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Christine Porter, Field Evaluator/NEC Trainer for Intertek Testing Services. Porter has been an IAEI member since 1984.

How long have you been a member of IAEI?

Since 1984

What IAEI benefit(s) or member(s) attracted you to becoming a member and why?

When I first joined the IAEI I was working as an electrician in a small family owned electrical contracting firm and I was teaching the second year of a local apprenticeship class. I needed resources to understand the NEC so that I could assist my students to understand the code. By attending meetings I learned about the NEC process which allowed me to do my own research and understand what the intent of the various code making panels were by reviewing not only the proposals and comments that were accepted, but also reading the rejected items with the panel statements as to why they were rejected. I got to know and interact with a broader group of local AHJs instead of just those that were inspecting my work. Additionally, I got to meet with and get to know various code making panel members themselves. The background information I received was and is to this day absolutely invaluable.

How has being a member of IAEI helped you in your career?

The knowledge that I gained at IAEI meetings and magazine about the NEC and the code making process was a vital part of why I earned the ABC Craft Instructor of the year award in 2004. When I decided to retire from active electrical contracting I was offered a job at a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) - Intertek which does the ETL label. I thought that was a perfect way to stay active and current in the industry as well as be able to devote more time in creating continuing education classes for certification renewals. Eventually, I started conducting field evaluations of unlisted equipment and provide standards training for both external and internal clients of Intertek. I currently serve on code making panel 5 of the NEC, the correlating committee, and was recently made chair of NFPA 780, Standard for Installation of  Lightning Protections Systems.

Describe IAEI in one word. Why did you select that word for IAEI?

Interactive. Because IAEI members come from all aspects of the electrical industry. Our members come not just from the enforcement of electrical codes, but from stakeholders that have a vested interest in the electrical inspections. Users and installers of electrical equipment need a uniform enforcement of the code as do manufacturers, those that specify, engineers and designers, and even utilities. IAEI brings all these groups together in a meaningful way.

What are three reasons why someone should join IAEI?

The educational benefits are without question, as well as the networking opportunities for IAEI members. But there is also the concern about the electrical industry as a whole for all of us, not just those of us in the electrical industry. When the technology for electrical equipment makes advances we need to be able to react to those changes in a timely manner. For example, lighting technology has drastically changed with the widespread use of LEDs. That has a huge impact on the size of the electrical services that supply our public schools. As taxpayers we must pay for older electrical system designs that assume the installations  employ older technology that energy codes do not permit to be used, which results in those larger costs of an electrical system being passed along to the general public and eating into public school budgets at the cost of other needed items. That is just one example, but there are many. Working with local AHJs can help convey the need to be current in a field that makes such huge strides in technology.

What is something you would tell someone who is young in their career?

Join IAEI, use the social media to connect online as well as make personal connections by attending IAEI educational sessions and meetings. The connections you make can show you additional career opportunities that you might not ever have a chance at without the experiences IAEI gives you.

What three accomplishments, personal and/or professional are you most proud of?

The instructor of the year award for teaching, serving on NFPA code making panels and committees, and the wonderful relationships I have garnered over the years, from my husband of 38 years to my friends in IAEI.

Tell us about your work in the electrical industry.

I have worked as an electrician, an estimator, and project manager for a small family owned electrical contracting business. When I first started at Intertek in 1999, I did the follow up service inspection at various factories around the pacific northwest. In 2006 I started doing field evaluations of unlisted equipment and started conducting training on the NEC for our commercial and electrical labs that are spread across the country which continues to this day. I had the opportunity to travel to China and Italy to provide training on NFPA 79 and the NEC. I have also been to Switzerland, Sweden, and most recently to Spain to do preliminary design reviews of equipment intended for installation here in the USA. Instead of counting down the days until retirement I find myself imagining doing what I do now for the next 20 years!

Read other stories:
Tim McClintock
Marguerite Carroll 

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