Posted on Jan 14, 2010
John M Grau
Meeting in not-so-warm Florida last week, NECA’s Executive Committee reviewed and approved NECA’s Budget and Plan of Operations for 2010. Here are some highlights:
While expecting a continued decline in revenue, the association has an active and aggressive agenda for 2010. The cutbacks made in 2009 helped us stay within spending limits, and we expect to be financially stable this year. We anticipate tapping 7 percent of the reserve fund to balance the budget.
We expect some very positive labor relations progress this year. NECA and the IBEW are dead serious about moving forward to grow our industry. Members of the NLMCC (leaders from both organizations) are meeting in early February to assess where we are and to decide what we need to do next. There will be a continued push for expansion of small works agreements, portability of manpower, and use of the CW/CE classifications.
In that regard, NECA is developing a program to help our members understand and take advantage of these labor relations tools. We’re learning from electrical contractors using the CW/CE classifications about what changes are needed to successfully manage a lesser-skilled workforce.
The NECA Management Education Institute (MEI), which is responsible for this project, is also working on a new introductory foreman training course. It will dovetail with the more extensive Effective Supervision courses but can also serve as a basic leadership training course for lead journeymen. In addition, the MEI is putting together a networking and mentoring program for women electrical contractors.
Our government affairs program is looking ahead to the big legislative issues coming down the pike after the health care bill is resolved. Pension reform, taxes, and energy are at the top of the list. After a banner year for ECPAC in 2009, we are planning an even bigger push in 2010. This is the year to get the right people elected to Congress and to support our efforts to protect small businesses and promote policies that grow our industry.
A special Energy Solutions Task Force, formed last year, has been expanded. It will continue to implement the recommendations from a master plan developed in 2008. This year, we will focus on the new Energy Auditing training course and developing a “funding source” matrix that contractors can use to help customers pay for energy solutions projects.
Safety also takes a front-burner position with the creation of a new contractor safety orientation training program. There will also be several webinars focused on NEC and NECA safety materials.
NECA continues its support for the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS). In addition to updating some of the existing standards, we will begin the process of creating four new standards. We are also working with the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association to develop a CEIS version of the NEIS for Canada.
The ELECTRI foundation is meeting next week to select up to $200,000 worth of new research projects. In addition to completing many other research projects in the pipeline, ELECTRI will once again sponsor the Talent Initiative program that encourages college students to seek careers in the electrical contracting industry.
Personally, I will be involved with a financial futures task force appointed by NECA President Rex Ferry to address NECA’s future revenue needs. Rex and I are also planning to experiment with a few electronic town hall meetings, where we hope to foster an open dialogue with NECA members in various areas of the country.
And of course our showcase event is the annual NECA convention and trade show, October 2-5 in Boston.
Well, these are just the highlights of the highlights. Look for a lot coming out of NECA this year.