 10 at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center.

For all the information you need, go to Or, download the app!

There, you’ll be able to view a full schedule and get to know your way around Boston.


Here are a few things you can look forward to:

NECA will kick things off Friday night by hosting the opening reception at the Museum of Science, a landmark institution known as a mecca of revolutionary discovery. By popular demand, the Blue Wing’s main stage will feature the return of Milwaukee Tool’s Tool Shed Band. There is truly something for everyone – interactive exhibits, inspiring encounters and tantalizing cuisine inspired by the regional elements of New England.

You will also get to hear from several dynamic speakers while you’re here.

The Opening General Session will feature Doris Kearns Goodwin, a world-renowned presidential historian and the author of six critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling books. Closing General Session speaker Mick Ebeling is a film/television/commercial producer, philanthropist, technology trailblazer, author, entrepreneur and public speaker. He is the CEO of Not Impossible Labs, whose mission is to develop creative solutions to address real-world problems.

Preconvention workshops start Thursday. Other meetings to attend include the Women in NECA Roundtable (Sunday), the NECA Business Development Meeting (Friday) and the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge (Friday).

And don’t miss an incredible evening of music featuring a private concert by the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra at the famed Symphony Hall for our Closing Celebration. It starts at 7 p.m. on Monday.

We hope you enjoy your stay in Boston and get the most out of #NECA16!


Oct 04

Education Pioneer Sal Khan Talks About His Global Vision for Learning

Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a global nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high-quality education to “anyone, anywhere” in the world, shared his vision for learning at the Opening General Session NECA 2015 San Francisco on Sunday.

The impetus of Khan Academy started about 10 years ago, when Khan heard from an aunt that his cousin was having trouble understanding certain math concepts.

“She had become convinced she didn’t have the math gene,” Khan said.

Soon, after he got off work, Khan started doing lessons with his cousin through instant messaging and she started to improve. He started tutoring other cousins as well. Scheduling conflicts led Khan to posting lessons on YouTube and it grew from there.

A hedge fund analyst with degrees from MIT and Harvard, Khan ultimately decided to quit his job and pursue his work in education. But it wasn’t without doubts. He received $100,000 from a key backer early on, which helped him get things off the ground.

Then, he got noticed by Bill Gates. And Google reached out. That momentum enabled Khan to get office space and start building a team.

Khan said Khan Academy is set up similar to the way you play a video game. You have to master one level before you can move to the next, and you can’t ignore the gaps in knowledge.

Khan Academy’s website now provides self-pacing software and unlimited access to over 5,100 instructional videos on its YouTube channel covering everything from basic arithmetic to college-level science and economics. It’s the most-used library of educational videos on the web, with 10 million unique users per month, more than 300 million lessons delivered, and over 1.4 billion exercises completed.

Khan Academy is based in Mountain View, California, with about 100 full-time engineers and educators. Some students have become interns and, in some cases, full-time employees.

“In a bizarre way, we’re solving our own labor problem,” Khan said.

Khan said he feels like the world is at a special time in history. Education, he hopes, is becoming more like food and shelter, a “fundamental human right.”

Before Khan took the stage, conventioneers heard from NECA President David A. Hardt. Hardt said leaders have made a lot of progress moving the industry forward and told those in the audience to ask their chapter governors for updates.

Hardt also mentioned the Value of Membership Task Force and the important work it is doing.

“NECA provides tremendous value, but many of our members don’t knoe what’s available to them,” he said.

He added the greater participation will ensure that members’ needs are met.

“We’re a great association,” he said. “Thank you for your support.”

Former NECA President Dennis F. Quebe later provided an update on the Academy of Electrical Contracting and its recent progress. Thirteen new inductees were introduced and installed.

Alex Owen, chairman of NECA’s Political Leadership Council, also shared remarks and encouraged members to be engaged to make sure their voice is heard.

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,

Aug 20

Labor Relations Special Session Topic Announced; Education Focus

The topic for the Labor Relations special session at NECA 2014 Chicago has been set. It will be “Technology, Training and Addressing the Worker Shortage.”

