Work needed on the roof, work needed on the walls and floor where the roof leaked, AC units getting old and needing to be replaced. Carpet wearing out, stairs needing refinished, plumbing problems in the bathrooms, more space needed. These are just some of the things that IAEI faces in the not-too-distant future with the headquarters building. Our building was ten years old when we moved to Richardson in 1992. Even though we were the first tenant, the physical structure is getting old.
To keep good staff, salaries and benefits must be kept competitive with the surrounding workforce. All this takes money just to stay at the existing level. Health insurance costs keep increasing, utilities costs increase, property taxes increase; everything costs more than they did five years ago.
All is not doom and gloom though. IAEI has an excellent staff that works extra hours sometimes to maintain the level of success we have come to enjoy and expect. IAEI’s financial condition is good. Our training books and seminars are considered the best in the land by many of our members and partners.
So, why the whining about costs? Let’s reflect back a few years ago when IAEI had to increase membership dues by 50 percent — from $60.00 to $90.00. That was a hard pill to swallow. Looking at the financial situation and future needs of IAEI and trying to avoid the big increases in membership dues, the International Board of Directors asked the Fiscal Affairs Committee to investigate the necessity and amount of a membership dues increase to become effective January 1, 2009, with a review of the necessity of dues increases every three years. The International Board of Directors also authorized a study of the physical facilities to determine the feasibility and possibility of remodeling, expanding, or moving to another location—whatever is found to be the best course of action, and what it will cost.
Let’s look at some of our successes. The Analysis of Changes, NEC-2008 has been a great success again this cycle. IAEI has partnered with NFPA to produce a two-disk DVD presentation on the Analysis, and is partnering with NFPA in presenting on-site seminars on the Analysis. IAEI is partnering with Underwriters Laboratories on several projects. One important project is the I am Safety Smart program. IAEI has joined a coalition made up of International Code Council (ICC), American Association of Code Enforcement (AACE), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Plumbers and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), International City/County Management Association (IC/CMA) and others to raise the profile of code officials and to inform the public about the importance of the role of code officials.
Many of IAEI’s programs help by bringing in funds to allow IAEI to provide programs and services for not only our members but for the public at large. One such program that has been mentioned earlier is the IAEI/UL I am Safety Smart program. I was afforded the opportunity to go to an elementary school in North Carolina just before the holiday break in December. I conducted the program for two second grade classes, two third grade classes, and a sixth grade class—a busy day with five different presentations. This was a highlight of my Christmas time in North Carolina. What a joy it was to be with those schoolchildren to impart electrical safety lessons to them. To watch their faces as we talked about Spike and being safety smart was worth more than any money that we spent putting together the materials. Check out some pictures and read some of the children’s comments later in this issue of the IAEI News. I encourage you to get your chapter or division involved in this worthwhile project. Some have said they are having a hard time getting into the schools. If you can find just one teacher to let you have some time with the class, then the message will spread and you may have more requests than you can handle. What better way to spread the IAEI message?
As you all probably know by now, Mike Johnston has moved on from IAEI and has taken an executive position with NECA. Mike has been a valuable asset to IAEI and he will be sorely missed. He has grown our Education Department from a one-man operation to what it is today. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Mike, for his passion and love for IAEI and for what he has accomplished since his arrival in 1999. He has left us with big shoes to fill. He has set a high standard that IAEI must now continue. Continue we will. Congratulations, Mike, and best wishes on your new endeavor.