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IAEI Magazine | Author: Kathryn Ingley
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Kathryn Ingley

Kathryn Ingley is the director of publishing for the International Association of Electrical Inspectors.


On being true to who we are

Whoever would think of Shakespeare and electrical inspections together? Throughout the preparation of this issue, my thoughts kept returning to the Bard’s definition of being real, "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” It seems that many of our writers are asking how we as members of IAEI can be real to our communities and clients.

When good ’nuff defeats the Better

When my car began to run hot recently, I took it to a local garage with the hope that the repair would be simple and I could avoid the high costs charged by the dealership. The garage manager said we had two options: 1) flush the engine and change the oil, or 2) replace the oil pump, the timing belt and the water pump — with widely disparate pricing. When hope faded from my face, he added, the first option should be good ’nuff to take care of this problem, particularly since there is no history of overheating.

We hear only what we understand

Unfortunately, understanding is often blocked by filters, many of which are not of our own choosing and work automatically. Languages we do not speak or unfamiliar types of music or environmental noise effectively prevent our being aware of some things. We don’t understand, so we tune out; we don’t hear. Even focus can be a filter; how often have we been so "zoned in” on something that we become unaware of new or additional information?

Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing

Know what you’re doing — not a bad lesson for us. At least I’ve found that continually adding to my knowledge keeps me alert and helps me to avoid errors better. That same concept underlies IAEI’s focus on CEU training and the huge emphasis placed on the Certified Electrical Inspector programs in the United States and Canada. Most writers in this issue focus on increasing our knowledge and applying it to installations and inspections and to examining current codes and making proposals for revisions or additions. Others apply the concept to investment, family safety, and training our successors.

Stay Warm

Just days ahead of Super Bowl XLV, Dallas was hit with a severe winter storm—a "blizzard” they called it—when for 103 hours the area experienced below freezing temperatures, from ½” to ¾” (12.7 to 19 mm) of ice, topped by up to 7” (175 mm) of snow, and rolling blackouts as the electrical grid threatened to crash. Schools and businesses closed to keep our citizens safe. Neighboring towns sent their emergency equipment to assist with clearing the major highways. The rest of us struggled with failing furnaces, depleting stores in the pantry, and wrapping water pipes—strange tasks for people who live year-around in temperatures between 55 and 104 degrees, and see 36 degrees occasionally in January.

Core Elements First

Core elements—those upon which all else depend—are vitally important, both in our careers and in our lives. Often, however, we get distracted by the familiar, comfortable, sparkly or fun; then it becomes difficult to focus on the highest priority. Nevertheless, to be successful, we must take care of the core elements first.

Despise Not Small Things

It was a small task, really; I don’t know why I kept putting it off, particularly in light of the touted return on the investment. Maybe I simply didn’t believe replacing the incandescent light bulbs in my house with CFLs could really lower my monthly light bill by half. Or even by a third! My procrastination is not unlike that of so many—if a task is not urgently pushing itself to the top of our agenda, it doesn’t get done.

Driving Toward the Future

It seems that automobiles have been an industrial harbinger. More than 100,000 patents were filed in the 19th and 20th centuries and a worldwide evolution took place around the automobile. In the 1890s, the first cars were so new and unusual that they were showed in circuses! From there, various models and designs proliferated like fleas.

Answers and Section Meetings

In the fall of each year, IAEI members gather in each of the six sections to celebrate and to share the answers they’ve discovered. One of my fondest memories is my first visit to a code breakfast — at the Eastern Section, I think. The room was packed, plates were loaded with scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, and hot breads; but, forgetting the hot food, men were lined up at twin microphones adamantly presenting their understanding of a code change. The panelists fielded the responses, asked insightful questions and led the participants to the official interpretations — only to be challenged from the floor. Too quickly, the final buzzer sounded; the time clock had run out. I looked down and realized I hadn’t eaten a bite.

Unmasking Hidden Dangers

Despite more than two hundred years of avid domestication, electricity is neither docile nor submissive. Underneath, it remains wild, unyielding and deadly; daring any to unmask its hidden dangers. Unperceived and unsuspected, these dangers lie in concealment, without motion, for long periods of time before savagely attacking.

Gratitude and Survival

As this issue was in final production before going to press, we were approaching the Thanksgiving holidays. I was working on this editorial and thinking about how in three days I would welcome a mixture of family, friends and several guests of my son, young professionals who would not be seeing their parents this year; some had had hard-won successes, some had lost their jobs, others were struggling to hang on. Several of them had expressed gratitude for his invitation.

Overlooked Deductions

Various job-related expenses can be taken as itemized deductions on Schedule A of the federal income tax return. Among these are unreimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees, and certain miscellaneous expenses.