- Features | March 11, 2014
Why Should You Be Involved in IEC?
Over the last few years I have been asked the same question on numerous occasions: Why are you involved with IEC? Depending on the topic or location of the meeting, I might have a different answer but there are three main reasons why I am involved: giving back to improve our industry, personal growth, and ownership. These three reasons have created a passion in me for IEC and a mission for me to improve myself along with improving the electrical industry.
Supporting Our Industry
Originally, I became involved in my local IEC chapter to give back to the industry that provides a career for me and helps keep food on the table for the more than 40 families that rely on Corrigan Electric for their income. I have found you can give back in many ways in your local electrical industry, such as teaching the electrical class to local home builders, working with vocational school students, or serving on the state electrical advisory board.
The best way to improve our industry is to connect all of those together by volunteering with your IEC chapter. I have tried various avenues and various positions such as teaching in the Apprenticeship Program, teaching continuing education classes, serving on a committee, and serving on the chapter board. You can do the same without leaving your comfort zone and the area you live in. You can figure out where your passion is, and your local chapter will be thankful for your service.
If you want to step out of your comfort zone, serving on a committee with IEC National can be rewarding and helps improve our industry across the country. Giving back gives me a sense of accomplishment but also helps improve the electrical industry to benefit all of us and the future electricians that will chose their careers in our industry. The question I ask is: If you don’t volunteer to improve the electrical industry, who will?
Surprisingly, serving in positions within IEC on the local or national level has been the best way for me to grow personally as a business person. There has been no better way for me to learn. I began by hinting that I could perhaps do something at the local IEC chapter, but I didn’t have a strong idea about what to do. The next thing I knew I was being sworn into the Vice President position at our local chapter. To me this was a risk for IEC and for me as I was jumping into the deep end right away. I was nervous at the first meeting, but I soon realized that just being there and providing input was a benefit. My involvement went from a risk to reward in the terms of personal growth without me even realizing it.
I am no stranger to taking risks and biting off more than I can chew. In March 1997 my father asked me on a Monday night to start as supervisor the next morning! As a 22-year-old, I did not see the big picture, just a raise and new job. I had no idea what was in store when on Friday he handed me his cell phone and truck keys and informed me he was headed on his already planned vacation. I guess he knew I couldn’t bury the company in a week, but his leap of faith taught me a lot in one week’s time.
Volunteering for IEC has been the same for me. Jumping in has made me learn, grow, and want to give even more back.
We are all good electricians and have different visions for our businesses, but we need to be learning and growing professionally as business people. The best electricians are those who have been trained by IEC through the Apprenticeship Program, continuing education programs, and on-the-job field training from the generation of electricians ahead of us in the business. Since IEC is the best place to learn electrically, why not use the resource of IEC and become the best business person by being trained professionally? IEC offers many classes and meeting opportunities for us to learn without having to step out of our comfort zone.