Okanagan College News 2009

Records 1 to 4 of 50
Busson joins Okanagan College Foundation Board
Okanagan College Media Release

bussonCanada’s former top ranking RCMP member, Commissioner Beverley Busson, has joined the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors. As the first woman to hold the rank of RCMP Commissioner, Busson had an esteemed career with the force and has now retired near Salmon Arm.

She joined the Okanagan College Foundation Board in March, where she lends her time and experience to furthering the success of Okanagan College students and increasing their access to education and training across the region.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to volunteer on this Board, which acts in such positive ways to contribute to the community through the College,” said Busson.

Busson’s career with the RCMP began in 1974 and spanned 33 years. During that time she held posts in Salmon Arm, Kelowna, Vancouver and Ottawa, to name a few. Among her distinguished achievements: Busson headed B.C.’s Organized Crime Agency, was awarded the Order of British Columbia (2006), and invested as a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (2004).

“The Okanagan College Foundation is honoured to welcome Beverley to the Board of Directors,” said Dr. Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “She is an incredible role model with a wealth of experience who will contribute greatly to the work of the Foundation and will undoubtedly help to transform the lives of our students.”

Busson joins a growing number of well-respected luminaries who belong to the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors or otherwise support the Okanagan College Foundation, including: Senator Ross Fitzpatrick - Honorary Patron; Mike Roberts (CHBC) - Honorary Chair, Capital Campaign; John Walker, President & CEO, FortisBC - Chair, Capital Campaign, Dr. Steve Tuck, Jim Hamilton, Kathy Butler, Janet Shaw, Bob Eby, Dr. Andrew Hay, Charles Albas, Susan Connaghan, Jim Cookson, Alex Fong, Jim Henderson, Steve Jenkins, Paul Johnson, Frank Richter, Rick Roberts, George Solomonides, Sigrid-Ann Thors, and Keith Williams.

For more information about the Okanagan College Foundation visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/foundation.

*Photo courtesy of the RCMP
Business Policy students qualify for final round at ICBC

 

A team of three women in the Okanagan School of Business are among the top business policy students in the country after successfully completing the preliminary round of the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC), earning themselves a spot in the finals in the distinguished Queens University national case competition.

icbc2010The trio of Breanna Gaudet (fourth-year marketing), Leanne Schneberger (second-year human resources) and Candace Surette (fourth-year accounting) will compete against five other finalist teams from: Concordia University, Saint Mary’s University, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary and Wilfrid Laurier University in the final round this January.

The 2010 competition will mark the first time Okanagan College has made the final round in the Business Policy category. According to the team’s coach, Professor Lee Cartier, the Business Policy event is considered to be the crown jewel of the ICBC competition. This is the third time in four years that teams have represented the College at the finals. Prior team were finalists in marketing and accounting – which Cartier sees as a sign of the Business School’s strength.

 

“It would be easy for us if we just focused on one specific category and were able to make the finals year after year,” explained Cartier. “Sending teams to compete in a variety of business areas demonstrates our students’ abilities and the strength and breadth of our program and instructors.”

 

Though they hadn’t worked together previously, the students were chosen to compete based on their complimentary skill sets and in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge in the areas of marketing, human resources and accounting.

 

In the preliminary round of the business policy competition, Gaudet, Schneberger and Surette were presented with Canada Post’s business case and charged with analyzing it to uncover policy weaknesses and provide solutions.

 

“We are not talking about surface problems,” explained Surette. “These are big picture issues that require a lot of analysis. We were confident in our practice and we recognized that following specific analysis processes would lead us to the problem. Once we got to that point, it was a matter of coming up with effective and innovative solutions.”

The students will spend the coming weeks practicing for the final round, where they will be presented with a brand new business policy case, with only five hours to analyze before presenting to some of the nation’s top CEOs and business policy leaders.

 

To say they are feeling confident might be an understatement.

 

“We are feeling really good about the finals,” said Gaudet, who transferred to Okanagan College from Ontario this year. “The teaching and learning that goes on in the Okanagan School of Business is of a different caliber than I have ever seen. Our work is high level and extremely in-depth and the hands-on aspects of our program have prepared us well for this competition.”

 

Schneberger, the team’s human resources specialist, couldn’t agree more.

 

“Our combined expertise and diverse backgrounds put us in a great position to excel at the competition,” said Schneberger. “Everyone at Okanagan College has been so supportive of us and we are fortunate to have Lee Cartier as our coach and providing such strong mentorship for our team.”

 

In order to make the finals the team beat a number of universities such as University of Toronto, Queen’s University, University of Western Ontario, McGill University and Simon Fraser University, among others.

Kalamalka Press recognizes literary innovation with new book series

Okanagan College Media Release


It takes insight, courage and innovation to move literature from where it is today into something that can spark the imagination of a new generation of writers and readers. This fall, the award-winning Kalamalka Press took yet another step in its evolving commitment to supporting Canadian writers with the launch of a new book series inspired and supported by one of its directors.

 

The James Hamilton Series debuted with the release of a new novel by Rod Schumacher - Baptism By Mud. The series’ title acknowledges the long-standing support the Press has received from Jim Hamilton – since his days as an English instructor and now as president of Okanagan College.

 

“We want to recognize the contributions that Jim has made to the publishing culture in the Okanagan Valley, especially through his lengthy involvement in the operations of Kalamalka Press, and his ongoing support of those operations,” said John Lent, Regional Dean and Kalamalka Press co-founder.

 

The creation of the series came as a surprise to Hamilton. While he and his wife Liz provided funding to support the Press, he never imagined it would inspire a series in his name.

 

“I’ve been firmly committed to the good work of the working writers program for many years now” said Hamilton. “I am honoured that they would name a series after me.”

 

Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, says the creation of this new series illustrates the value of program donations and demonstrates how they can be used in a variety of ways.

 

“This is one way you can support something you are very passionate about, and Jim Hamilton has certainly been passionate about Kalamalka Press,” said Butler.

 

“We intend to publish a unique book once a year from an author who is doing something new in writing,” explained Lent, who said Schumacher’s book sets the perfect tone. “It’s an experimental novel that explores the landscape of wilderness as it also explores the wilderness of consciousness.”

 

Schumacher first dipped his ink in the writing well as a mature student at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm centre. His work has since been short-listed for the book awards in Alberta where he is chair of the English department at Red Deer College.

 

Kalamalka Press’ winning books have been short-listed and nominated for numerous regional and national awards, including the Pat Lowther Award. The press has also been instrumental in launching the significant careers of Karen Connelly, Nancy Holmes, Sue Wheeler and Dona Sturmanis.

Douglas MacLeod to join College as Associate Dean
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will add an experienced and seasoned professional to its leadership team in January when it welcomes Douglas MacLeod to the position of Associate Dean, Science, Technology and Health.

 

 macleod
Douglas MacLeod
As Executive Director of the Okanagan Science and Technology Council (OSTEC) since 2008, MacLeod brings a strong portfolio of demonstrated knowledge and expertise in teaching, research and management. During his time with OSTEC MacLeod has built partnerships between industry, government and academic institutions to help Okanagan companies research, develop and commercialize new products and services.

 

Prior to taking the reins at OSTEC he was the Executive Director of the Canadian Design Research Network, a consortium of academic institutions and industrial partners dedicated to promoting innovation in design, research and policy.

 

MacLeod has bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and Science from the University of Toronto, a master’s in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary and is a PhD candidate in the Computational Media Design program in Environmental Design at the University of Calgary.

 

A registered architect (California), he is a recognized expert in the areas of eLearning, sustainable design and in advanced technologies such as computer-aided design, social media, online knowledge management and virtual environments. His doctoral research is focused on the social construction of cyberspace.

 

He has extensive post-secondary experience having taught graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Toronto, the Banff Centre, the University of California - Los Angeles, the University of California – San Diego and the University of Calgary.

 

“Douglas is a rare and valuable find for Okanagan College,” said Dr. Dianne Crisp, Dean of Science, Technology and Health. “He brings a unique combination of experience, education and leadership to the College and is highly regarded by the community and those who have had the opportunity to work with him.”

 

MacLeod has become familiar with the College’s dynamic organizational structure, having worked closely with Okanagan College on a number of projects during his tenure at OSTEC.

 

“I am looking forward to the challenge of working in a portfolio as diverse as Science, Technology and Health,” said MacLeod. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work at Okanagan College. It is an innovative and strong organization whose leadership and direction I respect. I plan on working hard to support the Dean and help develop opportunities for students and Okanagan College.”

 

MacLeod’s first day with the College will be Jan. 4, 2010. He will replace Michael Douglas, a longtime instructor and Chair of Human Service Work, who filled the position on an interim basis.

Scholarship support welcomed by career-changing student

Okanagan College Media Release


 edis
Dr. Dianne Crisp, John Leech, Aaron Edis and
 Dr. Andrew Hay
Completing his Electronic Engineering Technology diploma at Okanagan College is going to be a little bit easier for second-year student Aaron Edis, courtesy of some welcome financial support.

 

Edis was the happy recipient of a $1,000 Canada Technology Bursary scholarship last week, sponsored by TD Meloche Monnex and presented by John Leech, AScT the Executive Director of the Applied Science Technicians and Technologists of British Columbia (ASTTBC).

 

While his 91.6 per cent average in the first year suggests that getting through the second year of the two-year diploma program won’t be a struggle academically, Edis admits that it can be a struggle financially, even though his wife works full-time to support his studies.

 

“This will definitely help,” said the 23-year-old who decided to build on a short career as an electrician by pursuing a credential in Electronic Engineering Technology. “The money will be very useful, but it’s also very encouraging to see support from ASTTBC and from companies like TD Monnex Meloche. It’s a strong message that people see the value in our education and want to encourage us.”

 

It’s an education and an area that Edis thinks warrants promotion. “I recognized that there is a need for technologists and technicians and that the demand is only going to grow in the years ahead. That’s one of the reasons I decided to pursue the diploma.”

 

“There is already a significant issue meeting the skills gap in this area,” said Leech. “And as the effects of our demographic situation hit home and the economy accelerates, it is only going to get worse.”

 

“It’s companies like TD Meloche Monnex, which has been a steadfast contributor to the ASTTBC’s Foundation for Education and Advancement in Technology, who will help us encourage more interest in technical and technological careers,” said Leech.

 

The cheque for the scholarship was presented to Edis at a gathering of senior officials of Okanagan College, the Okanagan Science and Technology Council and the City of Kelowna.

 

Later that day, Edis joined more than 150 other students attending a Kelowna campus event, who received 98 awards, worth $141,627. He received three other awards: the Electronic Engineering Technology department award, a BC Hydro Scholarship, and the Walter Gray Endowment Fund Award in Electronic Engineering.

 

The Okanagan College Foundation expects that by the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2010) it will have distributed approximately $1 million to students this year.

Groundbreaking at Centre of Excellence - Penticton
   
B.C. Government Press Release
For Immediate Release
2009ALMD0045-000658
November 20, 2009
Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development
Industry Canada
 
 
COLLEGE BREAKS GROUND FOR $28M CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
 
PENTICTON – Construction is set to begin on Okanagan College’s new $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation following the official groundbreaking by provincial, federal and college representatives. The project will create up to 179 direct jobs.
 
“The investment in Okanagan College will provide a significant economic stimulus to our community and will create jobs in this region,” said Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla. “Our government is investing in innovation to create jobs, to help our economy recover quickly and to improve the quality of life for Canadians.  Young people and older citizens in increased numbers will benefit from the ongoing excellence of Okanagan College.”
          
 “This new centre for green technology at Okanagan College will stimulate Penticton’s economy and increase our community’s vitality as more youth can affordably stay here to get a world class, state of the art education,” said Bill Barisoff, MLA for Penticton. “The skills being learned here will translate into real career opportunities that capitalize on the new green economy.”
 
The Centre of Excellence is being built to meet the Living Building Challenge, a set of building standards that exceeds LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum. The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas; site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. The facility should achieve a net-zero energy consumption by incorporating building elements that are a first in Canada and North America and is already being recognized for its world-class design. It is expected that building costs associated with meeting this very high standard will be similar to conventional construction.

“Okanagan College has been contributing to the social and economic vitality of our communities for over 40 years,” said John Slater, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “This centre takes the college boldly into the twenty-first century and ensures it will continue to be a positive force in our region for many decades to come.”
 
