A Look back at 2015

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2015 was a successful year with the accomplishment of many initiatives making a healthier IAEI and positioning us for future growth. Let me share a few of our accomplishments.

Membership dues increase

On July 1, 2015, we implemented an $18.00 increase in membership dues, which was the first increase since 2009. Even though, over the past five years, we reduced our operating costs without jeopardizing services to our members, this reduction alone did not override the rising cost of living to provide the necessary resources to grow the association. The International Board of Directors carefully reviewed the finances of the association and decided that an increase in membership dues would allow the association to remain competitive.

Part of the dues is historically returned to the Sections, Chapters, and Divisions to reinvest so that members can receive the benefit of engaging on a local level through educational programs and networking opportunities. Our member survey indicated that 87% of the respondents stated that the current benefits offered are worth the price of membership. [2013 IAEI Membership Survey with a margin of error of ±1.6%.]

Re-establishing the IAEI brand

The board recognized in 2014 that the IAEI brand was fragmented, and we needed to realign our brand to be viewed as one organization. This realignment meant establishing IAEI’s brand as a cohesive unit following its mission statement and objectives, and developing a marketing outreach protocol (templates, logo usage, collateral, messaging, etc.). We expected this process would take upward to 18 months or more, and we are making progress. First, we identified gaps, and now the staff is working with our Sections, Chapters, and Divisions to ensure compliance with the use of the IAEI logo, key messaging, and is helping with promotional material to market meetings and training seminars. It’s important that we operate like one organization and that the industry, our members, and potential members see us as one strong association, speaking with one voice. We build our brand by being leaders in electrical safety and by being true to our mission.

Improving Communications with our Members

Communication is important for keeping members in touch with IAEI’s mission, goals, and accomplishments. Throughout the year, we have focused on better communication. The re-launch of our monthly e-newsletter, “Inside the Wire,” keeps members informed on current news and events around the association. Email is also used to engage members through surveys for important feedback, friendly renewal reminders, and announcements of special deals, such as new book releases and value discounts.

In the future, we will continue leveraging technology—such as social media, the IAEI app, and the newsletter—to increase the association’s message to foster a more positive and value-rich association with employees and members committed to the overall goal of the organization.

Building a New Strategic Plan & Governance Structure

In 2013, we identified that our current bylaws and governance structure are outdated and are restricting the Association from growing and having the ability to react quickly to economic changes and member expectations.

In June 2015, the Board approved the hiring of Concinnity Network, a consulting firm, to help develop a comprehensive strategic plan, marketing plan, and governance structure to support growth and long-term sustainability. Concinnity held focus group meetings, surveyed our members, and gathered data to assess our current environment. Their findings and recommendations are expected to be completed in early October 2016 for Board approval.

For more details on the strategic planning process, see the 2016 International President’s article in this issue.

Expanding our digital options

IAEI magazine has been available to members in whatever format is popular:  in print since 1929; in the website blog format since 2003; in page-turner format from 2008 to 2013. Because IAEI magazine has consistently changed and grown with the industry, it has continually received high ratings of 96% in membership surveys.  [2008 IAEI Membership Survey with a margin of error of ±1.77%.]

Shortly after the advent of interactive publications in May 2013, IAEI magazine was offered as a beta test in that environment in 2014. However, because the interactive publication of IAEI magazine was not available on all platforms (personal devices, such as iPads, Androids, etc.), we switched network providers, and in May 2015 we re-launched the interactive magazine. IAEI Interactive is now available to all members at no additional cost and is accessible from any personal device. The newer version is more efficient and engaging and provides a newer experience for our readers.

Expanding our educational offerings

Our publications are updated to the current 2014 NEC.  These include the Analysis of Changes, Soares Book on Grounding and Bonding, Hazardous Locations, Photovoltaic Power Systems, the Study Guide books, Ferm’s Fast Finder, and 1 and 2 Family Dwelling, along with the accompanying Power Point programs. Ferm’s Formulas, Charts & Information is currently accumulating social media interest

Our partnership with Pace PDH.com in offering on-line training on the 2011 and 2014 NEC, utilizing IAEI material, is continuing. As is our work and partnership with Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) in developing training material and promoting Solar training to inspectors and installers.

