The 2016 Construction & Maintenance Conference brought another enlightening Owner’s Panel. Hosted and led by long time industry expert Richard Barnes, we heard from Richard Kasper of Consumer Energy and Gregory Frank Brazaitis of Energy Transfer Equity, L.P.

This years themes included safety, how to bring your “A” game on the job, and the importance of investing in the future of the electrical industry.


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Transcript: 2016 Construction & Maintenance Owner’s Panel

Hello and welcome to another edition of IBEW Hour Power News Briefs, I’m Matthew Walton.


It’s that time of year again for our coverage of the Owner’s Panel at the annual Construction & Maintenance Conference in Washington.


This segment deals with the brass tacks of doing our best on the jobs we have today.


Long time industry expert Richard Barnes hosted the session. Richard asked some questions of our guests, Greg Brazaitis from Energy Transfer Equity, and Richard Kasper from Consumers Energy.


These two industry leaders confirmed the thought that we have to bring our “A” game to the job. But one item they absolutely confirmed—there is a more important emphasis on safety than ever before.


Richard Kaspar: Director, Consumers Energy

“Safe, efficient, effective….talks about the safety of the IBEW  increased attention over the past 10 years…safety and quality are paramount.”


Unsurprisingly, labor costs are a key element in the decision making process, but certainly not always the only element. Another major factor is helping the customer get to the market quickly by on time delivery of their investment.


One insight of particular interest was Richard Kaspar’s comment about “it’s not enough to have enough to have a craftsman or woman focus on their duties in a narrow sense. They need to be provided with a broader view.


Richard Kaspar: Director, Consumers Energy

“Involvement breeds commitment…one thing that bugs me is when they only tell the contractor the small part they are working on…..talk about big picture…

you are only as strong as weakest link….  And every company including your company, not everyone is hitting on this. If you can continue to bring everyone up to these standards. Focusing on the technology is essential, that’s the reason we hire the IBEW, a…..very skilled and trained workforce.”


Gregory Brazaitis: Chief Compliance Officer, Energy Transfer Equity, L.P.

“When we look around our company as an example …there isn’t a person that doesn’t have gray hair, mine too…the folks below us is a great opportunity. Passing on these big projects, how you move things forward as far as keeping the company healthy. That is a huge challenge. I’m not sure how you are going through with making sure your apprenticeships are solid that you are keeping up with the times as far as people that are retiring. The graphic was really eye opening.”


We hope you enjoyed hearing from the customer and provide some insights on the construction world. Thanks for the click, we will see you next time right here on Hour Power.


Kenny Cooper

IBEW International President Kenny Cooper has been working with the IBEW Hour Power team since he was appointed International President in 2023. President Cooper creates short videos entitled “President’s Message” to bring important announcements and inspirational messages right to your computer screen.

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