IAEI has always played a strong leadership role in the electrical industry and continues to accomplish this goal by playing an active role in the code development process, providing first-class educational opportunities through seminars and publications, and by providing a medium through which inspectors, contractors, manufacturers, and any other parties interested in the electrical industry can discuss matters related to electrical safety.
Additional benefits of membership in 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; having a voice in the code change process; and becoming active in the organization by attending and participating in local section, chapter, and division meetings.
Active participation and involvement in IAEI can have indirect benefits too. For example, staying current with code requirements could result in a more timely installation, as well as reduced number of return trips to go back and correct violations. Another indirect benefit is expanding your knowledge through IAEI that will help cultivate career advancement.
We have identified some of the major benefits, both direct and indirect. IAEI continues to be challenged with a decline in membership and we as members must recognize that the key to the success of this great organization is the strength of our membership. In order for IAEI to remain at the forefront of the electrical industry we must not only continue to bring new members in, we must show them the value of maintaining that membership.
The International Membership Committee held its annual meeting at international headquarters in November 2007 to review membership issues and formulate a plan to address the current state of membership in IAEI. It was the consensus of the committee that IAEI is at a crossroads, and we as members need to step up and continue to demonstrate why IAEI continues to be considered the keystone of the electrical industry.
Ensuring the sustainability of IAEI is accomplished through effective leadership and commitment. Anyone who joins an association has to be committed to the organization in order for it to grow and prosper. As an inspector or associate member, we can do this by attending our local meetings on a regular basis.
Membership chairs and membership committee members from all levels of the organization need to be committed to taking charge of the responsibilities that they have volunteered to perform.
The international office of IAEI has taken the first important step with this objective by providing training for membership chairs at the 2007 IAEI Annual Section Meetings. The international office presented a three-hour program, which included the introduction of IAEI New Member 12 Step Program and familiarizing membership chairs with the new "real time” membership database, which will provide membership chairs the ability to review membership status on a daily basis, as updated by the international office. Another part of the program included a contest, which gave contestants (membership chairs) the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of IAEI. Overall, the program proved to be very successful and each attendee left with the necessary tools to help better manage membership objectives.
The 12 Step Program is a joint effort between the international office and the local divisions and chapters to maintain a constant line of communication with a new member to keep them interested and involved with the organization. Some of the highlights of the 12 Step Program include providing the member with a list of available educational opportunities, including seminars and publications, information regarding submitting code proposals, and information about the international website, which includes access to products and services.
As mentioned earlier in this article, effective leadership plays a key role in the sustainability of IAEI. Each division and chapter provides many opportunities for members to become more active through participating on local committees.
Accepting a local committee appointment includes responsibilities the individual must be willing to carry out, which is the second part of the success of IAEI, commitment. Just as equally important, the division/chapter must be willing to provide the individual with the tools to succeed.
The role of the membership chair is a very instrumental part of the success of IAEI and that is why we would like to provide all membership chairs with some guidelines and recommendations for carrying out the success of your local division and chapter. The following suggestions will help foster the success of IAEI. It is also important to recognize that for this program to work, each membership chair must be willing to commit time and resources to carry out these tasks.
- First, continue to encourage individuals associated with the electrical industry to become actively involved by joining IAEI.
- Follow the 12 Step Program. The 12 Step Program ensures a constant open line of communication with a new member and shows them why IAEI remains the "keystone of the electrical industry.” The international office will soon have the 3-hour program available on CD and will provide each membership chair a copy thereof. When planning the program schedule for your next chapter meeting, make this program a priority on your schedule and reserve time to present this information to your membership chairs and/or local membership committee.
- IAEI International provides an online membership database accessible to membership chairs. Set aside a time to review your membership database on a regular basis to review the status of your membership. The new database provides a wealth of information to help better manage membership. You can quickly review all current members or you can download different spreadsheets, such as current members, new members, and expired members. Checking this information regularly will enable you to take a proactive approach into the membership decline IAEI is faced with. Do you have expired members? How about new members? As the membership chair for your chapter or division, have you made contact with these new and/or expired members? This database is a valuable tool you can use to help manage your membership and we strongly encourage you to get actively involved reviewing it.
- Attend local chapter and division meetings and always make membership an agenda item. Continually promote the benefits of membership in IAEI at your meetings.
- Utilize your section membership chair as an information vehicle. We are here to help promote and improve membership. Having difficulty with your database? Not everyone is computer savvy. Contact your section membership chair and we will assist in everyway we can.
- Establish a local membership committee. Assign mentors to follow up with current members to ensure they renew and stay current with the constantly evolving technology and code requirements.
A closer review of the last item is not a new concept. Mentoring is a process that has been around for many years. A mentor is a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professions have mentoring programs in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people in order to obtain good examples and advice as they advance, and schools sometimes have mentoring programs for new students or students who are having difficulties.
For those IAEI members, who have been around awhile, think back about when you first became a member of IAEI. I’m sure the majority can remember someone you looked up to or that individual approached you at your first meeting and welcomed you to the organization, encouraging you to get involved, ask questions and provided you with valuable insight.
In summary, the demographics of our organization are changing and we need to take the necessary steps to ensure the future of IAEI. A younger generation is now filling the workforce, which means we need to encourage this younger generation to become involved and join IAEI. Equally important, we need to provide effective leadership by committing to mentor current members, and to mentor this younger generation to show them why membership in IAEI is beneficial to the advancement of their career in the electrical industry.
Compiled by Membership Committee
Robert Kauer – Chairman – Eastern Section
R. Steve Jones – Southwestern Section
Leonard Devine – Southern Section
Tom Arbanas – Canadian Section
John Kendall – Northwestern Section
Tim McClintock – Western Section
Chuck Mello – Executive Committee Liaison
James Carpenter – Ex Officio (voting member)
Read more by Tim McClintock