Posted on Sep 26, 2007
John M Grau
Question: What are the top concerns of electrical contractors worldwide? Answer: Finding enough skilled craftsmen and getting paid by general contractors.
Question: What is the latest worldwide buzzword for work opportunities for electrical contractors? Answer: Sustainable construction
These were the main issues of discussion at a conference of the European electrical and mechanical contractors associations last week in Rome. Milner Irvin, Russ Alessi and I participated in the conference, along with our counterparts from Australia and South Africa. (This definitely wasn’t a pleasure trip. I arrived in Rome on Wednesday just in time for the opening afternoon session, and I was back in Washington on Saturday afternoon.)
What we learned is the electrical contractors all over the world see great potential in responding to global environmental concerns and challenges. Saving energy and reducing carbon production in the construction and operations of buildings is a task well-suited to the technical capabilities of mechanical and electrical contractors.
How to best position ourselves for these opportunities was the theme of nearly every conference speaker. As with most business matters, there were no magic solutions. In the end, I think it will come down to a matter of awareness, education and training.
NECA can play a vital role in this regard for electrical contractors in the U.S. Through our research foundation ELECTRI International
and other sources, we stay on top of the latest trends in markets and technology. We can use MEI
, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine
and other communication vehicles to educate and inform the industry. Finally, the NJATC
can develop the training resources needed to bring our workforce up to speed.
A great example is the solar technician text recently developed and released by the NJATC. It’s the only book of its kind anywhere. Our challenge is to put it to use.
By the way, I did have time for a quick walk through St Peter’s Basilica during my 72 hours in Rome. It was certainly one of the most impressive structures in the world, and it was built over 400 years ago. That’s quite a construction legacy.
Next stop: San Francisco for the NECA Convention and Show.