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February 2019

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Dean Wine

International President Lonnie R. Stephenson has appointed Phoenix Local 640 Business Manager Dean Wine to the International Executive Council, effective Jan. 1. He replaces Houston Local 716's John Easton Jr., who is taking on a new role as an international representative in the Seventh District.

"I am honored and appreciative for this appointment," Wine said. "And I am grateful to President Stephenson for giving me the opportunity to serve the Brotherhood in this way."

Wine now represents members of the sixth IEC district in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas on the IBEW's most senior executive board. Like all IEC members, he'll continue to serve his home local as business manager.

A self-described "farm boy from Nebraska," Wine is currently serving a fourth term as business manager for the 1,900-member Phoenix local, which has jurisdiction over most of Phoenix Valley, Maricopa County and Northern Arizona.

After receiving a degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska and getting married, Wine moved to the Grand Canyon State to work with his father-in-law at a small business in suburban Phoenix. But it wasn't long before Wine decided that he wanted to try his hand at doing something else.

"I had done some construction work in high school," he said. So, when a neighbor mentioned that nonunion contractor jobs installing security systems were available at a nearby private prison, Wine decided to give that a go.

Some IBEW members also were doing work at the prison, he said. "They said, 'Once you're done, why don't you come on over and check out the IBEW?'" he recalled. Wine accepted the invitation, and in February 1995, he was initiated into Local 640.

His first job as an union member was with Intel, which operates a microprocessor chip-making plant in Chandler. In 1999, he was named Local 640's Apprentice of the Year.

Wine went on to become an active member of his local, serving as a member of its examining and executive boards. He also found a way to put his journalism skills to good use during stints as Local 640's recording secretary and press secretary, and as business manager, he maintains an interest in the local's marketing and media outreach.

As business manager he has paid special attention to organizing, taking great pride and pleasure in teaching nonunion workers about the benefits of IBEW membership.

"We have lots of things going on in Arizona," he said. "We built most of the stadiums and arenas in the Valley of the Sun." That includes State Farm Stadium, home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

The local also has contributed work to area hospitals and data centers, as well as ongoing work at the Intel chip-making plant. "A little bit of everything," is how Wine describes the variety of work.

Wine also is secretary-treasurer of the Arizona state AFL-CIO, and he is president of the Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council. Additionally, he served on the Resolutions Committee for the IBEW's 2011 convention in Vancouver. He was on the same committee for the Brotherhood's 2016 convention in St. Louis, where he nominated Steven Speer to serve as international vice president for the Seventh District.

Wine says he is looking forward to his tenure on the International Executive Council. "I look at the IEC as the union's executive board," he said. "I'm excited to work with President Stephenson and the other officers to do the best job I possibly can for the members of the IBEW."

The officers, staff and membership wish Brother Wine much success as he takes up this new position.


Dean Wine

Jack Heyer

Personnel Director Jack Heyer, who grew up in the shadow of Green Bay's iconic Lambeau Field and assisted in negotiating a project labor agreement for the stadium's renovation, retired effective Jan. 1 .

Brother Heyer was born in Shawano, Wisc., and his family later moved to Green Bay, about 40 miles to the southeast. The Heyers lived just a few blocks from Lambeau, the home of the Green Bay Packers, during the team's 1960s dynasty under legendary coach Vince Lombardi.

"That makes quite an impression on you," said Heyer, who remains a devoted Packers fan.

The young Heyer discovered his talents in electrical work at an early age. He landed a job at a greenhouse when he was 16. The owner needed to replace an aging electrical system, and, despite his youth, Heyer said he could handle it.

He was right. Heyer found himself installing conduit throughout the facility and finished the project himself, he said.

"I just liked to do whatever was in front of me," he said. "I was always one of those opportunists. If someone gave me a chance to do something, I jumped at it."

Heyer attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for two years and planned to be an engineer. His grades were good, but he decided it wasn't the career path for him.

"My fiancé at the time [now wife, Elizabeth] asked me what I really wanted to do," he said. "I told her I like doing electrical work. She said, 'Why don't you be an electrician?'"

