Last November, I announced to IAEI’s Board of Directors and staff my plan to retire in June. This column will be my last as IAEI’s CEO, and I’d like to take the opportunity to say good-bye and to reflect on accomplishments IAEI has made during my tenure.
Over the past decade, it has been a privilege to work with and learn from committed and knowledgeable members, corporate partners, Board members, and staff. I enjoyed coming to work each day knowing that the work we did was on behalf of our members and the electrical industry as we focused on our mission “to educate and equip electrical professionals while unifying the industry to promote electrical safety.” While my time at IAEI was profoundly rewarding, the decision to retire was a difficult one for me to make. As the title of this column suggests, it is time to turn over the reins to a new CEO.
Currently, IAEI’s Board of Directors is in the selection process for the Association’s next CEO. And while the next decade for IAEI will be exciting and challenging, we’re confident the Board’s choice will continue to move the Association forward and will provide continuity to the good work that IAEI’s Board, staff, sections, chapters, and divisions have implemented over the years. I feel confident the new CEO, along with the entire IAEI community, will successfully resolve new hurdles and challenges that will be faced in the upcoming years.
I could not have imagined that in July 1982, when I was hired as a wiring inspector in Canada, that IAEI would have a great influence on my life and career path. I was hired by Nova Scotia Power’s Chief Electrical Inspector, Floyd Coolen. Floyd was instrumental in the formation of the Nova Scotia Chapter of IAEI, and he was one of the first of many IAEI mentors who influenced my career. Floyd saw the value of IAEI’s educational benefits and required that all of Nova Scotia Power’s wiring inspectors become IAEI members. And, so, almost immediately after joining Nova Scotia Power, I joined IAEI.
Several years after attending the Nova Scotia Chapter meetings, I was invited to serve on the chapter board and, eventually, as its president. Once on the board, I began attending the Canadian Section meetings. I became a section board member in 1991 and, by 1995, I was elected by the section to serve on the IAEI International Board as one of the three Canadian representatives. I recall my first IAEI International Board meeting that was held in 1995 in Victoria, British Columbia. Norm Scott from Canada was the international president, and Philip Cox was the IAEI CEO. It was impressive. In 2007, I had the honor of becoming the international president and began my fall travels in the US and Canada to all six section meetings.
It was during my presidency that I grew in my understanding of what members wanted from IAEI. While needs and expectations differed across the country depending on how regulations were implemented, one thing was clear then and now: IAEI is a family. Members whom I’ve spoken with are committed to ensuring public safety and are consistent in their appreciation of IAEI’s networking, education, and mentorship opportunities. These opportunities, as well as other member benefits, are a priority today and will likely continue in upcoming years.
Many special highlights have happened while attending the section meetings that will forever remain a memory. The ice bucket challenge was a significant highlight that all sections sponsored during their banquets. The ice bucket challenge raised a significant amount of money that IAEI sent to the ALS Association. Last year, during the Western Section Meeting banquet, attendees surprised me by standing and singing Happy Birthday. I had managed for ten years to keep my birthday private. Someone leaked the date, and everyone managed to keep it a secret. It was a very humbling moment and one that I will cherish. However, I’m still investigating as to who spilled the beans.
I have many people to thank for their contributions and friendship, too many to individually mention in this column as it would fill half of this magazine issue. It was my privilege over the past 10 years to serve as your CEO and to work with a great board of directors at the international, section, and chapter levels. The hard-working and dedicated staff make coming to work each day enjoyable and have made my job much easier. I greatly appreciate the welcoming and supportive members and their partners whom I have met over the years, many whom I consider close friends.
IAEI has been in existence for more than 92 years and I’m confident it will be here for the next 92 years due to the important work the Association does and its ability to change with the times. While I will not be part of the next 92 years, I will continue to be supportive of the work IAEI does. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, although I do know that spending more time with family and friends is a priority. And, I also know I will miss those that I have been fortunate enough to know during the past 38 years of my IAEI involvement in this great organization.