Alumni Profile: Jason Burhop '90 (Pre-U '91)
Twenty-five years after graduation, Jason Burhop acknowledges the influence that LCC had on his career path. A Montreal-based furniture designer and manufacturer, Jason believes that artistic creativity can often be undervalued, but at LCC, teachers encouraged the pursuit of a creative calling.
The route to his profession was somewhat circuitous. After graduating from LCC’s Pre-University program, Jason headed off to Queen’s University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in psychology. From there, he spent a year travelling, covering a good part of both South and North America. It was only when he settled in Victoria, BC, that he worked toward learning a trade and began building furniture and custom cabinetry. And, after a couple of years, he returned to his hometown. “I thought that Montreal would be a good place to start a business,” Jason says. “My roots were here, my family was here, and it’s just a great city.”
A valuable lesson learned at LCC was about to pay off when Jason opened Kastella, a custom furniture manufacturing business with a retail store on St. Laurent Boulevard, one of Montreal’s most notable streets. “The teachers at LCC taught me that if you put in the work and make the effort, then you open a lot of doors,” he says. “I knew from them that if I applied myself I could achieve a lot.”
Over the past 15 years, Kastella has enjoyed considerable growth. A retailer in Calgary is currently the West Coast distributor and Jason hopes to expand to Toronto in the future. “Other than my family, this enterprise is my greatest achievement,” he says. “Building a business with the creative process as the foundation is challenging, but it is what I am most proud of. And, with local manufacturing slowly disappearing, growing and maintaining a company all within Canada is another one of my accomplishments.”
The diligence and determination that have driven Jason to succeed were instilled at LCC. “A strong work ethic, which I developed at school, gave me the confidence I needed to put myself out there and make something of my own interests and creative capacity,” he says.
On a personal level, Jason notes the sense of community and belonging at LCC that he believes is unique to the school. And the relationships that were built so many years ago are still strong today. “I am close with some of the people I went to school with,” he says, “Plus, the fact that I still remember many teachers and the influence that they had in defining my educational life is pretty amazing.”