Okanagan College honoured for entrepreneurial activity at inaugural Colleges and Institutes Canada awards
At an award ceremony held in Quebec City on Monday March 9, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and former Enactus Okanagan College President Drew Vincent were on hand representing the College’s School of Business to receive the inaugural Entrepreneurship in the Community
award from Colleges and Institutes Canada.
The award recognizes the College for its demonstrated impact and support of projects within the Okanagan region’s economy. The focus Okanagan College places on supporting entrepreneurship among our students was noted as a distinguishing factor for the award.
To read the full press release about the awards, and see a list of all winners, read the press release here.
OC2020 Strategic Plan
face-to-face input sessions underway
The first round of the College’s OC2020 strategic planning face-to-face input sessions with employees and students is well underway. Kicking things off, in Penticton 159 participants (127 students, 32 employees) came to the table with big ideas, vision and thoughtful commentary. The conversation continued in Kelowna, where a total of 57 employees participated in meaningful brainstorming and dialogue.
The success of the interactive sessions depends on participation. Please join one of the next sessions: at the Vernon campus (March 11), followed by a second round in Kelowna (March 17, 18, 19) and wrapping up at the Salmon Arm campus (March 25 and 26).
To date, the quality of participation and input at these sessions has been remarkable. Those at the sessions have provided feedback that is forward thinking and creative. Their views of the College for the next five to 10 years highlight areas where we can grow and develop in the near future. Significant discussion on our Mission, Vision, Values and Guiding Principles has also demonstrated a level of thoughtfulness and collaboration at the sessions that demonstrates how passionate people are about our College culture.
You are encouraged to participate in an upcoming session. Please check the schedule on the OC 2020 website to find a session near you. An online feedback form will also be launched next week for those who are unable to attend a session in person. If you have a question or a comment about the Strategic Plan, please contact Kerry Rempel.
Trades Complex building update
Building and parking closures
Construction is well underway for the new Trades Complex project at the Kelowna campus. In the coming months the project will be heading into its final and perhaps most intensive year of construction.
The next major phase of the $33 million project will commence on May 1, 2015 when the East Wing of the existing Trades complex will be closed for major renovation, demolition and construction. This closure will affect four classrooms, offices spaces, tool rooms, lockers and washrooms along the south side of the Trades building. Please note that O’Tools restaurant will also be closed and that the circulation into the Trades area will also have to change.
As of May 1, the Trades area will only be accessible by using either the East or West gates that lead into the back compound area of Trades. To support this access and transition space, Lot 15 (the staff parking lot located between the Centre for Learning and Health building) will be fenced and closed from May 1 until August 31, 2015. Signage and other circulation information will be posted in April identifying the changes happening in May.
This week the Trades Complex project reached a major milestone with the Plumbing Shop now completed (located between the Collision Repair and Carpentry shops). At this time, the RV program is using this shop space in order to allow their shop to be renovated. It is also very exciting to see work beginning on the third floor of the tower. The Trades Complex project is scheduled for completion in spring 2016.
College wins best bite at local foodie event
Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts showcase took home this year’s People’s Choice award for Best Bite at the sold-out Devour Kelowna event on March 7.
The Centre for Learning at the College’s Kelowna campus was transformed into a food and drink mecca, where the region’s top chefs, winemakers and specialty food and drink purveyors competed for People’s and Judges’ Choice in Best Sip, Best Bite and Best Pairing categories.
The College served up two samples: one sweet, one savoury. The savoury hors d’oeuvre, a potato cup filled with burnt orange cream, duck confit, basil tempura onion and micro basil beat out dozens of other dishes for the People’s Choice prize. It was created by Chef Instructor Stuart Klassen. The College's second bite was a sweet chocolate cheesecake developed by Chef Instructor Perry Bentley. All the bite-size samples were assembled and served with the help of the College’s student chefs.
Coyotes sweep weekend
Sunny skies and big wins were in order as the Okanagan College Coyotes beat the Eastern Washington University Eagles on the diamond at the home opener weekend March 7 and 8, outscoring them 37-3.
"We competed on the mound, in the field and at the plate. It was nice to see guys up and down the lineup contributing," said Coyotes Head Coach Geoff White.
