Amy King, Guest Contributor – Amy has 10 years of marketing and public relations experience, including email, social media and grassroots marketing, promotions, event planning and writing press releases and feature articles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Florida.


Art Sanchez, Facility Manager and Lead Plumbing Instructor at Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California – Art Sanchez is the facility manager and lead plumbing instructor at Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California (ABC SoCal­). He is a graduate of the ABC SoCal plumbing apprenticeship program, a licensed plumber and pipefitter and a certified pipe welder. Art has been a plumbing instructor since 2008 at ABC SoCal and recently became the lead plumbing instructor. The majority of his plumbing, pipefitting and welding experience have been on various U.S. military bases in Southern California. Art has also managed the construction of several facets of public works projects ranging from schools, libraries, court buildings, jails, prisons and police and fire stations.

Ashley Rooker, Electrical Apprentice at Gaylor Electric – Ashley Rooker is an Electrical Apprentice at Gaylor Electric in Noblesville, Indiana. Her higher education and internship experience has led her to participate in the ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) Apprenticeship Program. Ashley received a bachelor’s degree in construction management with a minor in business administration from Ball State University. Prior to her college career, Ashley was an active member in the ACE (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) Mentor Program.

Bob Fitzgerald, Manager of Project Safety and Health for Southern Company – Bob Fitzgerald serves as the manager of project safety and health for Southern Company Services, a Southern Company subsidiary in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) area director for Alabama and Mississippi and was named ASSE Alabama Chapter Safety Professional of the Year in 2008. He also serves on numerous national safety committees and frequently presents about safety.

Bob Ford, Senior Instructor for Western Nevada College – Bob Ford is a Senior Instructor at Western Nevada College. He received a bachelor’s degree in construction science and a Master of Science in training and development from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Bob has taught at University of Arkansas-Little Rock and Western Carolina University where he conducted research with Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors and NCCER. He has published articles, presented conference papers and sat on several committees. Bob is currently in the process of rebuilding the construction management program at Western Nevada College, which is the only source for such a degree within 500 miles.

Boyd Headshot2Boyd Worsham, Vice President of Construction Support for the Haskell Company – Boyd Worsham is Vice President of Construction Support for The Haskell Company where he has worked since 1980.  He began in the carpentry field progressing through the ranks of field project supervision to vice president.  He has been involved with major construction projects throughout the United States during his tenure.  In his current corporate role, Boyd is involved with projects in all of Haskell’s delivery groups and regional offices. Boyd received his MBA from Jacksonville University in 2006. He is a licensed general contractor in Florida and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Brian Sampson, President of Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State Chapter – As president of Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State Chapter, Brian is responsible for coordinating political and policy agenda, advocating for reform in state government and promoting the overall growth of the construction industry on behalf of ABC’s more than 400 construction and contracting firms across New York. Prior to joining ABC, Brian served as Unshackle Upstate’s executive director for five years where he pushed for policies to make New York more business friendly and advocated for less burdensome regulations and lower taxes. Brian is a graduate of Michigan State University and is married with two sons.

Bryan Collett, General Foreman for TIC – The Industrial Company – Bryan Collett is a general foreman for TIC – The Industrial Company. He started his career at TIC in 2008 as a laborer and was promoted to helper and later foreman. He has also been a craft safety adviser where he trained and coached employees in all areas of safety. Bryan is an NCCER Certified Plus pipefitter and the winner of Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2010 Safety Championship award in pipefitting.

Bryan McClure, Senior Training Manager for LPR Construction – Bryan McClure is the senior training manager at LPR Construction, where he has worked for nearly 20 years. At LPR, he works closely with LPR University, develops in-house training materials, manages instructors and coordinates four apprentice programs that are approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. Bryan is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) by the Association for Talent Development, and he is an NCCER Subject Matter Expert for the curriculum development of Ironworker, Rigging and Mobile Crane Operator. He is also the recipient of the 2010 Associated General Contractors of America National Education in Excellence Craft Instructor of the Year.

Buck Coatney, Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Knox County School District – Buck Coatney has been the Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Knox County School District in Tennessee since 2010. Buck joined Knox County Schools in 1987 and was the head football coach for Fulton County High School for 19 years. He began his coaching career at Furman University as a graduate assistant and later as a defensive coordinator. In 2004, Buck was named state coach of the year by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association and the Tennessee Titans.

