ICC Members: The individuals behind codes and safety — William Pokorny
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 William Pokorny 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.
Assistant Resident Engineer (Retired)
Camden, Arkansas, United States
International Code Council member for 20+ years
BSJ: What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
Pokorny: I took some architecture classes in college and building official classes at a community college
BSJ: What three things do you need to be successful in this industry and in your profession?
Pokorny: 1. Establish a strong ethical set of standards. 2. Learn about the dynamics of the code structure and safety items. 3. Try to keep abreast of changes and progress.
BSJ: What role have mentors, advisors or your network played in your career?
Pokorny: I had several mentors that encourage learning, education and how the real world works.
BSJ: What led you to become an ICC member?
Pokorny: I had passed the building inspector exam and was a member to keep learning and get discounts on publications, etc.
BSJ: Are you involved in any ICC committees or councils? Do you have any ICC certifications?
Pokorny: Not at this time.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Pokorny: 25+ years
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Pokorny: The use of computers that have expanded the process of access to changes, codes.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Pokorny: I am not really excited about any one thing at this time. There seems to be more accepting of women and minority persons than in the past. There needs to be more effort though.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Pokorny: You should have experience in the building industry. Know what a hammer is, keep safe and protect yourself. A person should always be aware of advancements in materials and equipment.
BSJ: What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
Pokorny: The use of computer systems that improve overall production. Better equipment makes progress easier.
BSJ: What would you like to do next in your professional/personal life?
Pokorny: I would like to start over. It took a while to establish myself professionally but now I would know more. I had some poor experiences with badly managed companies that abused employees, clients and subcontractors.
BSJ: What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
Pokorny: I am a part 107 Drone pilot. I would like to become a consultant or work on a contract basis, etc.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Pokorny: Either “He Sleeps at Night With Both Eyes Closed” or “My Wife and I Worked Hard to Accomplish What We Have. We Never Got Many Breaks. That is Okay.
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.