Congratulations to Amy Wilkerson, daughter of SPEEA Council Rep Jim Wilkerson, who won a Jerry Beckendorf
Community Service Scholarship. SPEEA helps support the scholarship fundraiser. Shown here (from left) are Jerry
Beckendorf, retired labor liaison for the United Way of Pierce County and Pierce County Central Labor Council (PCCLC),
Jim, Amy and Heidi Wilkerson, and Washington State Senator Steve Conway at the PCCLC delegates meeting.
Beckendorf scholarship winner
took volunteering to heart
Labor scholarship winner Amy Wilkerson was in second grade when a classmate suddenly stopped coming to school for
the rest of the year because he had a heart attack.
In junior high, she witnessed several seizures by
this same student.
“It led my heart to the field,” she said, about her
plans to pursue a degree in medicine when she
starts college this fall. “I always really want to
help people like him.”
Wilkerson started her community service
efforts through church, then Girl Scouts and
high school, including two community service
clubs. For one project, she helped organize a 5K
fundraiser run to help build and stock book-shelves for the children’s wing of a local hospital.
The judges for the Jerry Beckendorf Community
Service Scholarships took notice and awarded
her the top prize of $2,500. SPEEA is a sponsor of the scholarships’ fundraising efforts, but
this is the first time in recent years for a SPEEA
member’s child to win.
Her father, Jim Wilkerson, is Council Rep for
the SPEEA Pilot and Instructors Unit (SPIU),
and they live in Puyallup. Residence in Pierce
County and a family tie to labor are two of
the criteria for the scholarship connected to
the Pierce County Labor Community Services
Amy credits her parents with starting her on the
path to community service, but the spark turned
into a flame when she volunteered for a church
mission trip to Kellogg, Idaho. That’s where she
helped with a thrift store makeover (organizing,
re-pricing and painting) that pushed her out
of her comfort zone. “My shell was officially
broken,” she said about overcoming shyness.
Her biggest volunteering thrill came through the
Washington State University (WSU) Puyallup
Extension Lab. She helped with research to
make raspberry plants less susceptible to fungi.
“I realized my part to play was small, but I have
found that I can work in the field I love while
helping other people,” she wrote in the scholarship essay.
When she goes to California Lutheran
University in the fall, her goal is to become a
physician assistant and join Doctors Without
Borders. “In an emergency, I want to be someone who can help.”
Aerospace Alliance scholarship winners
SPEEA sponsored two scholarships this year through the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNA A). This year’s SPEEA
scholarship winners plan to graduate next year
and pursue careers in aviation.
• David Kennedy - Kennedy studies
aviation at Green River College. He
expects to become the first in his family
to earn a bachelor’s degree. “This will of
course be a huge milestone for my family,”
he said, noting the scholarship will help
him with the financial challenges he faces
to completing his degree.
• Blake Langue - Langue studies at North
Idaho College and hopes to become an
airframe mechanic. He’s currently help-
ing one of his teachers on projects at the
teacher’s hangar. “I love this field of study
and am honored to be chosen by my school
to be qualified for this scholarship.”
Find out more about PNAA at
SEA-TAC, Wash. - At the annual SPEEA Leadership Conference, June 2, Council Reps and guest activists came together from
multiple states for training in their roles as workplace liaisons.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Labor
Activists and Champions,” organized by the
SPEEA Leadership Development and Training
Committee and staff.
The keynote speaker was Celeste Drake, AFL-CIO Trade and Globalization Policy specialist.
IFP TE Secretary-Treasurer Paul Shearon gave
Conference participants could pick three
training options from the following work-
shops (instructors in parentheses):
• “The Art and Neuroscience of Feedback
Conversations” (Michael-John Bristow -
instructor for Ed Wells Partnership)
• “Keeping Your District Strong Between
Contract Negotiations” (Gordon Lafer,
with the University of Oregon Labor
Education and Research Center)
• “Workplace Harassment: Walking the
Line in a #Me Too World and a “What Me
Worry” Legal System” (Ellen Kelman,
attorney with The Kelman Buescher Firm,
P.C., a law firm representing SPEEA)
• “Legislative and Public Affairs” (Matt
Biggs, IFPTE legislative and political
director, Chelsea Orvella, SPEEA legislative director, Stan Sorscher, SPEEA
labor representative, and Bill Dugovich,
SPEEA communications director)
• “Learning from Our History Will Inspire
and Guide Us to Great Victories Today”
(Mark McDermott, economic justice and
• “Leadership Skills: Strategies for
Communicating with Members” (Lynne
Dodson, Washington State Labor
Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer and April Simms, political and
strategic campaigns director for WSLC,
• “Grievance Handling” (Rich Plunkett,
SPEEA director of strategic development)
On June 1, the SPEEA Council met to vote on
motions and listen to updates and reports from
elected leaders and committees.
Find out more - talk to your Council Rep. See
more coverage in the next issue of Spotlite.