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November 2020

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Darrin Golden

Darrin Golden has been appointed senior executive assistant to the international officers, effective Sept. 15.

"It's an honor and a privilege to give back to this brotherhood that has given me so much," Golden said.

Brother Golden brings a wealth of experience to his new role, including his prior appointment, in 2017, as senior executive assistant to the international secretary-treasurer, where he worked with International Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth Cooper on the IBEW's finances and had oversight of international office departments Engineering, Pension and Reciprocity, Per Capita, Accounting, Personnel and Investments.

His new position is in many ways an expansion of that portfolio but also more outward-facing, Golden said, with oversight of all IBEW operations and branches on behalf of the officers.

"I'm always up for a good challenge," Golden said. "And I've got some great directors and other staff to work with along the way."

The Illinois native comes from an IBEW family that includes his father and younger brother, Alan, who is currently the business manager of Rockford Local 364, Golden's home local. He was initiated in 1991 and eventually became the business manager in 2007. He served in that role until 2013, when he was tapped for an international representative position with the Council on Industrial Relations/Bylaws and Appeals Department. In 2014, he was promoted to director of the department.

"I've been IBEW my whole life, and that's a great feeling," he said.

Golden came to the IBEW after four years in the Navy, where he served as an Aviation Electronics Technician and Naval Aircrewman. He also served for another four years in the Naval Reserves while working toward journeyman status and using the G.I. Bill to finance community college classes at night.

The former apprentice instructor is a graduate of the National Labor College, where he earned his bachelor's degree in union leadership and administration. He also holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore and attended Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, where he learned bargaining tactics and strategies alongside both labor leaders and company executives. His academic credentials also include graduating from the National Training Institute for Apprenticeship Instructors at the University of Tennessee.

"Every hat you wear over your career teaches you something new," Golden said.

In addition to the experience on his résumé, Golden says he also carries advice from his father with him every day.

"He used to say, 'Use your ears more than your mouth,' and 'Always leave whatever you're working on just a little better than you found it,'" Golden said. "So, I try to listen twice as much as I talk, and it's served me well over my 30 years in this union."

Golden's father, a D-Day veteran, served honorably in Europe during World War II and hopped around afterward, going back to the Air Force for a while, until his brother introduced him to the Ironworkers local in Rockford. Based on the veteran's military experience as a radio repairman and communications specialist though, he was ultimately directed to the IBEW, which put him to work almost immediately.

"He had many different jobs up to that point, but never really a career," Golden said. "But soon after that he got married and then I was born. The IBEW changed his life."

That's the message Golden says he takes with him in everything he does.

"I'm always an organizer," he said. "I love my union and I'd do anything for it."

Golden says he's thankful for the wisdom of International President Lonnie R. Stephenson and Secretary-Treasurer Cooper and all he's learned from them.

"It's been nothing short of amazing," Golden said. "We truly do change lives."


Darrin Golden

Brian O. Threadgold

Brian Threadgold has been appointed senior executive assistant to the international secretary-treasurer, replacing Darrin Golden.

The position is Threadgold's fourth in three years, a remarkable ascension through the ranks of the International staff.

While attending Emporia State University with the goal of being an elementary school teacher, Brother Threadgold said he learned about the IBEW from a cousin who was a third-generation member.

"I've always believed that the brotherhood is what you make of it, and if you decide to embrace the fundamentals of it, then it can take you anywhere," he said.

It was less than nine years from his initiation as an apprentice in 1998 until he was appointed president of Topeka, Kan., Local 226. He was elected to the first of two terms as business manager in 2010.

He served on the Kansas AFL-CIO executive board and chaired both the Kansas Association of Electrical Workers and the Northeast Kansas Building and Trades Council.

In 2017, International President Lonnie R. Stephenson appointed Threadgold to work for the Council on Industrial Relations, a labor-management group that arbitrates and settles bargaining, grievance and other disputes that have reached an impasse between IBEW locals and signatory contractors.

In short order, he was needed elsewhere. In 2018, Stephenson asked Brother Threadgold to head the Per Capita Department and oversee the massive work of streamlining the dues and audit process. While most per capita reports were made electronically, the way the International used and audited the reports was antiquated and inefficient.

One year later, Stephenson again asked Threadgold to take on a new challenge, appointing him director of the Pension and Reciprocity Department. Again, his task was to wrestle the enormous flow of information and bend it into more modern and efficient processes.

