ICC Members: Shaping the safety of the world around us — Todd Atkinson
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 sturdier, 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 Todd Atkinson 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.
York County Planning and Development
York, South Carolina, United States
International Code Council member for three years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Atkinson: Teacher, graphic designer, printing broker and sales, contractor, business owner, commercial inspector.
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Atkinson: Continuing education, strong communication skills and keen observational skills based on standards.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Atkinson: Mentors take time to explain, coach, train and set high standards with recognition verbally and in writing to show achievements, awards and gratitude. Recognizing your work and interests of always try to improve your leadership for the community.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Atkinson: I feel The ICC has the same mentor standards that our department has for each inspector of York County. They want a safer place for their people to live and work.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Atkinson: I’m not involved at this time but have thought about getting more involved with the ICC. Yes I have ICC certifications
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Atkinson: 16 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Atkinson: Rapid growth. Multi-family homes have increasingly more popular. Commercial inspection keeps increasing. Technology changes codes. Safer building practices. Fire safety and building codes create safer environments. Contractors supporting the codes as well as homeowners.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Atkinson: One of the best fields in the industry for so many talents, skill sets, and professionals to creating a safer and healthier lifestyle for their community and their country. Watching innovative ideas making construction green, less wasteful, safer living through weather, environment, fires, with technology being a key element.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Atkinson: The endless job possibilities of advancement and or diversity make it a great field of opportunity and self-satisfaction that your part of the industry that constantly strives to make a better working and living space for everyone.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Atkinson: Contractors whether project manager, electrician, plumbers really are glad to have us come inspect. They like being updated on code changes and they will improve their project. They seem to want to work with us to make a safer working and living structure. They always ask for professional knowledge on the codes and how that applies to their business and explain how that makes it safer for their client. I get a thank-you every day.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Atkinson: Continue to receive more certifications and become a Commercial 3 inspector. Eventually, become an independent commercial inspector. Make this area of profession a high school and college elective.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Atkinson: Painting, woodworking, photography, travel, fishing and hunting.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Atkinson: The Make It Happen Man
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.