We’re pleased to announce that Steven Martin is returning to the Presidency of the IBEW EPCO (Electrical Power Council of Ontario). He is taking over from outgoing president George Couch, who served after Martin’s initial term.
“Over the last three years George has done an amazing job,” Steven comments. “He was instrumental in getting a long-term nuclear contract in place, so we will have labour peace in that sector for the next 20 years. This will allow me to focus on the Line sector work that needs to be done.”
Steven’s top priority will be establishing the Line sector as a compulsory trade. He also wants to attract more workers to the trade by showing young people what a viable career choice it is. “It’s a well-kept secret that the Line sector offers a lot of great opportunities doing a variety of highly skilled jobs,” he says.
“I’m very pleased to see that Steve will be able to serve as president of the Power Council,” said Jack Dowding, former IBEW CCO Executive Chairman of Membership Development.
“He brings a wealth of experience and a line division in Local 353 that includes utility workers and is about 800 strong. Local 353 is also hosting the largest nuclear refurbishment in some time, and as all industry eyes are upon us, we need to ensure that this is a successful project. I’m certain Steve will manage this with aplomb.”
In the next few weeks Steve will be calling his first council meeting to make his 3-year plan to hit these targets.
Aiming High and Hitting the Mark
Steven has a history of achieving his goals. “I remember a conversation with my local President and mentor Barry Stevens,” he says. “He asked me where I wanted to be in five years, and I said ‘working for the local’. Then he asked me where I wanted to be in ten years, and I said ‘running the local’. And that’s pretty much what happened!” he laughs.
He is quick to point out that he owes everything he has achieved not only to his own abilities, but the hard work done by others for the good of all. “If you look at US history, you’ll notice that all the great Presidents, the real visionaries, also had a great group of people that were essential in executing the vision.”
In particular, Steven speaks highly of all the mentoring he has received as part of IBEW. “I was fortunate for the advice and guidance I’ve received. I’ve been taught a lot about labour studies – it gives you a good sense of brotherhood. If you think about ‘we’ instead of ‘me’, you’ll be much more successful.”
“There’s a lot of work that has to be done, and that I’m confident I can get done,” he declares.
Steven’s track record and determination are reasons for hope, even in times like these when the Liberal government doesn’t have the best interest of electrical workers at heart.
“Those who know me, know my nature is different than most. I have a clear view of things; I don’t sugar coat or look at things through rose-coloured glasses. I prepare for the worst, expect the best, and most importantly, I enjoy what I do.”
The Making of a Union Man
Steven’s career in the IBEW began when he was an apprentice working for a non-union company. One day he had lunch with a union organizer, and was immediately fired for it.
“That’s when I decided that the IBEW was where I needed to be.”
That was in 1987. He assisted the organizers with multiple campaigns and finally in 1990 he was sworn into the IBEW Local 353. He went to trade school soon after that and got his certification. Steven remembers the first full day he became Business Manager of his local: August 13th, 2010. “It was Friday the 13th!” he laughs.
Life With Local 353
Proud of his local, Steven can easily name a number of accomplishments that 353 has achieved. “We’re an 11,000 person local with excellent market share in our area. We have an extremely dedicated membership and the best training centres, programs and instructors available. I have an amazing, amazing executive team, with everyone complementing each other very well.”
The fact that there are so many line workers in 353 means he knows the sector intimately. “353 represents 93% of line workers, and a majority of the contractors. We’re up in buckets every time the lights go out. We’re refurbishing the Darlington and Pickering nuclear power plants, and we’re building wind farms and solar farms all over the region.
“Yet to most people we’re invisible – unless there’s a problem. That’s what I want to bring to the Line trade most of all: more visibility.”
How can members help? “The members help by doing what they do every day, doing incredible work on transmission lines and in power plants. We have a very highly skilled, dedicated, and professional group. They deserve recognition for what they do.”
“There’s a saying we have in 353,” he concludes. “In 1903, a lot of great things happened. The first World Series in baseball was played, as was the first World Cup in soccer. Harley Davidson and Husqvarna started making motorcycles, Ford started making cars, and IBEW Local 353 was born. In short, we’re in great company!”
Life With Family
Steven is married and has a grown son. He loves music, sports, and of course history. He was born in Wallaceburg, Ontario, but calls Mississauga home.