Posted on Jan 18, 2008
John M Grau
Mike Thompson and I may be the only people at NECA who get excited about our annual budget. I find that the process of creating the budget is one of the best methods for me to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on at this large and complex organization and to steer its overall direction.
The 2008 NECA Executive Committee held their first meeting of the year last week. This meeting is traditionally devoted to approving the annual budget and plan of operations for the association.
Our budget presentation to the committee is detailed and well-organized. A number of years ago, one of the District Vice Presidents commented that it really is more of a plan of operations than a budget, so that’s what we’ve called it that ever since.
We have an active agenda planned for 2008, including more progress on what the committee has labeled “The NECA Agenda 2007-2008.” Labor relations is a big part of the Agenda. As I’m writing this, a trial session of our new labor relations workshop series is taking place. We’re adding content to our online labor agreement and wages database every day, and our field staff is working hard to provide all the local labor relations assistance that’s requested from our chapters and members.
Workforce development is focused on apprentice recruiting and expansion of the CW/CE classification. A seminar to help members effectively use CW/CE is in the works. And since we know workforce development means bringing new managers into the industry, the ELECTRI International “Talent Initiative” will expand our recruitment efforts to colleges and universities.
We’re also continuing to work on the communications, business development and membership development priorities described in NECA Agenda. On this front, District 3 Vice President Frank Russell has agreed to explore the creation of a mentoring program for NECA members.
A new issue raised by Executive Committee members at the meeting was NECA’s support for our contractors’ safety needs. We have decided to hire a full-time safety director to improve our current safety programs and assist members and chapters to meet this need.
All told, NECA will be investing $30 million in programs and activities in 2008. Of course, it’s not how much we spend that counts, but what we do with it. Our plan of operations is ambitious. We’re going to do some big things, and we’re expecting big results. That’s why I find this whole budget process so exciting. It’s not just numbers. It’s our future.