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Richard R. Pieper, Sr. Earns 1999 McGraw Award

Oct 26, 1999

10-26-99 -- During an awards ceremony held today at the Closing General Session of NECA’s 1999 Convention in New Orleans, Richard R. Pieper, Sr., president of PieperPower Companies, was honored with the 1999 McGraw Award. The text of the citation that was presented to him follows:


Recognizing critical thinking and action that benefits the electrical contracting industry, the James H. McGraw Award honors a member of that industry whose contributions and service go above and beyond the call of duty to his or her own company. Richard R. Pieper, Sr. goes “above and beyond” in his ceaseless efforts to promote continuing education as a means to enhance the productivity of electrical contractors and their workers in order to satisfy the current and future needs of the industry’s customers.

Mr. Pieper has been actively involved with NECA’s Milwaukee Chapter ever since the family- owned firm joined the association in 1959. In 1960, he became president of the company, which then had eight employees and annual receipts of about $250,000. Under his leadership, PPC (PieperPower Companies) is now one of the largest electrical contracting firms in the U.S., employing approximately 900 individuals and recognizing annual receipts in excess of $100 million. In addition, PPC has branched out with sister companies in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Georgia and has set its sights on the international stage. This expansion has led to PPC attaining several additional NECA memberships – in the Wisconsin, American Line Builders, and Missouri Valley Line Contractors Chapters.

The company has attained much positive press coverage, most of which focuses on Richard Pieper as a true believer in the quality movement and worker empowerment through training and as a tireless advocate of fair and equitable dealing. His NECA colleagues are well aware of these attributes from his committee work focusing on labor relations and workforce development and from his experience as president of the Milwaukee Chapter and director of the Wisconsin Chapter. His contributions at the chapter and regional levels of the association include spearheading a broad range of educational programs for electrical contractors and employees, consolidating apprenticeship programs and fringes and benefits throughout Wisconsin to provide a level field for contractors and their unionized workers statewide, unifying labor agreements affecting line locals, originating a long-range plan to give new direction to the Milwaukee Chapter, establishing a performance appraisal process for chapter management that remains in use today, and promoting NECA-member contractors services to the residential construction market.

More recently, Mr. Pieper has been working with The Electrical Contracting Foundation to promote and advance the electrical industry into the future. He became a founder of the Foundation’s ELECTRI’21 Council in 1990 to further resource development, but his contributions are not limited to providing significant financial support. Richard Pieper has also been involved in selecting research projects and guiding them to completion, with him and his companies often participating directly in Foundation-sponsored studies. To date, more than a dozen Foundation projects have benefitted from his personal participation, and it can be expected that he will continue to assist in Foundation research.

Along with all this activity, Mr. Pieper somehow finds time to pursue an overwhelming number of socially responsible activities – within his own community and throughout the world. Along with other accomplishments too numerous to list, he has been retained as a consultant, speaker and instructor by such organizations as the International Executive Service Corps, Edison Electric Institute, Amtrak, Junior Achievement, the Boy Scouts of America, the Milwaukee School of Engineering (where, as a director, he helped facilitate the founding of a NECAStudent Chapter), and the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, where he is recognized as an outstanding speaker, instructor, and role model.

Thus has Richard R. Pieper, Sr. proven himself as a leader who combines decisive action with vision. For reasons such as these, it is most appropriate that he be honored with the 1999 James H. McGraw Award.