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May 2013

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Ohio Member Named Instructor of the Year

Steve Fife wanted to be a teacher when he started college. In 1992, after a few years in school, he took a closer look at how much rookie high school teachers made — and decided to become an electrician.

Fife joined the apprenticeship program of Warren, Ohio, Local 573 and got his journeyman license in 1997. Three years later, he got another shot at teaching when he was asked to become an instructor. This year, Brother Fife was named the IBEW's Instructor of the Year by HourPower, an online video magazine for construction members.

"Steve is a very good journeyman in the field and brings that into the classroom," said Local 573 Training Director Eric Davis.

Fife said he was grateful for the opportunity. "I had good journeymen who taught me that I could have top-notch skills, and I want to do the same for the next generation."

Local 573 President Kevin Miller said he nominated Fife for his skill as an instructor and his commitment to staying on top of the technology driving job growth in Northeast Ohio.

"Steve is pretty aggressive in his studies," Miller said. "He is always on the edge of the technology, ready to instruct our members for the jobs of the future."

Fife says continuing education is key. Since receiving his instructor training at the IBEW's National Training Institute in Ann Arbor, Mich., he has returned more than eight times to learn about new technologies. With shale oil gas processing booming, for example, Fife has taken classes about the instrumentation the industry uses. When the installation of wind and solar power generation became popular, Fife says he not only made sure he could teach how to install the latest equipment, he sent dozens of e-mails to manufacturers asking them to donate materials to the program.

Davis said he brings the same tenacity to his students.

"He will teach until everybody in the room gets it," Davis said. "They won't walk out until they know what they need to know."

Fife said that he teaches the way he likes to learn.

"Some people, they have to touch it. Other people learn from the book," Fife said. "I'm more of a do-it-out-in-the-field guy."

Davis says that Fife's award has attracted attention in local media and has the membership, retirees and contractors "fired up."

Fife will be recognized formally at April's Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington, D.C.


Warren, Ohio, Local 573 member Steve Fife is the HourPower's 2013 Instructor of the Year.

Photo credit: HourPower