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2016 Annual Meeting

Academy of Electrical Contracting Annual Meeting

Omni Grove Park Inn • June 9 to 11, 2016

Asheville, North Carolina 

Academy Chairman Dennis Quebe invites you to join your Academy Fellows in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, NC this summer. This section of the Academy website will help you with three things you need to do to be included:

  1. Register for the meeting
  2. Select some optional activities (the Biltmore Estate, Gray Line Trolley Tour and Golf)
  3. Reserve your hotel room
Registration is now closed.

View Meeting Recap (PDF)

The following will provide you with an overview of the Academy 2016 plan. Click on the links below for further information:

What about Asheville?


"There’s more to life than the climb” according to the Explore Asheville website.  “There’s the view. Come up for air in Asheville. There’s something unexpected around every bend. Make plans to visit Asheville and find yourself immersed in our unmistakable mountain vibe.”

Asheville is an iconic city with historic landmarks, cultural arts and breathtaking natural beauty. Here are some examples:

  • BiltmoreBiltmore - created in 1895 by George Vanderbilt as a retreat reminiscent of the grand castles and estates of France and Britain. It is the largest private home in America. We’re planning a behind the scenes tour with lunch on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
  • The Omni Grove Park Inn was the vision of Edwin Wiley Grove who came to Asheville because of bronchitis and exhaustion. His pharmaceutical training led him to create Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic. In the 1990, his tonic was outselling Coca-Cola! The Inn opened in 1913 to much fanfare. 
    See inside the hotel »
  • omnigroveparkinnBlue Ridge Parkway is just minutes from our Academy meeting.  The parkway is a 469-mile, windows down adventure on wheels (you don’t have to do it all!). It is considered “America’s favorite scenic drive”!
  • And talk about views, you’ll be amazed at the scenes, beginning with our opening reception!

Famous Food & Drink originating from North Carolina that you might sample in the Asheville area:

  • krispykremeKrispy Kreme doughnuts were first served in Winston-Salem (in 1937). They were mostly limited to the southeast until 2000 when they went national (debuting on the New York Stock Exchange). If you haven’t seen the doughnuts rolling off the line and then tasted one off that same line, it’s worth a visit to the Asheville outlet on Patton Ave.
  • h-CHEERWINE-640x362Cheerwine known as the “nectar of the tar heels” was created in 1917 in Salisbury. It still remains regional (southeast). Some compare it to Dr Pepper.
  • Pepsi Cola was first served in a drugstore in New Bern in 1896.
  • Texas Pete hot sauce isn’t from Texas; it was developed in the 1940s in Winston-Salem.
  • texaspete200Lexington-style BBQ (from Lexington) references pork with a vinegar-based sauce that is served with “slaw” (NOT cole slaw)!  The slaw is also vinegar based - no mayo! 

Movies that were (at least) partially filmed in the Asheville area include:

  • The Hunger Games (2012) with Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss Everdeen)
  • Dirty Dancing (1987) with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
  • Bull Durham (1988) starring Kevin Costner (as Crash Davis) and Susan Sarandon
  • Last of the Mohicans (1992) starring Daniel Day-Lewis
  • The Fugitive (1993) with Harrison Ford recreating the Dr. Richard Kimble character and Tommy Lee Jones
  • 28 Days (2000) with Sandra Bullock and
  • Thunder Road (1958) starring Robert Mitchum.

    Come up for air in Asheville!


Schedule of Events:

Download the agenda (PDF)

About Our Speaker: Coach Roy Williams

Download Bio

Thursday Evening: Opening Reception & Dinner

At the Skyline Mountain View Terrace

SunsetTerraceB_11-06The customary informal reception and dinner on Thursday, June 9 will open the meeting. The Skyline Mountain View Terrace provides the perfect indoor and outdoor venue framing the beautiful mountain backdrop. This venue will provide a perfect place to reconnect with your old friends and welcome the newest Academy Fellows as you get to know the blue ridge mountains of North Carolina.

Come enjoy some typical North Carolina cuisine ~ the Asheville way. That’s good ol’ southern cooking ~ with a spin! Asheville for many years has been known as the craft beer nirvana. Sample a number of southern food stations each paired with a local brewing company’s beer of choice! You will also have a chance to taste some specialty moonshine! The whole night will be a farm to party!

