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Opening Remarks A publication from Neal Electric Corporation 13250 Kirkham Way Poway, CA 92064 (858) 513-2525 (858) 513-9488 Fax Clark Thompson President / COO Cas Wesolowski Senior Vice President of Field Operations Harry Schirer Chief Financial Officer Garry Kitchell Vice President of Production Casi Lozano Preplanning Manager Karen Rogers Human Resources Manager Val Lies-Kaercher Accounting Manager Dennis Ramsey Chief Estimator John Luft Business Development Manager Dave Barrera Estimating Manager, L.A. Jeremy Roos S.D. Project Operations Manager Chris Torquato Purchasing Manager

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Neal Electrical Connection. We are pleased to continue providing articles of depth and significance concerning the challenging construction market. As Neal Electric celebrates its 26th anniversary we are once again reinventing ourselves in response to a rapidly changing construction climate. The diversity of the markets we serve has always allowed us to thrive when individual sectors may be struggling. In this fifth issue, we discuss “shifting focus” and how Neal Electric is responding to the changed market conditions brought on by the economic downturn. We are also positioning ourselves for the economic upswing, which is coming, by investing in the latest technology and sustainable construction practices. Neal Electric is transforming from an electrical contractor to an energy solutions provider. We have included an article about “green building” in which Neal Electric has become a willing participant. Our latest photovoltaic project encompasses the design and installation of both ground mount and roof mount PV panels at Kaiser facilities throughout California. Part of Neal’s success has always been the belief that we need to give back to local communities where we do business. Neal employees joined with others in the construction community by donating their time and skill to construct a new home with Habitat for Humanity. We also feature them in this issue. Our employees are the key to our success. In this issue, we will continue to showcase our “Employees of the Quarter.” These outstanding Neal team members are selected by their peers each quarter and represent the three R’s of our core values: Responsive, Respected, Results. I look forward to our continued success as we collaborate with our valued customers, vendors and partners. Best Regards, Clark Thompson President / COO

Rick Keller Tool & Equipment Manager Scott Schemmel Industrial Manager

In this issue Shifting Focus While Staying Strong Doing business in a changing world. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

The Green Gold Rush A renewable energy option. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Neal Electric Joins Habitat for Humanity’s 2009 Builder Blitz Neal Electrical Connection is published by Oser-Bentley Custom Publishers, LLC, a division of Oser Communications Group, Inc., 1877 N. Kolb Road, Tucson, AZ 85715. Phone (520) 721-1300, fax (520) 721-6300, Oser-Bentley Custom Publishers, LLC specializes in creating and publishing custom magazines. Inquiries: Editorial comments: Karrie Welborn, Please call or fax for a new subscription, change of address, or single copy. Single copies: $5.95. This publication may not be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Oser-Bentley Custom Publishers, LLC. To advertise in an upcoming issue of this publication, please contact us at (520) 721-1300 or visit us on the Web at July 2010

100th home and first green build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Neal Electric 101 Basic electrical class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Employee Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Neal Electrical Connection is a resource for commercial end users, property managers, building owners and operators, facilities managers, general contractors, architects and consulting engineers in the San Diego area. Designed to feature topics affecting the electrical and construction industries, Neal Electrical Connection also highlights the achievements, capabilities, and high-profile projects of Neal Electric Corporation. NEAL ELECTRICAL CONNECTION


Shifting Focus While Staying Strong Doing business in a changing world

Change, adjustment, development, metamorphosis. America is in the midst of several transitions that influence how we communicate, how we live, how we work, and even how we play. Intertwined and intricate, technological and cultural, these changes cannot help but affect all of us.

