Posted on May 08, 2008
John M Grau
“Get a haircut!”
I can still hear former IBEW President Jack Barry as he teased Rich Parenti about his a bit too long hairstyle back when he was director of the Midwest Region. Rich has since trimmed his locks, and Jack is no longer with us, but good-natured banter remains a hallmark of Rich’s business relationships.
A veteran NECA staffer, Rich has worked effectively with IBEW Vice Presidents and Presidents as well as leaders throughout the electrical construction industry. As Executive Director for the Eastern Region, he is responsible for a territory stretching from Maine to Maryland to Ohio and Eastern Kentucky. The region includes some of our country’s biggest metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
A native of New Jersey, Rich headed to West Virginia for college. He earned his bachelors degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and he holds a master’s degree in industrial relations from West Virginia University. In 1975, he joined the NECA Midwestern Region as a staff associate and was quickly hired as an assistant manager by the Minneapolis Chapter. He became manager of that chapter in 1981.
Rich effectively saw the Minneapolis Chapter through a number of rough labor conflicts, including two lengthy strikes while he was assistant chapter manager. He bargained all his labor agreements under strike potential. He said that experience has made his belief in the CIR even stronger.
In 1986, I hired Rich to succeed Gene Kasal as Director of the Midwestern Region After successfully serving in the Midwest Region for many years, a desire to be closer to aging parents spurred him to pursue the job as Eastern Region Executive Director. In 2002, he took over that post from Mike Barry upon his retirement, and he moved the regional office to Rhode Island.
Rich is assisted in his duties by his wife, Linda, who is the Eastern Region office manager. Rich and Linda have three children. Their daughter Jennifer is a registered nurse at the Baylor Medical Center in Houston. She is engaged to be married in September. Son Jonathan is a graduate of the construction management program at Colorado State University and is employed as a project manager in California. Justin, their youngest, was recently accepted into the IBEW-NECA NEAT program as an electrical line apprentice.
Rich Parenti is devoted to NECA and its members, and he’s proven his commitment time and time again. His hard work continues to better our industry in the Eastern Region and throughout the country.