We have a special musical guest planned for this evening. The Harris Brothers are a real brother duo born and raised in Western North Carolina. They have a very unique style (which includes a “suitcase drum”) and their repertoire includes most musical genres including: rock & roll, blues, Appalachian mountain music, jazz and bluegrass. They welcome requests.

Rod Borden (’88) and Mike Thompson (’92) have marveled at their repertoire and skill and promise their music will add to this evening’s event.

We will also have a photographer available this evening so you can update your Academy Directory photo.

Friday Evening: Academy Reception & Dinner on Your Own

Following the morning meetings and afternoon tours & golf, we will gather for a brief reception in the early evening at the Grove Park Club House; afterwards you and some friends will have the opportunity to select a venue to your liking and enjoy one of the many fabulous dining options that the Asheville area has to offer.

The Omni Grove Park Inn offers some excellent dining options if you prefer not to leave the environs:

  • Vue 1913 ~ An American twist on a European-style restaurant
  • Edison (how appropriate for electrical contractors!) ~ Craft Ales & Kitchen
  • Blue Ridge ~ Artisanal Buffet
  • Sunset Terrace ~ A Classic American Chophouse
  • Cabana Grill & Bar ~ Fresh Air & American Fare (adjacent to the Academy Reception area)

If you’d like to be more adventuresome and visit downtown Asheville for dinner, we will add a list of well-known local eateries soon for your consideration. 

View Full Listing of Recommended Asheville Restaurants

Friday evening is busy in Asheville, so dinner reservations in advance are suggested! If you want to identify your group and make a reservation in advance, our partners at Precision Meetings & Events can act as your dining concierge. To make advanced reservations please call Courtney Peck with Precision Meetings & Events at 703-739-4480. The Precision staff will be available on Thursday afternoon during the Academy registration to assist you with last-minute reservations and answer any questions you might have.


Saturday Evening: Black Tie Formal Reception & Dinner (Motown Theme)

To cap off our fun, we will have our customary Formal Black Tie Reception and Dinner on Saturday night. We will begin on the Edison Terrace (at the Grove Park Inn) and move into the Heritage Ballroom for dinner.

Besides our customary program of introducing Fellows attending their first annual Academy meeting, we have a Motown theme. The Sound Express & The Legacy will provide the music and (oh yeah) dancing!

It will be a memorable closure to another Academy meeting.

Working Group: Disruptive Technology and Our Industry

Speaker: Vivek Wadhwa

Download Bio


Spouse/Guest Breakfast and Program

Friday, June 10

Tales of Grove Park Inn: Family Feuds, Presidential Secrets and the Ghostly Pink Lady by Bruce Johnson

Skyline Room


A light breakfast for spouses and guests of Fellows will be served at 9:00 am in the Skyline Room. At 9:30, author Bruce E. Johnson will begin the program.

Author Bruce E. Johnson is a well-known authority on the American Arts and Crafts movement and is founder of the annual Arts and Crafts Conference and Antiques Show held at the Grove Park Inn each February. He served as contributing editor and columnist for Country Living magazine for more than 10 years. He is a regular guest on (and host of) TV shows on both the Home and Garden Network and the Do-It-Yourself Network.


Johnson has written several books, the most recent commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Grove Park Inn (in 2013) ~ Built for the Ages: A History of the Grove Park Inn.


Travel: Getting to Asheville

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is 16 miles and 20 minutes away from the Omni Grove Park Inn.

Carriers to AVL include (with originations of non-stop flights to AVL):

  • Allegiant Airlines:
    • Ft Myers/Punta Gorda (PGD)
    • Ft Lauderdale (FLL)
    • Orlando (SFB)
    • Palm Beach (PBI)
    • St Petersburg/Clearwater (PIE)
  • American Airlines
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Delta Airlines
    • Atlanta (ATL)
    • La Guardia (LGA)
  • United Airlines
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Newark (EWR)

Driving to Asheville is easy; it’s at the intersection of Interstates 40 and 26.

