IO President’s Farewell Address

Dear IAEI Members, Associates and Friends,

For those of you that were not able to attend the 75th Diamond IAEI Jubilee meeting in Orlando, Florida, I wish to report that it was an exciting and educational event that many will be talking about for some time. Our CEO/Executive Director Jim Carpenter and his staff worked many long hours and faithfully captured what our organization is all about; that being of service to you the membership and our association.

The educational opportunities were truly global in nature as we had various presentations as learning sessions for our members in attendance from outside of the United States. A code panel discussing code issues was held giving the similarities as well of differences between the NFPA 70 National Electrical Code and the Canadian Electrical Code Part 1 & Part 2 and the interaction of both groups. The Publications Department, under the guidance of Kathryn Ingley, developed what I believe to be the highlight of the event, and that was a hardbound, numbered, limited edition history book titled “A Passion for Safety,” with photos, stories and events that have occurred over our seventy-five year history. For those that knew so many of our past members and for new members wanting to trace our lineage, it is a must-have document. If you have not already acquired one, you may order one from our international office, for as long as the limited supply lasts. Sections, chapters, and divisions may wish to get one for their members to view also. Until you have seen it, you won’t believe all we have accomplished by working together for electrical safety.

I am a firm believer that our future holds new and innovative opportunities for our association to grow and prosper on a global scale. As we look back to see our positioning as well as where we have come from, we will continue to remain the KEYSTONE in the electrical industry. We need to also recognize the help we have received from our partners such as NFPA, the nationally recognized testing labs in the U.S. and Canada, IBEW, NECA, NEMA and NJATC as well as others; we offer thanks to them all. You the membership are to be given thanks for your loyalty and continuing support through faithful membership renewals, buying books and products, as well as working to gain new members, attending or coordinating IAEI seminars. Our mission is to provide you with the tools and educational products that remain cutting edge technology in order to ensure that we are the best trained and knowledgeable entity providing electrical safety to the public we serve. My best advice is to make sure existing members are retained. We also need to interest new members by showing them our publications, and talking about our training seminars; letting them know how we can enhance their knowledge and make them better able to do their job.

My quest to attain this professional goal as the IAEI international president began over twenty-six years ago and was aided along the way by many, including my wife Donna; children, DeDe, Kristina, and Joanna. They encouraged me during those important developing years to attend functions even though it meant time away from the family. I always enjoyed attending meetings and making presentations or conducting training on behalf of the association. Let me state that I have always gotten more out of this great association, through its principles and guidance, than I have as yet to return back to it. That is why I will always be available to serve in whatever capacity that I may be called upon on behalf of the IAEI in the future.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention those who have been mentors and life-long educators along my career’s journey. They are Ed Lawry, chief electrical inspector for the state of Wisconsin, and secretary/treasurer Western Section IAEI; Phil Cox, chief electrical inspector, state of Arkansas and past CEO/ executive director I O IAEI; Ray Mullins, Cooper Bussmann Company; and Doug Geralde, CSA International. These men have been true friends and excellent teachers and educators. As one looks back on his or her life work I believe helping others, being of service and educating those that will follow behind us have many great unseen rewards. However, life’s education never ends. The more we know, the more we find out we need to know. No one is too old to learn something each and every day. To all of you that I have mentioned and those others that have always been there and supported me I say a sincere and heartfelt “THANK YOU.” As IAEI members our quest is to provide knowledge and support while volunteering our time and talents to our association and its membership. Make it the best it can possibly be.

I offer this time line to others and challenge them to start early in their career to get involved and remain always available to provide help and support to the IAEI and its membership. When I was elected by the membership of the Western Section as their representative to the International Office Board of Directors, the international presidency seemed a long way off; first serving six years as an IO board member and then six years as a vice president. As I sat at my first meeting in Richardson, TX, I envisioned an hour glass full of sand as it began to trickle down to the bottom half of the container; now it is almost empty and I will need to bid those fellow board members good luck and farewell. While sitting on the board, I have and will continue to remind my peers of their duty to represent you the membership to the best of their ability and not for notoriety or personnel gain; for they hold our association’s future and its mission in each decision made. Money and time are similar in that the less you have of it the more wisely you spend it.

We as a board have not always agreed on courses of action but have always been able debate and to speak openly and frankly on areas of concern, then reach a consensus and so it should be. I am a member of and chair many committees, boards and commissions and always remind members that a unanimous vote on all proposals presented means that we have not assembled the independent thinkers that can produce both pros and cons to the subject at hand. Let me assure you that all of your IO board members are active and able to reach the best conclusion possible, acting on your behalf.

When I look at those that will follow me representing the Western Section IAEI, Richard Owen of the Minnesota Chapter, and Ted Stuttheitt of the Nebraska Chapter and first alternate Don Offerdahl from the North Dakota Chapter, I am extremely pleased to say that they are the best and will serve us all well. One’s true worth is judged by who follows him in that capacity he has vacated and how well the person has been prepared for that mantle of leadership. We in the Western Section and you of the membership can rest assured that these are men of honor and integrity who can think independently as well as globally to ensure our future success. You have elected for your sections other board members of similar quality and they continue that tradition as well.

I will close with the full knowledge and resolve that in 25 years our International Association of Electrical Inspectors will be celebrating their 100th anniversary and hope that we can all meet and review our accomplishments and view what the future has to hold. In closing our 75th Diamond Jubilee Conference, I related an emotional story for me, titled “I Wish You Enough.” Its theme was a dying man wishing his daughter farewell for the last time and restating, “I wish you enough.” Someone nearby questioned the meaning of those words. The father stated that it was a family blessing indicating that as one travels life’s pathway we encounter good times, sad times, bad times and times spent with family and true friends which make us all aware of the guidance of a higher being. It is in that balance between what we are all given in life and how we react to it and handle it, that our true worth is measured. Thus life should be full of love and kindness as well as sad times to let us know the difference, in order to make us appreciate each other and what is near and dear to us, and those we have known on the journey.

We are all dedicated and have many talents that we can use to serve the IAEI as those that have gone before have done because it is one of our life’s missions. Say a prayer for our men and women serving in the armed forces on our behalf around the world and may our Heavenly Father guard and protect them. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, bid you adieu, and “wish you enough.”