Once complete, the 7,000 square metre centre will offer innovative programming in geo-thermal, onsite alternative energy sources, metering and monitoring of green buildings, building envelope construction, life cycle site management, refrigeration mechanics, applied conservation technician, H-VAC and power lineman.
 
“This is an exciting project that will enable Okanagan College instructors and students to become leaders in the development of sustainable building practices,” said Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. “This investment with our federal and college partners will ensure that B.C. students continue to be well prepared to take advantage of future opportunities.”
 
 The facility will provide space for start-up companies to explore and develop new ideas and the centre will host research and development activities in partnership with industry and not-for-profit organizations. Students will benefit by being involved in the research of cutting-edge technology, while curriculum will be designed to meet ever-changing needs.
 
“This Centre of Excellence will be a beacon for sustainability, not just in terms of its actual construction, but also in terms of the programming and approaches it represents,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton.  “It is already attracting national and international attention. What’s most important is that it will provide access to unique programs and educational opportunities for residents of the South Okanagan and the entire province.”
          
This is one of 40 projects at post-secondary institutions across the province funded through a joint federal-provincial investment of $497 million. The total investment in these projects is $519 million including contributions from institutions.
 
This project is also part of an overall $14-billion capital infrastructure program supported by the Province that will create up to 88,000 jobs and help build vital public infrastructure in every region of B.C.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan sets out to stimulate the Canadian economy over the next two years and to improve our long-term competitiveness through $12 billion in new infrastructure investment, which includes the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program.
 
For more information on the provincial government’s three-year job creation plan, visit www.gov.bc.ca/infrastructure . For more information about the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program visit www.ic.gc.ca/knowledge-infrastructure .
 
 
 
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Contact:
Craig MacBride
Public Affairs Officer
250 356-7882
250 213-1649 (cell)
 
 
For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.
 
BMO supports Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release
 
BMO Financial Group Announces Major Donation in Penticton

Higher learning and environmental sustainability supported with Okanagan College gift from BMO

PENTICTON, BC, November 23, 2009 –
BMO Financial Group announced a major donation in Penticton – a $75,000 gift to Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.


“Companies like ours have a responsibility to take a leadership role in environmental sustainability – to go where our customers are going,” said Sean Armstrong, Vice-President, B.C. Central Interior, North and Yukon, BMO Bank of Montreal. “This means that we must adopt environmental best practices into everything we do as well as support those organizations such as Okanagan College who are leading the way in green initiatives.” 

This gift is also in keeping with BMO’s corporate core values and commitment to education and life long learning.

At the groundbreaking ceremony held Friday in Penticton with Federal, Provincial and City officials, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton said, “BMO has been a long time supporter of our scholarship program at the Kelowna campus. This level of support for our Penticton campus demonstrates their commitment to the region, our communities and students.”
 
About Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation
The new $28 million Centre commenced construction in July 2009 and is due for completion in 2011. The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation aims to be recognized by both potential students and the construction industry as the foremost teaching centre for green and sustainable construction and for research, development and commercialization of new approaches and methods of building construction and alternative energy production.
 
About BMO Financial Group
Since its founding in 1817 as Bank of Montreal – Canada’s first bank - BMO Financial Group has been committed to corporate and social responsibility and the principles of sustainable development. In 2008, BMO contributed $47.7 million in corporate donations, sponsorships and events, supporting communities and thousands of charities and not-for-profit organizations across Canada.
 
BMO has been making great strides on the environmental sustainability front – and in certain areas is leading the pack among Canadian Financial Institutions. The Bank announced in 2007 that it would be Carbon Neutral as an enterprise for energy and travel emissions by 2010.

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Media Contacts:
Laurie Grant, BMO Financial Group, 604-665-7596, laurie.grant@bmo.com
Allan Coyle, Okanagan College, 250-862-5413  acoyle@okanagan.bc.ca

 

PCL Contributes to Education - Okanagan College

PCL contributes $100,000 to fund education in the South Okanagan

 

After breaking ground at the site of Okanagan College’s $28 Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, construction leader PCL has announced a $100,000 financial commitment in support of programming expansion and educational opportunities that will be developed as a result of the new building.

 

PCL was selected by the College as the contractor for the project, which broke ground Friday in Penticton. The building, which is on schedule to be complete in early 2011, will utilize green technology and innovative construction practices.

 

“It was a natural fit for PCL to support the Centre of Excellence in Penticton,” said Sean Brock, District Manager for PCL. “Our company is known for excellence in leadership and we are focused on growing our commitment to sustainability by building green. We see an incredible return on investment in being so closely involved in this great community project and know that our added support will contribute to the long term growth and wellbeing of the region.”

 

Federal and Provincial government support through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) will fund $23 million of the building. The remainder of the project cost will be generated through a community fundraising campaign.

 

“We have known for several years that PCL is a strong partner of Okanagan College,” said Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for their continued support and feel fortunate to have them on board to build our Centre of Excellence. Now, as major contributors to our fundraising campaign, the role PCL is playing in this community is even more vital and speaks to the organization’s commitment and values.”

 

About Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation

 

The new $28 million Centre commenced construction in July 2009 and is due for completion in 2011. The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation aims to be recognized by both potential students and the construction industry as the foremost teaching centre for green and sustainable construction and for research, development and commercialization of new approaches and methods of building construction and alternative energy production.

 

About the PCL family of companies

 

The PCL family of companies is a group of independent construction companies which carry out diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $6 billion, making them the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in the United States. Offices are strategically located in 27 major North American centers to support work across Canada, the continental United States, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Caribbean.

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For more information contact:

 

Gary McEwan, PCL Construction

Special Projects Manager

250-869-3638

 

Kathy Butler, Okanagan College Foundation

Executive Director

250-762-5445 ext. 4775

 

Robobros look to defend title at RoboCup Junior

Okanagan College Media Release


robobrosReigning Western Canada RoboCup Junior champions Nelson and Hudson Schier will return to Okanagan College on Friday, Nov. 20 to compete in the fourth annual robotics competition.

 

After winning the robot dance competition in 2008, Nelson and Hudson qualified to represent Canada at the World RoboCup 2009 in Graz, Austria, where they were awarded Best Presentation for their performance at the international event.

 

The brothers will travel from Vernon to join student competitors from across the region, all of whom have a keen interest in science and technology. The students, who come from a variety of schools throughout the region, will test their problem-solving and team building skills in a variety of robotic challenges including soccer, rescue and dance.

 

Hosted by Okanagan College, the Western Canada RoboCup Junior is an internationally accredited educational competition which includes teams of students ranging from Grade one to Grade 12 working in teams to develop solutions to one of three specific challenges (soccer, rescue and dance) using robots.

 

This year will mark the fourth annual Western Canada RoboCup Games – a record number of students have signed up for the event, which will draw more than 100 elementary, middle, and secondary students from schools such as Kelowna Secondary, Naramata Elementary, A.L. Fortune Secondary and Peachland Elementary, to name a few.

 

The events get underway at 9 a.m. in the College’s Pit area with the soccer and rescue challenges. In soccer, teams comprised of two autonomous mobile robots track a special light-emitting ball in an enclosed field and attempt to score goals.  In search and rescue, robots follow a course, negotiate hallways of a two-storey building filled with debris and identify victims within re-created disaster scenarios. 

 

The dance competition begins at 12:30 p.m. in the College’s lecture theatre. Teams competing in dance perform with their robots in choreographed routines set to music and will be judged in a range of areas including robot programming, design, costume, use of stage and entertainment value.

 

Electronic Engineering Technology instructor Nadir Ould-Khessal has been involved with the International RoboCup Federation for the past 13 years both as a team leader and participant. He designed teams while teaching at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore and later at VAASA University of Applied Science in Finland. His involvement stems from a belief that the games are an excellent way to promote learning in a challenging and creative environment.

 

“RoboCup is a project that integrates many technologies at the same time,” said Ould-Khessal.  “Students have to develop skill in construction, programming and most importantly, problem-solving. We stress education over competition. That is why the three challenges remain the same from year to year – so students can build on their previous success.”

 

Top performing students in Friday’s Western Canada competition will qualify to represent Canada in the World RoboCup Games in Singapore next June.

 

For more information about Western Canada RoboCup Junior, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/robocup. To find out more about RoboCup International, visit: www.robocup.org.

Truths of the Universe – stranger than fiction


Okanagan College Media Release


The Vernon campus of Okanagan College will host a Science in Society Speaker Series that will probe some of the most complex questions about the Universe and leave listeners with a deeper understanding of the mystery of dark energy.

 

Dr. Chris Pritchet, an astrophysicist from the University of Victoria, will present: Supernovae and the mystery of dark energy on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Vernon campus lecture theatre. He will explore dark energy - a mysterious energy of the Universe that causes its expansion to accelerate. The nature of this dark energy is completely unknown, and represents perhaps the greatest challenge to face physics and astronomy in the past century.

 

Pritchet and his co-workers have probed the geometry of the Universe, and detected the signature of dark energy with unprecedented precision. In this talk, Pritchet will focus on the telescopes that make this project possible and how observations of distant exploding stars reveal a mysterious new substance that fills space.

The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by Okanagan College’s department of Science, Technology and Health and the Okanagan Science Centre. This presentation is co-sponsored by the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) as part of CASCA’s Galileo Lecture Series for the International Year of Astronomy (2009).

 

Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door.  Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre or call 250-545-3644 for advanced purchase of tickets or more information.

SIFE Okanagan and College partner with non-profit to elevate local disadvantaged youth

Okanagan College Media Release

A group of community-minded business students from Okanagan College are putting their knowledge into practice through a partnership with Elevation Outdoors, a local not-for-profit organization that provides experiential outdoor activities for disadvantaged youth.
 
SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) Okanagan, in partnership with the Sports and Events Marketing course at the Okanagan School of Business, will co-host a fundraising evening - A Reason for the Season – on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at The Habitat in Kelowna to support Elevation Outdoors.
 
A Reason for the Season will feature the talent of local up-and-coming pianist and singer Thomas Kjorven. Guests will also enjoy a glass of complimentary wine from West Kelowna’s Kalala Organic Estate Winery. The event will also feature a silent and live auction with gifts donated by local businesses and a full bar will also be available. Ticket sales and proceeds from the auctions will support Elevation Outdoors.  
 
Four Okanagan College students from Dr. Blair Baldwin’s Sports and Events Marketing course are involved in the project, which will enable students to directly apply their learned business skills in an interactive and creative way. Working with SIFE Okanagan and Elevation Outdoors, Kevin Slater, Matthew Collins, Latoya Bentley and Travis Fleming will help organize and execute the event, which will raise funds for the non-profit organization.
 
“Our approach at the Okanagan School of Business is to build bridges with the community,” explained Baldwin. “This course allows teams of students to develop event marketing plans for businesses and associations throughout the Okanagan. In this instance, the plan also comes alive with the assistance of SIFE Okanagan and will greatly aid the students in their learning experience.”
 
Elevation Outdoors, led by Tori Hanson, supports disadvantaged youth in aiding the development of various outdoor pursuits, skills, and passions while promoting healthy lifestyle choices and life skills, instilling respect for environment, and helping support disadvantaged young people in the community.
 
“We are excited to be working with SIFE and such enthusiastic students who want to make a difference and help our cause,” said Elevation’s Tori Hanson. “I am looking forward to a fantastic evening that will bring together supporters, provide great entertainment, and help us make the upcoming winter ‘Learn to Shred’ programs a success by providing more opportunities to underprivileged young people in Kelowna.”  
 
SIFE Okanagan’s Co-President, Travis Fleming, has made it his personal goal to create a successful evening. “This project gives SIFE Okanagan a chance to work with a generous organization that is creating a positive impact in our community. Elevation is a unique organization that SIFE feels is helping troubled youth in a way that none of us could imagine and we want to use our resources to help them grow. We encourage our community to get involved and support Elevation Outdoors by coming out and enjoying a fun evening.”
 
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and can be purchased from Tori Hanson 250-808-1626 or Travis Fleming, 250-809-2199.

$30,000 donation to College fuels next generation

 

Okanagan College Media Release


jacobsenA retired automotive mechanic had all the tools he needed to get the job done, and now the company he worked for is passing his legacy onto others with a anew Okanagan College achievement award.


