Posted on Jul 19, 2007
John M Grau
I just voted in an important election, but it had nothing to do with politics. ELECTRI International, NECA's foundation, held its meeting to review the 2008 research proposals last week near Dallas. The ELECTRI Council is made up of representatives from major contributors to the Foundation – NECA members, chapters, manufacturers, distributors, software vendors, and NECA itself. That's where my vote came in.
The selection process is an interesting one. First, more than 70 researchers submitted a brief outline of their proposed projects to the Foundation. A committee then winnowed the 48 proposals down to 10, which were sent out to the full Council. In Dallas, each of the selected researchers was given 20 minutes to explain his or her proposed project and answer questions from the council members.
The researchers were dismissed, and the Council members gathered around tables to analyze and discuss each proposal the next day. Each review team shared their thoughts with the whole group. Then the voting started.
Based on a formula which approximates the earnings available from the Foundation’s endowment, we could spend up to $770,000 on projects this year. In the end, six projects were chosen at a cost of around $670,000. The winning research projects will produce studies on effective project management, the role of electrical contractors on LEED projects, local apprenticeship program best practices, effectively recruiting and training the supervisory workforce, and implementing lessons learned from the market recovery initiative in Florida.
Since its inception in 1989, ELECTRI International has spent over $6 million on more than 100 research projects which are either completed or underway. You can get the full story by going to the foundation’s website, www.electri.org. The Foundation has been and is a unique and major asset for the electrical contracting industry. Its benefits are almost incalculable. While I only had one vote in last week's election, I was honored to cast it for the future of our industry.