WASHINGTON (January 11, 2023) — The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Board of Directors today presented retired International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Lonnie R. Stephenson with the Thomas A. Edison Legacy Award in recognition of his decades of service to organized labor and to the electric power industry and its workforce.
Stephenson served as International President of IBEW from 2015 until his retirement on January 4, 2023. Under Stephenson’s leadership, the IBEW helped to shape transformational new laws and played a key role in the passage of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Lonnie is a terrific leader, and I applaud his many accomplishments as International President,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Strong labor-industry partnership is what enables America’s electric companies to deliver extraordinary outcomes for the customers and communities they proudly serve. Lonnie has worked hard to make this partnership stronger and more effective than ever. I am proud to call him a friend and am grateful for his partnership and counsel on many of the key issues facing our industry today.”
Stephenson began his career in 1975 with an apprenticeship as an inside wireman. He joined the Rock Island Local 145 union the following year, where he served on various committees, as vice president in 1984 and as president from 1987-1992. He held many positions within Local 145 over the next decade before his appointment by then-International President Edwin D. Hill as International Representative of IBEW assigned to the Sixth District.
In 2010, Stephenson was appointed as IBEW International Vice President of the Sixth District and was elected the following year to a five-year term at IBEW’s 38th International Convention. In June 2015, Stephenson assumed the International Presidency, growing IBEW’s membership, deepening the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and spearheading programs that enhance safety protocols.
“Lonnie is an exceptional leader for the IBEW and a trusted advisor to many leaders throughout Congress, the White House, and the electric power industry,” said Nick Akins, executive chair of American Electric Power. “His steady leadership has been invaluable during the extraordinary challenges we have faced, particularly over the past few years. I commend his commitment to safety and his work throughout the pandemic to ensure that new safety protocols were in place and that our workforce was recognized as essential by our government partners. This was critical to our ability to respond to record-setting hurricane and wildfire seasons safely and effectively. I congratulate him on a tremendous career of service.”