ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Steve Curtis
Code professionals ensure building safety today, for a stronger tomorrow. As the individuals behind modern codes and standards, these professionals are responsible for ensuring the safety and compliance of codes and standards, shaping the safety of the world around us, and serve as the safety foundation for our buildings. They don’t just ensure that buildings are constructed to withstand the stress of everyday use, they are behind the security and stability of every building. They specialize in preventative measures to help communities weather unforeseen natural disasters and ensure that first responders have less to worry about and can do their jobs safely. Code professionals are an essential piece in the building and construction puzzle and are engaged in the building process from the initial building plan to the finished product.
The International Code Council is a member-focused association with over 64,000 members dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. They protect the public through their commitment to building safety; enforce code compliance to empower and educate stakeholders across the built environment to embrace and integrate safety standards in their work; support economic development by making our buildings studier, and therefore longer lasting. Their knowledge, skills, and abilities impact every building, in every community.
The Code Council recognizes the importance of continuing to grow awareness of the important work that code professionals do and the impact they have, in the hopes of encouraging aspiring building safety professionals to join in on the building safety movement. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Steve Curtis, product development specialist with Maracay Homes, to share his experience in the industry, highlights of his professional career, and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry and the future of building safety.
Product Development Specialist
Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
International Code Council member for 28 years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Curtis: I was always interested in architecture and construction, since about the time I was in fifth grade. I took drafting and other related courses all throughout my years as a student; and then of course into college.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Curtis: 1. Passion: I believe you need a passion for the area of expertise that you pursue. 2. Knowledge: Formal education, coupled with real-world work experience and applicable training. 3. Resiliency: The fields of architecture, construction, and home building are often cyclical, so being able to adapt and adjust to the market, economic and job conditions are necessary (not unlike many other fields).
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Curtis: My teachers and educators definitely provided inspiration, motivation, guidance and encouragement from the very beginning. Supervisors, colleagues and employers played various important and influential mentor roles as I negotiated my career path in the various industries. Keeping “in-the-loop” and in touch with my close and far network has always paid benefits — it certainly is a two-way street.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Curtis: Working on countless projects in the architecture and home building industries necessitated being familiar with all technical aspects of the various building codes. Working with the various municipality staff members was a large part of my duties and responsibilities.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Curtis: At this time, I am not with any committees and councils.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Curtis: 38 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Curtis: Technology, of course, has changed all aspects. We are a far cry away now from the pre-computer, manual hand-drafting days that I came up in during the 1980s and 1990s!
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Curtis: Continual innovation, always-improving technology, and the amazing creativity all that this allows and encourages for all of us in the various industries connected to building and life safety.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Curtis: Always strive to learn as much as you can about what you are doing. Even the smallest details matter, but always keep the big picture in mind. An ever-positive and optimistic mindset creates an environment that will most likely produce the most positive win-win results and final product.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Curtis: How there are so many different factors that are necessary for the successful execution of any large project, and how amazing it is when all disciplines, interests and viewpoints contribute… and to be a part of everything coming together successfully in the end. Pretty awe-inspiring and satisfying to boot.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Curtis: Continue to grow and learn, always. Grateful to be a small part of a larger cause that I believe in, and hope to be fortunate enough to continue to do so.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Curtis: Spending time outdoors, in nature, in the elements (away from the built environment). Backpacking, mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking, some climbing plus travel.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Curtis: A Wabi-Sabi Life.
There’s a world of opportunity in being a member of the International Code Council. Membership provides the tools to get the most out of each workday: from discounts on essential International Codes and other publications to the best prices on top-quality training and ICC certification renewals, Code Council membership helps budgets go further. Exclusive member benefits include code advice from expert technical staff as well as access to member-exclusive news and articles at the Building Safety Journal news portal. Plus, only Code Council members vote in the ICC code development process. An online Career Center allows job postings and searches for new job opportunities — all at no additional charge.
The Code Council offers numerous councils, committees, and resources to help code professionals grow and network with colleagues. Six discipline-specific Membership Councils offer members a place to come together and be a more powerful force in shaping your association, your industry, your career, and your future. Code Development Committees are an instrumental part of the ICC code development process and are responsible for the review and evaluation of code change proposals submitted to the International Codes. Professional Development Committees serve to better align the ICC education programs and certification programs to ensure that quality training is available to meet the needs of all members, customers and certification holders. Finally, the Value of the Code Official toolkit helps members to heighten awareness of the importance of code officials to their communities and to highlight the code official’s role as a helpful advocate for community safety, health and welfare, and economic development.