IAEI — 2021 & Beyond

My father had a heart attack when he was only 44 years old.  He had been a chronic 2 pack a day smoker since he joined the US Air Force at 17 years old.  The smoking had finally caught up to him in a big way.  I was only 10 years old at the time, but I clearly remember being in his hospital room when the cardiologist came to see him.  The doctor told him, “Mr. Garza you either have to change your lifestyle and quit smoking, or you will die.”  You might be asking yourself, why is the new CEO telling me about his father, and what does this have to do with IAEI?  Bear with me I am getting to that and it has a lot to do with IAEI.

You may have heard the is old saying, “No one likes change but a baby with a soiled diaper”.  Change is never easy even when we know that it is necessary to survive.  Thankfully, my father did change his lifestyle and quit smoking cold turkey, but it was not easy, and might I add, it was also physically and psychologically painful for him in the beginning.

If you read my initial article in the IAEI September/October magazine you know that some things are changing at the IAEI International Offices.   And, as with my father, changes can be challenging……but I am about to show you why they are necessary for IAEI’s very survival.

Since the Great Recession of 2007-2012, and even before, municipalities/cities/jurisdictions have started to move away from hiring specialized inspectors of all trades.  As more Electrical Inspectors retire or resign, cities are opting out of duplicating them and started replacing them with multi-hat inspectors as a cost savings measure. DataUSA shows that the Inspector profession has been dropping at a rate of 2.88% annually.  That means between 2000-2020 the number of individuals working in the inspection profession has dropped a whopping 57.6%.  In direct correlation to that figure, the IAEI membership has decreased from 24,500 to 10,000……a 59.4% decrease.  Currently, the average IAEI member is 55 years old, and that means many IAEI members will be retiring in the next 10 years.  What is even more alarming is that only 16% of our members are under the age of 44.

Figure 1. Circulation (Blue) and Membership (Red) from 1965 to 2014 in 5-year increments
Figure 1. Circulation (Blue) and Membership (Red) from 1965 to 2014 in 5-year increments


Sadly, for IAEI, the Specialized Electrical Inspector is a diminishing labor segment.  If IAEI continues to focus all its marketing, education programs, and efforts on servicing, recruiting, and educating solely Electrical Inspectors and current IAEI members, the IAEI may not exist in 10 years. It is critically important that the IAEI expand its membership by offering programs that appeal to other market segments such as Multi-hat Inspectors, Real Estate Inspectors, Electrical Installers (Electricians)/Electrical Contractors (Corporations) Home and Commercial Builders, and Building Maintenance Engineers while staying true to the IAEI Vision and Mission.  Equally important, is to offer IAEI programs and services in the formats and platforms that will attract younger members who can carry on the rich history of the IAEI.

Expanding the IAEI membership base is the best way to grow and sustain IAEI as an organization.  With its rich history of keeping the public safe from electrical hazards, the IAEI can continue in that direction through recruiting non-electrical inspector members who work in the electrical field.

To that end, the primary way to recruit and keep new labor market segment members is by offering services that appeal to them. That requires thinking creatively and abandoning the “But that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentalities from within the organization. With the goal of “Keeping the public safe from electrical hazards,” IAEI needs to market itself to all labor markets related to, or responsible for,  Electrical Safety.

The new plan to attract new members from all the labor markets responsible for electrical safety is very comprehensive.  IAEI has created a Marketing Plan that goes where electrical industry members go. IAEI will be marketing its services on the websites, Twitter accounts, social media pages, and print publications frequented by our target audiences.

The new IAEI marketing plan has specifically targeted marketing modalities and HD Videos that will appeal to each new target market segment.  The goal is to reach out to the new markets and draw in all electrical professionals that need to be educated on electrical safety, who can benefit from IAEI publications, and who would benefit from becoming an IAEI member.  Targeted marketing will be highly effective with attracting a diversified membership by driving potential members into an IAEI service portal.

We have invested considerable time and financial resources in a new Digital Online Education Platform that will be the Gold Standard of Electrical Safety Education.  In January 2021, our newly completed on site digital recording studio will broadcast live, and on-demand, electrical training in High Definition with green screen technology.  Obviously, IAEI is the global leader in electrical safety so our curriculum is being diversified and expanded. Along with our large member availability of world-renowned subject matter experts, IAEI will have an electrical educational program that will be unmatched.

