SMACNA/SMART Leadership Forum: Hit Them With Your Best Question

What’s holding your partnership back? Time? Money? Attitude? As the conference comes to a close, here’s your opportunity to ask your toughest questions of this Who’s Who panel of SMART and SMACNA leadership.



Joseph Sellers, Jr., SMART General President 

Joseph Sellers, Jr., has risen steadily in his 37 years as an industry professional and union official. A second-generation sheet metal worker, his background includes managing the union and its affiliates at every level as well as many years as a leader in education.

Sellers’ foundation in the labor movement reflects values learned from his father, whose deep commitment to the union sheet metal industry spanned 56 years as a member and 30 years as a local union officer.

Sellers started his apprenticeship in 1980 at Local 19 in Philadelphia and became a journeyman four years later. He was elected to the local’s Executive Board in 1994 and was appointed to be Training Coordinator in 1996. In 2002, after serving as a Business Representative for two years, he became Local 19’s President and Business Manager.

In August 2009, Sellers was elected to the international leadership as 11th General Vice President. The General Executive Council elected him to serve as the union’s General Secretary-Treasurer (GST) effective July 1, 2011, was unanimously re-elected as GST by delegates to the first SMART General Convention in August 2014. Sellers became SMART’s General President May 1, 2015.

During his tenure as an officer at Local 19, Joe also held a number of important union and industry posts. He was president of many groups, including the Pennsylvania State and New Jersey State Councils of Sheet Metal Workers; the Mechanical Trades District Council of Delaware Valley; the Metropolitan Association of Presidents and Business Representatives; and the board of directors for the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI). He also was Secretary/Treasurer of the Mechanical and Allied Crafts Council of New Jersey.

As SMART General President and General Secretary-Treasurer, Sellers led special campaigns to increase outreach and awareness for pension and health care issues. He has held several positions with the AFL-CIO and North American Building and Construction Trades Department at the national, state, and local levels.


Jack Knox, SMACNA President

Jack Knox is president of SMACNA National and also president of R.F. Knox Company, in Smyrna, Georgia.

Jack served on SMACNA’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2014 and then moved on to the Executive Committee where he took office as president in October 2017. Currently, he oversees SMACNA’s new strategic plan that is addressing how to attract more quality people into our companies and local unions.

An advocate for positive legislative change, Jack has been a longtime member of the SMACNA’s legislative and political action committees. A member of SMAC PAC donor clubs for almost 20 years, he currently serves as co-chair of SMAC PAC’s top donor club, the Political Pacesetters Council.

Active in the Georgia-SMACNA chapter, Jack served as president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer, and on the board of directors. In addition, he was on the legislative, negotiating, education, and joint labor/management committees and a trustee of the Local Industry Fund and Local Pension Plan.

The fourth generation to run his family business, Jack grew up working in his father’s sheet metal shop. He officially entered the industry as an estimator, two days after graduating from Auburn University. When his father, Fred Knox, retired in 2007 Jack became president of the 103-year-old firm.

Many R.F. Knox projects dot the Atlanta skyline, from the Peachtree Plaza skyscraper and Georgia Dome to the Georgia State Capitol and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons.


Richard McClees, SMART General Secretary-Treasurer

Richard McClees has been working in the industry for over 40 years after starting as a production worker in Local 206 in San Diego. Since that time he built a career that saw him immersed in every facet of the sheet metal industry while he held virtually every position at every level of our union.

McClees followed his father, a proud 65 year member, and two brothers into the trade – all of whom served as models of hard work and commitment. After his time as a production worker in the sign industry, McClees became a building trade apprentice in 1970. He then became a journeyman four years later.

In 1979 he became an instructor for the local JATC, where, in addition to working in the trade, he taught evening classes for 20 years. In 1994 when he was elected to serve as a Business Representative for Local 206. In addition to his duties as Business Representative, he was appointed to serve as Training Coordinator in 1996. He served in both roles until 2000 when the members of Local 206 elected him as the Local 206 Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer.

During his time as Business Manager, he served as President of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, Executive Board member of both the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers and the San Diego AFL-CIO Council and trustee on health and pension trust funds. Brother McClees came to the International in 2004 when he was selected to serve in the position of Chief International Representative for the Sheet Metal Workers.

In 2006, he was appointed to serve as Assistant to the General President/Chief of Staff where he oversaw a large segment of the day to day operations of the International. He became SMART General Secretary-Treasurer on May 1, 2015, succeeding now General President Sellers who became General President.

In addition, McClees currently serves as chairman of the Local Unions and Councils Pension Plan, a trustee of the National Pension Fund, administrator of the Sheet Metal Workers Scholarship Fund as well as a trustee and member of numerous other national funds and committees.


Vincent Sandusky, SMACNA Chief Executive Officer

SMACNA CEO, Vince Sandusky joined SMACNA in April 2008.

He brings more than 30 years of industry-specific experience to SMACNA where he strives to maximize the return on investment for SMACNA members and IFUS contributors.

He is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the association through a partnership with the SMACNA Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

Vince is relied upon to maintain SMACNA’s industry leadership role in technical standards development, labor-management relationships, education and research, as well as public policy advocacy. He leads a team of 34 professional staff to assist with this objective.