Jul 30


When Zack Armstrong attended a new NECA Now class recently, he came away extremely impressed.

Armstrong, who works with McCoy Electric Company, based in Portland, Oregon, said it was the single best class he’s attended with NECA.

The workshop was called “Stress & the Mind Body Connection,” and it was led by Alice D. Domar, a pioneer in the field of mind/body medicine.

“Alice was very present and engaged as a speaker and presented her topic in a meaningful and understandable way,” Armstrong said. “The entire industry would be very well served to have more classes in this genre at future events.”

That will happen this fall. Similar workshops taught by Domar will be offered at NECA 2015 San Francisco, including “Psychological Strategies to Reduce Stress” and “Physical Strategies to Reduce Stress.” These are pre-convention workshops, so it isn’t necessary to attend the entire convention to attend the programs. Additionally, there are many other great pre-convention sessions being offered, including effective leadership communication, preplanning, and risk management.

The main thing Domar wants attendees to take away from her classes is that people understand the harmful effects stress can have on a person’s mind and health and to recognize symptoms and tools to use to combat those symptoms to lead to improved physical and emotional health.

“It’s a very practical, hands-on approach,” Domar recently said, adding she likes to incorporate humor and personal anecdotes into her presentation. “I’m not talking about how to reduce stress. I’m going to be showing people how to do it.”

Some of the most common symptoms of stress include insomnia, headaches, neck and back pain, irritability, digestion and intestinal problems, fatigue, sadness, joint pain, and increases in alcohol use. Our instincts to control our stress levels tend to be wrong: highly stressed men tend to watch more television and drink more alcohol, while highly stressed women tend to eat more junk food and exercise less. None of those four behaviors are able to decrease stress levels, and actually can lead to more distress.

Domar conducts ongoing ground-breaking research which focuses on the relationship between stress and various medical conditions and the impact of lifestyle habits on mental and physical health. Domar has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as a best-selling author, media authority and sought-after public speaker.

Added Armstrong: “The mechanics of running our businesses are very important, but the mechanics of taking care of ourselves so we can fire on all cylinders should be our first priority. Alice’s class helped point this out in a very beneficial way.”

Register for NECA 2015 San Francisco »

Jul 10

See Why We’re the #1 Event in the Electrical Construction Industry

The NECA Show is the No. 1 event in the electrical construction industry. 

We are proud to present the largest gathering of manufacturers and distributors, showcasing thousands of solutions contractors need to save money on the job and grow their business. The trade show floor is a virtual classroom, providing the latest technological advances in a wide range of areas, including power supply, security, tools, integrated building systems, lighting and controls, solar/PV and other alternative-energy markets. And be sure to attend your choice of 19 free technical workshops on the show floor.

Discover the Exhibitors & Products at the NECA Show

2015 Exhibitors


Oct 02

2014 Showstopper Awards Announced; Best New Products of the Year

BETHESDA, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Electrical Contractor magazine has recognized 20 outstanding new products at the 2014 NECA Convention and Trade Show in Chicago with its annual Showstopper Awards.

“This year’s diverse Showstopper winners represent the best of new product ingenuity for the growing $130B electrical community”

“This year’s diverse Showstopper winners represent the best of new product ingenuity for the growing $130B electrical community,” said Electrical Contractor Publisher John Maisel.

The 2014 Showstopper winners include:

Bridgeport Fittings Mighty-Rite steel split grounding bushings
Cree, Inc. LED T8 tube
DeWALT Gyroscope screwdriver
Eaton POW-R-Command intelligent panel boards
Flir Systems, Inc. Digital multimeter
Fluke Corp. Fluorescent light tester
Garvin Industries Universal square-to-round raised ring
Greenlee CLM-1000 cable length meter
Hilti Cordless combihammer
Legrand AV ceiling box
Leviton Omnitouch touchscreen monitor and control
M.K. Morse Co. 811 portable band saw blade
Orbit Industries, Inc. Easy access lighting box with swivel
Project DocControl Automated daily field reports
Schneider Electric Q) and Homeline dual function circuit breakers
Siemens Industry Dual function AFCI/GFCI combined in one device
Southwire SIMpull reel
Werner KNAACK StorageMaster
Westex UltraSoft line of arc-rated, flame-resistant fabrics

Electrical Contractor will cover the Showstopper winners in its January 2015 issue.

