Role of the International Membership Committee
The International Membership Committee held its annual meeting at IAEI International headquarters in November 2008. The primary purpose of the committee is to develop and implement plans for moving forward with improving membership and its associated benefits through IAEI. The committee provides members one of many important voices to the International Board of Directors, as voiced through the membership chairs and committees at the section, chapter and division levels. The annual meeting also provides opportunities for section membership chairs to exchange information shared with them by local membership chairs and to take back those fresh ideas to the local level.
We are excited about the opportunities IAEI membership provides and, as your International Membership Committee, we are eager to work on your behalf to devise, consider, recommend and put into effect ways and means for extending and retaining the general membership of IAEI. Doing so will ensure that IAEI continues to be a leader in the electrical industry. The past focus of the membership committee has been to bring in new members, but in recent years that focus has evolved to include the retention of members. It is an unfortunate fact that in the recent past our gains in new members seem to stay just slightly ahead of those choosing not to renew, and we are continuing to look at ways to keep members on-board.
Current Economic Climate
One topic that continues to surface in all venues is the current condition of this country’s economy. The situation of the past few months has forced all of us to take a closer look at how we function from an economic standpoint in both our private and corporate lives. This has caused us all to become more frugal with our finances and to find ways to streamline our business processes.
Despite our struggling economy, the International Office, through careful planning and direction by the Board of Directors, continually looks at increased efficiencies for the operation of IAEI without sacrificing the excellent level of membership benefits we have come to enjoy. One of the ways the IAEI board has accomplished this was by creating a Long-Range Planning Committee (LRP) several years ago. This committee’s responsibility was to look at a vision of a future IAEI and the needs required to attain that vision, including the expenses that IAEI will incur over the course of the next few years.
Role of the Long-Range Planning Committee
It makes good fiscal sense to look at long-range planning from an operational standpoint, to make certain that IAEI can effectively operate and continue to provide the same or an increased level of services to its members, while avoiding any unforeseen circumstances.
The last time IAEI increased membership dues, six years ago, we experienced a fifty percent increase, from $60 to $90. That increase was necessitated by critical needs at the time. The membership response was a clear message to avoid substantial increases in the future and that was one reason the LRP was formed. The review of the business by the LRP has resulted in the recommendation to the Board of Directors to implement a smaller percentage increase to sustain the organization for the near future.
As outlined in previous editorials, the International headquarters is in need of necessary repairs because of an aging building, as well as needed renovations for the growth that has occurred, and for increased energy efficiency and for other aspects to maximize utilization of this valuable asset. Additionally, to keep good staff, salaries and benefits must be kept competitive with the surrounding workforce. All of this takes money just to maintain the status quo. Health insurance costs keep increasing, utilities costs increase, property taxes increase; everything costs more than they did five years ago. Other added expenses include the addition of a staff position in the certification department to support the membership and an upgrade of computer systems. These are all additional costs that are required to maintain the same level of service to the membership. Over the past six years, with increased efficiencies and with income from sources other than dues, we have been able maintain a sound fiscal standing. The analyses by the LRP in 2007 and again in 2008 indicated that we have reached that time where a small dues increase is necessary.
As a result of careful planning and review, effective January 1, 2009, we will experience a very modest increase of $1 per month or $12 per year — a far cry from the fifty percent we experienced six years ago. Additionally, part of this increase will go as dues distribution to your local section, chapter and division, for use at the local level.
As mentioned earlier, with the current economic times all of us have been forced to become more cognizant of how we manage finances and to look for innovative ways to make better use of our resources, time, and money. IAEI has been no exception.
James Carpenter, CEO of IAEI, mentioned last year in the September/October issue of IAEI News that the international office continues to look at other revenue generating programs that not only benefit the members but also do not cost the members or IAEI. The new IAEI Weekly Update is one such program. If you have not signed up, please do. Share it with all of your friends and colleagues. This is a great way to promote electrical safety and to promote IAEI. This is a great sign that IAEI is listening to the membership. Additional advancements include IAEI News as self-supporting in regards to printing and postage and not dependent on membership dues.
In today’s tough financial times, we must continue to validate our expenditures. Accordingly, we need also to validate the value of membership in the IAEI.
Validating IAEI Membership
IAEI provides educational opportunities through seminars and publications, and by providing a medium through which inspectors, contractors, manufacturers, and any other party interested in the electrical industry can discuss matters related to electrical safety. Often membership will entitle you to a reduced admission fee for these functions.
Additional benefits of membership in the IAEI include meeting and learning from electrical experts in the industry and having an unlimited knowledge base to draw from; staying current with the latest changes in the code; staying informed on the latest products and installation standards; and becoming active in the organization by attending and participating in local section, chapter, and division meetings and committees.
IAEI is the organization through which you have a voice at the table for the development of the National Electrical Code. IAEI sponsors two members, a principal and an alternate, on each of the NEC code-making panels, and sponsors a principal and an alternate on the Technical Correlating Committee. This sponsorship includes funding expenses for IAEI representatives to participate.
Many local IAEI chapters and divisions participate in the review and adoption process of the latest NEC, giving you a more steadfast means to ensure a strong set of electrical standards and to demand that qualified inspections are met, and to ensure compliance with state or local law.
Other benefits include IAEI News, which provides educational forums, updates on electrical codes and reports of innovative research to facilitate the development and enforcement of practices designed to drive efficiency and compliance with the highest standards of product development and safety—for the public as well as for electrical personnel.
Membership in IAEI gives us the ability to reach out to other national organizations, as well as to further our credentials through IAEI’s widely accepted, respected and professionally sound certification program.
Other benefits we have come to enjoy are advances made with the website, such as online purchases, online membership renewal, access to past articles of IAEI News, and access to a wealth of other information at our fingertips, which were not readily available just a few years ago.
At the request of the membership, IAEI has made the payment of membership dues more manageable with the new electronic funds transfer option, which enables members to pay the new membership dues on a monthly basis at $8.50 a month.
Finally, let’s not forget a free code book is available upon request by those members who have renewed for three consecutive years. The cost of a code book alone will more than offset the effect of this dues increase.
In closing, if we reflect back on the benefits we enjoyed several years ago as a member of IAEI and then look at the enhancements we continue to receive with the educational programs, publications and other expanded services as outlined in this article, the additional $12 a year is a very small price to pay for the total package of benefits available. As a member of IAEI, your voice matters! The International Board of Directors is listening and has responded with avoiding another large increase in dues.
Compiled by International Membership Committee
Tim McClintock, Chairman – Western Section
R. Steve Jones, Southwestern Section
Leonard Devine, Southern Section
Tom Arbanas, Canadian Section
Richard Jendzo, Eastern Section
John Kendall, Northwestern Section
Chuck Mello, Executive Committee Liaison
James Carpenter, Ex Officio (voting member)