Butch Ford, Retired Director of Training and Development for Austin Industrial – Butch Ford began his career at Austin Industrial in 1976 as manager of human resources and customer service. He later went on to become a training facilitator, wage and salary administration manager, quality manager and director of training and development before retiring in 2010. Butch is a former NCCER Master Trainer and Construction Education Champion award winner. He served as chair of NCCER’s Workforce Development Committee for two years and as chair of the National Craft Assessment and Certification Council.

Byron Dunn, President of Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium (GSSC) and Director of Alabama Technology Network (ATN) – Byron Dunn is president of GSSC, director of ATN’s Brewton and Mobile centers and the southern region director for ATN. He has extensive background in lean manufacturing, training, telecommunications, data networking and data security. Under his leadership, GSSC has grown to become a leader in the issues surrounding shipbuilding and repair workforce development. He is a certified NCCER Master Trainer, a recipient of the Connecting Coastal Alabama Award and serves on the University of South Alabama Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation advisory board. He has a Bachelor of Science in organizational management from the University of Mobile.

Cameron Strother, Operations Support Manager for Southland Safety, LLC –  Cameron Strother has served in many capacities at Southland Safety and is currently the operations support manager. He is a Certified Safety Professional and an NCCER Master Trainer with numerous years of experience in the construction, refining and pipeline industries. He holds a Master of Science in industrial management and a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Caroline Miller, Managing Editor for Pearson’s Teaching & Learning Blog – Caroline Miller is the managing editor for Pearson’s thought leadership blog, Teaching & Learning. She cultivates articles and posts centered around the issues, topics, trends and research within the educational industry, focusing on the themes that are pertinent to the K-12, higher education and professional arenas. Caroline has worked for Pearson for more than six years and has worked in marketing and communications for most of her career. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she earned a master’s degree in communications management.

Carrington Fox, Author of Build Me Up, Buttercup Blog – Longtime Nashville journalist Carrington Fox recently “retooled” her life by enrolling in construction school at Tennessee College of Applied Technology to pursue sustainable and affordable housing design. Carrington journals her experience as a middle-aged mom in construction school at Build Me Up, Buttercup Blog.


Cherie Foerster, Executive Director of The Builders’ Exchange of Texas Education Council – As executive director of The Builders’ Exchange of Texas Education Council, Cherie Foerster oversees all operation of the organization and has written and copyrighted a curriculum that provides high school students with soft skills training and exploration of the construction industry. Cherie serves as a full-time instructor for the Pre-Employment Architectural and Construction Exploration Program (PACE) with the Builders’ Exchange of Texas, as well as provides OSHA training to both students and industry professionals. She is also a founding member of Texas Construction Career Initiative and serves as vice president and treasurer of the organization, which provides an annual construction career day.

Cheryl Stewart, Executive Director of The Associated General Contractors’ Inland Northwest Chapter – Cheryl Stewart is the executive director of the Inland Northwest chapter of The Associated General Contractors. She has served in this position since 2015 after spending 12 years with the organization in various roles, including assistant executive director and managing director. At AGC, Cheryl led the association’s expansion to the Tri-Cities market and the development of a laborer apprenticeship program and workforce development campaign. As executive director, she manages AGC’s government affairs efforts, labor relations and serves as a community liaison for the industry. Cheryl holds a bachelor’s degree from EWU in communications with a minor in political science.

Chris Bailey, Career and Technical Education Director for Craven County Schools – Chris Bailey is the Career and Technical Education Director for Craven County Schools in North Carolina and serves as the county lead for the Craven Work Ready Community initiative. Prior to this role, he was an assistant principal for Onslow County Schools for five years. Chris has also worked as an agricultural education teacher and a career development coordinator. He holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree from East Carolina University.

Chris Newton, Workforce Development Coordinator for Cajun Industries, LLC – Chris Newton is the workforce development coordinator for Cajun Industries, LLC. A retired Navy Senior Enlisted Leader, Chris is also an HR professional with more than 20 years of comprehensive human resource management experience including recruitment, employment, selection, retention, training and development. He is an NCCER Master Trainer as well as a special advisor to NCCER and its Your Future (BYF) initiative. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in liberal arts from Tulane University.

Chris Stearns, Welder Apprentice at LPR Construction – Chris Stearns is a second-year welder apprentice at LPR Construction. He attended college in southern Maine, and shortly after learning to weld, he made it a goal to master the craft. Chris moved to Colorado and enrolled as an apprentice at LPR Construction. As a second-year welder apprentice, he focuses mostly on structural welding. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, mountain biking and fishing.

