Zubia: Keeping the Mission on Track


Leading the Board of Directors of an organization such as the Code Council is a challenge in itself, out-going President Adolf Zubia told 2009 Annual Conference attendees in Baltimore, but the role was further complicated this year due to the economic recession that negatively impacted the building and fire safety industry and beyond.

"This has been an extraordinary year in the life of the Code Council," Zubia said during the Annual Business Meeting. "We are all too familiar with the impacts of the recession on the ICC and on each of our organizations, not to mention the impact on our colleagues in other organizations and in other related disciplines. So, much of my year has involved budget reviews, brainstorming on how to keep our mission on track, and making sure that the Board and I stay focused on providing the kind of guidance and insight that will assist the Code Council as it moves forward."

Despite the economic downturn, Zubia said several initiatives were successful this year, including:

Refining the Council's code development process. Thanks to the work of Zubia's special President’s Advisory Committee and the Committee on Hearings, and feedback from members and stakeholders, the Board of Directors established new schedules and formats for the Code Development Hearings to increase the value of participation, and developed rotating locations for the Final Action Hearings during Annual Conferences in the fall and a fixed location in Dallas, Texas, for the hearings each spring. "No matter what formula we develop, there will always exist positives and negatives," Zubia said. "But we feel that we are offering a less expensive and centralized option along with continued exposure to all four quadrants of the U.S."

Establishing the Sustainable Building Technology Committee and launching the development of the International Green Construction Code. "All of us feel this is not only an opportunity but an obligation," Zubia said of the Council's green and sustainable initiatives. "This is one of the defining issues for buildings in our lifetime, and it is essential that we are relevant and engaged. Our communities will be safer and more sustainable because of our involvement."

Announcing the development of a comprehensive Swimming Pool Code. "The Swimming Pool Code will address important gaps in our regulatory system and we will be assisted in the development process by important partners and experts," Zubia explained.

The Board's Chapters Committee launching a review of the chapter benefits program, and staff reviewing the business model for training and education. "Under the leadership of our CEO (Rick Weiland), I anticipate new approaches to emerge in both areas in 2010," Zubia said.

Later, during his closing remarks at the Annual Banquet, Zubia said he was proud the Board of Directors was able to keep the Council's mission on track despite the economic challenges of the past year. "Our Board members have had a year like no other," he said. "They have made many tough decisions which have had a major impact on all of us. I know we, as your Board of Directors, have been criticized for some of our actions. I will tell you with the utmost confidence you could not have a better group of members guiding our organization."

Zubia also thanked the Council's employees for continuing to support the organization's mission and initiatives despite difficult cutbacks in staff numbers and benefits. He also singled out Weiland for his leadership displayed during the tumultuous months of the past year. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Zubia said: "'The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.' I believe those words are very appropriate for the leadership role demonstrated by our CEO, Rick Weiland, especially during the difficult economic times we have all recently experienced. His actions and recommendations to the Board of Directors were critical, insightful and timely. The decisions ultimately made were necessary and essential for attaining the positive results achieved."

Looking to the future, Zubia said the Code Council will enjoy success if it remains a unified organization. "Having conversations with members throughout my travels this past year, I have been reassured that your commitment, dedication and passion remains a strong driving force in achieving our ultimate goal of building a safer world," Zubia said. "When I took office last September, I took office not as a fire-chief president or building-official president, but as a code official, wanting to make sure that our membership remained focused on our vision and mission of 'People helping people build a safer world.'

"If you all remember one thing from my administration, remember we are all working together and don’t allow small differences to create division and discord. As my wife likes to say, we should be ambassadors of good will and not ill will."