Continuity and Progress: Moving on and Moving Forward

Starting next month, the presedency of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)—and this column—will be in the capable hands of Rex Ferry of Valley Electrical Consolidated in Ohio. Rex is a long-time friend and professional colleague, and I’m extremely confident about the leadership he will bring to the association and our industry.

Having worked closely with him over the past year to prepare for this transition, I assure you that the successful programs, initiatives and activities now in place at NECA will continue to move forward, enhanced by his perspective. However, new issues and new ways of dealing with them will no doubt emerge.

Over the past three years, these columns have looked at some of the big issues affecting our industry and how NECA is addressing them. Of course, there’s a lot going on at NECA that doesn’t get much coverage in this magazine.

For example, much of my time in office has involved working with the leadership of our industry’s labor force to make the NECA-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers team even more productive and competitive. I am pleased with the tremendous strides we’ve made. Though I realize much of the groundwork was laid before I took office and much work in this area is ongoing, I am proud of whatever role I performed in securing solid progress, just as I am proud of doing my part to improve communication between members, individual contractors, NECA chapters and the national office.

“Continuity and progress” was the theme of my introductory column in January 2006, and they are hallmarks of our organization and industry. Evidence of progress—built on a solid foundation of past achievement—is all around us.

For example, look how green we have become. When I first joined NECA’s executive committee, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program was just getting off the ground and was not widely known. Now, LEED is sprouting up everywhere, and NECA is a full-fledged partner with the U.S. Green Building Council in imparting the education and information contractors need to succeed in new and emerging markets.

But I think the most revealing sign of progress can be seen in how NECA addresses the human element. NECA is not only a partner in developing our industry’s highly trained, highly skilled productive work force; we’re also building a solid, diverse talent pool from which our industry can grow its future leaders and managers.

And, while NECA has set its sights on the future, our organization also is working hard to meet current challenges by enabling contractors to maximize their effectiveness in the legislative and political process, through research and educational efforts focused on new ways of getting and doing business, in the development of effective codes and standards, and through a whole host of other activities.

In other words, a lot of good things are happening, and it’s only the start. Or, rather, it’s another link in that chain of continuity and progress to which I referred.

So, for now, I’d like to close by thanking my fellow NECA contractors for allowing me to serve as your president. Thanks also to NECA’s executive committee and staff. I have been overwhelmed and deeply honored by the trust and support you’ve given me.

And thanks to all members of the electrical contracting industry everywhere. I’ve enjoyed visiting with you each month, and I hope I’ve given you a few things to think about. You’ve certainly returned the favor.

As for me, I plan to continue doing my part to help our industry and association advance. Therefore, although the time has come to bid you “Goodbye,” I hope you don’t mind if, instead, I simply say, “See you around.”

About the Author

Milner Irvin

President, NECA
Milner Irvin is the former President of NECA. He served from 2005–2008.

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