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April 2023

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Frank Cloud

Fourth District International Representative Frank Cloud, a fixture in southwest Ohio labor circles for more than four decades and a leader in the IBEW's construction organizing, retired April 1.

Born and raised in Fairfield, Ohio, Brother Cloud was a good enough high school running back that he received offers to play for some small colleges and universities.

His father, journeyman wireman Doug Cloud, was a member of Hamilton, Ohio, Local 648. He reminded Frank that he wasn't exactly a stellar student.

"He knew me too well," Frank Cloud said with a laugh. "He said you can go to school close to home or you can go into the apprenticeship. He kind of steered me in the right way."

Doug Cloud went on to become Local 648's business manager. The younger Cloud began his apprenticeship in 1977, joined Local 648 in 1979 and later topped out as an inside wireman.

He didn't envision following his father into union leadership. "It just evolved over the years," Frank Cloud said. "Everything fell into place."

He began by serving as a Local 648 steward on major construction projects. In 1992, he was elected to the executive committee. Next he was hired as a project manager by signatory contractor Wagner-Smith.

"You have to learn how to deal with the different personalities and different types of people," he said. 'As a project manager, you learn how the contractors work and how they think."

Cloud was elected Local 648's president in 2004 and was appointed to replace retiring Business Manager Gary Corbin two years later. He went on to be reelected twice.

During his tenure, he was responsible for administering an $8 million Labor Department grant that provided training to IBEW members working on alternative energy sources, particularly wind.

In 2012, Cloud was asked by then-Fourth District International Vice President Kenneth W. Cooper — now the international president — to join the district staff as the state organizing coordinator for Kentucky.

"I said: 'Hell yeah, why not? Anything I can do to help the IBEW, I'll do it,'" Cloud recalled.

At the same time, he serviced locals in his home state, and in 2017 was appointed as an international representative. Cloud said he's proud that membership numbers are strong in Kentucky and Ohio, as are relationships with signatory contractors.

Another career highlight was assisting in a successful organization of workers at Asplundh, a tree-trimming company, across four states in the mid-2010s. Cloud worked closely with Louisville, Ky., Local 369, adding about 350 members to its rolls.

"The Cloud name has been around here for a long time," said Local 648 Business Manager Jeff McGuffey, who was brought on staff by Cloud and has known him for more than 30 years. "Just a good union family that cares about Local 648 and its members."

McGuffey said Cloud didn't seek to interfere with people working under him, with a philosophy to hire the best people and only get involved when necessary.

"He didn't dictate what needed to be done," said McGuffey, who also worked with Cloud on the jobsite. "He just let me do my job."

In addition to his IBEW duties, Brother Cloud served on the Butler County Board of Elections, as vice president of the county's Building & Construction Trades Council and as chairman of the Butler County Democratic Party.

His brother, also named Doug, was a journeyman lineman and Local 648 member. He died in 2015.

In retirement, Cloud plans to travel with his wife, Lisa, and "maybe hit a few casinos," he said. He has four adult children.

Cloud is a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and hopes to follow them more closely in the years ahead.

"I'm going to be 65 years old in April," Cloud said. "Regimes change, people are changing. Younger people are coming in, and I'm old school to a certain extent. Time to pass the torch on to someone else."

The officers and staff thank Brother Cloud for his many years of service and wish him a long and happy retirement.


Frank Cloud