From Harford County Government:
(Bel Air, MD) – A little over two years ago Jim Ellwood, a Plans Reviewer with the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (DILP) increased his participation with the students in the construction program at Harford Technical High School. Elwood had overseen the inspections of modular home units constructed by these students and ultimately donated to Harford Habitat for Humanity for use in the community.
While working with the students, Mr. Ellwood realized that the students would benefit from an increased knowledge of Building Codes while they were participating in the program. As a result, Ellwood worked with the instructors and sought involvement from the Maryland Building Officials Association (MBOA) for additional support.
As the program started to grow, another need also surfaced. The students from the construction program were some of the only students at Harford Tech that were not in a program that could provide them with a certificate or acknowledgement of their skills upon graduation. Ellwood again stepped forward, working with MBOA and their contacts at the International Code Council to have code books and study materials donated to the school. This allowed the construction program students at Harford Tech to work toward taking the State of Maryland Construction Inspectors test administered by the Maryland Codes Administration.
While the effort had mixed results the first year, Ellwood worked to revamp the examination to individual trade aspects. Success was achieved this year with 19 students passing the proficiency examination in their area of study.
Working with the Maryland Codes Administration, Ellwood was successful in having the certificates issued by the Maryland Codes Administration, which were signed by Director Ed Landon and Secretary Raymond Skinner of the Department of Housing and Community Development.
In December 2010, MBOA held its annual business meeting and training session, during which Ellwood was presented with the President’s Award for his efforts in working with the students at Harford Tech. Assisting the MBOA President in presenting the award to Jim was Sara Yerkes, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at the ICC. Ms. Yerkes was so intrigued with the program and the involvement by Ellwood and MBOA that she asked about the possibility of having the students from the program take a field trip to the ICC headquarters in Washington DC.
With the assistance of Ellwood, on February 17, 2011 the students were able to take their trip. Upon arrival at the ICC headquarters the students were received by Sara Yerkes and Stephen Jones, Construction Official for Millburn Township, NJ and member of the ICC Board of Directors. Also in attendance were Rich Truitt, MBOA President and Deputy Director Harford County DILP, William R. Bryant, MBOA Secretary and Codes Administrator Anne Arundel County, John Gibson, ICC Instructor and former director Frederick County Code Enforcement, and David Karmol, Vice president ICC, Federal and External Relations.
The students participated in a round table discussion regarding code enforcement as a profession and talked about their projects in constructing the modular homes and their achievements in making the homes LEED certified “Green Homes.” The day also included the presentation of certificates of recognition to the students from the ICC for their achievements. Culminating the day’s events was a tour of the ICC Headquarters and the National Association of Realtors Building in which ICC is located. The building was one of the first LEED certified buildings to be completed in the District of Columbia.
Sara Yerkes and Stephen Jones along with other ICC staff management were so impressed with the program that they would like to ICC to use this program as a model to be used across the Country and pledged their support of the program in Harford County.