Speaker Gallery

Guest Speakers

Robert Blakely, Operating Officer of Canada’s Building Trades Unions

Robert Blakely is the Canadian operating officer of Canada’s Building Trades Unions — and assumed this national leadership role in 2000. He is a respected voice in Ottawa for the 14 unions affiliated to the Canadian Building Trades, representing almost 450,000 skilled tradespeople across Canada. Blakely has an in-depth understanding of the Canadian mosaic and the unique challenges facing construction industry stakeholders in various provinces and trades.


Bill Brown, IMPACT Co-Chair and President & CEO of Ben Hur Construction Company

William Brown is president and chief executive officer of Ben Hur Construction Company, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Louisville. Founded in 1909, Ben Hur Construction Company and subsidiaries are providers of general construction, design/build and program management systems, structural steel fabrication and erection services and equipment installation. He has worked for Ben Hur Construction Company since 1976, and was elected president of the company in 1987. He is a member of Iron Workers Local 396 (St. Louis). Bill is the first management co-chair of the board of trustees of IMPACT.


Pat Dillon, Business Manager & Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario

Patrick J. Dillon is the business manager and secretary treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario; a position he has held since January of 1997. Dillon began his career in the construction industry as an apprentice electrician and became a journeyperson in 1966. Following 18 years of experience in the construction industry, he was elected business manager of Hamilton Local 105 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). In 1991, he was elected executive chairman of the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario. In the same year, Patrick was elected president of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario; a role he held until 1997.


Mike d’Oliveira, Deputy Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance

Mike d’Oliveira is the deputy director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), having joined the USA’s staff in April 2007. His primary responsibilities for the USA include corporate partnerships, television negotiations, strategic oversight and board relations. Prior to joining the USA, Mike founded a consulting firm that provided services to corporations interested in marketing to outdoor enthusiasts representing companies such as the Home Depot, Sears and Anheuser-Busch. He has also served as a marketing consultant on sports properties including the Olympics, NCAA Final Four, NASCAR and PGA tour events.


Will Fischer, Executive Director of the Union Veterans Council

Will Fischer is the executive director of the Union Veterans Council. He’s a Marine and served for six years with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, including a tour of duty in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq. A product of a union household, Will is also a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), District Council 51, in Washington, D.C.


Jeff Grabelsky, Associate Director of the Worker Institute at Cornell

Jeff Grabelsky is the associate director of the Worker Institute at Cornell. He develops and delivers education and training programs and provides research and technical assistance in all aspects of union affairs. Jeff is the co-coordinator of the Cornell/AFL-CIO National Labor Leadership Initiative (NLLI) and a founding faculty member of the Cornell/NYS AFL-CIO Union Leadership Institute (ULI). The programs he has worked on have reached over 300,000 unionists nationwide. Jeff began his career in the labor movement working and organizing in the steel industry in 1973, has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) for over thirty years, and is the former national organizing director of the Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO).



James Hart, President of the Metal Trades Department

James “Jimmy” V. Hart was elected president of the Metal Trades Department (MTD), AFL-CIO, by the MTD Executive Council to fill the unexpired term of the retiring president effective July 1, 2016. Throughout Brother Hart’s career as a trade unionist, he has served in a number of leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. Hart began his career in New York City as a member of Plumbers Local Union 1, UA. He was initiated into the union on March 1, 1976, where he rose through the ranks of membership as an apprentice, journeyman, instructor, foreman and local union officer. In 1999, Brother Hart was appointed as a special representative and assigned to the state of New York and later Florida. He was subsequently elected international representative and served as director of the Metal Trades Maritime and Government Employees Department. Hart served as UA key representative to the Metal Trades Department and as a council trustee.


Robbie Hunter, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council

Robbie Hunter was elected president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California at SBCTC’s 61st Convention in Santa Monica in October 2012. SBCTC is the umbrella organization for 160 unions representing 350,000 skilled construction workers. Previously, Hunter had served as executive-secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council. He was council representative for the council, starting in 2009 in charge of public sector contract negotiations and representation, as well as organizing in north Los Angeles County. Hunter is an ironworker and was the president of Local 433 (Los Angeles), from 2003 to 2009. He served on the board of the District Council of Ironworkers for California and Nevada, and as a board member/apprenticeship instructor/trainer for the joint labor management apprenticeship program in California and Nevada.


Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator for Virginia

Tim Kaine has helped people throughout his life as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher and elected official. He is one of 30 people in American history to have served as a mayor, governor and United States Senator. Tim was elected to the Senate in 2012 as a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across old lines of party, race or region. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees. He is ranking member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations and Bilateral International Development. Tim Kaine's father was a union ironworker contractor with workers represented by Iron Workers Shopmen's Local 520.


Ron Koshewitz, Director, Construction Services for Ford Motor Land Development Corp.

Ron Koshewitz is currently director, Construction Services for Ford Motor Land Development Corp. (Ford Land), the real estate arm and wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Appointed to this position in May 2007, Koshewitz has responsibility for design, engineering and construction of 77 million square feet of manufacturing space, as well as 17 million square feet of non-manufacturing Ford Motor Company owned or occupied properties in North America. Ron also serves as vice chairman of the Owner's Advisory Committee for The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) and is past chairman of the Owner's Advisory Committee for the National Maintenance Agreement Policy Committee (NMAPC).

Catherine Cortez Masto, Candidate for U.S. Senate 2016 in Nevada

Catherine Cortez Masto has spent her career fighting to protect Nevada families. Cortez Masto served two terms as Nevada’s attorney general and became well known for her integrity and leadership on behalf of Nevada families, women, and seniors. Prior to her service as Attorney General, Cortez Masto worked as an assistant county manager for Clark County, Nevada. She also served as a federal criminal prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. and was chief of staff to Governor Bob Miller.


