LONNIE R. STEPHENSON
IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson was born and raised in Rock Island, Ill., which borders Iowa along the Mississippi River.
He began his apprenticeship as an inside wireman in 1975 and was initiated into Rock Island Local 145 in 1976.
Lonnie was very active in his local union, and was elected vice president in 1984 and then served as president from 1987-1992. As local president, Stephenson implemented many new initiatives, including forming an active community service committee and getting the local union’s building recognized as a Red Cross Disaster Center, which was utilized during flooding of the Quad City area in 1997. He was appointed assistant business agent in 1991 and was elected business manager in 1996. As business manager, Lonnie was very aggressive in organizing, and his membership grew from 700 members to over 1,100 members during his tenure. One of Lonnie’s proudest moments as business manager was when a nonunion electrician stopped in his office to ask how he could join the IBEW because it was too strong of a union area and he had to travel for his employer to find work.
Then-International President Edwin D. Hill recognized Lonnie’s dedication and appointed him as an International Representative assigned to the Sixth District in 2002.
On September 1, 2010, Lonnie was appointed by President Hill as International Vice President of the Sixth District – which covered Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin – and was elected to a full term at the 38th International Convention in 2011.
On May 27, 2015, Lonnie Stephenson was appointed International President of the IBEW and was elected by delegates to the 39th International Convention a year later.
International President Lonnie Stephenson appointed Kenneth Cooper International Secretary-Treasurer, effective May 1, 2017.
Kenneth W. Cooper resides in Clarksburg, Maryland with his wife, Gina. Together they have raised 3 beautiful daughters and 2 amazing sons.
In May 2017, International President Lonnie R. Stephenson asked Kenny to join him as International Secretary-Treasurer and serve the IBEW as his partner leading the IBEW.
He began his career in 1985 at Local Union 688 in Mansfield, Ohio where he served a four-year apprenticeship to become a Journeyman Wireman. He served many roles at his local union including Steward, Vice President, President, Chairman Trustee for the Pension Fund, Chairman Trustee for the Annuity and Chairman of Trustees for the Health and Welfare Fund. In 1993 he was elected Business Manager.
Under his leadership the local prospered; market share for construction grew and organizing increased.
He also stayed active in his community. Taking on community roles such as Vice President of the Richland County AFL-CIO, Co-Chairman of the Richland County Building Trades, board member for the American Red Cross, United Way, Catholic Charities and Richland County Woman’s Shelter.
In 2002, Cooper relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, working for Local Union 396 as the Assistant Business Manager. While there he was instrumental in organizing five new units of workers at Nevada Power Company.
In 2006 IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill recognized his leadership skills when he asked him to serve as an International Representative for the 4th District of the IBEW.
In May 2011, Brother Cooper’s hard work and dedication to the IBEW was once again recognized when President Hill recommended to the International Executive Council that Brother Cooper be appointed as the International Vice President for the Fourth District.
He was elected in September 2011 by the delegates at the 38th International Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia and re-elected in 2016 at the 39th International Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.
Most recently, through his persistence and leadership, the IBEW celebrated one of the biggest organizing wins in our 125-year history when 1418 Baltimore Gas and Electric Employees voted to be represented by our great brotherhood.
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