2016 President

Western Section
Steve Gregory
Rocky Mountain Chapter

I want to say that I feel humbled and honored as well as excited to serve as the President of the Western Section IAEI for the year 2016.

We all have many trails that we find ourselves riding on as we pass through our lives. Often times we find obstacles on the trails we travel and have to make a decision — go right, left, ahead, turn around or just stay ground-tied. The major choices that we make usually alter our lives forever. I was fortunate to have kind, loving parents who set boundaries for me and my two sisters and who enforced them when necessary during our growing-up years. They served as fine examples for me to follow in making many important choices in my life.

After completing an Associate’s Degree and finding myself without money or any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, I headed to the Rocky Mountains to work as a laborer on an expansion of a lumber mill. Good choice! Before the project was half completed, I was employed by the electrical contractor as an electrical apprentice. The trails that I rode after that project eventually lead me to Greeley, Colorado where I accepted a job that allowed me to continue in the electrical trade. Good choice!

I was fortunate to be paired for three years with a master electrician who was an excellent craftsman and a great instructor in the mechanics of the trade and who took time to show me how to use the NEC as a tool also. I attended electrical classes at Aims Community College for two years and successfully passed their electrical apprenticeship program. I only worked as a journeyman electrician for a couple of years before I was brought into the company office to work as an estimator. When the manager of the company left to start his own electrical business, I accepted the promotion to become manager of the firm. Good choice! Through the next fourteen years, the company became a leading contractor in northeastern Colorado and southern Wyoming completing electrical installations in all areas of commercial and industrial applications such as penal institutions, hospitals and well over 40 educational buildings. Teamed up with a couple of general contractors, our firm also traveled around the United States wiring motels, apartment complexes and retirement homes which involved getting Master and Contractor Licenses in several states and local jurisdictions. The company was eventually licensed in 26 jurisdictions and completed the electrical installations in more than fifty projects outside of our home-base in Colorado. Several good choices!

One highlight of my contracting career occurred in Ft. Worth, Texas where I traveled to take the Master Electrician’s exam. Mr. James Stallcup walked me through the exam process personally. I was scheduled to fly back to Denver after the test but wanted to stay over if I did not pass the exam that day. Mr. Stallcup told me that when I got to the airport to call him on his personal phone and he would let me know if I passed or would need to stay to retake the exam. He awaited my call and informed me to get on the plane as I had passed his exam, which I must say was one of the most comprehensive exams I ever sat for. At that time I did not know of his stature in the electrical industry but now realize what an honor it was to have had his personal attention. His kind demeanor and thoughtfulness played a key role in how I interact with the electricians in my jurisdiction. Good choice!

In September, 1991, I was offered and accepted the position of electrical inspector for the City of Greeley. Good choice! I have been the self-designated, Chief Electrical Inspector for Greeley since that time. Early on, I was backed into a corner by an electrical contractor who disagreed with a correction notice that he had been issued. The Greeley City Manager requested that I ask the Colorado State Electrical Inspector in our area to determine who was correct. State Inspector, Ron Davis, was impressed with my knowledge of the NEC and asked if I was member of IAEI. No. I wasn’t. He walked me through the membership process and a few months later approached me to serve on the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Chapter IAEI. He nominated me for a Board position and I was elected to represent my fellow electricians in the mid-90’s. Good choice!

After a few years on the Board, I was drafted by Mike Forister and Lloyd Osborn to serve as the Chapter education chairman and have served in that position since. Good choice! Our education committee and several fellow instructors have been very active in conducting IAEI courses in eight or nine cities around Colorado each year and has been asked to instruct at IAEI meetings in Kansas and Wyoming also. It is the belief of the Rocky Mountain Chapter IAEI that electrical education is the key to having a successful Chapter. Our Chapter, under the leadership of our membership chairman, Larry Bobo, has lead the Western Section in increased membership for several years in a row now. Ninety percent of our Chapter’s members are electricians — not inspectors. Personally, I have determined that the key to becoming a good electrical inspector is to be a good electrical instructor whether in the classroom or out on the job. Our calling as inspectors should be to use our position to teach the proper application of the NEC and not to inflict punishment on those installers who lack the knowledge. Each of us should choose to use the inspection process as a tool to teach. That would be a Good Choice!

One of the most fulfilling trails that I have traveled enabled me to be hitched to a 5-foot tall, lovely, little filly that most men can only dream of holding. Thanks to the Keeper of the Stars, I have been married to Peggy Jean for twenty years now and she has made my life complete. Our put-together families bring much peace, joy and happiness to our lives. She was the Perfect Choice.

It may appear that I only made “good choices” on the trails that I have ridden thus far in my life. Oh, no! I have made several bad choices in my business, professional, and personal life also. However, I have chosen not to dwell on the negative results that occurred when I chose the wrong trails, to put them behind me, and to ask for forgiveness from those I may have offended or hurt. I will continue to seek guidance and direction from the Man above and His Code Book so that I can have keener insight to make better choices in my interactions with my fellow man.

I look forward to my role as President of the Western Section IAEI in the coming year and will accept the responsibility that comes with the position. How blessed I am!