Rolf Priesnitz, Publisher
In 1976, Rolf Priesnitz founded The Alternate Press, now the book publishing division of Life Media, in order to publish Natural Life magazine. His objective was to provide people with information and inspiration about self-reliant, healthy, environmentally-sound ways of living, decades before these topics entered the mainstream consciousness.
Although, at the age of 29, he had no experience in the publishing industry, entrepreneurship and learning-by-doing were both second-nature to him, because when he was 17 he had taken over his fatherís plumbing business. For the next three decades, his career as a steamfitter and plumber developed in tandem with the publishing business, which he shared with his wife Wendy, whose journalistic skills allowed her to oversee the editorial part of the business.
At the same time, Rolf indulged his passion for passing on knowledge to younger generations. He earned his pilot's license at the age of 17, and at age 23 became Chief Training Instructor with the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserves attached to #296 Squadron, Cambridge Ontario. Also in the early 1970s, he was a Plumbing Professor for Mohawk College of Applied Arts & Technology, Department of Apprenticeship and Certificate Programs, in Hamilton Ontario as well as a Plumbing Instructor for the Hamilton Board of Education, Joint Apprentice & Journeyman Training Committee.
In the early 1970s, Rolf fathered two daughters, Heidi and Melanie, whose education he and Wendy facilitated at home. As he, his young family and the publishing business moved across Canada in the 1970s and 80s, he continued to teach pipe trades as a sideline, notably as Plumbing Instructor for the Edmonton Pipe Trades Educational Trust Fund.
By 2001, Rolf felt ready to concentrate more time on teaching. He became a full-time Steamfitting Professor for George Brown College, Faculty of Technology, Centre for Advanced Building Technologies, in Toronto, Ontario. Soon, he advanced to Program Coordinator for the Collegeís Plumbing, Steamfitting and Welding Apprenticeship Programs. In January of 2004 he became Chair of Apprenticeship for George Brown College, and in 2006 he became the Director of Apprenticeship Programs for the college. In addition to directing the apprenticeship programs at the college, he has piloted a variety of pre-apprenticeship programs for non-traditional groups, as well as other innovations. At the same time, this multi-focused, thinking-outside-of-the-box man continues to grow Life Media, still in partnership with Wendy.
He now has over 40 years experience as an apprentice, journeyman and supervisor in residential, commercial and industrial construction, maintenance and service work including construction management on projects from Alberta to Romania, 35 years experience as a magazine and book publisher, and ten years in academia.