Chapter Corner

Joseph Cephas

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The Small Business Issue

Just a few days prior to completing this issue of Insights, I went to lunch in Old Town Alexandria, just a few miles down the road from the IEC National Office. As I walked up King Street, I had a smile on my face while passing the boutiques, family-owned businesses, and “Mom and Pop” shops. Small businesses like these are the pulse that drives America. These businesses drive our economy and are our job creators.

Mid-South IEC Listed as a Program That’s “Working” on

The Mid‐South IEC chapter of the Independent Electrical Contractors, specifically their Four-Year Electrical Apprenticeship Program, has been recognized by the White House as a training program matching workers with the skills they need for the jobs of today.

The Real IEC

In early June, I had the privilege to speak to one of IEC's Forum Groups in San Antonio, Texas. The IEC Forum Groups are essentially peer groups of members who meet a few times each year to collaborate on ideas and advice each other on ways to improve their business. The groups include high-level employees, often owners, who share company information with one another for the others to review and critique.

IEC National EVP/CEO Thayer Long Elected to the ESFI Board of Directors

The Independent Electrical Contractors’ (IEC) National Executive Vice President/CEO Thayer Long has been elected to the Electrical Safety Foundation International’s (ESFI) Board of Directors. Long’s nomination was unanimously approved at an ESFI Board of Directors meeting.

IEC Keeps Safety at the Forefront

Safety is an easy topic to talk about and set as a top priority. However, it’s the times when an employee is on the job and in the heat of the moment that they must draw upon their previous training to ensure safe work practices. For this reason, we can never do too much promotion about workplace safety.

Presenting Opportunities

At a very young age our education system begins prepping students for their future careers. Early education provides basic skills and knowledge while also framing a child’s future. As students reach high school, they begin selecting their own classes that are geared to their interests and strengths.

Motivating Generation Y

The stereotypes that haunt Generation Y have carried over into today’s workplaces. The generational gap between the Baby Boomers and Generation Y is filled with miscommunication and fallacies. With the elders of Generation Y established in their careers and a high number just entering the workforce, many Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are struggling with how to motivate the Millennials to take pride in their work.

Forever a Student

As we mature and find our true passion in life, the word learning begins to take on a new meaning. For so much of our lives learning is a necessary task that we do to become more educated and prepare ourselves for a career. We take English, Math, and History to fulfill requirements and increase basic intellect. When the time comes for a student to choose a career path, they select classes that will equip them with the proper skill set.

Season of Improvement

A new year is often a time when people make improvements in their personal lives. The change that gets the most attention is healthy living. In January, gym memberships increase exponentially and the number of diet program enrollments shoot through the roof.

Winning the Right Way

We are taught early in life that there is a right way to win and lose. When you win, like the great football coach Vince Lombardi said, you should “act like you have been there before.” People should be respectful to their opponent while still celebrating the win. An example of winning the right way occurred during the recent 56th Annual IEC National Convention & Electric Expo in Portland, Oregon.

IEC Participates in Business Leaders United Fly-In

Representatives from the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) attended the Business Leaders United (BLU) Fly-In October 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C. The event covered wide-ranging topics with the goal of increasing the number of America’s skilled workers.

Instant Gratification

At the IEC National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, my office is in the front, directly next to the conference room. For the past few weeks, my fellow staff members have been racing back and forth past my office so fast that the papers on my desk fly in the air. This urgency could mean only one thing – it is convention season!

Love of the Game

While watching any sporting event, it is easy to spot the players who have a true love of the game. They play with an unmatched passion, and although their competitive spirit is in high gear, they still have fun in their sport. These individuals see the sport for more than just a game but a true art.

The Unprecedented Feat of Perfection

One of the rare achievements in life is perfection. When people claim that something is perfect, there are typically flaws that have gone unnoticed. Furthermore, when perfection is accomplished, it is commonly over a very brief period of time. Steven Nemeth, a 2013 graduate of the Mid-South IEC and employee of Davis Electric in Memphis, Tennessee, debunks this conventional wisdom, by getting 100 percent in the Apprentice Program. Not only did he accomplish perfection, but he did it over four years.

Career Exposure

So often, young children are asked the perplexing question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The popular answers are police officer, doctor, astronaut, or another career that has a “hero” factor. When I was eight, nobody could have convinced me that I was not going to be the first cross-sport baseball and basketball star; I did not even know that the public relations field was a career choice.

Preparation: The Key to Safety

On May 20, at 4:05 p.m., I received a text from my sister, Juliet, saying "We're safe now, but it's getting close." I was off from work this day so I was more detached from the news cycle than I would be on an average day in the office. I turned to CNN to see video footage of a massive tornado ripping through Moore, Oklahoma, heading toward Oklahoma City - Juliet lives in Oklahoma City close to the Moore border.

Online Transactions

The World is becoming increasingly digitized everyday and it is increasing efficiency and broadening our information intake. I am one of the biggest supporters of online information sharing through interactive websites and social media. Communication that used to be one-way has now evolved to an open dialog thanks to the emergence of online interaction.

Free Agency

If you have read previous "From the Editor's Desk" columns, then you know I love using sports analogies. As a former collegiate athlete and overall sports enthusiast, I truly believe that the lessons and values garnered from participating in sports can positively impact a person's professional career.


When people ask me, "What do you do for a living?" I typically give the simple and short answer, "I am in public relations." This vague response is not because I am not proud of what I do, it is actually on the contrary - I typically go into so much detail when describing the joy of my profession that people get tired of my long-winded response.

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