This piece was originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of electroindustry.
I first joined NEMA as a Member about 30 years ago. I was working for a NEMA Member company and was responsible for a line of products that needed a boost. My boss recommended getting it covered by a relevant code or Standard, so joining NEMA was the natural next step.
As a Member, I learned the true meaning of consensus, due process, alliances, patience, and fairness. That helped me a great deal when, years later, I joined NEMA as a technical Program Manager (PM). It turns out, I had more to learn, however. Just a couple of weeks into my new job, I realized what I didn’t notice from “the other side.” To really help Members, a PM needs to have true expertise in processes: codes, Standards, regulations, legislations, ordinances, to name a few. Members bring to NEMA their business needs. We try guiding them toward efficient ways to satisfy those important needs.
My greatest satisfaction in this job was to find some of those hidden needs, articulate them, bring Members and non-Members together, and convince manufacturers we are the organization that can help. As a result, they decided to join NEMA as new product groups.
The first was the electric vehicle supply equipment manufacturers. The EV industry needed a charging infrastructure. The association’s strength was historically in building and supporting infrastructure. The match was made. A new Section was formed.
The second was the electrical submeter group. Electrical energy conservation needed to be managed, and submeters were the answer. The only problem was that the new industry needed a voice. NEMA offered it. The group is now involved in all the processes!
And what about my original goal in joining NEMA, you ask? I got my product in a Standard. But I had to write it myself, sell it to competitors, get elected chairman of that group. It lasted about five years, and that’s how I learned what I needed to learn. I’ve been learning ever since! ei