Jacobsen Pontiac Buick has donated $30,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation to create the Jacobsen Pontiac Buick Lou Simonelli Achievement Award Fund.

 

“The College has always been a good source of potential technicians,” said Ron Jacobsen, pointing to the fund’s namesake – Lou Simonelli who worked 35 years with the dealership before retiring in August.

 

The fund will provide an annual $1,000 award to deserving mature students enrolled in the Automotive Service Technician (AST) apprenticeship program at the Kelowna campus.

 

Simonelli enrolled in the College’s automotive program back in 1976 when he made the move to learn as much as he could about his passion – cars.

 

“Education will change your life,” said Simonelli, who recently toured the shop on campus. He said the technical education he received - combined with ongoing training - gave him a fulfilling career that carried him through an industry that has become increasingly complex and innovative.

 

“This is a very generous award,” said Okanagan College Foundation president Steve Tuck. “Sometimes mature students don’t have the same level of support when coming back to school as high school students have. And mature students often have greater needs because they may have acquired families or debt and are not eligible for the same support that high school students get when they graduate.”

 

Jacobsen said mature students often make ideal employees.

 

“If we can help in any manner, it’s all part of the solution.”

 

The Jacobsen Pontiac Buick Lou Simonelli Achievement Award Fund is the largest award for the automotive program. Capital from the fund will be invested as a permanent endowment and the income earned from the fund will be used to provide the award.

 

Students eligible for the award will be enrolled in first, second or third year of the Automotive Service Technician (AST) apprenticeship program. They’ll be selected by their instructors based on overall academic performance and participation.

College’s scholarship program rewards community spirit

Okanagan College Media Release

A new scholarship program being introduced by Okanagan College will reward area high school students who have helped their communities.

The Okanagan College Community Spirit Awards are $1,000 tuition scholarships for Okanagan College programs. Forty of the scholarships will be distributed to high school graduates annually who have a record of service to their school or their community or both. They must also have a grade average of at least 65 per cent on their Grade 11 and 12 courses to qualify.

“We really want to encourage those students who share the College’s goal of being supportive to the communities we serve,” explained Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “A $1,000 scholarship will let recipients know that their efforts are valued.

“We see a lot of evidence of a well-developed sense of social responsibility among our students and want to encourage that.”

The awards will be distributed throughout the Okanagan College region – six going to Shuswap Revelstoke area students, eight to North Okanagan students, 18 to Central Okanagan students, and another eight to South Okanagan students.

The deadline to apply for the Okanagan College Community Spirit Award is March 5, 2010. Application forms will be made available on the Financial Aid and Awards website in late January 2010 at www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid.

Okanagan College Career Fair 2009
Okanagan College Media Release – October 28, 2009

Science World, VANOC among new additions to Career Fair

The Southern Interior’s longest-running and largest career fair is taking on a new flavour this year with a new partner: Science World’s Community Science Celebration will be at the Kelowna campus on November 1 as well.
 
The Career Fair, now in its 28th year, runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature more than 60 organizations and businesses offering information to the public about careers, education and job opportunities.
 
This is the first year that Science World will be on site as part of the free event, partnered with School District 23 and the Okanagan Science and Technology Council.  Science World booths, displays and events will be housed in the College’s new $28-million Centre for Learning.
 
Another interesting addition to the roster of exhibitors at Career Fair is the Organizing Committee for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics - VANOC.  They’ll be on hand to talk about employment and volunteer opportunities at the Olympics.  A recently announced program offers college and university students a chance for a three-month paid work term at the Olympics.  The deadline for the program has been extended to Nov. 9th and Okanagan College’s co-op and employment office will be open on Sunday to take applications from students as well.
 
“What’s really interesting is the diversity of careers and educational opportunities you can find represented at the fair,” says Michelle Lowry, who co-ordinates the event.  “There is everything from underwater welding to nursing, from careers in engineering technology to banking.”
 
The event also gives prospective students and their parents a chance to find out what educational opportunities exist and how they link with specific careers.  The College – British Columbia’s second-largest trades training facility – opens its shops and some labs to visitors and offers a variety of displays and events through the day.
 
“One of the things I’ve observed over the years is that this is a tremendous networking event especially for jobseekers (28 different organizations will be activity recruiting at the fair),” says Lowry.
 
The event and parking are free at the College for the day. Programs available around the campus outline events and exhibitors.  Food and refreshments are available for purchase.  A number of prize draws will be held at the event, including a draw for $500 in tuition credit from Okanagan College.
 
For more information, visit the Career Fair website www.okanagan.bc.ca/careerfair
 
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For more information:
Michelle Lowry
250 862-5473
e-mail: mlowry@okanagan.bc.ca
 
Sustainability blossoms at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release – October 27, 2009
 

Sustainability blooms at Okanagan College
 


Sustainability at Okanagan College earned a much-deserved beauty mark when it received star status in the special attraction category at this year’s national Communities in Bloom competition.
 
The award blows out of the water any idea that sustainability means industrial, utilitarian or – worse yet – boring landscape. Instead, the College proved that being green can not only be achievable, but pleasing to the eye.
 
“The College has a clear vision for a Sustainable Campus guided by a well-defined Sustainability Plan,” the judges noted, pointing to the College’s 3 Steps Forward initiative.
 
The College received a five-bloom rating as a national finalist in the Special Attractions category of the 2009 competition. The Communities in Bloom judges praised the College for creating a Sustainability Team that will lead the organization as it focuses its efforts on renewable and efficient energy use that includes green (LEED) buildings, transportation and sustainable landscape practices.
 
“Congratulations to Okanagan College on its outstanding sustainable campus efforts,” the judges said. “Within the actual context of climate changes and environmental concerns, communities involved in the Communities in Bloom program can be proud of their efforts, which provide real and meaningful environmental solutions that benefit all of society.”
 
Graham Kershaw, who heads up the program at the College, was thrilled with the results.
“Five blooms out of five – it doesn’t get any better than that. We already have many of our initiatives well underway. This plan is making a huge difference.”
 
The award comes less than a year since the College put the plan together, although the institution’s sustainability efforts go back many years.
 
“This award is clearly an endorsement that we are not only on the right track, but among the leaders in Canada when it comes to implementing sustainability practices at the institutional level,” said College President Jim Hamilton.
 
Other finalists in the special attractions category were the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village in Edmonton, and the Redford Gardens in Grand-Métis, Quebec.
Communities in Bloom is a national organization dedicated to the promotion of green spaces in urban settings. This is the 15th year the awards have taken place.
 
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For more information:
 
Graham Kershaw

Okanagan College

250-762-5445 ext. 4505
gkershaw@okanagan.bc.ca
 

 

For photos, contact:

Vivian Shum programcoordinator@cib-cef.com

Communities in Bloom

(514) 694-8871


Empowering Women in Trades
Okanagan College Media Release – October 7, 2009

College to host: Empowering Women in Trades conference

Okanagan College is hosting the Trade Up – Empowering Women in Trades conference Oct. 16 and 17.
 
The conference, which takes place at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus, provides an opportunity for women working in trades to find out about becoming a mentor to other women in the industry or trades students. Information will also be available for women who would like to be mentored or learn more about careers in trades.
 
The conference begins Friday evening with three guest speakers, followed by a networking reception in the Atrium at Okanagan College’s new Centre for Learning.  Conference workshops will run Saturday throughout the day, starting with keynote speaker Kevin Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the Industry Training Authority.
 
“The Empowering Women in Trades conference was in part inspired by the success of the College’s Women in Trades program,” said Nancy Darling, Program Administrator for Okanagan College. “We have been offering Gateway to the Building Trades for Women programs and as a result, have a growing number of women well on their way to completing their trades training who are now looking for networking opportunities. The conference will provide that opportunity and will also be of interest to women considering entering the program or following a career path in the trades.”
 
Darling noted that women who complete the Gateway program and graduate into trades foundation programs have opportunities in a variety of trades like Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Electrical, Plumbing, Welding, Automotive Service, RV Technician, Automotive Collision Repair, Automotive Paint and Refinishing, Heavy Duty, Carpentry, and Culinary Arts.
 
Federal and Provincial Labour Market agreement funding was provided by the ITA for the Gateway program’s first four intakes earlier this year in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Chase. With second intakes already underway in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon, the College is currently building waitlists that will determine where the 2010 programs are offered.
 
To find out more about the Empowering Women in Trades conference or the Gateway to the Building Trades for Women programs, contact Maura Lucente at (250) 762-5445 ext. 4825 or go online: www.okanagan.bc.ca/wtti.
 
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For more information:
 
Christine Ulmer
Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5616
Centre of Excellence Open House - Penticton
Okanagan College Media Release – October 5, 2009

Open House for Centre of Excellence on College campus

Want to find out more about Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence on the Penticton campus?

Your chance comes this Friday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 7 p.m., as the College and CEI Architecture Planning Interiors host an open house focused on the plans for the $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

Representatives of the College and the architectural firm will be on hand to answer questions.

The building was announced in April this year and is being funded largely through the joint Federal-B.C. Government Knowledge Infrastructure Program.  Construction of the facility is expected to be complete in 2011.

The Open House will be held in the College’s cafeteria.  A presentation and question-and-answer period will begin at 4:30 p.m.
 
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For more information:
 
Allan Coyle
Director, Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5413
acoyle@okanagan.bc.ca
 
 
Okanagan College alumni invited to open house
Okanagan College Media Release – October 2, 2009

College invites alumni to tour $28 million Centre for Learning

The Okanagan College Alumni Association is inviting all alumni of the College and Okanagan University College for an evening reception at the College’s new Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus.

On Oct. 8, from 4 – 7 p.m. alumni are invited to reconnect with faculty, staff, fellow alumni and business leaders at the networking event.

Okanagan College will also offer tours of the new $28 million Centre for Learning, which has been built to LEED Gold standards.

The evening event will include live music, refreshments, a cash bar, and prizes, including a Big White get-away and a Lenovo R500 series Thinkpad.

Space is limited to the event and alumni are requested to rsvp to the alumni office by email: alumni@okanagan.bc.ca or by phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4773.
 
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For more information:
 
Christine Ulmer
Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5616
 
Okanagan College SIFE stars Berlin bound
Okanagan College Media Release – October 1, 2009

SIFE Okanagan: Germany-bound for World Cup

On Friday, Oct. 2, three Okanagan College business students will be able to add international business competition experience to their resumes when they arrive in Berlin, Germany to participate in the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Cup.
 
Okanagan College business professor Dr. Kyleen Myrah will lead the three presidents from SIFE Okanagan to participate in the international competition after being invited as one of three teams from Canada to attend the prestigious event.
 
The team of Brittany Sjoblom (Vernon) and Deepak Garcha and Travis Fleming (both of Kelowna) was invited to be a part of the Accelerator Training Program after posting award-winning results at the National SIFE competition this spring.
 
While at the international event they will have the opportunity to network, share best practices, receive targeted training, and learn from the top SIFE programs in the world.
 
“Being invited to the SIFE World Cup and working with the top teams in UK and Germany is a testament to the quality of our students and the projects they are running in the community,” said Myrah. “This will be an incredible experience for the team and ensure that SIFE Okanagan continues to be a leader in the country and a key driver in our local region.”
 
Under normal circumstances only the Canadian national SIFE champion, which was Memorial University in 2009, attends the World Cup on behalf of the country. This year SIFE Okanagan was invited to participate due to their emerging dominance and potential for continued success – SIFE Okanagan is a relatively young team, having been started in 2005.
 
“In four short years, the SIFE team at Okanagan College has become a source of inspiration for faculty and students throughout the country,” said Amy Harder, President of ACE (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship). “The compassion, determination and entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by SIFE Okanagan has been unparalleled as they fight to build a better Canada. Selected as one of three institutions to join a special Canadian delegation attending the SIFE World Cup in Berlin, SIFE Okanagan will gain valuable insights and connections to bring back to their community while also showing the world that Canada is home to the top enterprising youth who are a powerful force for change.”
SIFE Okanagan has received support from the John Dobson Foundation, which also bestowed a prestigious award on Myrah this spring for her work with the SIFE. She was awarded the 2009 John Dobson ACE Fellow of the Year award, which recognizes the top faculty advisor of the year, as nominated by the students.
 
