One Down…

June 1, 2003, was my first anniversary as your CEO and executive director. My, how time does fly! What has happened in the past year? My and Mary Anne’s grandson has gotten a year older and is quite the young man, just passing through the “terrible twos,” and we have a new granddaughter that is already wrapping everyone around her little finger. Of course, we are a year older too, but let’s not talk about that!

What has happened at the IAEI during the past year? When I wrote my first editorial last year, I said I would not be making any radical changes. But things have changed. Annette Thomas was named director of customer service. She and the customer service staff have brought customer service to a new level. They have been able to process new member and member renewals in less than five working days. They have caught up on billing and refunds. The warehouse has been cleaned up and arranged so we know what we have and can find it quickly and ship orders in a minimum amount of time. Our customer service representatives have settled down where we can maintain better consistency. Other changes have taken place also. The section/chapter/division secretaries and membership chairs are now able to access their membership list on-line. The list is updated each month so they can access the up-to-date information whenever they wish. Renewals are sent out regularly with second, third, and fourth notices included.

Natalie Coleman, director of administrative services has also been busy. We have had to renew the lease on our copiers. We have had two copiers on lease and we got two new ones — faster, cheaper to operate, with more bells and whistles. We also included maintenance on several printers with a new color printer included. All this at a price that is just a little more than the previous lease. The lease on the computers was also up and new computers were leased at a cheaper cost than the old lease. We also got a new server in the deal. The roof of the building was repaired so now the roof doesn’t leak every time it rains. All this and the day-to-day operation of keeping the bills paid, the computer system working, and updating the software.

Mike Johnston and the Education Department have continued to create and update IAEI’s seminar material and schedule and conduct many seminars and on-site workshops. New books have been finished and put into inventory. New multi-topic CDs were introduced. This EquipMint series is great for a chapter’s or division’s education and training program.

All the activity from the Educational Department has meant that Kathryn Ingley and the Publications Department have been busy also. With the addition of John Watson as a full-time art director, the department has created quality covers not only for theIAEI Newsbut also for all the other publications produced.

All this has been going on for the past year along with the planning and preparing for the 75thanniversary Diamond Jubilee. As you read this, the Jubilee will have come and gone. Hopefully, you were there to enjoy and learn. The IO staff has certainly been hard at work to make sure that every detail has been taken care of. The Customer Service Department has been entering the registrants, tracking the advertisers and booth space participants, and planning the process. The Publications Department has been involved in a special project — that of developing and producing the special limited and numbered edition of the history of IAEI. Much hard work has gone into this history book. I hope you get one before they are gone.

There was a man named Chub Sewell that wrote an article for the North CarolinaStatemagazine, and he always opened his article with a quote from Will Rogers. “All I know is what I read in the newspaper.” Borrowing from that line, I read the other day where the AARP is having a hard time keeping its members active in the organization. Reading that article reminded me of the same problems that our association is having. We don’t seem to have trouble in getting new members, but we can’t hold on to them. We can’t get them working and taking leadership roles in the association. As the AARP article brought out, people are joining for what benefits they get out of the association. Not enough are working for the goals for which a group was organized.

This year has gone by fast and much has been accomplished. There is much still to be done. We need to do a better job of retaining our members. We must find opportunities that our members want to be involved in. We will continue our programs that provide educational opportunities and develop new ones. We will continue to produce a high-quality magazine with articles that inform, educate, and entertain. We will continue to improve our customer service efforts. We will continue to seek ways to be more efficient with our resources and to seek new avenues to provide the financial means to maintain and expand our reasons for being an international association of electrical inspectors. But, we can only do so much. You must become involved in the process. You must take a role and take the lead in providing opportunities in your division or chapter. Lots of people say to me — “If I can do anything to help, let me know.” What you can do to help is say — “This is what I can do. I can serve on a committee. I can teach a class. I can be an officer. I can host a meeting.” As had been said many times, you only get out of any thing what you put into it.

I am looking forward to the next year and I hope you are to.

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.