Moving Off First Base

Sometimes I get inspiration for this editorial from the sermon on Sunday morning. Today, as I prepared to work on this editorial, I got my inspiration from Tim Bradley, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Tim wrote an article for theNorth Carolina Council of Code Officialsnewsletter. His article titled, “You Can’t Steal Second With Your Foot On First,” brings out the point that playing safe means that the only way to advance is for someone else to force you along.

That analogy can be applied to us, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. I use IAEI on purpose to remind us of why the founders believed that it was necessary for the several separate inspector organizations to join together some eighty years ago to become IAEI. Yes, we still are divided into sections, chapters, and divisions but that doesn’t mean we should be divided. That doesn’t mean the chapters or divisions should act like independent bodies with one foot on first base. Together IAEI can be a powerful force with the next batter moving us all off first base and advancing to the next base.

Many cleanup hittersare stepping up to meet the challenges we face today. Local adoption of theNational Electrical Code, attacks on the U.S. safety system, membership, inspector certification, continuing education, and finances are just a few of the challenges facing us as individual chapters or divisions and at the International Office level.

Many local chapters are involved in the political process of getting theCodeadopted in their area. ThisCodeadoption cycle is shaping up to be most controversial due to some special interest groups entering the adoption process with a misinformed agenda. Chapters are also involved in the political arena where pressure is being applied to exempt certain types of electrical equipment from the proven American electrical safety system.

Chapters and divisions are addressing IAEI membership in various ways with many notable successes. Overall IAEI membership is increasing, even though at a slow pace. New members joining show a continuing interest in IAEI’s goals and benefits, but regrettably many are not sticking with us.

Electrical inspector certification programs and continuing education opportunities are a big part of IAEI and, of course, finances are always a major challenge. For IAEI to remain strong and provide resources for the many challenges it faces, the International Office must be capable and able to create the resources needed for IAEI, sections, chapters, and divisions to present a united front with one strong voice to meet the challenges.

Money is what fuels the engine. IAEI is in fairly good shape financially, or maybe I should say, in really good shape after reviewing the financial reports from our sections, chapters, and divisions. However, as you know, everything is increasing in costs, not just gasoline. We at the International Office are always investigating ways to increase our revenue without raising prices on the books and materials used in the education process and to control expenses. We have instituted some new revenue streams in addition to the revenue generated by the production and sale of the many excellent training materials produced by the staff at IAEI. We have begun other revenue generating programs that not only benefit the members but also don’t cost the members or IAEI. The new IAEI Weekly Update is one such program. If you have not received theWeekly Update, then you can sign up by visiting the IAEI webpage, IAEI receives a portion of the advertising revenue for theWeekly Update.

IAEI continues to look for ways to increase revenue without raising membership dues. BUT, there comes a time when the headquarters building needs repair and remodeling, salaries increase, travel costs increase, and everything is just more expensive. It has been nearly five years since the last membership dues increase and that came after several years of holding the line, resulting in a major increase of fifty percent. The International Board of Directors doesn’t want to wait until we have to increase the membership dues that much again. If the membership dues increase can be held to just over five percent or an increase of $6.00 per year, then it would not be a burden on anyone and would still be the “best bang for the buck” at less than $100.00 a year or just $8.00 a month.

If you will get aggressive and get off first base, steal second, and get just one new member, mentor that member so that he/she gets involved in the game, then we can do more for our great electrical industry.

See you at one of the Annual Section Meetings.

Get in the ballgame and remember, Be Proud to Wear the IAEI Brand!

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.