Steve McDaniel

Since 1993 when he started out as a carpenter in Hornell, New York, Steve McDaniel has dedicated his career to building safety. For more than two decades, he has applied his expertise and advanced skills to serve as a code enforcement officer in Corning, New York.

In addition to code enforcement, McDaniel has served as a building consultant, and for many years ran his own contracting business. From inspections to being a part of creating legislation, he has made a significant impact over the years within the building safety community.

McDaniel attributes most of his success to being a strong-minded individual. He became aware of his mental fortitude after being kicked out of the house as a teenager. From that moment on, McDaniel quickly embraced his independence and worked a variety jobs.

Although McDaniel credits his tenacity for helping him to persevere through tough times, he is also profoundly grateful for the support of Bill Ells, who has been a mentor and guardian. The father of his childhood best friend, Ells took in the teenage McDaniel and allowed him to join him on small construction jobs.
“My introduction to the building industry came out of a need for money for survival,” says McDaniel. “However, over the years I’ve developed so much pride for what I do. It has been a very rewarding career, especially having started with so little.”

McDaniel’s path to a successful career continued with his education. He earned an associate degree in building construction from the State University of New York’s College of Technology at Alfred and remained committed to expanding his knowledge and sharpening his skillset by obtaining several certifications.
Among his array of certifications are McDaniel’s code enforcement instructor credentials. Since 1997 he has taught code enforcement to college students at Onondaga Community College and Cornell University.

Valuing the guidance he received from Ells throughout his career, McDaniel pays it forward with advice to his students and those looking to explore careers in the building industry. “As design professionals just completing your degree, it may be difficult to acquire a position within a large firm, and you may also find it too intimidating to start a firm of your own,” says McDaniel. “Broaden your aspirations and think of new ways to use your skills and foster your desire to improve the built environment. Entering the field as a plans examiner or a building official is very rewarding. Instead of seeing one project from beginning to end, you have the opportunity to see all of them. You will have the opportunity to see what works well and what does not, making you a better design professional.”

McDaniel is proud of the professional advancements he has made over the years. His success makes it easier for him to spend his spare time enjoying his family. “My oldest is a senior in high school, and they are all doing well,” he says. He also enjoys tournament fishing and working on his “project” fishing boat that he purchased this summer. “I love going bass fishing, so I will keep building my boat to get it just right, where everything is where I want and need it to be.”

M. Donny Phipps, CBO, CFM

As a Director-at-Large, Phipps said he wants to provide better knowledge and information about what ICC has to offer, especially promoting cdpACCESS, the Preferred Provider Program and ICC’s Assessment Center (certifications). He also wants to make sure information about committees is available to members.

Donny Phipps’s fondness for construction dates back to his childhood, as he remembers.

“My dad was a builder,” he said. “When I was 8 or 9, I used to take pictures of the guys on his crew who weren’t working. Or that’s what he told me, as I don’t remember.”

He also worked with crews as he got older, laying out homes with his dad or older brother, digging footings, framing and insulation work. Clean-up was always his responsibility on job sites as well.

When he was 10 or 12, Phipps was helping on a lumber yard his dad managed. “I was stacking 1 X 4s as they came off the planer and out on a skid to be stacked,” he said. “Later, as they called out pay to the employees, they called my name. I was paid a dollar for about an hour of work.” Later, when he was 18 and 19, he worked the summer driving delivery and logging trucks, stacking slabs, using a cat hook to turn logs for the debarker and other tasks as needed.

After an honorable discharge from the miltary, Phipps went into hotel management for a few years. But he was drawn back into the fold when his father-in-law—who was business license manager for the City of Columbia, S.C.—told him there was a job opening for a housing inspector.

So Phipps began his career in 1975 with that job, and retired 29 years later as the Director of Inspections. He remembers the first person he called when he got the director’s job—after his mom—was his uncle, Fred Phipps, who was the first Building Official for the City of Columbia in 1950-51.

Today Phipps, a Certified Building Official and Floodplain Manager, is Director of Building Codes and Inspections for Richland County, in Columbia.

Phipps sees his election to the ICC Board as another opportunity and challenge to provide service. Phipps has served ICC on the ICC-Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) Committee, Council of American Building Officials, Board of International Professional Standards and the ICC-ES Board of Managers. He is active in the Building Officials Association of South Carolina and has served on its board as well as president. He served on the South Carolina Building Codes Council as Vice Chair, and the Board of Directors of the ICC legacy organization the Southern Building Codes Congress International.

