NECA TransmissionsNotes from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry

Do Your People Help Drive Your Company’s Success?

Posted on Aug 08, 2012 by John M Grau

By Joe Salimando
Salimando is a Fairfax, Virginia-based writer and contributor to,, and Reach him at

Obviously, the answer to the question above is YES. Most contractors I’ve met will, when asked, enthusiastically provide instances where one or another of their employees –

  • comes up with remarkable ideas,
  • finds shortcuts that save time on the job, and
  • regularly creates delighted customers.

How can contractors get more information and knowledge into the heads of these important people? We think we have an answer.

It’s this year’s NECA Convention & Show, to be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Las Vegas. As it turns out, our Show is the biggest electrical industry showcase in North America.

Education is everywhere at the Convention:

  • Pre-Convention Workshops, starting Fri.. Sept. 28 and running Saturday as well.
  • The Energy Forum, Sat. the 29th, starting 1PM.
  • The Safety Forum, a new event for us, running all day Saturday and ending with a final session Sunday morning the 30th.
  • Management Workshops (open only to full Convention registrants) will be held Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings. General session attendance is included as well.

Separate Show opportunities

With more than 275 exhibiting companies and organizations, there’s not going to be enough time for one person to cover the whole Show. Think about it: If you spend 10 minutes with each exhibitor that you want/need to speak with, and our Show is open 11 hours . . . you have time for, at most, 66 exhibitors.

            . . . if you don’t each lunch, take a break, or make a phone call.

Additionally, 17 Technical Workshops are scheduled for the Show floor (we have temporary classrooms for this). These are open to all Show attendees.

SO: If you eat, make phone calls, take breaks, and go to just a few of these Workshops . . . you personally will have a lot, less time to see companies like Schneider Electric, Lutron Electronics, Graybar, and McCormick Systems.

To cover all of the ground, your company might well need to send more than two legs, two arms, and one brain.

Bringing your people

How do you cover the waterfront?

Kevin Mislin, vice president of Ferguson Electric (Buffalo NY), has found an answer for the employee-owned company (largest EC in Western New York). Each year, he takes several company estimators and project managers with him to The NECA Convention and Show.

According to Kevin, there’s usually one among the group who is a younger (newer) estimator.

“They attend the workshops, they see the products, the materials on the show floor, the tools and equipment,” Mislin said. “It’s a chance for all of us to see what’s new. In fact, for some of the time we’re there, I’ll walk the show floor with them. It’s a great investment for our company.”


Your options

If you decide to bring one or more of your people to Las Vegas, you have many options. I don’t have room here to cover all of them, so your best move might be to download the Convention brochure – a 32-page PDF.

Obviously, you can have each of your people obtain a full registration to the event.

Alternatively, you can have one or more register for specific pre-Convention events (Fri. & Sat.). Perhaps there’s one person you want to “ramp up” on Energy matters; send her or him to The Energy Forum.

OR: You might have a Safety expert on your staff; that person might benefit from The Safety Forum.

It’s possible for some or all of these people to register for the Friday and Saturday events separately, and then attend the Show Sunday (and Monday and Tuesday) – grabbing even more education on the Show floor. See the FREE Technical Session list.

Essentially, then, you can customize the “experience” of each of the people you choose to bring to The NECA Convention & Show – for his/her interests, expertise, and knowledge you want them to have.

Free Show attendance option

There’s one more thing: Many of NECA’s members have told us economic times aren’t great. Perhaps you’ll want to take one or more of your people to Las Vegas, but want to keep costs down. If you can get them there, we’ll find plenty for them to do – with absolutely ZERO cost to you for their learning experiences on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Admission to The NECA Show – three days, including a Sunday, in Las Vegas – is FREE. The admission includes the opportunity to attend one, two, or all 17 Technical Workshops (also FREE) – on a wide variety of topics.

How can your people take advantage of this opportunity?

Tell ‘em to go to Look to the upper right – click on “Register Now.” When the resulting page finishes download, you’ll see “Click here if you have a Special Admission Code.”

Use code JG12 and proceed from there.

About NECA Transmissions

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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