Meet Our Instuctors

Tom Bauras

REI INSTRUCTOR
Phase 1 & 2 | 10 yrs in the industry

8 yrs NWERI | 2 yrs Sky Climber Renewables | 8 yrs Marine Corps

I’m Tom, and I’m from Washougal, WA. After graduating high school in 2003, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as an Assault Amphibious Vehicle Crewman for 8 years, being honorably discharged in 2011. Post-Marines, I worked at a local brewery while attending college. In 2013, I moved to Oregon and started working at Unifirst. It was then that I learned about NWREI and decided to join, drawn by the chance to get my hands dirty again and be part of a growing industry.

I started instructing students at NWREI in 2014. I taught here at NWREI from 2014 to 2021, then spent two years elsewhere as a Tech One Program instructor in Portland, OR. In May 2023, I returned to NWREI.

In the classroom, I prefer earning respect from students rather than demanding it. I enjoy building relationships with my students while keeping the atmosphere fun. I know what it is like to be a student, and I refuse to be an instructor that puts the class to sleep. My aim is to engage with each student and convey the material in an informative yet enjoyable way.

One of my most memorable moments as an instructor was when a student told me that they will be forever grateful for how I was able to play a role in turning their life around.

During my time in the Marine Corps, I spent four out of my eight years work on a prototype military vehicle called the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). This vehicle consisted of complex hydraulic, electric, and mechanical systems. The hydraulic system was a prototype on its own, allowing the EFV to transform form a high-speed boat into a tank essentially.  These complex hydraulic systems allowed me to have a great understanding of fluid power. I was also tasked with repairing and trouble shooting the vehicle alongside the mechanical engineers. This experience allowed me to translate what I learned over to the wind industry since the theoretical side of hydraulics is the same a cross the board. All I had to do was transfer that knowledge and apply it to a wind turbine platform.

On a personal level, I’m married to an amazing woman named Vicky. We have a son, Gavin, who is my pride and joy. My hobbies include college football (GO OREGON DUCKS!), fishing, camping, hiking, and barbecuing.

Andrew Syverson

REI INSTRUCTOR
Phases 3-4 |  10 Years in the Industry

I’m Andrew and I was born and raised in Woodland, WA. My background which led me to becoming a wind turbine technician began in the US Coast Guard, where I served as a fireman. Afterwards, I graduated and moved on to building and maintaining telecom towers for companies like Verizon and BNSF. My interest in renewable energy sparked when I saw a wind turbine for the first time in the Columbia River Gorge. Already experienced in working at heights, I was drawn to this exciting new technology.

I started my wind turbine technician career in August 2014 after graduating from NWREI. Over my 10 years in the industry, I’ve held various roles, starting as a new hire, advancing to crew lead, site lead, technical trainer, and finally, chief technical officer.

I had some post high school education in construction technology from Clark College but going into the service had hindered my graduation. Upon exiting the service, I worked jobs as a laborer, and I wanted something more from life which ultimately led me to enroll at NWREI.

As an instructor, I’m passionate about teaching the next generation of renewable energy technicians. My 3 years as a technical trainer for Run Energy taught me a lot about diverse learning styles. I approach teaching by posing subject matter as a question and encouraging collaborative problem-solving. I believe that hands-on learning in both the classroom and labs helps retain knowledge more effectively and fosters mutual respect between teacher and student.

Personally, my wife Brandi and daughter Kinnley are everything to me. I love hiking, mountaineering, motorcycle riding, fishing, camping, barbecuing, and just about any outdoor activity. The Pacific Northwest offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, and I love exploring new activities and spending time with my family.

James Simon

REI INSTRUCTOR
Phase 5 & 6 | 3 Years in the Industry

2.5 yrs Instructor | 6 mo traveling blade technician | 7 yrs Engineering Technician for semiconductor equipment | 4 yrs military engineer; specialized in explosives and bridge building.

 

I’m James originally from Portland, Oregon. My journey to becoming a wind turbine instructor at NW-REI was long but rewarding. I was an engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps for 4 years, with 2 tours in Afghanistan. After that, I worked for 7 years as an Engineering Technician in the semiconductor industry. Having driven past the school several times per week, curiosity took hold and I called for info about NW-REI. I enrolled as a student, found a career in the field as a traveling blade technician, then returned to the school as an instructor.

Doing research on my own, I had found that the majority of companies highly prefer or even require some form of schooling relevant to wind turbine technologies, even though I had extensive skills as a technician, I knew I would need to further my knowledge of wind turbines via a formalized education and technical diploma to stand out amongst my peers.

For classroom learning, I like to maintain a strict, professional and straightforward approach when it comes to my lecturing and my expectations of student behavior during that time. I also like to employ project and group-based work for students to complete with strict deadlines. I am also a fan of using interactive media whenever possible to assist with the students learning of the materials.

When it comes to hands on learning for their labs, that’s where I like to take a slight shift from the strict and professional attitude and show the students a more relaxed and humorous attitude—such as what they are likely to encounter when working with their fellow technicians in the field—while still ensuring they have a healthy respect for our rules and safety.  Our lab work revolves around real world scenarios and tasks they will be expected to perform in the field.  I also take students that are having a harder time grasping the hands-on portions and work with them to ensure they are up to speed and can adequately perform the desired tasks without assistance.

For the dynamics of it all, my blend of both classroom and hands-on training allows my students to acquire a solid theoretical foundation in the classroom and then apply that knowledge in practical, real-world scenarios for their labs. The combination of these approaches caters to different learning styles and maximizes the benefits of both instructional dynamics.

Outside of work, I love adventures. I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica and hiked the entire 750 miles of the Oregon Desert Trail. I also enjoy playing computer games, hiking, hunting, camping, traveling, and spending time with my two Siberian Huskies, Aleu and Paladin.

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