Instructor Spotlight: Mark Lynn

  • SDI Admin

Meet Mark Lynn, a renaissance man of machining. If you can think of something, he can probably build it. Heck, if you haven’t thought of something, he will probably get to it before you do. Mark owns an aviation service, writes for an aviation magazine, owns his own machining shop, works as a gunsmith and a blacksmith, and Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) is proud to have him as an instructor.

Mark came to Sonoran Desert Institute three years ago in the same way that most of its students do, he wanted more information. Despite being a gunsmith for 11 years, Mark has the continuous mind of a professional, always seeking to learn more information. After a few conversations, Sonoran Desert Institute recognized the knowledge that Mark possesses and instead of enrolling him as a student, took him on as an instructor for the program. Mark now teaches SDI’s FTT 231, FTT 111, and FAT 200 courses and he is very enthusiastic about the role he plays.

“I absolutely love how Sonoran Desert Institute has built its program. It’s the most in-depth online program I have seen, and the school is always working hard to evolve and better itself. You just don’t see that kind of thing with online schools,” said Mark. His favorite part about instructing students are those moments when, as he said, “You see the lightbulb go on. It’s a great feeling to hear a student suddenly get a concept you are trying to teach.”

One of the areas where Sonoran Desert Institute fields a lot of questions with hands-on experience. It is a logical question since the school is based online, especially in the area of machining. “SDI has done a great job with its program in giving the students as much hands-on experience as possible. My specialty is machining and there is a lot that I can teach students regarding concepts and the technical aspects of machining, but they really just need to get their hands on equipment. Outside of machining, the students at SDI really get a chance to do a lot,” Mark stated. He’s not without ideas on how to evolve the teaching of machining at SDI, some of which the program may see in the future. For now, Mark’s advice for aspiring firearms technicians in the program, “Go out and pick up the Machinist’s Handbook and look for local community college courses on machining. You must be proactive. A lot of the industry is moving towards CNC machines but to run these, you really have to have experience with manual machining. Luckily, most areas have a community college that teach these independent courses.”

In his spare time, Mark does what you would imagine he does from his resume. Mark flies and works on aircraft, turns out projects in his machining shop, works as a gunsmith and a blacksmith, is a firearms instructor, and is constantly trying to build his knowledge base. Mark’s hobbies look more like jobs, but that is the point with him. He loves what he does so much that it is not really work. “You know, I just love the transfer of knowledge. SDI is a great place for that,” he said. As a gunsmith, Mark stays especially busy taking on projects. Having worked for 11 years, he has built up a solid client and he has developed an affinity towards antique firearms, especially muzzleloaders.

Mark Lynn is passionate about Sonoran Desert Institute and it shows with the effort that he puts into his classes. He takes the approach of an instructor that is willing to learn and readily states, “Nobody knows it all, that is the point to working in education.” Sonoran Desert Institute is proud to have such qualified instructors as Mark on staff. Fortunately for the school, he is just one of the many highly qualified individuals teaching classes. To learn more about SDI’s programs and instructors, please visit or call 1-800-336-8939.

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