Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes disguised as work

September 9, 2006 — 250; October 20, 2006 — 262. After six weeks of traveling to all six section meetings that is how much weight I gained. Weight is not all I gained though. Each section meeting offered great educational opportunities in its own unique way. From presentations on Solar Photovoltaic and Fuel Cells Systems at the Northwestern Section; Code Breakfast and Code Panels at the Western Section; Breakout Sessions at the Canadian Section; Code Breakfasts and Analysis of Proposals for the 2008 NEC at the Eastern Section; Code Panel discussions at the Southern Section; to presentation on Fire Pump Installations and Swimming Pools and Spas at the Southwestern Section, education was the focus.

If you did not go to your section meeting, it is not too early to plan to attend the 2007 section meetings. There are some great locations in store for the meetings and, again, much needed educational opportunities abound. For the student of the NEC, the 2008 NEC will be out and analysis of the significant changes will be the primary focus for the educational part of the programs. Don’t miss this occasion to meet with your fellow compatriots to learn, share, and meet others.

National, state, and local elections were held in November and some new faces will be seen as legislators, judges, and in other positions. IAEI had elections in 2006 also. Officers and representatives to the board of directors were elected and installed at the section meetings, and officers of the international board of directors were elected at the November board meeting. David Clements is the new international president for 2007.

Did you ever wonder why people volunteer for leadership roles in IAEI? There is no money paid to serve in these positions. Even on a more basic level, why are they in the electrical trade anyway? What was your reason in making the electrical profession your profession? I suspect that we all have differing reasons for doing what we do and the reasons may change from time to time. Is it just a job or is there a desire to make the world or place where you live and work a safer place electrically or somewhere in between?

I remember when I started with Modern Electric in Durham, North Carolina, I was looking for a job and several of my buddies were working there. I soon found that I enjoyed the work. I enjoyed being a part of creating a building from a hole in the ground to a new facility. I was proud to be able to say “I helped put the electrical system in that structure.” As I advanced from an apprentice to a journeyman to a field superintendent, I was always learning from my co-workers. I became involved in training. I remember being asked why I served on the apprentice training committee and I replied, “Because if I can help train future electricians, then my job as superintendent will be easier; and I will know that the electrical system will be installed so that it remains safe for the life of the building.” That same philosophy followed me when I became an inspector. I suspect that those that have been elected to lead the IAEI from the division level to the international level have some of the same feelings as to why they are in the electrical trade. How about you? Are you in the trade just to draw a paycheck? Share your knowledge gained with others. Don’t be like the electrician that stood in front of a control panel so that I could not see what he was doing, but be like the foreman that got down on the floor with me and drew out how three-way and four-way switches worked when I was a green helper.

I challenge you to share with the IAEI News why you are in the electrical business. Maybe others will join us in promoting installation of safe electrical systems and the safe use of electricity. We can even start with the grammar school kids — “I am Safety Smart”

The “I am Safety Smart” program got off to a great start during the section meetings. Sixty-three people received training to become ambassadors and trainers. Ten chapters received kits that are used in the classroom to carry the “I am Safety Smart” lesson. Those first ten kits were provided to IAEI by Underwriters Laboratories. IAEI printed the manuals, flash cards, workbooks, and the student prizes with the IAEI logo. The cost of the IAEI-provided material was shared by the chapters that received them. The International Board of Directors included in the 2007 budget, funds to subsidize ten additional kits. The kits consist of a tote bag with the printed material and enough student prizes for three classes for K–3 grades, and a toolbox with items for classroom demonstrations, printed materials, and student prizes for fourth–seventh grades. If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, contact your division or chapter secretary. The secretary should contact Kathryn Ingley at the International Office for information on how to join IAEI and UL in the “I am Safety Smart” program. See information on the program in this issue of the IAEI News. An attendee at one of the training sessions remarked that if we had been doing this program twenty years ago, then maybe we would not be facing attacks on the electrical safety system today—attacks such as reduced staff, cutting inspections, and accepting unlisted equipment. Also, maybe the message that the program presents to our next generation will prevent what happened to the little boy in North Carolina from happening to another child. See the article “If a fire breaks out, get out and stay out” in this issue.

Again, why are you in the electrical profession?

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.