I’ve learned throughout my career to embrace change and the technological advances that come with it. It isn’t always easy, so I’ve had to do it at my own speed. But it’s a necessity in the electrical contracting industry, and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has stepped up to lead the way.

NECA has a variety of tools and apps to help you be more productive, be more competitive and bring in business. In this month’s column, I provide a rundown of NECA’s offerings, whether you are using a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, or any of the other tools with which you access information and stay up to date.

Like the rest of the industry, NECA has developed multiple products for smartphones and tablets—better known as “apps”—that are both convenient and easy to use. These apps, available now to download for Apple iOS and Android devices, include the following: 

• The NECA News app: Stay on top of what’s happening in the industry with this app. It updates constantly, so you can check out what’s new at NECA every day. If you’re only interested in specific topics, you can filter the articles and stories that way. Browse articles, videos and tweets with categories ranging from green construction and safety to labor relations and government affairs.

• The NECA Advocacy app: Speaking of government affairs, there are plenty of things happening in our nation’s capital. This app provides you with the tools you need to become an issue advocate by promoting an issue or cause on Capitol Hill and simultaneously enables you to create a “public echo” back in your home states and legislative districts. You can organize and promote congressional meetings, review NECA talking points, watch issue-specific videos and access information about your senators and representatives.

• The Safety Meeting app: This app is designed to streamline the process of holding safety meetings and delivering required job-site-safety talks. It includes hundreds of general safety talks and NECA’s customer safety talks for inside and line industries. There’s also a useful web portal for the office that enables companies to efficiently administrate employees, and it provides real-time accounting of safety meetings held in the field.

• Conference apps: NECA holds several major conferences throughout the year, including the NECA Convention & Trade Show, NECA Now and the NECA Safety Conference. Each event has an app that will help you make the most of your trips.

• ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine app: Last year, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR make an app version of the magazine to supplement the print and online offerings. It features a page-by-page version of the monthly magazine; a text-only, mobile-friendly version; and a hybrid solution.

Other tools available to members on NECA’s website include our Best Practice Database, where you can browse best practices, policies, procedures and agreement language collected by the NECA’s labor relations office from local agreements from around the country; our Wage Database, a collection of full text agreements, wages, fringe benefit contribution amounts, and list of clauses for the various agreements and divisions of participating chapters; and our Labor Relations Resources, the place to view agreements, pattern agreement guides, CLRC data and much more.

For purchase in the NECA Store, NECAWORKS is exclusively available for NECA contractors and offers the fundamental tools and information links to “screen” a project. Using data supplied by you and your client, it determines a benefit/cost ratio for projects you intend to bid. Also, be sure to check out NECA E-CAP, which removes the obstacles to the implementation of your energy retrofit projects by seamlessly integrating the inclusion of best-practice project surety, project finance structuring and project funding solutions into your project-development process.

If you have trouble finding any of these resources, don’t hesitate to use the search function located at the top of www.necanet.org. Please take advantage of everything we have to offer, and NECA will continue to address emerging technology trends in as they arise.