Rick Hopkins: Upholding the high standards of professionalism in the building safety community
Whether you are new to the construction profession, an experienced tradesperson or an accomplished code professional looking to enhance your knowledge, advance your career or earn certification, you need a variety of education and certification options to help you reach your professional goals. Dedicated to strengthening the credibility of the International Code Council’s certification and education programs, the Professional Development Council (PDC) advises the Board of Directors on coordinated career path resources for Code Council members. The Professional Development Council is comprised of the Education Committee — that provides strategic direction and facilitates the development and delivery of comprehensive code-related courses to help code officials, inspectors and design professionals elevate their qualifications, advance and grow in their profession — and the Certification Committee, which promotes the professionalism of individuals in the built environment by providing professional examinations and certification services worldwide.
It takes the time and expertise of many individuals working through the numerous Code Council committees to shape it into the world-class membership association that exists today. Volunteers, one of the most important assets of the Code Council, play a key role in the day-to-day work of the Professional Development Council and are integral to helping develop the certification and education avenues that help building safety professionals to be effective in U.S. and global communities.
In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Rick Hopkins to share their experience serving on the Code Council’s Professional Development Council, their professional career, and any insights or advice they have concerning the industry.
Retired Building Official
City of North Port
Port Charlotte, Florida
International Code Council member for 20+ years
How long have you been in the industry?
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building safety?
I started as a general contractor in Southern California. A recession hit and decided to go back to college to peruse a degree in construction management. While attending college obtained a building inspector position and started moving up the ladder from there to spend the next 20+ years as a building official in several states on the West Coast and in Florida.
What major changes have you seen?
Codes. I started using the 1985 UBC, since then, I have seen a vast improvement in life safety and the way it is administered, the pride in the staff as they assist customers, helping them to understand the code and new changes and how to use them in their work. In serving on several ICC committees, I have had the honor and privilege of witnessing the dedication of the volunteers and staff that sit on these committees.
What excites you about the future of your industry?
The dedication of people in our industry to make buildings a safer place and to help the public feel safe. I see ICC as a leader in the building industry and I am proud to be able to contribute.
What do you see as most surprising about the work that you do?
How little some people know about the codes in the field they work in. I found that when you take the time to educate people they will be more successful.
What led you to apply to become a member of the Professional Development Council?
I wanted to help in any way I could. I started helping with several exam committees, B committee with the code adoption and then I got the chance of a lifetime by being appointed to the PDC. I have found that the volunteers on this committee are some of the most professional people I have had the pleasure of working with.
What do you see as your role on the Professional Development Council/Education Committee/Certification Committee?
At the present time, I am acting vice-chair. Although I am one voice among many, I feel that we support each other with diverse points of view when reviewing different topics. I try to be a mentor, leader, and student, as there is always something to learn from those around me.
Being a part of the Professional Development Council provides you with an overarching view of the education and certification offerings provided by the Code Council. With that knowledge, what would you recommend to individuals who are entering the industry?
Don’t take shortcuts in your learning, it will only hurt you in the end by what you know and what you can teach the others around you.
What has been your most satisfying accomplishment with your work on the Professional Development Council?
This is very difficult to answer, there have been so many things I have been a part of, contributed to. We are a team, I am just delighted/proud to be a part of that team.
And finally, this last question is a fun one we ask for our Building Safety Journal readers. If you could have any superhero power, what power would you have and why?
The Flash. My wife is always telling me I do things half-fast, so if I was the Flash, I could do my half-fast projects faster. LOL
Thank you for your work on the Professional Development Council. Your dedication to strengthening the Code Council’s certification and education programs is impressive and we appreciate your commitment to upholding the high standards of professionalism in the building safety community.
About the Professional Development Council
The Professional Development Council recommends initiatives identified by the Education Committee and the Certification Committee to better serve the needs of the membership, coordinates the goals and objectives of the Education Committee and the Certification Committee, and identifies certification and education issues arising from Code Council policies that will improve or enhance the position of the association.
The Education Committee is committed to providing strategic direction and facilitating the development and delivery of the most comprehensive portfolio of code-related courses available to meet the needs of code officials, inspectors and design professionals to elevate their qualifications as well as help them advance and grow in their profession. The Education Committee is responsible for advising Code Council staff and the Board of Directors on matters related to the ICC Education Program and the Learning Center, reviewing and selecting the topics and presenters for the annual business meeting, providing a review and recommendation for the Educator of the Year award, serving as a resource for review of potential learning initiatives and curriculums within the Learning Center, providing new topics and concepts for learning initiatives within the Learning Center, promoting and encouraging members to take advantage of the training offered by the Learning Center, and relaying information provided by the membership to staff in order to improve programs.
“The insight and guidance the Education Committee provides the Code Council is beyond measure,” said Tracy Lendi, vice president of Training & Education for the International Code Council. “While not only offering a myriad of educational ideas, the committee offers a safe place to discuss and debate these ideas so we can provide comprehensive and effective training solutions to the building industry. Being a part of the Educational Committee is truly my honor and privilege.”
The Certification Committee is dedicated to promoting the professionalism of individuals in the built environment by providing professional examinations and certification services worldwide. It has sole authority over the rules and procedures of the ICC Certification Program, including such topics as the renewals process, examination security policies and disciplinary action. The Certification Committee is responsible for advising Code Council staff and the Board of Directors on all matters related to the Certification Program, maintaining the International Registry of current ICC Certified professionals, supporting international recognition of ICC Certifications, direction and oversight of the Examination Development Committees, and serving as a disciplinary board.
“It is a privilege to work with the members of the Certification Committee,” said Autumn Saylor, director of the International Code Council’s Assessment Center. “The Code Council appreciates the committee’s commitment to upholding the high standards of professionalism in the building safety community.”
From an array of training options for every individual to the ICC Assessment Center, the Career Center, the signature Safety 2.0 initiative, or its Scholarship Program, the Code Council is committed to supporting the education and certification of existing and future code officials.