Gratitude and Survival

As this issue was in final production before going to press, we were approaching the Thanksgiving holidays. I was working on this editorial and thinking about how in three days I would welcome a mixture of family, friends and several guests of my son, young professionals who would not be seeing their parents this year; some had had hard-won successes, some had lost their jobs, others were struggling to hang on. Several of them had expressed gratitude for his invitation.

Gratitude and survival drifted through my thoughts and swirled around; in fact, I could not shake those words. Suddenly, I had an insight:The fledgling IAEI News survived the Great Depression! As far as I can determine from the records, not one issue was missed.

Of course, its survival was largely due to membership, for in those days we did not sell advertising. In fact, the first one was a tiny Standard Oil ad that appeared in January 1931, and there were no other ads during that year or in the next two years. But, oh my, membership was dynamic: from the charter date in 1928 to January 1929, 4% increase; in January 1930, a 90% increase; in January 1931, an 89% increase; and in January 1931, a 92% increase.

I am immensely grateful that IAEI News survived, because I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most remarkable people: busy, and often overloaded, inspectors, engineers, contractors, and others —more than 250 of them— have taken time to write articles on a rigid deadline schedule, without any compensation. Most often they have provided their own drawings and photos. Volunteer secretaries have submitted detailed minutes and photos of chapter activities, all for a volunteer’s pay. IAEI’s technical staff has hammered out articles in motel rooms, in the air when others are watching movies or sleeping, or in the wee hours of the mornings—to them I am forever indebted. The entire IAEI staff has contributed to the magazine’s survival: through record-keeping, preparing mailing lists, shipping, answering customer’s inquiries, billing advertisers, preparing new member and certifications lists, checking seminar details, and addresses, etc. I am grateful for your help. To my own staff, I would not want to be without your creativity, constant support and efficiencies. Nor would it be the same without the stream of attaboys from our readers.

Since we started posting the magazine online, our readership has expanded to 146 countries and the readership figures have doubled to 110,758. That’s survival, too; primarily because it broadens the potential for advertising and for membership recruitment. It can also present a challenge, particularly if we let the print version die. Publishing Executive magazine gives statistics of many magazines that, in the search for extreme cost savings, have folded their print versions and eventually disappeared. I am grateful for our history because it has taught us how to survive and how to grow.

Survival and gratitude are underlining themes of our entire mission: to teach people how to live safely with electricity. Each issue is an exciting mixture of what’s new, what needs to be reviewed, and how to achieve more professionally. Readers can now give us feedback immediately; at the end of each online article are rating stars and a comment link. Readers rate the article by clicking on the highest star they wish to award. To add a comment, they register their names and email addresses and then type their opinions. Authors are notified that a comment has been made and are encouraged to respond.

They often respond by writing another article. Such is the case of “Safety in Our States,” which answers questions raised by the state adoption process article in the September-October issue. Other articles look at subjects from a different perspective, such as separating divisions from classes and comparing them with the zone system. One suggests an illusion in GFCI protection and forces us to reexamine the concept. Others continue to show us how to: size generators, inspect electric signs and make supply-size PV utility connections.

I am grateful that we are always learning and ever moving forward.