Brian Ahakuelo

Managing Partner

Guides Employers in all industries through labor disputes, contract negotiations, and facilitates mutually beneficial communication between Employer and Employee,   

Contract Negotiations, Union Organizing Prevention

About

Brian worked for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) for 35 years, starting as a Union Steward and include tenures as Director of Membership Development at IBEW's International Office in Washington, D.C. and Business Manager of Local 1260. 

Brian is the third of six children raised in Pearl City, Hawaii when it was small town surrounded by cane fields. After graduating from Maryknoll School many of Brian’s classmates were heading off to prestigious universities and colleges throughout the United States. With no money for college tuition, Brian enlisted in the U.S. Army just as his Father (Korean War Veteran) and older brother did years before.      

 

In October 1979, Brian used the G.I. Bill to pay for college courses and worked for Hawaiian Electric Company delivering mail. Brian transferred to the meters department on Hawaii Island after marrying Marilyn and wanting to start a family.  

 

Brian’s father Norman Ahakuelo started working for Hawaiian Electric Company in 1954 and became a union steward for IBEW 1260 shortly thereafter. Norman went to work fulltime for the local in 1963 as a Business Agent and became Business Manager in 1980.

 

Following in his Father’s footsteps, Brian began regularly attending union meetings and was elected multiple times by the members to the unions executive committee and executive board over a 13 year period. In January 1992, Brian was offered a full-time position as a Business Agent on the union’s staff. Norman, Brian’s Father and Mentor used an Interest Based Approach which was progressive and still uncommon in Labor. Brian used these methods when working with Management to mitigate the use of arbitration and resolve issues. Brian also used this approach negotiating contracts with Government Service Contractors, Public Utilities, Broadcast Media Affiliates and Construction Contractors. In 1995, Brian was one of four IBEW Representatives selected by IBEW International President John “Jack” Barry (1986-2001) to study Japan’s labor movement as a guest of the Japanese Government and studied the importance of communication in high performance organizations at General Motors Assembly Plants. Brian also learned Mutual Gains negotiating principles from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations Professor Bernie Flaherty. Brian’s Father Norman would be elected five times before retiring in 1996. Brian continued to work for the local as the Assistant Business Manager.  

 

With extensive experience leading successful organizing campaigns most notably Guam Naval Base and Andersen Airforce Base in February 2002. Brian was asked to serve as an International Representative in charge of coordinating professional and industrial organizing for the IBEW’s Ninth District. In November 2006, IBEW International President Edwin “Ed” Hill (2001-2015) asked Brian to be the Director of Membership Development and create the IBEW’s Professional and Industrial Organizing Program that would oversee hundreds of Organizing Campaigns each year throughout the United States, U.S. Territories, and Canada from the IBEW’s Headquarters located in Washington, D.C.

Brian was asked to speak at the United Nations and address Government Officials from various NATO Countries about why Workers Organize and the importance of communication with the working class for a better tomorrow.

Feeling disconnected to the Unions Membership and Signatory Employers, Brian parted ways with the IBEW International Office over philosophical differences with the International President in December 2010. After leaving the IBEW, Brian accepted a position with Starwood Hotels as the Senior Human Resources Manager. 

Brian decided to return to labor after seeing IBEW 1260 members on strike in March 2011 and feeling a sense of responsibility to the membership. In June 2011, Brian decided to run for Business Manager and won defeating five other challengers, the most in the local’s history for that position. In 2014, Brian sought re-election and won defeating the challenger by a substantial margin. In his tenure as Business Manager, Brian negotiated a 26.8% increase for all craft positions and expanded the call center creating more jobs at Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Companies the largest Utility in the State of Hawaii. Brian opened the Outside Construction Training Program that would train Overhead Lineman and a state of the art Media center to train photographers and broadcast journalists. Brian introduced resolutions to reorganize the Executive Boards and the Unions representational structure for efficient use of the local’s resources.  

 
On May 6, 2016, Three IBEW officials entered Brian’s office and placed the Local under trusteeship. Brian asked one of the Officials, why are you doing this and they replied, “because I can.” Shortly after Brian was escorted out of the office he helped build. That afternoon, allegations were made available to the local press and were aired on the local news. Brian and the general-public watched the news that evening and learned of the allegations that were made against him for the first time. Ten members of Brian’s twenty-person staff were relieved of their duties immediately by an Official from the International Office. Brian unceremoniously retired as his only recourse was to plead his case to the same people that placed his local into trusteeship. Brian wrote a book detailing his experience with the IBEW titled "The Demise of Labor, the Brian Ahakuelo Story."  

 

Later that year, Brian co-founded the Global Institute for Interest Based Solutions with his son Brandon, an organizational consulting firm dedicated to facilitating mutually beneficial communications between management and employees. Brian negotiates on behalf of Employers, provides training and direct persuading in all industries. 

 

Brian and Marilyn Ahakuelo got married on July 18, 1981. They have two children and five grandchildren. Brian enjoys spending time with Marilyn, playing with the grandkids, and coaching youth sports.

Labor Experience

 

Co-Founder and Managing Partner

The Global Institute for Interest Based Solutions

2016-Present 

Business Manager (elected)

IBEW Local 1260

2011-2016

President, Industrial Relations Research Association (IRRA)

2015

Senior Human Resources Manager

Starwood Hotels

2011

Director of Membership Development 

IBEW International Office

Washington D.C.

2006-2011

International Representative

IBEW International Office

9th District

2003-2006

Assistant Business Manager

IBEW Local 1260

1995-2003

Business Agent

IBEW Local 1260

1992--1995

Executive Board (elected)

IBEW Local 1260

1987-1992

Executive Committee (elected)

IBEW Local 1260

1983-1992

Union Steward

IBEW Local 1260

1979-1992

Delegate to IBEW International Convention (elected)

1996 and 2001 Conventions

Highlights 

 

  • Invited by the Japanese Government to study Japanese Labor Organizations

  • Studied the importance of communication in high performance organizations at General Motors Assembly Plants. 

  • Studied Mutual Gains negotiating principles from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations Professor Bernie Flaherty.  

  • Spoke to Government Officials from developing Nato Countries about the importance of communication with the working class at the United Nations in New York.​​

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