By Alex Weber
News@11 recently spoke to nine-year member and Executive Board Member Gus Marino about his work, background and leadership responsibilities in the union.
Q: Why did you decide to run for the Local 11 Executive Board?
A: I felt that with my involvement, I could help to make sure that our local was always doing the right thing, and doing right by our members.
Q: What have you learned since becoming an Exec Board member?
A: I’m constantly learning. My position means I’m out in the field, where I’m constantly hearing what’s on the brothers’ and sisters’ minds. So, I can take that back with me to the executive board and implement changes that take member concerns into account.
Q: How did you join Local 11?
A: I was organized in nine years ago.
Q: What are some of the most memorable projects that you have worked on?
A: One of the first projects I worked on was a big solar project for Taft, out in the Antelope Valley in Palmdale. Another big one that I just finished it up recently was SoFi Stadium. I’ll always remember the magnitude of both of those projects, how big and what a big deal they were. At the time, the Palmdale job was one of the first solar projects, and the new stadium is iconic — a huge build for Los Angeles.
Q: Do you come from a union upbringing?
A: I had no union upbringing at all.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
A: I’m a native of San Francisco, born and raised. I went to a high school that was a trade school, with three periods of shop. At first, I thought I was going to be a carpenter. Since I’d decided I wanted to get into the trades for a career, I looked into it more closely.
I found out I could make very good money doing electrical work, which I found to be more satisfying. One of my first jobs right out of high school was doing electrical at the California Academy of Sciences, a science museum with an aquarium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I went to ABC School five years later. Fourteen years ago, I moved to Los Angeles.
Q: Can you share some facts about your family?
A: I met my lovely wife Jeannie when I was working at the Academy of Sciences. She was on a project up there, but she’s from LA So, I moved to LA Now we live here together with our dog.
Q: What are some of the key benefits of being a union member?
A: I started out working non-union. Having experienced the benefits of working union for the past nine years … it’s so much better. We get great benefits, retirement, great pay, and safety on the job. It’s really good compared to working non-union. There’s also a sense of stability and a feeling that someone’s always got your back. Everybody respects one another, and everybody’s an equal, not all out for ‘me, me, me.’
Q: What do you tell young tradespeople about the union?
A: If you’re into construction and you’re interested in electrical science, IBEW is a great trade union to get into. Local 11’s benefits package and retirement are just the best. I try to remind younger people on the job to think about their retirement. I don’t tell them how to manage their paycheck or anything, just to keep it in the back of their mind that they’re working for their retirement. That’s important to remember.