How To Make the Most of the NECA Show: Pretend it’s a vacation at a luxury resort

By Andrew McCoy and Fred Sargent | Sep 11, 2023
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NECA’s first annual Service & Maintenance Conference was in June 2023 in Denver.

NECA’s first annual Service & Maintenance Conference was in June 2023 in Denver. It was a smashing success. Attendance exceeded expectations, and the two-day session earned huge praise from the audience.

The final survey of all the attendees included a question about what ­products they would be looking for at NECA 2023 Philadelphia to develop and grow their ­service and maintenance business. They cited several categories.

However, the NECA Convention and Trade Show will be bursting with so many great products and education sessions that, without a good plan of attack, no one can make the most of the exhibition.

To maximize your experience, ­especially for the benefit of service-oriented ­companies, we propose this simple strategy: pretend you are on vacation at a luxury resort. Here are five ways to do that.

1. Identify your priorities

If you were planning a luxurious getaway that included beautiful sandy beaches and unforgettable golfing (hopefully away from the sand), certain high-end resorts would match these two main priorities.

So, ask yourself, what are your priorities in attending NECA 2023 Philadelphia that correspond to your organization’s greatest needs? At the Service & Maintenance Conference, for example, a large contingent in the audience stressed that they wanted to find the best service­-oriented software.

A top priority of any service and ­maintenance business should be to ­establish a consistent flow of recurring revenues, which must continue to develop and grow. In other words, they must be scalable. Without software designed specifically to support a service and maintenance ­business, a ­company’s recurring revenues will ­unfortunately be limited. 

If one of your priorities is to ­further scale up your business, shopping for ­software is definitely in order, and NECA 2023 Philadelphia will be a great place to do that.

2. Select your destinations

With all of your priorities in mind, picking out the best places to stop in the trade show is as easy as going online in advance to identify all of the exhibitors you plan to visit and their locations. You can find descriptions of what every ­exhibitor is offering, including product descriptions and some video previews, at

You may be amazed to discover how many exhibitors will be presenting solutions geared to service and maintenance.

3. Timing is important

Well in advance of visiting a luxury resort, you may set up tee times, spa ­treatments and dinner reservations. After all, timing matters in everything.

The NECA Show spans Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Good judgment dictates paying close attention to the dates and times, especially if you’re out to ­capture as much service-related information as possible.

4. Come with some history

Before your first visit to a luxury resort, you may want to learn more about it from someone who has been there.

Before you leave for Philadelphia, why not talk to your service and maintenance team about their past experiences with exhibitors that you might plan to visit? Girded with that knowledge, you could have an even richer conversation face-to-face with folks in the exhibitor booths.

In that vein, when you check out the website for NECA 2023 Philadelphia ahead of time, in many cases you can email questions and comments to exhibitors’ representatives before you go.

5. It’s just smart planning

We have often quipped that an example of long-range planning in the electrical ­construction business could be ­characterized by the question, “Where would you all like to stop after work?” 

In fairness, of course, the helter-skelter nature of our new construction scheduling is caused, more often than not, by other contractors, tradespeople and vendors who have failed to meet their milestones, which affects ours.

Nonetheless, it’s wise to start out every new effort with a plan, and exploring the NECA Show is no exception.

This luxury ­vacation analogy illustrates the kind of thought ­process that electrical contractors could ­f­­ollow to make the most of NECA 2023 Philadelphia and the opportunity it offers to enhance the operation of their service and maintenance business. 

About The Author

MCCOY is Beliveau professor in the Dept. of Building Construction, associate director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction and director of the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech. Contact him at [email protected].


SARGENT heads Great Service Forums℠, which offers networking opportunities, business development and professional education to its membership of service-oriented contractors. Email him at [email protected].





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