UTUIA Officers and Board of Directors


Kenneth L. Laugel LUTC, CSA, CLTC                                       

President, CEO
North Olmsted, Ohio                                                     

Mr. Laugel was born and raised in New Jersey as the son of a machinist and proud union member.  His Grandfather worked on the railroad in the early 1920’s.  From these roots, he learned the values of hard work, loyalty, brotherhood and charity.  As the first college graduate in his family, receiving his BS in Business Management and Finance from the University of North Carolina,  he embarked on a 30 year career in the insurance industry.  He rose quickly within the executive ranks and received numerous citations for outstanding  leadership .  Mr. Laugel earned his LUTC, CSA and CLTC designations during this time. In the last decade, he has held C-suite positions where he honed the leadership and financial skills necessary to steer the UTUIA  toward increased growth and prosperity. He is proud of his labor roots and even prouder that his career has taken him full circle back to serving union members and their families.  He is a member of the Fraternal Field Managers Association and the American Fraternal Alliance (AFA). Mr. Laugel is extremely optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of the UTUIA and  looks  forward to continuing his leadership of the Association and building a solid foundation upon which the security and benefits of the UTUIA will be assured for many future generations of  workers and their families.  Mr. Laugel is the proud father of a son and daughter with whom he enjoys the great outdoors.


Jeffery A. Becker

Secretary and Treasurer, CFO
North Olmsted, Ohio

Mr. Becker is the Secretary and Treasurer of the United Transportation Union Insurance Association (UTUIA). He is responsible for the accounting, treasury, regulatory, investment, compensation, commission, and human resource areas of UTUIA.  He joined the UTUIA team on April 16, 2018, bringing extensive regulatory and insurance industry experience to support operations.  He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from Myers University (1998) and the Certified Financial Examiner designation (2006).  His professional career includes twelve years as an Insurance Examiner Supervisor and eighteen years overall as a regulatory financial examiner with the State of Ohio.  Prior to the state, his industry experience includes two years with a nationally recognized property/casualty insurer and ten years with Midwestern National Life Insurance Company where he held various financial and accounting positions.  Mr. Becker stays informed of insurance related matters by communications with the Ohio Department of Insurance, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and the American Fraternal Alliance.  Jeff is married with two adult children. He enjoys the outdoors, travel, golf, reading, fitness and seafood.


Board of Directors:

Jeremy Ferguson

SMART President and UTUIA Chairman of the Board

President Jeremy Ferguson, a member of Local 313 in Grand Rapids, Mich., was born in 1970.

After serving in the U.S. Army and attending college, he started railroading in 1994 as a conductor on CSX at Grand Rapids, Mich. He was promoted to engineer in 1995.Ferguson was elected local legislative representative in 1995; local chairperson in 1996, and secretary of the CSX/B&O General Committee, GO 049 in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2007.He was elected second vice general chairperson in 2008 and first vice general chairperson in 2011. At the first SMART Transportation Division convention in 2014, Ferguson was elected to the position of vice president. At the Second SMART TD Convention on August 11, 2019, he defeated two other candidates and was elected president — Transportation Division. Ferguson also served as special representative and organizer for the United Transportation Union starting in 1997.

He is the father of two children and resides in Sparta, Mich.


Gregory Hynes

Gregory Hynes is a fifth-generation railroader born in Winslow, Ariz., hiring out with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1995. He transferred to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1997. Hynes was elected local legislative representative of Local 1081 at Glendale, Ariz., in 2003. He was elected Arizona assistant state legislative director in 2004, was elevated to Arizona state legislative director in 2009 and was re-elected to that office in 2011.He served on the Executive Council of the Arizona State AFL-CIO and held the positions of Finance Committee chairman and Legislative Committee chairman. Hynes was appointed the first chairperson of the UTU Rail Safety Task Force in 2009 and served in that capacity until being elected SMART Transportation Division alternate national legislative director at the Transportation Division’s 2014 convention.He was elected national legislative director at the Second SMART TD Convention on August 11, 2019, in Las Vegas, Neveda. He had the honor of serving on the SMART Transportation Division National Safety Team that assists the National Transportation Safety Board with accident investigations, from 2007 to 2014. In 2014, he was appointed to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), which develops new railroad regulatory standards. Hynes also represents SMART TD on the Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis (SOFA) working group and in October 2018 was named by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to the federal DOT’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking.


Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson was born Nov. 15, 1956, in Dallas, Texas. He began his railroading career with Union Pacific in May 1976 and was promoted to conductor Feb. 1, 1979.A member of Local 594 at Mineola, Texas, Johnson was elected to the office of Vice Local Chairperson in 1989 and elevated to Local Chairperson 1991. He served as Local Delegate in 1995. He served as Vice General Chairperson of UP General Committee GO 927 from 1995 to 1999 and became General Chairperson in 2003. He was appointed to the UTU Executive Board in 2008 and was elected Alternate Vice President at the union’s eleventh quadrennial convention in 2011. In December 2012, he was elevated to the office of International Vice President and was elected to that office in 2014  and served on the General Executive Council. Elected to the UTUIA Board of Directors in July 2019. Johnson also served on the UTU constitution committee in 2011 and 2019.As a local and General Chairperson, Johnson has experience in negotiating agreements and with employee protections, arbitrations and special board proceedings. Locally, he has served as a board member for the Rose Capital West Little League since 2009.

