NECA TransmissionsNotes from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry

Honoring Emerson Hamilton

Posted on Sep 12, 2007 by John M Grau

Emerson Hamilton was one of those special people who will always be remembered for the lasting impact they have had on our industry. Emerson was co-owner of a family electrical contracting firm in Eugene, Oregon. He was active in NECA and rose through the leadership ranks, serving NECA National President from 1986-1989. I became NECA’s chief staff officer during Emerson’s first year as president, and we developed a very close and special friendship over the years. 

Emerson brought the professional management skills of his MBA degree and the savvy of his political consulting work to his role as NECA’s contractor leader. He believed in strategic planning, progressive change, and open communication. We worked together to usher in a new era of NECA leadership.

Emerson later sold his business and went on to become manager of the Oregon Pacific Cascade Chapter. A couple years later, I convinced him to come on board with NECA’s national staff as Executive Director of NECA’s Western Region. Once again, he brought all his knowledge and skills to bear in this new role in serving the association and industry.

Emerson died in 2004, just a short time after his retirement. He is still well remembered throughout the organization, and especially by his many friends from District 6. That’s why they wanted to do something special to honor him.

At this year’s Board of Governors meeting, Ordinary Proposal #2 calls for support for a newly created “Emerson Hamilton Scholarship Fund” within the ELECTRI International Foundation. The fund will provide scholarships for both students and faculty of university construction management programs and NECA Student Chapters. 

The creation of the fund is not just a nice gesture. It will play a critical role in NECA’s effort to address the shortage of young management talent available for our contracting firms. A plan to use our student chapters as a resource for new managers is being formulated by a Foundation researcher from Oregon State University. Scholarships from the Emerson Hamilton Fund will be one means of encouraging these programs and creating a vital link to our industry.

So once again, Emerson Hamilton will be part of an important, progressive program designed to advance and improve our industry. It is the way he would want to be remembered. 

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NECA Transmissions is a collaborative effort from CEO John Grau and NECA staff to provide insight and feedback on key issues from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry.

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