New Educational Characters Headed Your Way

If you have been to an IAEI seminar or viewed IAEI training material in the past, you are going to see a few fresh faces in upcoming education training. IAEI will be introducing a cast of new electrical-based characters that will be used in newly developed material. These characters are copyright-protected images of the IAEI and were developed so that IAEI had an electrical brand identity with its educational programs. There was also a need to freshen up the sometimes dry and text-heavy training material. Bringing a fresh look also is intended to attract younger, more diverse audiences to explain various electrical safety concerns.

This process began internally in the Education Department at the International Office. Once it was determined the existing staff did not possess the ability to create these characters, an outside resource was sought. A few venues were explored before discovering a student in a local high school that possessed an incredible talent.

Meet Dane

Dane looks much like any other teenager you might meet in your community, with one exception, he was diagnosed with autism at age 3. He used his fascination with drawing to communicate with other individuals. The invention of the iPad helped to advance his art and speaking skills. These skills have caught the attention of businesses and corporations throughout the country. He has even been recruited by Disney/Pixar artists and studio executives for future opportunities to develop characters for their studio.

Dane has many accomplishments in his short career. I say short because he just graduated high school in 2022 from Celina, Texas. He has started to make an impact with his talent and has many years of success in his future. He has already created dozens of YouTube videos with nearly 500 followers. His work has been featured on the cover of his local OurCelina magazine in 2020. He even designed the cover art for Celina High School’s 2021 yearbook.

His high school academic achievements know no bounds. He is a three-time state qualifying short film animator and 2022 UIL state champion animated short film (writer/director/producer). The rights to his 2022 award-winning short film were purchased by a firm in California in 2022. His portfolio includes paid character designs for businesses in Florida and Texas.

Let’s Meet the Characters

In the past, IAEI has relied on purchasing clip art and looking for specific items necessary to create electrical training materials. There was one such electrical inspector character in existence that may date back as far as 20 years. When it came time to develop material for the IAEI Analysis of Changes, 2023 NEC, it was apparent that IAEI needed a way to reach younger audiences and also have images that were exclusive to the IAEI.

So, several new character attributes were developed of electrical professionals that would be encountered in the industry. Obviously, there would be a need for an electrical inspector but also other electrical professionals that make up our membership and industry. And there was also a need for diversity. So, an effort was made to show different nationalities and genders which have become part of our membership and the electrical industry. Electricians, engineers, safety managers, and even a homeowner were part of the initial group of characters. Even electrical villains were developed for use in scenarios where unsafe or dangerous situations were encountered. Since the initial development, other characters have been created on a needed basis. Some of these characters may resemble electrical icons you have encountered at IAEI functions over the years.

I believe things happen for a reason. With that being said, I believe Danes’ talents and our ability to meet were not by happenstance. The initial response to these characters was overwhelmingly positive during the 2022 SuperCode meeting in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is where the first dry run of the Analysis of Changes- 2023 was debuted and presented by several IAEI IO instructors. Several folks had very positive remarks about the program and the newly created characters. At one point during Mark Hilbert’s time at the podium, he took a few moments to show Dane and his characters to the attendees. Dane received enormous applause and appreciation for his work from the audience. It was a truly emotional moment.

I hope that you enjoy interacting with these new characters and enjoy how they function in training events. We will be reaching out to Dane periodically when the need arises for more of his imaginative drawing talents. Thanks for all you do for the IAEI and the commitment you have toward electrical safety. What you do and stand for makes a difference. We stand upon the shoulders of thousands of other passionate electrical professionals that have come before us since our inception in 1928. Keep the faith and continue your passionate work towards keeping families electrically safe.

Joseph Wages, Jr.
Joseph Wages, Jr., is the Director of Digital Education for IAEI. He previously served as the Education, Codes and Standards Coordinator for the past 3 years for the IAEI. He represents IAEI on NFPA’s NEC Code Making Panel 2 for the 2020 NEC Code cycle. He previously represented IAEI on NFPA’s NEC Code Making Panel 3 for the 2014 and 2017 NEC Code cycle. He also serves on the Underwriters Laboratory Electrical Council and on several UL Technical Standard Panels. He is an ICC Certified Building Official and holds certifications as building plans examiner, building inspector, chief building code analyst and one- and two-family dwelling inspector. He is also an IAEI Certified Electrical Inspector for one- and two-family dwellings. Joseph holds a master electrical license and has taught electrical apprenticeship training programs. He spent 15 years as an electrical inspector for a municipality and electric utility. Joseph is currently an instructor for the International Office of IAEI. Joseph may be contacted on Twitter @jwages23 or on LinkedIn: