When you're in electrical contracting, there are any number of trade associations you can become involved in. Some of them are specific to the electrical trades, while others deal with specific areas of the electrical industry or construction in general. Which ones should you become involved with? Here's a basic rundown to help get you started.
A Quick Rundown of Electrical Contracting Trade Associations
NECA - National Electrical Contractors Association
NECA is one of the largest associations dedicated specifically to the electrical contracting industry. It weighs in heavily on standards, provides education, advocacy and business training to its members and provides events across the country for contractors to get together.
IEC – Independent Electrical Contractors
The IEC focuses on independent contractors and promoting the merit shop system. Its mission is to deliver the highest level of quality to its members to ensure the industry is served by professionals with the best possible quality and expertise.
FEC – Federated Electrical Contractors
The FEC is the first international association on our list, covering not only North America from coast to coast, but also a number of other countries. It works to create better quality in the industry through the international community.
ALA - American Lighting Association
Focusing on the lighting sector specifically, the ALA provides specialized support for its members, giving them information on new technologies, access to industry leaders and a wide range of services vital to their success in the sector.
ASIS - American Society for Industrial Security
ASIS also serves a specialized sector of the electrical industry, specifically security. Its focus is delivering leadership and excellence in the security industry.
TIA – Telecommunications Industry Association
FOA - Fiber Optic Association
The FOA provides their members with information specific to fiber optics, including information on finding jobs, provides training, administers certification and helps professionals network in this sector of the industry.
ASES – American Solar Energy Society
ASES is America's largest and most established solar power association. It's unique in that it combines both professionals and enthusiasts in its ranks, with a mission to move the U.S. to 100% renewable energy.
ISES – International Solar Energy Society
ISES has very similar goals to ASES and has the same mission of 100% renewable energy production, but is focused on a worldwide scale rather than a national one.
SEPA – Solar Electric Power Association
Though SEPA is focused strongly on utilities and consumers, it provides significant information on advancements, standards development and networking opportunities that professionals in the electrical industry use to their benefit.
AWEA – American Wind Energy Association
Much like other renewable energy associations, the AWEA focuses on delivering market information, resources, education and industry news to its membership to encourage the growth of wind energy resources. Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the U.S., making this a good association to network for future work.
ABC – American Builders & Contractors
Focused on overall construction, ABC is the largest construction association in the U.S. It focuses on improving the industry's standing, weighs in on law and legal issues and provides a wide range of resources and benefits to its membership. It can include general contractors, subcontractors and independent tradesmen.
ASA – American Subcontractors Association
Like the ABC, the ASA provides a wide range of benefits to its members, but is focused solely on subcontractors. It provides assistance with contracts, legal issues, education and advocacy. It is unusual in that it does not have local chapters, but provides meetings around the country through a central office.
NAHB – National Association of Home Builders
The NAHB focuses on the residential side of construction, providing its members with economic forecasts for the industry, news, education and information on new products and techniques being used in home construction. It gives you a great opportunity to network with other home building professionals in your area.
ASPE – American Society of Professional Estimators
Focused on the estimation side of the industry, ASPE provides education, standards development, professional certification and resources for estimators in many industries. This allows you to see what techniques and processes are working well in similar industries, letting you grow your estimating knowledge and methodology.
PCE – Professional Cost Estimators Association of America
PCE provides a narrower focus than other cost estimating associations by focusing specifically on the construction industry. It provides education, networking and other benefits to its members while promoting excellence, integrity and ethics in the construction estimating sector.
AEE – Association of Energy Engineers
The AEE promotes the science and education of energy engineering in all areas of the energy industry, from research and development to energy management and power distribution. It is often at the very top of the industry in terms of new technology and information in the electrical sector.
IES – Illuminating Engineering Society
The IES has been built up over the past century to promote excellence in the lighting sector of the electrical industry. It provides education, member development and resources to help its members excel in the lighting industry.
USGBC – U.S. Green Building Council
Focused on sustainability in construction, electrical contractors can gain excellent information and resources for improving energy efficiency and renewable resources from the USGBC, which also oversees the LEED certification process.
Only you can decide which of these associations are right for your business to participate in. By using your association membership to network, you can often find new opportunities and jobs that you would otherwise have remained unknown to you. But that doesn't mean you need to spend all your time in the office doing paperwork! Esticom's capabilities allow you to tie in your electrical estimating,
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