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IBEW 569 Member Spotlight: Harold Ryden

Did you know one of your IBEW brothers is a world champion arm wrestler?

We’re turning our Member Spotlight on Harold Ryden. Harold has been a proud IBEW member since 1997, and comes from a long family tradition in the trades. Harold’s grandfather was a Laborer, and one of Harold’s proudest moments was working on a project that continued his grandfather’s legacy.

“One of my favorite projects was, I did the 12KV for Tomorrowland at Disneyland…My grandpa worked on that project when they opened it in the 50s. So to be a part of something that my grandpa stated 70 years ago was really neat.”

Early in his career, Harold signed up for an arm wrestling contest at a local fair in Minnesota, where he had done his apprenticeship. A promoter noticed him, and soon Harold was training with some of the best in the world. Two years later, he was a world champion. 

Harold’s career prepared him for success as an arm wrestler, because cutting wire, carrying tools, bending pipe and the other parts of electrical work prepared him for success. “Grip strength has a lot to do with arm wrestling,” Harold told us, “It made my training easier cuz I’d already had eight hours of working out on the job.”

But even the strongest arm needs the strength of a powerful union. One morning on his way to work, Harold lost control of his truck. He woke up in the hospital with his neck broken in three places and many other injuries. Thanks to the IBEW 569 union health plan, Harold was seen by one of the best surgeons in the world at one of the best hospitals in the world. Even his helicopter flight-for-life to the hospital was covered. “It got me through what could have been a really rough time in my life,” Harold says. “The financial side, I just didn’t have to worry about it so much because I had that great insurance.” 

IBEW 569 members come from different backgrounds. We have different beliefs and interests. But we all share a pride in our profession and the same great pay and benefits no matter who we are, what we believe or what kind of electrical work we do. We’re proud to represent members like Harold and more than 3,600 other electrical professions in San Diego and Imperial Counties. 

(Photos by IBEW member Brian Campbell.)