The session will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept 29. Leaders in the electrical construction industry, including IBEW President Ed Hill and Electrical Training Alliance Executive Director Mike Callanan, will join us to showcase our new state-of-the-art training and delivery systems.

They will discuss how we can use these assets to attract and train more qualified workers to meet the projected growth in our industry. The IBEW has made organizational changes to increase their emphasis on organizing and recruiting new apprentices, skilled electrical workers and contractors in emerging markets.

For more information on NECA 2014 Chicago visit »

Jul 23

Don’t Miss Out on this Exciting Opportunity – Register for NECA 2014 Chicago Today!

Join us September 27-30, for the NECA 2014 Chicago convention & trade show at the McCormick Place West, Chicago, IL. Registration is now open!

The NECA Convention is an exciting mix of opportunities for education, inspiration, networking, and fun!

The #1 trade show of it’s kind in the electrical construction industry. NECA is proud to present the largest gathering of manufacturers and distributors showcasing thousands of solutions contractors need to save time and money on the job, and grow their business.

Several Ways to Attend:

Register Now»

Jun 13

Behind the Best-Selling Memoir: The Pursuit of Happyness

NECA 2014 Chicago Guest Speaker: Chris Gardner

Gardner_Chris[1]Every convention has guest speakers but the Opening General Session speaker at NECA 2014 Chicago is not to be missed. Chris Gardner, who dragged himself from a life on the streets to the top of the boardroom and wrote the best-selling memoir The Pursuit of Happyness, will bring his passion to NECA attendees.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1954, Gardner grew up in a single-parent, poverty-stricken home. Without a father in the house, Gardner spent his childhood moving between foster homes and living with his mother. Following high school graduation, Gardner joined the Navy. After his discharge from the service, he moved to San Francisco, where he found work as a medical research associate for a scientific supply distributor.

In 1981 Gardner had a new responsibility, his son Christopher Gardner Jr. A new father, Gardner decided to make a dramatic change in his life.  Despite lacking a college education, Gardner decided to attempt to start a career in finance. Willing to sacrifice almost anything for his new career, he quit his job and applied for training programs at brokerage firms. Through his determination, Gardner earned a spot in Dean Witter Reynolds training program. At this point, Chris Jr’s mother decided to leave Gardner but the young father fought to keep his son. Gardner later said “I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children they were going to know who their father is and that he isn’t going anywhere.” However, the salary of a trainee was not enough to support both Gardner and his young son, and the two ended up homeless.

After graduating from the training program at Dean Witter Reynolds, Gardner worked at Bear Stearns & Co. from 1983-1987 and became the company’s top earner. In 1987 founded the brokerage firm Gardner Rich from his home in Chicago with a meager $10,000. Gardner built his own stock brokerage firm into an international success adding offices in New York and San Francisco.

In May 2006 Gardner released his bestselling autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness which was made into a film starring Will Smith. Smith was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Gardner.

Today Gardner makes it his mission to help those who deal with similar issues that he did in his younger days. His philanthropic work includes a number of homeless initiatives and working on behalf of organizations such as the National Fatherhood Initiative, the National Education Association Foundation, and the International Rescue Committee. He is committed to helping others reach their full potential.

The NECA Convention is excited that Chris Gardner will be the keynote speaker for the Opening General Session at NECA 2014 Chicago. Gardner’s book will be available for purchase at the NECA booth on the show floor. He will be available to sign copies in the booth following the General Session.

Apr 10

New and Noteworthy for 2014

The 2014 NECA Convention & Trade Show is taking over the Windy City this year, and there’s a lot to look forward to. Chicago has long been the industrial hub of the Midwest making it the perfect place for the nations #1 ranked electrical construction trade show, and the only place you’ll find exclusive education opportunities designed to help you stay ahead of the curve in today’s market.

Don’t miss your opportunity to experience one of the most exciting events our industry has to offer, in a city known for it’s big-time skyscrapers and world restaurants, you’ll find big-time education, networking and entertainment opportunities here at NECA 2014 Chicago. If you’re an electrical contractor, trade professional, or work within the electrical construction industry, this is your must-attend event of the year.

