The Electrical Worker online
September 2022

My IBEW Story
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Regina Campbell, Journeyman Wireman
Folsom, N.J., Local 351

"I was working in an office typing and answering phones and working a second, part-time job as a cashier and customer service representative to make ends meet. My goal was to put myself though college, but I realized quickly that I would never be able to afford it.

My father was a subcontractor who installed HVACs for Sears. He told me that kind of work would be 'too heavy' for me. But he always had an electrician following him to hook the HVACs up, so he suggested I go into electrical work.

I enrolled in a course at a vocational school in our area.

Local 351 contacted the school and asked if any women were interested in applying for its apprenticeship program. I was 19 and had no idea what a union was but my dad told me to pursue it. 'Let them pay for your education,' he said. 'Then get your contractor's license and work with me.' I was nervous when I went for my interview but pushed through it and never looked back.

I planned to leave after finishing my apprenticeship, but I began to understand and appreciate the IBEW, and I've been a member for 38 years. I've never had to worry about money, even during lean times. I had three children later in life and have been able to raise them as a single mom. Being an IBEW member has shown all of them how to be a responsible adult, both ethically and financially.

I'm close to retirement now and I am working with our local's president to form a women's committee. I think it's important to mentor young members, both men and women, on the importance of being an IBEW member. I've been through many changes during my career but not one regret in following this path, and I want to leave my local better than I found it."