General Sessions

Opening General Session


Businessman, Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker Sunday, September 28  •  10:15 am

gardner-featureSix years before founding his own brokerage firm, Chris Gardner was “fighting, scratching, and crawling my way out of the gutter with a baby on my back.”  The subject of the blockbuster memoir and film “The Pursuit of Happyness,” he worked through homelessness and single fatherhood to gain an internship at Dean Witter Reynolds and later became one of Bear Stearns’ top earners. In 1987, he established Gardner Rich & Co. in Chicago. Today, he is a multimillionaire, international businessman, philanthropist, and motivational speaker, sharing what he has learned and why passion is prerequisite for success. Catch his passion at our Opening General Session. Gardner will sign his book in the NECA booth on the Show floor after he speaks. Books will be available for purchase.

Labor Relations Special Session

Monday, September 29  •  10:00am

Workforce development continues to shape our evolving industry.  NECA will take a hard look at the labor relations issues that matter to our members in a special session, bringing together the leaders that make decisions and tough choices that keep our industry moving forward.

“Technology, Training and Addressing the Worker Shortage”

Leaders in the electrical construction industry, including IBEW President Ed Hill and Electrical Training Alliance Executive Director Mike Callanan, will join NECA 2014 Chicago attendees to showcase new state-of-the-art training and delivery systems. They will discuss how we can use these assets to attract and train more qualified workers to meet the projected growth in our industry. The IBEW has made organizational changes to increase their emphasis on organizing and recruiting new apprentices, skilled electrical workers and contractors in emerging markets. There will be a detailed presentation with time allotted for questions from the audience.

This is a session you do not want to miss because it sets the stage for the future success of our industry.

Closing General Session


Former Navy SEAL Team Leader  |  Tuesday, September 30  •  1:15 pm

RobOneill-featureWith most of his career shrouded in a classified cloak, Rob O’Neill kept America safe as he deployed more than a dozen times and held leadership roles in more than 400 combat missions in four different theaters of war. A Navy SEAL team leader, he trained more than 800 special operations and tactical operators, was involved in many of our nation’s most important military actions, and earned more than 52 honors. In his talk to NECA conventioneers, he’ll translate his elite SEAL training and combat experience into high-impact, actionable insights on leadership, decision-making, operating in uncertain environments, and becoming the “best of the best.”