Constant change is not often easy to embrace, but in the construction industry, change is inevitable. Whether it’s moving to a job site in a new city, approaching a project with an out of the box thought process, or learning how to effectively incorporate new technologies, each day is bound to bring an array of challenges that are completely different from those previously encountered.
It takes a versatile, open-minded individual to thrive in such a constantly changing environment. Kirsten Knighten is one of those individuals.
Guided by his faith in God and in himself, Kirsten has seen many types of transitions throughout his life. Whether it was moving to a new city every couple of years as an army child, or abruptly switching his career path from computer tech to construction, Kirsten has learned to make his home wherever he finds himself. To him, every new beginning offers the opportunity to learn a new skill, trade, process, or simply to learn more about the people he works with.
About 8 years ago, Kirsten Knighten was on the path to becoming a computer and networking guru, working as a tech expert for Staples. Today, Kirsten is quickly gaining experience in the concrete construction industry. Strengthened by knowledge and an ever-expanding skill-set, his outlook on life remains positive and hopeful, even if he doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring.
How did you land at East & Westbrook?
About a year ago I was working in cabinetry and was sort of job searching a bit. I saw an ad that they [East & Westbrook] were hiring and I called the number. I got an interview and started working 2 weeks later.
Cabinetry to concrete seems like a big leap. Did you have any previous experience in the construction industry?
Not so much experience in construction. Right out of high school, I worked as an easy-tech expert for Staples, which is basically like a computer and networking technician. I was headed towards a career in technology, but then I was laid off. At the time, my brother-in-law was doing cabinetry and I helped him with installs and learned a lot from him about drywall, cabinets and window work. So, I got a job working with him. Initially, I was just a sander, but as I started learning things I became a finisher and eventually started building and installing custom cabinetry. I did that for 7 years.
Was there anything in particular about the construction industry, or the work you were doing, that was appealing?
I guess you could say that I’ve always had an interest in building things, even before I started in cabinetry when I was helping out my brother-in-law here and there. It was interesting. There is definitely something cool about working with your hands and then seeing the end result. You witness something go from completely raw and then see it through to a finished product. It’s exciting.
What is your current role at East & Westbrook and how has it changed over the last year?
Right now, I am a carpenter and safety leader. What we do day-to-day changes everyday. There is something new all the time.
What do you like most about East & Westbrook?
I like that things are always interesting, so I am constantly learning. Every day is something new, so there is always a new challenge. I like new challenges. You never really know what you will be doing tomorrow or next week. You could be doing something totally different one week in a totally different place, with completely new people. So, you get to not only meet new people and talk with them, but you can learn a new trade and be exposed to new and exciting things, different cultures. It all helps a person grow, and I like that I have the opportunity to grow everyday.
I also really like the [company] culture. We all have a unique bond with each other. We might not see each other much outside of work, but we all still support and trust each other. I have been talking to some of the guys about doing some obstacle course races soon. It sounds like fun.
I like the fact that you can grow within the company. I am still learning alot about concrete construction and the building process, so I see room to grow and develop.
What is the most interesting project you have worked on?
For me, the most interesting was probably working on the Legend rollercoaster in Santa Claus, Indiana. It was a relaunching, remodeling of the existing roller coaster, which is a famous wooden coaster. It was pretty cool to work on that. It was in a small town, so it was fun to see all the excitement around the town, to meet new people who are talking about the project and they are genuinely interested in the work being done. You could tell that it meant a lot to the locals.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I do a lot of different stuff. I have a wife and a daughter that I spend most of my time with. I’m also pretty involved with my church and I work with the youth. We play basketball, go on trips and just spend a lot of time together. I also play piano and I play drums (with the church).
A growing team
East & Westbrook is always looking for passionate and hardworking individuals to join our growing family. Contact us to learn more about how to turn your passion into a lifelong career with the E&W family, or apply online.