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April 2015 BSJ

Young MCP Leading the Way for a New Generation of Code Officials continued and, oh, he achieved the ICC’s Master Code Professional status in December. The ICC has certified thousands of people, but only some 800 can wear the gold-colored Code Council lapel pin signifying the ultimate achievement. Often the MCP is the crowning achievement in a building official’s career. Now, Price is working with grizzled veterans, contractors and building officials maybe twice his age. “Yeah, I get some who say, ‘I’ve been building homes for 35 years. Who are you to tell me?’” Price says in the near-Elvis drawl. “But I just tell them that a lot has changed in those 35 years in the industry. Codes are changing every three years.” Roni Jo Abdella, SAFEbuilt’s Regional Operations Manager, said she had to face the same type of looks as a woman in the business when she started out some 12 years ago. “But once people work with you and realize that you know life safety, they learn to trust you,” she said. Abdella said that must be where Price is with the contractors he works with, because she hasn’t heard any concerns from any of them. She’s not too surprised, though, because she remembers his aplomb during his interview three years ago. “He was very professional, ambitious,” she said. “He could be very funny, but when it came to talking business, he was very serious.” Abdella said Price is a combo inspector with SAFEbuilt, and he’s been doing a lot of inspections at the Medical University of South Carolina and South Carolina State University. His specialty is electrical. Price, born near the Columbia, S. C., area, said he started taking apart radios and other small electrical appliances at home to see how they worked. A few years later, he worked with his older brother Michael McElveen, an electrician, during summer vacations. He found out he had a pretty good aptitude for electronics, so he took some college courses at the University of South Carolina toward an electrical engineering degree. But then Price decided to get a job in the field. Bruce Spicher, then Building Official for Orangeburg County, S.C., needed some help with electrical inspections. He heard from a local fire marshal about Price, and Spicher hired him as a probie. “Since he didn’t have any certifications at that point, he just rode along with inspectors and picked up experience,” said Spicher, who later followed Price over to SAFEbuilt. “He came in with a really positive attitude.” Price knew he had to get at least one certification in his field within the first year, according to state law. But he also heard he could move up—and get paid more—the more certifications he achieved. So in addition to his other duties, Price started taking one certification after another, until he had 12 or 13 in his first 16 months on the job. “He was going through them like nothing,” Spicher said. “Just went gangbusters.” Price said it definitely helped that he was a relative newbie with no preconceived notions about the business. He had not only an aptitude for electronics, but for test taking. “A lot of times, they will tell you in the question what they’re looking for,” he said. “You need to find that keyword, and then it’s easy. But if you’re not used to that, it can trip you up.” Spicher thought Price never failed a test, but Price says he failed two. “Commercial Plumbing Inspector got me a little lost,” he said. “All those diagrams. But now he has some 17 certifications and the gold pin that goes with the Master Code Professional. Contractors and other building officials call him for tough questions on electrical issues. “He’s the go-to guy for most of our electrical issues,” Abdella said. “And he’s training a lot of the people we’re bringing in, even though they’ve been in the business for years.” He’s also the go-to guy when they need a lift during the day, Abdella said. “He’s got such a great sense of humor,” she said. Price is a fire marshal for several smaller communities, very involved in his church and can’t stop talking about his wife April, their boys, Aiden and Aaron, and their daughter Mattie. He loves baseball and softball, and can’t wait to get the kayak out and do some fishing. “He’s just a well-rounded individual,” Spicher said. “He knows where he wants to be, what it takes to get there and then gets it done.” “I get some who say, ‘I’ve been building homes for 35 years. Who are you to tell me?" But I just tell them that a lot has changed in those 35 years in the industry.” —Chance Price, who achieved MCP at age 27. APRIL 2015 | 28


April 2015 BSJ
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