Illinois Tech's NECA Chapter Keeps Winning Awards, and This One’s a Biggie



By Casey Moffitt

Social Media Links


Illinois Institute of Technology’s National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) student chapter was announced as the winner of the 2021 Outstanding Chapter of the Year award at the NECA national convention on October 9 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Illinois Tech was named chapter of the year based on the students’ and adviser’s past work in developing the Smart Tech Lab, becoming finalists in the spring 2021 Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program’s Innovation Day, and volunteering throughout the year.

Illinois Tech was one of 14 university student chapters in the United States and Canada that entered the Electrical Contracting Innovation Challenge (ECIC). The students submitted a design proposal for a new, energy-efficient university dormitory, and a video of the project. The chapter also submitted an optional application for Outstanding Chapter of the Year. In addition to winning the Outstanding Chapter of the Year award, the Illinois Tech NECA chapter placed third in the video competition and fifth for the design proposal.

This design proposal and video were part of the 2021 spring and fall Electrical Energy and Efficiency IPRO course, which offered an overview of electrical and energy efficiency theory and strategies, with an emphasis on electrical and electronic devices, alternative energy, building automation, energy audits, and application.

An interdisciplinary team of Illinois Tech students from a variety of academic backgrounds, including industrial technology, engineering, and architecture, conducted a building energy audit to identify energy-saving measures and potential improvements to building systems that enhance energy efficiency. The team interacted with industry professionals, electrical contractors, facility managers, and equipment vendors and suppliers to draft a 50 page technical proposal for a new dormitory. The proposal was composed of several sections such as estimating, lighting, alternative energy, design, technology, and finances.

The students who attended the live event with adviser Dan Tomal, adjunct professor of industrial technology and management, were Jonathan Lumley (industrial technology and management), Kayla Kumiega (industrial technology and management), Enya Mulroy (chemistry), and Hibatullah Taher (civil engineering). Students who could not attend the live convention were able to view the convention sessions virtually. Tomal also gave a live presentation titled “Building a NECA Chapter at Your University,” which was posted as a podcast on the NECA national website. He talked about the NECA chapter and IPRO programs at Illinois Tech and the benefits of the organization to the students and university.

Any college or university with a construction management or related program that encourages students to pursue careers in the electrical construction industry is eligible to apply for NECA affiliation. NECA affiliation benefits include interaction with local NECA contractors and prospective employers, grants awarded by ELECTRI International, and expanded horizons through participation in the student service projects

The Electrical Contractors’ Association of City of Chicago (ECA) sponsored the IPRO project and covered expenses for those attending the NECA convention.

“We have had long-standing support from ECA, and we are grateful for the opportunity they afford our students to gain meaningful out-of-class experience, to compete against other universities, and to achieve recognition to our university,” Tomal says.

Tomal adds he plans to continue to facilitate the IPRO project and enter the 2022 ECIC challenge, which is scheduled to take place next October in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Chapter members who attended the conference include [from left] Hibatullah Taher (Civil Engineering), Enya Mulroy (Chemistry), Jonathan Lumley (INTM), Kayla Kumiega (INTM), NECA President David Long, and Illinois Tech adjunct professor of industrial technology and management Dan Tomal (provided)