Lonnie Stephenson

President

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

October 11, 2021

Placeholder.png
Ep 334: Lonnie Stephenson - President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
00:00 / 01:04
Play audio:

Shownotes

Bret Kugelmass
We are here today on Titans of Nuclear with Lonnie Stevenson, who's the President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Lonnie, welcome to Titans of Nuclear.

Lonnie Stephenson
Thank you, thank you for the invitation. Appreciate it.

Bret Kugelmass
Well, I'd love to hear about what you do on a day to day basis., but before we get there, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?

Lonnie Stephenson
I grew up, I'm originally from Rock Island, Illinois, which is northwest side of the state along the Mississippi River and started my apprenticeship as an electrician back in 1975.

Bret Kugelmass
Wow. And what made you want to become an electrician?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, actually, I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I worked in a grocery store and a produce department and a gentleman come through there, electrician was doing a service call for the store. And so I got talking to him, I asked him how do you go about becoming an electrician? Where do you go to sign up? He gave me the information, told me where to go. I went and signed up and a little over a year later I got in the program.

Bret Kugelmass
Amazing. Oftentimes, whenever I hear about the statistics about how dangerous different jobs are - firefighter policeman - every now and then, someone's like, actually, it's electricians that's the most dangerous job in the country. Am I hearing that right? Is that true?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, it certainly can be. As long as everybody's following the safety protocols and things, it can be safe. But it's dangerous every day and you can't take it for granted. You always got to remember what you're dealing with. I remember a journeyman telling me unless you can see both ends of a piece of wire laying on the ground, assume that that wire is hot.

Bret Kugelmass
Like a gun, assume the safety is off always.

Lonnie Stephenson
Exactly. Always assume that it's energized. It can be. In the line industry, on top of it, they're out there in the elements, climbing poles, steel structures every day, so it's always the same thing. It's a very dangerous environment. But again, I think if everybody follows the proper protocols, it can be a safe and rewarding career as well.

Bret Kugelmass
Yep, yep. Tell me about earlier in your career. What types of jobs were you on?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, I was what we call an inside wireman. I worked on buildings, building construction. Yeah, I had just- actually, my first job, I was working on a steel mill out in the middle of Iowa. It was a scrap production plant and very cold that winter out in the middle of the of the fields. There's no heat, because heat is generated by the furnaces once it's done, so they really don't have much heat in those buildings. It was a pretty cold winter I spent that first year, but it really made me decide it's what I wanted to do, though, for my career. And then I had other opportunities - and really while I was on that job - to learn a lot of different aspects of pipe bending, control wiring, wire pulling, you name it. I really did get a lot of experience in just that first project and then moved on from there and a few other projects, but very rewarding.

Bret Kugelmass
And what's the lifestyle like? Do you have to move from state to state for different jobs or how does that work?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, no, it depends. I mean, we had geographical jurisdiction, non-local covered, and anywhere within that area, which in my local could probably be about three hours from the southern part of the district of our jurisdiction to the northern. So depending on where you lived in there, you could travel a couple hours, three hours, to get to your worksite. Typically, it's probably most people within about an hour, hour and a half, maybe two hours at the max, because the way that jobs are distributed. But the way construction goes, especially in the union construction, if you happen to have a downside- like once I went through my apprenticeship and I was recognized as a journeyman, that's recognized all across the United States and Canada, for that matter. And so if you are slow, the construction is slow in the area where you come from and there's other work, there's a demand and looking for help in other areas, you can go there, go to work and you're recognized as that journeyman and get paid their journeyman wages and benefits.

Bret Kugelmass
And the journeyman certification. What is that based off of? Is it a certain years experience? Do you have to pass a test? You gotta wire something up in front of somebody? How do you get your journeyman?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, our apprenticeship program now, it's a five year program that our apprentices start. During the course of their study, every year kind of builds on the year previous. It's kind of a refresher, when they're doing their book work and they're always tested. When they continue to test, it's based on current things that they've learned, but also what they had been exposed to in the past. And so when you complete your five year apprenticeship program, that is considered the same as taking a journeyman exam. Now, some areas, some locals actually do have a journeyman exam in addition to finishing the apprenticeship, and also depends on the state. Some states have licensing requirements, where you still have to go get that license in the state and take an exam probably to get recognized for that license as well.

