The historic labor leader Samuel Gompers once said that labor wants “more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice” and “more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.” This sentiment can be seen today with the IBEW Founders’ Scholarship.

Named to honor our founding fathers, the scholarships are awarded annually. The intent is to contribute to the personal development of the winners as well as help them further the shared goal of organizing all electrical working men and women. This year’s winners are Gregory Inglut and Ronald Puleo.

The Founders’ Scholarship pays $200 per semester credit up to $24,000 toward an associate, bachelor’s or postgraduate degree that “will further the electrical industry overall.” The deadline to apply for the 2016 Founders' Scholarship is May 1. The application can be found here.

Gregory Inglut

Assistant Business Manager
Gregory Inglut, Buffalo, N.Y., Local 41.

Buffalo, N.Y., Local 41 Assistant Business Manager Gregory Inglut has wanted to go back to school for a while. When he finishes, with a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration, he knows it will help him better manage his local.

“It will help me be more competitive, in negotiations with employers and in other aspects of my work as an assistant business manager,” said Inglut, a journeyman wireman by trade.

Inglut is a member of the executive committee and previously served on the membership development committee.

“Greg is an integral part of everything we do here at Local 41,” said Business Manager Michael Gaiser. “Not only with his assistant business manager duties, but also with our volunteer projects and the RENEW group.”

He has organized clothing drives, blood drives and Christmas gift giving, among other activities for churches and other community groups. He also responded to the call for aid during Hurricane Katrina.

“Greg is a compassionate guy and he understands that he is in his position to represent the members and their well-being,” said Local 41 Membership Development Coordinator Dominic Montaldi. “Even during his time in the field, he was a respected and qualified foreman.”

Inglut is currently enrolled at Empire State College part-time. He says he has about five semesters left to earn his bachelor’s degree. He is undecided about where he will pursue his master’s, but is thankful for the scholarship that will help him obtain it.

“It’s a great thing that the IBEW does. More people should apply,” Inglut said.

Ronald Puleo

Recording Secretary Ronald Puleo,
Sacramento, Calif., Local 340.

For Sacramento, Calif., Local 340 Recording Secretary Ronald Puleo, unionism is a calling, not just a steady paycheck. In pursuing his bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, Brother Puleo hopes to help reverse declining market share in his Northern California local by motivating the membership to take it back.

“Ron is one of the brothers that’s always there,” said Local 340 business representative Frank Albert. “[He is] helping with community projects, picnic committees, volunteering for precinct walking or phone banking.”

In addition to his role as recording secretary, Brother Puleo is also one of his local’s health and welfare trustees and serves on the local’s political action committee. Over his more than 15 years with the IBEW, he has been a member of the Local 340’s executive board, public relations committee and community service committee.

“I’m interested in coordinating effective policies … in bringing people together,” Puleo wrote in his scholarship application, citing the need for a local union – and the broader labor movement – to work as a single unit rather than as a collection of individual parts.

“I’d like to be in the business office, maybe even run for office,” Puleo said, “and getting my degree, learning the skills needed to lead my brothers and sisters in this movement is an important step in that.”

Brother Puleo is currently enrolled in an online bachelor’s degree program at Penn State that he is scheduled to complete in 2018.

Puleo, said Local 340 Business Manager Tom Okumura, “believes in unionism and fairness for all working people, and he definitely deserves to receive this award.”