I'm a firm believer in continuing education. After I graduated from college and started my first “real” job, I made the choice to obtain an advanced degree through my alma mater via correspondence courses offered at my place of employment. Since then, I've taken numerous on-site and online courses over the years to try and keep current on the technological front as well as enhance my business management skills. I'm also fortunate that my current job gives me the opportunity to continuously learn about new technologies and business strategies as I work hard to keep all of you informed on the ongoing changes taking place in our industry.

In my opinion, as soon as you reach the point where you think you know everything there is to know about your job, then your effectiveness has just reached its peak — and it's all downhill from there. Once you decide there's no need to seek out additional training to expand your knowledge base, you might as well quit and find another job. You'll be doing yourself and your employer a favor.

I'm beginning to think that I'm not alone in this line of thinking. Many of you have sent me notes over the years asking for help in locating various training courses on specific areas of interest. I've tried my best to steer you in the right direction when and where I could, but with all the training offered through a number of different sources, such as electrical distributors, manufacturers, industry associations, local electric leagues, and for-profit training companies, it's nearly impossible to track what's available. Unfortunately, there really is no centralized resource available where end-users can go to review all our industry has to offer when it comes to training. But that's about to change.

Later this year, we'll be launching an exciting new resource. EC&M University will strive to become the premier industry-specific training event in the electrical industry. Building upon our early success with E-Train (our twice-a-month e-newsletter that highlights training courses from around the country), our goal is to bring together a larger mix of training courses, products, and services from multiple companies under one roof.

This on-site event will offer a diverse set of ½-day, one-day, and multi-day courses on a variety of topics for electricians, maintenance technicians, jobsite foremen and supervisors, consulting engineers, and plant and maintenance engineers. Topics will include (but not be limited to): the National Electrical Code (NEC), power quality, grounding, lighting, arc flash, power system analysis, LEED, fire & security systems, predictive maintenance, voice/data/video, and much more. Many of these courses will offer the continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs) you need to fulfill annual requirements for recertification.

So pencil in the dates of Oct. 29-31 on your calendar and watch for future promotions on EC&M University. Then join us in Dallas later this year to kickoff what will surely be the first of many world-class training events.