The three SIFE Presidents, all of whom are full-time students at the Okanagan School of Business, have been excused from classes for the duration of their trip and will return to Canada on Oct. 10. Once back on Okanagan College soil they will share their knowledge and experiences with a whole new group of College business students who will compete for SIFE Okanagan in the 2009-10 year.
 
 
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For more information:
Christine Ulmer
Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5616
Okanagan College growth continues
Okanagan College Media Release – September 29, 2009

College’s record of enrolment growth continues

Okanagan College’s record of growing enrolments continues to build, with 5,663 students signing up for fall classes throughout the region.
 
The 5.6 per cent increase over last year can be attributed to a number of factors, notes College President Jim Hamilton. “The economic situation is driving many people to return to school to upgrade their skills and education, but I also think that a broader selection of courses and programs is also partially responsible for the growth,” he explained.
 
Enrolment at each of the College’s four campuses grew – Kelowna’s enrolment grew by 141 students, or about 3.8 per cent over last fall. Vernon’s enrolment grew to 754 from 678 – an increase of 11.2 per cent.
 
Penticton saw 66 more students enroll this fall than last: up to 558 this year, an increase of 13.4 per cent. And Salmon Arm’s enrolment grew by 3.5 per cent to 376 students.
 
“The growth in student numbers tells only part of the story,” says Hamilton. “We’re also seeing an increase in the number of credits students are taking – 8.9 per cent more credits this year than last fall. That means more of our students are taking more courses than they did in 2008.”
 
There are several areas of significant growth for the College this fall:
  • 21.2 per cent more students enrolled in foundational programs (adult academic career preparation, adult special education and English as a second language) than in 2008
  • university transfer arts student numbers grew by 5.7 per cent growth over 2008
  • engineering technologies student numbers are up 10.6 per cent over last year.
  • health programs have increased by 13.5 per cent
  • 5.6 per cent more students registered for first year business programs in 2009 over fall 2008.
 
September enrolment numbers tell only part of the picture for Okanagan College – the fall statistics don’t capture courses that start after September 15, and don’t count the Continuing Studies courses that people register for.
 
 
The complete picture for Okanagan College enrolments comes in the spring when a calculation of full-time equivalent students is complete, drawing in all the data from the fall and winter semesters and Continuing Studies registrations. In 2008-09, Okanagan College educated more than 19,000 people, representing the equivalent of 7,654 full-time equivalents. That meant that for the fourth year in a row, the College exceeded government expectations for educational delivery.
 
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For more information:
Allan Coyle
Director, Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5413
acoyle@okanagan.bc.ca
John Lent on tour with new book
Okanagan College Media Release – September 25, 2009
 

Okanagan writer goes on Western Canadian tour to launch new book

In early October, Vernon writer John Lent will tour Western Canada to launch his new book of poems, Cantilevered Songs (Thistledown Press).  Lent will read in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo.  He will launch the book in the Okanagan later in November by reading in Penticton, Kelowna and, finally, Vernon.
 
Cantilevered Songs is Lent’s ninth book. “It’s hard to believe that,” Lent says, “I can still remember what it was like to launch the first book in 1978.  In fact,” he laughs wryly, “there was no launch.  I didn’t launch a book here in Vernon until my third book was released.”
 
Lent has come a long way since those early days of writing. His second last book, So It Won’t Go Away (Thistledown Press), was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2005 and has gone into its second printing.
 
Lent shakes his head. “It’s a crazy game,” he admits, “this writing life.  You just go ahead doing what you’re doing---in my case teaching and writing and singing---and you don’t stop and wonder about the fame and glory end of it.  There is no fame and glory.  It’s the writing itself.  It keeps you young.  But you wake up one morning and 30 years have flown by, and you discover you’ve written nine books.  And you wonder, how did I ever do that? And you just feel lucky.”
 
Cantilevered Songs is a book of poems about living in Vernon.  “I have always been mesmerized by two things,” Lent says.  “First, the thick texture of our day-to-day lives as they fly up around us...the people you meet on a morning walk, the color of this place, its detail... and second, the way the head and the heart register those things... the rhythm and awareness of the body ticking away in all its random rushes.”  Lent says these poems try to mimic those rushes and that randomness.  “I composed these poems as if I were playing an instrument.  They tumbled down the page like notes from a saxophone.  They surfaced like jazz suites.”
 
Cantilevered Songs will be available in bookstores after Lent launches the book in the Okanagan in November. 
 
Lent balances his writing with a more-than-full-time role as the Regional Dean, North Okanagan, for Okanagan College at the Vernon Campus.  Developing writing and publishing programs has been an integral part of Lent’s involvement with Okanagan College for more than 30 years.  “It’s the most exciting place to work,” Lent says, “and the Vernon Campus is one of the best kept secrets for post-secondary students in BC.”
 
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Contact:        John Lent, Regional Dean, North Okanagan
                    Okanagan College
                    7000 College Way, Vernon, BC, V1B 2N5
                    (250) 545 7291 (Local 2206)
                    E-mail:  jlent@okanagan.bc.ca
Attachments: Press Kit for Cantilevered Songs (Including jpeg of writer) from Thistledown Press
 
CGA BC creates $100,000 scholarship fund
Okanagan College Media Release – September 23, 2009

CGA-BC donates $100,000 to support Okanagan College students

Returning business students at Okanagan College will benefit from a new financial award established by the CGA-BC Educational Foundation.
 
The CGA-BC Educational Foundation Award is the result of a $100,000 donation to the Okanagan College Foundation and was created to encourage education and research in accounting, auditing and related disciplines. The scholarship will annually assist one or more students in need, those pursuing research projects and will promote the field of accounting generally.
 
In acknowledgement of this partnership, Okanagan College will recognize CGA-BC through a named classroom in its new Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus.
 
“The goal of the CGA-BC Educational Foundation is to assist students in financial need and to promote excellence in professional accounting and related disciplines,” said Pamela Skinner, Director of Member Services for CGA-BC. “The trustees are very excited about this opportunity to partner with our North Okanagan Chapter in establishing an endowment fund with the Okanagan College Foundation, leveraging the Educational Foundation’s strength in this vibrant community.”
 
In order to qualify for the award, students will have completed two or more years of full-time study in the Business Administration program at any campus of Okanagan College and will be returning for a subsequent year of full-time study in the program. Recipients will be selected based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need, and will be in good academic standing.
 
“This new partnership with the CGA-BC Educational Foundation is a great development for Okanagan College and our students,” said President Jim Hamilton. “Our students’ achievements in the field of accounting are many and this new award will recognize their efforts in the field and assist them in their educational pursuits.”
 
Complete information about this and other Okanagan College Foundation financial awards can be found at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid .
Three Okanagan College students earn Ike Barber scholarships
Okanagan College Media Release – September 23, 2009

Three Okanagan College students awarded $5,000 Ike Barber Transfer Scholarships

Three former Okanagan College students are among 16 who will each receive a $5,000 Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship this year from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society. 
 
“These scholarships are an investment in the skills and talents of students in BC,” said Dr. Irving K. Barber, the philanthropist for whom the scholarship is named.  “They help students obtain their post-secondary degrees while rewarding their outstanding accomplishments, both in the classroom and in the community.”  Dr. Barber is the founder of Slocan Forest Products Ltd. and is well known for his commitment to education and research in British Columbia. 
 
The scholarships are awarded annually to undergraduate students who have completed two years at a public post-secondary institution in BC and are transferring to another degree-granting institution in BC to complete their degrees.  They are funded from returns on a $15 million endowment established by the Province in 2006.
 
Marie Ouellet, transferring from Okanagan College to Simon Fraser University, Sandra Bargery and James Powell, both transferring from Okanagan College to University of British Columbia, will each receive a $5,000 Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.
 
“The Irving K. Barber BC scholarships encourage students to take advantage of some of the best features of BC’s post-secondary system – choice and transferability,” said Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development.  “For students seeking a degree, having the ability to transfer easily between institutions means that they can start their degrees at their closest community college or institute saving them thousands of dollars in costs.”
 
Students must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 or 87.5 per cent for 54 credits completed and have demonstrated service to their school and/or community.  Scholarships of $5,000 each are awarded annually to undergraduate students across BC.
 
“By helping students meet their financial needs for post-secondary education, we all win,” said Jim Reed, chair of the board of the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.  “These scholarships help students obtain degrees while studying closer to home longer and at less cost.”
 
Working in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society provides scholarships to students attending public post-secondary institutions both throughout the province and internationally.  To date, the Society has awarded over $2.2 million in scholarships.
 
To find out more about this fund call the Victoria Foundation at 250-381-5532 or visit www.bcscholarship.ca.
 
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For more information:       
Sharlene Smith
Victoria Foundation
250-658-1583
www.bcscholarship.ca
 
 
 
Science in Society series
Okanagan College media release – September 16, 2009

Human Kinetics Professors to speak in Science in Society Series
 

Okanagan College’s Kalamalka Campus is hosting the first of this year’s Science in Society Speaker Series, sponsored by the Office of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. 
 
Exercise: The physiology of successful aging in the Okanagan will be held at the Kalamalka Campus main lecture theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 8.
 
Dr. Jennifer Jakobi and Dr. Gareth Jones will speak about their research into the physiological mechanisms involved in aging. In particular, they will present evidence that regular exercise, which engenders fitness, is ultimately the best medicine for successful aging.
 
Jakobi and Jones are faculty members in Human Kinetics in the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC-Okanagan.  Recently, Jones was appointed to the National Advisory Board for the development of Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, an initiative of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.
 
He is also the current Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity and serves on the Advisory Board to UBC-Okanagan’s new Research Centre for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.
 
Admission to this event is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased in person at the Okanagan Science Centre, or by phone at 250-545-3644. Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre at www.okscience.ca <http://www.okscience.ca/>  or call for more information regarding this public presentation.
 
 
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For more information:       
Sandi Dixon, Okanagan Science Centre (250) 545-3644
Carl Doige, Okanagan College (250) 545-7291 ext. 2286
 
 
 
ORIC and Okanagan College creating opportunities for innovation
Okanagan College Media Release – September 10, 2009
 

Partnership looks to build Canada’s tech future from the ground up

As Canada contemplates its technology strategy and emergence from a recession, one organization is helping plant the seeds that could lead to the next Nortel or Research in Motion.

The non-profit organization Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC) is planning its expansion – this time in Penticton, to create a business incubator that will draw on the intellectual horsepower of the South Okanagan and link with Okanagan College to help nurture new technology businesses.

“When you think about the scientific community that exists in the South Okanagan, with the National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), the Pacific Agrifood Research Station, and now the planned Okanagan College Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, you realize that there are opportunities for developing new technology-based businesses that we need to exploit,” says Peter Haubrich, the President of ORIC.

ORIC started in 2005 and manages a successful technology business incubator at DRAO and expanded last year in downtown Kelowna. ORIC is home to several start-up and emerging technology companies including Pro-Active Safety Systems Technologies, Vericorder Technology, Vineyard Networks, EvolutionaryInk, and SituWare. The Kelowna office is also home to the Okanagan Innovation Fund, the Southern Interior Innovation Fund and hosts a complete team of NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
 
When the $28-million Centre of Excellence opens on the Penticton campus in 2011, ORIC will have incubator space in the building.
 
“We’ve had a long affiliation with Okanagan College and are excited at the opportunity to establish a presence in Penticton on the College campus, and in association with a project as visionary as the Centre for Excellence,” says Haubrich.
 
“The new Centre for Excellence features leading edge green technology,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “A major focus will be training technicians and tradespeople to use the latest in sustainable building technologies. Connecting entrepreneurs with the expertise of the College and our industry partners makes good sense.”
 
At first, people might not see the link between something such as the science at work at ORIC, DRAO and the building trades, but it is definitely there, says Haubrich. “Homes, warehouses, and office buildings are becoming increasingly reliant on communication and smart technologies. They use radio signals to control heating and ventilation systems, to optimize construction, measure and report structural loads – the list goes on. And there is an incredible amount of expertise focused on radio technology, advanced signal processing, software and electronics. There is opportunity for innovation and commercialization that we ought to – and will – take advantage of.”
 
It’s also a tremendous opportunity to expose students to a culture of blending research, learning, and entrepreneurialism, says Donna Lomas, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the South Okanagan Similkameen.
 
