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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Builder honours father and industry with $50,000 gift to College

keith construction iocVernon-based home builder Keith Construction has stepped up to provide $50,000 towards the campaign to support Okanagan College’s new $6.2 million Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus.

Dahlen Family May 2017Ken and Karen Dahlen, owners of the custom home building and renovation company, are thrilled to be the first to contribute to the project as a way to demonstrate the company’s appreciation for its industry, employees and community.

“Our success over the years has come from multiple skilled tradespeople within our region,” says Keith Dahlen. “With a shortage of skilled trades, we believe the best way for the company to give back to our industry is by helping to provide quality training for the next generation.”

The $50,000 gift will support the construction of a new 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will help address the province’s skills gap by training approximately 150 students per year for the workforce. The building will include multi-purpose trades shops for the College’s electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as a dedicated welding shop.

“This gift sends a powerful message to our students when an employer with an exemplary reputation in the community invests in their future,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “It represents the value the Dahlen family places on education and will be truly transformative for trades training in Vernon and the surrounding region.”

Keith Construction has employed several carpenter apprentices from the College’s program and Dahlen knows the benefits that a high-quality education brings to the industry – a value championed by the company’s founder, Keith Dahlen.

“This gift is a fitting way to honour my father and the emphasis he put on learning the proper skills in order to provide quality craftsmanship to our clients,” he says. “He taught me that if you are going to do a job, do it right or don’t do it at all.”

In 1990, Dahlen’s father, a certified journeyman carpenter with more than 25 years of industry experience already under his belt, founded Keith Construction in Vernon. The younger Dahlen and his wife Karen joined the company when they moved to the Okanagan in 1994 and have continued to build on the company’s reputation since Keith’s retirement. Keith Construction has won 21 Georgie Awards, 37 Tommie awards and was voted the 2016 Best Residential Renovation Company (North Okanagan) and 2016 Best Residential Builder (North Okanagan) by Okanagan Life Magazine.

Dahlen recently completed an educational milestone himself – he is one of four in the province who has achieved a Master Residential Builder designation.

At a recent client appreciation event hosted by Keith Construction, the support of the community was demonstrated when an additional $2,580 was raised for the training centre by event attendees.

“Our business has always been about building our clients’ dreams – no matter how big or small. Now we will get to help build the dreams of students,” adds Dahlen.

The $6.2 million-dollar training centre will be constructed by Maple Reinders Inc., a national engineering construction company, with support from MQN Architects, as well as CIMA+ and Encora. The project is being supported primarily through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. Okanagan College will contribute the remainder of the project cost. 

Construction is scheduled to begin later this month, with completion targeted for the spring of 2018. More information on the project can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.