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September 2015

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Alan Goddard

After 45 years of service in the IBEW, Sixth District International Representative Alan Goddard has retired, effective May 1.

Brother Goddard was born and raised in South Bend, Ind. Some of his earliest memories, he said, were playing with his maternal grandfather, August Dosmann, president of the South Bend rubber workers local.

"He was my best buddy," Goddard said.

After graduating from Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., in 1969 Goddard was drafted into the U.S. Marine Crops, but was injured during training and medically discharged. It was then that he was hired at the Mishawaka power plant owned by American Electric Power and joined Ft. Wayne Local 1392.

"It was a job that seemed challenging, and would give me a trade and pay well, so I applied there, rather than UPS or a manufacturing plant," Goddard said. "I wanted something challenging."

Almost immediately, Goddard said, he was asked to be a steward and four years later he was appointed president of the local. He was 23 years old.

"There was an older guy, Bob Alexander, who worked at the power plant and he was on jobs I was on. We'd eat together or get coffee. We'd talk politics and union issues and I never kept my mouth shut," Goddard said. "One day, I don't know what we were talking about, he said 'We need young guys like you who aren't afraid to speak their mind to get involved with the union.' And I said ok."

What he found at the union hall was a purpose that defined his working life, he said.

"There were other people who were interested in making things better for everybody," Goddard said. "They were thoughtful and would stand up and speak out. They were committed and it was where I wanted to be."

In 1978, Goddard was appointed business manager of Local 1392 and re-elected three times before then-International President J.J. Barry appointed him as international representative.

"I got the call on April 1 and wasn't sure if someone was having a joke on me," Goddard said.

It was then that Goddard said he began work on his most important accomplishment, unifying the many locals with members at AEP into a single voice with the power to negotiate with the quickly growing utility.

"When I became business manager, we had five contracts with AEP for 750 members and we had to negotiate all five separately," Goddard said. "We wasted so much time and money in negotiations and driving back and forth to grievance meetings, I was just committed to stopping it."

With then-President Barry's approval, Goddard and a team of international representatives put together System Council U-9.

"AEP grew exponentially through mergers. The system council is the only tool we have to deal with these monsters and stick up for the members. You can't present a united front any other way," he said.

When he finally helped negotiate a master agreement, it was without question the highlight of his career.

"I grew up on that company and we fought tooth and nail for decades. A lot of people over the years struggled mightily to represent our workers," he said. "Now we think they are a model for the industry. The IBEW is one of the best friends they have and I think AEP management gladly recognizes that. They figured out they would do better when they stopped trying to kick the crap out of their workers."

Late in his career, Goddard met then-Chicago Local 1220 Business Manager Jessica Logan. In 1998 they were married.

"I had been so busy traveling and working, and that life and commitment was hard for other people to understand, but my lovely wife was right there in it herself, negotiating with CBS for a month every year. She knows what it meant to me," Goddard said. "While there was a lot of travel and stress being a rep, I loved every minute of it and wouldn't trade it for anything. It was just so rewarding knowing you were helping people because you could."

The IBEW officers, staff and membership wish Brother Goddard and Sister Logan a long, happy and healthy retirement.


Alan Goddard