Every August teams of students representing National Electrical Contractor’s Association (NECA) student chapters in U.S. universities compete in Chicago for a chance to be finalists in NECA’s Annual Green Energy Challenge. This year, IIT’s team beat out approximately 27 other universities to earn the first of three top spots. The next two finalists are Penn State and Iowa State Universities. The top three teams each received a cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to the 2018 National NECA Conference in Philadelphia where they will make a presentation to a team of industry judges.
IIT’s entry grew out of an IIT Interprofessional Project (IPRO) in which students completed an energy audit for the Chicago Institute of Cultural Affairs. Dan Tomal, Adjunct Professor in Industrial Technology and Management, teaches this IPRO which has performed energy audits of different Chicago area buildings each semester for several years. Tomal also serves as IIT NECA Student Chapter Advisor. Thomas Jacobius, Director, Operations & External Relations for IIT’s IPRO program, congratulated the IIT NECA team stating , “the diversity of student engagement via the IPRO course after almost 24 years remains a distinctive platform for innovating concepts that have value.”
For the next phase of the Green Energy Challenge, the team will work with Tomal and Frank Gurtz, President and CEO of Gurtz Electric Company in the Chicago area to refine their presentation. Gurtz is a member of the Electrical Contractors of city of Chicago (ECA) and serves as Chair of the ECA Student Committee that oversees the IIT NECA Student Chapter.
In 2017-18, the IIT NECA Student Chapter has been active in helping companies install donations of equipment in the School of Applied Technology Smart Tech Lab. Some of the members appeared in a video about the Lab made by and for NECA with President, David Long. They hope that these activities will help them also compete at the National NECA Conference as the national Outstanding NECA Chapter of the Year.