Christina Catron, Senior Manager of Marketing and Design for NCCER – Christina Catron is the senior manager of marketing and design at NCCER. Over the past five years, she has assisted in developing several national initiatives such as Construction Career Pathways and Build Your Future. She holds a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and cell science from the University of Florida and an associate degree in digital media technology from Santa Fe College.

Craig Pendergraft, Education Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction – Craig Pendergraft, a native of Durham, North Carolina, is an education consultant for career and technical education at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and has spent the last 20 years in education. Pendergraft has taught engineering and architectural drafting, structural systems and industrial maintenance classes at various high schools in North Carolina. He also served as a SkillsUSA adviser and coached football, basketball, softball and swimming. Pendergraft earned a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Education in industrial technology with a concentration in drafting and design from East Carolina University. He is married and has three children.

Craig Yager, Technical Training Manager for Komatsu America Corporation – Craig Yager is the technical training manager for Komatsu America Corporation. He has 30 years of industry experience as a technician and technical trainer.


Dan Belcher, Director of Workforce Development for NCCER – Dan Belcher is the Director of Workforce Development at NCCER. His role includes informing and updating government, workforce, industry and education sponsors about NCCER. Dan was previously the Career and Technical Education Consultant for the Education Service Center Region XI in Fort Worth, Texas. He also served as the Director for Career and Technical Education for the Fort Worth Independent School District. Dan has his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and his master’s degree in education from the University of Texas Arlington.

DGroves candid (4)Daniel Groves, President of CLMA – Daniel Groves is the Director of Operations and workforce consultant for the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) where he has served the CURT Workforce Committee, the CURT Tripartite Initiative and worked with the Business Roundtable on the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative. These efforts include the development of the national craft labor supply and demand forecasting model, the Construction Labor Market Analyzer®. Daniel was previously the Chief of Staff to a United States Congressman and the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to Governor Ernie Fletcher. Daniel is a graduate of Asbury University with a degree in accounting and business management. He resides in Lexington, Ky., with his wife and two young sons.

Daniele Dixon, Director of Product Development for NCCER – Daniele Dixon is the Director of Product Development at NCCER. During her 20-year tenure with the organization, Daniele and her dedicated teams have evolved curriculum offerings from 19 titles in the early 1990s to more than 70 today; as well as assessments, translations and other key derivative products. Daniele’s background includes experience in curriculum development, publishing, technical writing and instructional design. She holds dual Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Spanish and English from Christopher Newport University and is a certified DACUM facilitator and LEED Green Associate.

David Roberson, Building Division Safety Manager for Zachry – David Roberson is the Building Division Safety Manager for Zachry Construction Corporation. He has more than 24 years of safety experience in heavy highway, civil, building, process, maintenance and power plant construction. He is an active member of NCCER’s Safety Committee, WSO Board of Directors and WSO Certification Board. He also has safety certifications with ISHM as a Certified Safety & Health Manager and WSO as a Certified Safety Manager.

David Starr, Driver for NASCAR Xfinity Series – David Starr is a driver for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He began his career racing at local Houston dirt tracks and went on to join the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1998. After more than a decade of racing, David advanced to the NASCAR Xfinity Series. A former career and technical education student (CTE), David has been a strong ambassador for the Build your Future BYF initiative since 2011. During that time, he has spoken to thousands of students about the value of hands-on learning and how CTE led him to become a professional driver.

Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services – Debbie Dickinson is the co-founder of Instructional Dimensions and CEO of Crane Industry Services, which provides training and certification for crane operators, riggers and crane and rigging inspections. She is also the CEO of the Centered on Safety Training Center at West Georgia Technical College where trainees gain job-relevant practice time with equipment and classroom training in multiple craft areas. Debbie is an expert at personnel qualification auditing and assessment. She has held leadership roles in the development of legally defensible employee selection systems and accredited certification programs recognized by OSHA, ANSI, NCCA and state and employer managed programs.

Denise Norberg-Johnson, Program Auditor for NCCER – Denise Norberg-Johnson is an independent program auditor for NCCER. She has thirty years of experience in the construction industry, including managing a third-generation stair-building business, teaching in a construction-oriented charter high school and providing management training for an electrical contracting association. Denise is an award-winning writer and speaker, and she is publishing her second book in 2015. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and six rescued cats, where she tutors high school students and provides holistic and animal communication services through her company, Defyning Moments, LLC.

