In some ways, you could say Scott Blizard grew into NETA’s 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award honoree. Currently Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at American Electrical Testing Co., LLC (AETCO), Blizard spent most of his life being around and working with the family company. “I grew up in the industry. I grew up in NETA,” he says. “It was like I had my father and two uncles — Al Peterson and Rod Hageman — always pushing me to do better, which is what they did for NETA in the early days.”
Blizard’s father, Charles — a former NETA president — imparted many lessons to him over the years, not the least of which is a commitment to NETA. “My father was president of NETA in the 1990s. Before and after his term, he always said he felt it was important to give back to the industry, and he pledged to give at least one day a week to work for NETA,” Blizard explains. “Helping NETA is helping promote the electrical maintenance and testing industry at large and brings awareness to the safety concerns of electrical systems.”
In fact, Blizard chairs the promotions and marketing and safety committees and sits on the conference, finance, and technical representation steering committees. He also represents NETA as a principle on NFPA 70 Code Making Panel 10; is an alternate to Dave Huffman on NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance; and has just been elected President of the NETA Board of Directors.
Rod Hageman has known Scott Blizard for a long time. “Diane and I spent a lot of time with Charlie and Norma at various NETA functions, committee meetings, board meetings, and membership meetings,” Rod recalls. “Scott was there frequently in the early days and easily fell into the pattern. Charlie and I were both on CMP 10, and when Charlie retired, Scott was a logical choice to take his father’s position on CMP 10. It was a good choice by the committee. Since then, Scott has taken on many of the organization’s challenges. His combined technical and management skills have allowed him to help guide many important NETA committees, and now he gets to run the whole show as NETA President. I congratulate Scott. He deserves both the award and his turn as President.”
2018 was a busy year,” Blizard says. “There is a lot going on in our industry. Change in how 70E defines “condition of maintenance” has opened up opportunities in the electrical testing industry. This has spurred renewed interest not only in ANSI/NETA standards, but within NFPA 70, National Electrical Code and NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. Through NFPA 70 CMP 10 240.67(C) and 240.87(C) — which deal with arc energy reduction protection system — we were able to propose performance testing. This issue will be addressed in committee in April and could go to a vote of the NFPA membership at the annual convention in June. Things like this do not happen overnight nor without the help of members of the electrical community; they happen because we put time and effort to work together for the betterment of the industry.”
Blizard is no stranger to being busy and working hard. Jason Briggs, AETCO’s Vice President of Operations, says people who only know Scott from work might think of him as being serious and intense and not realize how funny and down to earth he actually is. “Although Scott is quiet and extremely focused at work, he is always more than happy to share his knowledge, experience, and expertise,” Briggs shares.
Blizard says finding a challenge, going after it, and overcoming it is just something he has always done. The love of overcoming challenges is what brought him into the electrical field. “I went to work early with my father,” he says. “I was never good at sitting still, so I decided to just go for it and follow the example that he set of giving back to the industry. None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my wife, Laurie, and our five children — Daniel, Cortneigh, Christopher, Cameron, and Riley — as well as my granddaughter, Sadie.”
One memory sums up who Blizard is for Briggs. “Several years ago, our area was hit by a bad wind storm, and we lost power for four days,” Briggs recalls. “My family and I struggled to live our normal lives despite widespread power outages. Unselfishly, Scott offered to loan me his personal generator. He is just like that — always trying to help people. It might not sound like a big deal until you’re the one without power for several days. I will never forget his generosity.”
Briggs met Blizard when he joined AETCO in 2007. As Blizard moved up in the company, Briggs tended to move as well, filling in behind him. “Scott has always been like a mentor to me,” Briggs says. “I knew I could reach out for information, advice, or feedback. His advice — whether on a technical issue or client-related or whatever — has always guided me well. He’s a good compass of how to do the right thing, think the whole thing through, and think outside the box. And that guidance is something he is eager to share.”
“I think the amount of time Scott spends working on committees and helping organizations is noteworthy,” Briggs says. “It’s difficult for people in business to put that kind of time into giving back to the industry. He’s really about the big picture. He takes a personal sense of pride not only in AETCO, but in the entire industry. It’s clear he’s dedicated to improving it for everyone.”
“I thank the membership for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of the InterNational Electrical Testing Association, as well as board members past and present. Without their contributions and support, we as an organization would not be where we are today,” Blizard says.