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Gary & Delaine Englebert: Married Code Professionals.

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img3348.jpgLike every married couple, Gary and Delaine Englebert have their similarities and their differences. Both of them were raised in the South, but there's a difference in his North Carolina accent and her southern Georgia lilt. They both have earned the title of Master Code Professional, but he's the code geek while she saw it as a path to greater professional recognition. But what they may have most in common is that there's no more surefire way to motivate either one than to tell them that they can't do something.




Gary started his career in codes after moving from being a contractor in North Carolina to being an inspector in DeKalb County, Ga., where early on, his boss asked him what his goal was in code enforcement. Indicating the wall behind his boss where 12 Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) certificates hung, he said that he wanted to have that many certificates on his wall. All his boss had to do was smile and say he'd never have that many, and it was only a matter of time before Gary was to surpass him — a feat he's done three times over, having earned 36 certifications from SBCCI and ICC over the course of his career. It's a number he plans on increasing.

Meanwhile, in Valdosta, Ga., Delaine had been told by an inspector that she'd done something wrong on the job site, and was told if she had a problem with it, to take it up with the chief building official. She did, and after he patronizingly told her that she'd never be able to do his job, she decided that she was going to take it from him. She never did take the job in Valdosta, but three months after being hired by the chief building inspector in DeKalb County, she earned her CBO and didn't stop there.

With only around 900 Master Code Professionals in the country, it's rare enough to meet one, but even rarer to meet perhaps the only married couple both having that distinction. Gary was the last person to be issued SBCCI's Master Code Professional equivalent, the Code Enforcement Administration Professional, which he claims is even harder because it required electrical plan review, a test he had to take five times before he passed. Once he earned it though, he encouraged all of his staff to earn ICC certifications, including Delaine, who was more than eager to show her male counterparts that she was to be taken seriously — so seriously, in fact, that the governor of Georgia officially recognized her as the first woman in the state to earn Master Code Professional honors.

The Master Code Professional certification has opened a number of doors for both of the Engleberts professionally. When they moved from metro Atlanta to just inside the Beltway to work for a third-party inspection agency in Alexandria, Va., it wasn't long before Delaine was noticed by the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and hired sight unseen to work in their inspections division. Currently, she manages third-party programs in D.C., which oversees the inspections and plan reviews done by third-party agencies in the District. When her new boss found out her husband was a Master Code Professional as well, they couldn't hire him fast enough, and now he runs the permit operations department at DCRA. In addition to their certifications, their experience in both the public and private sector gives them a unique perspective, which is especially important in a big city where third-party inspections and plan review is common, and keeping them honest is a full-time job.

At home, life is thankfully not like a code hearing. Gary and Delaine rarely disagree about code interpretations and for his part, Gary is extremely proud of his wife: when she earned her Master Code Professional certification, he had it made into a necklace for her to wear. Many of their friends tell them that their personalities complement each other well, as Delaine is the hard-nosed one, while he is more laid back.

In their spare time, both Gary and Delaine work hard promoting causes they believe in. Delaine is a member of Women in Code Enforcement and Development, which works to encourage women to pursue careers in the codes, not least because she thinks they're naturally better at it. And Gary has worked hard to increase the awareness of ICC services in D.C., stressing the importance of certification and participation in code development as well as bringing more youth into the industry.

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