By CARL GREEN
St. Louis – Tom George, IBEW Local 1’s veteran president, is retiring after a long and honorable career with Local 1 and as state representative. Local 1’s new president is Don Bresnan, Jr.
George has been the elected and re-elected president of Local 1 since 1998. He has been an IBEW member for 51 years. He will officially retire in June.
He was elected and re-elected state representative from the 74th District between 1998 and 2006, when he was termed out, serving as chairman of both the Labor and Workforce Development committees.
Pat White, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, said he will continue to consult with George even though he is stepping down as local president. White presented George with an award from the Labor Council at last month’s delegates meeting congratulating him on his retirement and thanking him for his many years of service to the Council.
“Tom has been an asset to me for many years,” White said. “He probably has forgotten more about politics than most people know. He was my state rep when he was in the House.
“I have called on Tommy numerous times for advice on union and political issues, for years,” White added. “We will miss his leadership and experience on our board, but knowing Tommy, his phone will always be on and he won’t be going anywhere.”
Bresnan became vice president of Local 1 in 2012 after serving on the Examining Board.
Several other changes were made to the leadership of Local 1, which has offices in St., Louis and Cape Girardeau: Frank Valleroy, Jr., replaces Bresnan as vice president, and Chris Clermont is replacing John Kahrhoff as recording secretary. Both Valleroy and Clermont are leaving the Examining Board. The new Examining Board will be made up of Tom George plus Sylvester Taylor and Joshua Peniston.
Also, James Reinheimer, Jr., and Steven Dussold are being added to the Executive Board. James Douglas remains financial secretary and David Roth remains the treasurer.
QUITE A CAREER
Frank Jacobs, business manager of Local 1, described George’s varied career at a retirement event.
In 1992 and ’93, George was on the Examining Board. From 1994 to ’96, he was on the Executive Board. He was registrar from 1995 to 1998 and an organizer and business rep from 1996 to 1998. In 1997, he was elected vice president.
George first worked as a Local 1 member in 1965 at Frank Adams, became a residential trainee in 1968 and finished the program in 1971. In 1974, he became a residential journeyman, and in 1981, a journeyman wireman. Over the years he served as steward, foreman and general foreman.
While he was in the Legislature, some of his committee appointments were to the Natural Economic Resources Committee; Insurance Committee; Community, Energy and Technology Committee; and Employment Security, Unemployment Benefits and Workers Compensation Committee. In 2011, he was appointed to the Missouri Health and Education Facilities Authority.
Jacobs noted that George has held many other Labor positions: vice president and delegate to the Missouri state AFL-CIO, trustee and delegate to the Missouri State Building and Construction Trades Council, vice president and delegate to the St. Louis Labor Council, vice president to the Missouri State Conference of Electrical Workers and delegate to the St. Louis Building Trades Council. He served as Labor liaison to Governor Bob Holden’s campaign, as a charter member of the North County Labor Club and as a member of the St. Ferdinand Democratic Club, being named the Thomas Eagleton Grass Roots Democrat of the Year in 1992.
With Local 1, George was elected secretary of the Voluntary Fund in 1980 and judge of the union election in 1981. He was a night instructor from 1984 to 1989, and an elected delegate to the international convention in 1986, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016.
George also served for six years with the 138th Infantry of the Missouri National Guard and was honorably discharged. He attended O’Fallon Technical High School and Washington University and graduated from the IBEW Apprenticeship Trajning School. A resident of Florissant, he is married to Joanne, and they have four children.
Said Jacobs, “President George, it is an honor that I get to thank you, for all the working men and women in the State of Missouri, but my greatest honor is thanking you for your 51 years of IBEW membership and your 36 years of being intricately involved in the greatest IBEW local union in the country.”