Advocacy & Volunteerism in the 2021 Spotlight

My name is Janet Martin and I am proud to serve you as IEC president in 2021. I own an electrical business with my husband, Bret Martin, just outside of Denver. In this post pandemic year, I will focus our organization on advocacy and our association’s volunteers.

Never has advocacy been more important to your business than in this COVID world. In part due to the virus, many new laws have gone into effect for 2021. Here in Colorado, small businesses have been tasked with providing employees at least 80 hours of paid sick time during this pandemic, up from the previous requirement of 48 hours. Depending on your size, this sick time could cost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

Our local chapters have been working with state governments to ensure our voices are heard when these bills are debated on the floor or in committee. On the national level, we have a lobbyist working on the same thing. These entities are your direct link to lawmakers and are working hard to protect your interests. Advocacy provides a value to our members which is often overlooked.

In preparing for the post-pandemic world, IEC needs you! Our PAC (Political Action Committee) and PEF (Political Education Fund) are the war chests that support your interests and protection as an IEC member and independent business owner. The year 2020 was a year of savings due to the pandemic, but in 2021, the participation and donations from our members can help us achieve our goal of having IEC voices heard on Capitol Hill, and making a real impact on proposed legislation.

We must make it our goal to work together to strengthen this very important pillar of our foundation. Fortunately, there is now a vaccine available to prevent COVID-19. Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine to inject into our companies for survival. “We are IEC” is the voice of not one but many members that work together to achieve the goal of keeping our companies strong in the post-pandemic period.

In the last 10 months, business owners have become masters at pivoting. Contractors recognize there is no one path to success, no secret formula, and no handbook. You must rely on knowledgeable professionals to help guide you to recognize your company’s uniqueness. Regardless of how your business was affected during the pandemic, its end will likely change things. You should prepare a business strategy now to adapt to the post-pandemic business climate. Some thoughts:

  • Will you have employees return to the office or continue to work from home?
  • What new services or modifications can be offered to adapt post-pandemic?
  • How will you work with employees who do not receive the vaccine versus those who do?
  • How will you staff up to capacity post-pandemic?
  • How will you purchase the additional materials and commodities you need to do business? (Suggestion – plan for your financing now).

In 2021, we will also focus on our volunteers, for they are the backbone of our association. In the 64 years of IEC’s existence, everyone from our founders to our most faithful volunteers today have given so much passion, time, and dedication to our apprentice’s education and our great association. This year, we have many new faces on our committees, and I applaud those of you who are stepping up to shape the future of the organization that those before you have built.

I am honored to serve you as IEC president in 2021. Now is the time to get involved. Plan now to attend the 2021 IEC Business Summit & Policy Conference, and the 2021 IEC Convention & Expo. Together our voices are much stronger. We are IEC.

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