All The Latest News from NECA

Oct 09

WIN Leaders Hear From PR Guru on Communication at 2016 Roundtable

Approximately 60 attendees gathered for the 2016 Women In NECA Roundtable, an annual event that brings together leaders in the industry from around the country.

Marie Arcidiacono presented on “Let’s Talk About It: Communication, Gender & Powerful Speech.”

Later, Women In NECA combined forces with NECA Future Leaders to host a reception for female and young members of the community.

Oct 08

Revolutionary Discoveries!

Last night, NECA 2016 Boston attendees gained exclusive access to the Museum of Science, a mecca of revolutionary discovery! By popular demand, the Blue Wing’s main stage featured the return of Milwaukee Tool’s Tool Shed Band. Guests visited the Theater of Electricity sponsored by Southwire and an outdoor Oktoberfest, sponsored by Thomas & Betts. And, for those who just couldn’t stop – Milwaukee’s sponsored After Party kept the good times going late into the night.

NECA16 Opening Reception from NECAnet on Vimeo.

NECA members and their guests got exclusive access to the Museum of Science, a mecca of revolutionary discovery, as NECA 2016 Boston hit the ground running and welcomed thousands to New England for a convention filled opportunities for education, inspiration, networking, and fun.

Attendees also got to light up their night with the intriguing Theater of Electricity sponsored by Southwire. Indoor bolts produced by the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator sparked exciting explorations of lightning, conductors, insulators, electricity, magnetism and storm safety.

By popular demand, the Blue Wing’s main stage featured the return of Milwaukee Tool’s Tool Shed Band.

There was truly something for everyone – interactive exhibits, inspiring encounters and tantalizing cuisine inspired by the regional elements of New England. Heavy hors d’oeuvres were served along with open bars featuring an outdoor Oktoberfest, sponsored by Thomas & Betts.

On Saturday, the NECA Show, the No. 1 trade show of its kind in the electrical construction industry, opened its doors at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. 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.

The Show Floor will reopen on Sunday and Monday.

Start your day at the Disruptive Technology Pavilion or in the Showstopper Showcase, the industry’s most prominent awards program sponsored by NECA and ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. Check out all the winners while you see the newest products and services available!

Oct 02

ELECTRI Events at NECA 2014 Chicago

ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction hosted several events during the annual NECA Convention in Chicago on September 27-30, 2014:

Wendt Award

Dennis F Quebe, NECA President and Daniel J. Divane, 2013-2014 ELECTRI Council Chair; Photo by Chuck FazioAt the NECA Convention Opening General Session, ELECTRI Council Chair Dan Divane (Divane Bros. Electric, Chicago) was honored by the Foundation with its prestigious Wendt Award. This annual recognition is named in honor of Albert G. Wendt (Canon & Wendt, Phoenix, AZ) and recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to the electrical construction industry.

ELECTRI Council Meeting

Due to the unanticipated flight delays/cancellations into Chicago, the ELECTRI Council meeting was shortened to accommodate the rescheduled Green Energy Challenge final presentations. Greg Long (Long Electric, Napa, CA) was nominated by Dan Divane as the 2015-2016 ELECTRI Council Chair. The full Council affirmed the nomination. Research reports originally scheduled for this Council meeting will be presented at the Council’s January meeting in San Diego. The CalPoly San Luis Obispo faculty advisors gave a report about their Ecuador Student Passport Competition entry. (The project had not been selected for the Passport finals.)

2014 Green Energy Challenge Finals

LtR: Doug Hague, NECA Executive Committee, with Iowa State University NECA Student Chapter Team; Photo by Chuck FazioThis year, ELECTRI challenged each NECA Student chapter 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. Competition judges evaluated 15 entries from top universities throughout the United States. The three finalist teams made their final oral presentations at the NECA Convention. ELECTRI awarded Iowa State $4,000 for the win. 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.

2014 Green Energy Challenge Poster Competition

San Diego State University NECA Student Chapter; Photo by Chuck FazioNine teams entered the 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).

ELECTRI’s special thanks goes to all judges of both events for supporting ELECTRI’s Talent Initiative.

ELECTRI International Reception

LtR: Gustavo Varela (Comptel Ingenieria, Costa Rica), Russell J. Alessi (ELECTRI International), Kenneth MacDougall (Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter NECA); Photo by Chuck FazioA standing-room-only crowd enjoyed the by-invitation ELECTRI International reception at the historic Union League Club. Current Council members welcomed contractors and industry allies who are considering joining the Council.

