The Next Big Idea: NEMA Announces 2018 Strategic Initiatives

The Next Big Idea: NEMA Announces 2018 Strategic Initiatives

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

Patrick Hughes, Senior Director, Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives, NEMA

Before joining NEMA, Patrick advocated for energy efficiency and high-voltage transmission policies at the United Nations Foundation and received a master’s degree in energy policy and climate science from Johns Hopkins University.

Keeping up with our rapidly changing industry requires a nimble approach. Each year, NEMA asks its Members to let us know what emerging opportunities and impending challenges they are facing, and the Board of Governors approves a suite of short-term Strategic Initiatives to explore these big ideas.

The recent trend toward increased connectivity is echoed throughout the 2018 Strategic Initiatives. From developing the workforce of the future to promoting cybersecurity, 2018 will be about harnessing the value and mitigating the risks of connected devices and systems.

The following list of initiatives is a summary. To learn more, visit or contact Patrick Hughes at

Internet of Things (IoT)


This initiative will help prepare NEMA members and their customers to withstand increasingly numerous and sophisticated cyberattacks by developing cybersecurity best practices and standards and will involve advocating for reasonable and flexible government policies and regulations.

Data Privacy and Ownership

As manufacturers grapple with how to put to use the troves of data generated or collected by electrical and medical imaging technologies, this initiative will help NEMA members better understand the legal requirements for accessing and utilizing data.

Smart Manufacturing / Industrial IoT

With the IoT extending into manufacturing and other industrial processes, this initiative will promote smart manufacturing and industrial IoT by advocating for NEMA-supported standards and government policies.

Webinar Series on IoT Trends

With so many IoT buzzwords out there, this initiative will cut through the hype to provide NEMA members with the information they need to incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, augmented reality, blockchain, and other IoT elements into their operations, products, and service offerings.

Smart Cities

Grid Modernization Analysis

Innovative grid technologies have the potential to improve grid reliability and flexibility, but only if they are adopted by utilities and approved by regulators. This initiative will quantify the costs and benefits of modern grid technologies, and the results will be published to justify grid upgrades to utilities and their regulators.

Energy-Efficiency Modeling of Industrial and Building Systems

While NEMA and its Members understand that you can save more energy by focusing on the whole system, rather than just the individual components, computer models do not accurately account for these system benefits. To make customers and regulators more comfortable with the idea of a system-based approach to energy conservation, this initiative will focus on improving and testing energy models for specific applications.

Medical Imaging

Lung, Breast, and Colorectal Cancer Screening

Catching cancer early can reduce the need for costly and invasive treatment later on. This initiative will seek to prove that screening for lung, breast, and colorectal cancer can achieve early detection and reduce mortality.

Workforce Development

Educating the Electrical Workforce

To promote the electroindustry as a dynamic, high-skill, high-tech sector with many available career options, and to ensure that students have access to the appropriate curricula and training opportunities, NEMA is continuing and expanding its workforce development initiative.

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