Posted on Oct 14, 2008
John M Grau
The just-completed NECA Convention in Chicago was my 31st. That doesn’t even come close to the record set by former NECA President Bob Colgan of Toledo, Ohio. This was his 57th!
- Bob Colgan, Sr. recognized as Founding Fellow of the Academy of Electrical Contracting
Bob was recognized at both the Convention Opening General Session and at a special Academy of Electrical Contracting Reception marking its 40th anniversary. Bob Colgan and Bob Higgins, my predecessor as NECA’s Executive Vice President, are the only founding members of the Academy still living.
Colgan attended this year’s convention with most members of his family. The kids tagged along to NECA conventions when they were growing up. Although not all of them at the same time, says Bob’s wife Emily. So it was a special event for the Colgan family, the Academy, and NECA.
Here are some of my take-aways from the Convention:
Many of the members I talked to are still cautiously optimistic about their work backlog. They told me that the financing is in place for most of their projects and they expect the work to continue into 2009.
A couple members told me that they called their bankers to see if they could get credit if they needed it. The answer was yes. Credit is still available for “credit worthy” customers.
A lot of members are excited about the opportunities available in energy conservation and alternative energy markets. Many are reformulating their business plans accordingly.
Most left the Special Labor Relations Session encouraged that the IBEW and NECA are working in the right direction. Progress can’t come fast enough, however.
After attending the ELECTRI International Meeting, the Student Chapter Summit, the Future Leaders Reception, and the International Group Lunch, I couldn’t help walking away feeling proud of NECA and what we are accomplishing in these areas.
How does Bob Costas remember all those facts? After his speech at the closing general session, I told him that the political campaign “truth squads” were going to check on his accuracy. He said he’s confident that his record is better than the candidates’.
Before the closing concert, I was able to say hello to performers Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs. Hornsby said that they don’t just walk through their performance but work hard at being entertaining and fresh. He said we were in for a treat. He was right.
- Wall of Vodka
I keep thinking about the ELECTRI International reception at the Chicago Illuminating Company and the 20-foot-high wall lined with shelves of Grey Goose vodka. I wonder if they would agree to be a NECA Preferred Sponsor.
Did everyone see president-elect Rex Ferry up on stage playing an inflatable guitar during the Opening Reception at Navy Pier? I have pictures.
- President-elect Rex Ferry
No doubt this was one of NECA’s best Conventions ever. Take Bob Colgan’s word for it. In our 100 year history he’s been to over half of them, so he should know.