Old Traditions / New Beginnings — A Year in Review

There is an old saying, “How time flies when you are having fun.” All I can say is that these past twelve months have gone by at light speed. Even though the time has gone by so fast, as I reflect back on this year, a lot got done; and, yes, overall I enjoyed my time as the International President along with all the work. I do want to again thank each of the sections for the kind hospitality shown to me and my wife as we were able to visit and participate in these annual meetings.

In the fall of 2010, Kathryn Ingley told me I had to write a short article as the new incoming president. I knew about this having seen twelve of my fellow board members ascend to the presidency and craft their article for theIAEI News. For those that know me, and Kathryn knows me well, I have a very hard time with “short” articles or short speeches. Now in the fall of 2011, I need to have a short article as I leave the presidency. I will endeavor to keep this brief and make the key points I want to express. What writing that original article caused me to do was to focus and in a concise way to state the vision I had for IAEI in this transition time entering into a new era. That statement became the contents of the article “Old Traditions – New Beginnings.”

In the article that appeared in the January/February 2011 IAEI News, I outlined five areas of activity that I wanted to focus on this year. I knew then that none of these activities would necessarily be 100% completed, but my goal was to get started in each of these areas because these key areas are important to lay the foundation for and to prepare the association for the future. Some of these areas were ones set as goals for David Clements in his role as CEO/Executive Director but most of them were for the International Board Committees to become more active in the needed committee work so we could progress forward.

As I reported in more detail to each of the sections during their annual section meeting, the eighteen committees overseen by the International Board and myself as the International President have been very busy. The membership in these committees was set at the November Board meeting, something that has not always happened but I do hope continues with future international presidents. Task lists were developed and delegated to the appropriate committee at the beginning of this year. These tasks grew out of issues that have been raised by the membership, that is you, and also from past committee work.

Some of these volunteer committees have been meeting almost weekly for eight to fifteen months by teleconference and Web meeting to accomplish their tasks. A lot has been accomplished, and the momentum that has been built will see these activities continue forward. Some of the activities representative of the work include the following:

As a membership association, membership including adding new members as well as retaining all members continues to be a priority at the Board level. The Membership AdHoc Committee has analyzed our membership from many angles in a systematic and data-based approach and is identifying changes to our processes and other aspects. They are in the process right now of conducting a pilot program in a cross section of divisions and chapters to see if what they believe needs to be done will work. The International Membership Committee has completed work with a recommendation coming to the International Board regarding a “senior retired member” classification. Membership is a top priority for your International Board, but the real work is with you. Membership activities must still be focused at the local level. If we are not reaching out regularly to our colleagues in the industry — members or not — and promoting, supporting and encouraging participation in IAEI, then we will not grow.

The Long Range Planning Committee has completed an extensive review of the association by updating the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis last conducted in 2003. Part of the result is an understanding by this committee that this review needs to be done regularly — at least every other year. The ultimate goal of this committee this year was to develop a true long range strategic plan for what they envision the IAEI to look like in three years, five years or longer and how we are going to get there. This involves all aspects of the association, membership, facilities, staffing, offerings, and financial.

One of the outcomes from the LRP Committee activities is an IAEI mission statement. This has not been approved by the full Board as yet, but I believe it is a powerful statement of what IAEI is about. Once finalized, I look forward to this being shared and used to spread the word about what IAEI is and represents.

The International and Model Bylaws are being reviewed and changes are being recommended for Board action. We need the bylaws structured as the framework again for us to move forward guided by the strategic plan, and there are other aspects that need changing as they are no longer applicable in today’s business world or our state of technology.

Our present building is in need of significant improvements and repairs to sustain present operations and to be suitable for the anticipated future needs. An updated facilities analysis of the value of the building and considering the changes in the demographics at the present location have led to the determination that our best route is to relocate to a new building and sell the present one. We have embarked on a capital campaign with a goal of 2 million dollars. Based on a needs analysis and on the current real estate market this amount was determined as the goal. This is not just for a building, but includes the tenant improvement construction that will be necessary and the infrastructure such as updated computer servers, capabilities for web-based training and other capital needs to support our membership needs now and into the future. This is not an “International Office Endeavor” this is an Association Endeavor as each member is part of this association. We will be seeking support and contributions from the members, the divisions, chapters, and sections as well as from our key industry partners. We have about $200,000 accumulated to date, so we have a good start but also a long way to go.

Lastly, much work has been done to build solid relationships with our industry partners, who are a must for our future and the future of the electrical industry. We need to form strong relationships with these industry partners including but not limited to NFPA, ICC, NJATC, NECA, IEC, NEMA, UL, CSA and the other testing laboratories, home inspectors associations, and others. Dave has made great strides in this area, and we are seeing now some very positive results.

Yes, a lot of activities have taken place this year. Some activities were completed, while others are ongoing at the direction of your Board of Directors. Again, thank you for the honor to serve as your 2011 International President; and with your continued support, IAEI will continue to grow and be the keystone of the electrical industry.

Chuck Mello
Chuck Mello is the President of cdcmello Consulting LLC, a consulting firm specializing in electrical training and project work. He spent 6 years active duty in the US Navy as a commissioned officer. He worked for Electro-Test, Inc (eti) for over 26 years doing field engineering, conformity assessment work, and management positions. In 2004 Chuck began work for Underwriters Laboratories as the Global Field Evaluation Program Manager, where he oversaw the overall field evaluation business. He was a member of NEC Code Panel 5, was a key contributor to NFPA 790 and 791 relating to competency and procedures for field evaluations. He also holds an active Master Electrician license from the state of Colorado and has held Master Electrician and Electrical Contractor licenses in several other states. He is a member of IAEI and served as the IAEI International President in 2011. He is a nationally recognized speaker on the NEC, grounding and bonding, high voltage power systems, electrical safety, and field evaluations. Chuck Mello holds a BS degree in Electrical Power Technology with a co-major in Naval Science from Oregon State University. Chuck can be contacted at chuck@cdcmello.com.