Bret Kugelmass
What are some of the things that you just can't learn from a book, that you got to be out on the site to really master the skills?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, a lot of the work, it is physical. When it comes to conduit bending, for example, you can read a book, but until you've got the tools in your hand and you're working with that conduit, you really have to learn that on the job, and wire pulling. A lot of the physical aspects of the job have to be learned on the job. My first day on the job - and I always relate this, whenever I talked to apprentices today - very first day, a journeyman, he told me, he says one thing about this trade, kid, is you'll never quit learning. Your entire career, you're going to work with somebody else that's got a better way or that's going to teach you how to rig for a wire pull or things like that. You'll continue to learn, because really every day is unique. It's not like you're going to the job the same day and you're pushing the same button doing the same task. Every day is a whole new task in itself.

Bret Kugelmass
What are you learning? Are you learning how to use new tools? Or are you learning the physical technique of how you- or are you learning strategy, what order you do things? What are the different types of learnings that occur?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, really all the above, everything you said. There are the different tools and tools and materials have changed tremendously over when I started my apprenticeship. So you're constantly changing, keeping up with the newest technologies. And of course, the book work of it and the learning. I know when I was there, we were still learning about tubes, test tubes and things like that from the old televisions. For control, you had tubes. Now, today, of course everything's all solid state and computerized, so it's a whole different learning pattern today. This generation is learning what they're capable of doing. And we have to continue to change with the industry, or we will be left behind. And that's why our training is not only for apprentices. We have continued journeymen and apprentices, too, and all of our training facilities. We've got about 340 training facilities all across the United States. There's constantly journeyman training and upgrading as well.

Bret Kugelmass
From when you began to today, if you were to do the same job, wire up the same facility, how much faster would it go today, because of the new tools, techniques, technology?

Lonnie Stephenson
Um, yeah, it has made a difference. It takes less people on a job, I think, the man hours to complete a task, because of the tools and the technologies. It'd be hard to really equate how much less it'd be. You still have your conduit bending, however. It's not like before, they'd be required to have rigid conduit, which is a whole different aspect and a little longer, because it's more industrial. Now, there's still conduit bending and it's still an artwork to be honest with you. You get people that are good at running conduit and they'll take pictures of it and show people, because they're proud of it. When you look at it, it does. It looks like artwork in the way they lay out these large conduit runs or there might be 100 different conduits running in that control room and they're all looking nice and parallel and in line. It really is artwork for those that love doing conduit. There are some people, that's what they love to do. They want to run conduit and they're masters at it.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah, it really is artwork. I subscribe to a channel on Instagram or follow a feed, an electrical feed on Instagram. And every now and then you see this picture, it's like, I don't know if it's a circuit breaker or something, or just some sort of routing box. But you see the perfect angle. Like it's a perfect right angle, then a perfect right angle above it, and perfect angle above it, and the colors are perfect. It is artwork. It looks almost like a tapestry.

Lonnie Stephenson
It is. And that's one of the things we take pride in, is not only doing the job right, but doing it professional, so when you look at it it's not just wires crisscrossed all across the place. You're training it in there, if you will, and really, like I said, it is something to be proud of. And that's why you're seeing pictures like that, because our members out there doing that work, they want people to see the skill that they've got and how they can also make it look well. Even though that electricity is gonna run through that wire however it's done, but the bottom line is it doesn't take any longer to really train it in there and make it look professional. So you really know what you've done and how proud you are of what you've done.

Bret Kugelmass
And saves people money down the line when you come back 10 years later.

Lonnie Stephenson
Absolutely. You know the one thing about the trade, too, both our linemen and our wireman journeyman: you always remember that job you worked on. Whenever I get back to my hometown - get back there a couple times a year - I'll go by a building and, this is 40 years later, I'll be thinking, I wired that building. I worked on that building when they built it. It's probably been remodeled a couple times since then. But there's that pride that you have in the trade of always knowing that what you worked on is there and you can drive by it and know I spent six months on that job. It was really a good job.

Bret Kugelmass
Hey listen, you probably have a better appreciation than most people just for modern conveniences. I don't think, you know most people will flip on the light switch since the day they're born and never think about what's going on behind the wall, but you probably have almost x-ray vision when you look at any building, any house, any anything, you can probably see where the wires are through the walls.

