News about the events and learning opportunities planned for NECA 2007 San Francisco are featured in both the Industry Watch and NECA Notes sections of the magazine this month. This double exposure indicates that excitement is heating up. Now is the time for all industry participants who are interested in becoming more productive, competitive and profitable to register.

I have attended quite a few NECA conventions and trade shows and have invariably learned something at each of them that could be applied to improving my business. I can assure you that they get better every year.

Let me explain with a few words about the NECA Show. If I discussed all the innovations on tap for NECA’s convention, it would require several pages in addition to the one reserved for this column. It also would not be as relevant to readers who are not NECA-member contractors, however, our show is open to everyone involved with electrical contracting—company owners, managers, journeyman and apprentice electrical workers—all those, in fact, who support our industry in any way.

With about 280 of the leading manufacturers, suppliers and industry service-providers already signed on as exhibitors, NECA 2007 San Francisco will undoubtedly be the greatest electrical industry showcase of the year. But, is it progressive? You bet!

What you will see there will be each exhibitor’s best and most recent product and service offerings. These products range from the 2007–2008 versions of equipment for installation and staple items that electrical contractors use on the job—from alarm systems, backup generators and ballasts all the way down the alphabet to wiring devices and z-axis drivers. You’ll also see merchandise that contractors will use increasingly as they break into new technology-driven markets, including state-of-the-art solar cells, telecommunication devices, and voice-data systems. Obviously, the emphasis on the “latest and greatest” is even more intense in the New and Featured Products Room.

That’s why smart showgoers spend time talking with exhibitors to learn all they can about their products and services. An overwhelming majority of past attendees (76 percent) rate face-to-face interaction with potential vendors or suppliers as very or extremely important. In fact, the average length of time spent exploring the show floor is seven hours, and more than 50 percent of attendees visit the NECA Show during all three days.

Of course, taking full advantage of the NECA Show also means attending your choice of the technical workshops that are included in the price of admission (a mere $75). As explained in last month’s issue, these are 50-minute interactive sessions presented by exhibitors to give attendees the opportunity to learn more about installation techniques and the capabilities of electrical products, software and business services.

“Progressive” certainly applies to the workshops offered in San Francisco. In addition to sessions on lighting and power technologies, there will be a whole track devoted to integrated building systems and programs providing solar technical education. And, on “Think Green” day (Sunday, Oct. 7), there will be a number of programs addressing renewable energy solutions, so you will be able to see the latest solar, wind and other energy-efficient technologies in the “Green Alley” at the NECA Show. You will also be able to attend workshops to learn about how green building pertains to new design and installation opportunities.

So, I advise you to get over to www.necashow.org as soon as possible to register. Our trade show in San Francisco this fall will be the best electrical industry exposition you’ve ever experienced—at least until NECA 2008 Chicago!

Milner Irvin
President, NECA