The team played three games and in the weekend opener on Saturday, Marcus Drewry (3-1) picked up his third win of the season going six strong innings scattering only four hits. Game two on Saturday saw Joel Lamont pick up a win with five innings work while giving up three hits and striking out six. Sunday finished out the weekend with Brett Flemming picking up his first win of the season.
The weekend wrapped up with a closing game that finished 5-1. Austin Orsted worked four scoreless innings along with Wyatt Hummel and Brandon Becking throwing a shutout inning each.
"It was nice to see some guys break out at the plate and our pitching staff did a great job from first pitch to last, it was a solid team effort all weekend," added White.
To read more about the games, score, and weekend recap standouts, click here.
Next up, the Coyotes welcome the Edmonton Prospects to Elks Stadium in Kelowna for a three-game set before the Canadian College Baseball Conference season begins.
Catch the next home games:
- Friday Mar. 13, 6 p.m.
- Saturday Mar. 14, 6 p.m.
- Sunday Mar. 15, noon
Collaborating friends earn top three spots in heavyweight Spaghetti Bridge contest
With otherwise simple ingredients, nothing more than pasta and glue, 248 participating students from across the Okanagan created recipes for success in building their bridges at Okanagan College’s 32nd annual Spaghetti Bridge Contest held at the Kelowna campus on March 6.
Three friends from Lumby battled for the top spots in the heavyweight division: Grade 7 student Adrian Schartner from Lumby placed first with his bridge weighing 982.6 grams and supporting 275.6 kilograms before spectacularly collapsing in front of cheering friends, peers, teachers and parents. His bridge was the only one to break the 200-kilogram load threshold. Brendan Mattenley placed second with 196.68 kilograms of load, and in third was defending champion James Dessert with 171.83 kilograms.
Taking almost eight weeks of patience, imagination and hard work, the three friends collaborated on the engineering design concept that featured an impressive arch made of bucatini pasta and spaghetti spokes. Each then made individual modifications to their bridge to encourage a little friendly competition.
“We knew we wanted curved bridges, those always do well in the competition,” said 12-year-old Schartner, who is home-schooled. “For my bridge, I created a heavier arch by using four strands of barilla. While it’s a lighter pasta, having more of it made it stronger.”
For complete results and to read the press release follow this link.
Deadline approaching for new
W. Brett Wilson student award
College instructors are encouraged to share information with their students about the inaugural W. Brett Wilson Prize award, recognizing commitment by a student in entrepreneurship and social consciousness. Until Tuesday Mar. 31, students enrolled in any degree, diploma or certificate program at any Okanagan College campuses can apply for the $750 award.
Brett Wilson is a recognized Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist. During his recent visit to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, the entrepreneurial spirit students demonstrated impressed him.
To apply, students can submit a one-page essay describing how they are committed to entrepreneurship and to building their community through socially responsible action. Submissions should demonstrate three components: an aspect of entrepreneurship, philanthropic contribution and explain how receiving this award will further their ability to continue to contribute to these efforts.
Applications can be submitted to email@example.com. The subject line should read W. Brett Wilson Prize, and the body of the email needs to include the student’s name, student ID number, and program of study.
BC Wine Information Society Award helps
viticulture student grow her education
The pursuit of a career in the wine industry got a little sweeter for Okanagan College student Kathleen McCaffrey when she received the 2015 BC Wine Information Society Award, valued at $1,500. She is currently completing the Viticulture Certificate program at the College’s Penticton campus and the award recognizes her early achievements in the field.
“I am so excited and grateful for this award,” said McCaffrey, who completed a degree in Business at Okanagan College before enrolling in the Viticulture program. “It’s a huge boost and will help with tuition for the next course I’m taking, which is focused on wine sales.”
“The wine industry is a key driver of our region’s economy and so we feel it’s hugely important to support students in the valley,” explained Laura Kowalchuk, Manager BC Wine Information Centre, which is operated by the Society. “We are so excited to see what students like Kathleen will accomplish as they jump into this industry and put their energy and creativity into elevating the profile of B.C. wine even further.”