Diane Greene, Executive Director of Build Your Future (retired) – Diane Greene recently retired as the executive director of the Build Your Future initiative at NCCER. She managed the day-to-day operations for the initiative, which focuses on recruitment, training and placement of candidates into the construction industry. With more than 25 years of experience in human resources and training, almost exclusively in the education and construction industries, Diane’s work made an impact on countless individuals.

Don Whyte, President of NCCER – Don Whyte is the President of NCCER and has been involved in the development of NCCER for nearly 20 years. Prior to taking the reins of NCCER, Don served for six years as vice president directing all training operations and program development. During his tenure, he assisted NCCER in achieving extraordinary growth and distinction as one of the premier workforce development organizations in the construction and maintenance industry. Don’s background includes experience as a vocational educator, corporate management trainer and operations manager in structural steel fabrication, erection and maintenance. Don holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Virginia Tech.

Herbert “Bert” Johnston, Jr., DBA, Education Director for GCA Trades Academy – Bert Johnston is the education director for GCA Trades Academy, an organization that provides craft training in the construction industry. He is an NCCER Master Trainer, Associated Builders and Contractors Construction Educational Professional and faculty practitioner with the University of Phoenix College of Graduate Business and Management. Dr. Johnston has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in public administration and a doctoral degree in business administration. His work experience spans across private, public and non-profit sectors, including fifteen years with Guam’s only public water and wastewater utility. Dr. Johnston currently serves on the board of two financial institutions and the Guam Girl Scouts Council.

Jane Hanna, President and Executive Director of Construction Education Foundation – Jane Hanna is the president and executive director of the Construction Education Foundation (CEF). She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and an NCCER Master Trainer. Jane has been part of workforce development in the construction industry for nearly 40 years. As director of education for Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) North Texas, she organized the chapter’s first industry training council to formalize craft training. As vice president of education for ABC North Texas, she assisted in the development of CEF, which provides craft, apprenticeship and professional development training for the region.

Jason Herndon, Instrument and Electrical Maintenance Training Specialist for DuPont – Jason Herndon is an an Instrument and Electrical Training Specialist for DuPont Titanium Technologies and has worked in the construction electrical trade for 14 years. Prior to joining DuPont in 2012, he was an instructor at Nashville State Community College (NSCC) where he was involved in implementing the NCCER Curriculum and Sponsorship/Accreditation process.  Jason became an NCCER Master Trainer in 2013, and he currently serves as a member of the Humphreys County Industrial Board, which works closely with NSCC.

Jay Eichmann, NCCER Certified Instructor for Clovis Unified School District in California – Jay Eichmann is an NCCER certified instructor for Clovis High School in Clovis, California. He began his career in residential construction then joined the U.S. Navy as an avionic technician working on F/A 18 Hornets.  After five years and an honorable discharge, he continued doing electrical work for another 15 years before moving into career and technical education in 2008. Jay currently teaches electronic systems technician, project management and carpentry and was recently recognized as the 2015 Career Safe Safety Educator of the Year at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s national conference.

Jeff Hooper, Vice President of Workforce Development for the Inland Pacific Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors – Jeff Hooper is the vice president of workforce development for the Inland Pacific Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in Spokane, Washington. In this role, he is responsible for leadership and supervision of all workforce, continuing education, apprenticeship and adult education programs. He provides leadership in responding to local workforce education needs and for developing and maintaining relationships with the external business and educational sectors.

Jeff Rodenberg, Director of TIC’s Craft Training Center – Jeff Rodenberg is the Director of TIC’s Craft Training Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. TIC’s Craft Training program is widely recognized as the leading apprentice-style, formalized training program in the construction industry. Jeff began his career with TIC in 2001 after graduating from Montana State University. For 10 years, he was a Field Engineer and a Project Engineer working on various projects, building such thing as Wind Turbines in Minnesota, Ethanol Plants in Iowa, Gas Fired Power Plants in Montana, Open Pit Coal Mines in Wyoming and Water Pipelines in Colorado.

Jen Schottke, Membership and Marketing Director for Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter – Jen is the membership and marketing director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter. She began her career as the marketing director for a general contractor and construction manager. She then worked for an association management company where she managed four trade associations, including the West Michigan Chapter of the US Green Building Council where she acted as executive director. Jen is grateful for the opportunity to combine her construction and association management backgrounds as she works to support the merit-shop, commercial construction industry in West Michigan.

