Mebane native, Chris Faucette selected to serve on national electrical code panel

Chris Faucette was born and raised in Mebane, where he proudly graduated from Eastern Alamance High School in 1993. Years later, Faucette, one resident out of a populace of fourteen-thousand and growing, was selected as just one of 33 chosen electrical code specialists in the entire world.

Faucette was recently appointed to be a part of National Electrical Code Making Panel 17. He, along with about 30 others from across the globe, will write, revise, update and advise on codes that mandate electricity function and usage across the nation. “Basically, I’ve been chosen out of a lot of people to be on a code-making panel,” Faucette explained. “Not only will I be enforcing the code, now I’ll actually be able to put my input into the electrical code and maybe change some things to make it better.”

This particular code panel, Panel 17, oversees things such as swimming pool safety, appliances, and protocol for bodies of water. Facuette said water and pool safety is a major reason he agreed to be a part. “I’m really honored to be a part of this code making panel and be a part of the international association,” Faucette said. “This code panel is important to me because if we can make one little change that can save somebody’s life, that would be tremendous. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

But Chris Faucette did not start out at the top of his field where he is now. Like many others, after graduation from Eastern Alamance High School, Faucette wasn’t completely sure what he wanted to do. “My dad was a Marine and he was like, ‘I want you to go to college, I want you to go into the Marine Corps or I want you to learn a trade,’” Faucette said. “I didn’t want to go to the Marine Corps and I wasn’t cut out for college, so I went to work for Watson Electric straight out of high school and that’s how I started my electrical career.”

Over the next few years, Faucette worked for local electrical companies and pursued his limited electrical license. After he achieved that, Faucette passed the state exams for his unlimited license too, and by 2004 he had become the electrical inspector for all of Alamance County. For the next decade, Faucette served as the county inspector for the area, and continued to obtain further certifications in his field. He also became involved in the International Association of Electrical Inspectors serving on its board of directors, acting as a consultant, as later serving at the organization’s president.

Now, Faucette serves as a state electrical inspector. He specifically  works for the North Carolina Department of Insurance and the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Although he’s several years removed from schooling and well into his career, Faucette has one message to others: don’t be afraid to pursue a trade and work toward becoming educated in it.

“If one person reads this that’s a young kid and can say ‘man, Chris didn’t go to college and he worked his way up through the ranks…’ To me, it’s the importance of being licensed and be constantly working toward helping your career. I know, the license has opened so many doors for me. I may have not gone to college, but I’m doing very well just by learning a trade,” he said.

Faucette continues to spread this message to the younger generation as a teacher for electrical courses in the area and as an advisor to other electricians and panels. 

He even visited his alma matter at Eastern High to continue encouraging interest in trade. “I sort of gave them my story of ‘hey I was in your shoes here at this school.’ They didn’t have an electrical program when I was in there. But I was just saying to them ‘hey, you can really grow from this and if you don’t want to go to college, you can just go straight out of high school and do an apprenticeship program and learn a new trade skill,’” he said.

In today’s job market, the number of skilled tradesman is declining - creating a need for employees with those licenses and skill sets to fill in the gaps. “We have a major shortage of electricians right now… plumbers, HVAC, all of us,” Faucette continued. “I think it’s because the kids are doing the computers and the cellphones and nobody wants to do hard work. But somebody’s got to do it. Plumbing’s not going to fix itself. Electricity’s not going to fix itself. And because of that, the salaries are going up.”

Faucette is happy to be serving in his career field, and although his titles have grown and changed over the years, he still encourages others to also get involved in skilled trade. “Overall, the biggest thing for me is the kids,” he said. “Getting the kids involved in the electrical industry and letting them know that there’s a career there. We’ve got so much technology that’s changing right now and it’s a rewarding field to be in.”