The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) is proud to be considered the trusted voice of the electrical construction industry that brings power, light and communication technology to buildings and communities across the United States. During my time as NECA president, I have seen the impact our members have on important matters every day.
As I’m sure you are aware, our growing reach extends to the nation’s capital. Recently, Greg Long, a longtime NECA member and an electrician since 1979, testified on behalf of NECA at a congressional hearing where he discussed the effect of federal change order delays on small businesses.
In 1990, Long established Long Electric Co. in Napa, Calif. Small contractors such as his pay out of pocket for employees, equipment, materials and taxes, and financing the work performed pursuant to the change order, while agencies delay payment for the work performed. Long told House members this creates an unsustainable, financially unstable situation for contractors and subcontractors.
Using this national platform and engaging elected representatives on both sides of the political aisle is vital.
Unfortunately, job creation progress has been modest. In May, typically the start of a busy season for specialty construction, the sector contracted by 1,200 jobs. Leaders in Washington must act immediately to pass a large-scale infrastructure bill to put Americans back to work. A tax-reform package, if implemented correctly, could also boost the construction industry.
NECA is a charter member of the Construction Employers of America, which is composed of associations that represent more than 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. We participated in a press conference promoting National Infrastructure Week and will continue to advocate for policies that strengthen the trades and build new opportunities for contractors.
Another important event on the NECA calendar is the Labor Relations Conference, held in Minneapolis in June. Meetings and breakout sessions were bracketed by two highly respected speakers, Alex Willis and Ed Brodow, on leadership and negotiations. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Lonnie Stephenson spoke to members about how the IBEW and NECA can best work together to grow the organized sector of the electrical construction industry. That concern must be addressed, and I am confident we are moving in the right direction.
As summer rolls on, I want to mention NECA 2017 Seattle. Early registration is open to the entire industry and goes until Aug. 1 at www.necaconvention.org. As I know from my experience over the years, our annual convention and trade show more than lives up to its billing as the electrical construction industry’s premier event. You won’t want to miss this year’s activities in the Pacific Northwest.
While not without challenges, I believe the first half of this year has been fruitful for ECs. I will continue to represent the NECA community with a steady hand and a clear vision. NECA remains committed to being a force for positive change and celebrating the accomplishments that will benefit the country in the months ahead.