A long-time construction leader from Alabama has retired. Tim Burns, business manager of Local 1209 of the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council, turned in his keys at the end of 2022 after 33 years as a union carpenter.
Following in the footsteps of three union craftsmen in his own family, Tim started as an apprentice and worked his way through the ranks to become a general foreman and superintendent for Craig Construction, where he built water and wastewater treatment plants.
His most memorable project is the Colbert Steam Plant around 2003, a coal-fired power plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) near Tuscumbia, Alabama. He worked on Selective Catalytic Reduction, which reduced emissions from the coal.
“I was Superintendent there and that’s where I really got my huge start. I got to show my ability as far as using total station. Back then, TVA engineers shot the points, but I learned how to do it and when I did it, they checked my work and said it was good to go. Right then I knew we all needed that training so that our journeymen were more valuable on the job for the contractor.”
Tim with EST Tom Jenkins
So, in 2008 he started a total station class, teaching other journeymen and partnering contractors. Soon, Tim became a full-time instructor at the Florence, Alabama training center, teaching core classes, journeyman upgrade and total station. “It was important to me to pass on the knowledge and skills that I was taught by the craftsmen before me,” he said.
Four years later, Tim joined the organizing staff and finally Business Agent of Local 1209 in 2014, where he served until his final day of work.
Much of his time was spent under the Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council until Alabama was merged with the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council in 2018. At that time, Tim was vice-president of the Mid-South Council. He assisted in the transition and was immediately appointed as a delegate and to the executive board of the SECRC.
Brother Meddy Settles (right) made Tim a hand-crafted, custom toolbox as a retirement gift!
“I have enjoyed working with and working for some great members and craftsmen of the UBC, led by Southeastern Carpenters’ EST Tom Jenkins, to make the lives of our members better,” Tim said. “I only hope I have influenced and set an example to others that will help them in their career as was set for me,”
It’s this attitude that caught the attention of UBC leaders, who invited Tim to teach potential business agents the skills needed to succeed in special training sessions at the UBC training headquarters in Las Vegas.
His advice for younger men and women entering the trade: “Be a sponge and learn from the older guys. That’s why I wanted to go into training, to pass it on down to the next generation to keep the integrity of the UBC and the craftsmanship in place.”
In addition to his success in training and as a business agent, Tim was a key member of the UBC Southern District’s Nuclear Initiative Committee, which ensures trained and ample manpower for nuclear outage projects across the UBC Southern District’s 11 states. He also was a trustee and at one time the acting president of the Central Alabama Building Trades.
Tim said he looks forward to spending time with his wife, family, and friends during his retirement. Well done, brother!
Tim addressed his fellow delegates at his final Council Meeting