Ever felt like the Powers That Be are conspiring against you? Let’s admit it, we’ve all played the victim at one time or another. And we’ve all blamed a faceless enemy for our problems- The Fed, The Man, The Big Dog, Illuminati… The Knights of Columbus. Okay, I’ve yet to hear a conspiracy theory on that last one. In the rater world, we blame the RESNET Gods. But just who are the power brokers in the RESNET world?
I’m going to give you a peek behind the black curtains at the “dark and mysterious machinations” of the RESNET Powers That Be. RESNET only actually employs a staff of about 5 people. The top staff position is the Executive Director. The Executive Director answers to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors sets the policy and the Executive Director and his staff enact that policy. Collectively, the Board of Directors has the power to remove the Executive Director.
The members of the Board of Directors are also assigned to Chair the various committees. As Chair, they run the committee meetings, finalize the agenda, and nominate new members to their committee. The responsibilities and authorities of these committees are outlined in the RESNET Standards. Most of the work around standard changes and policy recommendations gets done at the committee (and within that sub-committee/working group) level. Here is the rub: the Board of Directors are elected non-paid positions. They serve terms and are elected by their fellow RESNET members. These people generally work in the industry for rating companies, training organizations, builders, non-profits, or various construction trades. In fact, there is an intentional balance of representation for these facets of our industry among the board and committees. RESNET is not a government organization- it is a non-profit. In short, RESNET is the rating industry governing itself. The Board of Directors is made up of the people that RESNET membership voted for. While membership is not automatic just because you happen to hold a RESNET certification, any of us can become a member. Ultimately, the rating industry is governed by its members.
Friends, We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us
Each of us can be counted among the Powers That Be. Bad things don’t just happen to us because some faceless foe is out to ruin our rating business. So, how do we as individuals make our voices heard? Below I’ve listed the Top 5 Ways each of us can contribute to the creation of an intentional future for the rating industry:
- Become a RESNET Member. If you are not a member, you don’t get a vote in the board elections. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about the policy set by the Board of Directors.
- Participate in the Public Comment Period. Seriously. Every. Single. One. Whenever significant changes are made to the RESNET Standards, the proposed changes go out for public comment. You don’t even have to be a RESNET Member to comment. Guess what? The committee drafting the proposed changes has to review every single public comment that gets submitted. These are either publicly accepted or rejected. If they are rejected, the reasoning is written and is published as a matter of public record. TIP: When submitting a comment, you must propose a change- even if it is just striking all of the proposed language out. Otherwise, you are just voicing an opinion and there is nothing to accept or reject. The committee just makes a note: “Opinion duly noted. No change proposed.”
- Attend the public meetings. There are not a lot of closed door meetings. Outside of conference calls and e-mail, nearly all of the meetings among the Board of Directors and Committees are open to the public. These are held annually at the RESNET Conference and times/dates are posted with the conference schedule.
- Volunteer on a RESNET Committee or working group. Find out who is the chair of the committee or working group that you want to participate in (this is where it helps to attend the public meetings, and is your opportunity to introduce yourself). Contrary to what I’ve heard from some, this is not a Good ‘ol Boys club. I managed to get on a committee despite the fact that I had no prior relationship with its chair. I introduced myself, asked to serve on his committee, and then persisted for 2 years. There is no guarantee this will work for everyone. Still, when there was an opening, at least I was among those considered. After that, it helps to have the resume, experience, and credibility or (better yet) a recommendation that indicates you will be an asset to the committee. If you have a reputation as a nut-job or as someone who is impossible to work with, that’s pretty much the end of that.
- Stay connected. Read the RESNET blog, sign up for the RESNET newsletter, and pay attention to the threads in the RESNET and RESNET/BPI LinkedIn groups. RESNET does make an effort to get information out to its membership. But you have to be willing to sift through the listings of new Energy Smart Contractors (that’s why you have a ‘delete’ key) in order catch the important stuff.
You might be thinking, “I’m too busy running a rating business. I can’t afford to invest the time to pay attention to any of that.” I’ve actually been told this by a number of raters. We’ve just established that YOU can be counted among the Powers That Be, so I reply with another question, “Can you afford not to?”
Director of Energy Professional Services
EnergyLogic and EnergyLogic Academy