Lonnie Stephenson
You know, whenever I'm at, it could even be a restaurant or something, I'm always looking up the ceiling and looking to see if I see conduit run or wires running and see what kind of a- I'll say, Oh, yeah, that was installed by an IBEW person that did that job, because you can usually tell by the craftsmanship and they really want to make sure it's done right. And the same thing when I go into a building, when I go into a home. I always look to see where the panel is. In fact, when I built the house that I live in now in Maryland, was going through the model home and I was - and traditionally where I come from, your panel and your service is in your basement -I'm looking around and finally I asked the guy, the sales rep for this building that was building the homes. I said, Where's your panel on this house? And he goes, Well, it's out in the garage. I had never owned a house where you had the panel in the garage. But I still don't, by the way. They were able to- I talked to the power company and they put ours in the basement, because I always like to have access to it in case you ever want to add, move, or changes, you've got access to it if you've got it in the basement. They let me locate it in the basement.

Bret Kugelmass
I'd say you get special privileges. Tell me about the union. How does the union work? What does it do? How many people are in it? What's it all about?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, we were established in 1891. And at that time it was a lot of linemen, linemen that were working on really telegraph lines back then. Going along the railroad and putting in telegraph lines. And then, as electricity started become more prevalent, working on those power poles. It was about 50% of the linemen who were dying on the job, either through falls, or getting electrocuted. But there was about 50% of them that were dying. So that's when Henry Miller who was our lineman, and he was our first president of the IBEW. When they formed and got together with 10 delegates, the first time they got together in St. Louis, there was 10 representatives from 10 different unions and got together and decided, Hey, we need to form a national union at that time. Canada wasn't part of it, so we were the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. And then a few years after that, Canada, one of our first Canadian locals joined and so then we became the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. All through that process of this started because of safety and making sure people had the proper tools and training so they can do their jobs. We always have a saying. You want to go home the same way when you left home. Go to work, you want to come back home and be in a physical position, and to build- take care of your family and still get the job done. We've got about 775,000 active and retired members all across the United States and Canada. We now have our largest construction group, what we call A membership, that we've ever had in the history of the IBEW. We have over 400,000 members that work on the construction side of the house. And then we have our utility members, well over 200,000 members that work for the utilities themselves. We have people working in broadcast, telecommunications, manufacturing, railroad, government. I mean we really have probably a little over 50% construction now, but everybody else, all the other branches that we represent. And every branch is unique and very important and really essential to the movement of the economy, keeping everything going, all the people we represent. We're pretty proud of them.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah, that's pretty amazing. So I'd love to just hear about your personal experience, though. I mean, how did you rise through the ranks?

Lonnie Stephenson
I always ask myself that same question, quite often. Like I said, once I happened to get in the apprenticeship program- and back then actually, and I remember that journeyman electrician that came through that I talked about previously. He told me, he asked me, Do you know anybody that's in the trade? Do you have any family or friends, know anybody in the trade? I said, No, I don't know anybody. And he says, Well, I'll tell you where to go sign up, but it really helps if you know somebody that will really kind of speak up for you, I guess, and to help get you in the trade. So I went and applied. I was going to high school. I thought I wanted to be an electrical engineer at one time. I was really preparing myself and taking all the math courses you could, the science classes you could, really thinking I was going to go down that. And I wasn't a straight A student by any means, but I was a good- I was a B student. I think it must have been my grades and maybe some of the classes I had taken must have helped me get in, because I truly knew nothing about it and didn't know anybody in the trade. Then, once I got in my apprenticeship, you're on probation for a year and then you get into the union. At least we were then. A lot of them, your membership from day one now depends on where you're at. But we were on a year probation, then after that you get in the union. And I happened to be working on a job where some officers, Executive Board members of our Local were on and so they encouraged me to get involved. Go to the union meetings, get involved in volunteer and on committees. And so I did. I started doing a lot of things. We had a picnic committee. You get there early in the morning, help set things up. We always had a summer picnic for all of our members to come. But it really got to be fun. Once it gets in your blood and you're just voluntarily, Yes, I'll go help on this, I can help on that. We had a lot of community projects, community service projects we do in the area, go help out on that. I was actually sitting at a union meeting, it was the night of our nominations - I can tell you it was 1984. And I wasn't planning on running for any kind of position within the local union. It was the furthest thing from my mind. And one of my good friends I was sitting next to, they were nominating someone to be the vice president. There was one person that was nominated and said, are there any other nominations or any other nominations? And my buddy jumped up says, I nominate Lonnie Stephenson. And I looked to him, I said, What the heck is that about? Well, he had worked with the guy that was nominated and apparently they didn't get along too well, so I can't let him run unopposed. You got to run against him. And so on, I ended up, I got elected. And three years later, I ended up running for the president of my local and got elected, '87, 1987 was President. I did that for two terms. Then I was an assistant, our business manager asked me to go into the Local full-time in 1991. I went in to work with him as an assistant, worked with him for five years. And then when he was retiring, he came to me and said, Lonnie, I want you to run for business manager. And he had a couple other reps that had been with him a lot longer. And I said, Well, what about Gary? What about Carl? He says, We've already talked it Lonnie, you're the next generation of leadership for this Local. We're all three behind you. We want you to run. And so I ultimately became business manager, along the way, and then-