In his three years, Threadgold has now become intimately familiar with the core of the International Secretary-Treasurer's responsibilities. When the senior executive assistant position opened, he was, Stephenson said, the obvious choice.

"Brian has proven himself to be very capable as director of both our Pension and Per Capita department operations since almost the very first day he started at the International Office," Stephenson said. "Due to his broad knowledge of the day to day operations of both those departments, Brian was a natural fit for the senior executive assistant to the IST and I look forward to his continued success."

"I am looking forward to new challenges and to working with International Secretary-Treasurer Cooper," he said. "My belief is that the best way to lead is to serve. The ideals of this brotherhood make that easy. I will always be eternally grateful for what the IBEW has made possible for me, my wife Lori and our kids, Audrey, Whitney, Delaney and Archer."

Please join the officers and staff in wishing Brother Threadgold continued success in his new role.


Brian O. Threadgold

Ryan T. O'Leary

Ryan T. O'Leary has been appointed by International President Lonnie R. Stephenson as director of the Pension Department, effective Sept. 15.

O'Leary, who previously served the union as an international representative with the Council on Industrial Relations/Bylaws and Appeals Department at the International Office in Washington, replaces Brian Threadgold, whom Stephenson appointed senior executive assistant to the international secretary-treasurer.

In 2000, O'Leary was initiated into Waterloo, Iowa, Local 288 shortly after he graduated high school, where he had taken classes on basic electricity and electronics. "I always did like that," he said. "By my senior year, I just knew college wouldn't have been the best move for me.

"So, I went down to the union hall and got into a co-op program," he said. There he gained a lot of great experience working as a "shop hand," he said, doing basic grunt work for various electrical contractors before his acceptance into an IBEW apprenticeship. "I always liked to work with my hands," he said.

O'Leary pointed to the large labor presence in the Hawkeye State, especially with farm equipment manufacturer John Deere operating several union-represented factories and facilities near Waterloo, Dubuque, Des Moines and the Quad Cities. He himself comes from a strong labor family; his father, a retired member of the United Auto Workers, instilled in him the importance of being involved with the union. "So, any time they needed help with picnics, parades, get-out-the-vote, trash pick-up — you name it, I'd volunteer for it," he said.

In 2008, not long after he finished his apprenticeship and became a journeyman inside wireman, O'Leary was encouraged to run for vice president of Local 288 to fill a vacancy.

"Ryan and I always thought the same way," said current Local 288 Business Manager Chuck Kacher. "We didn't always agree, but I always thought he was a standup guy."

On top of being a fine wireman, Kacher said, O'Leary has always cared about the membership. "For him, it was always about the betterment of the brotherhood," he said. "He walked it; he didn't just talk it."

Two years later, O'Leary was elected business manager of Local 288. While he was serving in that role, he was also picked to be one of the two 11th District business manager representatives on the CIR. Then, in 2018, Stephenson appointed O'Leary to serve as an international representative in the CIR/Bylaws and Appeals Department.

"Ryan sat as our 'point man' during our quarterly CIR meetings and would be one of the union's primary negotiators," said CIR/Bylaws and Appeals Director Mike Kwashnik. "He had a questioning attitude and excellent ideas, which is essential when trying to find resolutions to tough industry issues.

"I will personally miss him in the department because we had an excellent working relationship and he was a tremendous asset to it," Kwashnik said.

Pension security and reform measures before Congress are things O'Leary intends to keep an eye on as director, including the IBEW's continued support for the Butch Lewis Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives in 2019 and calls for the offering of government-backed loans to troubled pension plans to keep them from collapsing and bringing down the whole system.

"I was a little disappointed about Ryan's move to Washington," said Kacher, who is good friends with O'Leary outside of work. "I lost my fishing buddy, but the Pension Department will be in good hands with him."

O'Leary also hopes to "keep up the good work Brian [Threadgold] has done," he said. "Let's keep moving forward in technology and efficiency, being progressive and using all the tools we're offered to benefit the membership. That's the direction business is going.

"IBEW members work in the most technologically advanced trade," he said. "If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that we have to be prepared. Let's be cutting edge."

Please join the officers and staff in wishing Brother O'Leary much success in his new position.


Ryan T. O'Leary