Joe Pickens officially joined the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) as a field staff representative for the Midwest region on April 1. In this role, he serves as a liaison for local unions and members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers, helping identify solutions and opportunities in the market.

Pickens entered the apprenticeship at SMART Local 100 in the Washington, D.C., area in 2008. He graduated first in his class, also receiving a perfect attendance award for the five-year program. From the start of his career through 2021, Pickens worked for ADJ Sheet Metal. During his time there, the company tripled in size to more than 300 employees, and Pickens gained experience in many different areas of the industry.

This experience led to Pickens teaching a variety of courses at his local union’s training center, and in 2023 he was named training coordinator. Pickens became a general fund trustee in 2022, working with the business manager to oversee various funds and ensure accounts are in good standing at Local 100, where he is still a dues-paying member. He holds over a dozen industry certifications and has participated in extensive instructor training from the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry, over the years.

Pickens hails from Centreville, Maryland, and currently resides in King George, Virginia.

NEMI is a not-for-profit organization jointly managed by SMART and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA). NEMI works with public, private and government organizations as well as companies nationwide to make buildings safer and healthier while improving energy efficiency.

NEMI creates training and certification opportunities so consumers know these workers — who ensure fire life safety systems are inspected, verify the indoor air quality in schools and make sure the heating and air conditioning systems in office buildings are energy efficient — are at the top of their industry and experts in their field. NEMI works with state and federal officials as subject matter experts to make sure legislation, implementation and safety align.