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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.

John Gerard

NC3 Master Instructor | 3M, Starrett, Greenlee, RIDGID, Copeland.

John Gerard is the Department Head for Building and Construction Technologies at Pima Community College, and an NC3 Master Instructor for 3M, Starrett, Greenlee, RIDGID, and Copeland.

Check out our Q&A session below to learn more about John, his background, how he originally got involved with NC3, being an NC3 Master Instructor, and more!

NC3’s 3M Program Manager, Renee Smith, sat down with John to talk all about his work as an NC3 Master Instructor.

Describe your path to becoming an instructor, what you teach and how long you have been teaching?

My degree in undergrad was in Art Education and so I was an art teacher many years ago. Eventually, I made my way into the family business of construction but it was affected by the turn of the housing market in 2008. I went back to teaching and worked in a juvenile detention center as a construction trades teacher. That campus was later consolidated to one in Phoenix, so I migrated to the adult prison and taught there for 6 years. I was teaching adjunct for PIMA and got to move to a full time and have been teaching construction for 15 years. I am now the Department Head for Building and Construction Technologies.

How has your professional experience influenced the way that you teach your classes? 

I’m lucky to have a formal background in education. Most of my colleagues came from the trades and moved into education. I learned the trades after the fact. I look for new instructors who have the technical knowledge but also a passion for learning and passing knowledge on to the next generation. The non-traditional student is my traditional student. I think the diverse background of students I’ve had has helped me with my current students. It has been important to provide various learning experiences for different learning styles.

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

As a community college, Pima has a big focus on the community. One of those programs is partnering with the Workforce Development Department for a 14 week fast track program not for credit geared toward the unemployed population. However, because it is created with credits in mind the students can transfer to the credit side of the college. If students don’t want to transfer the credits, they have a basic knowledge of carpentry, electrical, and plumbing which they can use in the workforce. All the way around, there is support and funding through this program across the community college.

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

Being a part of the NC3 Master Instructor team has been an amazing experience; working with other instructors across the country has been immeasurable. It’s a program that takes quality companies and industry partners and builds curriculum into them that you don’t get in other venues unless you go directly to the company. I’ve been able to see the scope of the companies that we work with: from tours of said companies and gaining a deeper understanding of the equipment and processes to engaging with representatives at Train the Trainer Events. The most important thing is networking with other instructors at the Train the Trainer events.

What hobbies or other things do you do outside of school and NC3?

I work on all of my kids’ cars as the family mechanic. I also play the guitar and am in a band with a coworker, his next door neighbor, and best of all, my son.

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

This is cliche but I’ll say it anyway: Never stop learning. Being a life-long learner is essential for us as human beings.


For information on Pima Community College, please visit

For information on NC3’s Partner 3M, please visit

For information on NC3’s Partner Starrett, please visit

For information on NC3’s Train-the-Trainer program, please visit

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