As we begin this next year, it is a good time to reflect on the association in general, and most of this article will be some of my reflections and future goals, long range and for 2011 specifically. As I look back on my twenty-seven years as an IAEI member (as both an associate and inspector member), and the last eleven years on the International Board, this has been an unbelievable experience. I am deeply honored and humbled by your support and trust that have been placed in me. My most important goal is to serve and to represent you in the best way that I can.
I started my education in the electrical industry, as many of you probably did, in grade school science classes. I remember for my 6th grade science fair entry I built a mock stud wall assembly of 2x4s and plywood and wired together a pair of 3-way switches and three 4-way switches to operate a 120-volt light bulb. While my father did not share the level of enthusiasm as I had, he left me to my tinkering, I am sure with the hope that I did not somehow burn the house down. For that project, I had to explain how the wiring was done and how the circuit operated to turn the light on or off from any of the five positions. Moving from that humble beginning, I completed a college degree in electrical engineering with a power specialty at Oregon State University. Over the next thirty-eight years I have been able to work and continue to learn about electrical equipment and safe installations. My hands-on education was supplemented with needing to understand theNEC, as well as product standards such as IEEE and UL. All along the way, I also found myself being a teacher to electricians, inspectors and other engineers on various job sites and also doing seminars on these topics. As my career progressed, I moved into dealing more with product standards and into field evaluations of electrical products that were not certified as well as teaching electrical safe work practices. Over this time, I obtained licenses as a master electrician and electrical contractor from Louisiana, New Orleans, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.
I became a member of IAEI when an inspector asked me to make a presentation on installation and testing of ground-fault protection to the Oregon Chapter. I had met this inspector on a job site where I was performing the required GFPE field testing and was explaining to him how this particular ground-fault system worked in normal operation and when a ground fault occurred. He thought maybe the local IAEI chapter would be interested in this as a more formal presentation. Shortly thereafter, I became an associate member in the Oregon Chapter and was mentored by this sponsor and encouraged to attend meetings on a regular basis. I became active on the chapter board and several years later, after changing status to an inspector member, ultimately became the chapter president. I was the education chairman for the NW Section for several years and then started my tenure on the International Board. All through this time, I have been active with IAEI, both as a student constantly learning from all the members I have had the privilege to interact with, as well as being an instructor, and sharing what I have learned. Even as the instructor, I learn something from each class. I owe to a large degree whatever successes I have had in my career to my IAEI membership and the many opportunities it has given me to learn and to network with very special people all over North America. I continue to see new learning opportunities with PV, wind generators, electric vehicles, and now the “Smart Grid” with all its new changes both in the NEC as well in products.
2010 was a year of significant changes with the selection, hiring and transitioning of our new CEO/Executive Director. I see 2011 as a year with five main areas to move IAEI forward:
1. Membership growth and retention through the efforts of the Ad Hoc Membership Committee and very importantly continuing efforts at the local level;
2. Formalizing the Strategic Plan for IAEI overall and setting the course to meet those strategic goals with action plans and resources;
3. Finalizing the decisions for our building and moving that forward so that we provide adequate facilities with an eye to reduced cost of operations, and maintenance;
4. A complete review of our International Bylaws, International Operating Rules and Model Bylaws to ensure we are operating as we say we should be and to make changes where needed so we are set for our future direction and growth; and
5. Formalizing to a greater degree IAEI positions on NEC adoption, inspector qualification/certification, and support of the safety system we have in place that meets our mission.
As I am writing this, I am very excited about what lays ahead. I see an international board of directors that shares my enthusiasm for moving IAEI forward. My enthusiasm is tempered by the reality of today’s economy, and we will have to adapt to that reality as needed, but we cannot let this situation prevent any action to move forward. What I do know is we have a dedicated CEO in place, a dedicated staff and a membership that believes in what we are trying to accomplish. I look forward to a very productive year.