Two Coldstream businesses with deep roots in the community are providing a strong foundation for the next generation of skilled trade workers training at Okanagan College.
R.E. Postill and Sons Ltd. and Postill Nixon Earthworks together are donating $25,000 to the new trades centre currently under construction at the college’s Vernon campus.
The owners of the second- and fourth-generation family businesses have operated companies in Vernon for nearly 120 years.
Linsey and Jamie Johannson are the owners of R.E. Postill and Sons Ltd. and co-own Postill Nixon Earthworks with Braden Nixon. Linsey is the great-granddaughter of Russell Eugene Postill, who founded R.E. Postill in 1944.
Braden’s father, Paul Nixon, was involved in the development of the law firm now known as Nixon Wenger in 1975.
According to Linsey, giving back to the community has always been valued by her family and their businesses.
“It’s really important to support the community that has been supporting us for 75 years,” she said.
Braden adds that investing in the Vernon Trades Training Centre was something the owners knew they wanted to support.
“We work in trades, and we know the value of having skilled tradespeople,” said Braden. “This state-of-the-art centre will provide an opportunity for young people to get a quality education locally without having to move away, saving them money and making education more accessible.”
Michael Tindall, the chairperson of the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign, acknowledged the “generous gift from two local families and companies whose contributions to the region span decades and industries.”
“Because of their support, and many others like them, we’re now $60,000 from our campaign goal,” said Tindall. “The community of Vernon is showing young people that we want to invest in their future while also creating an economic boom for the region by increasing the number of skilled tradespeople available locally.”
The $6.2 million trades centre will have the capacity to train approximately 150 students per year.
The project is being supported 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 toward the new centre.
The Okanagan College Foundation set a fundraising goal of $1 million. The funds cover the remaining capital costs and will provide program and student bursaries and scholarships that will increase access to training.
More information about the new Trades Training Centre and the fundraising campaign is available at okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.