The IAEI Section/Chapters/Divisions will play a key role in the expansion of membership as they serve as the points of entry for new members.  When an electrical professional takes part in an IAEI electrical educational offering or purchases one of the IAEI publications, they will be encouraged to join IAEI and then will be referred to their local Section/Chapter/Division as their point of entry into the IAEI.  When new members are signed up by the IO, staff will contact the Section/Chapter/Division to reach out to the new member. 

SCDs will also continue to offer valuable onsite live training to their members at meetings though out the year.  These meetings offer the opportunity for networking and relationship building and that is the real attraction to new members. The IO is not in competition with the SCDs, we are partners. The services offered by the IO are there to enhance the SCDs, not hinder them.  There is no us versus them, it is “we”, the entire IAEI team.

The real competition to the IAEI and the SCDs are the outside institutions and companies claiming that they are more qualified to provide education and publications on electrical safety than the nearly 100-year-old organization founded to do just that…..the IAEI.  The IAEI is The Electrical Safety Leader.  The SCDs are the local and regional representatives of the IAEI, and therefore are also The Electrical Safety Leaders.  Without the SCDs the IAEI could not exist, and without the IAEI the SCDs would struggle to exist since they are volunteer organizations.  Everything that the IAEI produces should support, aid, and enhance the SCDs.  They are the IAEI Centers of Excellence.

Figure 2. IAEI, The Electrical Safety Leader
Figure 2. IAEI, The Electrical Safety Leader


It is a new day at IAEI……with bold new programs directly supporting the Short and Long-Term Goals of the IAEI Strategic Plan that was adopted by the IAEI Board of Directors. Beginning this December, and moving forward into 2021 and beyond, IAEI will be launching several new aggressive initiatives to bolster the organization into its rightful prominence in electrical safety, expand and diversify its membership, increase its educational offerings with the best technology available, target and retain younger members, fully utilize social media and digital online technology, and professionally and effectively market IAEI services directly to electrical professionals that need them most.

Some of the most important new initiatives from the International Office are:

  • Comprehensive B to B Marketing Plan targeting a more diversified membership
    • Direct Marketing to Multi-hat inspectors through a new partnership with ICC
    • Direct Marketing to Electricians through unions, IEC and NECA
    • Director Marketing to Real Estate Inspectors through ASHI
    • Direct Marketing to Facility Maintenance Engineers through BOMA
    • Direct Marketing to Home Builders (Construction Supers) through NAHB
  • Offering new educational opportunities (Discounted pricing for IAEI Members)
    • Beginning January 1, 2021, new Live Online Interactive High Definition Education Classes from our brand-new Digital Broadcast Studio at the International Offices (will be best broadcast technology in the entire industry)
    • New rebroadcast education online classes
    • New classes and curriculum for Multi-hat Inspectors, Construction Superintendents, Facility Engineers, Real Estate Inspectors, and Electricians
    • New staff “Director of Digital Education” and “Broadcast Assistant”
  • New Publications
    • New “Study Guides” for a newly developed Multi-Hat Dual ICC/IAEI Certification Program
    • “Top 10 Electrical Items You Need To Look For” written for
      • Real Estate Inspectors
      • Construction Superintendents
      • Facility Engineers
      • Multi-hat Inspectors
  • Attracting and Retaining Younger Members
    • New “NextGen” Program targeting members under 40yo
    • New Staff position “Digital Media and Information Coordinator” to reach and attract younger members
      • Will manage NEW IAEI.org website
      • Will manage NEW IAEICourses.com website
      • Will develop social media messaging (videos, post, articles, discussions)
      • Will manage all social media content
        • Facebook
        • Tick Tock
        • Linked In
        • Instagram
        • Twitter

As one board member said during a recent Zoom conference, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”  He added that if IAEI did not embrace change, and the newly recommended programs, that membership and revenues would continue to fall to unsustainable levels.   He was right.

I have been in the executive level association management business for over 20 years.  And in those twenty years, I have learned that change is never easy especially for members that have dedicated decades of their lives to their beloved associations.  But I also know that when the signs are clear that change is necessary. And when change is implemented, whether, with programs, staff, or governance, concerns from the membership will follow.  I welcome hearing about your concerns or your questions regarding any of the new IAEI initiatives and I will do my absolute best to explain the reasoning behind each.  Feel free to call my direct line at 469-589-7886 or email me at rgarza@IAEI.org.