Bret Kugelmass
And how many people are in the local division?

Lonnie Stephenson
My Local, well, when I started, we had about probably 400. When I became the business manager, we had about 700. And then we had about 1,100. There's still a little over 1,100 members in my local today back in the Quad Cities. So we continued to grow as well.

Bret Kugelmass
And then what's the next level up from local?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, then I was asked to go to work for the International Union as an international rep. They have field reps all across the United States and Canada that go in to assist and train and support our local unions. I was asked to take on a position as international rep and I started that in January 1, 2002. And then I ended up, probably about a year later or two years later, I went to work in the district office as an assistant, a desk rep we always call them, with the Vice President at that time to assist him in the office. And then he retired in 2010 and at that time I was asked by our International President Hill to fulfill that position as the Vice President. So then I did that for five years, and then President Hill announced his retirement in 2015 and he asked me to come out here to DC to take on the position as International President.

Bret Kugelmass
Amazing. Help me understand. What is the functional difference between what the local union achieves and what the international body achieves? What things are you negotiating, or who are you dealing with?

Lonnie Stephenson
Really - and I always tell people this and I mean, it - the toughest job I think I've ever had was being a business manager at the local level. Because they're working directly for and negotiating those contracts and handling grievances if there are grievances of their members. And it can be very time consuming and stressful. So what we try to do as the International then, we try to assist that business manager by having the reps as I mentioned before. They come in and help give them some guidance. We do a lot of training and education, too, for our business managers, negotiating contracts or handling grievances and things of that nature. But really, they're the ones that's working directly day in and day out with our members. And so, I always say if it wasn't for our members that's out there working hard every day, doesn't matter which branch they work out of, as I said, and those local union leadership that's doing it, that's where the strength of the IBEW is. It's not with me. It's about our members that are out there each and every day. They're the ones that built this union, continue to build this union, and we continue to grow by the way. We're very excited about that. We've grown I think like seven, eight years in a row, now, we've gained membership. We had a little bit of a hiccup with the COVID last year, but we still kind of maintained and now we're back. Even though we still haven't recovered fully from COVID, we are starting to see our numbers rise. We're starting to get back into organizing and growing.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah, pretty amazing. How many local chapters are there? How many different-

Lonnie Stephenson
I'm trying to think off the top of my head, I think we got about 300 and some local unions.

Bret Kugelmass
And each of them 500 to 1,000 mark of people or something?

Lonnie Stephenson
Yeah.

Bret Kugelmass
That's phenomenal. Yeah, that's a lot to manage. So then how does, tell me, how does the International Union, how do they interact with politics, like with national politics? What's the connection there?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, of course, like I said before, our local unions, they get along legislatively on the state level, pretty much. And then we out in DC, then we get intertwined, of course, in national politics and national legislation. We're very engaged in that. We have to be. People sometimes say, Why, you're a labor union, why are you involved in politics? Well, politics really drives everything we do, so we have to be engaged. And we want to make sure that we educate these politicians on who we are and what we do, because some people just don't know. They just don't understand what we provide to our countries, both the United States and Canada, and what the skill level of our members are, our dedication to their countries and their communities. We're labor unions and we represent the union, but we're also proud to have good relationships with our employers. And through our Code of Excellence, we have our Code of Excellence Program, but we know, and I've always told people jokingly, I'd rather sit down at the bargaining table trying to negotiate a contract with an employer that's got money coming out of their pockets, instead of having their pockets inside out, because they have no money. We want our employers to be successful, and all of our branches, we want them to be successful, because that also helps us then be successful, to have our members that's working for them and have good wages and benefits for them and their families.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, so that's negotiating on the local level. What are the issues on the federal level? What are you fighting for?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, right now, of course, hopefully this infrastructure legislation is out there, bipartisan infrastructure. That would be huge for- a lot of that is for the construction end of the industry, but also affects non-construction as well. But that's big for us right now. The Build Back Better Plan, anything that's going to help build the communities that we live in and raise the standard of living for everyone, we support that. And we also, of course, we want to have- people have the right to organize. And if they choose to join a union, they should have that opportunity without being harassed or threatened by their employers or being fired by their employers. That's what the National Labor Relations Act was actually designed for, originally, was to protect people's right to organize. And so we've got the PRO Act is what we're working on right now with the National AFL CIO and all the labor unions. PRO Act would help protect those people that are really seeking to have a union and without retaliation from their employers. We really push hard on that. Obviously, with the energy and the transformation and where we're going, the energy of the future, we're engaged in that heavily, in those conversations and how that's going to, how we evolve from producing energy today and where we're going for the energy of tomorrow. We're really engaged real heavy on that as well.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah, I mean, listen, the clean energy transition is going to up end world infrastructure and you guys are the absolute critical linchpin piece of the whole thing. It's like, how are we going to install any electric infrastructure without your community being the backbone of it?