The bursary is one of two annual awards sponsored by the BC Wine Information Society, which also made a $300,000 donation to the College last year to assist with the creation of a new Wine Sensory Centre at the Penticton campus.
To read more about McCaffrey’s passion for the wine industry, including her travels to Italy and the award read the press release here.
College organizing upcoming 25th annual
high school math competition
Leave your calculators at home: a sharp pencil, an eraser, and a thinking cap is all Grade 8 to 12 students will need to participate in the annual British Columbia Secondary School Mathematics Contest (BCSSMC) for the Okanagan Region.
On April 1 hundreds of students in either the junior (Grade 8 to 10) or senior (Grade 11 and 12) categories will put their math skills to the test as they complete the 45-minute multiple-choice exam administered in each of the participating schools by its teachers. The top three to six finishers from each school will be invited to attend the final round taking place on May 1 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.
“This year is particularly special, as we celebrate 25 years of fostering mathematic interest and talent in secondary school students in our communities,” said regional contest founder, provincial coordinator, and Okanagan College Mathematics professor Clint Lee. “We always see strong participation numbers, sometimes upwards of 800 students. To me, that speaks volumes about math being an important part of our kids’ education.”
The competition was inaugurated in 1990 by Okanagan College’s Mathematics department as a way to bolster interactions between secondary and post-secondary education institutions and to recognize math achievements locally. Today, the competition is co-sponsored by the College and UBCO.
For more information about the competition visit the website and read the press release here.
Rotary Club of Kelowna supports
College’s trades training in the region
Tradespeople do more than just build houses, they help build communities.
The Rotary Club of Kelowna has pledged $75,000 to the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign supporting the $33-million renovation and expansion project currently underway at the College’s Kelowna Campus.
“Trades are a key thrust in our economy,” said Rotary Club President Dennis Campbell, “and so it seemed only natural for us to support the training of these young apprentices. When you think about it, you can’t step out your front door and go very far without coming into contact with something that a tradesperson has helped to build, wire, plumb, weld, and so on.”
“The new trades training complex will help us be proactive in addressing the skills gap projected for trades and technical training in B.C. over the next decade,” said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “It is truly gratifying for the College to see people and organizations from all over our region stepping up to support the project.
“We appreciate the Rotary Club of Kelowna’s generous investment in our campus and our students’ futures.”
Read the full press release here. To learn more about the campaign, opportunities to give, and to get involved with the project follow this link.
Explore College education options at
upcoming information sessions
Making a choice of career and credential can be daunting for many people looking at their post-secondary path. Quality, cost, and location are all factors that enter the picture.
Here to help, Okanagan College will be hosting Arts and Science University Transfer Information Sessions at the Vernon campus on March 31 and the Kelowna campus on April 1, both at 6 p.m. A first session was held in Penticton on March 9.
At the sessions, instructors, staff, and current students will be on hand to share the Okanagan College experience and answer questions. Attendees can also learn information about university transfer credits, financial aid and awards, and discuss career options for those pursuing studies in both arts and science.
The sessions are open to all potential students, including those graduating from high school, their parents, and anyone considering further studies for additional training or a career change. For more details about these events, click here.
Take it outside! Conference focused on outdoor play
Child’s play is serious work for a group of 45 academics, professionals, and planners who gathered on March 6 at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus to consider the importance of developing outdoor play spaces and why they are essential for both children’s development and for building healthy, sustainable communities. The group included representatives from the Greater Vernon parks, City of Vernon, City of Kelowna, School District, childcare centres, and some non-profits organizations.
The Shifting Views – Why Children Need Outdoor Play Now! was a free one-day conference organized by Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, Dr. Beverlie Dietze, a principal researcher in outdoor play, and Jane Lister, the College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean. The conference received support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
“Recent research is really reinforcing how important outdoor play is to children’s development, especially at a time when so much of their activity is focused around electronic devices and digital interaction,” said Dietze. “Having the chance to connect to nature is about a lot more than just the experience of the outdoors. It impacts a whole range of behavior and early childhood development.”
