President's Message "Safety: A Critical Component of Your Companies' Prosperity"
This issue of our magazine focuses on safety – please enjoy it. Jobsite and personal safety are critical to the health of your most precious resource, literally the people that make up the organization. Thus safety becomes critical to the prosperity of people and the company they operate. IEC has always been a national partner in the safety of our industry; we are one of the few merit-shop organizations and the only electrical contracting association to be a part of the OSHA Safety Alliance. In addition to safety lessons within every training offering we produce, handbooks for field safety, sessions at convention, and providing a committee for contractors to spearhead the Association’s safety-related activities; our Association has a recognized dedication to safety.
Safety should not be a competitive issue, but it is a critical component of a key competitive part of the organization, professionalism. In our field we can choose to compete on price, on speed, and on quality. All of us probably have an idea of where our organizations fit on a Venn diagram with those components as sets. The look, feel, and performance of our organization is often a result of where we position the company in one area, or more likely, in the overlapping areas of those components. Another differentiator in the component mix that can make a difference in the perception, the performance, and the competitiveness of your company can and should be professionalism.
This area definitely includes safety, but is not limited to just that. Which company is known for cheerfully doing their job the “right” way? Which company’s people on the jobsite have OSHA training, have been to a code update class, and can handle questions from other trades about their specialty? Which company takes the lead on layouts, technology use, and MPE coordination issues? Which company has the key to the gate or shared equipment? Which company cares about how the end-use customer will feel about the final product that is being created? Which company has employees that respond to any and every jobsite accident (hopefully very rare) or incident and don’t just ignore it or leave the site to stay uninvolved?
I hope it is your company, the most professional one, that is the answer to those questions. I am reasonably certain that it is, since you are a member of IEC and are reading another fine issue of Insights. I understand how hard it can be to build a company full of true professionals, because we are still trying to do that in our family business. If you own, operate, or work for a company that is imbued with professionalism and have people that exude that professionalism in their life and in their work skills and habits, then congratulations! And if you are trying, like me, to get yourself and the company to that next level of professionalism, keep up the effort as it will pay off. It is marketable, it can be a competitive edge, it is more easily sustainable, and most important – it is satisfying.
My membership in IEC has provided me with some incredible opportunities to build and expand that professionalism in myself and in our company. Opportunities like: Education for myself and for key employees, networking with people who have vastly more skills than I, mentoring from our forum group that is full of the most exemplary professionals to learn from, access to code panel members, to industry technical specialists, safety gurus, and to other contractors from around the country. These all help me work on the professional substance and appearance of both myself and our business. I truly feel that in our industry there is no place better than IEC to find and seize opportunities that can make us true professionals.
I hope that everyone from your company who is involved with IEC, (as an owner, senior staff, apprentice, journeyman, or foreman) has received the value I feel I have from my membership. If you aren’t sure about the value and haven’t attended a National Convention recently or ever, please make plans to attend our next one in St. Louis in October. Take advantage of those possibilities for the future that you will find there. You will leave St. Louis as a little more professional electrician or contractor, I promise. And if, like me, you are sure there will be something of professional value there for you, make your plans now. Lastly, if you, unlike me, are already the ultimate, consummate professional, then please come and take part of the camaraderie, be a mentor and resource, and help us make the merit shop contracting industry even better than it is today.
See you in St. Louis,