September 2010

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Joseph F. Lohman

Sixth District International Vice President Joseph F. "Jeff" Lohman retired effective Sept. 1.

Initiated into Local 481 in Indianapolis, Ind., as an inside wireman apprentice in 1966, Lohman was elected vice president, serving from 1978 to 1981. When his business manager asked him to be a business agent, Lohman, at first, resisted. He agreed to try the job for a year. "Thirty-two years later, I'm retiring," he says.

Elected Local 481 business manager/financial secretary in 1983, Lohman served for five years until his appointment as International Representative. Among his proudest accomplishments were helping to develop the COMET (Construction Organizing Membership Education Training) program and being the first Indiana graduate of the B.A. program at the National Labor College in 1988.

In 1991, Lohman was assigned organizing coordinator for the Sixth District. Under his leadership, the union's market share increased from 45 percent in 1995 to 70 percent in 2000.

Lohman—who served as secretary of the Indiana State Building Trades and as a board member of the Central Indiana Labor Council—was named assistant to Sixth District International Vice President Pat Curley in 2002. He was appointed Sixth District International Vice President in 2005, upon Curley's retirement, and elected in 2006.

"I have very mixed emotions about my retirement," says Brother Lohman who, most recently, served as a member of the IBEW Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. "I'm excited about starting a new chapter in my life. But I'm struggling a little bit with what I'm leaving."

Looking forward to traveling and fulfilling a long-held desire to go back to school, Lohman also plans to volunteer his time to two organizations.

The officers, staff and members of the IBEW wish Brother Lohman a well-deserved, healthy and happy retirement.

Joseph F. Lohman

Lonnie R. Stephenson

IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill has appointed Lonnie R. Stephenson as Sixth District International Vice President, effective September 1. He succeeds Joseph F. Lohman, who retired.

Brother Stephenson was born in Moline, Ill., graduating from Rock Island High School. He started his apprenticeship as an inside wireman with Rock Island Local 145. He was initiated into the Brotherhood in 1976.

Stephenson soon became active in the union and was elected vice president in 1984 and president in 1987. Less than a decade later, he was elected business manager, a position he held until his appointment as International Representative in 2002. He was active in the community, serving on the executive board on the United Way, the Quad Cities Federation of Labor and the Illinois State Electrical Workers Association.

One of the biggest campaigns he led was a joint effort with local business leaders to pass a $5 million bond initiative in Davenport, Iowa, to help renovate the city's waterfront area. And in 1998, Stephenson helped oversee the construction of the Quad Cities Electrical Training center.

As International Representative, he serviced locals throughout the upper Midwest. From 2003 to 2005, he served as organizing coordinator and then as the in-office representative for Vice President Lohman. "Jeff was a great mentor to me and helped keep the district moving in the right direction," said Stephenson.

As the new Sixth District Vice President, he will oversee IBEW operations in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge, and in this economy it definitely will be a challenge," he says. "But the Sixth District is very lucky to have some great locals, great leaders and great staff."

The IBEW officers, staff and membership wish Brother Stephenson much success in his new position.

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Gregory G. Shafranski

Sixth District International Representative Gregory Shafranski retired April 1 following more than four decades of service to the IBEW.

Brother Shafranski initiated into Minneapolis Local 292 in 1972, a time when apprentices were required to rotate to a new contractor every year to ensure a well-rounded education and immersion into the profession, he said.

A Minneapolis native, Shafranski served on various committees in the local and was elected business manager in 1992. His activism on the local's market recovery committee during the recession of the early ‘90s was instrumental in securing bids for signatory contractors and man-hours for members desperate for work in the slumping economy.

Shafranski was appointed to the Sixth District office in 1997 by International President J.J. Barry.

As a field representative, Shafranski serviced utility, inside and outside construction locals throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. He recently worked with the NJATC, its local branches and the International Office to establish a wind turbine training program out of Rochester, Minn., Local 343. The local boasts one of the first-built wind training towers on IBEW property in the Brotherhood.

"Many of our contractors now are requiring members to get trained in wind so we can stay competitive with the nonunion side," he said. "It's a lot of physical work—you're up 300 feet high in the air dealing with the elements, so we want to ensure that our members have the cutting edge on technical know-how and safety."

In the late 1960s, Shafranski served four years in the Navy as an aviation electrician working on aircraft that flew reconnaissance missions monitoring Russian submarine activity along the Atlantic and European coasts. He earned a two-year degree in electrical construction from Minneapolis Technical College after his naval experience and joined the Brotherhood soon afterward.

His family includes his wife, Vonnie, three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Life in the labor movement is a family affair. His son, Reed, is a journeyman lineman with Minneapolis Local 160. Both of Shafranski's daughters are married to union members—one a fellow 160 member and the other a plumber. Shafranski looks forward to spending more time fishing and hunting.

"My time in the IBEW has provided me with a better life than I might have had otherwise," he said.

The staff, members and officers of the IBEW thank Brother Shafranski for his service and wish him an enjoyable, well-deserved retirement.

Gregory G. Shafranski