LONNIE R. STEPHENSON
Lonnie R. Stephenson is the International President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing 775,000 active and retired members across North America.
In his more than 40 years in the IBEW, Stephenson has emerged as one of the leading voices for dignity and respect for all electrical workers, strong and durable labor-management partnerships, and on-the-job excellence throughout all the IBEW’s industries.
A native of Rock Island, Ill., Stephenson started as an apprentice wireman in 1975, joining Rock Island Local 145 a year later.
Active in his local, he served as steward, vice president, president and trustee of his local's Pension and Joint Apprentice Training Committees, before being appointed business agent in 1991. Five years later, he was elected business manager.
As business manager of Local 145, he made organizing his top priority, signing up both contractors and electricians to the IBEW, growing his local from 700 to more than 1,100 members during his tenure.
He also helped build strong labor-management partnerships throughout the Quad Cities area, coming together with local business and community leaders to lead the Quad Cities River Renaissance Task Force, which brought new jobs and investment to the area.
Stephenson’s commitment to growth was noticed by then-International President Edwin D. Hill, who appointed him an international representative in the Sixth District in 2002, where he served as district organizing coordinator. In 2005, he was assigned by then-International Vice President Jeff Lohman to serve in the district office as his assistant.
In 2010, he was appointed Sixth District International Vice President, and was elected to a full term by delegates to the 38th International Convention in 2011. He held that post until becoming International President in 2015. He was overwhelmingly elected to a full-term by delegates to the 39th International Convention in 2016.
Stephenson has made organizing his top priority, and under his watch, the IBEW has continued to grow bigger and stronger each year. He has also continued to promote the Code of Excellence program, cementing strong IBEW-management partnerships throughout the electrical industry and showcasing the benefits of an IBEW workforce.
He serves on the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO, the Governing Board of Presidents for North America’s Building Trades Unions, the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Energy Institute and the Center for Energy Workforce Development and as Labor Vice-Chair of the Council on Competitiveness.
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.