Gary Talma didn’t expect to become a professional teacher – it’s just something he fell into.
"I never thought of myself as being a teacher or an instructor,” he says, but after getting involved with NTS as an instructor, he never looked back. "It’s probably one of the best moves I’ve made in my career,” he says.
Talma, who has taught Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1, Fire Alarm Installation Methods, Advanced Intrusion Systems, and Electronic Access Control, is also the Committee Chair for Training and Education for WIESA, the Wisconsin chartered chapter of ESA.
But to teach courses, Talma had to take vacation time from his day job. "The more I did the NTS training, the more fun I thought it would be to do this full-time.”
At the 2011 ESA Leadership Summit, Talma was named ESA/NTS Training Coordinator of the Year, which he credits for helping him into a new position teaching full-time as Senior Technical Training Specialist at ADT.
"I think [being named Coordinator of the Year] was a huge part” of getting the job, he says. "It just puts that so far above someone else when applying for a position."
In his new position, Talma travels around the country, training dealers on all different products and equipment, helps develop new training courses for the install and service teams, and provides operational support.
"I can honestly say I enjoy what I do,” says Talma. "Before I took vacation time to teach, now I can do it full-time.”
Currently, he’s spending a lot of time focused on ADT’s Pulse system, as well as creating monthly safety classes for dealers. "Technicians are in an area where they can't get complacent and safety has to be at the top of their heads at all time,” he says.
"We want our technicians to go to work safe and to go home safe."
Thanks to his experience as an NTS instructor, Talma is able to tap a number of resources in his new position. "The wealth of knowledge from all the NTS instructors is great. You can call up anybody at ESA or NTS and ask them questions, and they know exactly what you're talking about. The knowledge you get from the wealth of instructors is the best,” he says.
He’s still teaching NTS courses when he can, with a goal of teaching two to three times per year.
"The more education you get, the more product knowledge, the better you’ll be in the industry,” he says. "The small investment that you can give your technicians will make a huge impact – it will help out in the long-term.”