A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

The Importance of Construction Craft Instructors

Without a doubt, the construction industry knows we’re facing a skilled worker shortage, particularly as the baby boomers retire. We understand we need more young people choosing the industry and to begin learning skills. But who is training the new recruits?

Just as we place our trust in academic educators to teach children math and reading, we depend on craft instructors to train the next generation and encourage a love of the craft. As William Arthur Wards said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

And the construction industry is filled with truly great craft teachers. Each year, the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) recognizes the role instructors play in shaping the future of the industry by presenting a Craft Instructor of the Year award, with a $10,000 check sponsored by NCCER.

These instructors bring with them a range of experience in crafts and many have started as apprentices themselves. Beyond teaching safety and skills, craft instructors highlight the opportunities for a successful career in construction.

While not a comprehensive list, previous winners of the award included William Fuller of the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (2018); Roger Thompson of North Alabama Craft Training Foundation (2017); John Lupacchino of Gaylor Electic (2016); Jonathan Sacks of Cianbro (2015); and Lloyd Evans of Watson Electrical Construction Co. (2014).


William Fuller (2018)

With over 35 years of craft field experience and 15 years of safety, health and environmental support systems experience, Fuller is able to share first-hand knowledge with his students. Beginning as a craft instructor in 2002, Fuller is affectionately known as “Uncle Will” and keeps his students engaged and eager to come back to class each day. With his classes staying in high demand, it shows that Fuller enjoys inspiring young adults as they are learning their craft.

“William not only teaches but is also a mentor to other instructors and helps them reach their full potential in the classroom,” said Blair Williamson, director of training and development of ABC Greater Houston Chapter’s Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF). “He goes above and beyond in each course to ensure that all of his students spend just as much time in the lab putting into action what they are taught in his lectures.”

He teaches multiple crafts utilizing the NCCER Curricula, including carpentry, scaffolding, rigging, crane, heavy equipment, crew leadership and boilermaking. Fuller is currently the manager of safety and technical training at the ABC Greater Houston Chapter’s CMEF and brings enthusiasm and passion to the classroom.

Roger Thompson (2017)

For 19 years, Roger Thompson has taught nearly 500 first-year apprentices as an Electrical Craft Training Instructor at the ABC North Alabama Craft Training Foundation (NACTF). Thompson began his career as an apprentice electrician and continued on to become a licensed journey lead electrician, electrical designer and is now a craft instructor and chief electrical estimator. With a combined 32 years of experience in the electrical field, Thompson is both a state of Alabama Master Electrician and an NCCER certified craft instructor.

“Roger enjoys the challenge of motivating and teaching the first-year apprentices and providing the cornerstone needed for each apprentice to be successful,” said Tiffany Brightwell, chapter president of ABC North Alabama. “He is a model instructor and often has contractors requesting their apprentices to be assigned to his class for their first year because they know Roger will take the time to prepare their employees for not only the classroom, but also the jobsite.”

John Lupacchino (2016)

John Lupacchino teaches electrical classes at Gaylor Electric and has taught electrical apprentices for over 14 years at ABC’s Indiana/Kentucky Chapter. He began his career as an apprentice before going on to become a journeyman, supervisor, project manager and is now a design engineer and craft instructor. Lupacchino has nearly 30 years of electrical construction experience and is currently a licensed master electrician in over 35 jurisdictions, an NCCER certified craft instructor and a LEED accredited professional.

“The bottom line is that John is a dedicated craft professional who is committed to improving people and the industry,” said Chuck Goodrich, president of Gaylor Electric. “His dedication to the craft and eagerness to share his knowledge has earned him the highest respect from his peers and supervisors. Because of John’s expertise and instruction, Gaylor Electric experiences a high retention of employees who desire to learn and make quality a priority on every project.”

Jonathan Sacks (2015)

Jonathan Sacks began his career in the construction industry in 1977 as an electrician’s helper. He later became a certified educator in Maine teaching middle school science while continuing to work as a licensed electrician. Sacks eventually left teaching full time to start his own electrical contracting business prior to joining Cianbro in 1993. He remains active as an adjunct electrical instructor at Kennebec Valley Community College and Eastern Maine Community College and is currently a licensed master electrician in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, an NCCER Master Trainer, a craft instructor and an OSHA outreach trainer.

"We are so happy for Jon and humbled to have one of our team members recognized with such a prestigious honor,” said Mike Bennett, vice president of health, safety, environmental and human resources at Cianbro. “Jon’s passion for teaching and the care that he lends to his students and peers is contagious. He volunteers countless hours to the industry to support the evolution of trades. This honor is well deserved.”

Lloyd Evans (2014)

Lloyd Evans, a Vietnam veteran, began as an electrical helper for Watson Electrical Construction and worked his way up to foreman, supervisor, office and division manager and is now the hiring and training administrator. His focus is on educating new hires about the company, assisting with company training processes and working with apprentices by teaching and training them for local and national competitions.

“Lloyd's knowledge, experience and his positive attitude serves as a great example to our apprentices and other employees,” said Darren Green, vice president of human resources at Watson Electrical Construction. “He is willing to make himself available to help anyone who desires to learn more about the electrical industry or needs help in any area.”

Evans is also an NCCER Master Trainer and NCCER Sponsor Representative for Watson Electrical Construction. He participates in career fairs throughout North Carolina to help educate high school students about the benefits of a career in the electrical industry. In addition, Evans works closely with veterans to educate them on opportunities within his company and the electrical industry as a whole after they leave the service.


NCCER’s own newly appointed president, Boyd Worsham, shared that he was inspired by his 11th and 12th grade carpentry instructor, who taught him employability skills, including responsibility. In fact, his instructor introduced Worsham to a job at Haskell, where he started as a carpentry helper right out of high school.

Is there a craft instructor that was instrumental in your life? Share a story about them below and then nominate them for the ABC 2019 Craft Instructor of the Year award.

Review eligibility requirements and submit a nomination here.

Please note that although electrician craft instructors are popular winners of the award, they are not the only recipients and instructors of other crafts are encouraged to be nominated.

Originally published on NCCER.org.