“The reality is that I’ve been to several regional conferences and the LIUNA Convention, and I spend most of my day talking to local business managers,” says Steve Pronio, discussing his decision to join the LHSFNA as the Health Promotion Division’s new Health and Wellness Benefit Specialist, effective December 4. “For the past two years, I really felt like I was a Laborer, so when this opportunity came up, I said I might as well join them.”

Pronio has an extensive background in the administration of Taft-Harley funds. A 1987 graduate of Towson State University, he began his career at the Union Labor Life Insurance Company (ULLICO). In 1994, he moved to Zenith Administrators where he became increasingly involved with LIUNA’s National Health and Welfare Fund. When he began, the Fund – like most health and pension funds at the time – was pinched by pressures in the national economy. Working with the Fund’s chairman – LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer Armand E. Sabitoni – and the other trustees, Pronio helped redesign the Fund’s benefits, more than tripling the fund’s current reserves. In 1999, he was appointed Fund Administrator.

Pronio is also familiar with some of LIUNA’s health and welfare funds. For instance, he assisted LIUNA Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager Ray Pocino in the 1999 merger of 53 pension, annuity and health and welfare funds into the New Jersey Building Laborers’ Statewide Funds. Since the merger, Pronio’s former staff at Zenith has served as the “back office” for the New Jersey fund and other funds. He has also worked with Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefits manager for the LaboreRx program.

In his new position with the LHSFNA, Pronio will provide technical assistance to health and welfare funds, support wellness-related activities, develop strategies to control health care costs, monitor health care trends and factors affecting costs and utilization, conduct research and identify cost control options.

Married with a daughter in first grade, Pronio originally settled in Columbia (MD) twelve years ago when he took the position at Zenith. There, he had a quick commute against the traffic each morning. Now, he faces a daily 16-mile slog on the highly congested corridor from Columbia to downtown DC. “Taking on that commute was the only hard part of the decision,” he says, “but joining the Laborers was the best thing for my career and my family. I’m excited about getting to work.”