Never underestimate the value of networking face-to-face! Despite the various ways of communicating — phones, email, instant messaging, social media, faxing, snail mail, telegram, or carrier pigeons — the “time spent interacting in the presence of or in the same location as another or others”1 is still the most productive and valuable. In fact, it is becoming priceless — and rare.
The American Sign Language Association uses “Four Hugs a Day,” a teaching song that demonstrates not only how to sign but also the importance of personal interaction. Inevitably, personal interaction leads to a sense of community, which, in turn, leads to cohesiveness and a common purpose.
IAEI offers face-to-face time to each member and his/her family through the annual section meetings and local chapter and division meetings. From the amount of handshaking and backslapping at these meetings, it is obvious we’ve developed good relationships and a sense of mutual respect and trust, all which are the foundation of community.
As a community, IAEI discusses, first and foremost, the code — face-to-face. Sometimes we get passionate and forceful; sometimes we disagree; sometimes we agree to disagree on code proposals or interpretations of a specific rule. Face-to-face provides the opportunity to debate and discuss inspection challenges, presentations, new ideas and new products.
As a community, IAEI decides which code proposals we will support, based always on whether this change will enhance and increase safety.
As a community, IAEI challenges the merits and safety of new products — representatives, engineers, inspectors, city officials, authors, presenters and whoever is involved face these challenges. Each person is expected to make his or her points clear and concise and in alignment with the code.
As a community, IAEI celebrates the successes and achievements of individual members as well as chapters, sections or divisions; the passage of code proposals; the enrollment of new members.
As a community, IAEI mourns the misfortune, loss or death of any member. We care about those who are ill or facing challenges and we reach out to them.
As a community, IAEI makes the Great North American Educational Adventure. Not all of us can make each event, but we attend as often and as many as we can because we meet up with our friends and their families. We laugh, joke, study, eat, and learn from each other. The program for this year’s educational adventure includes a number of code training sessions and trade shows.
Here are the times and venues for this adventure:
Southwestern Section, DoubleTree Mission Valley, San Diego, CA
Northwestern Section, Hilton Garden Inn, Missoula, Montana
Western Section, Holiday Inn City Center, Fort Smith, Arkansas
Canadian Section, Sheraton Parkway, Toronto, Ontario
Eastern Section, Providence Marriott, Providence, Rhode Island
Southern Section, Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, Louisiana
As a community, IAEI is a group of people interacting with one another remotely and face-to-face and with intense interest in electrical safety. The community affects each other’s abundance, distribution, and career development in the sense that we pass along job openings, recommendations, and share our knowledge of the electrical industry. Whether our units are small and local, state-wide, or regional or global — together we are cohesive and have a common purpose. Together we are stronger than we are individually, especially when we maximize the ability to meet face-to-face.
If you are planning to attend one of the section meetings, or a local chapter or division meeting you will not be disappointed.
If you are not able to attend due to lack of financial support from your employer, approach your supervisor or manager and explain the benefits of being or becoming a member of IAEI and the importance of staying abreast of code and standards and the importance of networking with your peers face-to face.
1 American Heritage Dictionary