The Electrical Worker online
October/November 2016

FOCUS: Code of Excellence

SPARQ: A Diversity of Work, a Shared Commitment to Excellence

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In the first resolution introduced at the convention, delegates voted to affirm their collective pledge of hard work and integrity that sets the IBEW apart in the workplace: the Code of Excellence.

The Code of Excellence is specialized for the different IBEW branches, but holds values that unite all of the Brotherhood's 725,000 members.

These values are SPARQ:

"SPARQ represents the core values of the Code of Excellence. It's a simple acronym that stands for the promise we make every day as IBEW members when we go to work, regardless of the job site," said Director of Education Amanda Pacheco. "Whether you make circuit breakers or produce late night television, SPARQ is what we all do."

SPARQ is part of the Code of Excellence Core Training Program. The core program, spearheaded by International President Lonnie R. Stephenson, is designed to ensure that all IBEW members can articulate and demonstrate the values of the Code.

"SPARQ is a common language that works for all branches," Pacheco said. "With SPARQ, we can be confident that what's happening at the local level is what we're promising union-wide."

With such a diversity of work done by IBEW members, the Code of Excellence Core Program takes the shared themes from the branch-specific trainings and provides a level of consistency. Training focuses on exploring our shared work values as union members and customizing them to help the local successfully implement a Code of Excellence program. The trainings were developed with input from all branches, including business development, said Education Specialist Keturah Raabe.

"SPARQ is the heart of the Code that highlights the shared values of all IBEW members," Raabe said. "If every member commits to these core principles, we strengthen the IBEW and that benefits members, our families and our communities."

Implementation will go through business managers, with goals set by the local, Pacheco said. There will also be a quarterly newsletter with industry-specific information and follow-up to gauge progress.

"With SPARQ, you can create a culture where everyone is on board and working together," Raabe said. "It's a great tool for unity."

For most IBEW members, SPARQ, and the Code, exemplify what they have always done. They already show up on time and ready to work, adhere to safety protocols and provide excellent service to their customers. In these instances, the Code can be an effective way to sell that professionalism and commitment to excellence to employers, and even to those outside the job.

"With SPARQ, we not only compete with our skills, we compete with our character," Stephenson said. "Choosing IBEW is choosing to invest in the highest quality craftsmanship, and that is what SPARQ represents."




Delegates affirmed their enthusiasm for the Code of Excellence by approving a resolution recommitting to core values of safety, professionalism, accountability, effective relationships and quality.