 
 
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For more information:
Peter Haubrich, ORIC, 250-870-9028
Allan Coyle, Okanagan College, 250-862-5413
Donna Lomas, Okanagan College, 250-492-4305, ext. 3216
 
 
 
2009 Ryga shortlist announced
Okanagan College Media Release – September 9, 2009
 

Seventh annual George Ryga Award shortlist announced

The George Ryga Centre, B.C. BookWorld, CBC Radio One and Okanagan College are proud to announce the shortlist of three finalists for the seventh annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.
 
In alphabetical order (according to the writer’s surname), the top three books submitted for this award this year are:
 
A Slice of Voice At The Edge of Hearing, Brian Dedora (Mercury)
The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway (Vintage Canada) 
Reena: A Father’s Story, Manjit Virk (Heritage House)
 
“It was a difficult process this year as our long list was so strong and the books all so deserving,” said John Lent of Okanagan College. “In the end we kept returning to these three incredible books.”
 
This year’s Ryga Award judge will be award-winning designer and publisher, Robert MacDonald.
 
MacDonald has been involved in Canadian publishing since the late-60s when he began as a designer with Coach House Press and as a publisher with Dreadnaught Press in Toronto.
 
Since then, MacDonald started up 35 magazines in this country, ran the Writing & Publishing Program at The Banff Centre for nine years, and helped initiate writing programs in Toronto and Vancouver.
 
Most recently, he has invented The Okanagan Institute and this year is serving as the Publisher-in-Residence at Okanagan College.
 
This year’s winner will be announced in Vernon, at Okanagan College, at a gala celebration of The Ryga Award on Saturday, Nov. 7, the last day of George Ryga Week, proclaimed by the Provincial Government and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
 
Excerpts from Dedora, Galloway and Virk’s books will be aired on CBC Radio One before the final announcement is made.
 
Last year’s winner was Leilah Nadir’s The Orange Trees of Baghdad (Key Porter Books).
 
 
 
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For more information:
John Lent
Regional Dean, Okanagan College
7000 College Way
Vernon, BC
250-545-7291 ext. 2206
jlent@okanagan.bc.ca
Students offer green help to SMEs
Okanagan College Media Release – September 9, 2009
 

Award-winning College students partner with GreenStep to offer sustainability workshops
to SME’s

Okanagan College’s award-winning Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Okanagan, in partnership with GreenStep Sustainability Coaching, are offering a four-part workshop series customized for the needs of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME’s).
 
The Sustainability Advantage series will allow participating businesses to understand and apply sustainability strategies that will have a positive impact on their operations, while offering a measurable return on investment.
 
The series begins in September, with spaces for up to 20 participating businesses. With an emphasis on leadership in sustainability, each organization can send up to three representatives, ideally the CEO, CFO, or General Manager will be accompanied by one or two staff.
 
GreenStep and SIFE Okanagan have established reputations as leaders in sustainability practices in the region. Greenstep has worked with clients such as Sysco and Quail’s Gate Estate Winery on the respective organizations’ sustainability goals, providing analysis, coaching and strategic business planning.
 
SIFE Okanagan hosted Kelowna’s inaugural Eco-Nomics Awards, which recognized local enterprises and their measurable sustainability practices.   
 
“We want companies to see profitability in not only improving energy efficiency and resource conservation within the workplace, but also from improving employee productivity and retention,” said Lindsay Eason, Vice President GreenStep. “Thinking about the long term sustainability of a company is something every business owner must do to survive in a decade that is set to bring more uncertainty with rising energy and resource costs. These workshops will help local businesses to develop goals for 2010 that will carry them into the future with a strategic advantage.”
 
The workshop schedule includes:
 
Sept. 17 - Measuring Up: Okanagan College, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Nov. 10 – Working Greener: Delta Grand, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Jan. 21 - Down to Action: Okanagan College, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
April 15 - Success, Challenges, Results: Okanagan College, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
 
 
For more information or to register, go online:  www.green-step.ca. The cost of attending all four workshops is $325.
 
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New courses in Salmon Arm
Okanagan College Media Release – September 8, 2009
 

Salmon Arm campus welcomes internationally-acclaimed author, new courses for fall

The Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College welcomes internationally-acclaimed author, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, who will teach a series of writing workshops at the Salmon Arm campus this fall. 
 
Anderson-Dargatz’s fictional style has been coined as “Pacific Northwest Gothic” by the Boston Globe, and has been published worldwide. A Recipe for Bees and The Cure for Death by Lighting were international bestsellers, and were both finalists for the prestigious Giller Prize in Canada. The Cure for Death by Lightning also won the UK’s Betty Trask Prize among other awards.
 
Among the workshops Anderson-Dargatz will teach are:
Turning Fact into Fiction
Building Believable Characters
The Ten Most Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make
The Business of Writing
 
The first workshop begins in October. All classes will be taught at the Salmon Arm campus, except for Building Believable Characters, which will be offered in Blind Bay. For more information or to register, call 250-804-8888 or go online: www.okanagan.bc.ca/cs  .


Also new to Okanagan College this fall is a two-part series on Equinoxes and Solstices. Join local geologist Linda Khandro as she explores why the Earth and sky are inextricably linked in our imaginations, our histories and our sciences. The series will take place over the course of two evenings on Sept. 22 and 23. Call 250-804-8888 to register or for more information.
 
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For more information:
Christine Ulmer
Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5616
culmer@okanagan.bc.ca
 
Aboriginal Gathering Space opens in Salmon Arm
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development
Okanagan College
Media Release – September 4, 2009

Okanagan College creates space for Aboriginal students at Salmon Arm campus

SALMON ARM – Aboriginal students attending Okanagan College¹s Salmon Arm campus this fall have a new space that celebrates their heritage and provides access to a variety of support services, announced Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation George Abbott today.
 
“It is great to see Okanagan College making Aboriginal students a priority,” said Minister Abbott. “Aboriginal gathering places like this are part of the Province’s strategy to achieve the commitments in the Transformative Change Accord. Together with post-secondary institutions and Aboriginal communities we are working to close the gaps in education opportunities between Aboriginal people and other British Columbians.”
 
Minister Abbott along with representatives of the Shuswap Tribal Council, Métis Nation BC and Okanagan College officials celebrated the grand opening of the Aboriginal Student Centre at the Salmon Arm campus with a barbeque and tour of the new facility.
 
The Centre was made possible through a $253,000 grant from the Province last spring. The space evokes a kekuli – a pit house –  with its round construction, and a skylight where there would be an opening for smoke to escape the home.
 
“Our government remains committed to improving the quality of life and educational experiences of Aboriginal students,” said Advanced Education and Labour Market Development Minister Moira Stilwell. “Encouraging Aboriginal students to start, stay in and succeed in higher learning with the help of special gathering places like these ensures access to advanced education and training that is inclusive of all British Columbians.”
 
 The official opening of the Aboriginal Student Centre means that each of Okanagan College’s four major campuses now have dedicated space available to Aboriginal students. The institution has mentors to help Aboriginal students, dedicated Aboriginal student recruiters and a host of other services that the students can access.
 
“We recognize that partnership with Aboriginal communities within the Okanagan and Shuswap regions is important,” explained Okanagan College Board of Governors Chair Janet Shaw.  “That fact is reflected in our key directions, but more importantly, we see real evidence of it in our day-to-day activities, whether it is through enhanced facilities, new program developments, partnerships with individual bands and associations, or the success of Aboriginal students.”
 
“Education is a vehicle for enhancing the life and opportunities of individuals as well as a means to achieve collective goals. Métis education represents the opportunity not only to achieve economic renewal but also cultural renewal”, states Métis Nation British Columbia Minister of Education, Dave Hodgson.
 
To help fulfil the commitments in the Transformative Change Accord the Province launched the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Strategy in April 2007. Since 2007 the Province has invested $13.2 million over three years to create gathering places that reflect Aboriginal culture at public post-secondary institutions across the province.



College students head back early

College students to head back to school early

 Aug. 26, 2009 Press Release

Okanagan College students will be the first learners in the Okanagan to return to school this fall with many programs beginning before the Labour Day statutory holiday. Classes in a variety of programs will be in session next week, some as early as Wednesday, Sept. 2.
 
Okanagan College programs have varying start dates this fall, including:
 
-       Office Administration: Tuesday, Sept. 1
 
-       University Arts & Science, Business and Engineering Technologies: Wednesday, Sept. 2
 
-       Adult Academic and Career Preparation: Tuesday, Sept. 8
 
-       English as a Second Language: Thursday, Sept. 3
 
-       Adult Special Education: Tuesday, Sept. 8
 
-       Vocational Health and Social Development:
                    Early Childhood Education: Aug. 31
                    Home Support/Resident Care Attendant: Sept. 1
                    Practical Nursing: Sept. 1
                    Therapist Assistant: Sept. 2
                    Certified Dental Assistant: Sept. 2
                    Human Service Work: Sept. 2
 
Students interested in finding out more information about start dates can visit the calendar online at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/calendar.
 
 
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For more information:
Christine Ulmer, Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5616
culmer@okanagan.bc.ca
Increase your wine knowledge

Increase you wine knowledge

Aug. 25, 2009 Press Release

Okanagan College is offering a wine knowledge course for anyone new to the hospitality sector, or anyone wishing to brush up their knowledge of local BC wines. The Wine Server course is a 12-hour session, which was developed in consultation with industry and identifies why local wines are unique.
 
It covers how to recommend, serve and sell wines as well as the history, geography and location of BC wineries. The course includes information and practice in uncorking, tasting, identification of wines, and wine label lore.
 
Learn how to be an effective wine salesperson, ambassador and educator, and successful regional wine and tourism concierge. A certificate of completion will be awarded at the end of the course.
 
This course runs Mondays, Sept. 14 to Oct. 5, from 6 – 9 p.m., at the Kelowna Campus. The cost is $129 plus GST.
 
For more information on Wine Server or to register for any Continuing Studies program call the office 250-862-5480, go online to: www.okanagan.bc.ca/csreg.
 
 
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For more information:
Lorrie Bauer, Continuing Studies
Okanagan College
250.762-5445 local 4533
Ryga Award long list named
August 11, 2009
 

Seventh-annual George Ryga Award long-list named

Vernon, BC -- The George Ryga Centre, B.C BookWorld, CBC Radio One and Okanagan College are proud to announce the long-list for this year’s seventh-annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.
 
In alphabetical order (according to the writer’s surname), the top 10 books submitted for this year’s award are:
 
Hope in the Shadows, Brad Cran & Gillian Jerome (Arsenal Pulp Press)
A Slice of Voice At the Edge of Hearing, Brian Dedora, (Mercury)
Guantanamo North, Robert Diab (Fernwood Publishing)
Silent Girl, Tricia Dower (Innanna Publications)
The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway, (Vintage Canada)
The Truth About Canada, Mel Hurtig (McLelland & Stewart)
In The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, Gabor Mate, M.D. (Vintage Canada)
Five Ring Circus, Christopher Shaw (New Society Publishers)
Reena, Manjit Virk (Heritage House)
What is America?, Ronald Wright (Alfred A. Knopf Canada).
 
“It’s a stunning field of books,” said John Lent, Regional Dean of Okanagan College, “in a year that provided the most books from publishers that we’ve ever had. It wasn’t easy to get to these final 10, but I know we will find another incredible winner.”
 
Last year’s winner was Leilah Nadir’s book, The Orange Trees of Baghdad (Key Porter Books).
 
The long-list will collapse into a short-list of three books that will be announced officially by Sept. 1, 2009. At that point a national judge will choose the winner, and that winner will be announced in Vernon at Okanagan College, at a gala celebration of the Ryga Award on Saturday, Nov. 7.
 
George Ryga Week, proclaimed by the Provincial Government and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, will run from Nov. 1 - 7. Excerpts from the short-listed books will be aired on CBC Radio One before the final announcement of the winner.
 
Organizers of The George Ryga Award decided to move the award ceremony from the late July tradition it had set in the first six years, to coincide with the celebrations during the Provincial George Ryga Week.
 
“At this point,” Lent said, “The Ryga Centre, B.C. BookWorld, CBC Radio One and Okanagan College want to thank all the writers and publishers who have contributed to this year’s competition, and we especially want to wish the writers and publishers of these final 10 books the very best.”
 
