Robert Frasher had a full career before he took an official role as a teacher in 2007 with the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC). He got interested in welding at a young age while visiting his aunt and uncle, who worked as a welder on an oil platform in Alaska in the 1970s — it wasn’t a passing phase. He learned the basics at 14 but continued to build on those skills over the years.

In his career before teaching at AVTEC, Robert was the welding instructor for the Sheet Metal Workers Local 23, and he is still a member of the Sheet Metal Workers Union to this day. He values all the benefits it brought him, like education opportunities and fair wages.

He believes in strong unions both to protect workers — and teachers — and to guarantee the best quality and highest trained workers and educators. Learning didn’t necessarily come easy for Robert, as he struggled with dyslexia. However, he didn’t shy away from asking questions or requesting clarification and he encourages his students to always do the same.