The day featured respected speakers and experts from across Canada who discussed play environments, risk in outdoor play, and outdoor play designs. For a snapshot recap of the day search #OutdoorPlayBC2015 on Twitter.
The following day, a workshop on Outdoor Play was hosted. A total of 33 early childcare workers attended the session which focused on training.
Click here to listen to Dr. Dietze's interview on AM1150's Early Edition with Phil Johnson. For more information about all the speakers read the press release here.
New awards honour aviation pioneers
and help college students take flight
Students enrolled in the Commercial Aviation diploma program at Okanagan College will soon get a lift from new awards that recognize the achievements of two distinguished B.C. aviators.
The Roy Clemens Memorial Award in Aviation and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award in Aviation, valued at $1,000 each, celebrate the contributions to Canada’s aviation history made by Clemens and Rutledge over the course of their careers in the air.
Clemens coordinated Air Search and Rescue in the region for 35 years, retiring from that volunteer position at the age of 87. He was a founding member of the Kelowna Flying Club and the Kelowna branch of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Rutledge was the first woman west of Toronto to earn a commercial pilot’s license. She overcame frequent discrimination in pursuit of her dream. She piloted several flights for Canadian Airlines, worked with Grant McConachie, and also founded the Flying Seven, an elite group of Canadian female pilots.
“We are proud to recognize the legacy of these two aviation forerunners,” said Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean, Okanagan College School of Business. “The College is very grateful to the Clemens and Rutledge families for their generous support.”
“We’ve trained over 400 pilots since the program began in 1990,” said Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director, Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College Commercial Aviation diploma program. “The demand for pilots is only going to increase, with retirements looming in the big airlines. This program gives students some great opportunities to connect with local employers and leaders in aviation from the moment they start training.”
Follow this link to read the full press release and click here for more about the Commercial Aviation diploma program.
WiNG program launches students’ careers
in natural gas
This February 11 students, including two women, successfully completed the month-long inaugural Working in Natural Gas pilot program at the Vernon campus. Students participated in 40 hours of industry awareness training, 28 hours of career awareness and planning, and up to 52 hours of industry-recognized safety certificates.
Overall, feedback from the students about the program showed their level of enthusiasm and they gave it high marks. There was a real sense of accomplishment among the group when the course finished.
Putting success into action, one student has already found a job in the industry. The program is offered by the College’s Continuing Studies department and was funded by the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund.
One-step, two-step, 10 million steps
More than 120 College community participants aimed to walk a little more from Jan. 23 to Feb. 19 as part of the Athletics, Recreation & Student Life Great Wall of China step challenge event. Of these, 37 turned in their pedometers and more than 10.2 million steps were accounted for. The event, which culminated on Chinese New Year, symbolically challenged participants to walk enough steps that equated to similar distances on the Great Wall of China.
“I have found it fascinating how something as simple as recording my steps has encouraged me to change my routine so I can achieve more,” shared IT Services’ Moya Webb.
Scott Anderson, a second year Mechanical Engineering Technology program student enthusiastically partook in the event. “This challenge was awesome! I found myself finding excuses to walk instead of drive somewhere. Plus I was able to follow my progress on Google Earth. I realized that even at 230,143 steps, my distance represented only a small part of the Great Wall. It really makes me appreciate the hundreds of years and thousands of kilometers that the Great Wall represents.”
Congratulations to top steppers:
10,000 steps a day level winner: Melissa Lang with a total 667,906 steps (most steps overall!)
- 5,000 steps a day level winner: Alyssa Ganje with a total 279,346 steps
- 3,000 steps a day level winner: Lixin Zhang with a total 132,921 steps
Kevin Fukushima joins Central Stores
Central Stores welcomes Kevin Fukushima, who started in his new role as supervisor of Central Stores on Feb. 17. Kevin replaces Warren Schimpf who recently retired.
Kevin brings a vast knowledge of retail and inventory management experience to the position. He recently earned his Service and Support in a Learner Centered Organization Certificate from Okanagan College. He saw this program as an opportunity to focus his multiple years of customer service experience and bring it to the College’s environment. He has a passion for woodworking in his free time, and in fact, he is also a graduate from Okanagan College’s Studio Woodworking program.
