The core group that founded the National Center for Craftsmanship is a collaboration of highly-skilled craftspeople and dynamic educators from Fort Collins, Colorado. As with most great ideas this one was born from pure enthusiasm — we went out and did something about the loss of crafts skills and trades. Using our NCC DeConstruct projects, educational seminars, and trade shows we got kids excited about getting their hands dirty and making things. And it works.
Finally, we have a place where we belong because the Craftsmanship Network fills a knowledge gap, long overdue, by connecting skilled craftspeople both locally and across the nation.
Neil A. Kaufman, Ph.D.
Born in New Jersey, Neil is a third generation craftsman of the building trades. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ceramic Engineering from Alfred University in New York and a Masters degree in Construction Management from Colorado State University with an emphasis in sustainable design, materials, and practices.
After years of work and study Neil came to appreciate that the majority of problems and challenges in our industrial and post-industrial society revolve less around technology and more around issues of education, training, and professional and personal development. This fundamental change in perspective, from technology to people-centered, led Neil to earn his Doctorate in Education from CSU in 2005, with an emphasis in human capital development and sustainable team building strategies in applied settings.
As the executive director of NCC, Neil continues to engage the community on issues of workforce and economic development through teaching, public speaking, and consulting. He currently lives with his family in Fort Collins, Colorado and can be reached at Neil@nccraftsmanship.org.
Robb has been teaching in the Thompson School District in Colorado for over seven years. Building upon a career in manufacturing and construction, he attended Colorado State University and was awarded his Masters and Teaching Credential in 2003. Robb works hard to promote trades skills so students realize that there are other options for career paths outside of the college track. Robb has been instrumental in diffusing the National Center for Craftsmanships's goals throughout northern Colorado.
Nick D. Benson
Starting off with an engineering diploma from England, Nick immigrated to the US in 1986 and worked for several systems contractors until deciding to go back to school for a technology teaching license. Nick worked on several houses in Seaside, Florida, which was the first New Urbanist development in the US.
After teaching Junior High School for four years in Fort Collins, Nick then returned to study at Colorado State University in 2001. He was directly funded by the National Science Foundation to create a groundbreaking medical technology primer for K-12 teachers. During this time he was inspired by a particular architect professor to join the cause of the sustainable construction movement while working on his Masters in Construction Management. Nick is a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) and also holds a Green Building Certificate in Commercial Construction.
Dottie is the technology teacher at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado. One of her goals is to encourage more students to enter technology and craft-related fields. Drawing from her own experiences, she closely mentors her female students and endeavors to empower their futures through technology literacy. She worked in the minerals exploration, mining and reclamation fields in Colorado and Wyoming. Dottie holds a Masters Degree from the Construction Management Department at Colorado State University and also holds a degree in Geology from University of Wyoming.
Adrienne started her business 1977 in New Jersey and has been extolling common-sense marketing to tens of thousands of owners and executives within small and growing businesses. In Fort Collins since 2001, Adrienne has been successful in building a base of local clients and audiences to complement her speaking engagements and consulting advice throughout the US and abroad.
Cynthia has lived in Colorado for almost 20 years, during which she found her calling as a homebuilder and remodeler. She has studied sustainable building for the last 10 years, and is currently working on her Masters degree in Construction Management with an emphasis in Sustainable Design. Each project that Cynthia works on integrates several components of sustainable design.
Drew has worked as a carpenter most of his life and has lived in Ft Collins since 1978. Drew started Nichols Construction in 1986 and primarily did framing and exterior trim. In 1990, he became a General Contractor and has been busy ever since. Some of Drew's other interest are woodturning, blacksmithing, sculpture, and art in general. Drew is an active member of the Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society (NCRES) and an officer of the Rocky Mountain Wood Turners Association.