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College offers insight into program, careers in Sustainable Construction Management Technology
Okanagan College Media Release

As home builders, home buyers and community developers lean more deeply into realizing the possibilities of sustainable construction practices, those tasked with turning ideas into reality are in need of a new skill set to help meet the expectations of building green in the 21st Century.

Okanagan College has developed a new program to train construction professionals in this field and is hosting an information session at its Penticton campus on Tuesday, April 30 at 4 p.m. to shed light on the Sustainable Construction Management Technology (SCMT) diploma program and the opportunities that exist for graduates.

Beginning this fall, Penticton’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation will be home to the new three-year program, which is the first of its kind in the region.

“We are really excited about this program and we know there is a lot of interest in finding out more about the program and careers in this emerging field,” said Trevor Butler, the College’s lead faculty member for the program. “The information session will provide a great opportunity for those who are interested in finding out about admission requirements, the program’s content and the possibilities that exist for those who complete it.”

The information session gets underway at 4 p.m. in room PC 204 at the Penticton campus. The session will also be webcast, for anyone who is unable to make it to Penticton –

Okanagan College students get gold in Skills BC competition
Okanagan College Media Release

SkillsBC 2013Two Okanagan College students are on their way to the Skills Canada National Competition following their gold medal wins at the provincial competition held in Abbotsford April 17.

Brandon Scott, who has completed his Level 3 Motor Vehicle Body Repairer Apprenticeship, won in the Collision Repair category while Electronic Engineering Technology student Nathanael Bergmann won in the Electronics category.

The two 21-year-olds were among 10 Okanagan College students who took gold, bronze and silver at the competition. Other institutions taking part included Vancouver Island University, BCIT, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Vancouver Community College.

Okanagan College Collision Repair Department Chair, and Scott’s instructor, Jeff Francis coached Scott through the competition, which required him to repair a badly damaged fender panel, among other tasks.

“It took seven hours,” said Scott. “It was stressful.”

“Brandon is very methodical, and at the end of the day being fussy and methodical is going to get you good results,” Francis said. “Time management plays a big role too.”

Francis said Scott’s win is already attracting interest from Kelowna-area body shops.

“They’re asking me for his phone number,” said Francis, noting that the College frequently posts strong results in Collision Repair, having racked up 10 BC gold medals and five national gold medals since 2000.

For Bergmann, the competition required him to repair two circuit boards. Last year he took silver at the provincials, but said this year the competition was far tougher with more demands placed on the students to get work done in a specified period of time.

The win was a great way to end his semester at the College. In a matter of weeks Bergmann will be starting up his new job at an appliance company where he can apply his skills in the service area.

In addition to the provincial gold medals, Okanagan College students placed as follows:

Matt Bray – IT – Network & Telecommunications Engineering
Maxime Messier – Welding Level B
Nick Spottock – Automotive Service Technician
Nathan Vallance – Aircraft Maintenance Engineer M-License
James Webber – Electronic Engineering Technology

Corey Cooper – Automotive Service Technician
Nicholas Langis – Aircraft Maintenance Engineer M-License
Steven Perry – Electronic Engineering Technology

“The students all represented the College very well,” said Dianne Holm, the regional skills co-ordinator on behalf of Okanagan College. “Their work ethic was outstanding and through all the stress of their competitions, they kept their wits and sense of humour intact.”

The National Skills Canada competition attracts more than 500 competitors who compete in 40 contest areas, each vying for a chance at a coveted gold medal. The program was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.
Okanagan College partners to build construction skills in Salmon Arm
Okanagan College Media Release

Students enrolled in Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program are receiving hands-on training in carpentry with a new Home for Learning project getting underway in Salmon Arm.

 SA Ground Breaking April 2013

(From left) Contractor Rudy Heyde, Rob McKibbon from Shuswap Rotary Club, student Devon Larson, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper, School District 83 Superintendent Dave Witt, and School District 83 Chair Bobbi Johnson.

The 12 students – including four women and five secondary school students enrolled in the dual credit program – are undertaking one of the biggest projects of their lives - a custom 2,300 square-foot single-family home.

Ground breaking for the project took place Wednesday afternoon. The students will be working with Okanagan College instructor Les Shuert in concert with the building contractor, Heyde Werks Homes, as they construct the house from the ground up.

