2024 IEC Business Summit Scores Big with Attendees

As IEC President Bruce Kohan mentioned in his message this issue, there was a “buzz of excitement” and everything felt so good at the 2024 IEC Business Summit, late January, in Charlotte, NC. Survey results following the event validated that feeling as 95% would recommend a colleague attend the IEC Business Summit; 93% of attendees valued their Business Summit experience; and networking was most often cited as what attendees liked best about the event. 

The attendees below volunteered to be Insights reporters and offer their personal highlights to benefit readers who may not have been able to attend. 



Geof is the owner and president of GSS Electric providing residential, commercial, or industrial electrical service across Kalispell and the Flathead Valley. Geof calls his company ‘medium-sized’ for Montana with six electricians out in the field and two office staff. Not having been to an IEC event in several years, the timing was right and he was seeking the opportunity to meet and talk with other small business owners and obtain thoughts on benefits, hiring and firing, succession planning, structuring jobs, software use, among others. 

He also was interested in introducing his colleague, Calvin Reeves, to IEC as Calvin moves ahead on his career path at GSS. Calvin is foreman at GSS and Geof wanted him to learn more about business operations from other electrical contractors. 

“I went to the IEC Business Summit intentionally to network, make friends, and obtain information,” Geof says. “Attending sessions with Calvin gave both of us the opportunity to see and hear the same information. For example, we attended a couple of software classes together. Do you know how much easier it is to talk about software when you were both in the same class?” 

Other winning moments for Geof included an insurance session to learn more about M&A, rubbing shoulders with the IEC president and past president, meeting other owners of similar age and discussing next steps, learning more about training opportunities, uncovering other IEC benefits like Member Forums, and sitting in on committee meetings to witness the planning and attention to detail that looks ahead six months, one year, three years. 

Geof felt at the end of the Summit that he received twice the value it cost to attend. 



Don is president / owner of Hulsey Electric, the company he founded 30+ years ago. He currently serves as president of Midwest IEC and this year is secretary on the 2024 National Board of Directors. 

The active IEC member tells his local contractor members that ‘when we all became contractors, we were ALL the best electricians, but none of us were great contractors’ and that the IEC Business Summit with its targeted business education helps with that. 

“As always, the 2024 Business Summit did not disappoint,” Don says. “When you throw in the added conversations / networking with our fellow IEC contractors after the sessions end, you leave with a headful of information.” 

Due to his IEC National Executive Committee responsibilities, he was not able to attend as many educational sessions as in the past. One he did attend was the panel discussion on exit planning, led by Julie Keyes, KeyeStrategies, LLC. 

“Three things I took home from that session were it will take a minimum of three years of planning to exit effectively, I need to get the book Built To Sell: Creating A Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow, and I should look into Small Business Association funding to help finance expansion and family buying,” he recaps. “That session was followed by Scorpion’s business valuation session where many of the specifics were detailed.” 

He’s always been one to talk up the value of IEC, but now even more so as a Board member. He noticed in Charlotte that more and more contractors seemed to come out of their shells and interact with one another. 

“I made it a point to introduce myself to members that I did not recognize and start a conversation with them,” Don says. “One new member that joined in August from Nashville made a comment that we appeared to be a ‘family.’ I told him that it was odd that he referenced our association as that, because that is exactly how we refer to ourselves. 

In addition to always telling our members about the business classes, I always tell them how our IEC family works. I inform them that through my group of friends, there is not an issue that they can have that I cannot find an answer to in 24 hours. That is the plus of being part of our IEC family. We all have the same problems and we are all always willing to help a ‘family member’ out.” 


Kent is project manager at Bland Electric Co. A 36-year veteran of the company, his responsibilities include estimating projects, managing projects, attending progress meetings, and billing monthly on large projects. This year, he is president of the IEC of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. 

“Being a new chapter president and never before attending an IEC Business Summit, I hoped to connect with fellow IEC presidents and members to learn better ways to conduct business and to keep up to date with new technologies,” he says. 

His felt his time was well spent. He highlighted these items from the educational sessions: 

  • At the Your Organizational Culture: Impact to People and Results session led by Michael Lee Evans of Milwaukee Tool, we discussed and broke into small groups to talk about what our individual companies do to promote unity and achieve success. After everyone shared, we then ranked our collective answers and shared the results with the entire group. It was interesting to see the similar and some out of the box ideas. 
  • At the Revolutionizing Electrical Education: Harnessing Digital Assets and XR in the Classroom session led by David Quatela and Nick Wright of Siemens / BILT, we learned about new online learning models and websites that are being developed to assist teachers and students to learn away from the class to help in classroom learning. I learned that IEC and Siemens are working hand in hand to make classroom learning and online learning easier by providing an online module for teachers to use in the apprenticeship classrooms. 
  • At The Safari Way: Roaring Success with the Right Peeps in the Jeep by Steve Fredlund, we learned a simple lesson that you can’t get to where you are going with the wrong people in your group or business. If everyone has the same goals and expectations, things are a lot easier. 

“The Business Summit is a great place to network with business owners and other electricians to keep up to date on trends and new technologies in the electrical trade,” Kent summarizes. 


Barb is vice president of Raceway Electric and primarily responsible for the company’s financial, administrative, and human resources functions. As a board member of her chapter, she attended the IEC Business Summit partially to set an example to chapter members and with the expectation that she would learn a few things to help fine-tune her business and chapter. 

“A lot of this year’s Business Summit sessions that I attended seemed to focus on the culture of your business, how it impacts the productivity and happiness of your employees, and ways to develop a positive culture that folks want to stick with,” Barb recaps.  

Barb attended Avoiding or Minimizing OSHA Citations and Compliance with Phillip Russell, Ogletree Deakins, and learned you do not have to allow OSHA to bring a union representative with them onto your jobsite if they are conducting an inspection, and that good history no longer makes a positive difference regarding OSHA citations. Another learning is a statistic from Steve Fredlund’s opening keynote: an average office worker currently is productive 31 percent of their workday. 

She offers this advice to future attendees: 

  • Keep an open mind. Everyone can teach you something, even if it’s something you DON’T want to be, do, or have. 
  • We all have something to contribute, even if it’s “only” in listening. 
  • Keep a notebook handy. Smart people abound, and you don’t want to lose the nuggets you find.
  • Have a great time and hope to see you there next year!