In NETA circles, Ken Bassett winning his third Outstanding Achievement Award is business as usual. The Washington Commanders fan with a sense of adventure was honored again for the third time at PowerTest 2022. A family-focused individual whose company includes many of his family members, his influence in NETA is far-reaching.
“Ken is and has been one of the most dedicated individuals within NETA. He’s done so much for the organization, from strategic initiatives to growing membership,” says Eric Beckman, President of National Field Services and NETA President. “He holds a passion for the industry, and there’s no doubt NETA would not be where it is today without Ken’s contributions to the organization.”
Bassett, President of Potomac Testing, Inc., should have been the least surprised person when the winner was announced, but humor and humility are core features of his life.
“My first reaction was ‘I’m going to have one hell of a bar tab,’” Bassett laughed. “But seriously, I was very surprised and caught off guard. Every year, we have many deserving individuals who support our association. To be recognized this year, or any year, is surely an honor.”
Ron Widup, Vice Chairman of NETA’s Board of Directors and Senior Advisor for Technical Services for Shermco Industries says Bassett’s reputation for being one of the hardest-working members of NETA as well as one of the hardest-working members of the electrical testing industry makes him a leading candidate for the award every year.
Widup points to a favorite quote by Amy Poehler — actress, comedian, writer, producer, and director: Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. “Ken’s work with NETA has inspired and changed us — and that’s a good thing,” Widup says.
Ironically, Bassett says NETA inspired him to be a force for good.
“Early on in my NETA career, I was fortunate enough to interact with some amazing folks,” Bassett says. “Those individuals represented the Association in a truly inspiring way. The meaningful work and accomplishments I have experienced with the Association are things they instilled in me as business-as-usual — the NETA way of thinking.
“Mary Jordan, Charlie Blizard, Rod Hageman, and Al Peterson are some of the early relationships that influenced me extensively,” Bassett continues. “At that time, NETA was a smaller, scrappier association, and we had to fight hard for everything we created and accomplished. These folks helped inspire and create the work-hard/play-hard culture that still lives within NETA now. My continued belief in our organization stems from the people I have been fortunate enough to spend time with since we joined NETA in 1993. These past leaders had great vision and represented our association well.”
Bassett says that can-do attitude will be one of the most important things for NETA to hold onto in the coming years. “NETA has always been very mindful of its succession of leadership, which has provided the ability to maintain a high level of success over the years. Proper planning has enabled NETA to accomplish many goals over a long period of time,” he notes.
Like any organization or association, NETA must continue being mindful of what led to its successes and, at the same time, adapt and react to the industry it serves, Bassett says. “During my tenure, acceptance of the NETA standard has grown immensely, specifically by A&E firms and end users. Additionally, safety continues to be at the forefront of our industry. And as the industries we serve continue to expand, where NETA mainly supported industrial and commercial end users, NETA now has a very large presence within the utilities market, assisting them with their required maintenance and system upgrades.”
The strategic plan developed in 2019 was dedicated to supporting the Association’s growth, and Bassett’s focus on growing membership has allowed NETA to stay ahead of the ever-changing electrical testing industry.
“There is no argument that it takes many people with passion and a desire to succeed for an industry association like NETA to thrive, and Ken has been an inspiration to all of us as we work beside him,” says Ron Widup. “Having a business in the Washington, DC, metro area has also given Ken the unique ability to listen first and speak second. This allows him to get things done without weakening his — or NETA’s — position. That’s a special leadership talent that NETA has benefitted from many times through the years.”
“My belief in our organization stems from the people I have been fortunate enough to have spent time with,” says Bassett. “These past leaders had great vision and represented our association well.”
MEET KEN BASSETT
Bassett is President of Potomac Testing has a NETA Accredited Company with service centers located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Established in 1985, Potomac Testing, Inc. has earned its position as the Mid-Atlantic leader in comprehensive low- and medium-voltage electrical equipment services including NETA acceptance and maintenance testing, planned and emergency field services, power quality and engineering studies, and retrofitting and refurbishing electrical equipment. Potomac Testing joined the TechPro Power Group family of companies in 2020.
Bassett has served on NETA’s Board of Directors since 1998. A past-President, he currently chairs the Membership Committee, co-chairs the Association Development Committee, and serves on the Nominating Committee, NAMO Committee, Promotions & Marketing Committee, Conference Committee, CTD Review Committee, and Finance Committee.
Bassett is a NETA Certified Test Technician with over 25 years of experience in the operation and maintenance of electrical power distribution systems.