CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS: Kris Skiba of MERIT Nova Scotia’s Dexel Developments

Fresh out of university, Kris Skiba saw a Dexel crane up in the air in downtown Halifax and decided he had to apply to work for the company. Kris started with Dexel in 2006, directly after finishing his engineering degree at Dalhousie. Back then, Kris’s start with the company was doing whatever was asked of him. Now, more than 15 years later, Kris is the President of Design and Construction of Dexel Developments.

On this episode of Constructive Conversations, Kris shares his story with host George Affleck.

“It was absolutely a ground-up experience. Looking back, it is probably the best experience one could ask for because I get to see all aspects of multi-unit residential construction,” says Kris. His start at the company was a humble one. However, he slowly moved his way up by being willing to do whatever the company needed.

Along the way to where he is now, Kris returned to school, taking night classes to get a second degree and getting his MBA while working over the years. After becoming frustrated with drawings and the level of coordination Kris saw on sites, he says, “Hey, I want to be involved with some of the design parts of this. I’ve seen this on site. I want to bring that experience to the design.” From that point, he became very involved in that aspect, leading him to where he is today.

Dexel Development builds multi-unit residential buildings, which is ideal for them as they build for themselves.

“We’re in an envious position. Our customers are tenants. So, certainly, we have people to answer to, but it’s a little bit different than when you’re building for a client,” says Kris.

The types of buildings they mainly work on are residential units. Still, they also incorporate commercial use units for when they build in busy urban centre locations so their customers that live in those units can have things like coffee shops and restaurants. When it comes to the style of the buildings, Kris is a fan of the unique builds.

“I enjoy the challenge of putting something together that is different, is unique, that is going to stand out, and that you can be proud of,” says Kris.

Dexel being around for almost twenty years has allowed the company to go back and look at their previous builds and use what they have previously learned to keep expanding and innovating what they build now. Kris says with changing technology; they’re able to keep outdoing themselves, making every new project his favourite.

“You take the lessons you learned on the last one and overcome some of those challenges and bring those lessons forward to the next project. So, you’re always one-upping yourself.”

For Kris, the most rewarding part of his job is bringing so many individuals together and seeing a common goal align for everyone involved. Being able to see the owners of the projects have their sense of ownership and success, makes Kris proud of the work he does.