Year in Review — NECA-IBEW Electricians make powerful impact in community

NECA-IBEW Electricians demonstrated its might in 2014 through high-profile Mahoning Valley construction projects, significant contributions to the local community and individual accolades among its members.

Member contractor VEC, Inc. of Girard performed the electrical work at the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, which opened this year. One of the ways it secured the contract was its ability to do Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3D virtual construction of complex design projects before they’re physically built. BIM software reduces uncertainties and potential issues during actual construction, and incorporates time and cost accuracy into a project’s design and execution.

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“Joe” Dickey Electric helped install the underground electrical and solar panels that comprised a 2.2 megawatt array at GM Lordstown.

“Joe” Dickey Electric of North Lima installed the underground wiring and ground-mounted solar panels for a 6-acre, 2.2 megawatt solar array at GM Lordstown. The massive array, which is tied into the assembly plant’s power grid and is the automaker’s largest in the western hemisphere, can be viewed from the Ohio Turnpike.

“Our member contractors’ work at the Racino and GM Lordstown are a testament to the trained and experienced IBEW workforce they employ, as well as to their continual investment in training and technology,” said Jack Morse, IBEW Local 573 business manager. “We take a back seat to nobody when it comes to our capabilities to handle the most sophisticated of electrical work.”

Member contractors were also active in the community. In addition to supporting numerous civic and charitable causes with financial contributions and donations of labor, they played pivotal roles in two high-profile local projects, in particular.

NECA-IBEW Electricians representatives presented a check for funds used in the construction of the new Veterans Center on the YSU campus.
NECA-IBEW Electricians representatives presented a check for funds used in the construction of the new Veterans Center on the YSU campus.

The new YSU Veterans Center construction was completed this year on campus, due in part to a significant financial contribution by NECA-IBEW Electricians. Also, Dickey Electric and IBEW Local 64 led the electrical system installation at a Habitat for Humanity veteran’s build home in Austintown, another project supported by the entire membership.

“Giving back to our communities is at the core of what we do as union electricians and contractors,” said Jim Burgham, IBEW Local 64 business manager. “Whenever we’re in a position to contribute to a cause that’s important to our members we’re proud to participate.”

Burgham himself also made news this year when he was appointed to a prominent leadership position within the IBEW national organization. In August he became the first local member to serve on the IBEW’s 8-person International Executive Council.

VEC Owner and President Rex Ferry was honored with a “lifetime achievement award” from that national NECA organization when he was presented the Pritchard Award in July. The award recognizes individuals who’ve advanced the electrical industry beyond the normal call of duty during their careers. Dickey Electric’s Joe Dickey, Jr. is a previous winner, as well.

VEC Chief Operating Officer Chris Jaskiewicz earned the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber’s Spirit of Excellence Award in March. The award recognizes both professional accomplishments and community service activity.

Finally, the Mahoning Valley NECA chapter saw a change in leadership in December. Upon Executive Director Tom Travers’ retirement at the end of 2014, new chief Jack Savage took the reins. Savage is an attorney and Mahoning Valley native who was with Manchester, Bennett, Powers & Ullman in Youngstown.