There are two kinds of people in the world, those who sit back and wonder what happened and those who stand up and make things happen. Make a difference—get involved!”
With those words, Bob McCullough, the 80th president of IAEI, challenged those in attendance at IAEI’s Diamond Jubilee meeting in 2003, to become involved in moving the organization forward.
Getting involved can be as simple as volunteering to participate in IAEI chapter activities, offering to serve on various committees, and helping with educational programs or as complicated as serving as an IAEI representative on a code-making panel. Involvement can also mean being more proactive in bringing new members into the organization and, more importantly, keeping them as members.
Bob’s career as an electrical inspector began in 1970 shortly after his release from active duty in the United States Navy as a cryptologic technician (Don’t ask him because if he told you, he’d have to kill you). He started working for the Ocean County Electrical Bureau in Ocean County, New Jersey, which at the time was the only county that provided electrical inspection services for its residents. “The Ocean County Board of Freeholders has always been progressive in providing services for the safety and welfare of the public,” according to Bob; “they have also been strong supporters of our public safety system.” Choosing early on to get involved, Bob served as a field inspector, senior inspector, assistant chief inspector, and was ultimately promoted to the position of Superintendent of the Bureau in 1979. In 1984, Ocean County created the Construction Inspection Department to provide building, plumbing and fire inspections in addition to electrical inspections, and Bob was named as its first director. It is now a division within the Ocean County Department of Consumer Protection.
Along the way, Bob continued to serve in the U.S. Navy Reserve, traveling to many different locations worldwide before retiring at the end of 1990.
He has served on the New Jersey Chapter Board of Directors, the New Jersey Chapter Southern Division and, along with his mentor, Andy Cartal, helped form the South Jersey Chapter. “Andy is an example of someone getting involved,” Bob says. “He took me under his wing and showed me how to play a part in making the organization better. We all should try to follow his leadership.”
Bob moved up to the Eastern Section Board of Directors and quickly became involved by volunteering to serve as registration chair for the annual Section Meeting and Code Workshop. He then moved through the chairs and become Eastern Section president in 1997. On the state level, Bob is a member of the New Jersey State Uniform Construction Code Advisory Board, a member of the Mechanical/Energy Subcode Committee, and chairs the Electrical Subcode Committee.
He is a member of the New Jersey State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors and was very active with the New Jersey State VICA Residential Wiring Skill Olympics, serving as chair. Before you think that he has too much spare time, Bob is currently chairman of Code-Making Panel 9 for the NEC, representing the IAEI. He previously served as chair of Panel 19 for three cycles. He also represents the IAEI on the technical committees for NFPA 501, 501A, and 225 all dealing with manufactured housing. He has been a member of the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI) Electrical Test Development Committee since 1987 and is currently chairman of the NCPCCI Board of Governors. Bob is a corporate member of Underwriters Laboratories Inc, and serves on the Electrical Council.
When asked how he finds the time for all of this, he jokingly says, “It’s easy if you have no life”; but in reality, “If you make the commitment, the time is there.” Maybe you don’t have to go to this level of involvement, but if each IAEI member were to take a little time out of each day to reach out and help a new member along, encouraging that person to get more involved, it would keep this association as the leader of our industry.
Bob and his wife Beverly recently celebrated their fortieth anniversary, and he credits her, along with sons Ryan and his wife Janeen; Kevin and his wife Tara and granddaughter Morgan; daughter Janet and her husband A.J.; and a little black pug named Molly with helping to keep him solidly grounded.