All The Latest News from NECA

Sep 14

What I Learned About People at Starbucks

Coffee is everywhere in Seattle, and as in most cities, Starbucks seems to dominate the market for caffeine-seekers. We had a great opportunity to hear from Howard Behar, the man who oversaw much of Starbuck’s stellar expansion, at yesterday’s opening general session.

Following his second retirement as Starbucks’ president in 2003, Behar put nearly 50 years of lessons on business leadership he’d learned into a book, It’s Not About the Coffee. He brought those insights into an industry-tailored message for NECA members.

Given the tough economy so many NECA members are currently working in, Behar’s message of putting people first was especially timely.

Behar pointed out that Starbucks made the commitment to its workforce early in the company’s history. “People are the glue that hold an organization together,” he said. “You have to care about every person in your organization, and every person you serve.”

He encouraged NECA members to define their values – the ideals that define their businesses – and then be prepared to pay the prices to remain true to those values.

One of Behar’s key points was “the person who sweeps the floor should pick the broom.” He echoed the same commitments NECA members make to workforce training and learning from other companies’ best practices, but encouraged the audience to not walk away from new ideas, especially new ideas that come from the field.

Leadership guru Howard Behar Keynotes Opening General Session
“Leading with compassion never stops,” Behar said. “As leaders, we must show we care about the people first, not protecting our own backsides. It’s a non-stop responsibility, but it’s worth it.”

What do you think about Behar’s message that real business leaders care about people? How do you show this in your own company?

Edited to Add: Check out PaulsonElectric’s tweet about the session!

Sep 11

Welcome to the NECA 2009 Seattle Live Blog!

Hi everyone!

I’m Beth Margulies, NECA’s director of public relations, and I’ll be live-blogging NECA’s convention and trade show in Seattle this week on

I hope you’ve been reading the blog to keep up with new sessions and special offers, but now with everything in full swing, we’re shifting our coverage on-site, with daily reports on sessions, speakers and scenes from the Show floor. If you see something you like here, use the Social Media tools on each post to share it on your own Facebook, Twitter or MySpace page.

But this blog isn’t the only way you can keep up with everything that’s going on in Seattle.  You can become a fan of the NECA Convention on Facebook to receive important updates before the events and while they happen.

Or follow us on Twitter, for quick updates about new blog posts, room changes, and raffle drawings.  Ginger Wilson has already tweeted tons of pictures and reports from pre-convention workshops and as the Show floor takes shape. If already on Twitter, you can tag your own tweets with #NECA09 to let your followers know you’re tweeting about NECA 2009 Seattle.

For NECA 2009 Seattle attendees who aren’t familiar with everything social media can offer electrical contractors, you might want to attend the management seminar I’m leading on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 8 a.m., What is Social Media and How it Can Help Your Business.  Details about NECA’s own social media can be found on our website, too.

There won’t be a lot of time to spare in Seattle, so take advantage of NECA’s social media for event updates and to stay in touch!

Jul 30

Early Registration Attendance Spikes!

Thanks to everyone who got their NECA 2009 Seattle registrations in before early registration closed on July 24. All those last-minute decisions pushed our attendance well beyond expectations!

“I think it shows that NECA members recognize what great value there is in attending the NECA convention and trade show is, even in a down economy,” said NECA CEO John Grau. “We’re really refined this year’s program to focus on key education topics and the right networking opportunities. NECA members know they can’t afford to miss it.”

Registration is still open, and anyone can register on-site in Seattle as well.

“I’m thrilled we’ve met our attendance goals, but we don’t want to stop now,” said Beth Ellis. “There still plenty of time and plenty of space to register. In fact, many people are looking at their plans now and realizing they want to add on a pre-convention workshop or tour to their schedule. That’s great, too. We want to make NECA 2009 Seattle the best convention for our members that we can!”

To add a pre-convention workshop, go here.

Jul 10

Watch a Special Greeting from Seattle’s 2009 Tourism Ambassador, Justin Hall

Its been 9 years since the NECA Convention and Show was in Seattle and
now we’re back! Click on the video below to watch Seattle’s Ambassador
welcome NECA.

Early registration and housing end July 24, 2009. Don’t miss out on
this amazing opportunity to discover new products and services, learn
about best practices, network with your peers, boost your company’s
productivity, explore new markets, and enjoy the best of Seattle. For
more details and to register for NECA 2009 Seattle visit

Look forward to seeing you in Seattle, WA September 12-15, 2009!

Jul 02

Time is Running Out, Your Opportunity for Affordable Training is at NECA 2009 Seattle!

There’s a great reason to arrive early for NECA 2009 Seattle – and to bring your key employees with you. A dozen different Pre-Convention Workshops will be held on Friday and Saturday, September 11-12, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. They’ll feature expert instructors on topics ranging from succeeding in new markets and making the most of new technology to improving productivity and safety performance and coping in these trying times. They are open to all electrical industry participants.

Nowhere else can you find so many in-depth learning opportunities at such affordable prices, all in one location. (Workshop fees are as low as $75, and none exceeds $250.) Registration for any Pre-Convention Workshop includes admission to all three days of the NECA Show, any of the Technical Workshops held in conjunction with the Show, and the New & Featured Product Roomall at no additional cost! Use the online registration form for NECA 2009 Seattle to reserve your place at the Pre-Convention Workshop(s) of your choice.

Check out your Pre-Convention Workshop Options and register NOW!