The opening line from a southern gospel music song by the Cathedrals has special meaning for me at this point of my life. Yesterday, I was very comfortable in my position as the chief electrical engineer, state electrical inspector with the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Today, I find myself moved to another state and with a new position—CEO & Executive Director of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Now you may surmise from the opening of this editorial that big changes are coming as I begin this experience as your CEO, but I am not one to rush in and make a lot of changes.
I have served with and worked for many good people in my career, starting as an electrician with Modern Electric Company in Durham, North Carolina, some forty years ago, then as an electrical inspector for Durham County, and ending with the North Carolina. Department of Insurance, Office of the State Fire Marshal for the last twenty years. Since 1972, I have been a member of the IAEI and, through the years, have been involved in chapter and section meetings and even on the International Board of Directors. Over these many years I have witnessed many changes in our association under the four previous executive directors: Lou Lefehr, Bill Summers, Phil Simmons, and Phil Cox. Each leader brought changes that furthered the goals of the IAEI. Just compare the IAEI News today with the News of thirty years ago. Look at the educational opportunities, books, CDs, and PowerPoint educational programs available today, and look at the growth in membership over the last thirty years. The IO office has moved from Chicago, Illinois, to Richardson, Texas, and the number of people that staff the office has increased.
Not so much needs changing as needs continuing. We need to continue to produce the best educational materials at a cost that will allow us to offer them at a price that our members can afford. We need to continue to produce the IAEI News at the quality that we have learned to appreciate. We need to continue to offer our members opportunities and products that they need and want. Oh yes!
There are also things that need changing, or maybe that should be termed improved. We have to improve on the customer service segment of our operation. We have to improve on the membership handling—and we will. You members are the backbone of the IAEI, and we have to do things that make you want to remain a member. We also have to do things that make nonmembers want to be members of the IAEI. Being a member of this association, it seems to me, is all the more important in this day and time. Training, educational opportunities, timely publications, and member support are benefits that this association can and does provide.
There have already been some changes. Annette Thomas has been named as director of customer service, with the primary responsibility of general supervision of the customer service staff. Their task is to maintain members’ records, order processing, and shipping. In the past, this function was just a part of Natalie Coleman’s responsibilities. Natalie’s new title is director of administrative services. She will now be able to devote more time to the general administration and financial part of the International Office operations. We expect this change to enhance our ability to serve our members and customers. Other staffing changes are in the works. We are working toward a full-time person to be in charge of maintaining the financial records. This will enable us to have a better handle on where our money is coming from and, better yet, where it goes. We will be expecting each section director to help in creating a budget and to be aware of how the available money is spent.
If you have ideas, please let us know. I am looking forward to working with you to make the changes that improve our International Association of Electrical Inspectors.
It is not too early, in fact it is getting very close to the time, to start planning for the Diamond Jubilee coming up September 7 – 12, 2003. The Jubilee committee is hard at work making plans for this 75th Anniversary, which is being held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, right on the property of Disney World in Florida. Room costs and hotel registration information should be available by the time you read this. The program committee will be making final decisions about the program format and educational opportunities this August. Solicitation for advertisement for the program book and for display space has been disseminated. Registration information for the meeting can be found elsewhere in this issue of the IAEI News. So get to it—start planning.
As usual, there are many informative articles in this issue. Grandma’s string from the bedpost to the light fixture (Grandma did not have luminaries back then) in the ceiling is long gone. Many interesting things are happening. Happy reading.
Late Breaking News
IAEI News recently placed silver in the scientific and technical journals (web) category of the prestigious Gold Ink Awards Competition. The March/April 2002 issue was submitted by IPC Communication Services, who print the magazine. This rigorous competition about quality was judged by accomplished professionals in the printing industry. Criteria for award-winning pieces included quality of printing, technical difficulty and overall visual effectiveness. Nearly 1800 entries competed in 40 categories; each category awarded only one gold, one silver, and one bronze. Winning entries will receive recognition in the special Gold Ink issue of PrintMedia magazine to be published in October. The Annual Gold Ink Awards Reception and Banquet will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago on the evening of October 7, 2002.