Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Bob Bartlett – WECA’s diligent and enthusiastic Membership Director, who celebrated his 20th working anniversary with WECA this June – is a huge driver of WECA’s continued success and expansion across the American West.
When Bob joined the team in 2002, WECA was on the precipice of change and contending with significant challenges spurred by unions and the California Apprenticeship Council.
“Times were difficult and challenging for a span of about eight years because the unions and the California Apprenticeship Council were collaborating to disenfranchise WECA’s ability to offer an apprenticeship program,” says Bob. “WECA rose to each challenge with a strong resistance and fought back legally, intelligently, and strategically to finally prove that we do indeed deserve the right to offer an exceptional apprenticeship program.”
WECA persevered and emerged as the victor, thanks to the concerted efforts of WECA’s Board of Directors and leadership team. Bob, however, muses that “WECA might never have built the ‘world-class’ curriculum and programs being offered today” had it not been for these challenges.
The challenges have been plenty – but Bob has risen to each of them with his cheerful tenacity.
“Initially, my primary role was strictly to build statewide membership. As membership numbers grew throughout the years, the ‘boss’ [Terry Seabury, WECA’s Executive Director and CEO] enthusiastically found more and more non-member, ancillary ‘fun’ projects for me to do,” says Bob. “Eventually, anything that touched membership within the next decade was assigned to me. After hiring and training the ‘new guy’ [Jeff van de Moere, WECA’s Membership Manager in California], I was able to finally reassign those projects … only to pack up and move to Phoenix to face my current challenge, which is to build statewide membership in Arizona. Beyond membership, a smattering of my additional responsibilities in Phoenix includes indenturing apprentices, attending political events and socializing with Richard’s [WECA Government Affairs advocate Richard Markuson] political cohorts, attending outreach events at high schools, and doing whatever is possible to assist Keith [Smart, Apprenticeship Manager and Instructor] in managing the Phoenix facility,” says Bob.
Though Bob has quite the workload in Phoenix, we cannot imagine having anyone better to help build the WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program in Arizona. And knowing Bob, he’s just getting started – his foremost goal in Arizona is to accomplish “increasing Arizona membership sufficiently, so that, financially, it can stand on its own [as an entity].”
Bob continues, saying that the “Electrical industry is interesting, and every day offers unique challenges. I enjoy and thrive on interfacing with the contractors and convincing them that their membership will indeed elevate their prestige and profitability. Every new member that comes on board, whether I signed them up or someone else did, is a sign that WECA is indeed a hot commodity, and we should all take pride in that.”
In his personal time, Bob enjoys staying active, working out, and eating a healthy diet, among other pursuits.
“Hiking is my number one thrill. Then comes exercising with weights or machines, then riding my bike. Watching sports like football and baseball is enjoyable when the bod needs a rest. And, sharing laughs and telling stories regarding our younger years with my long-time fraternity brothers and recently with my new neighbors never gets old.”
In reflecting upon his two decades with WECA, Bob says that “Just about everyone I have worked with at WECA deserves recognition for helping me thrive, but a couple of names that float to the top are Terry, Richard, Don, Michelle, and Jeff.”
Bob, we cannot thank you enough for your twenty years of excellence at WECA. WECA would not be as successful or dynamic as it is today without your guidance and perseverance. Cheers to twenty years – but we all know you’re just getting started!