Lonnie Stephenson
Yeah, that's true, it really is, and just transforming how energy is generated. The more wind, the more solar. You've still got to get transmission, you've got it because that's usually out in the rural areas. You don't see a bunch of wind towers inside a metropolitan area, or even solar. It's usually outside. But you've got to get that power from the source it's being produced to where the demand is, and that's in urban areas. And so that means a lot of transmission.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah. What about nuclear? What's your take on nuclear?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, nuclear has absolutely got to be part of the equation on where we're going for the energy, the future. Nuclear right now, I believe, represents over 50% of power generated in United States that is carbon free, is produced with nuclear energy. And we have to have, I always say we have to have reliable baseload energy. When you turn that switch on, you're going to have power. And that's where nuclear has got to come into play, because there are times the sun's not shining and the winds not blowing and battery- they're starting to have battery backup and supplies, but the technology is not there yet. You can't go days on end without having generation coming from solar, for example, and keep the lights on. You've got to have a baseload energy and nuclear is carbon free. I mean, it just makes sense. And the next generation of nuclear, as well, the small modular units. That's where I think you're going to see the nuclear in the future, that way we can, like I said, as long as everything we're moving towards, to just have that reliable baseload that you know you can count on as well.

Bret Kugelmass
And how did you come across nuclear personally? What was the first point in your career that that you got exposure to it?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, probably I was a third year apprentice. We've got the Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station is in my local union. And I was working in there as an apprentice. If I remember right, Quad Cities went online to start producing power, I think around 1972. And, like I said, I started my apprenticeship in 1975. But in 1978, I was there as an apprentice with the contractor and we were doing updating and doing some adds and moves for the security system, around the exterior security system around the nuclear power plant. And so our members were, about every year, there are outages. They're having outages and refuel outages and going in and making changes, adds and changes. We get a number of our members of my local that worked those outages and I did too, when I was a journeyman. I used to go back there and work those outages, because that's usually in the fall or the early spring. And when those outages occur and it was always a good place to go for a couple months, and they'll go in there and get everything taken care of and keep them running. So I got exposed really early.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah. And then, I saw that you put together this op-ed, with Steven Nesbitt, on the future of nuclear. Just from your perspective, you get to see people around the country and some people just kind of exposed to their own perspective, being in a city or wherever they are. What's your perspective? What's the average person's take on nuclear? Is it positive? Is it they don't know? Is it negative? What do you think?

Lonnie Stephenson
I think people that aren't really educated don't really understand it. You think about nuclear and you might think something like a bomb. You're thinking about things, people that don't understand, they really don't and I think maybe they get some negative thoughts. But once you educate them and they understand how the system works and how safe it is. It really is. It's extremely safe and people, there's a fear. Because there's been, you think about Three Mile Island. How many years ago was that? But even though that was seen like a crisis at the time, the design maintained everything. It wasn't there was a whole bunch of nuclear that got exposed out in the atmosphere and people got- the system worked. Even though it was, there was a malfunction, the system worked.

Bret Kugelmass
It should have been a great story. Yeah, it should have been a great story about how good the engineering is, not this like scare failure- I gotta blame the nuclear industry on that kind of. Like how did they miss the opportunity to turn that around into a success story? Look at how amazing this device is, that even when it fails, nobody gets hurt. That's an amazing story. It's like, how did the narrative get spun around?