Challenges The digital “revolution” has not only changed communication processes, it has influenced advertising, office protocols and skill sets in a number of industries. These changes have in turn influenced how many industries, in particular the construction industry, interact with owners, architects and vendors. With e-mail as a necessity, laptop computers on jobsites and Building Information Modeling (BIM) becoming the pre-construction norm, 4


By Karrie Welborn

the construction industry is working through changes that have altered some of the basics within the industry. Neal Electric, with more than 25 years in business, is no stranger to changes and growth. From its first location working from the back of a house on Greenfield Drive in El Cajon, Calif. to their newest office in Norwalk, Calif., the company has always utilized available technology and been willing to move with the tools of the time. Although computers, computer drawings and construction software have been around for some time, it wasn’t until the middle of the first decade of this century that digital processes came to the forefront of the construction industry through BIM. Digital modeling has changed how the trades interact with one another, how a subcontractor interacts with the Construction Manager (CM) and how owners, architects and contractors prepare in

conjunction with one another during pre-construction as well as during the actual build. Today, the role of the electrical contractor is changing even more than the rest of the construction industry, as many of the LEED regulations impact the electrical portion of construction. The renewable energy movement, a steady if slow presence over the last three or four decades, has become a passionate and powerful industry that impacts the construction industry in all phases. From wind, solar and geothermal energy, to sustainable building and LEED accreditation, “going green” is here to stay. The most challenging change, however, is the economic downturn the country has been experiencing. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) states that America has officially been in a recession since December 20071—a recession that is now the longest and most difficult downturn since just after World War II. As of April 12, 2010, the NBER stated, “Although most indicators have turned up, the committee decided that the determination of the trough date on the basis of current data would be premature.”2 Through the stress of a downturn it is important to remember that the economy is cyclical; therefore, although when the recession will be over may still be a question, the fact that the economy will ultimately recover, is not. For a business to stay strong in the midst of a recession it must be able to adjust and review both internal practices and interactions with customers and vendors. For example, American Assets, a privately held real estate business focused on office and retail apartments, changed the type of projects they offered to Neal. Jerry Gammieri, Vice President of Construction and Development for American Assets, noted that in situations like the recession it is important to “anticipate what is happening and be able to strategically plan ahead.” He added that it is necessary to go where the work is, adapting to the situation at hand. Gammieri said his industry (real estate) has had to be creative about the types of incentives offered to promote rentals, and more importantly, that re-evaluation has been successful. “Neal is a valued vendor,” stated Gammieri, adding, “American Assets initially used Neal when building new projects, but now we call on them for projects that involve upgrading and maintenance of buildings already in place. The key,” he explained, “is to be creative and focus on alternative methods for making your business work, something both American Assets and Neal Electric are doing.”

Shifting the Focus Just as American Assets adjusted how they looked at projects, Neal also found re-evaluation a great tool during a difficult time. It is important, during periods of transition and transformation, to be flexible in how projects are sourced. The estimates and bidding process may be the same, but the industry or type of project will be different. When financing in commercial venues is scarce, it becomes vital to review project options in other venues.

Neal has long worked in many industries, but for years the place to be was in the commercial and corporate sectors. Today, the funding is elsewhere, and thus, so too are the projects. Neal Electric shifted focus to sectors such as military, academic, healthcare, hospitality and renewable energy. This has been instrumental in allowing the company to remain strong in spite of the weak economy. The good news, as the focus shifts, is that the world of electrical contracting will continue to expand as the renewable energy industry and sustainable building movement supersede traditional processes. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 has been a trigger for much of the recent expansion. The projections for electricians who are certified to work on solar photovoltaic and wind power projects indicate that the demand for these skills will only increase. In November of 2009 a study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton for the USGBC suggests that 7.9 million jobs will be created between 2009 and 2013—and this is only the beginning. Areas within this renewable energy electrical work include such things as updating antiquated lighting systems; serious manufacture of electric vehicles, parking lot outlets for those vehicles; wind turbine and solar cell manufacturing, installation and maintenance. (See story on page 6 for Neal’s photovoltaic division.) Training in photovoltaic, wind turbine structure and LEED electrical rules and regulations will become standard requirements. The electrical contractor will be one of the foundations of sustainable building, and Neal will be at the forefront of that new paradigm. To this effect, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is already working on the impact that this shift will have in regards to how electricians are viewed and what training and/or certification will be required as the new focus becomes the new norm. A fact sheet posted on the the official IBEW website states: “More than 70 training centers across the country offer photovoltaic training and last year [2009], the IBEW launched a 40-hour wind turbine ‘boot camp’ in five states, with the program expected to branch out to other locations soon.”3

