Building Congressional Relationships on Hill Days

Building Congressional Relationships on Hill Days

This piece was originally published in the August 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Joseph Eaves, Director, Government Relations, NEMA

Members of 5VS included (from the left) Ron Hotchkiss of Surge Suppression, Danny Abbate of NEMA, Steve Rood of Legrand/Pass & Seymour, Stephen Liscinsky of Hubbell, Phillip Havens of Littelfuse, Bob Harmon of CITEL, Pankaj Lal of Schneider Electric, James Mongeau of Space Age Electronics, and Tom Colcombe of Eaton. Photos by Joseph Eaves

Members of NEMA’s Industrial Automation Control Products & Systems (1IS) and the Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices (5VS) sections took part in their first ever Hill Days last month. The meetings provided opportunities for companies to build relationships with their elected officials and to explain some of the issues facing their businesses.

Almost half of the 5VS members participated in a full day of meetings that targeted congressmen who have plants or offices in their districts. Participation among 1IS members was so high that participants split into two groups: one focused on the House and the other on the Senate.

Members of 1IS asked Congress to support and improve the manufacturing workforce by bridging skills gaps. While there are six million current job openings, nearly one in six Americans is either unemployed or underemployed. Members want Congress to find ways to improve educational and training infrastructure, especially at community colleges, so that American manufacturers may compete successfully in the global market.

The section also believes that the federal government should increase funding to improve wastewater, water processing, and other critical infrastructure. Outdated infrastructure not only wastes millions of dollars but also hinders our ability to grow as a nation.

Members of the 1IS Senate group included (from the left) Mark Menzer of Danfoss, Neil Czarnecki of Reliance Controls, Ron Borowski of Eaton, Sheila Quinnies of Rockwell Automation, and Jim Creevy of ABB. Not pictured are Asaf Nagler and Peter Walter of ABB, Joe Rogers and Harrison Wadsworth of Siemens, and Richard Hoar of Nidec

Protecting Electrical Devices

Members of 5VS used their Hill Day to explain surge protective device (SPD) technology to Congress for the first time.

SPDs protect electrical devices from voltage surges and spikes. In commercial buildings, they protect emergency lighting, computer systems, lighting, data centers, and electronic equipment. In industrial applications, they protect machinery, control systems, and vital telecommunications links. In the residential space, plug-in SPDs in the form of power strips protect home offices and entertainment equipment. A new trend in the residential space is hard-wired devices that protect the electrical system of the whole house.

Learn more at

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