Strengthening Alliances in Training

IAEI has the principal mission of promoting electrical safety, a mission supported by the work and responsibility of the inspector. Many of the different entities in the electrical industry that strive to achieve safety by diligently carrying out their responsibilities have discovered that training is a key factor in achieving safe electrical installations.


Photo 1. NFPA Electrical Fire and Safety Expo in Mexico City, Mexico, in November 2006. From left to right, Alfredo Ramirez, UL; Rodolfo Aragon, NFPA; and Michael Johnston, IAEI.


This article looks at the importance of training, continuing education, and the three-year cycle of the NEC. This cycle necessitates effort to maintain up-to-dateness with important electrical rules. The reason is simple—electrical safety, a strong reason to stay informed. No matter what level one reaches in this business, there is always another plateau upon which new rules, technologies, methods, and systems are ever-emerging. Knowledge of the electrical business and its regulating codes and standards is the key to an abundance of opportunities.


Photo 2. Alfredo Ramirez, manager of regulatory services for Underwriters Laboratories, and Antonio Macias, director, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and Michael Johnston at the Electrical Fire and Safety Expo trade show conference in Mexico.

Each organization in the industry has a responsibility and vested interest to remain up-to-date on the electrical rules we have to follow or that apply in the construction field. Each of us also has an individual obligation to remain current in our field. This takes a concerted effort to familiarize ourselves with, and to understand changes to the rules we abide by for safety. If one is deficient in understanding the requirements, electrical safety can be compromised and doing business can be more difficult and challenging. Electrical safety and the training related thereto should not be learned as one goes, but learning should be proactive, or anticipatory. IAEI takes this process very seriously and provides training that is intended to assist the industry in achieving greater understanding of the NEC rules and, more importantly, in learning how to apply those rules to systems. One such training program is IAEI’s Analysis of Changes NEC-2008. The association does its part each NEC cycle by developing material that analyzes the changes and clearly explains the meaning and impact of each change. This training material will be available in September 2007. Contact the IAEI Customer Service Department and order your copies today.

The electrical industry as a whole is gradually discovering value in establishing training partnerships. IAEI is working to grow alliances with industry partners that share common interests in providing quality electrical training. Working together with organizations such as NFPA, UL, NEMA, ICC, NJATC, IEC, ISA, and several others, IAEI brings the perspective of Code enforcement to the training arena. IAEI realizes that the value of working together with any organization to achieve common goals all comes back to electrical safety. It is difficult to oppose training, products, Code rules, safety standards, and other efforts that are driven to meet this mission of safety, which is also the mission of the association.

Photo 3. Michael J. Johnston, IAEI Director of Education, Codes and Standards networking with IAEI member Saul E. Trevino Garcia, an active electrical instructor in Mexico.

The training opportunities for IAEI are mounting, and more are on the horizon. Many regions and jurisdictions are passing laws and regulations that require qualified persons to be licensed and to receive continuing education to maintain those licenses. As one can imagine, the opportunities for continuing education providers are growing. IAEI sections, chapters, and divisions should work to provide electrical training within their geographical regions, where the opportunities are the greatest. IAEI is committed to providing the support necessary for any section, chapter, or division that is working to provide continuing electrical training. These alliances with the IAEI branches are the strength of the organization. The IAEI International Education Committee understands the importance of growing IAEI training efforts at each section, chapter, and division level. However, the training opportunities for IAEI do not stop within our own circle. These opportunities and obligations extend throughout this country and beyond.

Photo 4. IAEI member Saul E. Trevino Garcia provided a seminar on electrical systems in health care facilities.

IAEI is working to assist Mexico in growing its electrical Code and safety training. Working in cooperation with Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association, IAEI has renewed a presence in Mexico by providing electrical training programs and presentations, through translation, at the NFPA Electrical Fire and Safety Expo in Mexico City. Training on the NEC and other industry standards is necessary as neighboring countries work to grow their electrical safety systems. The training experience and networking in Mexico City clearly revealed that there are far greater opportunities to address electrical safety education. A large part of this collaboration resulted from the efforts of Alfredo Ramirez, manager of regulatory services for Underwriters Laboratories and Antonio Macias, director, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and Rodolfo Aragon with NFPA, Mexico. These individuals continuously offer significant and unselfish support of IAEI and its mission. These gentlemen are, without question, IAEI ambassadors who are working on behalf of broadening IAEI’s reaches internationally. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, and IAEI is committed to strengthening this important work to foster the IAEI mission internationally. As IAEI continues to expand its training and publications arm in the industry, the benefits of membership in IAEI are even more apparent. The need to extend additional training efforts beyond the boundaries of the United States will only increase in the years ahead; in fact, just recently Costa Rica has expressed interest in increasing electrical training.

Quality training requires quality instructors. Many IAEI instructors serve on NEC code-making panels, which provide for authoritative insight into the meaning of NEC rules and into how best to apply them to installations and systems. It is logical that these individuals serve as electrical instructors for the benefit of the industry. IAEI has recently invested in development of an instructor training program to equip instructors to meet these challenges. As more regions implement electrical licensing and certification requirements, the need for professional continuing education providers expands. IAEI is accredited by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) as a qualified provider of continuing education units. Each section, chapter, and division is recognized under this accreditation. This means opportunities at all levels of IAEI for growing their own education committee work and training program offerings. IAEI training should be offered on a regular basis, over and above the regular annual meetings. Many chapters already understand the importance of activating their education committees to provide electrical Code training at the local levels and of the immeasurable benefits. Without question, each chapter or division that has started this work has realized how much more there is to do and what a great opportunity it is for IAEI to satisfy one of the basic objectives of the association, education. The records speak for themselves: In those areas where IAEI is active in education, the membership is strongest. The goal ahead for IAEI is to guide its sections, chapters, and divisions toward building IAEI training. If you are unsure of what IAEI is offering for continuing education in your group, inquire. Chances are good that there is ample opportunity for your involvement. Get involved and help IAEI make a difference.


The opportunities for IAEI education have never been greater. The International Office is doing its part by producing quality electrical training programs and by supporting IAEI sections, chapters, and divisions that are growing their training efforts locally. There is always strength in unity and in working together with other associations. IAEI is making a difference, but there is much more to do. Working with its branches, IAEI can grow while meeting the objectives our founding fathers established nearly 80 years ago. If one truly understands IAEI, the passion for electrical safety becomes clear. Safe electrical installations are the result of training, and lots of it. Again, the records demonstrate: In those areas where IAEI is active in education, the membership is strongest.

Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston is NECA’s executive director of standards and safety. Prior to his position with NECA, Mike was director of education codes and standards for IAEI. Mike holds a BS in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. Mike is the chairman of the NEC Correlating Committee. He served on NEC CMP-5 in the 2002, 2005, and chair of CMP-5 representing NECA for the 2011 NEC cycle. Among his responsibilities for managing the codes, standards, and safety functions for NECA, Mike is secretary of the NECA Codes and Standards Committee. Johnston is a member of the IBEW and is an active member of ANSI, IAEI, NFPA, SES, ASSE, ANSI-EVSP and ANSI-ESSCC, and the UL Electrical Council, the National Safety Council and vice chair of the NFPA Electrical Section.