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Navigating the NECA Show 2015: Contractors Share Best Advice

Four days – that’s how long contractors have to soak up all annual National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) convention has to offer. This year the largest professional event in the electrical contracting industry comes to San Francisco.

With hundreds of exhibitors and a sprawling trade show floor, numerous educational sessions, new product demonstrations, guest speakers, special networking events and so much more, the NECA Show is chock full of ways for contractors to learn how to grow, improve and enhance their businesses.

To help the first timers or those just looking for a way to get more out of the NECA Show, US Builders Review asked NECA member contractors for their best advice.


What advice would you have for a contractor who’s never been to a NECA Show, but will be attending in San Francisco this year?

“It’s a great event and a chance to meet peers that you may not socialize with and be able to exchange ideas. It’s refreshing to meet people that are completely outside of your area. You’ll talk to people in other parts of the county that you won’t necessarily compete against and you can all work together to find new ideas to strategically run your business.” – Jon “Wes” Treder, president and co-owner, Electricraft Inc.

“I’d say give it a try – I have found something useful every year I have attended and enough valuable information to more than cover the cost of attendance. It is very beneficial to attend the trade show on a regular basis, primarily to learn about new equipment and products to help reduce labor costs and increase productivity.” – John Benevento, president, Herbst Electric

Speaker at NECA Convention


How do you typically prepare for the NECA Show?

“I get a road map and floor plans. I also download the NECA app. We walk the whole floor and I make notes on things I want to go back and take a second look at. After the first loop, I go back and spend quite a bit of time with the vendors that I want to talk to and spend time with. This process normally takes two days, depending on the new tools and technology you want to check out. This is really why we go to the show.” – Paul Zielazienski, president, South Shore Electric.

“I sometimes discuss tool needs with warehouse managers before attendance so I know what I’m interested in will be at the show.” – John Benevento, president, Herbst Electric


What are some of your favorite or not-to-be-missed parts of the NECA Show?

“I always really look forward to the trade show portion of the convention. There are so many manufacturers there with innovative new products. I enjoy learning about new technology that could help my team back in Columbus improve on current practices.” – Brian Dew, president, Mid-City Electric Co.

“The trade show floor is the best and not-to-be missed – as a contractor we get excited to see all of the new tools and products.” – John Benevento, president, Herbst Electric

“On the trade show floor, it’s great to be able to put your hands on some of the new products that you see in a magazine, but don’t physically get to look at. By talking to the dealers you get a good idea of how those products can help save time and money. Aside from the trade show floor, there are so many different discussions you can sit in on and learn about things that are trending in the industry, particularly in terms of solar and green energy. You can see the trends and stage yourself to be at the forefront of them. – Jon “Wes” Treder, president and co-owner, Electricraft Inc.

“The can’t-miss event for me is the opening reception. It’s the best in terms of networking and so is the closing event. The guest speakers are exquisite and very entertaining. Last year in Chicago the closing speaker was a man from Seal Team Six – it’s always someone with a really interesting background. The trade show is also phenomenal with tons of new equipment.” – Ernie Badaracco, III, vice president and operations manager, Beach Electric Company Inc. 

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