How Concrete has Changed Over the Years
Jordan Strauss, a life-long Kelowna local, is the newest member of the Versatile Concrete team. A former journeyman electrician, Jordan has found a new peace of mind since joining Versatile. We sat down with Jordan to talk about artistic outlets, the rejuvenating power of creativity, and his favourite type of custom concrete.
Welcome to Versatile Concrete! How did you become part of the team?
I was a journeyman electrician doing electrical for about five or six years and I felt like I was getting burnt out on it. I started looking at what else was out there when I saw an ad for Versatile Concrete. It said looking for artistic, creative types that like working with their hands and understand what it takes to take something from a very rough form and slowly polish it into something beautiful and artistic. That was very appealing to me. I sent them a resume and the rest is history. It's been great so far.
What was it like pivoting to decor concrete?
All my experience really was in the trades, and the trades are not nearly as art-focused. That's why Richard, owner of Versatile Concrete, calls it artisan concrete: because you kind of need to have a little bit of an eye for the aesthetics of everything. But I came from a very artsy background and my family has always really emphasized the arts. So when I saw that they were looking for someone who was more inclined towards that type of thinking I felt like I should apply. It's a craft that takes a long time to learn with a lot of minute, detailed stuff. Anyone that's really put a lot of time into learning an art form would understand what it takes to, really slowly over time, take something and make it polished and nice.
How does it feel having that artistic expression woven into your workday?
Coming to work and having a little bit of that artistic side thrown into my day makes it a little bit more interesting. At the end of the day, I don't feel emotionally and physically drained, I feel like I've got a lot of energy. Sometimes I get a burst of creativity after you see something that the whole team came together to make and install. I get a lot more satisfaction out of it than I did doing electrical. That plays off of my coworkers, they all love to create. Most of them have side hobbies that are artistic in nature. Personality-wise we all have that in common which makes for a pretty fun work environment. They have the same sort of values and that's been nice. Lots of creativity.
Do you have a dream project in concrete?
There's just so much that you could do. Now that I'm in it I imagine all sorts of concrete fountains, concrete benches, there's not a real limit that I can think of. Functionality-wise there are all sorts of cast concrete fireplaces, styles, textures and colours it's really ... I mean the name is Versatile Concrete but I didn't really understand how versatile it was until I started working with it. So as far as dream projects, the sky's the limit.
What's your favourite type of concrete?
It's called ground night, and it looks very dark, it's almost black. It has black slag in it and also other aggregates where you can see it really looks like there's a little twinkle through the whole thing. It's just really beautiful. I've never looked at concrete as something beautiful until I worked here. It almost looks like a night sky, which is surely why they called it that, but it always reminded me of something that maybe Batman would have in this living room. It's really cool.
What do you love about the Okanagan, about Kelowna?
Well, growing up here, honestly you kind of take for granted how beautiful it is until you start travelling and this just can't be beaten as far as all the natural benefits around here. You've got the lake and the mountains. I've lived all over the city, in every neighbourhood and I know it like the back of my hand. If I ever do leave I'll probably end up back here in the future. B.C. itself is one of the best places in the world and the Okanagan is one of the best places in B.C. so to me, I feel like it's one of the best spots to have been brought up in the world.
What's something that you're grateful for right now?
I have a lot to be grateful for, I got engaged recently, I adopted two cats with this wonderful lady. That's been really fun. Switching to Versatile Concrete has taken a ton of stress off and I have a lot more energy after work to pursue other hobbies. It's been really nice to get home after a day of work and not be stressed, dejected and emotionally drained. Now I find I have a lot more energy to pour into other stuff that I love. I know most people have had a tough couple of years but I've been improving my life quite a bit, actually. And when it comes to Richard and the team I can't say enough good things. I've been really impressed with everyone I've met here.
Work with concrete artisans who are energized by your creativity. Versatile Concrete has been pushing the limits of custom concrete for 20 years. Contact us to get started on your dream project.
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