Though the Blizzard of 2016 might suggest otherwise, spring is closer than you think. You know the cliche about spring: it’s a time of renewal, and with that comes opportunity. While we aren’t quite there yet, this issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR focuses on two types of revitalization we often see in the construction industry: renovation and retrofitting.

While working with new buildings is an exciting challenge in its own right, it’s just as important, if not more so, to focus on what can be done to take the old and make it new again. In this issue, several articles explore this topic, including an in-depth look at the renovations of two Illinois landmarks (“This Old Building,” by Susan Bloom). Many of you will be familiar with Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, but the article also discusses the historic White House in Barrington, Ill.

No doubt some of you have worked on cool renovation projects of your own, and we’d like to hear about them. Send your stories to us on Facebook ( and Twitter­­­ (, and we will share some of our favorites. If you can provide pictures, that would be an added bonus. We always want to hear what our readers are working on, and we encourage you to keep the feedback coming.

In addition, we recently started an Instagram account (username: ecmagdotcom). We’ve already posted some cool stuff—including Christmas light displays we saw on a recent trip to Europe—and we’re hoping to put up even more in the year to come. There are many ways for you to connect with us, and we promise to make it worth your while.

In the meantime, though, we hope you enjoy all of the content available in this issue, including a feature on lighting retrocommissioning, a profile of a Colorado stadium renovation, and Jeff Griffin’s “History of the Electric Drill."

Funny story about that. The Smithsonian has the original Black + Decker electric drill from 1916. Our offices are just outside Washington, D.C., so we thought we would hop downtown and see the drill for ourselves and perhaps snap a picture or two for the article. When we got there, we asked a nice woman at the information desk where the drill might be. She opened a fold-out map and directed us toward an exhibit on machinery, which was right next to an exhibit on lighting. In short, if you’re an electrical contractor, this is where you’d go at the National Museum of American History. It’s all on the first floor. Very convenient.

As it turns out, we approached that area of the museum and found a darkened corridor. A nearby security guard explained these exhibits were temporarily closed. Why?

Power outage.

It seems the Smithsonian could use the services of an electrical contractor. Like the changing seasons, it may be ready for renewal (of electrical systems). Now, if only spring could get here a bit sooner.