Ryan Rule, a former Council Rep, was elected to the Council in 2008, then to the Executive Board in 2009. He initially served as Northwest regional vice president for two and a half terms. Then, he served as SPEEA president from 2014 to 2018 followed by SPEEA secretary from 2018 to 2020.
Rule, an Associate Technical Fellow (ATF) in the network systems group of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), recommends members 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.
“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. He also wants to keep 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 worked in many areas, including Phantom Works, Connexion by Boeing and Defense prior to moving to BCA.
Rule earned three Bachelor of Science degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology; Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Computer Science. He holds two Master of Science degrees from the University of Washington; Computer Science and Engineering as well as Physics, both of which he earned while working at Boeing.
He serves as an area vice president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) and represents statewide organized labor on the Board of Directors for the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI). In addition, he is also president of the parent-teacher association at his daughters’ elementary school.
He was born and raised in California’s central valley. For hobbies, Rule enjoys traveling and scuba diving. His wife, Carrie, is a former SPEEA NW Council officer. They have a son and three daughters.
Cooper joined SPEEA right when she went to work at Boeing. Before she became an Area Rep, she supported the SPEEA 40-day strike of 2000. Those with picket duty may recall she delivered coffee and food donations to the picket line from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. In 2002, she became a Council Rep for the Developmental Center. She transferred in 2006 to work as a Boeing manager and returned to the SPEEA Prof Bargaining Unit in 2008. She returned to the Council Rep role in 2015.
Cooper served as SPEEA Council secretary in 2003 and was elected SPEEA Council treasurer in 2019. She served as an officer on many SPEEA and Northwest committees, most notably the Women’s Advocacy Committee (WAC) which was instrumental in getting birth control pills paid for by insurance (where other termination means were paid for but prevention was not) and also obtaining Boeing insurance coverage for Human papillomavirus (HPV) injections to prevent cancer. More recently, the NW WAC was a visible entity in encouraging Boeing to adopt the Paid Family Leave benefit.
In addition, Cooper is active in the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) as a delegate to unions such as IFPTE.
Her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering came from the University of Washington. She has a master’s in systems engineering from the University of Missouri.
Cooper was born in California, raised in Oregon and then moved to Washington. Her husband, Steve Cooper, is a retired electrical engineer in Flight Test and former SPEEA member.
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.