Capital Campaign for new facilities to enable growth and outreach

These funds will help purchase a new building, complete with modern training rooms for local and remote training; resource library; publication and education work areas to expand production of IAEI products; offices and work areas for staff, as well as for visiting IAEI members; and equipped with an electronics infrastructure for internal and expanded external capabilities. We thank all of you who have contributed and who are budgeting to contribute more in the upcoming year.

A comparative analysis conducted on the costs to lease, purchase or build a new building, along with solicited proposals from several real estate brokers on the current value of our building, convinced the Board to choose a broker and to place our current building on the market.  The broker also is searching for a different building to fit our current and future needs.

IAEI Capital Campaign has reached 46% of our goal of two million; we still have a way to go.  Your donation is a gift for the future of public safety—one that promotes electrical safety through membership, education, and advocacy. Your gift will help future generations of electrical professionals understand the importance of practicing safe installation and staying current with the Code. This association belongs to you, so I encourage you to invest in its future. Donations can be made online at IAEI.org.

Input into Code Development Process

IAEI has long been involved in the code development process both in the United States and in Canada. Over the years, IAEI has submitted numerous proposals to make the codes better. The 2017 NFPA code cycle began late in 2014 and carried on throughout 2015.  In 2014, NFPA changed their process for submitting public inputs and comments for the 2017 edition. IAEI had to adapt to those changes and new timelines, so we developed a new process and made enhancements to our website so our members could submit public inputs and comments directly to IAEI for review by our Code Panel Members and the Codes and Standards Committee. This new process allowed our members to become more engaged in the code development process.

In the development of the Canadian Electrical Code Part I, we have a representative as a voting member of the Part 1 committee. Also, IAEI has a member on each of the 43 sub-committees.

Internal Organizational Changes

We made some organizational changes at the international office in the Education, Marketing, and Membership Departments to allow us to be better aligned with our current business needs and member expectations and to position us for future success and growth.

Copyright and Trademark Enforcement

All IAEI publications—such as IAEI magazine, Soares, Analysis of Changes, IAEI Study Guides to name a few—along with our Power Point presentations are copyright-protected and bear our trademarks. These copyrights signal everyone that using or modifying the publications without written permission from the International Office is a violation that carries consequences.

Allowing anyone to use, modify, or copy our copyrighted material without a formal agreement or permission in place devalues our material and has a negative financial impact on our association. This negative financial impact lessens IAEI’s ability to serve its members, sections, chapters, divisions; to hire employees, and to participate with our industry partners in necessary projects because a substantial financial investment is required for the development and maintenance of our educational material and the protection of our intellectual property.

Copyright violations range from modifying our Power Point presentations, to making illegal copies of IAEI’s printed and electronic material, to using in part or whole material taken from our publications and other works of authorship. We encountered several serious violations of our trademarks or copyrights in 2015, and we have taken action against those organizations and individuals to protect our intellectual property and the association’s name and image. We must diligently continue to protect our property and image so that our association can prosper and grow, and so that we can continue to provide value to our members, and to provide leadership and education to the electrical industry.

Yes, 2015 was a busy and productive year!

Now we are looking forward to 2016, and your International Board of Directors and Staff are committed to continuing to make IAEI the leader and keystone of the electrical industry.

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David Clements is CEO/Executive Director of IAEI. He has been an active IAEI member at the local, section and national levels for more than twenty-five years. He served as international board member from 1995 until 2007 when he served as our 2007 international president. In 2010, he retired after twenty-nine years with Nova Scotia Power, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as their chief electrical inspector. During his tenure as chief electrical inspector, he was a voting member on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Technical Committee on the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, a member of the Regulatory Authority Committee and member of the Canadian Advisory Committee on Electrical Safety. He has served on NFPA Smart Grid Steering Committee, Electrical Infrastructure Training Program and is presently a member of the UL Electrical Council.