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Meet Kyle McMillan: Local 26 Organizer and WBC Craftsmanship Awards Program judge

There are countless exceptionally skilled craftsmen in Washington, DC’s building industry—and they deserve to be honored. That’s why the Craftsmanship Awards was created.

Originally created in 1950 and reorganized in 1956 by the Washington Building Congress, the Craftsmanship Awards are an annual program that publicly recognizes the skillful work being done. Awards are made for a wide range of skills including elaborate and technical installation of sitework, metal fabrication, flooring and drywall, concrete, carpentry, mechanical, masonry, glazing, special construction and electrical.

At Electrical Alliance, we’re proud to have a role in the program. In fact, our very own Kyle McMillan, Local 26 Organizer, is one of approximately 10 judges for the electrical category of the WBC Craftsmanship Awards.

McMillan has served as a judge for three years now, so we asked him to give us an inside look into this celebration, how he became a judge, and what his career has looked like along the way.

 

From the field to an Organizer

McMillan never expected to end up working in a corporate office for Local 26. He started in the electrical trade in 2003 because he loved working with his hands, wanted a meaningful career, it offered great benefits, and he valued being a part of projects that had an important impact on his community.

But, after a little over a decade, a new opportunity came up. Washington, DC Local 26 wanted him to move to the corporate office and he was offered a position as an Organizer to help transition new and experienced workers into the organization.

“When they offered me an opportunity to work in the office, it was a little unexpected,” McMillan says. “I was having a good time in the field and enjoying my work. But then, at the office, I got to see the other side of things and how we can change people’s lives by opening up their eyes to opportunities they weren’t aware of before. And that was a good feeling.”

These days, McMillan helps organize for the union by bringing new workers into the trade, and recruit experienced tradesmen and tradeswomen from non-Union contractors.

“There’s power in numbers and there are so many talented people that the union can benefit,” McMillan says. “So, I help provide a bridge that connects those people to our union.”

 

Becoming a judge for the Craftsmanship Awards

In 2018, McMillan was asked to be one of the judges at the Craftsmanship Awards, which he considered an honor.

“As a field electrician, being a judge of something like this is an opportunity I never dreamed of having. I didn’t even realize awards for these types of projects were really a thing!” he says. “But I always love to have new experiences so when it came up, I jumped on it.”

Each year, McMillan is in charge of objectively scoring six to eight of the projects that have been nominated. Because of his background, he focuses on electrical installations. He considers a variety of metrics, including the difficulty of the installation or how hazardous the location is.

“There are some projects that are installed at 40-50 feet or even higher. It’s incredible,” Macmillan says. “Each time, I’m just in awe of the artistry and craftsmanship of how these projects were installed.”

Once McMillan and the other judges have scored their respective projects, the scores are sent to a head coordinator. Here, the scores are tallied so the winners can be determined.

 

Bringing together field and office workers

When the winners are picked, there’s an in-person ceremony to announce them and to celebrate. The ceremony also serves as an opportunity for people who work in the field and those who work corporate jobs in the office to gather, meet, and share their experiences.

“The ceremony is great because, often, field workers feel a separation from those of us in the office. I know I did when I worked in the field,” Macmillan says. “And that’s the thing—every one of us in the office come from working on job sites exactly like they are. So, it’s a great opportunity to meet face to face and congratulate them for a job well done. It’s such a good feeling to showcase the craftsmanship and artistry of what they do.”

 

Big thanks to the Craftsmanship Awards Program judges, coordinators, and nominees

At Electrical Alliance, we pride any opportunity that brings our community of workers together, recognizes the great work being done, and helps grow our connections. The Craftsmanship Awards Program is a fantastic way for us to do just that. Thank you to everyone involved!

The 2021 awards took place in August. For a full list of the 2021 Craftsmanship Award winners, head here. Stay tuned for announcements surrounding the 2022 awards.

Until then, McMillan hopes to be on the judge’s panel again next year.

 

About The Electrical Alliance

The Electrical Alliance is a cooperative effort between skilled craftsmen of the IBEW, Local 26 and electrical contractors of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of NECA.

Our top commitment is to set the standard for efficiency, productivity, and safety within the electrical industry. We also prioritize community involvement such as volunteer initiatives including food banks, coat drives, monetary contributions, and other events like the NECA Golf Classic.

Whether we’re helping companies find contractors, encouraging working electricians to learn more about membership with Local 26, or training individuals to start a career with the wages and benefits they deserve, we take pride in providing a quality union that benefits all.

 

Want to learn more about our training programs?

Head to our training page to see how you can start your career in electrical and telecommunications technologies.

