Good Afternoon! My name is Tavia Brunner, and I am honored to serve as the new manager of the Southern Sierras Chapter of NECA. Long-time chapter manager David Shankle has (mostly) transitioned to retirement in Palm Springs, and is enjoying more time for golf, Carole, and not needing to have his phone on! I was lucky to spend nearly two months shadowing David and learning how the SS Chapter operates while I prepared to take the reins on January 1 of this year. If you have not had a chance to congratulate David on his retirement and would like to reach out to him, he kept his cell phone number, which is (909) 528-6385.
For those who might be curious, let me share a bit about my background. I started learning about NECA when I was in kindergarten, when my mother Shari Brunner, who is now the manager of the Central Coast California Chapter, began working for the Wisconsin Chapter of NECA. My main contact with the members was at holiday parties and on member trips, which my brother and I always looked forward to. I worked as an administrative assistant for the Wisconsin Chapter during college, and later, while living and working in San Luis Obispo in 2014, I met Bill Orgill, the Director of the Western Region of NECA, who started me on my own career path with NECA. I undertook a ten-month training program with the Western Region, traveling to visit chapters mainly in California, and shadowing chapter managers to learn about the industry and the job. Some of you may recall me attending your holiday party at a Temecula winery resort.
After my training, I was hired as an assistant chapter manager at the Central Indiana Chapter. I got great experience - that Chapter has six local unions, and I was assigned to cover the Fort Wayne and Muncie jurisdictions, IBEW Local #305 and #855, respectively. In addition to managing labor relations and negotiations in those locals, I handled member, LMCC, and DC pension meetings in each division. I also worked with our education committee to plan six to eight educational events for all chapter members each year as well as our two large general membership meetings, and managed three NECA student chapters. It was a great job, and I really enjoyed our staff and our members, but I knew that eventually I'd like to step into a full chapter manager role, ideally in California, closer to my parents. The opportunity at the Southern Sierras Chapter came along at a good time for my husband and I, and we jumped at it. My husband Noe continues to work remotely for the nonprofit organization that employed him in Indiana. He is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and we are both thrilled to be back in California, near family and friends, and far from Indiana's gray, frigid winters.
I am sincerely looking forward to getting to know each of you and what you want and need from your NECA membership. I understand that especially right now, you are probably managing more concerns than ever before, and solving problems you've never had to contemplate. I hope to help you find the answers you need and be a problem solver for you. I also hope, that when vaccines are more readily available and Covid calms down (hopefully by this summer) we can begin holding more in-person education and networking events, and re-engage all our members with each other. It's strange to be starting a job like this, which requires contact, in a nearly contact-free time, but I do want to get to know each of you. I'll be reaching out to you over the course of the next couple of weeks, but please do reach out if you'd like to chat or if I can help with anything, and let me know if it's alright for me to visit your office, or if we can set up a call or Zoom meeting. In the meantime, I plan to start posting important information about new legislation, industry developments, and other announcements about our local industry right here on the chapter blog.
Please take a moment to check out the member directory on this website. It's a good thing for our members to know each other, and in that spirit, we have posted a photo of each member we could find. For those we couldn't find a photo of, we used your company logo if applicable. If you have another photo of you you'd like us to use on the directory, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*Note on the website: the password to access the members-only page will be the same as for this blog, 1688 (Chapter office street number).
Here's to a better 2021 and a bright future for the Southern Sierras Chapter!