Reflections ... Lessons in Leadership

I recently had the privilege to attend the retirement ceremony of Mr. Doug Banes, former VP of the UBC, and the visible leader of the UBC Millwrights for 20+ years. As he and others reflected on over 50 years of service to the UBC craftspeople, I was reminded of numerous leadership lessons. Mr. Banes built many loyal, impactful relationships over the years. He valued and advocated for the dignity of every craftsperson. He took pride in his craftsmanship, whether as a millwright building power plants or as a labor leader building the future for the next generations of craft. And Mr. Banes had fun – he always had a good joke to tell.

What Mr. Banes has accomplished in his 50+ years in the industry is impressive. There are three other lessons I have most reflected on in the days since Mr. Banes retirement that I also wanted to specifically highlight.

  1. Mr. Banes is a family man. He had many of his family in attendance the night of his retirement ceremony, including his wife Jan of 59 years. I had the pleasure of speaking with them for a couple of hours recently. What a pair! Working in our industry can be challenging for families. It is rare and precious to find such dedication and love. We must never take for granted the collective sacrifice of our families that allows us the opportunity to serve this industry.

  2. Mr. Banes focused on the success of others. As a labor leader, it goes without saying that Mr. Banes served his fellow craft brethren. Yet he also understood that to serve them and their success, he needed to stress customer and contractor success. When the customer and contractor are successful, the craftspeople continue to receive sustained, improved work opportunities. Thus Mr. Banes maintained close customer and contractor partnerships, exemplified by a rare occurrence at Mr. Banes’ retirement ceremony. The keynote speaker that night was Mr. Bryan Hanson, President & Chief Nuclear Officer at Exelon, one of our largest customers. That’s right, a major management leader flew into Vegas for the opportunity to honor a major labor leader. In a climate often thought of as contentious, this is a great example of how tripartite collaboration between customer, contractor, and labor leads to success for all.

  3. “Attitude! Attitude! Attitude!” If you have heard Mr. Banes speak, you have heard him stress Attitude. Not the old school attitude of the “tough guy” union construction worker; rather the attitude of a professional craftsperson. Show up everyday with the mentality to be safe, deliver quality work, and be a shining light to those around you for unyielding professionalism and positivity.

These lessons are Mr. Banes’ legacy. He now leaves our industry in our hands. What Attitude will we show up with? May it be the Attitude that Mr. Banes brought everyday.

—APM President & CEO, Jake Locklear