Lonnie Stephenson
Yeah, really is. That made them, after that event, it slowed down a lot of nuclear being built in country. And there were still several projects that were going online. But there were some changes that they made from some of the things that they learned and made some changes in the interior, the construction and how things were done. And just again, to ensure that everything was safe and continue to move forward in the industry. I think it's, you're right. It really was something that should have been said, Yeah, there were some problems there, but it contained itself. And then you hear things, of course, like Chernobyl and in Russia, but that's a different country and they-

Bret Kugelmass
Different country, different type of plant, different technology, everything different.

Lonnie Stephenson
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so I feel very confident in our nuclear plants, the updates. So I said, they have the outages all the time. They're constantly updating and making repairs, replacing cable, for electrical. They'll be replacing cables that were installed 30 years ago. When they're doing an outage, they're always updating and making sure that everything's running smoothly and efficiently.

Bret Kugelmass
Yep. You were also - just back to the federal politics side - you were on the transition team. How was that?

Lonnie Stephenson
Well, yeah, that was interesting. I don't know if there have been labor leaders involved the transition team before. There was me and the Farmworkers, the President of the Farmworkers was on it as well. But yeah, it was very interesting. Well, it gave me an opportunity to have some discussion and what positions were being filled where and who they were? It was really an honor to be asked to do that.

Bret Kugelmass
What is your input like? Is it, do you talk about people? Are you suggesting names? Are you talking about topics and questions to ask them? What's your input?

Lonnie Stephenson
Really, helping suggest names, or they'd run names by me if there's somebody, do you know this person? Do you have any concerns one way or the other? And then, because internally and administration, they really had the people that did the real vetting on the end and decided where they were going, but we certainly, during the process, were able to offer suggestions and moving forward. I think there are like 4,000 or 5,000 positions, I think, that get filled by the President of the United States. And our goal is initially that, by Inauguration Day, to have a couple thousand of those positions filled. There are still some of them that are still in the process of being filled today, I think. But administratively and getting their main core going, we were directly involved in all of that early on.

Bret Kugelmass
And do you still help out in some ways? Is there still some advice function that you participate in?

Lonnie Stephenson
Yes, particularly when it comes to the energy and climate policy. Our team works directly with the White House and communicates with the White House, probably almost weekly as they're continuing to evolve what they're gonna do. We've got some input, some suggestions, or tell them some of our concerns that we have. And so we can continue to work really closely with the administration on, particularly on energy, but really many other issues as well. Yeah, it's good.

Bret Kugelmass
As we wrap up here, I'd just love to hear your kind of take on the future. Where do you see things going over the next five or 10 years?

Lonnie Stephenson
I think we're at a point that we're evolving in a lot of ways, I think, in this country. I hope we get to a position that things like infrastructure or something that both parties can agree on and should agree on. You think about the core infrastructure of this country was built back in the 40s, 50s. Eisenhower, President Eisenhower started to, when we started building the road systems. It was crucial. And during his administration said, We've got to have the roads and the bridges. Because I think his experience of during the war seeing how important it was to have an interstate system, be able to move people. We've got to get to the point, I think high speed rail needs to be continued to be looked at. We're behind. There are a lot of countries that are, when it comes to high speed rail, even mass transit within the metropolitan areas. We've got a lot of room for opportunity and improvement I think in those regards, and building the transmission system. Like we said, if we continue to move- they're saying the demand for electricity is continuing to grow. It's not going away, it's growing. And especially if we evolve into electric vehicles and all those, there's going to be more and more demand on electricity. That's going to mean, I think, some great opportunities for our country. I think great opportunities for the IBEW, because all the people that we represent, what we do along those lines. I'm pretty excited about. I'm pretty excited about it. And I think if we can get the- if we can ever get the political system to really look out for what's good for our country and not get so tied up on the politics - and it's always going to be that, always has been - but really, there's a time you got to sit down and say, let's get this thing moving, it's good for our country. And I think that, personally, I think President Biden, I think he has made that one of his objectives early on, is I can work with people. I know we have to work the other side of the aisle to get things done. I think he's trying and I think we're going to get there and I think it's going to be good for our country moving forward. We have lots of opportunities, lots of opportunities for everyone to grow all across the United States.

Bret Kugelmass
Lonnie Stevenson, everybody, thank you so much.

Lonnie Stephenson
Thank you.

Titans Logo_2020.png