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After 40 years, Milazzo is set to step down at IBEW.

When J. David Milazzo of Franklin Lakes, N.J., applied to become a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 164 over 40 years ago, he was looking for more than just a job, he wanted a career. His desire to learn a skill and help make life better for his family, and those in the community in which he lived, were his motivation. Today, he is a humble man whose inspiration remains as steadfast as it was four decades ago.

"Local 164 trains its members in a lifelong career and encourages them to use their skills to help others," explained Milazzo, who is retiring from his position as president this month. "It isn't just a job. Being an electrician and an educator is a big part of who I am as a person."

As training director since 1986 and president for the past eight years, Milazzo has earned a reputation as a labor leader who has achieved the perfect balance between compassion and the no-nonsense philosophy of a science teacher. "Working with live wires and electricity is very dangerous and serious business," said Milazzo. "The foundation of a superior electrical training program must have safety at its core."

During his tenure, Milazzo has built Local 164's Training Academy into one of the best and largest in the nation. Recognized for its electrical and telecommunications apprenticeship and continuing education skill training programs, the 40,000-s/f center in Paramus is among the most technically advanced in the state. Capabilities include instrumentation, fire alarms, PLCs, conveyor systems, structured wiring, fiber optics, electronic key, PBX and advanced computers. The center also boasts a glass-enclosed technology center that showcases today's highly advanced systems installed by electricians and telecommunications workers, including LON Works and Power Distribution to Voice, Data, Video and Talk-Back Paging. In addition to the main campus, Local 164 also offers training programs in Toms River, N.J.

"Local 164's apprenticeship programs have become distinguished models, replicated by other labor unions, vocational high schools and colleges nationwide, thanks to the expertise, knowledge and vision of Dave Milazzo," explained Richard Dressel, the Local's business manager. "On the eve of his retirement, we extend our gratitude to his dedication and commitment to recruiting only the highest caliber of apprentices, who he has helped mold into specialized skilled workers embodying Local 164's century-old adage--skill, attitude and knowledge--on jobsites throughout New Jersey."

Under Milazzo's direction, Local 164 developed and continually updates its five-year Electrical Apprenticeship Program that offers high school graduates, or those who possess an equivalency diploma, a fully certified program addressing the training needs of today's electrical workers. Once enrolled in the Electrical Apprenticeship Program, students fulfill 184 hours of classroom training per year. These requirements, which account for 47 college semester hours, include a combination of coursework, classroom lectures and laboratory assignments. In addition, a total of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, while being supervised by a qualified journeyperson wireperson associated with one of Local 164's signatory contractors, further complements the comprehensive program.

"Dave Milazzo has altered the landscape in terms of how building trades approach the development, implementation and revision of their training curriculum," explained John DeBouter, who is Milazzo's successor and formerly served as assistant training director of the electrical division. "His mark extends beyond the electrical field into all areas of trade and secondary education."

Milazzo also is a notable trailblazer in the field of telecommunications training. Utilizing the electrical program as a model, Milazzo and assistant business manager Thomas Misciagna created a four-year telecommunications apprenticeship training program.

"Local 164 recognized the need for highly skilled, specially trained telecommunications apprentices when this state-of-the-art technology was being introduced into New Jersey's marketplace more than 20 years ago," said Paul Lagana, assistant training director of the telecommunications division. "Today, New Jersey is home to some of the world's leading telecommunications companies who require access to one of the most concentrated, technologically advanced infrastructures in the nation."

A graduate of the University of Tennessee's Instructor Training Institute, Milazzo served as chairman of the National Electrical Training Directors Associations for the United States and Canada. In addition, he also was chairman of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council Apprentice Coordinators Committee, representing 13 local trade councils and more than 100 affiliated unions. He also studied engineering math at the University of Massachusetts and Capital Radio Engineering Institute, teaching methods at Jersey City State College and labor relations at Ramapo College, where he served as a guest lecturer. Prior to entering the training field, Milazzo served as a maintenance supervisor for Beach Electric Company at Exxon in Bayonne, N.J., and an apprentice machinist for Lever Brothers Company. He also served as an apprentice, journeyman and foreman for various Local 164 electrical contractors.

"I have had a very rewarding career that included serving so many of my fellow Local 164 members in the way I know best," said Milazzo. "It has been an honor and my privilege."
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Title Annotation:International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Local 164
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 12, 2006
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