Jennifer Poe, Lead Data Manager for the Industrial Technical Learning Center – Jennifer Poe is the lead data manager for the Industrial Technical Learning Center in Fontana, California, through the TAACCCT grant that was awarded to Chaffey College and the Inland Empire Regional Consortium in 2014. Her role includes coordinating the college’s data collection and analysis while working in direct connection with third-party evaluators. Jennifer has over 10 years of experience in business administration and over five years of experience in education and grant administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management from California State University, San Bernardino and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westwood College.

Jennifer Wilkerson, Director of Marketing, PR and Build Your Future for NCCER – Jennifer is the Director of Marketing, PR and Build Your Future for NCCER. She has a background in both education and construction. Jennifer taught high school English for 13 years and is part owner in a small welding company where she was the acting business manager for six years. She began with NCCER as a project manager overseeing the development and revision of curricula and assessment. Jennifer now leads a successful marketing team that has enhanced NCCER’s presence in the construction marketplace and generated renewed interest in the Build Your Future initiative aimed at recruitment and image enhancement for the construction industry. She holds degrees in English education and business administration.

Jim Hanna, Executive Director for Construction, Fabrication and Craft Services for Fluor – Jim Hanna is the Executive Director for Construction, Fabrication and Craft Services for Fluor. In this role, he is accountable for the acquisition, retention and development of construction staff and craft resources. Jim has 32 years of management experience in industrial relations and human resources/workforce services. A graduate of Brigham Young University, he holds an associate degree in architectural drafting and a bachelor’s degree in construction management.

Jim Kasik, NCCER Certified Instructor at Schuyler Central High School – Jim Kasik is an NCCER-certified instructor and 27-year veteran skill and technical science teacher at Schuyler Central High School in Schuyler, Nebraska. He spent 21 years as the head wrestling coach at Schuyler Central High School and was recently inducted into the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame. Jim has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Kearney State College, a master’s degree in secondary education from Wayne State College and a K-12 administration endorsement from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Jonathan Sacks, Transmission and Distribution Training Manager for Cianbro Corporation – Jonathan Sacks is the transmission and distribution training manager for Cianbro Corporation in Maine. He is a licensed master electrician in three states, an OSHA outreach trainer and an NCCER Master Trainer and craft instructor. He remains active as an adjunct electrical instructor at two community colleges and is the 2015 Associated Builders and Contractors’ Craft Instructor of the Year.

Josh Hunt, Lead Journeyman Electrician for ISC Constructors, LLC – Josh Hunt is a lead journeyman electrician for ISC Constructors, LLC. Prior to joining ISC, Josh was a Construction Electrician Second Class, USN in the U.S. Navy Construction Battalion. He holds an associate degree in electrical technology from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and is an NCCER certified Industrial Electrician.

Katrina Kersch, Senior Director and Chief Operations Officer of NCCER– Katrina Kersch is the Senior Director and Chief Operations Officer of NCCER and oversees product development, program services, credentialing and compliance services. She has a wealth of construction workforce development experience and was previously the director of workforce development as well as the NCCER Sponsor Representative for Marek Family of Companies, a large commercial subcontractor based out of Houston. Her background also includes serving as director of education for the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation and executive director of the Construction Career Collaborative.

Kayleen McCabe, Host of DIY Network’s Rescue Renovation  – Kayleen McCabe is the host of Rescue Renovation on DIY Network, where she saves project-challenged homeowners who are in over their heads with their renovations. On the show, Kayleen points out exactly what went wrong and formulates a seven-day action plan to turn awful renovations into jaw-dropping rooms. Kayleen is a licensed contractor and the 2009 winner of DIY’s Stud Finder contest.

Kevin Oshinskie, Project Associate for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) – Kevin Oshinskie facilitates ACTE’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month and CTE Support Fund Activities. He is a member of the Public Policy Department at ACTE, the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers.  Kevin is extremely interested in exploring the ways that education policy affects employment in the U.S.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University.

Kirstyn Quandt, Communications Manager for NCCER – Kirstyn Quandt is the communications manager at NCCER in Alachua, Florida. Her role includes managing NCCER’s biannual magazine, The Cornerstone, and its weekly blog, Breaking Ground. She has three years of writing experience as a newspaper advice columnist and an extensive background in event planning. She holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations from Indiana State University and is excited to trade in the snow for Florida sunshine.

