NECA 2008 Chicago Draws Record-Breaking Crowds

October 23, 2008

Thousands Attend 3-Day Event; Green Building Still a Priority

Thousands of electrical contracting professionals took in management seminars, product-and-services exhibits, general sessions and special entertainment over three days at the convention and trade show of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) in Chicago, Oct. 4-7.

NECA 2008 Chicago broke all previous attendance records for NECA's largest annual event, and Beth Ellis, NECA Executive Director, Convention/Exposition, wasn't surprised.

"We doubled the number of technical workshops offered at the NECA Show, and we had more pre-convention workshops than ever before," Ellis said. "NECA 2008 Chicago was dedicated to putting electrical contractors in touch with the information and the contacts they need to make their businesses more productive. We bring all aspects of the industry together in one location for one great event – and that saves them time and money!"

Interest in green building continues to have a major impact on the electrical industry. NECA 2008 Chicago included numerous resources for electrical contractors developing energy solutions for clients with sustainable building goals. It marked the first time NECA has partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to produce “LEED for New Construction Technical Review,” a full-day program for contractors and project managers. Other well-attended workshops on LED lighting and business opportunities in solar photovoltaic installations affirmed NECA’s decision to expand, for the first time in 2008, to two full days of educational programs prior to the convention.

The NECA Show featured over 300 exhibitors from across the electrical construction industry and included the Green Alley, a section devoted to all-things-sustainable. The Green Alley got considerable traffic, thanks in part to a solar panel installation demo set up by IBEW Local 11 from the Los Angeles area.

“I think this was the best trade show so far,” commented NECA member Lew Frain of Con J. Franke Electric Inc. of Stockton, California. “I’ve been coming to the NECA Show for years now, and there’s a new energy running through everyone. I think there are lots of new products and new vendors to explore. It’s a sign of how much the entire industry has expanded.”

Convention-goers enjoyed the improvisational humor of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe for Sunday’s opening general session. Special sessions on Monday included a forum on labor relations issues and an eye-opening panel discussion on counterfeit electrical products. As Tuesday’s keynote speaker, NBC’s Bob Costas entertained the NECA crowd with stories from his sports casting career, and a special concert by Bruce Hornsby, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder closed out the event in style on Tuesday evening.

Plans are already underway for NECA's next convention and trade show which will be held in Seattle, Sept. 12-15, 2009. Preliminary meeting information for NECA 2009 Seattle attendees and exhibitors, plus highlights from NECA 2008 Chicago, can be found on

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