Member Spotlight: IBEW Business Representative Rick Plisko


Rick Plisko

Q: How long have you been with IBEW?


A: I got in at age 19, pretty much straight out of high school. I went to a community college and found out college life wasn't for me. My dad was an electrician, so he encouraged me to apply for an apprenticeship. I was one of the youngest people in the apprenticeship class at that time. Not long after I graduated from the program, I ended up becoming a foreman, at about age 26. A little later down the road I became a general foreman. I like to take on new challenges, whether it’s control work or fire alarm work. I always jump right into it and try to learn as much as possible on different types of projects.

Q: What made you want to follow in your dad’s footsteps?

A: Back in high school I was always intrigued by electronics, and I took those classes at Huron High School and at Washtenaw Community College. I started out building computers, but then my dad introduced me to learning about electrical systems in buildings. So I switched from computers to buildings.


Q: What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?


A: Each one of the projects are challenging. Most of my career as a foreman was working on buildings at the University of Michigan, and Pfizer when they were in town. Between those two, there were some unique buildings. When I first became a general foreman, we did a project on an eight story public health building that had a lot of laboratories, and some unique conference rooms with all glass walls, so you had to be creative with the wiring. It also had classrooms with theater seating, and each seat had to have power, so you had to be spot-on with everything. It was a big challenge for my first general foreman job.


Q: How did you end up in your current role as Business Representative, and what's it like?


A: About three years ago, I was asked by the newly appointed Business Manager Ryan Husse to come work in the IBEW 252 office. As a business representative, you’re always doing a lot of different things to improve the IBEW and promote the benefits of being in the union.


Q: What is your favorite part of your job as Business Representative?


A: I got involved with the Local at an early age. I worked with a guy named Dick Strait. He was a longtime committee member of the school apprenticeship committee, and he would tell me about all the things you can do to better the Local. He must have seen something in me because he nominated me at age 26 to be on the Executive Board, and I got voted in. On the Executive Board, I found out how much the Business Manager and the committee members do. I was on the Executive Board for six years, and then I was Vice President of the Local for 15 years. I just kept getting involved because everyone needs a voice out there. I want to help people join the IBEW so they can get a better living wage, better health care, and a better retirement.


Q: What are you most proud of, either professionally with IBEW NECA 252 or personally?


A: I was proud to be one of the younger guys to be voted in as an Executive Board member. Back then I was amazed how many people must have seen potential in me to help this Local move forward. I love this Local, and we’re going to continue trying new ideas and thinking outside of the box to keep us rolling forward.


Q. You’re very involved in the volunteer aspect of serving in the IBEW. Why is IBEW so committed to volunteering?


A: We volunteer and give back to the community to show people what the IBEW is about. We look out for each other, and we look out for our community. Recently we started a new volunteer group called the V.I.N.E. Corps, to help people with small electrical problems that they can’t afford to get fixed. These days it sometimes seems like everybody's just out for themselves, so we feel it’s really important to give back to the communities where we live and work.


Q: Why should customers choose an electrical contractor who belongs to IBEW NECA 252?


A: Choosing a NECA contractor means you know that the person doing electrical work on your home or business is following all the laws, has all the right certifications and credentials, and is highly skilled and trained to do the job right the first time. If you hire someone who doesn’t have those qualifications, you don’t know what you’re getting -- with the worst case being someone who could potentially burn your house or business down in the process.


Q: How would you describe IBEW NECA 252 in five words or less?


A: Greatest skilled workforce and contractors.