Lance Simons, Corporate Safety Director for Haskell – Lance Simons is the Corporate Safety Director for Haskell in Jacksonville, Florida. He has over 25 years of experience in the construction industry and is an active member of both NCCER and SCOAR Safety Committees. He is also an NCCER Certified Craft Instructor and Master Trainer.

Linda Young, CBT, CIT, Co-Director of Camp NAWIC San Diego – Linda A. Young, CBT, CIT, is a 29-year member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She is the current president of the NAWIC San Diego Future Construction Leaders Foundation and co-director of the San Diego chapter Camp NAWIC Committee. Linda has spent more than 30 years working in various positions in the construction industry, including executive director of the San Diego Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association and executive director of the Masonry Industry Training Association. She currently owns C-SOS Consulting Services with her husband, Frank, and they have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.

L.J. Zielke, President of Allied Career Training – Larry (L.J.) Zielke earned his B.A. from Centre College and Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at University of Louisville. After working in one of Louisville, Kentucky’s ten largest law firms in the construction litigation department, he partnered with Mike Howell, a successful domestic and international contractor, to start Allied Career Training in 2005.

Lonny Wright, D.M., M.Ed., Dean of Education and Training for PRIDE Industries – Dr. Lonny Wright, D.M., M.Ed., is the dean of education and training for PRIDE Industries’ PRIDE Ascend school and a doctoral graduate of Colorado Technical University’s Doctor of Management program. Dr. Wright is also a retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major, where he served for over 30 years. Dr. Wright currently works in the areas of industry and education partnerships, process improvement, change management and management consulting. He is a member and Registered Organization Development Professional with the International Society for Organization Development and Change as well as a member of the Association for Career and Technical Education with a concentration in disability technical training.

Lori Cowen, Guest Contributor – Lori Cowen is a retired senior product manager from educational publisher Pearson who now works as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing and social media. She served from 1997-2013 as the editorial liaison to NCCER and currently resides in New Jersey.


Louis Cotoia, National Director at Rhode Island Builders Association – Louis Cotoia has over 30 years of experience in the residential construction industry, including sales at Arnold Lumber Company and owning several businesses as a registered contractor. At the Rhode Island Builders Association, Lou is an executive board member, national director and sits on the membership, education and home show committees. Lou works closely with the state’s Department of Education and local career and technical schools on curriculum and advisory boards. He is also active with the National Association of Home Builders on the education committee and the conventions and meetings committee.

Mandy Beaulieu, Training Director for Construction Education Foundation, Inc. Alaska/Associated General Contractors of Alaska – Mandy Beaulieu is the training director for Construction Education Foundation, Inc. Alaska/Associated General Contractors of Alaska. She works closely with school districts, construction academies and postsecondary training institutions throughout Alaska. Mandy moved to Alaska from Florida in 2005 and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with her bachelor’s degree in English education in 2010. Mandy came to CEF/AGC in 2010 and has been the training director since 2013. She is also the treasurer for the Alaska Association for Career and Technical Education association.

Matthew Clark, Director of Workforce Development for Jacobs – Matthew Clark is the director of workforce development for Jacobs. He began his construction career as a helper and worked his way up to project superintendent before going on to become an instructor and later dean of a construction school. Matthew now oversees all workforce development efforts for Jacobs. He currently serves on the NCCER Workforce Development Committee, Construction Users Roundtable Workforce Development Committee, Associated Builders and Contractors Trimmer Education Foundation and the Central Gulf Industrial Alliance Workforce Development Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Adult Career/Technical Education with an educational leadership endorsement.

Melissa Hockstad, Vice President of Petrochemicals for AFPM – Melissa is the vice president of petrochemicals for American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). In this role, she is responsible for leading AFPM’s Petrochemicals Division. Her responsibilities include oversight of various petrochemical committees, organization of the International Petrochemical Conference and providing support for addressing legislative, regulatory and communications issues impacting the petrochemicals membership.

Michael Connet, Senior Director of Programs and Communications for ACTE – Michael is the senior director of programs and communications for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). In this role, he is responsible for promoting the impact of career and technical education and supporting the development and growth of the professionals engaged in preparing students. As senior director, he oversees the recruitment and support for ACTE’s membership, including managing communications, events, professional development and publications. Prior to joining ACTE, Michael coordinated educational technology programs at the community college level, managed public television’s education outreach initiatives and led the educational foundations for two Fortune 50 companies.