Student Devon Larson, 18, came onto the job site with some practical experience already under his belt.

“I’ve done forming and put up some walls before, but I wanted to try and learn the actual skills,” he said.

Through this program, Larson, along with the other students, will receive his Level 1 pre-apprenticeship upon completion of the project.

“What I really want to see now is the finished project so that I can stand back and say: ‘I built this.’”

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton said providing students with marketable skills helps everyone.

“We know the workforce needs people who have both educational and practical experience with the trades,” Hamilton said. “Educating this next generation will help provide the students with meaningful work at a time when an increasing number of seasoned trades people will be retiring.”

Students in the program range in age from 16 to 44. The five dual credit students are able to take the program while receiving credit towards their high school diploma.

Regional Dean Jim Barmby said the key to the program’s ongoing success has been the level of engagement that takes place when education occurs in this type of interactive setting.

“When students and instructors are fully engaged, there is no better way to learn,” Barmby said. “The high level of engagement we have on this construction site is a great example of the quality of teaching and learning you can expect at Okanagan College, whether on a construction site, in our shops and labs, or in our classrooms."

Dave Witt, superintendent of School District 83, said this project is the tenth residential house construction project involving local students, and community organizations including the Shuswap Construction Industry Professionals.

“These projects and this partnership have benefitted over 150 students and almost half have been students of SD83,” Witt said. “Many have used this educational program as a springboard to gaining their journeyman certification in carpentry or other construction-related career paths.”

The one and a half storey home will have three bedrooms, a den, 2.5 bathrooms, and a walkout basement.

“They’ll be working on the framing, building the roof and installing windows and doors. The target is to take the house through to lock-up,” said Residential Construction Program Administrator Rob Kjarsgaard. “This really helps prepare them for entering into the industry.”

The students will be wrapping up the project at the end of June. The program provides students with 26-weeks (900 hours) of theoretical and practical knowledge so they can seek employment as an apprentice carpenter.
POOCHES initiative helps exam-weary students stay positive
Okanagan College Media Release

FrankieA new initiative aimed at tackling exam stress among students at Okanagan College could be just the paws that refreshes.

The College has launched POOCHES (Pawsitive Options at OC Helping Exam Stress) at its Kelowna and Penticton campuses, which welcomes volunteer therapy dogs from St. John Ambulance on campus so students can take a break, and rejuvenate.

Various dogs, ranging in size from a small Maltese all the way up to a Burmese Mountain Dog, are taking part in the program all week.

First-year Penticton student Frankie Reinbolt, who is enrolled in the Associate of Science program, didn’t waste any time getting to know Murphy, a seven-year-old Burmese Mountain dog and his handler Karen Christensen.

“Having therapy dogs on campus helps me feel more relaxed studying for my exam,” she said.

Even staff members, like Physics Professor Ryan Ranson, were taking time to get some pets in.

Recruiting and Events coordinator Jill Smith, who organized getting the dogs on the Penticton campus, isn’t surprised by the enthusiasm.

“When I attended university there was a small dog from St. John Ambulance who came around our campus during exam period,” she said. “We’d hear Oscar had arrived, and everyone would go looking for him. Just knowing he was campus brightened our spirits, and I wanted to give our students the same chance to relax while studying for their finals.”

South Okanagan Regional Dean Donna Lomas said she’s been impressed with how quickly students have embraced the program.

“You don’t really think about what a difference a dog can make, until you see the students’ faces light up. They really appreciate this. It’s a welcome break at a time when the pressures are mounting.”

For more information about the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Services, visit and look under Community Services.

Pilot project opens door to Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Penticton campus
Okanagan College Media Release

Trina Carroll April 2013An eager class of second year Business Administration students at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is now going to be able to take the third year of their Bachelor’s degree in town.

Okanagan School of Business Dean Dr. Heather Banham was visiting the students on campus and discovered an overwhelming interest in completing the full Bachelor of Business degree – especially if the third year of the program was made available in Penticton. 

Many of these students are completing their two-year Diploma in Business Administration and others were registered in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program but were expecting to take the third year of their program in Kelowna. Banham knew that all of those wanting to continue on to their Bachelor degree faced the prospect of commuting or relocating to the Kelowna campus.