As a Director-at-Large, Phipps said he wants to provide better knowledge and information about what ICC has to offer, especially promoting cdpACCESS, the Preferred Provider Program and ICC’s Assessment Center (certifications). He also wants to make sure information about committees is available to members.

At work in Richland County, Phipps said he continually keeping an eye out for young talent who can help the ICC in its mission. “I look around to see who wants to get involved; who wants to grow?” And he’ll often bring a couple of younger co-workers with him to state or national code meetings.

Phipps knows it is crucial to bring more young people into the business in general. Working with high school students and colleges is one way to do that. He and his staff hand out CODiE and CODEette Activity books to youngsters from booths at home shows and talk to others about a career in code enforcement. He feels we also need to look at military personnel who are leaving or retiring and have a construction background. The opportunity to bring trained craftsmen to the code industry through the military could be a valuable resource. He hopes to develop a plan with resources from Ft. Jackson, McIntyre or Shaw that are close to Columbia.

Outside of work, Phipps had to give up basketball a few years back under the threat of knee replacement. He still enjoys dancing, walking and a round of golf with friends.

He also enjoys spending time with family, Most of them, like Phipps, haven’t ventured too far from their roots in Columbia. He has a fourth and fifth grandchild on the way soon.

But what he really misses now that he is in administration is sitting down to a good code debate. “People aren’t always going to agree with you. You can discuss the reality that codes are written for their safety. You just have to be firm but fair.”

James W. “Jim” Sayers

As a young ninth-grade high school student in Ontario, Oregon, Jim Sayers knew he had a future in the built environment. After discovering his passion in his freshman architectural drafting class, nearly four decades of experience later Sayers serves as the Commercial Plans Examiner in Clackamas County, Oregon. Having served as a building designer, building inspector, building official and plans examiner, Sayers has been an influential member of the codes community.

An architectural drafting and design graduate of Arizona Automotive Institute in Glendale, Arizona, Sayers’ initial post-college professional movements were focused in architecture. He returned to Oregon and worked in drafting and building design at Alan Mitchell Architects. In 1985, Sayers formed his own firm, Sayers Designs. An owner and building designer, Sayers wore many hats as he led the design and specification of custom homes and commercial buildings, contracted drafting for engineering and architectural firms, performed a number of home inspections and consulted with government agencies regarding historic renovations and accessibility upgrades.

When the pressure of the declining economy started to impact his business, Sayers sought practical solutions. His previous experience in inspections led him to the local building department where Sayers successfully presented his case for them to hire him as their new plans examiner. “My business was hired 20-hours a week and that’s how I got started and I thought this is a pretty good gig,” says Sayers. He would later be hired for a full-time position with the State of Washington.

Following another return to Oregon in 2003, Sayers’ career in code enforcement was on the rise. He became more involved and expanded his knowledge and credentials through earned certifications. In 2011, when he met the late Gilbert Gonzales, former Code Council Board member and Chief Building Official of Murray City, Utah, he started to give more thought to committee work and service on the ICC Board of Directors. “Gilbert was one of those guys that was willing to help anybody. He didn’t know me from Adam, but somehow we connected and he said to me ‘just stick with me and I’ll show you around.’” From that moment, a strong bond of mentorship and friendship between Gonzales and Sayers had formed.

Sayers has benefited from a wealth of mentors throughout his career.  In addition to his relationship with Gonzales, Sayers credits building official Mike DeLack for advising him to earn more certifications in order to advance his career.  Other mentors include former Code Council Board Member John Darnell and former Code Council Board President Bill Dupler.

He pays it forward by remaining a reliable resource for those seeking further insight on a career in the built environment. Sayers has taught several classes as an adjunct professor of Commercial Building Codes at Portland Community College. His advice to new professionals: “If you have an interest, ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Do not be afraid to approach successful people and ask questions.”

Sayers has been recognized for his contributions to the codes community on several occasions. He is the recipient of the 2013 Bling Award for Outstanding Service awarded by the City of Tualatin (Ore.), 2016-17 Plans Examiner of the Year awarded by the Oregon Building Officials Association, and the ICC Region II 2017 Dedication & Service award. Under his leadership, the ICC Region II Chapter received the 2017 ICC Spotlight Region of the Year Award.

Looking forward to his time on the Board of Directors, Sayers plans to “play it out as long as it takes me – hopefully though the chairs.” Regardless of his position, he is committed to staying involved with the Code Council and furthering his opportunities to mentor.

In his spare time Sayers enjoys spending quality time with his family, including two granddaughters.  He also appreciates outdoor activities such as hunting and camping.  Loyal to his home state, Sayers remain a proud Oregon State Beaver football season ticket holder.

