On September 29, 2021, NETA and the electrical testing industry had to say goodbye to a giant, Charles K. Blizard Sr. — Charlie to his friends — who left a legacy of lives and careers he touched, an industry he helped mold, and the indelible mark he made on this association.
In marking Charlie’s retirement in 2008, former NETA Director Mary Jordan said, “If you are NETA certified, if you own a NETA company or have used a NETA company, if you use the NETA specifications or reference them, if you are involved in the electrical industry in any way, you should be thanking Charles Blizard.”
Charlie was a member representative and served on NETA’s Board of Directors for more than 20 years, including as President, Second Vice President, First Vice President, Secretary, Membership Chair, and Charter Member of the Standards Review Council. He was instrumental in achieving NETA’s first representation within the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and represented NETA on NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, Code Making Panel 10.
“Charlie was a distinctive and valuable member of NETA’s Board of Directors. He brought a perspective that caused others to think thoroughly about the issue at hand,” says John White, President Emeritus, Sigma Six Solutions. “He was never shy about sharing facts or opinions. He was very direct in his communication, not mincing thoughts. You always knew where Charlie stood on issues. And whether others agreed with him or not, it was the debate on a topic that made NETA stronger.”
Earning a degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Charlie got started in the industry in 1958 as a Test Technician for Philadelphia Electric Company. In 1967, he became Assistant Director of the Multi-Amp Institute (now AVO Training Institute), where he developed testing equipment and training courses and taught numerous classes. In 1971, he joined Elemco as Chief Engineer; he eventually acquired the New England operation and founded American Electrical Testing Company, Inc. in 1981.
Charlie’s son, Scott A. Blizard, Vice President and COO of American Electrical Testing Company, LLC, says those who knew and worked with Charlie will always associate him with a great depth of technical electrical expertise and an eagerness to share it with others within the association and with the testing industry at large.
“He helped create the industry we all work in today through his participation in NETA,” Scott adds. “Charlie’s technical expertise and commitment to maintaining the highest level of integrity in all aspects of his life are hallmarks of his personality.”
For many in the electrical testing industry, Charlie was more than a colleague — he was a good friend. He enjoyed his work with NETA and the friendships he formed over his years of service with the organization. He especially enjoyed time spent traveling with Jim and Mary Jordan, Rod and Diane Hageman, and his partner-in-crime Al Peterson and his wife Shirley. They will remember his love of just about any sport you can play on a field or rink; his enthusiasm in cheering on his children and grandchildren as they played sports; and his penchant for enjoying a good glass of wine in front of his fireplace, reading books, or doing crossword puzzles.
It was hard to find a place Charlie and Norma cherished more than Cape Cod. Summers would find the pair entertaining family and friends all summer long while enjoying the quiet solitude of Great Sand Lakes in East Harwich. In fact, it was on that lake that Charlie said goodbye.
“He shared with me that he had no regrets in life; he loved his family and friends,” Scott says. “He shared a final toast of wine with Norma on Cape Cod overlooking the lake where so many happy memories with family and friends were made, holding Norma’s hand as he passed away.”