As IAPMO prepares for our 88th annual Education and Business Conference in scenic Anchorage, Alaska, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. It seems like just a few years ago I was attending my first IAPMO conference, but it was in fact 15 years ago in Denver.
As a new IAPMO member, I was awestruck by the first-timer experience. I didn’t know many people in attendance and was more than a little concerned about not understanding fully what to expect. As the conference unfolded, however, I quickly became comfortable with the family-like environment and the many new friends and colleagues with whom I interacted.
As the week progressed, I enjoyed the speakers, educational opportunities, social gatherings, and connecting with the leaders of our industry. I was impressed by the attention to detail displayed by IAPMO staff, including how organized and well run the conference was, and struck by the value received by the members in attendance.
Upon my return to work, I spoke with my supervisor and explained the newfound importance of my involvement with IAPMO by volunteering to serve on committees, attending as many conferences as possible, and signing up for each of the seminars and training opportunities the association offered. Thankfully, he was completely supportive. It didn’t hurt, of course, that his boss was Bob Courtnier, who had just been elected IAPMO president!
Fast forward to last year’s 87th annual conference in Albuquerque, where a great many of the same faces I first encountered at that 2002 event have become as familiar as my own family. That, in and of itself, is a testimony to the commitment IAPMO makes by providing an extraordinary experience for all to enjoy.
During my 16-plus years of membership, I have watched IAPMO evolve into the premier domestic and international organization representing the codes and standards aspects of our industry, and thus observed how our annual conference has reflected this evolution by expanding educational opportunities and promoting the significance of our ANSI accredited consensus code development process. An IAPMO conference so much more than a networking event — the training provided and actual work that goes into evolving the Uniform Codes becomes more pivotal year by year.
One of the most exciting things is seeing more and more new faces each year, and we continue to reach out across the industry for members who are willing to get involved in the organization by volunteering on committees or participating in the code development process. IAPMO’s Board of Directors is committed to recruiting and retaining the brightest young talent our industry can offer, and staff is very much in touch with that mission, as demonstrated by the recent hire of Social Media Coordinator Chris Sanchez and his efforts #ReachingMillennials. (That’s not a typo; it’s a hashtag for those not in the know. If you’re confused, just ask Siri or Alexa.)
The vital work of finding and welcoming IAPMO’s future leaders into our ranks — and simply into our industry, for that matter — is a task that must be embraced by all of us. Please share your conference experience with a coworker or peer and invite them to join IAPMO. If you see a new face at conference, go up and introduce yourself; share a few stories of your experiences at past conferences. And if you’re new to IAPMO and attending your first conference, please say hello to me and/or any of my fellow Board members and allow us to answer any questions you may have. We are here to serve you.
It fills me with great pride to be part of IAPMO’s progress and I can’t wait to reunite with you all in Anchorage for another eventful Education and Business Conference. I look forward to seeing all my old friends, make many new ones, and encourage each of them to lend their voice and vote as we complete our next code development cycle. See you all in Alaska!