Resolution and Forward Thinking As the economy continues to challenge the majority of industries, the foundation of survival is to seek out alternatives, shift the focus for today and plan dynamically for tomorrow. In this particular cycle the downturn is concurrent with the maturation of the green industry. The solution, while waiting for the cycle to change, is to be discerning, stay calm, think creatively and train for the future. As the world emerges from this economic struggle it may well find that the electrical contractor has become the energy contractor. ■ 1 2



The Green Gold Rush A renewable energy option By Karrie Welborn

Humanity has always enjoyed the sun—for warmth, for the nurturing of plants, for light—all while wanting and postulating about potential harvesting of the sun’s energy. In 1839 Alexandre-Edmond Becquere, a French physicist who was fascinated by phosphorescence and luminescence—chemical reactions caused when certain substances are exposed to light, most specifically the light of the sun—discovered that these chemical reactions created electricity. The connection between the energy of chemicals and the energy of light brought into existence the photovoltaic (PV) cell. PV is the conversion of sunlight to electricity. As technology evolved, the sun as a source of electricity became more and more viable, and ultimately, more practical. As defined and explained at, PV technology produces electricity directly from electrons freed by the interaction of sunlight with a solar panel made of semiconductor material. The power provided is direct current (DC) electricity. The basic building block is known as a cell. Many cells put together are known as a module, and many modules assembled together form an array. A PV system will consist of an array of modules generating DC electricity, an inverter 6


to transform the DC electricity to AC electricity that is commonly used and we are more familiar with, and sometimes battery storage for remote locations when utility power is not available for back up. Neal Electric has been working on solar projects since 2001. The work began with supporting local solar contractors with the “conduit and wire” processes that are basic to Neal’s résumé. From there they began attending seminars and actively sought to increase their knowledge and skills in the electrical solar industry. This in turn increased the scope of work in which Neal was able to participate. Conduit and wire projects quickly progressed to more direct solar electrical work. By 2008, Neal had established a strong presence in the local solar industry. Solar work does not yet require certification, but the industry is definitely heading in that direction. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has in place the NABCEP™ Solar PV Installer Certification, which is a positive step toward future standardization and certification policies and procedures for electricians in the solar energy industry. From PV cells, to modules, to panels, to arrays, PV

is now a major player in the struggle to reduce the use of fossil fuels and instead utilize renewable, clean energy in our electricity needs. Thomas Edison, as passionate about renewable energy as he was about electricity and all its applications, said in 1931, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Attempts at cost-effective solar energy utilization have been ongoing since the 1950s, but Edison was right to be concerned. As the world moves past the first decade of the 21st century, fossil fuels are diminishing and the need for renewable, clean energy options is not a choice but an imperative. The world is in a period of transition between the use of fossil fuels and the establishment of positive renewable energy options, accessible and affordable for all. Neal’s core capabilities and over 25 years of electrical contracting in southern California make

them an excellent choice during this period of transition. The intrinsic “can do” attitude that drives Neal Electric attracts customers even as Neal’s quality of work and priority on safety are instrumental in creating long-term, life-cycle relationships. Neal’s photovoltaic team has state-of-the-art knowledge as well as experience in the latest technological advancements. As an added bonus, Neal brings to the table their prefabrication shop, which makes off-site assembly possible and provides shipping and installation that is not only time-effective, but saves space on site as well. Neal also offers design and production services for integration between existing systems and new solar systems. The world has more and more options to move into the renewable energy age. From Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Emerging Renewables Program (ERP) which offers financial incentives for making the change to solar power, to the possibility of solar farms in the desert, solar power is the energy force for the future. Neal Electric, long a leader in the traditional world of electrical contracting, is now a leader in the transition from fossil fuel electricity builds to those utilizing the energy that originates with the sun. ■

Pictured left: Warner Brothers, Burbank, Calif., ‘The Mill’; Pictured below: University Research Park, Irvine, Calif., ‘The Irvine Company’



