Teamwork takes center court for the annual conference of the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA), Feb. 15-18, in Louisville, Ky. With a theme of “NEMRA and NMG — the Winning Team,” the association’s 36th annual conference will feature an NMG forum describing how NEMRA and its NEMRA Manufacturers Group (NMG) are combining forces to identify and eliminate wasteful activities in the rep/manufacturer sales and manufacturing channel.

The conference will tip off with a keynote address by Rick Pitino, men’s basketball coach for the University of Louisville. In addition to winning more than 450 than college basketball games, coaching three different teams in the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament and winning a NCAA Championship with the University of Kentucky, Pitino has been a successful broadcaster, writer and motivational speaker. His published works include the best-seller “Success Is A Choice” and “Lead to Succeed.”

The NMG Forum will offer an update on a major NEMRA research project now exploring methods to help reps and manufacturers sharpen the focus of sales process. More than 125 personal interviews and numerous focus groups have already been conducted as part of the study, being spearheaded by industry consultant Tom O’Connor, Farmington Consulting Group, Farmington, Conn. When completed, the study will help reps and manufacturers determine which channel sales activities provide value-added services and which activities can be eliminated.

Several other seminars will be offered at this year’s NEMRA Annual Conference.

Dealing with potential contract problems. Attorney Randall Gillary, author of “Protecting Your Commissions: A Sales Representative’s Guide,” will cover commission, termination and contract matters.

Ten things that will shock the electrical industry. If reps and their principals are to operate as efficient partners in the channel, both must know where the industry is headed. This session will be presented by Electrical Wholesaling’s chief editor Jim Lucy.

How reps choose and evaluate manufacturers. In a program geared specifically for manufacturers, Larry Fisher, electrical division manager for Erico Inc., Solon, Ohio, will describe how and why reps make the decisions they do. Reps will learn about key factors to evaluate when choosing a business partner and how a manufacturer can become the rep’s “emotional favorite.”