I love Spring. I love watching my perennials peek through an early April snow then burst into bloom by month’s end. I love sitting on a lake, any May morning, and watching a bass explode through the surface to grab my torpedo or jitterbug.
It’s nice having a moment to think about an ordinary Spring before coming back to reality, and what a reality these last few months have been. For me, the one constant throughout this COVID-19 pandemic has been IEC.
Our National staff has done an outstanding job keeping our entire IEC family well–informed. They’ve worked tirelessly to enable our chapters and contractors to continue operating during very trying times. Here are a few examples:
- Our Education and Training Department, promptly at the onset of Coronavirus, expanded IEC’s CMS system and its Big Blue Button capabilities. In addition, it was able to increase internet bandwidth for these systems by working with ATP, our publisher and Platinum Partner. This effort offered all IEC Training Facilities the ability to continue educating IEC apprentices via online platforms when in-class learning became impractical.
- Our Communications Department provided timely Coronavirus webinars and updates to keep our members informed and their employees safe. These updates also offered HR dos and don’ts and the latest news on how the Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, workers’ compensation, and OSHA requirements would affect us.
- Our Government Affairs Department provided timely legislation action alerts, which offered our members the ability to easily contact federal legislators and share how current proposed legislation affects our ability to do business. These legislative alerts secured a record response from IEC members. Government Affairs also kept us abreast on how H.R. 6201 and other COVID-19 federal legislation will impact our business.
As we all know, the Coronavirus continues to disrupt life as we know it. Unfortunately, three 2020 IEC National events were not immune to the virus. Concerns with flying and gathering in large numbers has forced the postponement of IEC’s inaugural Safety Summit and the IEC Instructors Conference, and the cancelation of our 2020 Policy Conference.
IEC’s inaugural Safety Summit has been rescheduled for August 25–26. The event details remain the same. It’s still being held at the Eaton Experience Center in Houston, Texas. I had the pleasure of visiting the venue during the IEC Board Retreat in 2018 and it is a world-class training facility. It totally exceeded my expectations and I guarantee it will exceed yours!
The Safety Summit offers you an opportunity to learn from our industry’s leading safety experts. You’ll come away with everything you need to build a complete and an effective safety program and culture within your company.
The event includes two jam–packed days of safety training and networking. If you are already registered, your registration is being honored for the August dates. If you’re not registered, you may want to do so now before this event sells out.
IEC has also decided to postpone the Instructors Conference until July 2021. Although we won’t be able to meet in person in July, IEC is eager to bring our instructors and chapters together virtually to showcase what they will experience next year at the 2021 conference! Join us on Friday, July 24, 2020 for a free, live, BigBlueButton (BBB) session on our CMS, especially designed for instructors and chapters. This session will include live Q&A directly from the Eaton Experience Center in Pittsburgh. We strongly recommend that chapters conduct their in-house instructor training on this day in order to fully benefit from the presentations. More information regarding time and logistics will follow in the coming weeks.
IEC has also canceled its 2020 Policy Conference. I believe this was a sound decision. Besides the concerns listed above, all federal buildings in D.C. have been closed to the public since the early onset of COVID-19 making, it impossible to conduct on–sight, in–person visits with our federal legislators.
The positive side of this cancelation is that it offers IEC National the opportunity to test its Government Affairs Committee’s In–District IEC National Policy Conference concept. This concept will be tested in August 2020 when our federal legislators leave D.C. and conduct business in our own hometowns. What better time to meet and speak with these legislators than while they’re home?
The 2020 In-District IEC National Policy Conference offers each IEC member an opportunity to talk with their federal senators and representatives in their home district offices. We save on travel expenses and time away from our business. More importantly, our federal legislators return to D.C. after their summer recess with our merit shop voices fresh in their minds!
Hopefully this end comes sooner than later and is well on its way as you’re reading this article. My prayers are with you and your families. With God’s grace, tomorrow will again be bright, beautiful, prosperous, and back to normal!