ICC’s Dorothy Harris receives honorary NYSFMIA membership
International Code Council Vice President of State & Local Government Relations Dorothy “Dottie” Harris received an honorary membership to the New York State Fire Marshal’s and Inspector’s Association (NYSFMIA) for her 20-plus years of dedication and involvement in the business of fire prevention and building codes in New York State.
“With a passion matched by few, Harris continues to this day, working endlessly for the betterment of all affected by the codes,” said NYSFMIA Past President Jeff Wilkinson, co-chair of the New York State Codes Coalition. “She is well known far beyond New York State as the Vice President for State and Local Government Relations of the International Code Council.”
Harris first worked for the New York State Insurance Department. While working for the department in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, when insurers began to balk at issuing policies on Long Island due to insufficient wind provisions in the New York state code, she saw the cause and took to it immediately.
Learning everything she could about codes, she began advocating for the adoption of a national model code. Her abilities and dedication were quickly recognized as being better utilized in the New York Department of State, which led to her appointment by Governor Pataki to be in charge of the New York state code adoption process in 1999. After a couple years of the adoption and amendment process, the state of New York went from using a homegrown code to the very first International Building Code in 2000. The International Codes were ultimately chosen as the foundation for the new Uniform Code for New York State.
That passion for keeping New York’s model codes hasn’t diminished over time. Last year, Harris helped guide both New York and Massachusetts through the process of updating to the 2015 International Codes â€” both labor-intensive as both states are populous and politically active.
“It’s a 24/7 position, like most political jobs, and in most cases, that’s negative, but with ICC it’s definitely positive,” Harris explains. “It feels like the people I interact with are really family and friends, to the point where my real social life is going to chapter meetings and working with the members and other organizations, building relationships.”