Growing the Membership

By now, March 2006, all your good intentions and New Year’s resolutions probably have been forgotten. Well, maybe not all. Hopefully your resolution to be more involved in your profession by continuing your education, upgrading your skills, and increasing your knowledge is still a priority for you. That is where IAEI should be in your plans. IAEI provides many opportunities for you to advance your goals. IAEI also provides a place for you to hone your leadership and communication skills.


Some may ask the question, “What has IAEI done for me?” In fact, just recently we received comments from a few members whose membership dues were due. That seems to be the common reason for not remaining a member. “IAEI is doing nothing for me!” “Where is my free Code book?” “I have to travel to the next town to get continuing education.” “The dues are just too high!” “All I get is a magazine that is full of advertising and junk about chapter minutes.” Yes, these are some of the comments we get from some for not renewing their membership.

Yet we have new members joining IAEI, which would indicate that IAEI is attractive to them. We do have a problem retaining members. What can we do to keep the interest of our members and maintain our members and grow the association? I encourage the members to take some time to reflect and write down what you receive from being a member of IAEI. Don’t be negative but focus on the benefits of being a member of this association. I will mention a few of my thoughts on the benefits that I came up with and will try to answer some of the comments we have received.

  • What does IAEI do for me?Let’s put aside the fact that I am employed by you and receive a salary. IAEI has provided many educational opportunities. Opportunities that I may have gotten from another source, but education and knowledge gained from my peers come only from my association with IAEI. Opportunities for me to practice the art of leadership have come to me through IAEI. All of us are leaders even if we don’t become an international president or a chapter president. Being an enforcer is being a leader. Installing the electrical system that meets the safety Code is being a leader. We are leading those that follow us in the trade. IAEI has some of the best minds on its staff and has access to some of the finest people in the industry to consult when questions come up. IAEI produces some of the most sought after training materials used in seminars and workshops. Your staff at the International Office and our cadre of international instructors have a great reputation for leading and teaching in the many seminars that are offered by the IO, chapters, and divisions. If not for the opportunities that I took advantage of, I would not have been, or be, where I am today.
  • Nearby Seminars.The International Office offers some 140 seminars each year. This does not count the training workshops and seminars offered by the chapters and divisions of IAEI. Maybe a seminar was not available in your home or office, and maybe you had to travel a ways to get IAEI continuing education, but the future may offer some help. IAEI is actively pursuing offering on-line continuing education training courses. With all the opportunities to obtain continuing education it will still require you to make an effort. After all, the old axiom is still true—You only get out of the association what you put into it. The IAEI provides many opportunities, but it still requires you to participate.
  • Free Codebooks.The cost of the NEC has increased over the years but NFPA has continued to provide IAEI with a limited number of free NECs for distribution to our IAEI members. Because of this limited number, which is not enough to give every member a Code, and because a lot of the members get codebooks from other sources, a distribution plan was devised to make the books available to those that really wanted them. Therefore, members who have been a continuous member for three years or longer were sent a letter offering them the free codebook. All you had to do was to return the reply card requesting the book. A small shipping and handling fee was charged. We are continuing to provide the free codebook to those members that reach their third anniversary. Just return the request card along with the fee for shipping and handling. With the price of the NEC, you can readily tell that $90.00 a year membership dues would not provide enough revenue for that book and keep all the other opportunities available.
  • As far as the comments about theIAEI News, well, I will let you be the judge of that. My opinion is that theNewsis the most excellent source of information that can be found. Information found by reading the various chapter meeting minutes can be of help for others looking for different viewpoints and ways of doing things. Of course, advertising helps keep the costs to the member down.

Remember that May is Electrical Safety Month, so work safe and play safe.

James W. Carpenter
Former IAEI CEO and Executive Director, and Editor-in-Chief for the IAEI News, James Carpenter was previously the chief electrical engineer, state electrical inspector for the Engineering Division of the Office of State Fire Marshal, North Carolina Department of Insurance. He had been with the department for twenty years, with twenty years electrical experience prior to coming to the state. He was a member of CMP-2 from 1987 to 2002 and was chairman for the last three cycles. He has been a member of IAEI since 1972. He was also a member of NFPA and is serving as the TCC chair and on the Standards Council. He was on the UL Electrical Council.