Kevin’s new office is in T-163 and he can be reached at extension 4408.
Kathleen Lausman retiring
After a decades-long rewarding career in government, capital planning, project management and leadership Kathleen Lausman, Okanagan College’s Director of Campus Planning and Facilities has announced she will retire on March 17, 2015.
Kathleen joined the College in 2013 right when the College was launching its $33-million Trades Complex campaign. Previously she worked with the Government of Nunavut as the Deputy Minister of Community & Government Services, Alberta Infrastructure, and also CSIS where she served as the Deputy Chief of the Facility Management Branch.
This March we celebrate engineering technologists
March is Engineering Month, when we celebrate those in our communities that make things work, including water engineering technologists and Information Technology specialists.
Water treatment is a complex field that is rapidly evolving to constantly improve procedures and to protect the environment. Engineering technologists monitor the various steps of water management and conduct preventative maintenance.
Nicole Moggey graduated from the College’s WET program 10 years ago. Since then she has worked with the City of Kelowna at the Wastewater Treatment Facility and manages the laboratory.
“Each day I get to come to work in an advanced facility that is cutting edge from a design, technology and science perspective,” noted Moggey. “Now, I see new graduates joining our team who are knowledgeable about the latest technologies and methods. That speaks volumes about the quality of education the program provides and how it evolves to keep pace with the innovation we see in the field.”
Helping treat up to 45 million litres a day of wastewater from Kelowna, a total of seven College WET graduates work at the Kelowna Wastewater Treatment Facility. An additional four graduates work to ensure that the City Water Utility provides safe drinking water.
Continuing to highlight the importance of engineering technologists in our midst, Kelowna resident Troy Berg who graduated four years ago from Okanagan College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) program and currently works as IT Manager for the law firm of Doak Shirreff shared his perspective about the importance of IT in the business world.
In a feature article, Troy spoke to how IT managers increasingly have the ear of senior management and have a seat at the table when it comes to making strategic decisions to advance a company’s objectives.
“As an IT professional, I see myself as an advocate for and translator of technology to business managers,” he said. “We can use our knowledge to offer creative and proactive solutions on ways to improve productivity, workflow, security, and profitability.”
As a rule, the easier the technology is for individuals to use, the more complex and bigger the team on the back-end to make it operate smoothly. It’s an unforgiving field of work with no margin of error: it either works or it doesn’t.
Read the feature articles about the College’s WET graduates here and the NTEN graduates here.
Remembering Steve Jackson (1975 – 2015)
the importance of organ donation
On February 19, Okanagan College lost one of its alumni who had left his mark through his perseverance, commitment, optimism and always present passion for technology. Steve Jackson, an NTEN program graduate, passed away following a lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis.
While Steve was studying at the College in 2006 his doctors told him he required a double lung transplant. The news was crushing, but his fiancée Crystal Hallock notes that if it wasn’t for the encouragement of the team of instructors at the College, including Phil Ashman, Ron Light and Nolan Fretz, who saw his natural talent in the field of networks and technology and motivated him to persevere, he may have given up. Steve met many friends in the program who also encouraged him to keep with his studies.
For Steve, receiving the double lung transplant in 2008 meant getting a second chance at life. He lived life to the fullest and didn’t take anything for granted. “He didn’t want his disease to limit him and not be able to work. He wanted a good education, and to be in the work field,” shared Hallock. “He loved computers, building them and was a total techie. He also had a passion for DJing.
“Stevie was an extraordinary person who was an inspiration to many and had a positive impact on everyone he met. I will never forget his infectious smile that warmed the room,” remembers Hallock.
In memory of Steve, Okanagan College encourages its community – faculty, staff, and students – to register to be an organ donor. BC Transplant reports that close to 500 British Columbians are currently on the wait list for an organ transplant, and that the need far outweighs the number of organs available for transplant. Unfortunately some organs that could be available for transplant are lost because the decision of the loved one is not known by their family.
“Definitely sign up, it’s very important: you’re giving life to more people. If you can help people, why not? It made a difference to Steve,” said Hallock.
For more information or to register to be an organ donor – a simple form identifying yes or no – visit the BC Transplant website.