Heyer took her advice and enrolled at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. He was near the top of his class and hoped to earn an apprenticeship at Green Bay Local 158, but an instructor told him not to get his hopes up. It had been quite some time since Local 158 had placed apprentices from the school, he said.

But in August 1977, the local accepted three apprentice applicants and Heyer was second on the list. He eventually became a journeyman inside wireman.

"I was one of the few guys who went to local meetings as an apprentice," he said. "If I was going to work for a union, I wanted to know what it was all about."

Heyer later served on Local 158's executive board and as treasurer and secretary. He was a business agent when he helped negotiate the PLA for Lambeau Field. Heyer also worked as a foreman and taught classes at the technical college. He served on several committees at his local union and on numerous labor committees in Wisconsin. He was elected business manager in 2004.

In 2007, he made the move to Washington, D.C., when he was appointed an international representative in the Construction Department. Seven years later, he moved to Personnel — a position that wasn't always easy, he said.

"That's a real big adjustment" to what he had previously done in the IBEW, Heyer said. "It's almost the exact opposite of what you've been doing your whole career because now, it's like you're on the management side.

"I think the time I spent being a supervisor and a foreman was helpful. Also, in being a business manager, you're dealing with a lot of trust. You're handling benefits. That's a big part of being personnel director."

Outside Construction Organizing Director Ed Mings worked closely with Heyer in recent years to organize the IBEW's annual motorcycle ride. The event has drawn more than 500 participants and 300 motorcycles.

"You couldn't ask for anybody to step up more than Jack did," Mings said. "Every time we needed something done, he was there. You never know what you're going to be doing during the ride. Selling shirts, checking people in, whatever. Jack was always there and did what needed to be done."

Heyer and his wife purchased a home near Menominee, Mich., in the state's Upper Peninsula and within Local 158's jurisdiction. He plans to devote more time to his hobbies of hunting, fishing, golf and woodworking and spending time with his three adult children and eight grandchildren.

"I always enjoyed working beside our brothers and sisters and doing what I could to move the IBEW and the industry forward," Heyer said. "Working for the IBEW has been a great career, and I'll always be grateful to everyone who made it possible in every facet of this organization."

The officers and staff thank Brother Heyer for his service and wish him a happy retirement.


Jack Heyer

Mike Knox

Mike Knox, whose lightning ascent to job steward after joining Coralville, Iowa, Local 1634 in 1998 foretold a promising future in the union, was appointed director of the Personnel Department in December.

The appointment comes just 10 months after he moved to the International Office from Iowa, where he had served as a lead organizer in the Eleventh District for five years.

It was Knox's impressive work in the field that earned him an appointment as an international representative in the Political and Legislative Affairs Department just last February. Two months later he was summoned to meet with International President Lonnie R. Stephenson and International Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth W. Cooper.

"I was trying to think of anything I did wrong," he recalls with a laugh. He was stunned when they asked him to take over for retiring Personnel Director Jack Heyer, but they made a persuasive case.

The leaders had seen Knox's people skills up close when he helped organize 1,400 Baltimore Gas & Electric workers several years ago. "I get along with everybody," he said. "And I'm familiar with contracts and the grievance procedure, the kinds of things they felt would be an asset as personnel director."

The former business manager who recognized Knox's potential 20 years ago agrees.

"Mike brings something to the table on both sides," said Frank "Tad" Gusta, an Eleventh District international representative who was heading Local 1634 when he asked Knox to be a union steward at Rockwell Collins.

"He's a good communicator and a good listener," Gusta said. "He's a problem solver — he's really, really good at getting people together on the same page."

Brian Heins, who followed Gusta as business manager, called Knox "one of the friendliest people I've ever met," and said that bodes well for him and employees in his new job.

"Sometimes doing what we do, it doesn't seem like there are a lot of HR directors who are friendly," said Heins, now an organizing coordinator in Iowa. "There should be more HR people like Mike. I think labor relations would go a lot better."

