By: Jennifer Rice, Fox Valley Labor News

WARRENVILLE — As DuPage County’s business community has prospered and grown — its need for electrical contractors and services has grown along with it — and PowerForward DuPage has emerged to create business opportunities for area electrical signatory contractors.

Formerly known as the NECA-IBEW 701 LMCC, PowerFoward DuPage emerged in 2013 to highlight the exceptional, solution-driven contractors it represents and to differentiate from the non-signatory electrical contractors.

PowerFoward DuPage is a searchable database of all its signatory electrical contractors.

“The purpose of that database is to connect the right contractors to the right consumer,” explained PowerForward DuPage Executive Director Karyn McCarthy.

“When our member contractors are getting projects, our union electricians are going to work,” McCarthy added.

Recently, an out-of-state general contractor, representing a large national chain, contacted PowerForward DuPage for information about local signatory contractors. “Getting calls like that — it’s very exciting to hear. That means things are working,” McCarthy said.

Once on the websight, developers, general contractors, or individuals, select one of three areas: residential, industrial, or commercial contractors. From there, they select areas of specialty. Results display with contractor names and contact information.

Working alongside McCarthy is PowerForward DuPage Operations Director Lauren Mesich, who brings 20 years of experience to the organization. “We field calls from out-of-state developers who are looking for overall guidance, and we can help them. We know our contractors specialties and can connect the developer with the right contractor,” Mesich said.

Both Mesich and McCarthy firmly believe in the benefits of union labor, which focuses on education, training, safety, and emphasizes bringing projects in on-time and on-budget.

“Electricity is extremely dangerous. Why on Earth would you ever, ever gamble with that?” McCarthy asked. “There are no shortcuts in electrical contracting. Safety investments should never be compromised, and our contractors don’t compromise.”

McCarthy always takes the opportunity to discuss the advantages of using union labor versus non-signatory contractors. Whether she’s at a chamber event, industry convention or business meeting, she takes the time to open the discussion with developers and companies looking to do work in DuPage County.

“PowerForward DuPage is here as a tool to attract more business for our contractors. It’s an easy discussion to have,” she said.