IBEW Director of Business Development Ray Kasmark recently was elected chairman of the National Lighting Bureau, a non-profit lighting-education organization backed by IBEW and a number of other associations and government agencies.

IBEW Director of Business Development Ray Kasmark recently was elected chairman of the National Lighting Bureau.

The bureau’s job is to educate the public about how proper lighting can make people’s lives better,” Kasmark said. “As installers and manufacturers of a lot of these new lighting products, IBEW members have a lot to gain by being partners in the education process.”

Serving on the bureau’s board is a great way to give IBEW members a seat at the table, he said, noting that our membership gives the union better access to major industry players such as G.E., Osram Sylvania, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Longtime IBEW partner, the National Electrical Contractors Association, was a founding member of the National Lighting Bureau in 1976. The IBEW got involved through participation in the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee, now known as the NECA/IBEW Powering America Team.

Kasmark said the IBEW only became an independent member of the bureau after the creation of the Business Development Department in 2015.

That department was the brainchild of former International President Edwin D. Hill, who introduced resolutions calling for its implementation at the 2011 IBEW convention in Vancouver, British Columbia. The department’s aim is to help boost opportunities for IBEW members and signatory contractors by engaging the owners and developers of large construction projects much earlier in the planning process.

Kasmark was appointed by Hill as the department’s first director in 2015. Hill’s son, Ed Jr., an international representative with the Business Development Department, also is a participant on the lighting bureau.

“We’ve always had a strong presence on the National Lighting Bureau,” said International President Lonnie Stephenson. “It’s great for the bureau — and more importantly for the IBEW — that we now have Ray serving in its top leadership spot.”

A member of Gary and Hammond, Ind., Local 697, Kasmark completed his apprenticeship in 1985. He served his local in a number of official capacities, including as business manager, starting in 2004. He went on to serve three terms in that role before being appointed in 2013 as the international representative for business development in IBEW’s Sixth District, which represents the Brotherhood in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The IBEW is a family affair for Kasmark — his grandfather and father were members, and two of his children are members of Local 697 as well.

The National Light Bureau’s officers serve one-year terms; Kasmark just finished a stint as the organization’s treasurer. The bureau holds four meetings a year — three in Washington, D.C., and one at the bureau’s headquarters in Shepherdstown, W. Va