By Joseph F. Schuler Jr.. You don't become a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer overnight. In 1988, when Jim Krengel won Big50, he ran a $2.2 million business. While running Kitchens by Krengel in St. Paul, Minn., the second-generation contractor began conducting programs for the National Kitchen & Bath Association. In teaching, Krengel discovered a second calling. So he transitioned his business to daughter Lori Jo.
Last year, he was inducted into the Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Hall of Fame, earning CMKBD status. His influence is far reaching -- he's taught hundreds, if not thousands, of remodelers, kitchen designers, and more.
"I've had two careers, both successful, and I'm blessed more than any person should be," says Krengel, whose agent now books him 200 presentations a year. "I can talk about the same kitchen topic 10 times in a row, and I'm just as excited. I love people's reactions to what I'm talking about." Krengel speaks to consumers, designers, and contractors, and has consulted to manufacturers such as Dow Corning and Maytag. He has written three books and two design CDs. Although he'd like to retire, he's still energized by his work: "I teach stuff, but I make it fun while you're sitting there."