In addition to awarding the Showstoppers, Electrical Contractor magazine introduced its new monthly e-newsletter and a new app available through the iTunes Store, Google Play and the Amazon App Store in iOS, Android and Kindle versions.

In recent issues, Electrical Contractor reported the findings of its 2014 Profile of the Electrical Contractor, a biennial, independent industry survey that offers the most detailed, current data on electrical contractors’ growing involvement in the design, specification and integration of a broad spectrum of building operating systems.

The survey shows that more than 2,700 owner- and top-management level U.S. electrical contractors report a high influence in electrical system design and brand specification – maintaining a steady gain over the past decade. The top three reasons for original brand selection and substitution are availability, price and compatibility with existing systems.

Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md., Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 80,0 00+ electrical contractors 61,000+ electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. Telephone: (301) 657-3110. Website: http://www.ecmag.com. Twitter: @ecmagdotcom / App: iTunes Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store in iOS, Android and Kindle versions.

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 sselwood@electri.org or 301-215-4539.

Oct 01

Closing General Session: Rob O’Neill

Former Navy SEAL Team Leader  •  Tuesday, September 30 1:15 pm

Decorated military veteran and Navy Seal Rob O’Neill closed out NECA Chicago 2014 with a detailed account of various combat missions and his recipe for success in life.

O’Neill, who grew up in Montana, served for more than 16 years as a Team Leader on the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.

He spoke about a range of topics including making informed decisions and teamwork. A common theme was never quitting.

“Success is not attained or purchased,” he explained. “It is rented. And rent is due every day.”

O’Neill took pride in saying no member of his team was ever killed in more than 400 combat missions. He said they improved each day because they were trying to stay on par with each other. They also learned how to face their fears.

“Fear is healthy but panic will breed and it will get you killed,” he said.

O’Neill also told the audience not to be afraid of chasing success and to stick around successful people who have learned from failure. Finally, he said, effective communication is paramount.

Earlier in the program, NECA CEO John Grau shared his thoughts on the association’s progress and addressed problems facing the electrical contracting industry.

“Our members are more optimistic, and we’re on the right track,” Grau said.

Grau also said the a shortage of skilled workers will dominate the national discussion moving forward.

Later, outgoing President Dennis Quebe presented awards to several people connected to the industry, For a full list of recipients, visit necanet.org.

Dan Divane, chairman of ELECTRI International, gave an update on organization’s activities. He also announced that Iowa State University was the winner of the 6th Green Energy Challenge.

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, necanet.org/BOG.

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 28

Opening General Session: Chris Gardner on the Pursuit of Happyness

Philanthropist and best-selling author Chris Gardner spoke powerfully about his hardships and dealings with homelessness during Sunday morning’s Opening General Session at NECA Chicago 2014.


Gardner, the subject of book and blockbuster movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” told the audience he was the leading authority on a concept he called “spiritual genetics.” He talked about his background and his relationships with his parents and grandmother.

Gardner paid credit to his mother for telling him he could go anything in life.

“The wit, the wisdoms, the lessons she shared with me made everything else possible,” he said.

Gardner said film based on his life, in which he is portrayed by Will Smith, was about a man wanting to give his son what he never had had. “And, to me, that’s priceless,” he said, detailing his involvement in the project, which grossed more than $300 million worldwide.

Gardner, currently working on a new book, recalled meeting Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali and conversations with Oprah Winfrey and President Clinton.

“Find your button,” the thing that ignites a passion in your life, he urged the audience. “You can’t change something until you own it.”

Hope is great, Gardner added, but having a plan is what’s important. And a person’s ultimate asset is time.

Gardner now has a 28-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old granddaughter. He counts himself among the biggest supporters of food banks.

“The greatest honor that you will have in your life is to have someone say, ‘I’ll be here,’” Gardner said. “If you’ve been there for me, I’ll be there for you.”

Before Gardner spoke, NECA President Dennis Quebe summarized the association’s accomplishments. It was his final address to NECA in the post saying, “NECA continues to be well-connected to what is happening around the country. It is up to the industry to wisely implement the tools at its disposal.”

Later, NECA 2014 Political Leadership Council National Chairman David Nielson gave a brief update on the activities of the PLC and the Electrical Construction Political Action Committee (ECPAC).

Finally, former President Rex Ferry, chair of the Academy of Electrical Contracting, updated the session on the academy’s progress. Sixteen new fellows also were introduced. Look out for a special blog post highlighting the new inductees shortly!