Michael Wich, CBO

Michael Wich remembers how his wife, Michelle, helped get him into code administration and, ultimately, on ICC’s Board of Directors.

“Before Hurricane Katrina, there really were no codes to speak of in the south part of Louisiana,” said Wich, who is Director of Building Code Administration and Chief Building Official for the South Central Planning and Development Commission in Houma, La., which is located about an hour southwest of New Orleans. Before that, he owned a residential construction company.

“I always thought homes needed to be built to at least a certain minimum standard, and I guess I was one of the few in my area to have an ICC code book. One day, my wife Michelle saw an ad for the job in Houma. She told me to stop complaining and apply. So I did.”

Wich got the job in 2007, and after getting involved in state and national building issues through the Building Officials Association of Louisiana – where he served a term as President — and the ICC, he was appointed to the ICC Board of Directors by President Alex Olszowy, III, to replace Lynn Underwood, who resigned after his job took him overseas.

Wich, who had served on the ICC’s 2015 Nominating Committee, said he’s honored to be a Director-At-Large on the ICC Board and said he can’t wait to find out what areas he will be serving and to which committees he’ll be assigned.

“I want to help raise awareness of what the ICC and code officials do,” he said. “I know first-hand codes and code officials have a bad reputation in some areas. After Katrina, they said, ‘The only reason we have to adopt this state code is because otherwise the insurance companies won’t cover us.’

“Since then, it’s been like night and day. The Building Officials Association of Louisiana has done a lot of good things. I want to let people know what ICC does for them.”

Wich also is a member of the Louisiana Homebuilders Association, in part to help maintain that perspective and relationship with all individuals and groups involved in the building safety and fire prevention industry.

Like many, Wich didn’t start out wanting to be a building official. He wanted to be a home builder like his Dad. But now, in his early 40s, he also hopes he can help bring in people his age and younger to offset the anticipated “brain drain” from so many retirements of long-time building officials.

The future is too early to determine for his two boys, Peyton, 12, and Landon, 7. But so far, Peyton has been busy as an actor, most recently on a Netflix production in Atlanta, and Landon is focusing on piano. In the few spare moments they have as a family, he said, they like to travel and maybe do some camping.

Angie Wiese, PE, CBO

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, Wiese got her start working for a fire sprinkler contractor. In 2005, she was hired by the city of Saint Paul to be a fire protection engineer. Wiese worked in this position for eleven years, also earning a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Hamline University.

In 2016, Wiese was promoted to her current position of fire safety manager where she oversees the fire safety inspection program in Saint Paul for both new and existing buildings.

Wiese is grateful for the number of mentors she has had over the years who have helped her along her career path. Her predecessor and former Saint Paul Fire Safety Manager Phil Owens as well as former Saint Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard served as major inspirations and sources of guidance throughout her career and time working for the City of Saint Paul.

Wiese also credits former Code Council Board member Greg Johnson for introducing her to the Code Council and helping her get involved in the code process. “Greg is the one who encouraged me to get my building official certification,” she said. “I’m a fire person by trade, but he encouraged me to be well-rounded and to participate in the building construction meetings with the building officials.” Johnson recognized Wiese’s initial interest in codes and encouraged her to take the exam to become a Certified Building Official (CBO). Now Wiese is a licensed professional engineer in fire protection as well as a Minnesota CBO.

As she reflects on her own experiences, Wiese’s advice to the younger generation of building safety professionals is to not be afraid of the process or being involved. “When I started doing this, I thought this was a massive world that was hard to get into. In actuality, we need new people and we need new perspectives. People shouldn’t be afraid to take a leap and try something new.”

As a woman in what is a typically male-dominated field, Wiese is a role model for young women joining the industry. Her advice to others is to be observant and vocal – “Don’t be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t seem right or if you have knowledge to share.”

Wiese is proud of the impact she has made on the code development process, most specifically with regards to fire codes. She hopes that her time on the board, while it may only an interim position, will be spent making a similar impact within the Code Council overall. Wiese intends to use this position as a platform to “speak for the membership and speak for the groups that may have previously been unheard.”

Outside of her time at work, Wiese makes great use of the Minnesota weather and enjoys cross-country skiing. “It allows me to see a bit of nature in these colder winter months,” she says.

In addition to her fire safety manager position and her new position on the Code Council Board of Directors, Angie is also the President of the Fire Marshals Association of Minnesota and a board member of the Fire and Life Safety section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.