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Contractor Honors Member’s Years of
Service with Tribute


August 12, 2011

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When 19-year-old Bob Bourdet showed up on the first day of his new job in 1961, he arrived in pressed khakis, a new dress shirt and shined shoes. That likely would have impressed management at an office. But as the freshly-minted San Francisco Local 6 apprentice was about to find out, his new job was decidedly more hands-on:

I really wasn’t sure what I was in for. The job was at an old steel mill with a dirty, greasy motor. We had to disconnect it. There must have been 8 inches of gunk on the machine.

After work, I ended up going home and throwing my clothes away. That night I went to Sears and bought my first blue pair of overalls. So, I learned pretty quickly what I was going to be tackling. And I’ve loved the trade ever since.

Bourdet recently marked 50 years of membership – time that has seen him grow from a journeyman wireman into a respected instructor. Bourdet has taught more than 1,100 Bay Area Local 6 apprentices over the past four decades. More than 700 students have learned estimating skills from Bourdet in his other role as a 31-year veteran NECA instructor.

For the last 18 years, he has been staff instructor at signatory contractor W. Bradley Electric, Inc. To show their appreciation for his years of expertise and dedication to the craft, company employees and managers – including many IBEW members – produced an inspiring 9-minute film about Bourdet’s decades of service.

Through historical images and family photos, as well as candid and often humorous interviews, the viewer gets a sense of the brains, brawn and heart that Bourdet brings to the trade and to his courses.


For the honor, Bourdet thanked company CEO Leslie Murphy and Brian Finley, who heads up the contractor’s traffic department and handled all production duties on the video:

It was really an honor to me. The company treats me very well to begin with, but to put this together and make it public was very special.

Now 69 years old, Bourdet shows no signs of slowing down. “I may retire in a few years – maybe,” he said:

The big thing about teaching and doing it for this long is you get lots back from it. And I continue to get a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment out of what I do.

For more information, visit www.wbeinc.com.