David E. Shapiro

Contact information


Home telephone, all calls screened: 301-699-8833. Except by prearrangement, or of course in case of emergencies, please call between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern time

Faxes: I receive faxes only by pre-arrangement.

Site Contents

I have two businesses and two primary volunteer involvements--plus a labor of love, or at least homage. After introducing these and providing links, I will talk briefly about former professions and provide a link to other personal data. At the bottom, I offer links to the sites of organizations that might interest some people who visit this web site.


I have been in business for over 40 years as Safety First Electrical. Although I have held on to many of my electrical licenses, it is not clear whether I shall take on further contracting work. If I do, I probably will limit it to jobs where I teach and work with homeowners, as I often have.
It is possible that I'll limit myself to consulting in the future, along with my ongoing work to improve safety standards.
I now have information about my electrical business on its own web page.
I continue to maintain my Maryland status as an authorized electrical inspector, granted by the office of the State Fire Marshal. At present, I do not perform inspections for any jurisdictions, either as a third party or an employee. In 2012, I decided to stop serving as a Third Party Inspector for Washington, D.C.'s Department of Community and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).


I have been in business as a writer and editor since the mid-1980s. You can find an immense amount of information here, at the separate web page devoted to that business. It includes my special focuses, my values as a writer, my publication history, reviews of my books, references, and more.

Volunteer Activities

I maintain a considerable commitment to forwarding safety, especially electrical safety, through the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Council for Electrical Safety (though that organization is at best quiescent), Standards Making Panels associated with UL Standards and Engagement, and other memberships and activities.

As of early 2023, I serve on the panels responsible for four standards adopted in slightly differing forms by ANSI/UL in the U.S., CSA in Canada, and ANCE in Mexico; and participate in one task group.

In addition to supplying public inputs and comments to improve the National Electrical Code and other NFPA standards, I have been appointed to serve as a Special Expert on NFPA 73, the standard for Electrical Reinspection of 1-2 Family Dwellings.

Looking back, for 35-plus years, I coordinated a Special Interest Group (SIG) for intellectuals involved or interested in the electrical industry. I published 361 issues of the SIG newsletter. I gave this up in early 2018, when another member volunteered to take over.

The Publishing Venture

In mid-2010, a several-year-long effort culminated in the publication of W. Creighton Schwan's final project, which I co-authored with him. Behind the Code both explains how many modern electrical rules came to be and traces their development. Many find the stories interesting, simply as niche history.However, the book flows together three streams: story-telling, explaining, and documenting progress. Electrical inspectors and consultants say that the detailed histories help them make decisions about whether installations they run across deserve to be grandfathered. The third edition is available now. You can order it here.

Former Careers and Personal Story


I earned an M.S. in Experimental Psychology and an M.Ed. in Community Counseling. I have not performed psychological research since 1978, nor been employed as a counselor since 1979. Both my heart and my intellect have found other outlets. I did maintain membership in the American Psychological Association from 1979 til 2018, and still follow some current research. I continue to put this education to use in a number of ways.

Here are four ways this has fed into my activities:
To understand the issues affecting the safety standards I do my best to improve, I look at the science that's presented, search journals, and engage with researchers. The tools for this come out of my schooling. My experience as a journalist helps here, too.
I touched on social science research relevant to electricians in my column appearing Electrical Contractor magazine for most of the years from 1989 through 2018.
In 2008 and again in 2016, I lent a hand to my friend and former colleague John Heil, DA, as he prepared reports on the lessons learned in his field of sport psychology.
Finally, I served as guest editor for the Fall 2009 issue of a peer-reviewed scholarly quarterly, the Mensa Research Journal. The issue was devoted to studies of autism.

More generally, my now-dusty training in statistics, in research design and analysis, and of course specifically in social science allow me to write knowledgeably about these areas-and to evaluate the scientific bases of claims. Training in research has helped me gather information to benefit my readers.
Then there are the special benefits that came out of earning my first Master's degree from a specialized program Lehigh University offered. It was an unusual science graduate program, focused on not only training researchers but on preparing us to become skilled college instructors. This means I had more education and practice in the theory and practice of teaching than most people receive, even people who have many years of schooling. I was educated to teach through writing as well as by standing in front of students. The training benefits my teaching whether I'm consulting one-on-one or presenting a seminar to a full room. The program was well designed, with good instructors.


I used to work as a massage professional, ultimately training as a Structural Integration Practitioner; I have not practiced these skills professionally for many years. I rely on other ways of serving people. The education and training did give me a valuable understanding of body mechanics. For information on that work, check out the Guild for Structural Integration

The Person

Link here to Personal Description and early work and social history

Valuable Groups


I have served since the mid-1990s as Secretary-Treasurer for the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, George Washington Chapter (The chapter encompasses Washington, D.C. and much of Maryland). Over the same period, I have represented the chapter on the Executive Committee for the Eastern Section, IAEI.

Our purpose is to further electrical safety, and in particular to foster electrical education and the uniform application of electrical standards. About a third of us are electrical inspectors, mostly working for local governments as employees or as third-party inspectors; the other two-thirds are contractors, consultants, and representatives of organizations that support IAEI.

Please press this button to reach the web page of the local chapter , with meeting notices and reports, plus additional contact information.

Here's a button to reach the main web site maintained by IAEI's international headquarters.

UL Standards and Engagement

If you think that a you might be qualified to help in maintaining product stafety standards, and have the commitment to do so, here's a button you can use to visit their information page.

Association for Preservation Technology

If you are interested in old and historic buildings, this group might be worth investigating. I have enjoyed learning many elements of preservation and restoration work by attending APT programs. While I believe the greatest number of their members are architects, I'm very comfortable at the DC-area chapter.

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