Other area airports you might consider:

  • Greenville, SC (GSP) is 80 miles and 1 hour and 15 minutes from GPI
    • Carriers include: Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Air
  • Charlotte, NC (CLT) is 120 miles and 2 hours to GPI
    • Charlotte is hub for US Air; carriers include United, Delta, Southwest, American and JetBlue
  • Knoxville, TN (TYS) is 130 miles and 2 hours and 15 minutes
    • Carriers via Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United and US Air
  • Greensboro, NC (GSO) is 168 miles and 2 hours 30 minutes
    • Carriers are American, Delta, United and US Air

Airport Transfers are available from Asheville Regional Airport to the Omni Grove Park Inn. If you have made advanced arrangements, drivers will meet you curbside at the Commercial Ground Transportation area outside the Asheville Regional Airport. The cost per-sedan is $79 one way for 1-2 guests. The cost per-SUV is $129 one way for 3-4 guests. These prices include tax and gratuity. If you are interested in this service, please download the form below (you can complete it online) and return to or fax to (828) 251-9212.

Taxi fare is typically $65 from the Asheville Regional Airport to the Omni Grove Park Inn.

Download Asheville Airport Transfer Form

Hotel Information:

Accommodations at the Omni Grove Park Inn

The Grove Park Inn opened in July 1913. Besides the history of the property, the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains also make the Omni Grove Park Inn a very memorable destination.


View Information about the Omni Grove Park Inn

See inside the hotel »

The Grove Park Inn has three areas for sleeping rooms configured in a “U” shape:

  • The base of the “U” is the Main Inn (the original & historic section of the hotel).
  • The Sammons Wing is on the left side of the “U”. Most of our meetings & functions will be in this wing.
  • The Vanderbilt Wing is on the right side of the “U”.

If you don’t have any special requests for views or locations and want the best value for your accommodations, you should select one of the $309 “group rate” (either king bed or two double beds); with the $25 daily resort charge (see what is included below) and 13% tax, the total daily rate is $377.42. This category of rooms means that, in exchange for the lower rate, they can put you in any available room.

If you prefer to upgrade your selection to a room with a mountain view you have an option to choose a Mountain View room. Located in the Sammons Wing or the historic Main Inn, you will enjoy views of Asheville's city skyline, the Donald Ross designed golf course and the Blue Ridge Mountains. These rooms are $379 per night; with the $25 daily resort fee and 13% tax, the total daily rate is $456.52.

All rooms include: safe, refrigerator, HD TV, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. 

The room rates are guaranteed for 3 days prior and 3 days after the meeting dates (from June 6 to June 14 (based upon availability).

The $25 daily resort charge includes the following amenities:

  • Local calling
  • In-room high-speed internet access
  • In-room coffee and tea
  • On-property shuttle service
  • Guided history tour
  • Daily newspapers (located in the Great Hall)
  • Access to the Sports Complex (including indoor pool and outdoor tennis court)

Should you decide to drive to Asheville (or rent a car at the airport), you should know that there are charges for parking at the Grove Park Inn. The self-parking rate is $5 per night for outdoor parking; $12 for garage area parking; and $22 per night for valet parking.

There are two options for making your hotel reservation:

  • By phone at 800-438-5800. Be sure to mention Academy of Electrical Contracting to take advantage of our negotiated rates.
  • Online by clicking on this link »
    • You should see the blue Academy logo prominently displayed when the page opens Click on “Book Now” in the blue box towards the bottom of the page.
    • This will take you to a page where you can enter your arrival and departure dates and the number of people in your room.
    • Click on “Check on Availability” and you will see a new page confirming your dates and offering different bed configurations and views. You will be able to see sample photos by clicking on “Photos”.
    • When you’ve made your decision, click on “Select This Room” and you’ll see some options that you may “Skip” to another pager where you enter your contact and payment information.
  • Note: Reservations require one-night deposit (including the daily resort fee and applicable tax).
  • Should you have any questions about these reservations, please contact Diane Jacobson at 301-215-4555. She can help you with your hotel reservation.
  • The cut-off date for hotel reservations (after which rooms cannot be guaranteed) is April 27.

Check in time is 4:00 pm; check out is by 11:00 am.

Book your hotel room


Optional Activities: Tours & Golf

The Academy is pleased to offer exclusive optional activities for Fellows and their guests, as follows:

Biltmore House Friday or Saturday

If you get to Asheville, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to tour the famous Biltmore House.

