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 DeConstruct™ projects, educational seminars, and trade shows we got kids excited about getting their hands dirty and making things. And it works.
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.
Robb Sommerfeld, M.Ed.
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, M.S., LEED AP, BD+C
Starting off with an engineering diploma from England, Nick immigrated to the US in 1986 and worked for several systems contractors. Nick worked on several houses in Seaside, Florida, which was the first New Urbanist development in the US. In 1990 he decided to go back to school to study for a Technology Teaching License in Colorado.
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 also holds a Green Building Certificate in Commercial Construction. In 2008, he published a successful series of educational charts for green building that are used worldwide to streamline LEED® construction projects.
Dan Wilkewitz, M.Ed.
DeConstruct™ Development Manager
Dan received his bachelors degree in Sociology from Colorado State University cum laude in 1992. His areas of focus were social symbolic interaction and deviance mitigation. His graduate teaching certification in secondary social studies was earned at the University of Northern Colorado in 1998. He holds professional licenses in Colorado both as employing real estate broker and senior mortgage broker. His work with NCC is focused on promoting and implementing the DeConstruct™ program to the benefit of property owners, students, and communities.
A Colorado native, Edie received her undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from Colorado State University. In high-tech (including Hewlett-Packard Co.) for over 25 years, she migrated from doing systems analysis and software development to managing consulting services, chairing an international industry standards consortium and handling business planning, project management, marketing and strategic alliance management.
In 2002 she decided to leave the computer industry to do property management and remodeling. During one of those remodeling jobs, the local Habitat for Humanity turned away her old salvaged doors. That prompted her to make another career change – focused on building materials recycle and reuse. She found NCC shared her sense of social and environmental stewardship and quickly jumped on board to help them spread the word about deconstruction. Edie recently became an Accredited Professional in Construction Waste Recycling.
Dottie Bentley, M.Ed.
NCC is a perfect opportunity for Dottie to combine a passion for teaching, architecture, construction and green building. Recently retired from ten years of teaching, she remains involved with Colorado MESA as a volunteer and mentors students through afterschool programs. Dottie is a licensed technology teacher in the state of Colorado. Drawing from her own experiences in the minerals exploration and mining industry, she mentors underrepresented students in math, science and engineering fields. 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.