by Wayne John
The annual NECA Convention and Trade Show landed in Las Vegas for the first time since 1998. The event was held Sept. 28th-October 2nd at the atypical venue of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It was a refreshing change with plenty of exhibit space. The parking was more available and even free; helping to draw more show-goers.
Over 5,000 registered attendees visited 307 exhibitors in the main hall. Beth Margulies, the Director of Communications for NECA, stated that this was their largest show since 2008, when the event was held in Chicago. Electrical News had a large presence at the Show. With its own booth and six of their personnel handing out copies of the EN paper, offering free giveaways and walking the exhibit floor, virtually all of the booths were visited by at least one EN representative.
Pre-trade show technical workshops and educational clinics were in abundance before and during the convention. Geared to contractors, buyers, specifiers and other industry professionals, the sessions covered many trade segments such as Smart-Grid Challenges, Lighting Control and Power Solutions. The Energy and Safety Forums also offered many educational options.
Most of the major industry manufacturers were in attendance; along with many new exhibitors investing in the visibility that only the NECA Show can provide. At the 2011 event in San Diego, over 72% of attendees stated that NECA is the only one that they attend year over year.
Showstopper Showcase, the well-received and prominent area of the trade show, featured manufacturer’s new products and solutions. This year, over 100 exciting product innovations were highlighted. There were state-of-the-art estimating software solutions, testers & tools, as well as brilliant but simple products to make installations easier for the contractor.
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ opened the General Session with a standing-room only discussion of current political affairs that kept everyone entertained and enlightened. The Closing General Session featured Peter Diamandis; Founder of the X Prize Foundation. He shared his ideas about what the future will be like as we continue space exploration; as well as education and energy innovations.
NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) is an organization designed to serve the needs of the electrical industry. From their first convention held in 1901, the annual event has been invaluable to the electrical industry benefitting not only contractors but also distributors, manufacturer reps and manufacturers.
NECA’s motto for the expo is “It’s the Show for Those That Power the World!” The next annual meeting and trade show will be held in Washington, D.C. from October 12-15, 2013. To learn more about NECA, visit www.necanet.org.