All The Latest News from NECA

Oct 29

NECA 2013 DC CEU Certificates Now Available Online

Need CEUs for the Workshops You Attended? Complete Your Evaluations and Print Your Certificate!

Attendees could earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) at many NECA 2013 DC education sessions, including management seminars and technical workshops. If you had your badge scanned at educational events, you can retrieve your CEU certificate online now.  But before you do, you’ll need to complete online evaluations for each session to receive those CEUs and print your certificate. Instructions for completing online evaluations follow.

IACET CEUs are recognized by a wide range of organizations, including professional associations, regulatory boards, corporations and universities. Check with your state and local organizations to see if they accept IACET CEUs. All programs also have the start and end times listed on the certificate for participants that just need a record of contact hours.

All evaluations and certificates are electronic, so all you need to do is follow a few easy steps:

Step 1: Make sure you’ve downloaded the NECA 2013 Washington DC app for your smartphone or tablet or visit

Step 2: If in the app, select “Sessions” icon. The full convention schedule by day will open and you can select the sessions you attended and scroll to the bottom of the session to the “Rate This Session” button. If on the website, just select the date and a session list will appear.

Step 3: Answer the evaluation questions about the session(s) you attended. You will need to do this for every session you attended to receive the CEUs earned for attending.

Step 4:  Enter your full name and email at the end of the form. Hit “Submit” when you’re done.

Step 5: Visit to print your certificate.

Handouts from NECA 2013 DC sessions can be accessed at

Oct 24

from tED Magazine: Graybar CEO Kathy Mazzarella Meets with Contractors at NECA Show

When you go to McDonalds, you don’t expect to see CEO Don Thompson at the drive-thru window.

When you buy a pair of Nike shoes, Phil Knight won’t be there to help with the sizing.

But if you went to the Graybar booth at the recent NECA show, you would find Chairman, President and CEO Kathy Mazzarella, ready and willing to talk with any contractor who came for a visit.

“I’ve participated in the NECA convention for several years now, and have found it to be a great place to connect with our contractor customers,” Mazzarella told tED magazine.  tED is working on a series of stories on how to build relationships with contractors, and this is certainly one way.

The NECA convention provides an excellent opportunity for us to interact with our customers and hear what’s on their minds,” Mazzarella adds. “We design our booth in a way that encourages customers to relax and have a meaningful conversation.  We want customers to visit our booth and enjoy the time they spend with us.”

Read the complete article at >>

Thanks for joining us at NECA 2013 DC, tED Magazine!

Oct 21

NECA 2013 DC Photos Are Posted!

Looking for a photo from NECA 2013 Washington DC? Over 1,200 pictures from this year’s convention and trade show are posted on NECA’s Flickr photo-sharing account in the “NECA 2013 Washington DC” set.

View more photos

Photos are arranged by event title in alphabetical order. The set starts with the Academy of Electrical Contracting Fellow inductions; to Academy of Electrical Contracting/ELECTRI International Reception; to Board of Governors meeting — through the Trade Show and Phil Vassar at the Closing Celebration.

Take a look through the set and let us know your favorites!

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

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 15

Need Your CEUs for the Workshops You Attended? Complete Your Evaluations on the App!

All NECA 2013 DC attendees need to complete evaluations for each session they participated in to receive Continuing Education Units. This evaluation is a requirement by the IACET to earn CEUs; session evaluations are now fully integrated with the meeting app. So take a moment now to  rate all the sessions you attended for prompt processing of your CEU credits!

All evaluations are electronic, so all you need to do is follow a few easy steps:

Step 1: Make sure you’ve downloaded the NECA 2013 Washington DC app for your smartphone or tablet.

Step 2: Select “Sessions” icon. The full convention schedule by day will open.

Step 3: Find the sessions you attended each day. Click on the session(s) you attended and scroll to the bottom of the session to the “Rate This Session” button

Step 4: Answer the evaluation questions about the session(s) you attended. You will need to do this for every session you attended to receive the CEUs earned for attending.

Step 5:  Enter your full name and email at the end of the form. Hit “Submit” when you’re done.

That’s it!

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.

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.