Council President Dan Morris (left) and EST Tom Jenkins (right) presented Lloyd with a plaque and watch on behalf of the SECRC
For 36 years, Lloyd Hicks turned in excellent work for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Alabama. When he retired recently as Business Manager for Local 318, he left behind a Local that has motivated, engaged members, a strong bottom line, good relationships with contractors, and a template of success for Jay Schuelly, who steps in to fill Lloyd’s shoes as the new Business Manager.
Lloyd’s background as a union carpenter and the owner of his own business combined to give him the experience needed as he climbed the career ladder of the UBC. And it all started as an apprentice, where he earned perfect attendance recognition for three consecutive years.
Lloyd describes himself as a general carpenter and remembers a couple of jobs that stand out as memorable accomplishments. The first was the Marley nuclear cooling tower for Southern Company in one of his first jobs in 1987. He remembers being 515 feet in the air and thinking he found the career he would excel in, and his observations were correct!
The second was the Oliver Lock and Dam in Tuscaloosa in 1990, where he learned welding, stayed on the project for 14 months, and was part of the topping-out ceremony.
Lloyd became an organizer in 1999. The current Business Manager and the organizers were released three years later, but Lloyd was named Business Agent and financial secretary. With no help, he hit the ground running, printed off a list of the signatory contractors, and met each one face-to-face. The Local began its turnaround, and Lloyd never looked back.
Local 318 Delegates joined in honoring Lloyd at his final council meeting
He expertly guided that Local and two others when they merged in 2011 to create Local 318. By 2015 his annual man hours worked in his Local topped 1 million. He also branched out to increase the Local’s presence. He became a member of the state building trades’ executive board, the Central Alabama Building Trades, Vice President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Building Trades, and became sergeant at arms for the state building trades.
His leadership also was felt as a member of the Local’s and Council’s executive boards and Local 318’s financial secretary until his retirement.
As a Business Manager, Lloyd said a memorable proud moment was earning three consecutive awards from signatory contractor Day and Zimmermann for outstanding outage performance by being able to fill the job for three years in a row. But perhaps his best memory of accomplishments is his work with Mississippi Power and helping to turn a location that used nonunion contractors for 30 years into one that employed union shops.
“We worked with the building trades and lobbied the state legislature. We got our foot in the door at Plant Watson when the nonunion side couldn’t fill the jobs. The company asked us for help, and within 24 hours, we sent 30 carpenters,” Lloyd said. “We finished the job on time. As a result, they signed an agreement with us and we picked up (nuclear plants) Ratcliff, Daniels, Watson, and the Chevron Cogeneration plant.”
Lloyd’s commitment to construction and the union trades comes from his upbringing. His father was a steelworker, and his brother-in-law was a union carpenter. When he was 15, Lloyd found himself in a sawmill and working for a retired housebuilder. He worked for him in the morning and attended school in the afternoons. He learned paneling, sheetrock, roofing, and more at that job.
“What made me decide to join the union was seeing my brother-in-law make good wages and have insurance. I was married and had a baby, and I knew that was the best decision for my family,” Lloyd said.
The family ties to union construction continued when his son, Daniel, joined the UBC. Lloyd tested him immediately by sending Daniel, as an apprentice, to a job with the toughest superintendent he could find. “He’s a worker. He stayed nine years and worked his way up to general foreman. I told him this is the toughest job you’ll ever love.” Daniel is now Business Manager for Atlanta Local 225.
Like many union craftsmen, Lloyd says most of his friends are carpenters and millwrights. Even post-retirement, he and his wife continue to socialize with their union friends. He also takes advantage of the retirement lifestyle for simple things, like watching the sunrise on his back deck, tackling lawn work, spending more time with his grandkids, and fishing.
His advice to young union craftsmen is clear: “The career is what you make of it. The rewards are endless, including insurance while you work and a pension when you retire. Also, never turn down the little, short jobs because you never know how long they will last.”
Here’s a short video of Lloyd being honored at his last Delegate and Council Meeting: https://youtu.be/EXHSRVqI1pw