IBEW Lights Up Planetarium

July 15, 2014


From left: Frank Jacobs, IBEW Local 1 business manager; Doug Martin, executive vice president of NECA’s St. Louis chapter; and Jim Curran, executive vice president of Electrical Connection, at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis on July 4.

This Fourth of July, the St. Louis Science Center’s James S. McDonnell Planetarium celebrated with a light spectacle much closer to the ground. Local 1 helped light the planetarium dome’s state-of-the-art LED display, illuminated in alternating colors of patriotic red, white and blue throughout the city’s holiday festivities.


The planetarium’s signature large dome, which curves in out like a modified hourglass, is comprised of outside panels capable of producing light in 16 million moving colors, patterns and images. Through the Electrical Connection, a labor-management partnership between the IBEW and the St. Louis-area chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Local 1 helped the planetarium commemorate its 50th anniversary last year by sponsoring the installation of the LED panels.

“The red, white and blue lighting of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium is especially symbolic given the commitment of St. Louis Science Center and the Electrical Connection to advance STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] education in the U.S. and locally,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection. “We hope it will be a reminder to thousands of the critical need in America to improve student performance in STEM subjects to build a stronger workforce for the future.”

Over 19 million visitors have enjoyed free admission into the science center’s hands-on exhibits in life sciences, energy and engineering, designed to spark the interest of younger generations. Local 1 members appreciate just how vital it is to foster this education, and stay competitive in the face of emerging trends in technology.

“For more than 70 years, we have invested in training – at no taxpayer expense – that has produced more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any entity in Missouri,” said Frank Jacobs, Local 1 business manager. “Our decades of experience in highly complex electrical installations is leveraged with a number of forward-thinking organizations who want to create greater economic opportunities locally and statewide.”

Douglas R. Martin, executive vice president of NECA’s St. Louis chapter, said that the partnership with the science center was a natural fit. “Our workforce and our contractors are at the forefront of technology that is changing our manufacturing and research facilities, how we produce and deliver energy, and the electronics that are staples of everyday life.”

To learn more about the Electrical Connection and its work in Missouri,click here.