Instructor pays it forward to students

Instructor pays it forward to students

Garry Wilson supports students’ education through NAIT it Forward Campaign

Growing up in a small town, NAIT instructor and scholarship donor Garry Wilson (Electrician ‘98) learned from an early age about the importance of community. Wilson, one of 8 children including twin brother Terry, was raised on a farm just outside Drayton Valley.

People in the community shared the work and you didn’t need to buy equipment if your neighbour had what you needed, he explains. People took care of each other – a simple philosophy that has guided Wilson throughout his career.

: Former Instructor and NAIT Academic Staff Association president Garry Wilson volunteers by flipping pancakes at NAIT it Forward, the annual staff-run fundraising campaign

A great career that began at NAIT

Wilson left the farm to take his apprenticeships for Electrician and Communication Technician at NAIT. After graduation, he worked in industry and became a small business owner, focusing on maintenance and troubleshooting.

“When you think about it, where would we be without electricity?” Wilson says. “There’s always going to be issues with it and people need to be highly trained to keep things running.”

In 2006, Wilson returned to NAIT as an instructor for the Electrician and Powerline Technician programs. Today, he uses his problem solving skills and people-centred approach to guide him as he serves as the president of the NAIT Academic Staff Association (NASA), in which he’s been an active member since 2009.

Supporting NAIT students and those in need

Wilson believes strongly in supporting post-secondary education. He remembers when he was an apprentice and never had to pay tuition, which at the time was covered either by employers or the Government of Alberta.

Paying it forward to help others attain an education struck a chord with Wilson. It was one of the reasons he got involved as an organizer for NAIT it Forward, the staff-run fundraising campaign that started in 2013. He donates to student scholarships and the NAIT Fund – a special fund that supports the greatest needs on campus.

Wilson also donates to an annual scholarship and contributes to NAITSA’s Food Centre and the Share the Warmth campaign – both of which provide critical support for those at NAIT and broader community.

“The number of employees at NAIT – more than 3,000 – make it almost the size of a small town,” he says. “That’s a community! We need to support that community and make it better.”

Published on March 8, 2018