As a former chair of both the SPEEA and Northwest Councils, Joel Funfar brings a unique perspective to the Executive Board.
“From what I learned as a Council Rep and what I learned from others, I hope to help make the union stronger,” he said.
Funfar, who joined SPEEA in 1991, started as an Area Rep, and then served as a co-site coordinator and picket captain at Plant II, Seattle, during the 40-day strike in 2000. He became a Council Rep for Plant II in 2000.
He served two terms as SPEEA Council Chair (2009 and 2011). He was also elected SPEEA Council secretary, Northwest Council chair and Northwest Council secretary.
Funfar, a lab tech in the EO&T engineering labs at Plant II, served on the Tech Negotiation Teams in 2008 and 2012. He’s also been involved in many other committees, including chair of the Legislative and Public Affairs (L&PA) and Organizational Planning.
In addition, Funfar is a SPEEA IFPTE vice president, a delegate to the county and state labor councils and King County Airport Roundtable.
Funfar received the Stephen Pezzini Helping Other People Excel (HOPE) award in 2009 for his work both with SPEEA and the community, including Aviation High School.
Born in Rapid City, S.D., his family moved to the Northwest in 1968. He attended Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., and lives in Enumclaw, Wash.
In his spare time, he enjoys music and car racing, as well as history – particularly labor and World War II.
Jimmie Mathis joined SPEEA shortly after starting at The Boeing Company in 1978. He was first elected as a SPEEA Council officer more than 20 years ago and has been elected to almost every Council office.
Mathis wanted to get involved in SPEEA to help support members. He believes in the power of the union to help improve working conditions and protect workers in the bargaining units from unjust discipline and harassment.
At Boeing, Mathis is a bearing engineer supporting commercial programs and many non-commercial programs. As chairman of the SAE Bearing Standards Group (ACBG), he supports standard parts for commercial, industrial and defense applications. He mentors employees in Boeing and other groups.
Mathis has worked in aluminum alloy development, providing new alloys used on the 757 and 767, as well as upgrading and automating test laboratories. He has also been a principle lead engineer for IT and computing groups in addition to specifying bearing applications and developing new bearings and alloys.
He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in metallurgical engineering and has a background in mining engineering.
Mathis also likes to be involved in SPEEA’s legislative activities in Washington state and Washington D.C. His outside interests include aviation design and flying, as well as back-country recreation.
Ryan Rule, a former Council Rep was elected to the Executive Board in 2008 and as SPEEA President in 2014.
Rule has good advice for members when it comes to SPEEA.
“Get involved! Whenever something doesn’t make sense or you don’t like the way things are going, find a way to fix it or a committee to join that can make decisions which will have an impact on your issue or concern,” he said.
In Rule’s case, his colleagues were interested in SPEEA but weren’t up-to-date on the issues. “By becoming a Council Rep, I gained exposure to what’s going on in the union and was better able to provide useful information to the members with whom I work on a daily basis.”
His goals for SPEEA include getting more members involved, particularly newer employees, and keeping waste and excess to a minimum. “I want to make sure members get high value for their dues.”
Since starting at Boeing in 2001, Rule has worked in many areas, including Phantom Works, Connexion by Boeing and Integrated Defense Systems. He’s currently a design and analysis engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Commercial Aviation Services.
Rule earned three Bachelor of Science degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology in physics, applied mathematics and computer science. He holds two Master of Science degrees from the University of Washington in physics and computer science/engineering.
He was born and raised in California’s central valley. For hobbies, Rule enjoys traveling and scuba diving. His family includes his wife, Carrie, SPEEA NW Council Rep, and her son, who attended Aviation High School. The couple also have three young daughters.
MW Regional VP
Keith Covert, a lead engineer on the Airbus 350 at Spirit AeroSystems, sees the value of unions fighting for middle-class wages, benefits and overtime.
“Based on the data we have, it can show a good correlation – the higher the union member density, the better the wages,” he said. “That’s really the middle class.”
Covert, who started his career at Boeing Wichita nearly 30 years ago, joined SPEEA in 1999 during a contentious round of contract talks.“We could see the possibility of problems and wanted to be sure to become members and vote on the contract,” he said.
He also sees firsthand what SPEEA and unions have done to help. He knew engineers who remembered when they didn’t get paid for overtime. The SPEEA Wichita Engineering Unit (WEU) contract calls for straight time plus $6.50 per hour.
