Board Shadow Program participant Ed Green
Encouraging and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders: Board Shadow Program participant Ed Green
Ed Green has always enjoyed mentoring others. In college, he served as a teaching assistant for four years. As a police officer, he worked closely with the local community. In his current role as the plan review manager for the city of Carrollton in Texas, he often has the opportunity to help others learn something new. It’s one of his favorite aspects of the job.
“As a code official, one of the primary things we do is educate the public and educate design professionals about the codes and the development process,” Green said. “I enjoy diving in deep to the code and working on large projects where we can really have a good dialogue with architects and help them understand the code and serve as educators.”
When Green left law enforcement to go back to school, he studied architecture. During his junior year, Dr. Madan Mehta, a professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington, encouraged Green and his classmates to explore diverse careers in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. Dr. Mehta often brought in guest speakers to share their career paths as a way to inspire the students to think beyond the traditional route of working for an architecture firm. One of those guest speakers was Ravi Shah, director of Development Services for the city of Carrollton, where Green works now.
“Dr. Mehta already had me thinking about being a code official, but after asking Ravi dozens of questions, I knew for sure that this is what I wanted to do,” Green said. “I spent a few years working in multi-family architecture on production and construction administration teams and finished my master’s before making the jump to the city of Carrollton as a plans examiner.”
Green’s education didn’t stop there. After earning his master’s degree and embarking on a career in building safety, he started studying for and earning certifications through the International Code Council. His list of certifications includes Certified Building Official, Building Plans Examiner, Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner, Residential Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner, and Commercial Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner with ASHRAE 90.1. Green is also furthering his education by participating in the Code Council’s Board Shadow Program.
“The Board Shadow Program has been an incredible opportunity,” Green said. “[At the 2021 ICC Annual Conference in Pittsburgh], I had time to mingle with the fellow shadows, interact with and observe the board of directors, and soak up as much as I could about how the Code Council’s business is conducted and how the membership drives the organization. I loved meeting the cast of characters on the board, and the week was over before I knew it.”
Green heard about the Board Shadow Program through a colleague, who introduced him to Code Council Board Director Shirley Ellis from the North Texas Chapter of ICC and recommended him for the program. Green had previously attended the Public Comment Hearings in both Richmond and Las Vegas, but this was his first time attending the ICC Annual Conference, and he is grateful for the experience.
“I heard others talk about the conference before, but I only had a fuzzy mental image of what that really looked like,” he said. “It was important to experience it first-hand.” Green enjoyed the entire experience, including the presentations to the board by industry representatives, the members’ forum, the keynote speaker and panel discussions, but the code hearings were his favorite part. “Being in the room to see the debates helps tremendously as a code official and gives you the opportunity to be part of the discussion,” he explained.
Whether it’s the Board Shadow Program, code hearings, committee meetings or one of the many other ways to connect, Green encourages industry newcomers to get involved. He also encourages them to take a holistic approach to their work.
“Read the entire code, and don’t skip chapter one. It’s an undertaking, but I find that too often, code officials and design professionals look at excerpts from the code in isolation. When people do that, they tend to place too much emphasis on an individual code requirement rather than taking building safety and code compliance as a total approach. Be open-minded, and always try to apply the code with wisdom. Work with a jurisdiction that supports you and gives you the opportunity for professional development. Pursue your certifications.”
Green looks forward to mentoring the next generation of building safety and code enforcement professionals, but, like many others in the industry, he understands that the first hurdle is making sure young people know that opportunities in the field exist.
“Go to where they are,” he urged. “Talk to students in youth programs, high schools and universities who are at the beginning of their careers and let them know the diverse career paths they can enjoy on any seat at the table. Our industry offers an enormous amount of career opportunities, but most students don’t know half of those professions exist. As long as that happens, we’re all missing out.”
Fortunately for the industry, Green didn’t miss out. While a career in building safety and code enforcement may not have been on his radar from the start, he is glad he found his way there. When he reflects on the path he took to get there, it all makes sense.
“Once I got further into the architecture program, learning about not just the design aspects of architecture but the technical aspects as well, it really became clear to me that with my background in law enforcement and architecture, being a code official was a perfect combination of those two things.”
Combining his interests to identify the right role for himself is the perfect example of a mentor who leads from his own experience. Green’s career path mirrors his advice for the next generation of young professionals. “Find your niche and double down on it. Get involved in the things that you enjoy. If you do the things that appeal to you, then you are probably going to be good at it, and it will be the right fit.”
|To help facilitate inclusive, collaborative relationships between seasoned code professionals and emerging industry leaders, the International Code Council created its Board Shadow Program — part of its successful Safety 2.0 initiative — which provides an opportunity for emerging code professionals to “shadow” the Code Council Board of Directors at its annual conference and public comment hearings, to intercept and absorb information and experience real-time leadership as they observe their board mentors.
Now in its fifth year, the program provides an opportunity for the Code Council board to connect to diverse emerging professionals from different socio-demographic backgrounds and enables senior leaders to hear a different level of thinking to real-time issues facing young code professionals today. The board gets a much broader range of views on strategic, complex and critical issues, and a feedback loop of challenge, solution, development and learning is created. The program demonstrates the benefits of investing in future code development leaders and helps create a diverse pipeline of “ready-to-go” leaders who understand and are already contributing to the construction industry.