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Our Team

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Danny L. Caliendo – Lead Instructor/Founder of Labor Rising

Danny’s career in the building trades has spanned 35 years. He has broad experience in leading and participating in organizing campaigns, market development, union leadership, apprenticeship training, on-the-job construction work, senior job management, and conference speaking engagements.

With over eleven years of organizing experience, Danny was successful in increasing non-union signatory contractors from 109 to 202, including 18 non-union General Contractors. He worked on 14 organizing campaigns with other AFL-CIO affiliates, developing and leading original organizing tactics that targeted contractors’ clients, credit and image/perception. He is a proven expert in using NLRB laws and fringe benefits, and their effect on organizing.

Danny has designed original contractor based organizing campaigns to sign multiple contractors on a date specific. He developed tactics to impact businesses of anti-union fabricators, distributors and contractors through mock organizing campaigns, resulting in anti-union contractors chasing ghosts and expending substantial amounts of money in the process. Danny developed tactics to extend organizational activities outside of traditional boundaries. Danny has facilitated substantial dialog with leaders (not political or religious leaders) of intermediaries charged with hiring and retaining illegal immigrants in the construction and fabrication industries. Danny has presented C.O.M.E.T. I & II classes. He has prepared working budgets for campaigns and developed new research techniques from non-traditional sources for organizing. He has updated and rewritten organizing materials, including the Defense and Organizational Fund Bylaws for organizing.

Danny formulated and implemented some of the earliest marketing innovations in construction, including a website and web-based Contractor Directory providing specific information about contractors. His efforts used media outlets for joint Labor/Management marketing initiatives.

In working with the Chicago Area and Vicinity District Council, he helped local organizers to coordinate their strategies for organizing campaigns.


Union Leadership
Danny served as a Business Agent for Iron Workers Local 1 for six years and a Trustee for the Local’s Pension Funds for nine years.


Apprenticeship Instructor
For nine years, Danny designed and delivered apprenticeship classes. The training reflected the history of labor, as well as the latest construction technology advances.


Job Management
During his tenure as President of Tool Werks, Chicago, IL, he was a “stealth member” of ABC (anti-union contractors association). He started this dummy corporation to submit bids to skew bid numbers and gain information.


Conference Presenter
Danny helped organize the inaugural and subsequent eleven Made in America Annual Conferences, where he also presents on organizing, labor issues and fringes benefits. He is a frequent presenter at the Information Management Network Conferences and has presented at the National Labor Management Conference. For the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, Danny has presented and moderated over 80 sessions, and has served as a member of the Trustees Committee, and led and taught the New Trustee Institute for 6 years.


Dan Woodman - Technologist

Dan has been in the technology field for nearly 20 years. During that time, he has worked for small businesses as well as two Fortune 50 companies. For the past 10 years, his focus has been almost exclusively on using technology to improve business, from marketing to increasing productivity and efficiency.

He’s been a paid speaker for groups from small to large and regularly teaches classes on how to use social media and market online. He’s spoken in front of tens of thousands of business owners and continues to increase that number. His goal is to help every organization achieve the success they desire through intelligently applied technology.

At Microsoft, Dan was part of a marketing team called Microsoft Across America. He travelled the country, conducting seminars for business leaders on the value of technology. He helped launch Office 2007 as well as several other Microsoft products, helping thousands of businesses increase their productivity and efficiency. His blog was consistently in the top 500 Microsoft blogs, and he had posts picked up by several prominent websites.

State Farm Corporate Headquarters
Dan was noticed by Microsoft in part due to the work he performed while working at State Farm’s Corporate Headquarters. At State Farm, he identified a way to change the software update process they were using (which involved thousands of man hours per year). He worked with representatives from every department to gather requirements, understand business drivers and ultimately developed a custom software platform to deliver the updates, saving the company millions of dollars.

More Than Technology
In addition to his work in technology, Dan is a marketing guru. He got his start in marketing as the Marketing Manager for the regional arm of a national Internet Service Provider. At Mavidea, Dan worked with hundreds of business owners to help them better understand their marketing efforts increase their Return on Investment through the use of online marketing tools such as social media and search engine optimization. He regularly provides expert advice for several businesses, helping them to grow their market share.

