Getting fresh research ideas and perspective is important to ELECTRI. The very successful Early Career Awards (ECA) program creates early career interaction between the electrical construction industry and faculty members at the assistant professor level in engineering and construction management disciplines at U.S. colleges and universities.


ECA projects, funded by ELECTRI, increase the visibility of the electrical construction industry at U.S. colleges and universities and promote long-term relationships among university faculty, ELECTRI International and NECA. For 2020, ELECTRI funded two Early Career Awards of $9,000 each. The roster of ELECTRI’s Early Career Awards since 2015 is listed below.

Selection Process

ECA applications are limited to one per faculty member per year and must focus on a topic of significance to the electrical construction industry. The researcher must be an assistant professor who has not yet conducted major research for ELECTRI. ELECTRI International’s Program Review Committee reviews ECA proposals and ranks them based on intellectual merit, innovation, student engagement and the level of interaction the proposed activity will promote between the grantee and the electrical construction industry.

Applicants are encouraged to seek matching funds from their respective colleges and universities or other funding sources. Early Career Awards are made directly to a university department, which matches the award in cash or in-kind.  Each ELECTRI Early Career Award is made as an unrestricted gift to the University in support of the faculty researcher and may be used for student support, faculty salary, and travel.

Each year, finalists are selected and announced in May. Up to four researchers are then invited to the July ELECTRI Council meeting to present their proposals to the entire ELECTRI Council. At this meeting, Council members select the top two finalists who will be awarded funding. The researcher with the highest vote score will be recognized as the Russell J. Alessi Award Winner and the second winner will be recognized as the Thomas Glavinich Award Winner.

To enhance the academic value of each ECA grant, ELECTRI anticipates that one outcome of the commissioned work will be a white paper ready for publication in a peer-reviewed forum and of interest to the electrical construction industry. Early Career Award winners may be invited to submit a proposal for other ELECTRI research. For example, an Early Career Awards pilot study might be used as the basis for a subsequent larger scale ELECTRI research project.


2021 Schedule

April 1, 2021
Request for Proposals

May 17, 2021
Submission Deadline for Early Career Award Proposals (5:00 pm EST)

May/June 2021
Selection of Finalists

June 18, 2021
Notification of the Finalists

July 10, 2021
Submission Deadline for the Finalists’ Presentations

July 31, 2021
Announcement of ECA winners

June 1, 2022
ECA winners’ final research submission


Early Career Award Recipients


Knowledge-based Visual System for Ergonomics and Safety Monitoring in Electrical Construction
Mohamad Razkenari, State University of New York

Satisfying the Need for a Systematic Incident Investigation Learning Program
Ahmed Al-Bayati, Lawrence Technical University


Examining a Latent Side-Effect of Electrical Safety Interventions among T&D Line Workers  
Sogand Hasanzadeh, Purdue University

Allocating and Leveraging BIM Efforts for Electrical Contractors
Hala Nassereddine, University of Kentucky


Measuring Situational Awareness Among Electric T&D Line Workers
Siddarth Bhandari, Western Michigan University

Harnessing Knowledge and Experience of Specialty Contracting Supervisors
Anthony Sparkling, Purdue University


Safety Training of Electrical Workers in a 360-degree Immersive Digital Environment
Masoud Gheisari, University of Florida

Improving Project Planning and As-Built Verification of Electrical Construction with Mixed Reality: A Healthcare Case Study
Yilei Huang, South Dakota State University


Augmented Reality for Electrical Construction Tasks
Steven Ayer, Arizona State University

Marketing Electrical Apprenticeship Opportunities with Content Targeted Toward Recruiting Women
Heidi Wagner, University of Wisconsin


Best Practices for Early Adoption of Productivity Improvement Programs
Brian Lines, University of Kansas

Flexible Overhead: Agile Strategies That Increase Electrical Contractor Profitability
Jake Smithwick, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Exploring Where the Electrical Construction Workforce Comes From and Their Career Awareness
Ben Bigelow, Texas A&M University

Electrical Contractors’ Perception and Practices with Risk Management
Anthony Perrenoud, University of Oklahoma