Michael Valdez, Vice Principal for the Office of Correctional Education at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Michael Valdez is the vice principal for the Office of Correctional Education at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He has over 28 years of experience providing rehabilitative programing within a correctional facility, including employment and community transition, substance abuse education, religious programming and self-help programs. Michael currently oversees 292 career and technical education programs where he provides local, institutional leadership for growth, change and skill acquisition to the incarcerated population.

Michele Jones, Executive Vice President and CEO of NIA – Michele is the executive vice president and CEO of the National Insulation Association (NIA). She was previously the vice president of member services and director of meetings and program development at NIA. Michele represents the insulation industry by serving on the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council’s board of advisors, a committee of the Department of Energy and with the National Institute of Building Sciences. She earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation in 1996 and has won Best Membership Recruitment awards from the National Association of Membership Directors. Michele has two children and resides in northern Virginia with her husband, Mark.

Mike Rogers, Industrial Maintenance Instructor at the Career Academy of Siloam Springs – Mike Rogers is an industrial maintenance instructor at the Career Academy of Siloam Springs in Northwest Arkansas, where has taught for 19 years. Prior to this, he worked in industrial maintenance and anhydrous ammonia at Frez-N-Stor. Mike holds six teaching licenses with the Arkansas Department of Education, including technical postsecondary instruction, HVAC, advanced manufacturing, industrial equipment maintenance, machine tool technology and welding. He has a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from the University of Arkansas and a master’s in education. Mike has been married for 21 years and has five children ages 11 to 18.

Mittie Cannon, Director of Workforce Development for Robins & Morton – Dr. Mittie Cannon is the Director of Workforce Development for Robins & Morton. She serves on the board of directors for SkillsAlabama and as chair of the Advisory Council for Career & Technical Education of the Alabama Department of Youth Services, chair of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Workforce Programs & Initiatives Committee and chair of the NCCER Workforce Development Committee and Assessment Advisory Council. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Cannon also recruited and mentored the first female welder in the history of the ABC National Craft Championships to take top honors in welding. Dr. Cannon received her doctorate in educational leadership from University of Phoenix.

Patrick Durkin, Senior Career and Technical Education Instructor at Swenson Arts and Technology High School – Patrick Durkin is a senior career and technical education instructor at Swenson Arts and Technology High School in Philadelphia. He has been an employee of the School District of Philadelphia for 20 years and a member of Carpenters Union Local 122 for nearly 40 years. Patrick is a graduate of the Philadelphia Carpenters JAC Apprenticeship Program and has his bachelor’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Pennsylvania State University. He also has his master’s degree in Curriculum Instruction Technology Education from Temple University. Patrick is certified in Carpentry and Building Maintenance from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute and is both an NCCER and OSHA instructor.

Patty Bird, Senior Manager of Projects at NCCER – Patty Bird is the senior manager of projects at NCCER. Her role includes overseeing project managers and the development and revision of curricula and assessments. During her tenure at NCCER, Patty has worked as an accounts payable and accounts receivable coordinator, administrative assistant and project manager. Patty was previously the advertising billing specialist for Aberdeen American News in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has a bachelor’s degree in English with both a literature and writing emphasis from Northern State University.

Paul Goodrum, Professor in Construction Engineering and Management at University of Colorado at Boulder – Paul Goodrum is the Nicholas R. Petry Professor in Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Colorado, he was a professor in Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Goodrum serves on the Transportation Research Board’s Construction Management Committee as well as the co-chair of the Board’s Information Technology in Construction Subcommittee. Dr. Goodrum is also active on the Construction Industry Institute’s Breakthrough Strategy Committee and currently serves as the Chair of the Institute’s Academic Committee. Dr. Goodrum is a Specialty Editor for Labor and Personnel Issues for the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington and a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.

Perry Nations, Vice President of the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation – Perry Nations is vice president of the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, which he helped form over 20 years ago. He is a retired executive director with 35 years of service at The Associated General Contractors of Mississippi. Prior to that, he worked for 11 years as the state travel and tourism director for the Agricultural and Industrial Board. Perry has also worked as a reporter and photographer for a daily newspaper. He is a member of the board and past chairman of the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Educational Association and Mississippi Association of Self Insured. He is also on boards for Mississippians for Economic Progress, Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, Business and Industry Political Education Committee and Mississippi Group Guaranty Association.

Philip C. Cleveland, Deputy Superintendent for Career and Technical Education at Alabama State Department of Education – Philip C. Cleveland, Ed.D., is the deputy superintendent for Alabama State Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education. In this role, he serves as a liaison between secondary and postsecondary education and works closely with Alabama’s workforce and economic development sectors. His experience includes serving as an agriscience teacher, career and technical education director, high school principal and vice president, dean and interim president at the postsecondary level. Dr. Cleveland holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Auburn University, as well as a doctor of education from Nova Southeastern University.