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For more information:
John Lent, Regional Dean, North Okanagan
Okanagan College
(250) 545-7291 (Local 2206)
jlent@okanagan.bc.ca
 
College trades facility in line for $1 million expansion
Okanagan College media release

News of a $1 million expansion of the trades training facility in Salmon Arm is being welcomed by Okanagan College officials.

The announcement was made today as part of the joint Federal-Provincial Knowledge Infrastructure Program, which is aimed at stimulating the economy and developing capacity in post-secondary institutions.

The Federal Government is contributing $500,000, and the Province is contributing an additional $474,000 to the project, which will accommodate 144 additional students and add 2,783 square feet of shop and classroom space.

It will also add a 6,456 square-foot covered work area to the existing facility at 5450 48th Avenue in Salmon Arm’s Industrial Park.

“We appreciate the fact that the Federal and Provincial governments recognize the importance of developing education and training capacity, and that they are willing to invest in Okanagan College as part of their stimulus programs,” says Janet Shaw, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “We know that in this instance there was tremendous support for the project from community groups, businesses, Councils, the Regional District and from MLA George Abbott and MP Colin Mayes. We think this broad support reinforced the business case we made for the expansion.”

Work on the project will start as soon as possible, says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Certainly we’ll see activity within 90 days of getting the money and expect the project will be complete inside a year.”

For Okanagan College’s new Regional Dean of the Shuswap Revelstoke Region, Jim Barmby, news of the expansion was an interesting start to his tenure at the institution. “Three days into the job and I hear there’s a million-dollar expansion. I think it’s great news for the campus and the region, but I have to credit the work my predecessor, Lynda Wilson, did to make this happen. The expansion and the trades training facility will be part of her legacy.”

The Salmon Arm expansion is part of the second round of announcements under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, which was unveiled in March this year. The Federal Government committed $2 billion to infrastructure enhancement at Canada’s post-secondary institutions. In the first round, the federal government allocated $202 million to 29 projects in B.C. The Provincial government allocated $231 million. This week, the two governments added another 11 projects and $64 million to the initiative, including the Salmon Arm project.

In the first round, Okanagan College received $22.6 million ($9.1 million from the province, $13.5 million from the federal government) toward a $28 million project in Penticton: the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

Several other groups and individuals have already contributed to fundraising efforts associated with the Salmon Arm trades building, including funds to equip the facility and for student support.



Okanagan College Alumni Association Award tickets now available
Okanagan College Media Release

Tickets to Okanagan College’s Alumni Association (OCAA) awards banquet are now on sale at an early bird price of $100 until Sept. 30, 2009. The banquet and dinner reception will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15 at the Okanagan Golf Club (The Quail) and will honour the achievements of Distinguished Alumni Award winner Launi Skinner and Young Alumni Award winners Todd and Mark Regier.

Skinner, President and Chief Operating Officer of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, is receiving the OCAA’s highest honour for alumni in recognition of her outstanding achievements in business.

skinner_smallSkinner graduated from Okanagan College in 1985 with a Business Administration diploma. Less than a decade later she began a prolific career with Starbucks, during which time she became the most senior woman in the organization, rising to the position of President of Starbucks U.S.

In 2007 Fortune Magazine named her one of its “Four Women to Watch.” With her career climbing steadily and after nearly 15 years with Starbucks, Skinner took command of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in 2008. As President and COO of the growing organization, she is responsible for the growth of the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? brand in North America and Australia.

The Regier brothers are joint recipients of the Young Alumni Award, which recognizes excellence among alumni under the age of 35.

regiers_smallThe Regiers own and operate Prestige Collision, a full-service automotive collision repair shop in Kelowna, which they established in 2003. Todd completed apprenticeship programs in Automotive Collision Repair (2001) and Automotive Painting and Refinishing (2003). Mark is a graduate of Okanagan College’s Business Administration diploma program (2004).

CHBC’s Mike Roberts will emcee the event, which will include a silent auction with proceeds dedicated to the Okanagan College Alumni Association student bursary.

To order tickets, contact Katerina Hay at: 250-762-5445 ext. 4771, toll free at 1-888-650-6968 or via e-mail, khay@okanagan.bc.ca.

Time’s right for employers and apprentices to invest in skills training
Okanagan College Media Release

John Haller has the answer.

“Now’s the time.”

And the question you have to ask to prompt him to provide that answer?

“When should apprentices come back to school to continue their training?”

Haller, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at British Columbia’s second-largest trades training institution, is among the educational leaders around the province who are endorsing an Industry Training Authority campaign called “Now’s The Time.”

The campaign is encouraging apprentices and their employers to find a silver lining in the economic slowdown to upgrade their training, and move toward their Red Seal certification. Close to 5,000 of B.C.’s second-year apprentices have yet to take any in-class components of their training required for trades certification.

For some, the message and the opportunity have already been realized.

“We’re seeing a lot more apprentices come back now,” said Haller. “These are people who couldn’t get away from their jobs during the last couple of years, working for employers who couldn’t afford to lose their apprentices for the six to 10 weeks of training annually.

“The economy has provided a breather for business and the trades, but we know it’s not going to last forever. So, now’s the time to continue that training.”

Some apprentices are returning to Okanagan College and taking back-to-back training sessions, taking advantage of the hours of practical experience they’ve amassed on the job site to move them further toward their national certification, Haller observed.

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) is the Crown agency responsible for managing B.C.’s industry training system. It launched the campaign recognizing that, economic downturn or not, the province must act to cope with what’s shaping up as an inevitable skills shortage.

“B.C. lost nearly two-thirds of its trades apprentices to the recession of the early ‘80s,” said Kevin Evans, CEO of the ITA. “With labour shortages still on the horizon, the province cannot afford to let that happen again.”

Evans is referring to studies that show with the predicted increase in retirements, British Columbia is on course to experience a shortfall of more than 110,000 skilled workers by 2016.

That will create enhanced demand and opportunities for Red Seal certified trades people. The ITA, various industry organizations, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and British Columbia’s colleges have teamed up to get the message across: “now’s the time.”

Haller and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, who heads B.C.’s Trades Training Consortium, see it as especially important here.

“We all know about the demographics in the Okanagan,” said Hamilton. “We have one of the oldest populations in the country and the percentage of retirees is expected to increase faster here than in the province as a whole. If there are to be skills shortages across the province, they’re only going to be more acute in the Okanagan.”

The ITA has created a website: www.nowsthetime.ca where employers and apprentices can find out more.

For employers and apprentices who want to learn more about schedules and training opportunities at the College, they can call 250 862-5457.

Okanagan College offers help to residents affected by fires
Okanagan College Media Release

fireOkanagan College is reaching out to those affected by the West Kelowna fires to assist with lodging and Internet access for evacuees.

The College’s Kelowna campus has offered 44 beds for use by emergency services. This accommodation is available to anyone who needs assistance due to the fire evacuation. Emergency shelter arrangements will be directed by emergency services, not directly through Okanagan College.

Libraries at the Kelowna and Penticton campuses are also open to residents who have been evacuated and are in need of Internet service and computer terminals. Parking on campus for those who are utilizing Okanagan College’s services will be free.

Library hours in Kelowna are:
Mon – Thu 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Fri 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Library hours in Penticton are:
Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information about emergency services, call (778) 797-2269
College student rewarded for giving back
Okanagan College Media Release

With a busy two-and-a-half-year-old at home, another baby on the way, and the responsibility of maintaining two households, full-time Okanagan College student Joel Dyck was relieved, surprised and grateful to learn he is one of 25 students across Canada who will receive the Garfield Weston Upper Year Award.

Dyck received the news after spending the weekend in Toronto where he went through a rigorous interview process with representatives of the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation, which administers the program on behalf of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

“I am so thankful to receive this award,” said Dyck. “Everyone who attended the interviews was so deserving that it really is an honour.”

The 34-year-old was handpicked for the award from more than 700 applicants. The scholarship is one of Canada’s most prestigious financial awards. Recipients benefit from an $8,000 scholarship, have their tuition paid by their post-secondary institution, receive $4,000 to cover expenses incurred during the previous year and are eligible for $3,500 in summer funding to pursue opportunities to integrate academic learning, develop skills and expand their horizons.

Dyck was selected for the award based on his application and successful interviews, where he was able to demonstrate excellence in academic achievement coupled with an impressive record of volunteerism and community service.

Dyck is partway through Okanagan College’s Trades Technology Teacher Education (TTTE) program in Kelowna. He spends the week in Kelowna attending classes and commutes home to Kamloops on the weekends to be with his family. He sits on several planning committees in Kamloops, including the BC Sustainable Energy Association and the 10th year anniversary celebration committee for the Grasslands Conservation Council. He also takes time to share his growing knowledge of trades and technologies with young students that he mentors in Kelowna and Kamloops.

After teaching English as a Second Language abroad and working with children with disabilities Dyck knew that education was the field for him. He enrolled in Okanagan College’s fledgling TTTE program with the aim of preparing himself for a dynamic career where he can foster his creativity, work with his hands, and influence the lives of young people.

“I have been an educator in some form or another since I graduated from high school,” said Dyck. “The skills I am learning in my program will allow me to help kids build their confidence and hopefully I can be a positive influence in their lives.

“I would like to thank my family for their support, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation for investing in me, Cheryl Brabandt, Sandi Gould and Nancy Ankerstein at Okanagan College for all of their support and I would also like to thank my classmates - I'm very fortunate to go to school with such a great group of people.”

For more information about the Garfield Weston Award visit the web site at: www.garfieldwestonawards.ca.
Okanagan College daycare to open, YM-YWCA calls for registrations
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will offer a new service for students and staff when it opens an on-campus childcare facility on Sept. 1, 2009.

The daycare, which will be operated on campus by the YM-YWCA of the Central Okanagan, will provide space for 53 children ranging in age from infants to five years old.

daycaresmallThe 3,000 square-foot facility was built by 12 students in the College’s Residential Construction program under the supervision of general contractor TEAM Construction. It features three distinctly different active play areas, a quiet room, an office, washrooms, full kitchen facilities, laundry and a secured outdoor play area.

The YM-YWCA is currently accepting childcare registrations and waitlist applications, explained CEO Sharon Peterson.

“The YMCA is the largest provider of non-profit childcare in Canada, and this Centre will offer the YMCA Playing to Learn curriculum which uses play as the foundation for learning,” said Peterson. “We are thrilled to be working with the College to meet the needs of Okanagan College’s students, staff and the community at large with this beautiful childcare facility.”

Anyone with questions about the facility, available spaces or ECE employment opportunities can go online to find out more: www.ymca-ywca.com/okanagan_college-childcare or call the YM-YWCA at: 250-764-9621 ext 301.
College grad founds Cosmic Logic out of untapped workforce
Okanagan College Media Release

About the time he was graduating with a degree from Okanagan College’s School of Business, Andrew Roberts noticed a potentially lucrative opportunity in the online gaming industry and wondered how long it would take for someone to take advantage of it.

arobertsNow 28-years-old, Roberts is the CEO and President of Cosmic Logic, an online video game production company that is headquartered at various Tim Horton’s coffee shops in Kelowna – at least, that’s where his staff of 21 meet regularly to catch up on developments and pitch new ideas for games.

“In 2006 the gaming industry really started to change,” said Roberts. “I saw a huge opportunity for individuals to create their own video games and distribute them online without a publisher. I just kept waiting for someone else to jump on the idea.

“By early 2008 no one had made a move so I decided to pick up my own idea and run with it and it has been a great ride from there.”

Roberts’ approach to operating Cosmic Logic is unique, due to his tenacity and belief in the talent and drive of the virtually untapped local, young workforce.

In early 2008 Roberts approached investors for help with start-up capital but was met with less than enthusiastic responses. Despite having a solid business plan, no one was interested.

“Investors and bankers just don’t get the gaming industry,” said Roberts. “They are a bit out of touch with what is really going on and don’t understand that a mere $100 investment in a game can result in a worldwide phenomenon.”

So rather than acquire start-up capital, Roberts recruited employees who were willing to work for free. His team now consists of computer scientists, graphic artists, and business graduates. He also draws on support and advice from Okanagan College’s SIFE Okanagan and the founders of Club Penguin.

As CEO, Roberts thinks of himself as a producer. He brings together artists and programmers who work to build a game concept. His employees are nearly all under the age of 25 and share a common interest in gaming and a passion for finding fulfillment in their work, something Roberts attributes to his generation.