High Priority Topics Committee (HPTC)

This newly-formed group met jointly with ELECTRI’s Kitchen Cabinet. Together, these industry leaders discussed programmatic ideas that they believe are essential to the future of electrical construction. The goal is to turn these topics into proposals and projects that ELECTRI can commission as part of its research agenda each year. The HPTC reviewed thirty topic suggestions and narrowed the list to five. The Program Review Committee will now select two initiative concepts and include them in the next Request for Proposal that goes out to investigators at leading universities.

General Session Presentation

Daniel J. Divane, 2013-2014 ELECTRI Council Chair; Photo by Chuck FazioCouncil Chair Dan Divane addressed the closing day General Session and gave a full report on ELECTRI’s growth and expansion during the past year. He highlighted new commitments to the Foundation, especially the increase in commitments made by NECA Chapters across the country.

The next ELECTRI Council Meeting will take place at Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, from 21-23 January, 2015. To find out more, please contact Sylvia Selwood at or 301-215-4539.

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 18

Safety Roundtable Recap

NECA 2014 Chicago provided attendees with useful information on new technologies, installation methods, tools, materials as well as safety resources. With this much information available, selecting which training session to attend can sometimes be challenging.

One session, the sixth-annual Safety Roundtable, was an excellent opportunity for contractors to have a two-way discussion on NECA’s safety-related activities, OSHA regulations, and general electrical industry safety needs. Wes Wheeler, NECA Director of Safety, moderated the 2-hour class which included reports from Palmer Hickman, ETI (NJATC) Director of Codes and Safety Standards, and Safety Task Force Chairman, George Adams.

The following is a recap of the core discussion topics:

  • Status of new or revised safety & health regulations – 2015 NFPA 70E released and now supersedes all previous editions (voluntary), OSHA formally delays crane operator certification requirements for 3 more years, Silica and Confined Space proposed rules pending, Haz-Com (GHS) written program required by June 2015, T&D arc flash hazard analysis and PPE requirements for 2015.
  • NECA Safety Resources – Application of Safety Meeting and PPE Selector Apps, newly revised employee safety handbooks, NFPA 70E guides – Contractor Responsibilities and 2015 Significant Changes.
  • Miscellaneous – OSHA / IBEW requirements for injury reporting, value of leading indicators when using prompt near miss reporting, uniformity between NECA contractors when dealing with energized electrical work tasks, challenges when dealing with safety related disciplinary issues.

The next Safety Roundtable takes place at the upcoming NECA Safety Professionals Conference, May 18-20, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. I encourage you, or your safety representative to attend if possible.

Jun 10

NECA 2014 Chicago Schedule Changes

The following three events have been rescheduled to accommodate the meeting and to maintain convenience for those planning to attend Saturday’s events.

The Business Development Meeting, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, has been rescheduled for 8:00 am to 9:30 am, the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge, originally scheduled for 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm, has been rescheduled for 9:30 am to 12:00 pm, and NECA’s inaugural Student Chapter Job Fair, originally scheduled for 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, has been rescheduled for 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

  • Business Development Meeting: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
  • Green Energy Challenge: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • NECA Student Chapter Job Fair: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Visit for Full Schedule of Events

May 27

Industry Band Liquidated Damages to Perform at NECA 2014 Chicago

NECA Members Perform Opening Act at Closing Celebration

NECA 2014 Chicago strives to give attendees a national convention with a local feel. That’s why local bands will be featured as this year’s performers. In addition to Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band, this year’s NECA Convention will also include a special show by an industry band, Liquidated Damages.

Born out of the Chicago-based construction company Leopardo Companies, Inc., Liquidated Damages is composed of 10 to 14 company employees. They started in 1999 when several members of the company realized that there were many talented musicians in the office. Originally they just played some company functions and got good reviews.

[2012] REACH Social at House of Blues, Chicago from Leopardo Construction on Vimeo.

Visit the band’s Vimeo page to watch additional live performances

Senior Vice President and drummer Rick Dupraw joined the board for the City of Hope Hospital. The hospital had an annual event at the House of Blues where they would hire professional artists to raise money with the hospital getting what was left over after everything was paid for. After expensive performance fees and expenses for the remainder of the event, the hospital would only bring in around $50,000. So Rick suggested to the other members of the board that they use donated services by industry bands.  In 2007, Liquidated Damages helped the hospital raise $300,000 in one night. Realizing their ability to help others, the band unanimously made the selfless decision to never charge for their performances.  In 2013 the band played 11 shows with all proceeds going to charity.

The band mixes in a wide variety of genres making their shows an interesting blend for everyone to enjoy. Every December the band gathers for what they call “Selection Tuesday” to decide their set list.  Each member brings in three songs that they would like to see added to the set list for the upcoming year. It then comes down to a vote in a very democratic approach to the selection process.

