A New President Takes Office

No, not that one. The new president referenced in the title is yours truly. The constituency I represent has a proven track record of hard work leading to solid accomplishment, and I pledge to do my best to uphold and advance it.

I officially became president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) on Jan. 1, 2009, after spending a year working closely with Milner Irvin on our association’s Executive Committee. I plan to follow in his footsteps on the path of dedicated leadership, while—like him and our predecessors in this post—working hard to improve our association and the industry it serves in light of current and emerging issues. As Milner pointed out so often in this column, there always are new challenges and new opportunities in electrical construction.

Of course, that’s a topic for another month. Or for the next 35 months. I expect we’ll have a lot to talk about over the three years I’m in office. Right now, I’d merely like to introduce myself.

I own Valley Electrical Consolidated (VEC) in Girard, Ohio, near Youngstown. VEC was founded in 1975 as a small, family business serving residential, commercial and industrial markets throughout the Mahoning Valley. One of the first things the company did after opening was to join the local NECA chapter. I wasn’t with VEC then, but I’m proud to say I was very much in the electrical contracting industry.

My career began in 1969 when I enrolled in the electrical apprenticeship program sponsored by the NECA chapter and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 573. I graduated as a journeyman in 1972 and spent the next 16 years as a wireman, foreman and general foreman in the field for various local contractors, and I worked in all areas of electrical construction. I also spent a half-dozen years in the union’s leadership.

I still attest to what I learned firsthand nearly 40 years ago—the NECA-IBEW team produces the best-trained and most highly skilled electrical contracting work force available anywhere. I still revere the organized approach to electrical construction.

I purchased VEC in 1990 and became active in NECA’s Mahoning Valley Chapter almost immediately, serving on a number of committees and in every elected office. It wasn’t long before I was active at the national level of NECA, too. Management development was one thing that caught my attention. I served on NECA’s Executive Committee as a district vice president from 2003 to 2006.

And I’m a member of the ELECTRI International Council in support of our industry’s research activities. I believe the information provided through our research foundation and the management education programs it advances are among the most valuable benefits of NECA membership. They rank right up there with opportunities to network with fellow members.

I also am a member of NECA’s Political Leadership Council. We at VEC are actively involved in supporting our local, state and federal elected officials. I believe we need to guide them in the way we feel our government should go, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they really value the opinions of the people they represent.

As for VEC? Well, it’s grown and changed, too. It’s still a family business: both of my daughters, a son-in-law, a sister, a niece, and six nephews work for the company, or, rather, companies. We diversified in 2001 with the establishment of VEC Systems Integrator, which handles low-voltage services and information technology. A couple of years later, we acquired Evets Electric, a specialty electrical contractor focused primarily on the natural gas industry.

We have gone from small family business to a nationally recognized leader in electrical installations because I’m a firm believer in taking what’s good and working hard to make it bigger and better. I hope to help accomplish this for NECA and our industry.

I truly am honored to be the next NECA president, and I thank my fellow NECA members for giving me this opportunity. I also would like to thank all ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine readers for listening and serving as a sounding board.

And, I wish you all a happy, healthy and more prosperous-than-expected New Year!

About the Author

Rex A. Ferry

NECA President
Rex Ferry was president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) from 2009 through 2011 and contributed the President's Desk column monthly.

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