George Vanderbilt first visited the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville in 1888. He identified this as the perfect location for his country home. Construction of the 250-room French Renaissance style home began in 1889. It took 6 years to complete construction and (130 years ago) the retreat was opened for his friends.

The home is the largest privately owned home in America and includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces!


Upon arrival at the estate, you will enjoy a buffet lunch at the Deerpark Restaurant. After lunch, you will be transferred to the Biltmore House and have the opportunity for a 1-hour Behind the Scenes Tour as well as some free time to explore on your own.

This opportunity is limited to 80 guests per day so be sure to indicate whether Friday or Saturday afternoon is best for you ~ it’s first-come; first-served, so you’ll want to act on this early!

The price of the admission ticket, lunch, tour and busing is $115 per person.

Note: your admission ticket also permits return to the estate the next day for further exploration of the grounds, gardens, restaurants, etc. You can arrange your own transportation or use the Gray Line Trolley Tour which departs the Grove Park Inn every 30 minutes and includes a stop at the Biltmore Village.

Gray Line Trolley Tour of Asheville

If you want to see more about what makes Asheville a great destination, a good way to see the area is via the Gray Line Trolley Tour. The Academy has arranged for a discounted ticket for Fellows and guests when you purchase in advance of your travel to NC. Ticket prices are several dollars more onsite. While this is not exclusive to Fellows and guests, the convenience and cost of this option is why we decided to forego our traditional tours.

graylinetourGray Line Trolley Tours are available any day to meet your schedule. The tour stops at the front door of the Omni Grove Park Inn every half-hour and includes 10 stops around Asheville (including the Biltmore). The cost of a Trolley Ticket is $22. 

Click on this link to see further information regarding the Gray Line Trolley Tours




The Grove Park Golf Course is conveniently located on the hotel grounds. You can easily walk to the pro shop (or catch a shuttle from the Inn’s front door). Legendary designer Donald Ross designed this historic golf course in 1926. While it was overhauled in 2001, they kept the same feel and spirit instilled by Mr. Ross. Get ready to tee off on a legendary course in full view of the Blue Ridge Mountains!

On Friday, June 10 we have reserved tee times at the Grove Park Course with a “shotgun” start at 12:30 pm.

On Saturday, June 11 we have a noon shotgun start at the Grove Park Course.

Prices for golf each day are:

  • Golf Fees: $135 (includes box lunch)
  • Club Rentals: $30.00


Meeting Registration Fees:

Fees for the meeting are as follows:

  • Early Registration Fee (through May 6) = $600 per person
  • Registration Fee (after May 6) = $650 per person
  • Cancellation Fee (after May 27) = $100 per person

When you’re ready to register for the meeting, click Register Now!

If you have any issues with this online registration process, please don’t hesitate to call Diane Jacobson at 301-215-4555. She can help you over the phone. Of course, you’ll need your own credit card to complete your registration.


Academy Registration Checklist

  • Determine your travel arrangements (flights, etc.) so you know what nights you need to stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn.
  • Determine if you are comfortable with a “run of the house” hotel room ($309 rate) or do you want to upgrade to a “mountain view” room ($379 rate) at the Omni Grove Park Inn.
  • Determine if you want to play golf on the Donald Ross course at the resort on Friday and/or Saturday. Will you bring your own clubs or do you need to rent clubs?
  • Are you interested in exploring the Asheville area via the Gray Line Trolley Tour? This is a “hop-on/hop-off” vehicle that offers 10 stops ~ including a stop at the Omni Grove Park Inn every 30 minutes.
  • Determine if you want to take one of the Behind the Scenes Tour of the Biltmore Estate. Remember you need to choose Friday or Saturday ~ and each day is limited to 80 people. Buffet lunch at the Deerpark Restaurant is also included with this tour.
  • Register for the meeting and pay online with your credit card for the meeting and any optional events you choose.
  • Register for your hotel room by either of the two methods:
  • Do you want to make arrangements for dinner on Friday night with other Fellows? It’s not too soon to be thinking about that.
  • Diane Jacobson can help you with any questions you may have. If you have a few minutes, Diane can handle the meeting registration for you (using your credit card, of course). You may call her at 301-215-4555. You can email her at
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