Neal Electric Joins Habitat for Humanity’s 2009 Builder Blitz 100th home and first green build In 2009, Neal Electric was invited to participate in the San Diego Chapter of Habitat for Humanity’s August Home Builders Blitz which took place in August. This was Neal’s first experience in the Blitz. Invited to participate by Swinerton Builders, the Neal team found the experience powerful. With the help of a multitude of in-kind donations from contractors and subcontractors, the Blitz builds five homes in four days. Particularly special in 2009 was the completion of the 100th home built during a San Diego Blitz. This home, in Oceanside, Calif., was the home Neal partnered in building. It was also the first San Diego Habitat for Humanity green home. Utilizing sustainable options in the build, which will allow for lower water and utility bills, was an important component of this build. The house, awarded to the single parent of two and her younger sister, has a tankless water heater, a drip irrigation system, rated Energy Star® appliances, dual pane windows and low E windows to block UV rays. The three bedroom, two bath house is approximately 1,550 square feet, is completely landscaped and has a single-car garage. One of the misconceptions about Habitat for Humanity recipients is that the families are simply given a new home. In reality, each family awarded a home must first provide 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the program. Homes have zero percent mortgages, and payments are calculated at no more than one-third of the family’s income.1 Dennis Ramsey, Neal’s Chief Estimator, PreConstruction Services, who coordinated Neal’s participation, said Neal was not only pleased to be invited, but considered it important to “step up and do whatever 8


it took.” Ramsey complimented Swinerton’s Chris Jensen, Project Engineer–Estimating, who led the Oceanside build. “He’s great!” exclaimed Ramsey. “Like a general. Believe me, getting all the trades together at one time is no easy task. Everyone worked so fast.” He added, “It was amazing!” Construction of the house in Oceanside began on Monday, August 10. Neal Electric, along with vendor Graybar, donated supplies for the electrical portion of the build. Pete Dudang of Graybar said, “Graybar donated some of the electrical products used in the Habitat for Humanity build simply because it felt right and was a good cause.” Also participating in the Oceanside build were IBEW Local Union 569’s Assistant Business Manager, Johnny Simpson and business agent, Danny Machain. By Tuesday, August 11, Neal Electric had finished the electrical work, and it had been inspected and approved. The entire build, except for a minimal punch list, was complete by Thursday afternoon. According to Habitat for Humanity, the Oceanside build was the most complete home turned over to them during a Builders Blitz. Each house built by Habitat for Humanity has a House Blessing and Giving of the Keys ceremony at the conclusion of the build process. “I was unable to attend the ceremony,” said Ramsey, “and that was disappointing for me. Seeing the family receive the keys after all our combined work would have been wonderful.” Neal employees donating time and labor were Jose Zermeno, Rebecca Hamilton, Larry Osmus, Brett Osmus, Rjae Free, Bryan McKim, Jeff Loh, Gene Beauchamin and Ashley Wilson. Joe Engle, Neal Electric Superintendent, explained, “Larry Osmus coordinated the materials with Chris Torquato and Jeff Loh coordinated the work. The rest of us were just worker bees, and it was a great experience.” Neal Electric was honored to be included in the project and wishes the family much happiness in their new home. ■ San Diego Business Journal: 8/17/2009A conversation with Bradford W. Bates, executive director, San Diego Habitat for Humanity.


Neal Electric 101 Basic electrical class

Students in the Neal Electric basic electrical class review examples of electrical materials and where they are used.

This basic electrical education class is a great chance for us to better know our friends in the industry. It’s also a chance for our customers to learn what our trade is all about and, at the same time, learn some of Neal Electric’s capabilities and how we can benefit them. This eight-hour course will give an overview of the electrical construction trade. Students will gain an understanding of the industry’s typical means and methods, as well as some of the potential dangers associated with electricity. This information will assist participants in becoming more effective in the management and coordination of their projects and allow them to better interface with electrical subcontractors.