Johnson and his wife, Rhonda, reside in Tyler, Texas, with their children Kali and Stephen.


Doyle Turner

Doyle K. Turner was born May 6, 1956, in Ashland, Ky. He went to work for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (now part of CSXT) on Aug. 24, 1974, in Russell, Ky., as a Conductor in road service. He was promoted to engineer in 1976, then to Yardmaster in 1992. A member of Local 1962 in Toledo, Ohio, Turner became interested in unionism and was elected Local Chairperson in 1992. He was elected local delegate to the UTU International convention held in 2003.He was elected General Chairperson of CSXT Railway General Committee GO 347 in 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2012. Turner also served as full time Alternate Vice President from 2003 to 2007 in Cleveland, OH. Turner was elevated to the position of second alternate vice president – East, in October 2009 and re-elected alternate vice president in 2011. He was elevated to SMART Transportation Division Vice President by the SMART TD Board of Directors in October 2013 and was elected to that office in 2014.  Elected to the UTUIA Board of Directors in July 2019. 

Turner and his wife, Mary, reside in Russell, Ky.



Independent Directors:

Nicholas J. DiCicco Jr.

Nicholas J. DiCicco Jr., who has a Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University (1955), has been designated a Life Insurance Management and Research Association (LIMRA) Leadership Institute Fellow (LLIF), a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), and a Registered Principal with the National Association of Securities Dealers. Nick is the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern National Life Insurance Company of Ohio, Midwestern Investment Corporation, Midwestern Insurance Servicing Agency and FuneralServices.com, Ltd. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of both the Life Insurance Management and Research Association (LIMRA) and the National Association of Life Companies (NALC). He is also a former member of the Board of Governors, Forum 500 of the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI). He was Chairman of the 50th Anniversary Agency Management Conference of LIMRA. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Benefits Advisors, LLC.


William C. Harrington, CPA

William C Harrington., has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cleveland State University (1978).  Mr. Harrington is a Certified Public Accountant with over 30 years of insurance experience in both insurance regulation and the life insurance industry. Mr. Harrington spent 22 years in insurance regulation, holding the position as Chief Financial Examiner for the Ohio Department of Insurance (Department) for the last 8 years with the Department.  Mr. Harrington, representing the Department, was actively involved at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  Mr. Harrington served as Chair of the Examination Oversight Task Force.  Mr. Harrington also served as Co-Chair of the Financial Examiners’ Coordination Working Group and was actively involved in several working including the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) Subgroup, the Corporate Governance Working Group and the Group Solvency Working Group. Mr. Harrington was an accounting manager/controller for Midwestern Nation Life Insurance Company of Ohio for 8 years before joining the Department. Mr. Harrington was a board member of the Society of Financial Examiners. Mr. Harrington currently volunteers at Habitat for Humanity Medina County as a board member and at its ReStore.


Richard A. Kusnic

Rick Kusnic retired from UTUIA in July 2018 as Secretary/Treasurer at UTUIA. In 11 years with UTUIA, he was responsible for accounting, finance, treasury, regulatory, compliance and human resources. During his time at UTUIA, he attended all board and committee meetings where he presented and mentored on topics including, finance, investments, risk management, audit and treasury issues. In addition to his time with UTUIA, he brings a great deal of insurance knowledge and experience due to his 39 years in the insurance arena. Mr Kusnic’s prior positions include a CFO at Benecorp (a medical and life provider), a Sr. VP and Controller at Central Reserve Life (a small group medical and life provider) serving 23 years at various positions. He is also associated with various Insurance/Fraternal associations to stay abreast of current changes within the insurance industry. These organizations include, IASA, HIAA, LOMA, NAIC and the AFA where he earned the FLMI and HIAA signifying expanded knowledge in various insurance specialties. He earned a BS in BA from Youngstown State University with majors in Accounting and Economics. He was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. He is married to Coleen Sutton and has two sons and four grandchildren. Rick is also involved with the mentally disabled and volunteers with senior citizen financial counseling.

In his spare time Rick enjoys golf, travel, cooking and reading.


Patrick Sullivan

Pat began his career in 1970 on the L&N railroad, which later became CSX.  he worked for 21 years as a brakeman-conductor. Pat joined Local 1315 when he was 19 years old and held the Office of Secretary and Treasurer, as well as, a  Local Insurance Representative for 12 years.  In 1991 he was appointed as a Field Supervisor and held that position for 16 years until his resignation.

Pat now resides on the farm in Williamstown, Ky where he was raised.  Pat is looking forward to his first term on the board.