Thomas Stephens - Research Consultant

Tom’s career in the building trades dates back to his early years working on commercial construction projects in the south.

After re-locating to New York in 1992 Tom joined what was then Local 532- a small Local in upstate NY. Unwilling to maintain the status quo, Tom was asked to join the executive committee of his Local and was shortly thereafter hired as the first ever organizer and liaison to the area Labor Federation also taking on duties as Political Director for the newly merged District Council.

During his 15 year tenure and through several mergers, Tom was successful in organizing countless companies, bringing increased market share and opportunities to the membership. In addition, Tom’s passion for rooting out unscrupulous contractors led to the arrest and conviction of numerous contractors including two cases of jail time for company owners, along with innumerable debarments from public works projects as well as thousands of dollars in restitution to workers and the state.

Tom formed Rochester Research Associates, LLC in 2009 with the intent of bringing his skills and expertise to a larger audience focusing on those groups who may not have the training or resources for a fulltime research staff. Rochester Research Associates, LLC serves trade organizations, construction management firms, governmental agencies, law firms and architectural and engineering groups.

Tom’s has been successful in serving as a liaison between the contractors and unions of the city of Rochester to ensure workforce diversity goals are met by fact checking certified payroll records and ensuring prevailing wage requirements are met on public works projects. One of his recent achievements include providing compliance services on the Midtown Revitalization Project where it was noted in a city news release that workforce diversity goals were exceeded on the project.

Mr. Stephens maintains his office in the City of Rochester and can be contacted for more information at

Brent D. Emons – Strategic Development

Brent’s career in the building trades has spanned more than 40 years. He has significant experience in leading and participating in organizing campaigns, union leadership, apprenticeship, on-the-job construction work and senior job management.


During his more than fourteen years of organizing, Brent’s successes resulted in more than 350 new union members in just one area of his jurisdiction. There he increased market share from 50% to 90%, by signing on non-union/non-signatory contractors, of which over 15 were major non-union contractors. He also signed 7 new non-signatory general contractors. Brent’s overall total market share of work was approximately 90%.
Brent led the Greater Milwaukee B&CTC (Building & Construction Trades Council) and B-Top (Building Trades Organizing Project) programs, a long term, multi-trade organizing project involving all building trades’ affiliates. Brent was instrumental in working with numerous building trade affiliates throughout the Midwest to implement organizing programs and defense/targeting funds.

Brent’s visionary initiatives include a number of new and powerful organizing tools being used increasingly today. He is the author of an aggressive new offensive fund strategy, using organizing funds to better facilitate modern organizing in right-to-work states. He launched Complete Construction Managers, a non-profit, multi-trade project “management firm” to provide all-union project development delivery in the Greater Milwaukee area. He developed original and successful organizing tactics customized for rural, regional and second-tier cities, which differ substantially from major urban cities, suburbs and exurbs.

Brent was among the first organizers to develop practical, real world whistle blowing tactics regarding underpaid insurance premiums for workers compensation to impact non/anti-union contractors, when necessary. Brent was involved in C.O.M.E.P. classes, which were the forerunner of C.O.M.E.T. classes, was train-the-trainer qualified and taught numerous classes. Additionally, he has mentored scores of new organizers, working with them in the field and on-the-job on a daily basis.

Brent is an expert in proactively using the NLRB to gain information, and is a practical expert in NLRB laws regarding various types of organizing tactics.


Union Leadership
Brent served as Business Manager for Iron Workers Local 8 for eleven years. Prior to that position, he served as a Business Representative. Brent has served as Trustee on all major funds. He was one of the earliest union leaders to develop a website, which included substantial information on the history of Local 8 and labor.
During his tenure as Business Manager, Brent lobbied the Wisconsin State Legislature regarding prevailing wage and Worker’s Compensation issues, initiated the local PAC Fund and Labor/Management Committees. Brent represented his Local in the state AFL-CIO, the State of Wisconsin Apprenticeship Council and local and state labor councils, where he served as an officer and member of the Executive Committee


Job Management
Brent’s career includes working as a project manager, estimator and superintendent for Bechtel Construction Co., Danny’s Construction Co. and Area Erectors. He also initiated the creation of the Fox Valley Erector’s Association.