RJJH CTE Woodshop Instructor Doug Griffith

I was raised in Selma, CA. I currently reside in Fresno, CA.

I am married with two beautiful daughters. One is in 8th grade. The other is in 2nd.

I feel like I have been teaching my whole life. But, the reality is, I have been on the business side of it. I grew up in the family contracting business. I have pictures on the job before I was 5 years old with my parents and grandmother. Both my mom and her twin brother are retired teachers.

I am an A engineering contractor with a couple specialty licenses. I have over 35 years experience in the construction industry including but not limited to: steel and wood structures, electrical, plumbing, swimming pools, sprinkler systems, 

excavating and grading. Most of the work was redoing other peoples mistakes.
When my father died at a young age, I decided to focus and then scale down the business. I was finishing my MBA at CSU Fresno. I switched to the wellness industry. I got involved with a couple leading global companies and built a global business – twice.    During that time frame I also got left stranded returning from our honeymoon. That led me to start what ended up being a 24 hour a day 365 day a year business in luxury transportation. 

Then the Great Recession hit. With $40,000+ a month in overhead, whether we moved a car or not, things went south quickly.So, after years of working really hard, I found myself with nothing. We started all over. Many things happened. I became aware that trades in junior high and high schools were often not being offered.

I feel I can make a positive impact in the following ways:

  • Reinforce and demonstrate practical applications of what students have or should have learned elsewhere.
  • Develop a working knowledge of tools and their proper use.
  • Challenge and inspire students to always be thinking of creative solutions to everyday problems.

I enjoy NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series. I won my first Grand Nationals in Kart Racing the same year as Kevin Harvick. The Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore, Sunday July 21, 1985, said, "Harvick (Bakersfield), Neal (Merced) and Griffith (Selma) were so superior that they not only won all three heat races, but won them with room to spare."

I love old cars especially from the 1950's. I have built a few. Some have sold. One is featured in a movie. Others are still in the fleet.

My 1960 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II Stretch Limousine was featured in the Movie "Lord's of Dogtown" before it was even finished.

You might have seen my custom 1950 Mercury at a local car show. Here it is parked in downtown Kingsburg in 2012.

One of my current hobbies is Pinewood Derby/Pinecar/Awana racing. My girls and I have had a lot of fun designing, building and racing them. These are our 2019 Awana cars.

Spirit of America set the track record and won our First National Title in PWD at the Mid America Derby in 2019.

This is one of the things that I intend to bring to the Central Valley. Schools have competitions for sports, spelling, science, math, and music; but there is no competition or challenge for young students who are good at woodworking.

The West Coast Grand Prix gives junior high school students taking woodshop classes a chance to compete. Learn more at http://www.TheWestCoastGrandPrix.com

To be competitive in the West Coast Grand Prix students will have to study, pass additional safety tests, be creative, and stay on task to get their race vehicles done and race ready. Students must design and build their own race vehicle. They must build it at school. They will have access to wood shop as well as 3D printing and CNC equipment. As race day approaches, excitement will build, and students will want to perfect their vehicle. They will have a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.  No matter how their car finishes in the race, their build is the best trophy!

The competition not only motivates students to build something competitive; it challenges them to expand their knowledge in math, engineering, physics, drafting, design, sequencing, and creativity. 

This was the first of its kind in the central valley. With support, this intended annual event should grow in size and scope each year.