NECA and IBEW attend Maryland Chamber of Commerce “Externship” Celebration

On September 30th, Members from Maryland NECA, DC NECA, Local 24 and Local 26 attended the 2021 Teacher Externship Celebration held by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis. The Maryland Chamber Foundation’s Teacher Externship Program is a four-week summer program that bridges the gap between businesses and educators by pairing high school teachers with top Maryland businesses who provide hands-on experience in industries related to the subjects they teach. Maryland teachers then bring this knowledge back to the classroom, where they can empower their students with the essential information and skills they need to begin down a lucrative career path. Teacher externs receive a stipend from the Maryland Chamber Foundation for their work, and gain invaluable experiences and perspectives that they can share with their students—through field trips, enhanced lesson plans, and exciting classroom activities—when they return to the classroom in the fall.

In its third year, the Maryland Chamber Foundation Teacher Externship Program is staged to impact thousands of Maryland students in 2021 as they consider their future careers. The industry and technical knowledge teachers gain allow them to enhance their curriculum and educate their students on both the hard and soft skills required to enter the workforce and obtain a livable-wage career. Up from three participating teachers in 2020, the 25 teacher externs represent a 766% growth in the program in 2021.

Freestate Electric was also involved in this year’s class, hosting Dennis Poe, an electrical teacher at Croom Vocational High School in Prince George’s County.

For more information about the Teacher Externship Program, click here.


Pictured (left to right): Michael Harris, Joe Dabbs, Al Aus Jr., Will Yull, Mike McHale, Tom Clark, Greg Bayliff, Rhett Roe, JT Thomas and David Howell.

Check Presentation

NECA Golf Classic raises $90,000 to support Special Operations Forces veterans

Electrical Alliance was thrilled to participate in this year’s Washington DC NECA Annual Golf Classic fundraiser on August 30th.

The event raised $90,000 to support Special Operators Transition Foundation (SOTF), a non-profit organization committed to helping Special Operations Forces (SOF) veterans transition from the military into their next successful career.

In total, over 200 golfers participated in the event. This roaring success is thanks to the generous support from our NECA Contractors, our Labor partners, and all of the other industry partners who participated. View a complete list of sponsors here.

“The event was amazing! And being with some of our veterans throughout the day, filled our participants with a sense of pride and gratitude. We’re already looking forward to next year!” said JT Thomas, Executive Director of NECA’s Washington, DC Chapter.

 

“Whenever we get to partner with organizations like this, we’re all reminded of what matters most. So we’re excited to put the funds to use in helping Special Operations Forces veterans pursue their next career… and hopefully that career will be in our industry.”

What is the Special Operators Transition Foundation?

SOTF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They help their fellows embark on their next career by providing coaching and connections to help veterans identify, prepare, and execute a personal marketing plan. They also provide unique interactive opportunities for C-Suite executives to meet and explore opportunities in small venues.

SOTF Fellows are senior Non-Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, and Officers from Green Beret, SEAL, Delta Force, 75th Ranger Regiment, Marine Corps Special Operations, and Air Force Special Operations units. In other words, they are the military’s pro athletes with special skills and advanced degrees, ready to find the right career.

Our hope at Electrical Alliance is to help support those who choose to pursue a career with the skilled craftsmen of the IBEW, Local 26, and electrical contractors of Washington, D.C.

 

 About The Electrical Alliance

The Electrical Alliance is a cooperative effort between skilled craftsmen of the IBEW, Local 26 and electrical contractors of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of NECA.

 

Our top commitment is to set the standard for efficiency, productivity, and safety within the electrical industry. We also prioritize community involvement such as volunteer initiatives including food banks, coat drives, monetary contributions, and other events like the NECA Golf Classic.

 

Whether we’re helping companies find contractors, encouraging working electricians to learn more about membership with Local 26, or training individuals to start a career with the wages and benefits they deserve, we take pride in providing a quality union that benefits all.

 

Want to learn more about our training programs?

Head to our training page to see how you can start your career in electrical and telecommunications technologies.

CELEBRATING 2020 JATC GRADUATES

A typical year it surely was not. But, that did not keep the JATC from graduating 181 apprentices this June. Despite the obstacles of final in-classroom education transitioning to online these electrical apprentices continued to shine and successfully completed their final coursework and on-the-job trainings.

NECA D.C. & Members Lead Industry Adoptions for COVID-19 Response

By: Jerry Rivera, Safety Director of Washington, D.C. Chapter of NECA

COVID-19 has certainly caused an unprecedented amount of chaos across all industries. And, the electrical industry has been no exception. In many ways, NECA and its member contractors have led our industry on the COVID-19 response.

Local’s Where It’s At!

Local 26 distributes locally made hand sanitizer to local and regional contractors & more

IBEW Local 26 electricians have heart. When they discovered that hand sanitizer had become difficult to purchase, as a result of many snatching up cleaning supplies during the pandemic, they snapped into action. Seen as a win-win by the local union, 26 was able to purchase large quantities of the sanitizer from two local small businesses, McClintock Distilling and Baltimore Spirits Company, then distribute it to their workforce in need.