Fact or Fiction

Summer has drawn to a close and families have sent their children back to school. Fall is upon us and IAEI members are attending the Annual Section Meetings. Organizing committees for each section worked hard for the past year planning logistics, educational offerings and networking opportunities, all part of providing a great educational adventure. If you haven’t yet signed up to attend one of the section meetings, now’s the time. Go to http://www.iaei.org/member/section-meetings/ to register. Despite what some may believe, we welcome both members and non-members to our section meetings.

Recently IAEI placed a booth at one of the large electrical industry trade shows and I had the opportunity to participate and to meet a number of individuals, most of whom were not IAEI members.Many were somewhat familiar with our organization so having the opportunity to talk one-on-one provided me insight on what they knew, or didn’t know, about IAEI. To some degree I felt as if I were in the TV show Undercover Boss as many didn’t know who I was, which was different from attending one of our section meetings. In other words, I didn’t need to wear a hairpiece!

So what did I discover? What I found out was not overly surprising but it confirmed what the ad-hoc membership committee told me as they were tasked with developing a new membership recruitment and retention plan.

So let’s start with identifying fact from fiction from some of the conversations I had.

  • In order to join IAEI, I need to be an inspector. Fiction.
    Fact. IAEI has an open membership policy and anyone who has a vested interest in electrical safety can join. Our membership consists of electrical inspectors, building officials, electricians, contractors, certification agencies, manufacturers, electrical engineers, electrical consultants, union and non-union, private or governmental agencies. Everyone is welcomed.
  • I can only attend a section meeting if I’m an IAEI member. Fiction.
    Fact. Registration is open to anyone who wishes to attend a section meeting. However, being a member has its benefit, as there is a member vs. a non-member registration fee.
  • My membership is for the local IAEI chapter only, and I’m not permitted to attend other chapter or division meetings. Fiction.
    Fact. When you become a member, you are a member of IAEI; and membership provides access to any IAEI section, chapter or division meetings or functions. Belonging to a host chapter gives you the benefits of attending local meetings, educational opportunities and networking with others with common interests within a geographical area, normally where you reside or work. We encourage members travelling outside of their chapter or division, either on business or vacation, to check to see when the local chapter or division is holding its regular meeting; any member is welcome to attend those meetings. A listing as to when chapters and divisions meet can be found at www.IAEI.org/calendar or in the IAEI magazine under “Dates Ahead.”
  • As an associate member, I do not have a say or a vote at my local chapter or division meeting. Fiction.
    Fact. IAEI membership is broken into several different types; the two main types are inspector members and associate members. Inspector members have different voting rights from associate members. These differences are spelled out in the local chapter by-laws.
  • As an associate member, I’m not permitted to hold office at the local chapter or division level. Fiction.
    Fact. Chapter by-laws have provisions for associate members to be on the board of directors. There is a ratio that must be maintained between inspector members and associate members in order to maintain the principles on which the association was founded.

So as you can see from the above conversations I had during the trade show, my answers to these questions can help dismiss the difference between fact and fiction and encourage individuals to see the value of joining IAEI.

David Clements
David Clements is CEO/Executive Director of IAEI. He has been an active IAEI member at the local, section and national levels for more than twenty-five years. He served as international board member from 1995 until 2007 when he served as our 2007 international president. In 2010, he retired after twenty-nine years with Nova Scotia Power, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as their chief electrical inspector. During his tenure as chief electrical inspector, he was a voting member on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Technical Committee on the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, a member of the Regulatory Authority Committee and member of the Canadian Advisory Committee on Electrical Safety. He has served on NFPA Smart Grid Steering Committee, Electrical Infrastructure Training Program and is presently a member of the UL Electrical Council.