This year’s convention is taking place at the world famous convention center, McCormick Place West. Additionally, the opening reception will be held in one of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Field Museum of Natural History and the closing celebration will be held the world famous House of Blues.

What’s New:

We have several exciting additions to note for NECA 2014 Chicago. Headlining the entertainment for our final evening will be Chicago’s very own Jim Beluchi and the Sacred Hearts Band. Held at the House of Blues, this year’s closing celebration is designed to help you celebrate. All full registrants attending the closing celebration will receive drink tickets and a food voucher for the event (a cash bar will also be available.)

We’re also happy to announce that the 2014 NECA Show will extend it’s hours on Tuesday, September 30, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and will now be followed by our Closing General Session at 1:15 pm. This allows time for everyone to attend the the grand prize drawing, announced during the NECA Show. Be sure to join us before the closing general session, as we award $10,000 to one lucky attendee – it could be you!

Big changes in education this year include a new track system, allowing attendees to sort daily sessions by track (or, related topic) creating an easy-to-use customizable schedule, designed to fit unique needs. Select from one or multiple track types, including business management, estimating, standards and safety, or line construction. Each of the 8 new track types added for NECA 2014 Chicago cater to individual industry needs, and help attendees stay focused with topic based industry updates, training and important information that matters to them most. View NECA 2014 Chicago Tracks >

But, we know you’re not just interested in your current business affairs, and are looking to prepare for the future of your company as well. That’s why, NECA is bringing together the best and brightest young minds for the first-ever Job Fair. Secure the future of your company by hiring the best candidates around, meet with members of NECA’s student chapters, and meet with the future leaders of our industry. Learn more about the NECA 2014 Chicago Job Fair >

Be sure to take advantage of full registration when planning out your NECA 2014 experience, by doing so, you’ll receive an all-access pass to hundreds of educational opportunities, 4 general sessions plus a unique lifestyle session, can’t-miss opening and closing receptions, trade show passes and much more.  Only a limited number of a la carte tickets for these events will be available for purchase on-site and they will be distributed first-come, first-serve based on availability.

Oct 15

Growth and Excellence at Closing General Session

NECA CEO John M. Grau kicked off the Closing General Session today with an informal discussion of the growth he has seen in the electrical contracting industry and the association. “Look at what has happened with the oil and gas industry. We are now the low-cost energy provider for the world. And this is bringing manufacturing back,” he remarked. “However you look at it, electrical contracting is a growth industry especially with our focus on renewable power and innovative technology. Growth does mean change, and change isn’t always easy. But change and growth are how we thrive.”

NECA President Dennis Quebe then welcomed the winners of five annual association awards, including NECA’s top prize, the McGraw Award. This year’s winners are:

Association Executive Distinguished Service Award – Loyal O’Leary, Executive Director, Wisconsin Chapter, NECA

This award is presented to the staff executive or chapter manager who has made the greatest contribution to the advancement of the association.

ELECTRI International’s Wendt Award Wendt Award Northeastern Line Constructors Chapter, NECA

This is the highest tribute bestowed by ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction to recognize exemplary leadership and service to the electrical industry and is named in honor of the philosophical and financial commitments made to the electrical contracting industry.

Coggeshall Award – Don W. Jhonson, President, Interior Electric, North Miami Beach, Florida

The Coggeshall award was established in 1956 as a result of through a bequest by Allan Coggeshall to honor a NECA contractor who is adjudged to have made an outstanding contribution to the progress of the electrical industry in the technical and training service field, especially in industry safety.

Comstock Award – Timothy J. Gauthier, Executive Director, Oregon-Columbia Chapter, NECA

This award was established in 1959 in honor of L.K. Comstock, who was instrumental in facilitating harmonious labor-management relations in the post-World War I electrical industry.

McGraw Award – Mark Mazur, President/Owner, MJM Electric, Tampa, Florida

NECA bestows the James H. McGraw Award upon a person adjudged to have contributed some new or useful idea to the electrical contracting industry or to have performed an industry service over and above normal responsibility to personal or company progress. –

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 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