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A closer look at SPEEA’s newly elected Council officers
The following elected officers were nominated and elected by their peers to serve as leaders of the regional and national Councils. As officers, they facilitate debate on motions, oversee Council budgets and document Council business. They also serve as Council Reps for their districts.
SPEEA Council (Northwest/Midwest)

“The best part about SPEEA is that we have a lot of people – whether Council Rep, officer, Executive Board or member – who really care about the future of employees. They make sure we do what’s best for everyone – the employee and their company.”

Theryl Johnson, SPEEA Council chair
Real-time software engineer (Plant II, Seattle)

Theryl Johnson
, who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, decided to step up from Area Rep to Council Rep because of an email she sent to SPEEA leaders. They responded to her concerns and invited her to get more involved. Now she urges others to make their voices heard. “If you don’t like something, it’s not an invisible process,” Johnson said. “Come to a meeting or send me an email. We want your feedback

“Some of the first things some new members say is they don’t hear anything good about unions. But there are a lot of good things – benefits start right away, including VIP (retirement savings) and Ed Wells Partnership (training for work and career development).”

Emily Brent-Fulps, SPEEA Council treasurer
Quality test specialist (Oregon)

Emily Brent-Fulps is the first Council officer from Oregon, where she works as a quality test specialist at Boeing. She accepted the nomination to run for the Council officer election to “become more involved and connected,” she said. Serving as a Council Rep, she’s learned if you want to see change, you have to step up.

“We are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.”

Benjamin T. Blankley, SPEEA Council secretary
Systems integration engineer (Wichita)

Ben Blankley talks about the opportunity for Council Reps to meet quarterly with the CEO of Spirit AeroSystems as an example of what he’s learned from being involved.  Blankley, a systems integration engineer, discussed ideas regarding paid family leave and tuition reimbursement with CEO Tom Gentile at one of these meetings (in the open Q/A session). Blankley was glad he could “start the conversation” on some no-cost improvements.

Northwest Council
“What I’ve learned from SPEEA is that activism is all about the conversation. As long as people are talking, there’s a fighting chance for bringing people around to correct point of view.”

Tony Hickerson, Northwest Council chair
Tech designer (Developmental Center)

Tony Hickerson, who grew up in Washington, D.C., served in the military prior to working at The Boeing Company. He remembers when he came into the SPEEA Tech bargaining unit, members gave him a SPEEA cup, a pocket protector, a SPEEA pin and a sense of belonging. “They came around me and said: Now, you’re one of us. What I got was invaluable. That team was like the Army team that I truly missed. Someone’s got my back.”

“I’ve learned a lot about how the Council works – how motions go from creation to execution to the budget and the inner workings of the union.”

James Raskob, NW Council treasurer
Wing Aerial Refueling Pod (WARP) engineer (Everett)

James Raskob served as Northwest Council secretary for the previous two-year term. Raskob, a Wing Aerial Refueling Pod (WARP) engineer on the KC-46A Pegasus in Everett, is serving his third Council Rep term.

“You realize everyone’s contribution makes a difference. SPEEA is a bunch of people with different opinions. Sometimes decisions are made that may be frustrating to the people who are not involved. But they may not know the rigors we go through. A lot of debate takes place. If you don’t like a decision, get involved. It’s the best way to influence them (decisions).”

Douglas Brazeal, NW Council secretary
Liaison engineer (Auburn)

Doug Brazeal is a second shift Council Rep, he represents members at Boeing in Auburn and Frederickson. This is the first time Brazeal, a liaison engineer, is serving as a Council officer, but has chaired committees, including the Prof and Tech Negotiation Teams Nominating Committee.


Midwest Council
What I like best part about SPEEA is the employees have some kind of recourse when the company doesn’t follow its policies and procedures – employees wouldn’t have that otherwise.”

Matthew Joyce, Midwest Council chair
Systems Design engineer (Wichita)

Matthew Joyce, who grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, goes to new-hire orientation to talk about SPEEA. He starts by pointing to the SPEEA-Spirit collective bargaining agreement which states the company has the right to grant more favorable terms. “When managers have bad news, they usually try to blame the union or the contract. When they tell you this, point to section 2.1(b) as stated above.”

I would like SPEEA to become more involved in supporting Wichita students’ robotics programs such as BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology)

Chris Streckfus, Midwest Council treasurer
Tools and Processes support (Wichita)

Chris Streckfus is serving his first term as a Council officer and second term as Council Rep. He works in Tools and Processes support for design engineering at Spirit AeroSystems. Streckfus is an advocate for outreach into schools promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

“Some really believe office people don’t need a union. They might think they can just plead their case. But when the company starts managing you by ‘policy,’ you’re just one person. With a union, you’re part of thousands.”


Emily Forest,
Midwest Council secretary

Supplier quality representative (Wichita)

Emily Forest, who grew up in Wellington, Kansas, appreciates being able to help people in her role as Council Rep. She calls that the ‘best part’ of SPEEA. She puts her master’s in conflict management, dispute resolution and negotiations, to use every day – in her work and in helping people who for whatever reason need to talk to someone. “It’s the ability to empower people.”