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Electrical Union is the spark for Meadowlands power.

With the arrival of a new sports season, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 164 continue to serve as the backbone of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., one of the world's largest and most heavily used sports and entertainment destinations.

The Meadowlands is comprised of Giants Stadium, home of the NFL's New York Giants and Jets; the Continental Airlines Arena, where the New Jersey Nets and the three-time Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils play; and the Meadowlands Racetrack, open day and night for simulcast betting and home of approximately 200 horse race nights including the Hambletonian.

According to Arthur Pitt, foreman of a team of four Local 164 electrical technicians at Giants Stadium, electricians perform an integral function at all major sport venues.

"Our role is critical to the overall operations function from beginning to end," he explained. "Electricity by its very nature is highly visible--if it is not working properly, you know it. Not only is it vital for the safety and well-being of attendees, but it also serves as the foundation for each event to project a replay or produce a concert light show. We make sure events happen without any technical breakdowns."

Among the tasks performed by Local 164 electricians this past summer were increasing the size of service entrances for broadcast tracks and improving the television satellite systems. Additionally, the electricians maintain and monitor the wireless bar code ticket scanners for box-office enforcement update and replace management information systems, and interface with the concert production staff as well as wire the accessory equipment and security trailers. Maintenance and replacement of equipment, such as re-lamping and replacing fixtures, is also performed on a regular basis.

This past summer, the Meadowlands joined the short list of venues to host both the NBA and NHL finals at the same time; the Meadowlands State Fair; as well as a record-breaking 16 concerts by performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Limp Bizkit.

Recently, the Local 164 team completed preparations for the 2003 football season by verifying and installing the clock systems as well as the instant replay accommodation boxes and modifying the television network cabling.

At game time, the electricians handle a wide range of operations, including the monitoring of field and referee microphones and lighting control.

When the New Jersey Devils racked up their third Stanley Cup in nine years at the Continental Airlines Arena, Local 164's skilled team of electricians were on the scene as usual, setting up all scoring and timekeeping equipment, testing sound and game lighting systems, performing aggressive preventive maintenance, and providing power and maintenance to all broadcast vehicles, luxury suits and building fixtures.

"The National Hockey League playoffs were 22 days of fan pandemonium," recalled Richard Dressel, Local 164's business manager. "Our electrical team's job was to ensure an enjoyable experience throughout that period and support the entire management efforts of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. As usual, all the teams came through--ours, the Authority, and the Devils."

According to Lawrence Kalogera, electrical foreman and a member of Local 164 for 40 years, the arena is ready for the new sports and entertainment season following a yearly maintenance upgrade.

"During a sporting season when you're hopping from game to game, your major maintenance has to wait until summer," he said. "We examined all of the equipment from the past year, opened all the switch gear for inspection and cleaning, and rebuilt some of the systems we use for basketball and hockey."

Meanwhile, over at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Kalogera's counterpart Tom Cioce notes that summertime is the track's equivalent to the hockey playoffs.

"Currently, our team is installing a new computerized television system with which we can control and watch the racetrack's thousands of monitors from a central location," explained Cioce.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 164 is dedicated to providing its more than 3,400 members throughout Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties with integral services that elevate the level of electrical and telecommumications expertise as well as the quality of life for its members. For more information, please call (201) 265-1700 or visit the web site
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 22, 2003
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