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NC3 has some impressive Master Instructors in our ranks and this Instructor Spotlight series aims to highlight the incredibly talented individuals who work with us. We’ll be featuring a new interview in our monthly newsletters, here on our website, and on our social media pages each month.


Rob Alderson

NC3 Master Instructor | Greenlee

Rob Alderson is an Electrical Construction Apprenticeship Instructor at Gateway Technical College and an NC3 Master Instructor for Greenlee.


Check out our Q&A session below to learn more about Rob, how he originally got involved with NC3, his favorite part of NC3’s Train-the-Trainer events and being an NC3 Master Instructor, and more!

NC3’s Senior Program Manager for Greenlee/RIDGID, Bill Finn, sat down with Rob to talk all about his work as an NC3 Master Instructor.


Thank you for sharing your story with the NC3 Network, Rob! Describe your path to becoming an instructor, what you teach and how long you have been teaching?

I have been an electrician with the IBEW for 35 years. About 7 years ago, I decided to start teaching, even though becoming an instructor had never really crossed my mind before. When an opportunity came up, I applied for the job and was ultimately chosen. One of the reasons driving my decision to become an instructor was witnessing how ill-equipped the apprentices were for the job when they came out of school.

Describe something you are proud and passionate about that your school does?

As an instructor there were instances when the school needed electrical changes for their projects. This provided a great opportunity for my apprenticeship class to step in and assist the school in completing those projects. For example, one of the campuses received new CNC machines, and we took charge of assembling the materials list, planning the implementation, selecting the best approach, and providing safety lift training for harnesses and applications required for moving around the facilities without disrupting ongoing classes. Thanks to the efforts of my apprentices, we successfully wired all four CNC machines. It was a rewarding experience for the students to be involved in such hands-on and practical learning opportunities.

How did you get involved with NC3?

When one of my colleagues was teaching the NC3 Greenlee certifications for IT/Low Voltage Information Technologies, Greenlee expressed interest in expanding into more electrical certifications. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to examine the course closely with my apprenticeship program. After thoroughly reviewing the courseware, tools, and hands-on aspects, I realized it would be a fantastic addition to my apprentices’ training. Therefore, I wasted no time and began teaching the Greenlee certifications to my apprentices, allowing them to benefit from this valuable opportunity in their learning journey. It was a great decision, and I saw significant growth and improvement in their skills through this expanded curriculum.

What is your favorite part of Train-the-Trainers and being a Master Instructor?

One of my favorite aspects of participating either at Gateway Technical College or other regional train-the-trainer locations is the opportunity to meet fellow professionals, learn handy tricks of the trade, and gain insights into their field of expertise. During these gatherings, there’s a great camaraderie among trainers, and they often look to me as the Master Instructor for resources. However, what makes these interactions truly enriching is the sharing of information. We discuss our past experiences, what we do in our respective locations, and the capabilities of our tools. It’s fascinating to witness those “ah-ha” moments when instructors recall being apprentices and being told how to use a piece of equipment, only to discover new and innovative ways to utilize it now. The way other instructors, much like myself, make the most of the resources available to them is truly interesting and inspiring. These gatherings foster a supportive and collaborative learning environment that benefits us all.

What would you say to instructors/schools considering joining the NC3 Master Instructor Team?

Becoming a Master Instructor has been a truly rewarding experience, especially because it allows me to become intimately familiar with the tools provided for my craft and trade. When it comes to teaching in schools, anyone can demonstrate how to do something, but what makes a significant difference is putting the tools in the hands of the students and guiding them through the process while emphasizing safety features. This hands-on approach is an invaluable opportunity that cannot be overlooked. It enables my students to gain practical experience and a deeper understanding of the tools they’ll be working with in their careers. Witnessing their progress and growth as they learn through real-life application is incredibly fulfilling, and it reinforces the importance of providing this experiential learning opportunity to every aspiring electrician.

What’s a piece of advice for students or that you would give to your younger self or other educators?

One important piece of advice I always give my students is to prioritize listening first. Even if you think you know what someone is explaining, there might be additional valuable information that you weren’t aware of. Being receptive to their input, going over the details, and then getting hands-on experience right after receiving the information can be immensely beneficial. It’s crucial not to fall into the trap of thinking that you already know everything because there’s always room to learn and improve.

Another advice I offer to both my students and fellow educators is that there are numerous ways to accomplish a task correctly. There isn’t just one “right” way to do something. Instead, there can be a hundred different approaches, all leading to the same successful outcome. Embracing this mindset allows individuals to explore different techniques, find their preferred methods, and adapt to various situations. It fosters creativity and flexibility in problem-solving, which are invaluable skills in the electrical trade and beyond.

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For information on Gateway Technical College, please visit https://www.gtc.edu/

For information on NC3’s Greenlee Program, please visit https://www.nc3.net/partner-greenlee/

For information on NC3’s Train-the-Trainer program, please visit www.nc3.net/training

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