Attorney Chris Sammarone, executive director for Mahoning Valley NECA.

New leader for Mahoning Valley NECA: Attorney Chris Sammarone takes reins

A practicing attorney for 25 years, Chris Sammarone is the new executive director for the Mahoning Valley NECA chapter. He officially took the helm on May 1.

He fills the seat left by Tom Lipka, who held the position since 2019. Lipka was recently promoted to a field representative position for NECA’s Eastern Region.

Coincidentally, that’s the same position that Jack Savage, who was Lipka’s predecessor, went into after his departure from Mahoning Valley NECA. Savage was promoted again in 2023 to executive director for NECA’S Eastern Region.

Chris Sammarone, of Canfield, is the new executive director for Mahoning Valley NECA chapter.

Big moves within Mahoning Valley NECA

The promotions from a small (but mighty) NECA chapter speak volumes to Sammarone.

“That made the decision to be executive director a little easier. Knowing that Tom and Jack are resources that are right here. Having two guys with the knowledge they have is a good thing,” he said.

He’s known both men for years, and his conversations with them about the position were convincing.

“It was an opportunity that excited me. There are so many moving parts involved. There’s a lot of activity, including the labor management piece of it. I like it because it’s a team effort – a bunch of good people working together to make things better.”

Legal business and life

Teamwork is nothing new for Sammarone. He is a general practice lawyer – focusing mostly on business, real estate and probate work. He was also an accomplished football player in high school and college.

Sammarone’s practice is in Canfield, where he’s lived since 2005 with his wife of 25 years and five children. His Mahoning Valley roots run strong.

“I graduated from Chaney High School, went to YSU for my undergrad, played football under Coach Tressel, and then went to Cleveland State University College of Law to earn my Juris Doctor degree in 1999.”

Community impact is also important to Sammarone. He’s involved with the Mahoning County Bar Association, YSU Alumni Association, YSU Penguin Club, Chaney High School Athletic Hall of Fame and Glacier Sports, Inc.

Warming up to the job

Sammarone is still getting his feet wet as executive director for Mahoning Valley NECA.

“It’s been a lot of meetings, and I’ve met a lot of good people, including the local IBEW business managers and organizers. Our member contractors are really good people who care out our community.”

He’ll soon be heading to Washington, D.C. for a legislative conference. It’s something he’s never done until now.

“We’re going to hear from Senators and Congressmen about things that are impacting the electrical industry,” Sammarone said.

Locally, electrical contractor work remains steady, and there doesn’t seem to be any cause for concern.

“What I’ve learned to this point is that there are plenty of opportunities out there for our contractors.”

What’s ahead?

From Savage to Lipka and now Sammarone, there’s been a solid message passed down in the executive director’s position.

“They said they loved every bit of it – and the people you work with are good people. That’s what attracted me to it.”

When he’s not working, you’ll find Sammarone spending time with his family, building his skills as a new pickleball enthusiast or on the golf course.

Mahoning Valley NECA is a trade association for local, unionized electrical and telecom contractors that works in partnership with the IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown and IBEW Local 573 in Warren.