Newly named Coast Mountain College president Justin Kohlman flanked by college board vice-chair David Try and college board chair Nicole Halbauer. (Coast Mountain College Photo)

College finds a new president

Promotion comes from within

A months-long search for a new president ended for Coast Mountain College last week when it officially named acting president Justin Kohlman as its new head.

Kohlman replaces Ken Burt who announced last July he was leaving after five years, sparking an extensive search for a replacement.

In the end, the college found what was needed in Kohlman who had been the college’s vice president and who then filled in as acting president since last fall while the search went on. Kohlman will also be the college’s chief executive officer.

Kohlman has been at the college since 2015 following stops at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Victoria and Monash University in Australia. His appointment is for five years.

Burt’s time at the college was marked by solidifying two long-planned building projects —an extensive renovation of its aging trades building at its main Terrace campus, a $18.4 million project completed in 2018, and an announcement last year of new on-campus residential accommodation, also at the main Terrace campus. That project is to start this year.

Kohlman will now take charge of the accommodation project as well as others, including the eventual replacement of the college’s main Terrace campus library which is located in the college’s main building at its Terrace campus but which suffered extensive water leakage damage more than a year ago.

“We are thrilled to announce that Justin is the successful applicant after conducting an in-depth hiring process for our new leader that included exceptional candidates from across Canada and around the world,” said college board chair Nicole Halbauer in a statement Feb. 7.

Kohlman says his appointment is a reflection of the great work by all the staff at the college over the last five years.

“We have achieved so much in such a short amount of time. I’m confident that in the coming years we’ll be even more effective in meeting the needs of our students, communities and Indigenous partners,” says Kohlman.

Information provided by the college indicated the presidential job search went “live” last October 4 by posts on the executive search firm Leaders International site, as well as on sites belonging to Academica which also recruits for educational jobs and Colleges and Institutes Canada and lobbies on behalf of post-secondary institutions.

The information also indicated 185 people were contacted directly by Leaders International. Of those, 24 applications were received and six people made it to a long list. Of those six people, five then made it to a shortlist resulting in three people being interviewed by the college.

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