Gerald smiles as he stands in the rooms that he helped construct at CNM Main Campus.

Faces of CNM: Gerald Bell

Gerald, a U.S. Air Force Veteran and CNM student, is framing a bright future through the College’s Carpentry program.
May 29, 2019

California native, Gerald Bell, has traveled the world as a former enlisted airman in the U.S. Air Force. From California to Germany to New Mexico, Gerald has plenty of life experience. But after retiring, he wanted to use his creative ambition to help others and to build a new life for himself.

In fall 2018, Gerald enrolled in CNM’s Carpentry program. He says that the program has been outstanding and that the hands-on learning experience has helped him both in and outside of the classroom.

“I recently volunteered for Habitat for Humanity,” he says. “I was glad that I had the proper tools to use and the knowledge to help put the finishing touches on that project.”

In addition to volunteering, Gerald uses what he’s learned in the Carpentry program at home. He says that he has plenty of remodeling projects on his to-do list, including building a new deck.

Gerald was able to flex his skills at the 2019 New Mexico SkillsUSA competition, which was hosted on CNM’s Main Campus. He placed third in his carpentry competition, where he was challenged to build a wood and steel structure using only basic plans as a guide.

“The SkillsUSA competition was really fun,” he says. “I liked the competitive aspect of it. I was able to use my skills in an environment where everyone was trying their best to win.”

When he graduates, Gerald wants to use his degree and skillset to remodel and flip houses. He says he likes to see projects start from scratch and then come to fruition in the form of a beautifully finished product.

“That’s why I am here,” he says. “I wanted to be an expert in my field so that I can approach new projects with confidence and know that I can tackle it head on.”

Gerald has made a strong impression on his instructors and mentors within the carpentry program here at CNM.

“Gerald is one of the hardest working students we have,” says Joseph Hirschfeld, an instructional technician in the School of Applied Technologies. “He’s the kind of person who sees a challenge and grabs the bull by the horns. He has a lot to be proud of.”

Learn more about CNM’s Carpentry Program.

Air Force Vet, Gerald, wants to apply his carpentry skills to remodeling houses when he graduates.