Today, the partnership between Ohio University and the IBEW is as strong as can be, but it wasn’t always that way. 20 years ago, the IBEW wasn’t involved with any of the electrical work at the university, now, IBEW Local 972 does a majority of the work.

Through hard work, dedication, and time spent not shying away from challenging jobs, the partnership between the two couldn’t be stronger.

There is always work to be done at the university, from stadium lighting to reconstructing academic building, IBEW Local 972 and KAL Electric is always there to do it.

To download this video, click here.Matthew Walton

Transcript – 20 Year Partnership Between Ohio University and the IBEW Going Strong

20 years ago here at Ohio University the IBEW was doing zero percent of the work on campus but today local 972 is doing the majority of the electrical work and the story on how that happened took a lot of time and hard work.

It first started with union contractor KAL Electric seeing the opportunities that Ohio University presented.

Troy FerrellTroy Ferrell – Business Manager, Local 972 “It wasn’t until the mid late 80s that our contractors started realizing the work that was here and wanted to be a part of it. That’s how KAL Electric got formed. The IBEW saw the opportunities as well and we moved back in to try and capture some of this work.”

And it was work that other contractors found too challenging and turned down that helped KAL Electric get their foot in the door.

Dirk Walton – Owner KAL Electric Inc.“We started to get jobs that nobody else wanted to do, they were too tough. Time frames were too critical and we were able to do those jobs with our IBEW journeyman. Our jobs were the impossible ones thatDirk Walton weren’t able to get done, but we made a reputation to be able to do those things.”

Local 972 finished several jobs at the university, including upgrading the football stadium lighting, which meant installing six 145 ft. concrete light poles. Each structure had 36 fixtures.

Here at Ohio University athletics is everything and the new lights made football that much more exciting.

It is through these lights that the community and school come together to share in an experience that is bigger than just a football game.

As the university strives for excellence, so does that IBEW. It is a shared value that is the foundation of this partnership.

Matt Molde – General Manager, Ohio IMG Sports Marketing “I know that what the IBEW stands for his quality. It’s a separating factor between what they are doing and the work that is being done by non-unions.  That kind of reputation and Matt Moldebrand is a great fit for us. University athletics is about quality and standard of excellence and that is what the IBEW strives for as well.”

Currently, Local 972 has multiple projects going on at the university. They are remodeling McCracken Hall, the School of Business, by adding classrooms, lecture halls, and offices.

The university is also going green by having the IBEW help with converting a coal power plant to a natural gas power plant.

They are also upgrading the Corrosion and Multiphase Technology building.

And of course there is always ongoing maintenance on all the facilities throughout the university.

But getting all of this work done didn’t happen overnight. It took building a good reputation.

Troy Ferrell – Business Manager, Local 972 “The relationship with Ohio University and the IBEW is great. They have provided a lot of work for our members and it’s year round work. It’s a lot of good, clean commercial work for our workers.

To continue to get this good, clean commercial work, the IBEW knew they had more to do.

Troy Ferrell – Business Manager, Local 972 “We are trying to build a better relationship with the university through the advertising we are doing at the basketball games and football games. We want to see that relationship grow both for the university and the IBEW.”

Matt Molde – General Manager, Ohio IMG Sports Marketing “It’s a great partnership for us to have, the IBEW is a big part of our community, obviously very involved in the community and the university. It’s a partnership that shows a visible connection between the university and the athletic program and the IBEW.”

Developing partnerships with owners through sponsorships and building relationships is nothing new to IBEW locals in this area.

Troy Ferrell – Business Manager, Local 972 “Sponsorship of the games is not a new idea, that’s something the IBEW has been doing in this region for a long time. Other locals have done programs exactly like this, we didn’t reinvent the reel we just took the ideas that they had and saw they were working and put it to work in our local.”

Building relationships, being a part of the community, and standing behind quality craftsmanship is not reinventing the wheel; it’s what the IBEW is all about.


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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