It is an honour and a privilege to become the next president of this great Association. To think of the footsteps in which I am walking is truly humbling. I would like thank those who have helped me though my career and acknowledge everyone as a whole. You know who you are and I thank you.
I am going to take some time to tell you of some facts that I have found out over my career and time on the Board.
Fact number 1. No one grows up planning to become a building official.
For me it all started back in 1999 when I got a phone call. A friend let me know there was a job in the town he worked for and he thought I was the right guy for the job. So I asked what would the job be and he said chief building official.
At the time I was working for a small engineering firm in the north and had been working in remote communities in northwestern Ontario, I was ready for a change and thought why not.
Fact number 2. No one outside of our profession knows what we do.
In my first couple weeks of my new job I had problems. A contractor came up to me in the grocery store saying "you got to go see what they are doing at the fire station". The volunteer fire department had started an addition to the fire station without a permit.
Showing up on the site I noted work well on the way. They were using the concrete driveway with no footings, had framed the walls with donated lumber from the local mill not graded and no piece longer than four feet. But I was assured it was okay because the fire chief gave them the go ahead.
Anyone from a small town will tell you, taking on the volunteer fire department is a career killer. I needed help, so I phoned the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) and heard the phrase we all know so well, "ultimately it's up you as the authority having jurisdiction".
Fact number 3. No matter what your education or number of exams you pass nothing can really prepare you to be a Building official.
Looking for help I called a neighbouring CBO. He told me about my local chapter and invited me to a chapter meeting the following week. With the support of the chapter I weathered the storm and went on to have a very successful career in the municipality in addition to eventually becoming a volunteer fire fighter on the same department.
This is one of the greatest things that could have happened to me, being told of the local chapter. I spent four years as a member of the Sunset Country Chapter working my way to vice chair before moving south. Down south I joined the Southwestern Chapter where I was elected as chair, before stepping onto the OBOA Board in 2008.
As a result of this experience, I try to pay it forward and I will provide support and advice to those in our profession. As a building official, you are often set afloat by those in your own municipalities. Please know that members in this Association are there to help.
This Association's backbone is the chapter system. Chapters provide support, education and mentorship to their members. If you are not a member of a chapter, become one. If you are already a member, become active and pay it forward. This is how our profession will grow, and we will all benefit from this growth.
Let's go back the facts...
Fact 1 No one grows up wanting to be a building official
During my tenure as president we will continue to make inroads with the high schools, colleges and universities to present building regulation as an optional career, coming out of school.
Fact 2. No one outside of our profession knows what we do.
Moving forward we will work to educate those - both inside and outside our industry - on our roles and responsibilities. We will promote what we do and the importance of certification as evidence of superior qualification.
Fact 3 There are no classes to teach you how to be a building official.
The OBOA will continue to develop training material for both hard and soft skills and provide delivery of these courses throughout the province, and across the country. We will continue to assist in providing guidance and mentorship to one another, and we will be a strong voice in the marketplace, and drivers of change in our industry.
We look forward to developing new partnerships and strengthening existing ties with other associations and professions. This includes continuing to work with LMCBO and TACBOC in providing a united voice on many issues facing building regulators. To MMAH, I welcome the opportunity to continue our close relationships and efforts in providing better building regulations for the construction industry, and public safety as a whole. We will engage with several other Ministries to work together on common goals as well.
To Mike Seiling, my friend, you know how to make it hard on the next guy. Mike is one of the hardest working Presidents this Association has ever seen. I've heard people refer to him as the Eveready Bunny, workaholic and plain crazy. I know him as a professional, dedicated and passionate, but most importantly, a friend.
Finally I would like to thank the Board of Directors for their assistance and support. This is a team that you can be very proud of. Their dedication, knowledge and professionalism are amongst the highest I have seen in my eight years on the Board, and reflect the great things to come from your Association.
Your 2015-16 OBOA Directors and Corporate Officers are:
President, Board Chair and Director, Alan Shaw
Vice President and Director, Matt Farrell
Vice President and Director, Grant Brouwer
Secretary-Treasurer/Registrar and Director, Norm Allen
Immediate Past President and Director, Mike Seiling
Director, Andy Jones
Director, Todd Rogers
Director, Francois Couture
Director, Joyanne Beckett
Director, Mike Godin