In America and around the world, the energy landscape is changing at a swift pace. Change isn’t always easy, but you can count on the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and its members to be at the forefront of those exciting developments. It has been a busy few months.


Held in late June, the first NECA Energy Study Mission meeting was sold out. (If you missed this year’s meeting, NECA will offer the Energy Study Mission again in 2017.) The event kicked off at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. A tour featured the lab’s Science and Technology Facility and its Energy Systems Integration Facility, which support research on solar cells, thin-film photovoltaic (PV) and nanostructure as well as research on the relationships between electricity, thermal and fuel systems, and data and information networks, among other initiatives. Attendees also heard from resident researchers and notable experts in the field.


This new meeting series explores cutting-edge energy projects across the country to educate contractors on emerging markets for business. A new energy project I want to highlight is the Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute in Southern California, which you might have read about in this magazine or on ECmag.com. The building dedication in early June was attended by members of the business and political worlds and leaders in the electrical contracting industry.


Los Angeles NECA and IBEW Local No. 11 are pioneering net-zero-plus strategies to address how to design, finance, build, operate and evaluate commercial building projects. The institute is an industry training leader, educating a workforce in advanced technologies and net-zero-plus strategies to provide sustainable, secure careers. In addition to bottom-line energy use, net-zero-plus strategies account for energy security, grid stability, emergency response, reduced operating costs and improved return on investment.


And that’s not all. Recently, NECA and the IBEW jointly sponsored an exhibit booth at the 2016 IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Transmission & Distribution Conference in Dallas. This conference happens every two years and gathers more than 700 companies, including the top 20 utilities. In addition to our booth, a number of individual NECA contractors were in attendance.


NECA has long emphasized the importance of business development and helping our members expand in a host of areas. Make sure to attend the NECA Business Development meeting this fall at NECA 2016 Boston, our annual convention, where you will learn how the following practices can help you grow your business: distinguishing yourself from your competition, not waiting for bids to come to you, adding value as an energy solutions contractor and expert in emerging technologies, and thinking business development in the field and in the office.


As you can see, in the energy sector alone, there are a variety of ways to get involved with NECA and the electrical contracting industry. Now is the time to do your part.