No small thing is a contract that locks in health insurance benefits. “I’ve seen what’s happened with insurance related to contract negotiations,” he said.
Covert also serves on the SPEEA-Spirit Joint Oversight Committee.
In addition to fishing and hunting, Covert’s other hobbies include working on his 1974 Ford Bronco, 1965 Ford F100 four wheel-drive pickup and 1972 Mustang Coupe.
He’s married to Judith, and they have two sons, Keith Covert II, and Harrison.
NW Regional VP
Mike Shea, a quality engineer on the 777 at Boeing Everett, walks his talk, when he emphasizes the need for more SPEEA involvement. “I am the guy coming off the sidelines,” said Shea, a Council Rep since 2015.
He also stepped up in the past few years to join committees, including the Negotiation Prep Committee, Action and Communication Taskforce (ACT) and the SPEEA Veterans Committee.
He pursued the role of vice president to help encourage more members to take part in and pride in their union. He suggested they start by knowing who their Area Rep(s) and Council Rep(s) are and seeking assistance if needed, voting when they receive a ballot in the mail and attending a lunchtime meeting.
When Shea started at Boeing in 1997, he was in the Tech unit. Through the Boeing Learning Together Program, he earned an engineering master’s degree that took into account his bachelor’s degree in management (emphasis on manufacturing). He needed to take engineering prerequisites to qualify.
Prior to Boeing, he worked as a commercial helicopter pilot and airplane flight instructor and served eight years in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps as an officer and medevac helicopter pilot
In his spare time, he likes to fly small passenger planes, kites, and flight simulations (online). He also loves online gaming – particularly Marvel Heroes, and also enjoys origami, fishing, motor scooters and bird watching. He and his wife, Lynne, who live in Mukilteo, Wash., have a son, Chris. Mike is a proud “Cougar Dad!”
NW Regional VP
Since Daniel Peters first signed up as an Area Rep in 2011, his involvement in SPEEA and the labor movement mushroomed.
He took leadership roles in numerous committees, including chair of the NW Young Members Committee, vice chair of the NW New Hire Committee and chair of NW Labor Delegates. He belongs to the NW Action and Communication Taskforce (ACT) and the SPEEA Diversity Committee as well.
Peters’ interest in the broader labor movement went from serving as a SPEEA delegate to the Martin Luther King County Labor Council to serving as the SPEEA/IFPTE at-large vice president on the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO, Executive Council.
“I have come to recognize that I represent a growing segment of our membership, which also happens to be underrepresented in positions of leadership,” he said.
Prior to being elected by the NW Council to fill the interim regional vice president vacancy on the SPEEA Executive Board, he served as a Council Rep.
He currently works at the Thompson Site as a dynamic loads engineer on the P-8 program.
Peters came to Boeing after completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He also holds a mechanical engineering degree from New Mexico State University.
He was born and raised in southern New Mexico. His interests include music, film and books. He plays soccer in several local leagues, including the Boeing indoor soccer league. He lives in Renton with his fiancé, Janina.
NW Regional VP
Dan Nowlin, an equipment tool tech designer, started his Boeing career as a SPEEA Tech nearly 11 years ago. Prior, he worked as a Boeing contractor as well as a journeyman machinist for 25 years at Boeing suppliers. He also spent seven years in international trade.
His journey to become a Northwest regional vice president started with a former SPEEA president, Jennifer MacKay. At the time, she was Nowlin’s Council Rep in the factory and recruited him to become an Area Rep.
Since then, he’s served in multiple SPEEA roles, including Council Rep, SPEEA-Boeing Partnership Leadership Team, SPEEA-Boeing Joint Workforce and numerous SPEEA committees. He was also elected to the 2016 Tech Negotiation Team.
“I wanted to be on the Executive Board because I have enough knowledge of how SPEEA works to be valuable in this position,” he said, noting the leadership experience he acquired through many SPEEA roles. “The institution has been good to me, and I have the time to give back.”
At first, he hesitated to get involved in SPEEA. “I was afraid I would have a target on my back,” he said about becoming an Area Rep. Instead, he saw how much SPEEA helped at work.
“We bring stability to the workplace with processes in our contract,” said Nowlin. “It gives us a clear way to do business.”
Nowlin and his wife, Bonnie, have six children and eight grandchildren. He has been a passionate supporter of students involved in robotics competitions and enjoys spending time with family and friends.