Kenny Lucas, IBEW Local 64 president/organizer, outside union hall.

Lucas makes move to Local 64 leadership role  

After more than 20 years as a journeyman electrician, Kenny Lucas is taking on new challenges as the president/organizer for IBEW Local 64. He’s adjusting from life on job sites to helping manage about 430 union members.

He’s responsible for building and monitoring membership and leading union meetings. Lucas also stays aware of what’s happening with the apprenticeship, pension, and health and welfare.

“There are so many different ins and outs, and I’m learning so much all the time. A lot of questions are about hours, health benefits and pension. Most people want to make sure everything is going in the right direction,” Lucas said.

It often takes some investigation, but he says he never wants to be the person who can’t find the right answers.

Kenny Lucas, president/organizer, IBEW Local 64.

A legacy of leadership

Lucas noted that he follows a strong line of leadership at Local 64.

“We’ve had some long-standing membership loyalty. Everyone leading had a certain way of doing things. Before me, Cody and Scott brought a different perspective, technology-wise, from the previous officeholders, and now I’m just trying to carry on the new ideas.”

Cody Hilliard is Local 64’s business manager. He took over for Scott Satterlee in the final months of 2023. Satterlee is now IBEW International representative for business development in the 4th district.

“I spent a lot of time in my apprenticeship learning the electrical trade from Kenny on multiple projects,” Hilliard said. “Having the opportunity to work with him again, years later, serving our local is exciting. He brings experience and knowledge to the table and has been a major asset in my ability to transition into my new role.”

Members of IBEW Locals 64 and 573 working together at a charity event.

Staying close to the apprenticeship

Along with the promotion, Lucas remains involved with the Youngstown JATC. He’s been an apprenticeship instructor for three years.

“Because of meetings and afterhours events, I’ve had to scale back on teaching. Finding a balance within the job can sometimes be challenging.”

However, he finds it well worth the time to draw attention to the electrical trade.

“I tell apprentices it can be rough at certain times – working and going to school. I tell them to stay with it and keep a good attitude because it eventually pays off.”

Aside from great pay and benefits, Lucas pushes the opportunities for growth and no student debt.

“Not that anyone is guaranteed to make it through the apprenticeship, but I would say there’s more structure pushing you in a specific direction – rather than different paths you’d have in college.”

Lucas on site during the early stages of construction at the Austintown racino.

Shoptalk and trends

Local 64 has steady projects but predicts things will be picking up even more in late spring and summer.

“There’s a rehabilitation hospital and behavioral health facility going up in Liberty. It seems health care facilities are having a spike,” Lucas said. “Freshmark in Salem has ongoing work, and a bid is out for Meijer in Austintown. We haven’t heard back yet on that.”

The electric vehicle industry is also ramping up, and electricians are ready.

“It seems EV will be more and more prominent. It will work itself out, but it’s coming, one way or another. That appears to be where everything is going,” he said.

It’s a different story for solar energy.

“Solar in this area hasn’t quite caught on. It’s happening in Steubenville, but here, progress is much slower, and we’re usually a couple years behind the curve on some trends.”

Despite that, Lucas says training for EV and solar is incorporated into the apprenticeship, and it’s also offered to journeymen.

He believes Local 64 is steady in the way it operates, and he hopes to continue growing the membership and thriving into the future.

“We’re always gauging the needs of the local and the needs of contractors, and we try to work it out the best way possible.”

NECA-IBEW Electricians makes up a highly trained union workforce in the area. We’re an association of IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown, IBEW Local 573 in Warren and signatory electrical contractors throughout the Mahoning Valley.