2014 Comstock Award: REX A. FERRY
The Comstock Award is the association’s highest honor
recognizing contributions in the complex field of labor
relations. Rex Ferry of VEC, Inc. in Youngstown, Ohio, has
earned this honor through contributions made throughout his long and distinguished career but especially during
his tenure as NECA’s president.
After decades of exemplary service and leadership provided
to the Penn-Ohio Chapter and at the national level of NECA,
Rex Ferry became NECA’s 31st president on January 1, 2009.
He assumed leadership of the association just before the full
force of the economic downturn hit, and he subsequently
steered NECA through severe economic conditions and made
the tough decisions necessary to sustain our organization.
At the same time, he worked diligently to convince NECA’s
labor partners in the IBEW that we must create more flexible working agreements that can stand up to a bad economy.
In particular, he helped expand acceptance of the Construction Wireman/Construction Electrician program throughout
our industry. The development of resources to help contractors
profit through employing CW/CEs can also be attributed to
his leadership. In addition, he was a driving force behind the
Council on Industrial Relations moving into the electronic age.
Ferry also implemented a variety of other changes while
serving as NECA president. Among other things, the Women
In NECA (WIN) peer group was established during his term,
NECA’s Future Leaders program was revitalized, and numerous tools to help members grow their businesses and manage
them more efficiently were developed.
2014 McGraw Award: STANLEY R. LAZARIAN
The McGraw Award is bestowed on an individual who has
contributed some new or useful idea to the electrical contracting industry or has performed an industry service over
and above normal responsibility to personal or company
progress. Stan Lazarian, president of Electric Service & Supply
in Pasadena, California, is recognized for his ongoing leadership and for his active participation in creating new business
opportunities for electrical contractors.
While serving as District 9 vice president, he chaired NECA’s
Energy Solutions Task Force from 2010 to 2012. This task
force and the Marketing Committee were merged last year
to create the Business Development Task Force, and, as chair
of that group, he was instrumental in the design and development of NECA WORKS™, an online tool enabling contractors
to assess the feasibility of their energy solution proposals.
Lazarian also spearheaded NECA’S first Energy Forum, which
debuted at our 2011 convention in San Diego. (That program
has evolved into the Business Development Forum that will
be presented at NECA 2014 Chicago.)
In addition, he contributed significantly to the development
and distribution of the NECA ECAP™ (Energy Conserva-
tion and Performance) platform this year. This program
enables electrical contractors to act as energy services com-
panies (ESCOs) by providing financing for projects and
performance guarantees for the energy savings promised.
2014 Distinguished Service: MARILYN OPPEDISANO
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 our association. Immersed in the electrical contracting
industry her entire life, Marilyn Oppedisano has been the
heart and soul of NECA’s Finger Lake New York Chapter
for more than two decades, bringing a strong sense of collaboration, consensus, and stability to this group of 29
contracting firms that work with IBEW Locals 43 and 840.
The daily work of NECA chapter management includes
collective bargaining with the unions and management
of several jointly funded health and welfare trusts, tasks
at which Oppedisano excels. She also leads the chapter
to host countless management education programs and
inspires members to pursue new markets aggressively.
She has gone beyond in cultivating relationships in the
community through civic outreach and by encouraging
her members to get involved on the local level. For example,
she was instrumental in supporting the Bill Towsley Pro-Am Golf Tournament in memory of the long-time business
manager of Local 43, raising hundreds of thousands of
dollars for the Community General Hospital.
Oppedisano recognizes the importance of establishing a
respected national presence. In the political arena, she has
led her chapter to participate in campaigns for NECA-friendly candidates for Congress and to lobby intensely for
legislation to protect contractors’ interests. Under her
leadership, the chapter has qualified for membership in
NECA’s Political Leadership Council. She also drove her
chapter to join the ELECTRI Council at the Founder Level.
Proving generous with her time and knowledge, Oppedisano
answered the call to launch a new member community
for Women In NECA in 2009. Since then, she has helped
grow WIN from 23 original participants to more than
200 members today.
She is also noted for sharing expert advice with her fellow
chapter executives, on everything ranging from managing
trustee duties to handling OSHA
enforcement on a job site. ;