“I have had no problem finding people who want to get involved with the company because people of my generation want to work toward something they believe in,” said Roberts. “It’s a win-win situation. I cover the cost of the initial software (about $150) and they get to use their skills and creativity to create a video game, which is a dream for a lot of kids.

“They are also really motivated to create a great product because if it sells well, they stand to do well financially. If it flops, they can still use that experience on their resume and as a starting point for future success.”

Cosmic Logic works on a deferred payment structure that divides game revenue equally between the artist, programmer and the company, each earning 33 per cent.

That’s after Microsoft gets its share.

Changes to the online gaming industry have resulted in a huge opening for what Roberts calls basement developers. There is no longer a need for publishers in the gaming industry. Cosmic Logic will sell its games online through Microsoft’s global online platform at a cost ranging from $2 - $10.  All users will need is an Xbox 360 system.

“Each week Microsoft announces its new games through a press release so marketing costs for the games are zero,” explained Roberts. “Most real gamers visit gaming blogs to find out what is new and hot and you can imagine that when a game catches on, it doesn’t take long for the downloads to take off.”

According to Roberts, even the worst-selling online games are downloaded between 5,000-10,000 times. Every time one of Cosmic Logic’s games is downloaded Microsoft will earn 30 per cent. Cosmic Logic will divide the remaining 70 per cent three ways.

Cosmic Logic’s first products will be on the market within the next month and Roberts plans on releasing nearly half a dozen games by the end of the year. The games are a visual throwback to the 80s, with a retro-style two-dimensional look that uses hand-drawn fluid animation.

Roberts and his team believe strongly in the product and see its simplified structure as a welcome change to an industry that has become overly sophisticated with garish simulations that cost far too much for the average user.

“Most video games you can buy in stores these days cost about $60 each,” said Roberts. “They are very technical and complex and that works for a lot of people. We are also finding that people love the look and feel of the old Nintendo games and they might want to sit down and just play a fun game for 10 minutes, and not invest hours. That is really the kind of game we are creating and at a cost that is very affordable to the user.” 
 
Roberts quit his full-time job a year ago to devote all of his time to Cosmic Logic’s startup.

“I’m so busy but it doesn’t feel like work,” said Roberts. “I’m using all of my business education and experience working with aspects of finance, human resources, and management. I would almost pay money to do what I am doing now because it is so rewarding.”

And he’s not the only one. His staff is growing exponentially and he gets queries from young artists, designers and programmers on a continual basis who just want to get involved.

“We have people working from their homes all over town and even as far away as Nevada and Toronto,” said Roberts. “They are all looking for the same thing I am – a way to put their talents and energy toward something they believe in. There is a whole segment of young people who have gotten their education and are looking for a way to use it. I hope to help create opportunities for graduates like myself who have so much to offer."
Penticton & Wine Country Chamber supports new College growth
Okanagan College Media Release

The Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce is contributing $30,000 to the development of Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

 penchamber
Jim Henderson, Jason Cox & Donna Lomas 
The announcement was made today at an Okanagan College Foundation donor recognition event held at the Penticton Campus, where the new $28-million Centre will be built.

“This is a very important project for the community, and it will have a lasting impact for many of our members,” said Chamber President Jason Cox. “We see our support as a signal of the business community’s commitment to the future of higher education in the region.”

Jim Henderson, who is spearheading the $5-million fundraising campaign on behalf of the Okanagan College Foundation for the $28-million Centre, was elated with the donation.

“The Chamber is known for carefully choosing its targets for support. This is an endorsement of the project that should resonate through the entire South Okanagan and among the business and community leaders who will help us achieve our goals.”

When it is complete in early 2011, the Centre of Excellence will accommodate about 500 additional students on campus, and will be a significant expansion of the existing Penticton campus, almost tripling the building space for students, staff and programs.

The Centre will house a variety of programs that are focused on sustainable (green) building technologies and processes as well as the use of alternative and renewable energy sources. The 8,500-square-metre structure will include shops, labs, office space, a new cafeteria, incubation space for business, and a recreational facility.
College to help alumni preserve graduation memories
Okanagan College Press Release

Okanagan College has launched a new service for graduates that will allow them to view and download web-quality and high-resolution photos taken during Okanagan College’s recent series of 2009 Convocation and Commencement ceremonies.

Alumni who graduated from ceremonies in Kelowna on June 5 and 6 or Vernon ceremonies held on June 10 and 11 can visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/gradphotos to scroll through thumbnail photos from the ceremonies.

The images were captured by the College’s Public Affairs Bureau, who tried to photograph each of the 1,300 graduates as they received their credential from President Jim Hamilton.

Grads can download a web-quality photo or email the Public Affairs Bureau with the image number to receive a high-resolution digital image, which they can have printed.

Okanagan College is offering this as a free service for graduates.
Spicy twist spoons up championship for Okanagan College chef apprentice
Okanagan College Media Release

A second-year Okanagan College chef apprentice is making a name – and money – for himself internationally with a recipe that takes Florida tomatoes and gives them a Louisiana flavour.

Vernon resident David Colombe, who works at the Armstrong Inn, has just been named the grand prize winner of the Florida Tomato Committee’s 20th Annual Best of the Best Recipe Contest.

soupHis creation – Fire Roasted Florida Tomato Gumbo – impressed a panel of experienced chefs and food writers with its Cajun approach to a classic soup. Besides the fame, he earned $2,000 for the recipe.

Okanagan College Culinary Arts Instructor Mike Barillaro was responsible for organizing a student competition in the teaching kitchen at the College’s Kelowna campus. That contest among students qualified Colombe’s entry into the international competition.

The contest, according to a press release from the Florida Tomato Council, is the longest-running competition for student chefs and is open to entrants from the U.S. and Canada. The judges are presented with six recipes – three from each country – and then asked to choose winners and grand prize winner. Recipes are judged on the basis of taste, appearance, originality, use of fresh tomatoes and how easy they are to prepare.

Colombe’s recipe draws on flavour derived from fire-roasting the tomatoes to intensify their taste, and then is ramped up with cayenne pepper and andouille sausage and fresh rosemary.

The inspiration for the recipe?

“I took a classic and updated it. I’m a big fan of Cajun food and this was a way to make it more flavorful and different,” said Colombe, who received the news of his victory the same day another piece of good news came in. Just before the phone call from New York (where the contest is judged), he received news that his work permit was being renewed. Colombe is an American citizen who came to the Okanagan for his chef’s training at Okanagan College.

A self-described mature student, Colombe had decided to make a career change after a decade in the music business.

“I have always been in love with cooking and food, and I’d thought about culinary training after high school, but I was worried about turning something I loved into an occupation. I was worried that if it were a job, I’d end up hating cooking dinner for myself.”

After a decade, the passion for cooking hadn’t subsided, so the career change decision was made. Why the Okanagan?

“I wanted a situation where the culinary school was in proximity to a wine region.”

The choice came down to Napa, California or the Okanagan. Okanagan College won out, not just for reasons of cost, but because there are great things happening in both industries here, and in the fusion between the two, said Colombe.

As for the next recipe coming out of Colombe’s kitchen? 

"I like to focus on fresh, vibrant flavours,” said Colombe, “and I am putting together a small collection of them, in a self published book, hopefully to be released by this fall."
College-bound graduates to benefit from Thorpe & Friends scholarship
Okanagan College Media Release

thorpe8Two Pen-Hi graduates who have enrolled at Okanagan College this fall will have an easier time financing their education thanks to the generosity of Rick and Yasmin Thorpe. 

Jayme Braithwaite and Kaley Wells have each received the $2,500 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship, which supports students from the former MLA’s riding and is based on a combination of financial need, academic standing, leadership potential and demonstration of contribution to their community.

Braithwaite is enrolled in Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree program at the Penticton campus and plans on using her education to realize her goal of becoming an accountant.

“Going on to further education is expensive,” said Braithwaite. “Receiving this scholarship is really helpful and I am very appreciative. It was great to get to meet the Thorpe’s in person because they are such nice people.”

Wells will attend Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus this fall where she’ll pursue an Associate of Arts degree. Fluent in both English and French, Wells plans on earning a Bachelor of Education degree and using her skills to teach abroad.

“I chose to go to the College because of the personal attention you get there,” explained Wells. “They offer a program that is just as good as any program at a university and it just made financial sense for me.

“I am honoured to by recognized by the Thorpe’s with this scholarship and I respect them so much for all they do in the community.”

Braithwaite and Wells both demonstrate excellence in leadership -- both graduates worked on Pen Hi’s Relay for Life program. Braithwaite also lent her skills and energy to the 10,000 Tonight Campaign, a canned food drive in Penticton.

Wells was co-chair of events for Relay for Life in addition to being a Penticton Princess, where she is an ambassador for youth.

"Rick and I are so pleased to be able to assist these two very deserving young women," said Yasmin John-Thorpe. “It gives us a great deal of satisfaction to know we are supporting local young students who are choosing to pursue their dreams and studies here in the Okanagan.”

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship Fund was established to support students from the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach who enrol at Okanagan College in a range of studies including: business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism, trades, technologies, English or Creative Writing
Experience and insight lead to architectural firm’s selection
CEI Architecture Planning Interiors, an architectural firm with extensive experience in green building design and technology, has been chosen to shape Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation.

With offices in Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria, CEI Architecture Planning Interiors has an extensive resume of diverse projects throughout British Columbia. Work by the company, or its principals, includes the UBC Faculty of Law Building, the Jack Bell Research Centre, the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, VANOC 2010 Headquarters, and the North Vancouver City Library.

“CEI’s experience in similar projects and the company’s grasp of the importance of what we want to achieve with this building led us to conclude that this is a partnership that will produce the best possible design. We know the outcome will be something exciting for Okanagan College and the South Okanagan,” explained Donna Lomas, regional dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

“The building design has to reflect the innovative nature of the programming it will house, and must incorporate the principles of green technology and environmental responsibility. It needs to be a showcase for our commitment to students, and the communities we serve.”

The $28-million Centre of Excellence was announced in April this year, and is scheduled for completion within two years. It’s being funded through a $14-million contribution from the Federal government, $9 million from the Province and a further $5 million through fundraising undertaken by the Okanagan College Foundation. When it opens, the Centre will house about 800 more students on the campus, and almost triple the building space on campus. It is part of the federal-provincial initiative to stimulate the economy through investment in infrastructure projects.

While the timeframe is tight, extensive consultation will be a key to getting the project off on the right foot, explained Tim McLennan, a partner in CEI Architecture Planning Interiors.

“Ultimately, a building is judged by much more than its appearance.  It’s measured by the users, by the people who interact with it on a daily basis, and by the people who benefit from it.

“Getting it right through consultation and exploration is the best foundation you can have for a building,” added McLennan, who manages the company’s Okanagan presence.

Toward that end, CEI and Okanagan College will be holding a series of consultation sessions – known as charrettes – toward the end of this month in Penticton. The sessions will garner input from stakeholders on design elements and approaches for the Centre.

About CEI Planning Interiors
CEI Architecture Planning Interiors is an award-winning firm offering integrated architectural, planning and interior design consulting to clients in Canada and the United States. CEI’s team of over 90 professionals has specialized expertise in several sectors, including recreation, community and culture, health care, aviation and transportation, office and commercial, and education. 

With a process-driven approach to architectural design, CEI is a leader in community facilitation and engagement.  CEI’s work emphasizes LEED® Design and sustainable principles, with 16 LEED Accredited Professionals, two certified LEED projects and several targeted projects nearing certification.

www.ceiarchitecture.com

Four ceremonies in 24 hours mark student success
Okanagan College will celebrate the accomplishments of more than 1,300 graduates at a series of Convocation and Commencement ceremonies this weekend.

The College will confer 457 credentials, including bachelor degrees (201), associate degrees (45) and diplomas (211), to students from a variety of programs during two Convocation ceremonies held on Saturday. A separate Commencement ceremony honouring the achievements of more than 800 Trades students will take place on Friday, followed by a Commencement ceremony for 44 Continuing Studies graduates on Saturday.

This weekend’s graduates are just some of the more than 1,500 Okanagan College students who have earned credentials during the 2008/09 academic year. Ninety-seven Practical Nurses received credentials at previously held ceremonies in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Salmon Arm; and 142 graduates received credentials at Winter Convocation in January.

