A change in NETA leadership occurs every two years, with the transition to a new president recognized as an important part of the association’s history and a key to its longevity and progress. NETA World’s custom is to share the outgoing president’s perspective in a thoughtful and reflective interview.
Outgoing President Scott Blizard has been Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of American Electrical Testing Co. LLC since 2000. During his tenure, Scott acted as the Corporate Safety Officer for nine years. He has over 25 years of experience in the field as a Master Electrician, Journeyman, Wireman, and NETA Level IV Senior Technician.
Scott went to work early with his father, Charles – a former NETA President – and spent most of his life being around and working within the family company. “I grew up in the industry and in NETA,” he says. One of the lessons his father imparted to him over the years was the importance of giving back to the industry. “I was never good at sitting still,” Scott admins, “so I decided to just go for it and follow my father’s example of giving back to the industry.” Scott credits his success to the love and support of his wife, Laurie, and their five children — Daniel, Cortneigh, Christopher, Cameron, and Riley — as well as his granddaughter, Sadie.
Scott has made many contributions to NETA over the years. He currently chairs the Promotions & Marketing and Safety Committees and is a member of the Membership Application Review Committee, the Technical Representation Steering Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Conference Committee. He represents NETA on NFPA 70, National Electrical Code Code-Making Panel 10; is an alternate to Dave Huffman on NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance; and is a frequent NETA World author. Scott received NETA’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2019.
Q: Looking back over your service as NETA President, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Blizard: I am proud of the NETA TEAM and having had the privilege of guiding our organization through the COVID-19 Crisis.
Q: With two years of focused industry leadership behind you, what has emerged as the biggest challenge facing the electrical power testing field?
Blizard: To keep NETA in the forefront of the electrical industry, it’s critical to be able to show the value of hiring a NETA-Accredited Company. It can be challenging to educate the end user about the importance and positive results of acceptance testing and commissioning new installations to assure they operated as designed; encourage them to develop a maintenance program to properly assure the equipment is functioning as designed, and promote the need for continuing education of our technicians to insure they are up to date with the latest technology.
Q: What impact will the growth of alternative power like wind and solar have on the industry?
Blizard: New technology along with the growth of alternative power is creating new opportunities for NETA Member Companies. Following the government spend on alternative sources of power and with the majority of the 50 states setting standards to be carbon-free, this trend is not going away. We must embrace the opportunity as it is the future of our industry.
Q: Did PowerTest’s performance as a virtual event surprise you?
Blizard: It didn’t surprise me as much as you might have thought. We started planning a virtual event in the background in June of 2020 when NETA Executive Director Missy Richard and I began looking at platforms. We had a pretty good idea of who we wanted to use if we had to cancel the live event. Most of the credit for the success for PowerTest 2021 should go to Conference Chair Ron Widup and NETA staff led by Events and Editorial Services Manager Laura McDonald, with a shout-out to the promotion and marketing team and liaison Marketing Project Manager Katie Polzin.
PowerTest 2021 was able to fill the void of CEU and CTD training during the COVID-19 crisis. The program was designed around the needs of the technician, so the all-new virtual platform featured high-powered, on-demand content; the flexibility to participate from anywhere in the world; and the ability to earn 75+ NETA CTD credits (7.5+ CEUs). PowerTest TV offered a more customizable conference experience than ever before and was a great success.
Realistically, I was thinking of 350 to 450 attendees at best, so I was pleasantly surprised to see nearly 400 new attendees — mostly technicians who would not normally have had the experience of attending a NETA conference. We actually set a new attendance record for PowerTest with over 600 attendees.
Q: What advice do you have for incoming NETA President Eric Beckman?
Blizard: I don’t have any advice for Eric other than to enjoy his time as President. I wish him the best.
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Scott over the past two years as he served as President,” says NETA Executive Director Missy Richard. “Scott has an extraordinary passion for the association and the electrical testing profession. I am honored and blessed to have shared this time with him. He is not only a mentor who has deeply impacted me professionally and personally, but also a friend. His leadership and support — especially during the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic — were invaluable to me and this organization. Quite frankly, I don’t know that we could have navigated so successfully through the last 18 months without him. I look forward to continuing our work with Scott as he passes the torch to the next President.”