Knox was born in Yokosuka, Japan, and lived in Naples, Italy; Guam; Maine and Georgia while his father was in the U.S. Navy. Eventually the family moved to Virginia, then to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He chose to make Virginia his home again when he and his wife, Tess, relocated to the Washington area last year.

The father of two grown daughters, Jazmin and Alexis, and grandfather to 1-year-old Aurora, Knox is a sports enthusiast who played softball in Iowa for 30 years. He was inducted into both the Cedar Rapids and the Iowa Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

After high school, Knox worked in a Cedar Rapids meatpacking plant, a T-shirt factory and at cornstarch manufacturer Penford Products, all of them union jobs.

His tenure in meatpacking ended with a strike that ultimately put the intractable company out of business. "We took a couple of cuts but we got to the point where we were almost working for nothing," he said. "We wouldn't agree to terms."

Knox was hired by the Rockwell Collins plant in nearby Coralville in the spring of 1998, just weeks before 600 members of Local 1634 walked out for 16 days over wages and benefits. As a probationary employee he couldn't officially strike, but he didn't cross the picket line.

Soon after, Gusta approached Knox about serving as a steward representing 25 members in the plant's GPS division.

"One of my problems as business manager was trying to find people who had union experience to become leaders," he said. "Mike had that experience." Knox went on to become the plant's chief steward, while also serving as a member, then chair, of the local's executive board.

Ultimately, Gusta and Heins urged Knox to run for business manager. Instead, he opted to become a local organizer at Rockwell Collins before joining the international staff in 2011. He soon had his first victory: More than 100 new members at a Kansas City, Mo., GE plant whose workers had twice voted down the union.

"I swing by there and walk through the plant when I'm in the area," he said. "They're still union to this day and they're happy about it."

Before being asked to head Personnel, Knox was enjoying his new job advocating for IBEW members and workers' issues on Capitol Hill. With the Iowa caucuses drawing presidential candidates to the state every four years, he'd met his share of famous politicians. Now he was running into them almost daily.

"It was fascinating," he said. "All these folks you see on TV, and I could say, 'Yeah, I had lunch with them last week.'"

He moved to Personnel in June to shadow Heyer for his last six months, amazed to learn the scope of the duties in the eight-member department. "I can't imagine doing this job without those six months with Jack," he said. "It was a blessing."

He's grateful to his staff, too, as they continue to help him learn the ropes. "You're only as good as your staff is and I have some of the best," he said. "I learn something new every day, and that won't change for a long time."

Citing the "IBEW name," the respect the union has earned from members and the larger labor community, he said he's honored to take on his many new responsibilities.

"The IBEW has done wonders in my life, for me and my family," Knox said. "I want to make sure I'm giving 100 percent of everything I have."

Please join the officers and staff in wishing Brother Knox every success in his new position.


Mike Knox

Richard H. Silva

Richard H. Silva, a retired Second District international representative who served the IBEW for more than 40 years, died Sept. 15 at the age of 88.

"Dick Silva was one of the hardest-working reps that I know," said John Faria, who was hired to fill Silva's shoes, juggling dozens of New England contracts, when his friend and mentor retired in 1996.

Initiated into Chelsea, Mass., Local 1499 in 1951, Silva was serving as vice president within four years. He became president in 1956 and business manager the following year, a position he held until coming aboard the international staff as a representative in 1976.

Faria, who retired as an international representative in December and is the past business manager of Pawtucket, R.I., Local 1203, watched and learned from Silva. "He was a sharp negotiator," he said, describing Silva's skillful handling of major manufacturing, telecom and broadcasting contracts.

While Silva was cautious, determined to avoid mistakes, "he was a man with passion," Faria said. "He did his job with passion. He improved the quality of life of our members. That was Dick Silva."

After retiring, Silva spent winters in Hollywood, Fla., with his wife, Blanche, who died in 2012. The annual break from life in Revere, Mass., helped him settle into retirement, which wasn't easy at first, Faria said. "He was going nuts for a while," he said. "He missed all the phone calls he used to get at home."

Silva is survived by two sons, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. The officers and staff honor Brother Silva's dedicated service and extend their condolences to his family and friends.


Richard H. Silva