Robert P. Leiby, Instructor for the Construction Management Academy at Applications and Research Laboratory – Robert P. Leiby is an instructor in the Construction Management Academy at Applications and Research Laboratory for the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. He is a National Board Certified Teacher with more than 35 years of experience in career and technical education. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University with dual certification in industrial technical education and cooperative education. Robert has an Advanced Professional Certificate from the University of Maryland and is trade certified through the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute and NCCER.

Ryan Wilder, Director of International and Legal Services for NCCER – Ryan Wilder is the Director of International and Legal Services for NCCER. In this role, he works with educational and industry organizations around the world to implement workforce development programs using the NCCER model for training and certification. Prior to joining NCCER, Ryan worked as a land use, environmental and real estate attorney, and as a journalist for the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. He studied at the law faculty at Universiteit Leiden in The Netherlands in addition to the University of Florida. He is a licensed attorney in the state of Florida and also participates in the Business Law and International Law sections of the Florida Bar.

Stacy Bell, Craft Talent Leader at TIC – The Industrial Company – Stacy Bell is the craft talent leader at TIC – The Industrial Company where she leads a team of craft recruiters, HR coordinators and support staff who are dedicated to securing and retaining highly talented craft employees. She is involved in many programs that increase awareness of construction careers, such as the Department of Corrections, military and secondary and postsecondary schools. Before joining TIC, she spent 12 years leading human resources teams in the areas of attracting, retaining and developing hourly workforces. Stacy is a proud mother of four young adults and attended Alaska Pacific University.

Stacy Gunderson, Training Coordinator for Marek Brothers Systems – Stacy Gunderson has been a training coordinator in the Workforce Development Department for Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. in San Antonio, Texas since 2008 and has worked in the construction industry since 2005. She currently sits on an advisory council for the Pre-employment Architectural and Construction Exploration Program (P.A.C.E.) of the Builders Exchange Education Council and works with several schools in the San Antonio area to promote construction career opportunities and awareness.

Scottie Smith, Welding Instructor at Northwest Florida State College – Scottie Smith has 25 years of experience in the welding industry. He is an NCCER Master Trainer and an American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Instructor and Educator. He has been a postsecondary welding instructor since 2009 and a welding instructor at Northwest Florida State College since 2013. Scottie was the AWS Welding Instructor of the Year for District 9 in 2010, the AWS Certified Welding Inspector of the Year for District 9 in 2011 and the recipient of the 2015 Howard E. Adkins Memorial Instructor Award for National Welding Educator of the Year.

Stephen Toups, Senior Vice President of Turner Industries – Stephen Toups is Corporate Vice President of Turner Industries Group, a national industrial contractor. Toups currently serves on the national board of directors for Associated Builders and Contractors, as a trustee for the Louisiana Construction Education Foundation, as treasurer for the LCTCS Foundation and on the board of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.  He has served as chairman of the Baton Rouge area Workforce Investment Board and as a chairman of the Louisiana Private Employer Council. Stephen is a graduate of Louisiana State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in finance and his MBA. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the LSU Business School.

Ted Blanton Sr., President and CEO of North American Crane Bureau Group, Inc. – Ted Blanton Sr. is the president and CEO of North American Crane Bureau Group, Inc. Ted has over 40 years of experience with heavy equipment and crane management, including operator, maintenance and general manager. He sits on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is currently vice chairman of the Main B30 Committee, as well as several B30 subcommittees. Ted is also a member of the ISO US Tag TC96 committee. His areas of expertise include crane operations, qualifications and certifications; safety and skills training for crane and lifting; rigger and rigging qualifications and certifications, rigging procedures and standards; inspection procedures; incident and accident investigation and crane and hoist inspection.

Tom Underhill, Executive Director of Steel Erectors Association of America – Tom Underhill is the executive director of the Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA). Before taking leadership of SEAA, Tom worked in construction, steel fabrication and steel erection for more than 35 years. He is a former member of the SEAA board of directors and served as president of the Association from 1997-1998. He is currently SEAA’s representative on the Steel Joist Institute board of directors and represents the Association on various AISC activities. Tom graduated from Virginia Military Institute with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and now resides in Fancy Gap, Virginia, with his wife, Travis.