All The Latest News from NECA

Oct 23

Southern Nevada JATC at NECA 2012 Featured in Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee of Southern Nevada’s showcase at NECA 2012 Las Vegas was the subject of the article, “Solar Power, Plug-in Cars Mesh Well” by Stan Hanel in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The article also covered how electrical contractors are making connections for electric vehicles and solar-powered charging stations. From the article:

Here in Southern Nevada, where the sun shines 300 days a year, there is a synergy that benefits people who install photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of their homes and buy plug-in electric cars. Unlike other homeowners, they can create a portion of the energy that powers the appliances in their homes and provides fuel for a plug-in electric car.

The article discussed EJATCSV’s training program in renewable energy and technology, and how apprenticeship includes classroom and on-the-job training. Read the full article, including details about solar power and EV charging installations, online.

A complete list of media coverage from NECA 2012 Las Vegas can be found online. 

Oct 22

Guest Post: Going Green in Las Vegas

By Beth Ellis, NECA Executive Director, Convention/Expo

We talk a lot about energy solutions and green power at the NECA convention and trade show, but one of the things we don’t often mention is how much electricity and material is takes to put on a show as massive as ours.

By now, most of us are used to looking for a recycling bin before tossing out our soda cans. Some facilities like Mandalay Bay go the extra mile to help us keep waste to a minimum. That’s why I was so pleased to get NECA’s official Recycle/Waste Report on NECA 2012 Las Vegas.

It turns out that we successfully recycled over 80 percent of the materials used at NECA 2012 Las Vegas! We couldn’t have done this without you – whether you one of the 1,000 people who downloaded the NECA 2012 app to get workshop handouts or refilled your water bottle from stations around the center.

I also have to thank our wonderful exhibitors who recycled their shipping materials and relied on digital content to share information with attendees.

Let’s keep those good green habits going at NECA 2013 Washington, DC!

You can see the detailed report of our recycled materials from NECA 2012 Las Vegas as a PDF.

Oct 04

Got CEUs? Need Handouts? Get Them Online!

Thanks for supporting our efforts to make NECA 2012 Las Vegas as paperless as possible. Your CEU certificates and session handouts can be found online.

Continuing Education Units
Most pre-convention workshops, management seminars and technical sessions at NECA 2012 Las Vegas offered continuing education units for attendees who had their badges scanned at the start and end of the sessions.

Retrieving your CEU certificate of completion can be done online. If you don’t receive an email prompt for collecting your CEU certificate, you can go to and enter the information from your badge to pull up your record. You will need your member ID, your badge number or your first and last name from your meeting registration to get your record.

If you think there’s a mistake, simply complete and submit a CEU Change Request Form. Directions can be found on the CEU retrieval site.

Not all courses offered at NECA 2012 Las Vegas will meet your state’s CEU requirement for continuing education credit. Check with your state authorities to confirm eligibility.

Most presenters at NECA 2012 Las Vegas have made their session handouts available online, either through the archived session schedule or the convention app. Both formats are indexed by session date and title.

Go to “Education” under “Schedule” on convention website to view sessions by date and description; handouts have been uploaded as PDFs with the individual session descriptions. You can also easily access handouts via the NECA 2012 Las Vegas app by clicking on the “Handouts” icon. Make sure your app is synched to get the most recent upload of handouts.

Oct 04

Stunning Le Reve Closes NECA 2012 Las Vegas

When the doors closed for the packed auditorium at The Wynn for NECA’s closing celebration performance of Le Reve, the audience was transported to a full-spectrum theatrical dream world.

The story of Le Reve – The Dream was told through extravagant music and dance sequences that took full advantage of the audience’s 360-degree view of the stage and water features.  The “Aqua Theater” created an intimate environment for the at-capacity crowd to enjoy every moment of the acrobatic performance.

With everything from a high-dive to an underwater tango, Le Reve was the perfect ending to a stunning showcase of innovation and opportunity at NECA 2012 Las Vegas!

Oct 02

Peter Diamandis Delivers Tutorial in Exponential Growth

“I’m passionate about changing the world, where the basic needs of every human are met,” said Closing General Session speaker Dr. Peter Diamandis. “And I believe that exponential change is going to take us there.”

Best known for his sponsorship of the X Prize to spur innovation in space travel, Diamandis brought his inspiring message about how the future is better than we think, when we examine the astounding rate of ongoing innovation

Diamandis spoke about his work with Singularity University, an institute he establish to incubate businesses capable of exponential growth. To describe exponential growth, he referred to our instinctive human progress as “linear and local,” when 30 steps will take you to the other side of a room, or maybe down a hall.

“If you take 30 exponential steps – 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and so on – you will actually go around the planet 26 times,” Diamandis said, letting the numbers sink in for the audience. “There’s a disconnect between our brains’ hardware and what we’re actually capable of with the exponential speed of technological innovation.”

Diamandis outlined some of the innovation Singularity has made in the areas of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing and synthetic biology. “If any electrical contractors in the audience are working in data centers, you are in a true growth market,” he said. “Data storage is supporting exponential growth in digital content.”

Diamandis’s latest book, written with bestselling science journalist Steven Kotler, is Abundance—The Future is Better Than You Think. It has been called “a thrilling antidote to today’s dark pessimism” and includes exhaustive research and extensive interviews on how four emerging forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are working together to solve our world’s biggest problems.

