More than 1,200 reps and manufacturers braved a Dallas ice storm and the lingering effects of omicron to attend the 2022 NEMRA Annual Conference. While the conference did have some cancellations because of the storm, Jim Johnson and his team at the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA) have to be happy with the turnout.
Attendees were treated to a robust conference program with some big changes, including virtual manufacturer group meetings held before the conference and modular meeting suites for both manufacturers and reps. The association also launched a renewed emphasis on training emerging talent in the rep world and a new partnership with the Empowering Women Mentorship Program managed by two well-known industry execs, Kathy Jo Van and Stacey Felzer.
Holding the virtual group meetings was a big success, as companies hosted 49 sessions attended by 7,000 reps and manufacturers. Having a virtual format for these meetings instead of in-person at the conference allowed more employees at reps and manufacturers to attend, including inside salespeople and product managers who might not normally attend the annual conference.
The modular meeting suites offered manufacturers and several reps expanded meeting space and a more private setting than the smaller and less-private booths. With 1,606 guest rooms and 127 suites on 27 floors, the Hilton Anatole is a huge facility, and reps liked having many of their one-on-one meetings with manufacturers in the same room so they didn’t have to trek all over the hotel.
Along with seminars by Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; Craig Wortmann, founder and executive director of the Kellogg Sales Institute; and Josh Linkner, a tech entrepreneur and best-selling author; Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for four years during the Trump Administration, spoke on how he developed the self confidence to become a neurosurgeon, author and member of the Trump cabinet.
NEMRA also offered attendees the opportunity to learn what it will take to work more closely with electrical contractors. David Long, CEO of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), gave a real-world look at how reps can work with their local distributor partners to keep contractors informed about the electrical products that can help them do their job safer, faster and more profitably.
While the savviest electrical manufacturers have spent their entire careers trying to accomplish this mission, Long says it’s more important than ever because of the chronic work shortages NECA members are experiencing. With a robust construction climate expected over the next few years, Long expects these shortages to persist. And because electrical contractors are already short-handed and often have their crews working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, or six days a week, 10 hours a day, he is worried about the absenteeism, job burnout and the safety issues that inevitably come with long hours.
Long said contractors are trying to alleviate the worker shortage by doubling down on their efforts to recruit new workers into apprenticeship programs and expanding their prefabrication shops to include new electrical systems that will preserve valuable installation time on job sites.
NEMRA’s incoming chairperson for 2022 is Corey Collins with Agents West in Irvine, CA. The 2023 NEMRA conference will be back at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, Jan. 31- Feb. 2, 2023.
IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE AT NEMRA
EM’s editors are scrambling to find out which reps won awards at the recent NEMRA conference. If we missed anyone, send along information to Jim Lucy, editor-in-chief at [email protected]. Here are the awards we have learned about so far:
Winner of this year’s NEMRA NEMMY Awards were: 2021 Partnership of the Year -Kris Haslam, Lyle W. Williams & Greg Janes, Legrand; 2021 Rep’s Choice–Atkore; 2021 Manufacturer’s Choice-JMA Group.
DeFazio Industries, Richmond, VA, received Atkore’s Circle of Excellence Award for sales performance in Virginia. The company also received the Calbond, Calbrite, and Calconduit’s Agent of the Year East and Budget Buster Awards for sales performance in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Lex Associates, Edison, NJ, won the 2021 Art Weisberg Founder’s Award from Service Wire Co.
Tower Associates, Lawrenceville, GA, was recognized by Arlington Industries with a 2021 Southern Region Sales Achievement Award.
G&G Industrial Lighting named KMS Sales Inc. as Rep of the Year.