A Summer Convocation honouring diploma and certificate graduates from Health, Applied Business and Trades programs will confer more credentials on June 25, 2009.

“We are honoured to recognize the achievements of our largest-ever graduating class this weekend,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We take a great deal of pride in the success of our students and are pleased to be able to share the experience with our students’ friends, families and supporters.”

The Trades Commencement begins Friday evening at 6 p.m., when students will be recognized for completing entry-level and apprenticeship programs. Top students in a variety of trades will receive awards and an industry speaker will address the graduates. More than 120 students will attend Friday’s ceremony, just a portion of the 800 students who completed entry-level or apprenticeship credentials over the course of the past year.

A morning Convocation ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m. for 124 degree and diploma graduates from a range of programs in Health, Technologies, Arts, Science and Computer Information Systems. An afternoon ceremony honouring 333 Business degree and diploma graduates will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Continuing Studies graduates will be honoured at a Commencement ceremony on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. They will celebrate the completion of a variety of certificate programs including: Medical Office Assistant, Education Assistant and Teaching English as a Second Language, among others.

Two Honorary Fellows will also be recognized at Saturday’s Convocation ceremonies. Barbara Marchand will be honoured at the 11 a.m. session while Charles Armstrong will receive the distinction during the afternoon ceremony at 2:30 p.m. A third Honorary Fellow, Robert Fine, will be recognized at the Summer Convocation ceremony on June 25 at 7 p.m.
College launches Centre of Excellence website
Okanagan College has launched a website to allow residents of the South Okanagan to track developments of the $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation to be built at the Penticton campus.

Web surfers can log on to www.okanagan.bc.ca/centreofexcellence to find out about the project, track its progress and support the recently-announced undertaking.

The $28-million project was announced in Penticton in April and construction work is scheduled to begin next month, as part of an ambitious schedule that will be complete in early 2011.

“We have witnessed a great deal of support for the Centre of Excellence and are very aware that many people in our communities are interested in finding out more about the project,” said Regional Dean Donna Lomas. “Our new website will allow the public to become active participants in the project, tracking its development and receiving updates as it moves along.”

Okanagan College has plans to install a webcam on the building site to allow residents to watch online as the building advances. The webcam will be accessed through the site, which will allow users to register to receive updates and provide a venue for donors to support the campaign.   

The 8,500-square metre, two-storey Centre of Excellence will be a multi-purpose facility that will provide expanded access for learners in the South Okanagan. The facility will be located in the heart of Okanagan College’s Penticton campus, and will fuse progressive development with environmental responsibility.

The campus expansion, targeting gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, will utilize sustainable building technologies and processes, while generating close to 180 direct jobs. It will also accommodate new programming for green construction and trades education
College apprentices among best in nation after winning bronze at Skills Canada
Two Okanagan College apprentices turned out medal-winning performances at the national Skills Canada competition last weekend in Charlottetown, PEI.

James Sawatzky (Automotive Collision Repair) and Andrew Goll (Automotive Service Technician) both won bronze medals in their respective categories after earning the opportunity to compete in the prestigious competition by winning gold at BC Skills Canada.

The Skills competition brings together more than 500 young Canadians to compete in an Olympic-style challenge in a variety of categories in trades and technologies.

Automotive Collision Repair instructor Jeff Francis travelled to Charlottetown with Sawatzky and Goll to support them during the competition.

skillscanweb 
 James Sawatzky & Andrew Goll
“The Skills competition is an immense challenge for these apprentices,” said Francis. “They are given tasks that a seasoned Journeyperson would not likely complete in the time they are allotted, yet they completed them with incredible accuracy. They both represented their province, Okanagan College and their employers with a great deal of pride.”

Sawatzky’s performance in the Automotive Collision Repair challenge required him to complete a series of tasks in a fixed time, putting him under pressure while working with a great deal of precision.

Each apprentice was given six hours to replace a quarter panel on a Lexus, three hours repair a door skin, two hours to fix a bumper and one hour to analyze a frame for damage.

Sawatzky credits his success to the experience he’s gotten during his apprenticeship at Craftsman Collision in Kelowna and the training he received from Okanagan College.

“The competition was harder than I expected but Okanagan College trains its apprentices really well,” said Sawatzky. “I’ve had Chris Burns and Jeff Francis as instructors and they are great teachers. I wouldn’t want to learn from anybody else.”

Goll represented BC in the Automotive Service Technician category after also winning gold at BC Skills Canada. During the two-day competition Goll worked on drivability and electrical diagnostic challenges, brake, suspension and steering service, and was tasked with tearing down and rebuilding an engine.

The 21-year-old apprentice was the only competitor to find both symptoms in the electrical diagnostic challenge, which he completed with 10 minutes to spare.

Goll apprentices at Williams Automotive in Kelowna, alongside his father at the family–owned shop.

"I would like to thank Okanagan College for allowing me to compete at Skills Canada," said Goll. "My instructors Jamie Bloomfield, Cam McRobb, Corey Bransfield and Doug Dyck helped me so much along the way. I'd also like to thank everyone at Williams Automotive for supporting me in my apprenticeship and during the competition."

“Andrew was calm and collected throughout the automotive service technician competition,” said instructor Jamie Bloomfield. “He performed his tasks in an organized and professional manner and appeared unfazed through many difficult tasks. He's a definite asset to Williams Automotive and has clearly benefited from the excellent training provided by his father Peter.
College recruits Steven Robinson as Director, International Education
Okanagan College’s administration will benefit from the expertise of Steven Robinson, an experienced post-secondary professional who will join the College in early June in the role of Director, International Education.

 Robinson2
 Steven Robinson
Robinson will make the move west from Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, where he has served for more than 24 years; most recently holding the position of Director, International Education and Training.

Robinson will replace Jim Cookson, who has filled the position on a temporary basis for the past five months.

“Steve will bring a diverse range of valuable experience to Okanagan College as Director of International Education,” said Steve Koehle, Vice President, Students. “He is a skilled communicator with great vision and a wealth of experience to draw upon. We expect his transition into the role to be smooth; thanks, in no small part, to the great foundation that has been created by Jim Cookson and the efforts of the staff in International.” 

Robinson holds diplomas in Resort and Hotel Operations and Public Relations. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Wilfred Laurier, a Master of Arts in Education from Central Michigan University and is currently completing a Doctor of Education with a specialization in Community College Leadership from Walden University in Baltimore, Maryland.

He has a lengthy and broad history of service to Georgian College, which is slightly larger than Okanagan College and is considered a leader in international education in the area of offshore projects. Georgian was also the first college in Canada to establish a satellite campus in India.

“I was drawn to Okanagan College because of its reputation as an institution that is innovative and has a strong vision, sense of self, and mandate,” said Robinson. “I am excited about the College’s focus on international education and I share in its vision. I believe deeply in the importance of creating global citizens and aim to build upon the College’s record of attracting top international students while creating more opportunities for domestic students to go abroad.”

Prior to becoming Director of International Education and Training, Robinson held a series of leadership roles within the organization, including: Manager, Organizational and Staff Development, Program Manager for Part-time Studies in Continuing Education, Manager of Financial Aid, and Manager of Resources Development, to name a few.

He has also worked on Georgian College’s Public Relations team and served as an instructor for a number of years concurrently while working in administration.

Robinson’s professional network is extensive. He is engaged in a number of post-secondary and community associations, most notably as President and charter member of the Ontario Colleges Administrative Staff Association (OCASA). Throughout his years of experience in the post-secondary sector, he has held numerous leadership roles on a variety of committees, boards and is an active Rotarian.
Regier brothers honoured by College with 2009 Young Alumni Award
Okanagan College will celebrate the achievements of two of its most notable graduates under the age of 35 when it confers the 2009 Young Alumni Award on local entrepreneurs, Todd and Mark Regier. 

The Regier brothers own and operate Prestige Collision, a full-service automotive collision repair shop in Kelowna. They established the business in 2003 as a small start-up enterprise with a staff of two. At the time, Todd was 24 and Mark, just 22.

Regier 
 Todd & Mark Regier
In the ensuing six years the Regiers have increased their business ten-fold, building a strong reputation and making a name for themselves as high quality craftsmen with a customer service driven approach to business.

"It is a great honour for Mark and I to be selected for this award by the Alumni Association,” said Todd. “We are very thankful for the education and continued support from all of our instructors and the entire Okanagan College faculty."

Todd completed his Automotive Collision Repair apprenticeship training at Okanagan College in 2001 before earning a second red seal accreditation in Automotive Painting and Refinishing in 2003.

While his brother honed his technical skills and experience, Mark enrolled in the Okanagan School of Business. While working toward his Business Administration diploma, which he earned in 2004, Mark and Todd launched Prestige Collision.

As business partners, the Regiers’ complimentary skill sets have proven to be a dynamic and effective combination. Todd’s expertise in the technical aspects of the industry fused with Mark’s business savvy, have resulted in the steady growth of the business. Prestige Collision now employs 10 full-time staff, nine of whom are Okanagan College alumni.

“Todd is a well-rounded success story,” said Chris Burns, Chair of Okanagan College’s Automotive Collision Repair Department. “He dedicated his earlier years to become a high quality technician in two separate trades. He took a gamble and became a successful entrepreneur. Finally, and most importantly in my mind, he is supporting the same training system that helped to develop his skills years ago.”

Prestige Collision’s success created an opportunity for expansion in the summer of 2008 when the Regiers designed and built a larger location on Kirschner Road in Kelowna. The new shop features a state-of-the-art air recirculation system, skylights, and an environmentally friendly paint system and spray booth, among other sustainable technologies.  

“The Okanagan School of Business congratulates Mark Regier on being named Young Alumnus of 2009,” said Dr. Jayne Brooks, Dean of Business. “Mark is a great example of the calibre of our graduates and clearly demonstrates the work ethic, knowledge and expertise of a skilled entrepreneur.”

The Regiers’ selection as YAA-winners marks the first time the award has been co-conferred and the first time the award has been granted to a Trades alumnus.

“In less than six years since graduating, Todd and Mark have accomplished a great deal,” said Kara Kazimer, President OCAA. “ The Alumni Association is proud to recognize the Regiers as outstanding examples of the best of Okanagan College’s alumni.”

The Regiers will be honoured at a dinner reception this October alongside the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, Launi Skinner, President and COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.
College launches tool for learners to choose their own educational adventure
When she enrolled in Okanagan College’s Adult Academic and Career Preparation program this fall, 23-year-old Marlaina Alton never imagined she would be the face of Okanagan College.

The first-year Aboriginal student has become just that.

Marlaina is featured in Okanagan College’s new online Aboriginal student recruitment resource, which was launched yesterday in Kelowna.

The cutting-edge interactive online video resource was developed by the College in partnership with HuStream Technologies. The Kelowna-based company works in what it calls humanized rich media to provide on-demand, engaging learning solutions for organizations.

“When Okanagan College first informed us they were looking for a recruitment solution for their Aboriginal Studies program, it made sense that a modern technology-based solution would capture the attention of future generations of students,” said Peter Matejcek, CEO HuStream.

The College is the first post-secondary institution to use the technology, which provides users with full motion video and allows them to navigate through a day in the life of Marlaina. Through a series of simple clicks, users can choose Marlaina’s schedule for the day, have coffee with her in the Student Services Building, chat with her professors or find out important information about financial aid and the application process.

“The HuStream video provides a portal for Aboriginal students to look inside the walls of Okanagan College,” said James Coble, Aboriginal Student Services Coordinator. “There are a lot of misconceptions about the post-secondary environment that can create barriers for Aboriginal students. This new technology will allow potential students to tour the College, meet professors, and find out about different programs all from the comfort of their home computer. It really allows them to envision themselves at the College and find out about the great resources that are available to them.”

Along the way users can contact Marlaina via FaceBook or text message, which have been proven to be two of the most popular and preferred methods of communication for younger generations.

“We are constantly looking at ways to engage future students and when the opportunity to partner with HuStream came along, we were confident we could provide a fun, interactive and informative tool for students who might wonder what it would be like to attend Okanagan College,” said Jane Muskens, Manager of Student Recruitment at the College.

Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Provincial government. The interactive video is now live and can be accessed at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/futurestudents.html.