Typical Class Schedule 7:00 a.m. Breakfast (Provided) 7:30 a.m. Class 11:45 a.m. Lunch (Provided) 4:30 p.m. Conclusion



What the course covers:

During the class, we will review more than 1,000 images that will effectively illustrate different types of electrical installations on typical projects, from underground to the finishes. With a clearer understanding of how and why we do what we do, this class will serve to further improve the relationships between our firms and our mutual customers and give them both the best electrical installation possible—on time and on budget. We look forward to seeing you! For further information on our next scheduled class, contact John Luft ( or Garry Kitchell ( ■ 10


• Quick review of basic electrical theory. • Understanding the purpose of the code and how it applies to installations. • Examples of basic electrical materials and where they are used. • Overview of a set of typical electrical drawings. • Sequential pictures of typical electrical installations. • The planning process and its importance. • Practical information to help better understand the electrical installation process. • Provides supplemental information for future reference.

Employee Profiles Wade Lupo is currently working in the Preplanning Department as a Production Coordinator in the preconstruction process. Wade was awarded the “Exceptional Employee” award for his dedication and expertise. Wade has continually proven himself to be a dedicated team player for Neal Electric. He, like many others, does whatever it takes to get the job done! Over the past few years Wade has developed his 3-D MEP coordination skills, skills that have allowed Neal’s team to be selected on cutting edge projects such as the University of California San Diego Telemedicine Project. Wade recently put an even greater effort into making sure the projects he has been coordinating, detailing and planning have made their difficult deadlines. He has accomplished this by arriving at 3:00 in the morning and leaving at 5:30 at night. This is more than should be expected from anyone, but sometimes there are times when you are the right person to get something done and you just have to roll up your sleeves and get it done! All our employees play a key part in our success, which comes from a Neal developed culture that says, “We work hard. We work smart. We have the best tools. We use cutting edge technology in the field and in the office. We have the best employees. We work together as a team as we serve our customers and grow together.” In this culture, “we do whatever it takes.” Wade, we thank you for helping us develop this winning culture and for being a model of success. ■

Ken McCarty is one of those key General Foremen who have helped to establish the backbone of our field operations at Neal Electric. He has spent his 31-year career as an electrician with only three companies and worked the past 11 years at Neal Electric. Ken graduated from apprenticeship in 1983 and has worked as a general foreman for 23 years. With his experience, you can see that Ken is a person who can take on any project, from industrial, to schools, to military, where he is currently completing our “Wounded Warrior Barracks (BEQ)” at Camp Pendleton. Ken is being recognized not only for the fine job he has done on this important project, but for the professional manner in which he does his job. He thinks ahead, plans out his work and is always well-prepared. The quality of work, and the timely manner in which it is completed, shows in the final product for our customer. Ken has done his part in contributing to the success of Neal Electric. Thank you Ken, for being an outstanding employee and an outstanding person! ■







Advertiser Directory Thanks to the following advertisers, without whom this publication would not have been possible. Bay City Electric Works ........................................................ 12 Beacon Electric Supply ......................................................... 13 Consolidated Electrical Distributors ..................................... 11 Crescent Electric Supply Company........................................ 12 Enterprise Fleet Services....................................................... 13 Graybar Electric Company.................................................... 11 Ground Service Technology Inc............................................. 15 IBEW Local 569 ...................................................... Back Cover Lightolier ............................................................................. 14 MPE Consulting Inc. .............................................................. 2 Network Cabling Inc. ........................................................... 14 OCS Lighting & Control Inc.................................................. 12 Ramtek Mission Critical Solutions ........................................ 11 Siemens Energy & Automation Inc........................................ 12 SoCo Group Inc. 145 Vernon Way El Cajon, CA 92020 (619) 401-1820 (619) 401-1828 Fax Valley Power Systems Inc. .................................................... 13





Neal Electric Corporation 13250 Kirkham Way Poway, CA 92064 (858)513-2525 (858)513-9488 Fax

Electrical Connection v3i1  

Neal Electric 101 Clark Thompson President / COO A publication from Neal Electric Corporation 13250 Kirkham Way Poway, CA 92064 (858) 513-25...

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