Oct 02

Women In NECA Roundtable: Being the Best You

Three of NECA’s top contractors made up the panel for Women In NECA’s (WIN) annual roundtable yesterday, taking questions from over 80 WIN members about how they built successful companies, without compromising or apologizing and by focusing on being the best at who they really are.

And who they are is proud Women In NECA contractors, who have been lauded by their peers, recognized by their state governors, and loved by their employees.

Gloria Ashford, Susan Ernst and Lynne Harker opened the session by sharing how they entered the industry. Ashford and Ernst established their companies with their IBEW-electrician husbands; Ernst, a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” bought her company after selling her computer-training business. Download 2012 Roundtable Panelist Bios >>

The women described how they’ve adjusted company operations during the economic downturn. Each has made significant changes, with Ernst moving into a completely new market. “We started from scratch. We threw out the old way of doing things, and it forced us to make necessary changes,” she said.

“It’s another way of ‘being the best you’,” Ashford said. “You become more selective. You focus on what you know how to do really well. And you do it better than anyone else.”

When discussing field workforce management and technical knowledge, the women echoed the need to be true to their professional goals and identities. “My door is always open,” Harker said. “Everyone at Placer knows they can come in any time. And I have zero problem with asking someone to explain how something works. People like to talk about their work – I make sure to give them that chance.”

“It’s an attitude,” Ashford said. “I let my employees know that I’m no different from them: I have a family to support and a mortgage to pay. That’s why I’m doing this.

“I’ve worked hard to be a contractor and to be myself,” Ashford continued. “I’m not going to pretend I’m ‘one of the guys,’ because I’m not. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong is for me to act like I was. I’m Gloria, and I’m an electrical contractor.”

“I’ve gravitated to what I do best,” Ernst said. “Sure, sometimes you have to attitude. You have to fake it until you make it. But you will make it.”

Graybar CEO and constant WIN-booster Kathy Mazzarella joined the roundtable audience, and offered her encouragement to the women in the session. “The best revenge is success,” she told the group. “And you don’t have to broadcast what you’ve done. Just exist. You know what you’ve accomplished.”

Oct 02

More Winners for Green Energy Challenge in Poster Competition!

In addition to the four finalist presentations, Green Energy Challenge jurors also evaluated submissions from all 18 NECA Student Chapter teams who entered this year’s competition. Each team was invited to display their submission on a single board, including those who didn’t make it to the finals.

Southern Polytechnic University won first place in the poster competition, followed by Purdue University in second and GEC team winners Youngstown State University in third place for the competition.

We also learned that this year’s GEC winners aren’t just taking home prestigious awards, but cash prizes for their accomplishments. Finalist team awards won:

  • First Place: Youngstown State University — $2,000
  • Second Place: University of Washington — $1,000
  • Third Place: Iowa State University — $750

Poster competition winners won:

  • First Place: Southern Polytechnic University — $750
  • Second Place: Purdue University — $500
  • Third Place: Youngstown State University — $250

Full details about the 2012 Green Energy Challenge competition guidelines and scoring can be found online.

Oct 01

“Getting More” at Labor Relations General Session with Stuart Diamond

Negotiator-extraordinaire Stuart Diamond brought his “people first” philosophy to the 2012 Labor Relations General Session today, in a detailed discussion of the mistakes we make and how to adjust our approach to negotiating, from the mundane to the high-stakes.

“Negotiations aren’t between opposing sides or forces. They’re between people,” Diamond said. “When we start by recognizing everyone’s basic humanity, we start getting more.

“Start with three questions, and three statements when you negotiate: Are you happy? Because we’re not. Second, are you making money? Because we aren’t. Third, if you had this to do over, what would you do differently?”

Diamond’s presentation was based on the principles outlined in his bestseller “Getting More” and specific questions from NECA chapter managers about challenges they have faced during labor negotiations. He reiterated that negotiation never really stops with colleagues since communication and relationship management is integral to negotiations. “If you start 90 days out from when the contract expires, you’re already setting yourself up for failure,” he said.

Diamond has extensive experience assisting with conflict-resolution on vital international interests, and one of his observations from his time with U.S. forces in Afghanistan got the audience’s attention. “It’s an exercise I call Dreams and Fears,” he said. “When you know the other side’s dreams and fears – as people, not representatives of some kind of organization – you realize how much more you can help them, facilitating their sense of goodwill towards you. In Afghanistan, the local negotiators’ dreams – their needs – included laundry detergent and Gatorade. Meaning we can save American soldiers’ lives by learning where the roadside bombs are, what threats the Taliban is making, just with detergent and Gatorade. Ask what their needs are. And let them know you’re there to help meet their needs.”

From everything to calming a scared child to dealing with grudges, Diamond starts negotiations from the premise that everyone at the table is human, affected by human foibles and basic needs for respect and appreciation. Threats, manipulation and inflexible demands can’t be a part of successful negotiations, he said.

“You are the least important part about the negotiation,” he said, smiling. “By putting the focus on other needs’, you’ll work your way to the results you want every time. It’s scalable, where success and cooperation lead to more success. It won’t be a home run every time. But it does work.”