The National Electrical Contractors Association welcomed a sitting U.S. President for the first time in its 117-year history during its annual convention on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
President Donald J. Trump spoke in front of thousands of members of the electrical construction industry at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the Closing General Session of NECA 2018 Philadelphia. The four-day event began on Saturday.
“The job you do is incredible,” Trump told the audience at the beginning of his remarks. “You are smart and talented people.”
In signing the Pledge to America’s Workers, NECA has pledged to create career opportunities for 60,000 American workers over the next five years. Investing in training and retraining workers for high-demand industries such as electrical construction will help the economy, and Trump has previously called NECA a “tremendous force.”
“President Trump is not a stranger to our organization,” NECA President David Long said in his introduction. “He is committed to working with us to make sure our economy is as strong as it’s ever been.”
Trump touted the strong U.S. economy, saying it’s an “incredible time for our country.” He added the Administration has created 50,000 electrical construction jobs.
“You have a friend and ally in the White House,” he said. “With your help, we will protect this noble trade for years to come.”
Trump later said he is committed to revitalizing the country’s infrastructure and strengthening the electrical grid. Energy security is a critical element of national security as well.
As Trump’s speech concluded, two NECA contractors and an IBEW Local 98 worker talked about the positive Impact that White House policies, such as eliminating the estate tax, have had on their work.
Stacy Wilson of Wilson Construction Company, a family-owned business based in Canby, Ore., that specializes in electric utility construction, was first to come forward. She said her company has benefited from Trump's policies.
"Thanks to Mr. Trump and the tax reforms and general confidence in the economy, we have been able to invest more in our employees and grow our company in the last year," Wilson said. "We're investing in employee wages and benefits and bonuses. We're spending millions on equipment and assets. And in general, we're just seeing a huge increase in work that is coming out because utilities are spending more to update this aging infrastructure."
“I have to thank President Trump for his perseverance and for enabling us to get this work,” said Stephen Gianotti of New York-based Arcadia Electric Company.
Trump said he sees the pride electrical contractors take in their work and how America takes pride in them.
“America will always be a nation of builders,” he said.
"Hard-working citizens like you, who have always been the backbone of our nation, will always be the most important factor in our nation," Trump said. "You make it grow. You make it work. You power our homes, and you light up our skylines. You make the glory of America shine for all the world to see."