|Rich Truitt is testament to the fact that ICC Members get their starts in many different ways. But they all have one thing in common: a passion to help make sure people are safe and secure in their homes and businesses.|
Rich Truitt is testament to the fact that ICC Members get their starts in many different ways. But they all have one thing in common: a passion to help make sure people are safe and secure in their homes and businesses.
Truitt, Deputy Code Director for Maryland’s Harford County, was elected as the ICC Board Director for Section E, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
With Harford County, he administers programs for issuing, maintaining and controlling of licenses and permits required by the county. He has served with Harford County since 1994 when he started as a Plans Reviewer and also served as the Chief Building Inspector.
A lifetime native of Harford County, Truitt said he got into codes from the design side, pretty much right out of college. For a while, he thought he might start a career in fire safety through the state fire marshal’s office. But when that stalled, a co-worker, then-future ICC Board Director Bill Bryant, Code Enforcement Administrator for the Department of Inspections and Permits at Anne Arundel (Maryland) County, nudged him toward code development and review.
“I just fell in love with it,” he said of the code work. “The technical parts of the review, the fire safety aspect,” Truitt said.
After he was hired as a Plans Reviewer and Building Inspector for Harford County, Truitt met his supervisor Madison “Mitch” Mitchell, who was also a board member on the Maryland Building Officials Association. When Mitchell stepped down, Truitt was appointed to fill his spot on the board; later, he became President of MBOA.
The Governor of Maryland appointed Truitt to the Maryland Rehabilitation Code Council and the Maryland Green Building Council. He also is an Executive Board Member of the Code Council’s Region 7.
Like many others, Truitt and his fellow MBOA members watched closely as the ICC and its work started to gain widespread respect in the late 1990s. “We started to adopt their codes, and then … I met John Gibson, an ICC instructor and previous Frederick County, Maryland, Code Official, who invited me to serve as a code instructor as well, where I worked with the IBC, IRC and the Green Code.”
Truitt said it has been a challenge to convince builders already in tight competition to upgrade to specific codes. He said the building industry is having a tough time with one in particular, which requires sprinklers in one- and two-family homes. But that will be part of enforcing the 2012 residential code beginning in July.
When he’s not working with contractors or heading up administrative hearings over various licenses, Truitt enjoys spending time with his wife, Dee, and children Jacqueline, Richard Jr. and Christopher. All their children either will or have graduated from his high school alma mater, John Carroll in Bel Air, Maryland.
Truitt likes to go back and visit with former teachers, watch some lacrosse games and, once a year, take part in an alumni lacrosse event followed by a week or two of healing, he added chuckling.
He also loves to fish, taking the northern part of Chesapeake Bay, while past Board President Bill Dupler handles the southern end.
As for his post as Sectional Director, Truitt said it would have been hard to believe several months ago. “But I always had it in the back of my mind. I want to help make a difference.”
In particular, Truitt said he wants to make sure the code process is as free of special interest groups as possible and that “the code official has no vested interest in codes other than public safety.”
That will take even more scrutiny than the inclusive ICC already achieves, Truitt said, especially since it is difficult to get more governmental representatives involved due to budget constraints.
Like some other board members, Truitt said he would be willing to consider remote voting, “as long as we can guarantee the integrity of the process.”