Coggeshall Award: Ron Cogburn
The Coggeshall Award, established in 1956 as a result of a bequest by Allan Coggeshall, honors
a NECA contractor who has made an outstanding contribution to the progress of the electrical
construction industry in the technical and training service field. Ron Cogburn of Cogburn Bros.
Electric in Jacksonville, Florida and the North Florida Chapter, NECA, was selected this year for
his innovative approach and outstanding dedication to the industry.
As owner and CEO of Cogburn Bros. Electric, Cogburn has been on the forefront of helping
mold the next generation of journeymen and apprentices. Under his leadership, the company has
supported apprenticeship through its commitment to the JATC committee for more than 20 years.
His emphasis on developing a firm and thorough knowledge base in the National Electrical Code
company-wide has helped it become one the largest and most profitable electrical contractors in
Known for being a forward thinker when it comes to business, Cogburn developed a unique vision that inspired him to invest
extra time on the front end of tasks and learn new methods and technologies. Through his influence on local boards and committees and regular attendance at NECA meetings, he led his colleagues to pursue the latest updates to code, turning the area’s
electricians and companies into an elite group of professionals.
Cogburn’s considerable reach has continued to grow over the years. He consistently inspires his employees to develop a passion of their own for training, and that culture has moved many of them to pursue decision-making roles in future editions of
the code while imparting their knowledge to future generations of the industry.
Association Distinguished Service Award: Robert Rayburn
The Association Executive Distinguished Service Award is presented to the staff executive or
chapter manager who has made the greatest contribution to the advancement of the National Electrical Contractors Association. At home and on the national stage, Robert Rayburn of the Milwaukee
Chapter, NECA, has provided his membership with the leadership and the vision it takes to be a great
representative and advocate for electrical contractors.
Rayburn’s contributions at the chapter and national levels have resulted in significant improvements
to the electrical industry. He supports BIG STEP (Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Trades Program), an initiative dedicated to connecting diverse individuals with careers in the
manufacturing, construction and emerging sectors while helping employers and unions find skilled
workers to meet their demands. Recognized across the country, the program is being replicated by
many urban areas around the country. For more than 10 years, Rayburn also has been active on the
executive board of Building Advantage, a multi-trade labor management council that promotes the benefits of union construction.
Rayburn has been working with the Milwaukee JATC since 2001 and has been a JATC trustee for seven years. He was a driving
force behind building the support for and constructing the new Milwaukee JATC Training Center. He tirelessly promotes a successful CW/CE program to IBEW partners, and the program has experienced a dramatic improvement in recent years under his
stewardship. Coming out of the recession, the JATC had no backlog of individuals wanting an apprenticeship. In 2016, the Milwaukee
JATC placed 69 apprentices, including 45 out of the CW/CE program.
He is widely respected among his peers who have recognized his insight, professionalism and leadership.
ELECTRI International Wendt Award: Russell J. Alessi
The ELECTRI International Wendt Award is the highest form of tribute bestowed annually by
ELECTRI International–The Foundation for Electrical Construction, Inc. The award is named in
honor of the philosophical and financial commitments made to the electrical contracting industry
by one of its premier members, the late Albert G. Wendt, president of Cannon & Wendt Electric
in Phoenix, Arizona. This year’s recipient, ELECTRI International President Russell J. Alessi, is
recognized for his leadership and decades of service to the foundation.
Alessi worked extensively with members to establish the first successful association foundation
model in the construction industry. While enlisting financial commitments to build a multi-million
dollar endowment to support industry research and education, he managed the 27-year growth of
the organization, including management of its research projects, educational programs, operational
budgets, volunteer services, and staff. He also served as the liaison to international counterparts and
led the expansion of NECA’s international membership, chapters, and worldwide leadership position.
Alessi was named executive director of ELECTRI International in 1990 and became president in 1998. He also served as the
Secretary of the industry’s Academy of Electrical Contracting for several years. He was installed as a Fellow in 2003.