Gregory Matte, Brigadier-General (Retired), Executive Director of The Helmets of Hardhats Canada

Brigadier-General (Retired) Gregory Matte is a former CF-18 fighter pilot and a fighter weapons instructor “Top Gun” graduate with extensive operational mission experience. He has been assigned multiple command positions during his career, including as the task force commander for all Canadian flying operations in the Balkans, as well as the commander of 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta. One of his final assignments in the military was chief of staff for the coordination of the air, land and sea security for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Brigadier-General Matte retired from the Canadian Forces in September 2010 after 29 years of service, and following an assignment in the public service and work in the private sector, was selected as the national executive director of the Helmets to Hardhats Canada program in May 2012.


Sean McGarvey, President of the North America Building Trades Unions

A glazier by trade, Sean McGarvey is the president of the North America's Building Trades Unions. Sean began his career in 1981 in Philadelphia with Glaziers Local Union 252 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), and subsequently worked his way up through various leadership positions within the IUPAT. In 2005, he was elected secretary-treasurer of North America's Building Trades Unions. In 2012 Sean was unanimously elected by the governing board of presidents of North America's Building Trades Unions, and was unanimously re-elected in 2015 by the delegates to the 69th Convention of North America's Building Trades Unions.


Jack Mesley, President, Ontario Erectors Association

Jack was the field operations manager for Canron in eastern Canada for five years and held this same position in the United States for nine years with Midwest Steel Inc., one of the largest steel erectors in the U.S. Jack has helped develop some of the fall protection systems that are currently in use for the ironworking industry. Jack is currently president of the Ontario Erectors Association; management co-chair for IMPACT`s RAB 12; employer co-chair on the Ontario Ironworkers Pension and Benefits Fund; employer co-chair on the Ironworker Trade Board at the Ontario College of Trades; employer member of Prompt Payment Ontario; employer board member of the Provincial Infrastructure Health and Safety Association; employer board member of the Ontario Construction Secretariat; and employer board member of De Novo.


Cecil Roberts, Jr. President of the United Mine Workers of America

Cecil Edward Roberts Jr., a sixth-generation coal miner and one of the labor movement’s most stirring and sought-after orators, became president of the United Mine Workers (UMWA) of America on October 22, 1995, having served as vice president of the union since December 1982. Growing up in a UMWA household on Cabin Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia, Roberts heard the stories of his family, including a great uncle, Bill Blizzard, who was a legendary organizer during the West Virginia mine wars of the 1920s and a UMWA district president under John L. Lewis. Both of Roberts’ grandfathers were killed in the mines. After military service in Vietnam and college, Roberts worked for six years at Carbon Fuels’ No. 31 mine in Winifred, West Virginia, where he served as a local union officer. In 1977, he was elected vice president of UMWA District 17. On November 9, 1982, Roberts was elected vice president of the UMWA International Union.


Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats

Darrell L. Roberts is the executive director of Helmets to Hardhats, a non-profit, that serves to help transitioning military service members, National Guard, and reservists find careers in the construction industry. Darrell served as a petty officer second class in the United States Navy and later joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. In March 2003, he was deployed to Kosovo as part of a NATO-lead, peacekeeping mission where he served as a squad leader in an infantry company. He is a journeyman sheet metal worker and a member of Central Pennsylvania Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 19, Philadelphia.


Edward Smith, President & Chief Executive Officer of Ullico, Inc.

On January 3, 2011, Edward M. Smith was elevated to chief executive officer of Ullico Inc. after serving as its president since May of 2008. Ullico Inc., founded in 1927, provides insurance and financial solutions for labor unions, union employers, union benefit funds, and union members. Prior to becoming president, Smith served as Ullico Inc.’s executive vice president from January 2007 until May 2008. Before joining Ullico, Smith had a long and distinguished career at the Laborers' International Union of North America. After joining LiUNA at age 13, he was elected business manager of Laborer's Local 773 at age 21. Smith later became international union vice president and Midwest regional manager serving over 58,000 members. He also served as assistant to the general president.


Dina Titus, U.S. Representative of the First Congressional District of Nevada

Representing Las Vegas, Nevada, Congresswoman Dina Titus has been serving Nevadans since 1988 when she was elected to the Nevada State Senate. She served as the Democratic minority leader from 1993 to 2008, all while teaching political science at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. In 2008, Dina was elected to represent the third district of Nevada in the U.S. House of Representatives, then returned to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 after being elected to represent the first district of Nevada. She is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, where she currently serves as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA).


Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO

Richard Trumka is president of the 12.5-million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country. An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Trumka is the nation’s clearest voice on the critical need to raise workers’ wages in this slow and painful recovery from the Great Recession. He heads the labor movement’s efforts to build broadly shared prosperity and to hold government and employers accountable to working families. Trumka began his career as a coal miner, and continued to work in the mines as he attended Penn State University and Villanova University Law School. In 1982, at age 33, he ran on a reform ticket and was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). There he led one of the most successful strikes in recent American history against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund. Trumka joined an insurgent campaign and was elected secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO in 1995. He became the federation’s president in 2009.


Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio

Nan’s career is distinguished by her commitment to public service, civic involvement and interest in local government. First elected to the Dayton City Commission in 2005, Nan has also served on the Montgomery County Board of Elections and as a deputy to Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith. She is a member of Corpus Christi Catholic Church and a graduate of Leadership Miami Valley. She currently serves on Greater Ohio's Community Revitalization Committee, the Learn to Earn Executive Committee for Education, the Montgomery County Planning Commission, and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees.


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