It’s that time of the year when our Sections start planning for the fall IAEI Section meetings. Committees at both the Section and host Chapter levels are busy making plans to ensure that this year’s meetings offer excellent educational programs that fulfill the needs of our members.
It takes many volunteers who give numerous hours in organizing these meetings. The planning process for the following year starts immediately after their Section meeting ends.
Those who have been involved in organizing a Section meeting realize the amount of work and commitment involved. One person cannot do it all; it takes many people. Committees are involved in planning the educational program to ensure it is relevant to those attending, arranging for guest speakers, planning banquet meals and social events, and working on the logistics for the trade show. All these activities take numerous hours — too many to mention.
In many cases, the work of these volunteers goes unnoticed; they work behind the scenes, not wanting recognition which they so deserve.
So why do they do it? I’m sure each individual involved has his or her own reasons — feeling of accomplishment, wanting to be part of the Association, giving back to the industry, believing in our mission, and the list continues.
The success of our organization lies within the strength of our members. Individuals that give freely of their time and expertise to sit as Board and Committee members, individuals that volunteer to help with meetings and provide training, and others seeing the value that IAEI brings both in their professional career and also in their personal lives.
It is sometimes easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business that crosses my desk without taking the time to reflect on what truly makes our Association strong: members. I am astounded as to the commitment that our members make to IAEI in different ways, time, expertise or monetary.
Let me focus on the monetary for a minute. IAEI is in the midst of a Capital Campaign with a goal of raising two million dollars. Many of our Sections, Chapters, and Divisions have generously donated along with some of our industry partners. Many individual members have also contributed to the cause, for which we are extremely grateful. Over the next several months, we will continue to reach out to our Chapters, Division, members and industry partners to contribute to a worthy cause.
I recently received two letters with two substantial donations towards the Capital Campaign from individual members. Included with the gift, were letters explaining why they had chosen to donate to this worthy cause. The content of the letters, in my opinion, epitomizes what IAEI is — members who care about the success of IAEI and who have a passion for electrical safety.
I would like to share snippets of those letters that, I am sure, are representations of how many of our members view and benefit from IAEI.
Here are some quotes from the first letter.
“After giving a lot of thought to how great the IAEI is, I decided to donate an additional $750.00 to add to the $250.00 I recently donated.”
“Over the years, I have attended and presented at hundreds of IAEI Chapter and Section meetings, including the Canadian Section. There have been many individuals at those meetings that educated me on electrical safety. Being a member of IAEI since 1957, it has always been my philosophy to “Let the Code Decide.”
“I believe that if you think education is expensive… then try ignorance!”
“Good luck on your Capital Improvement Campaign drive.”
The second letter I received was written by a member about an individual in his Chapter and the pivotal role that IAEI played in that person’s personal life and professional career and what he is giving back to IAEI. Both the writer and the individual jointly made a contribution to the capital campaign. I will refer to his first name only. The writer stated, ”Mr. James is the epitome of an IAEI success story.”
James started coming to our Chapter meetings about 5 years ago after Ernie Davis encouraged him to start attending. Thanks to the training and encouragement he received from Ernie, he went on to complete his electrical schooling and received his Master Electrician’s license.
From the first time that James walked into our meeting, he made his presence known. Without hesitation, he asked questions during the presentations, offered to help with meeting tasks, and stayed late to help break down and clean up. Throughout those first two years, one could not help but notice how enthusiastic he was to be involved with a professional association such as ours. Whenever the opportunity arose, he took those of us who are instructors and/or presenters aside and picked our brains about various topics. Rather than finding him to be a nuisance, we found his enthusiasm refreshing, and we were always willing to talk to him about codes, rules, and our industry.
Three years ago, I approached James to be a member of our Board of Directors. He made it clear that he understood and appreciated the opportunities that were provided through membership in IAEI. When I saw that he not only “got it” but was willing to help, I knew that having him on our Board would be of great benefit to our members. In three short years, he went from being a new member to the Board of Directors.
Last year, James attended his first Section meeting and was blown away by the opportunity to learn from the best at the Section Meeting.
I personally had the privilege of meeting James at that Section meeting, and I found his enthusiasm was contagious. It was a pleasure talking with him and hearing the suggestions he had on how to make our association grow and become stronger. What IAEI has done for James is being paid back twofold.
I’m sure there are many out there with similar stories so if you know someone worthy of recognition, send their stories to me. Stories like these confirm that our strength as an organization is dependent on our members: not only what IAEI does for them but what they do for IAEI.
David Clements is CEO/Executive Director of IAEI
Follow Dave on Twitter@DavidEClements