Image of man standing in front of a computer that sits on a handmade table.

Krister Leiman grew up in the construction industry. His father was the founder of Leiman Custom Homes & Renovations in Cranbrook, B.C., and Krister and his brother helped out throughout their youth.

After a brief diversion to pursue a computer programming education in Vancouver, Krister and his wife returned to the Kootenays and he decided to pursue his Red Seal carpenter certification at College of the Rockies.

“The instructor at the time, Don Hampton, had a lot of hands-on experience so I had a lot of confidence in him as an instructor,” he said. “I was certain that he was the teacher for me for the four years.”

After completing Year 1, Krister returned to the workforce, working for his family’s company while also diversifying his skills by also working for Ledcor Group.

“I wanted to do some big commercial work for a summer, and I had the opportunity to work on the build of the Superstore in Cranbrook” he said.

After a few years of work in the field, Krister returned to the College, completing the final three years of his Red Seal certification in 2008. He continued to work for, and thrive in, the family business. In 2016, he decided to once again branch out to something new. As he had always enjoyed mentoring people in the carpentry trade, he applied to work as an auxiliary instructor in the very program he had graduated from.

After three years as an auxiliary instructor, Krister applied for and was awarded a regular position. He uses what he learned from Don Hampton, combined with his many years of hands-on experience, as teaching tools for his students today.

“I still distinctly remember being a student and I use that in my approach to content delivery,” he said. “I want to be able to share my real-world experience with students so they not only learn the theory, which of course is important, but they really understand how to contribute on the job.”

Still very much involved with the family business, Krister is able remain current and to keep his hand on the pulse of the industry. His connections to local business also benefit his students as he’s been able to encourage many local industries to share their knowledge.

“The community has really gotten behind this program, it’s really cool,” he said.

Teaching in the program he was once a student in has been a rewarding experience for Krister.

“When I was a student I was a super fan of the College,” he said. “They did a great job of supporting students and now I get to give back by providing that same support to my students.”