Offering My Thanks and Congratulations
As we come into spring, it’s nice to see all that the season has to offer. It’s a time of ending the cold and darkness, and starting to enjoy the longer, warmer days as summer approaches. It might feel the same for our apprentices as they finish up their classes and are able to take a deep breath and concentrate on just working for a few months, without the added pressure of homework and exams. Tis the season for our apprentice graduations. I have started my visits to various chapters as the schedule allows. What an amazing and gratifying way to spend time with our future leaders of the industry. We have a lot to be thankful for and proud of. There is a huge amount of time and effort that goes into our apprenticeship program across the country.
It all starts with a few thoughtful and committed people that believe in training and educating the people that will someday lead our companies. They come together and put aside their own aspirations and egos to begin to build something larger than themselves... a chapter. There is nothing easy about working on something outside of your company when we all know how important it is “to keep our eyes on the ball.” The good news is, there are people like all of you that see the need and the reward to put forth the effort that it takes.
We are all very familiar with the need. Seeing many of you at PolyCon17 in D.C. recently reassured me that
there is a lot of work to do and more coming. That always beats the alternative; however, it still comes with
the challenge of getting it done.
By 2020, it is being said that our industry will be starving for over 150,000 electricians. I’m not sure that it won’t be the case much sooner. We have a lot of training to do. Again, fortunately we have all of those people that dedicate their time to helping in this effort. From our chapters, there are executive directors, training directors, instructors, and the committees made up of our volunteers that are doing their level best to keep up with the demands. My hat goes off to all of them for doing their part to make sure we continue to be on the leading edge for our new Journeymen.
As I mentioned, I am fortunate to participate at some of the apprentice graduations. The reward for us all
is amazing. We are not just training electricians. We are impacting lives by offering them a life-sustaining career. It is very humbling to see the pride on the faces of the graduates and their instructors as they accept their completion certificates. It’s also very rewarding to see the smiles from their families and loved ones that have supported and endured alongside each of them. For those of us that are parents, we know how it feels to see our kids head into life with meaningful direction. It’s very fulfilling to know we are helping so many do just that.
Nothing in this world is perfect – mainly because perfection is only a perception as it means something different to us all. However, we can still be proud of what we have accomplished thus far. We have some of the best and brightest on our A&T and Codes and Standards committees that contribute wholeheartedly to our apprenticeship program. It takes everyone and more to make this IEC ship sail in the right direction. I applaud you all for your contribution to making this a stellar program and for digging your heels in to keep pushing the flywheel in the right direction. For this we should all be proud.
Thank you to the apprentices that don’t give up and complete their studies, to the instructors who tirelessly
give back to the industry, and to the contractors that see the value in supporting our great association!
Bruce Seilhammer is IEC’s 2017 National President. He is also the Electrical Construction Group Manager and
Warehouse Operations Manager at SECCO, Inc. SECCO was one of the founding members of the Central PA IEC Chapter, and holds the award as one of the Best Places to Work five years in a row. With over 30 years in the electrical industry, Bruce started as an apprentice electrician in the U.S. Air Force, obtained his Connecticut and Pennsylvania Journeyman’s licenses, and currently holds a Pennsylvania Master Electrician’s License. He is an instructor for Leadership, Train the Trainer, and the Master Electrician’s exam preparation classes.