Taking the Collar Off IAEI

Back when I was just a little shaver, sitting at my Grandmother Carpenter’s knee, she recounted to me an aphorism I did not understand at that time. “The youth of this world have been going to the dogs since the days of Rome, but they have not gotten there yet.” Now, some sixty years later, that saying has caused me to realize that truth in many more ways than just being applied to the youth.

We are bombarded from all sides about how bad things are and how our way of life is changing for the worse. Gasoline for our monster SUVs keeps going up. Our young men and women are being killed in some far-off land. Crime in the streets is increasing. Politicians, national and local, are trying to impress the public with half-truths or downright lies about each other instead of trying to work together for better government. Even the price of a gallon of milk is going up. What is this world coming too?

I was just a child during WW II, but I remember the rough times my parents had trying to make a living. Too many of the young men and women died to keep the rest of us free and, as my father-in-law said, to assure that he and his family would have a chance to remain free and to pursue that great American dream.

Today, after the Korean conflict in the ’50s, the Cold War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, 9-11, Afghanistan, and Iraq; depressions and recessions; civil riots; and so many other bad things that have happened, we still haven’t “gone to the dogs.” There are many good things for which we can be thankful.

I sat in church a few Sundays ago when the children did the service. Again the words of my grandmother came to me. We haven’t gone to the dogs yet. What a group of young children and what a job they did! I am sure that all over this land, there are many talented young people that will rise up and take on the challenges of this world and it won’t go to the dogs.

The same can be said for IAEI. Many have said that the association is failing; dues are too high; membership numbers are falling, local governments are cutting back and the first place they cut is the inspection department–we are just “going to the dogs.”

Oh, no, my friends! We are not down yet. There are many good things about our association. Many faithful members work hard at making IAEI an association that has a voice in the way codes and standards are written. There are many good members that give of their time and themselves to assure that information is produced, distributed, and taught to all those in the electrical industry.

When I go to meetings and workshops throughout IAEI and find people seeking knowledge and are showing up like they did, and have been doing for 75 years, at the North Carolina Electrical Institute — over 750 people for two days — I know we are not going to the dogs. Too many people out there are thirsting for knowledge, wanting to better themselves, and, in turn, providing a safer electrical environment for all. There is so much to do.

For those of you who think we are doomed, have you gone to the seminars, meetings, and workshops; have you taken advantage of the services IAEI offers; have you participated in the process or have you been the one that is leading us to the dog pen? Get involved in the process not just by going and absorbing, but by helping plan, by sharing your knowledge and expertise with others, and in doing what you can to get others to attend and participate. It takes us all to continue the tradition set by our founders or we will surely fail them, our children, and us. Leaving it for someone else to do is the easy way for IAEI not to reach its full potential. By getting involved, you will find that this association is nowhere near to failing because you will not let it.

I firmly believe IAEI will continue to grow, will continue to represent the members as an organization that has as its goal —advance electrical safety through good codes and standards and education. Don’t you want to help?

Oh, by the way, thank all of you who took the time to complete and return the membership survey. Insight gleaned from your responses will help your International Board of Directors and the International Office plan for the future providing a path so that we will not “Go to the dogs.” So take the collar off and let’s get busy!

Happy reading!

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.