Over the past 14 years, the members of Liquidated Damages have made a name for themselves through their selfless behavior. So much so that some of music’s biggest stars have joined them for a set to help raise money for charity. The list of collaborators includes Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick, Jim Peterik from Survivor and The Ides of March, and Russ Irwin who tours with Aerosmith.  The band even opened for the popular band America in 2009. Overall, the band has managed to raise over $2.5 million for charity.

NECA is honored to have Liquidated Damages perform at NECA 2014 Chicago. This is a Chicago-bred band from the electrical contracting industry performing to help their community. They will be the opening act for this year’s closing celebration.

Oct 21

Women In NECA: Unique Leadership

Women In NECA opened their roundtable discussion at NECA 2013 DC with a reminder of the growth opportunities presented by change. “We had many new faces at our Women In NECA Summit in St. Louis earlier this year, and it is tremendous to see how WIN has grown in just a few years,” said WIN chair Rachel Barber, VEC Inc., Girard, Oh. “WIN’s membership has become much more diverse in the work the members do and the work our companies do. And that makes it even more important that we spend time together learning from each other and making connections.”

Like most WIN programs, this year’s Roundtable started with a question: What does it take to become a leader in NECA? “We know when we look around the office or a chapter meeting that women are under-represented in both NECA membership and leadership roles. So what can we do about that?” Barber asked.

Frank Piatt, NECA Field Representative, Eastern Region and a former chapter manager, shared his observations for how member leaders move through the ranks. His fundamental messages – show up; show interest; show your cards; show restraint; and show what you can offer – urged WIN members to demonstrate their desire to serve their chapter and association. “Let other members know you’re interested and aware. Even if you think a speaker at a chapter meeting has nothing to do with your work, go to the meeting. You never know who else will be there.”

Carolyn Fazio described how ELECTRI International and the Electrical Construction Political Action Committee (ECPAC) can put WIN members on a leadership fast-track. “When you get involved with ELECTRI or ECPAC, or encourage your chapter to participate, you get a seat at the table with the leading industry organizations. Your voice will be heard,” she said. Fazio also discussed how the Foundation is encouraging more women to pursue careers in electrical contracting through the Green Energy Challenge and Student Initiative.

The keynote speaker was Diane Brown, Vice President of Organizational Development for Thomas & Betts, a NECA Premier Partner. Tapping into her human resources expertise, Brown pulled together data demonstrating the leadership traits women naturally possess – and the pitfalls they encounter when they use those skills.

“I used to have a boss who would tell me during every annual review that I needed to do a better job,” she said. “So I would ramp up and tap into that stamina, creative-thinking and multitasking skills women possess. And the next year, it would be the same: ‘you need to do a better job, Diane.’ I finally figured out what he was saying – I needed to slow down. I didn’t need to do everything. I needed to be more careful with my work, rather than doing more. Women do more. But that wasn’t the right answer for this situation. The good news is, women are excellent at listening and adapting. We make changes happen very quickly when the situation calls for them.”

Brown’s presentation can be downloaded here.

Oct 15

University of Washington Wins Green Energy Challenge

Cheers, whoops of joy, and applause went up at the NECA Student Chapter Summit as the University of Washington student team was announced as winner of the 2013 Green Energy Challenge. Penn State followed with second place, and Iowa State rounded out the finalists in third.

This marks the second first-place win for UW teams. The school came in second place in the 2012 Green Energy Challenge and they were determined to take back the top spot this year.  UW won the first Green Energy Challenge held in their hometown of Seattle at the 2009 NECA Convention, and they have placed among the finalist every year of the competition.

“Obviously, UW is a powerhouse team,” said Russ Alessi, President of ELECTRI International, the competition’s sponsor. “They grasped the concept of the Green Energy Challenge to give students the chance to solve a real-world energy problem, and they have consistently delivered innovative solutions.”

This year’s design challenge required teams to create a comprehensive design and bid package for a parking garage “green energy” retrofit in their communities. Teams had to perform an energy audit of an existing parking facility and specify a lighting efficiency upgrade system and handle installation for new electric vehicle charging stations. Teams had to calculate ROI for update investments.

The real challenge came with integrating a renewable power source into the facility. All three teams rejected wind power due to expense and zoning restrictions. Solar panel rooftop panels were used by all three, but the UW team opted to put their panels on the roof of an adjacent campus building ideally situated to gather solar energy. The electricity generated was used to power both the garage and building. Teams also presented solar financing options for their clients to calculate into the overall ROI.

ELECTRI International thanks the NECA contractors, chapters and industry partners who shared their experts as student team advisers and Challenge jurors.