Teacher of the Year David Nelson has a lifetime of experience he brings to FTI trucking program.
David Nelson, CDL Program Facilitator for the Flagler Technical Institute, started driving trucks when he was 18 years old.
“I drove garbage trucks, and then on the oil fields in Texas,” Nelson said. “I have driven regionally and coast-to-coast.”
His travels brought him to Flagler County in 2002, and what would become a new teaching career.
“I was looking for a trucking company and found the school by accident,” he said. “When I went over they thought I was a registering student, and I was inquiring about an instructor position.”
In February of 2003 he became a part-time instructor, and worked his way into a full-time position and the program manager.
FTI students hear first-hand, from Nelson, and graduates of the program, what to expect in a truck-driving career. Former students are encouraged to visit, bring their rigs, and enhance the student’s studies.
Nelson is reminded of the difference he and his team are making in eight, short weeks; when he is out at the store, or in one case, a gas station. Headed for Starke to attend a refresher course, Nelson saw a student that had been in his class 12 years before.
“He was 20 then and now 32 and was a completely different person and still in trucking,” he said.
The reward for Nelson is the satisfaction of watching young people like that, who have succeeded as drivers.
“We have a lot of success stories. The fact that we can change people’s lives in a short period of time, and start people in new careers, that’s invaluable,” Nelson said.