Throughout the year, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) plans and puts on a host of meetings and conferences. From NECA Now to the National Legislative Conference and the NECA Safety Professionals Conference, we do our best to keep you informed. And, of course, there’s our annual convention and trade show, NECA 2016 Boston, which will be held Oct. 7–10. It’s one of the highlights of our association’s calendar and has become an exciting way to connect with the electrical contracting industry.


But you’re probably wondering, “Is attending another conference really worth the time and energy?” Some think conventions and trade shows are no longer relevant in an age when we get so much information from the internet.


Speaking from experience, I can tell you that attending meetings and conferences in person is the way to go. They are relevant because of the value that comes from one-to-one interaction. Meeting fellow contractors from around the country can be very beneficial. It might spark a new idea or help solve a problem your company has been facing.


Conventions such as NECA 2016 Boston are the best place to meet and network with thousands of your industry peers. You will discover a variety of product and service solutions as well as opportunities to explore and prepare for new markets. Training with a corps of skilled experts and instructors is a great way to grow your company’s business and boost productivity. Who doesn’t want to save time and money on the job and get more work?


On the trade show floor, NECA is proud to present the largest gathering of manufacturers and distributors showcasing thousands of solutions contractors need to thrive. The show floor is a virtual classroom, providing the latest technological advances in such areas as power supply, security, tools, integrated building systems, lighting and controls, solar/photovoltaic, and other energy markets.


Another reason to show up to conventions? They boast a strong lineup of speakers. At NECA 2016 Boston, presidential historian and best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak at the Opening General Session. She is the perfect person to turn to during a presidential election cycle. Also, getting to hear from a host of thought leaders and the industry’s best consultants really makes a trip worth it.


Let’s not forget about the experience of spending time in a city you’ve never been to before. Or maybe you have been there, and you’ve been looking for a chance to go back. The rich history of New England is one definite attraction of NECA 2016 Boston. Trying out the lobster or clam chowder, going on a whale-watching cruise or touring storied Fenway Park are just a few of the ways to become more familiar with the city.


The bottom line is, when possible, it’s important to meet in person. You never know what will happen at a convention or what you will get out of it. That’s the exciting part. Take the time to embrace industry networking opportunities and collaboration, and you will see positive results.