November 1, 2022

Region 8 Website Celebrates 20th Anniversary

In November, the UAW Region 8 website will celebrate it’s 20th anniversary of going live. Today, the site includes about 2,000 pages and is a living history of Region 8 and it’s members. The archives section preserves the accomplishments of our members, the triumphs, their lives and their heartbreaks. We often forget the union IS the people and our story is their story.

John Davis of Local 2195 is the webmaster for UAW Region 8, and has been over the past 20 years. “In July of 2002, I was at the UAW Constitutional Convention, covering it for my local union,” Davis recalls. “Our local had one of the first UAW websites, launching in the summer of 1998. While I was sitting at my laptop working, my friend and Region 8 Rep Donny Bevis come over and sat down to talk. Gary Casteel was to be elected Region 8 Director at that convention, and Donny was going to be the Assistant Director. Donny asked me what I was doing and I told him updating my local website on the convention. “When will they be able to view this” Donny asked and I told him immediately. He was amazed that my members back home could see in real time what was happening at the convention. Donny left and came back with Gary Casteel a few minutes later and had me show it to him. Donny told Gary “we need this for the region.”

Over the next couple of months, Donny Bevis and John Davis mapped out what the site should contain, what it should look like and how the region would market it. A hosting company was chosen, domains were registered and the site went live around the first of November in 2002. Over the next couple of years Director Gary Casteel and Assistant Director Donny Bevis talked about the site everywhere they went, and included the web address on all printed material. Soon the Region 8 website was averaging over 500 hits a day.

Donny Bevis was the primary contact on the Region 8 website until he retired in December of 2009. Joe Rypkowski became the Assistant Director and worked to collect information until his retirement in June of 2010 and was replaced by Ray Curry. Curry then became the primary contact for the website over the next four years until he was elected Region 8 Director in June of 2014. “Ron Hendrix became the Assistant Director when Director Curry was elected,” John Davis adds. “Ron worked with me on the website, but Director Curry stayed directly involved over the next four years and was a major source of information.”

In June of 2018, Ray Curry was elected International Union Secretary-Treasurer and Mitchell Smith was elected Region 8 Director and Tim Smith became the Assistant Director for Region 8. “Director Smith and Assistant Director Tim Smith began to really push the Region 8 website and updates saw a huge uptick,” Davis adds. “In December of 2019, the International Union announced the merger of Region 5 into Region 8 and Region 4. Region 8 picked up nine new states, which resulted in a redesign of the Region Website. Mitch and Tim wanted the new states added as quickly as possible to include them in the Region 8 family.”

Over the years, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been added as communication outlets for Region 8, but it has remained the Region 8 website that is the main stoke in communication for the Region. “When you are twenty-one states and run coast to coast, it is easy to feel isolated,” adds Assistant Director Tim Smith. “But the Region 8 website has allowed us to share information coast to coast and allow locals from California to Florida, as well as north to Maryland to know what is happening in our region. The digital footprint we have reduces the miles and brings us closer together.”

“Through the years I have gotten a lot of credit for the website, but it was the vision of and backing of Donny Bevis and Gary Casteel that made it happen,” adds Webmaster John Davis. “The support of Ray Curry, Joe Rypkowski, Ron Hendrix, Mitchell Smith and Tim Smith has made it go. I feel honored to have served the membership of this great region for twenty years by attending to the website. Who knows what will be the next big thing, but for now the Region 8 website continues to keep our membership informed.”






All information contained with the Region 8 Web Site is copyrighted© by UAW Region 8.
It cannot be reused or printed without written consent from UAW Region 8.