So when 20 students in the class of 25 shot their hands up, she knew she had to do something.

“As a learner-centred organization it makes sense for us to put a professor on the road, rather than have a whole number of students travel up to Kelowna,” Banham said.

The result is a pilot program starting this fall that will allow business students to move onto their BBA degree by taking their third year at the Penticton campus.

For 38-year-old Trina Carroll, a mother of nine-year-old twins, it’s a dealmaker.

“I’m thrilled to be able to receive my education here,” she said. “The cost of relocating me and my children would just be unrealistic for two years. And if I commuted, I’d be looking at increased child care, fuel costs and mileage on my car. It doesn’t fit into the budget I have, being on student loans.”

It also means Carroll won’t have to give up her Enactus Okanagan College volunteer work with the MOMentum program, or her new job as a project manager working with Nikos Theodosakis of Theo’s Restaurant.

“This solves a lot of things for me,” she said.

Penticton Regional Dean Donna Lomas said the reality for many students is that the work they have is in the South Okanagan. Giving that up to move or commuting really isn’t a viable option – and the result is some students choose to simply complete their diploma and leave it there, rather than continuing with the four-year program.

“I have to give full credit to the Okanagan Business School for being able to seize on this opportunity,” Lomas said. “The College is responsive to the community needs and the Penticton campus is growing.”

Lomas is also keen to communicate with Business Administration diploma graduates in the Penticton region as this may provide them with the opportunity to return to the College to take their third year.

“It’s all good,” Lomas said. “with classes for the third year of the BBA program available here costs for the students are reduced, and it allows them to continue with their part-time work, and continue with their education.”

To find out more about the BBA program visit Applications can be made online at
New Okanagan College cycle event connects all four campuses
Okanagan College Media Release

An ambitious and dedicated group of Okanagan College cyclists with a geographic bent have decided to connect the dots between all four campuses with a three-day open ride June 21 – 23.

“This is unlike any other event in the region,” said OC4 Cyclosportif organizer and Geography Professor Markus Heinrichs.

“What we wanted to do was create something that would have all four campuses involved,” he said. “And the community is going to have a chance to learn something about this unique region, visit each campus, get some exercise and enjoy some great gourmet food.”

Registration for the event is open to everyone for $100 the first day, and $25 for each additional day. To register, and learn more about OC4 Cyclosportif, visit Proceeds from the event will go to create bursaries for the College’s two nursing programs: Practical Nursing and Bachelor of Science – Nursing.

The idea for the event came through a conversation the Salmon Arm-based professor had with his colleague, Geography Professor Levi Gahman.

“We had been riding for a while, and he said why don’t the two of us ride from Vernon to Kelowna,” Heinrichs said. “And then we thought: we should ride between the campuses. I guess we got carried away.”

It didn’t take long before the entire Geography and Earth & Environmental Science Department caught wind, and soon maps were being created on Google Earth so cyclists can actually learn about the topography as they tour the region.

“Our department chair Gill Green, who is also a cyclist and marathon runner, is putting that all together, and there will be originally written research articles describing geographically significant sites encountered along the ride in a route guide specific for this event,” Heinrichs said.

Heinrichs emphasizes this is not a race. Riders can select anyone of the three day’s events, or the entire OC4 Cyclosportif. They can also choose to simply ride a portion of the course, and still take part.

“I can’t imagine anyone training for this,” he said, admitting he himself is a regular triathlete. “But to get the most out of it, cyclists should be able to ride for three to four hours.”

The first leg starts in Salmon Arm. It’s the shortest and easiest leg, mostly downhill on back roads to the Vernon campus. The second day, riders will head from Vernon through Lake Country via the scenic orchards in East Kelowna to the Kelowna campus on KLO Road.

The final, and most challenging leg, includes a Welcoming Ceremony hosted by the Westbank First Nation as the cyclists make their way from Kelowna through the Westside and down to Penticton, with a brief jaunt through back roads around Summerland.

“There will be a sweep vehicle at the end of each day, and we’ll have aid stations on the way, including one at the College’s Aerospace Campus near the Kelowna airport,” he said. “Plus, the Canadian Ski Patrol has offered to assist with first aid on route.”

Each day will be punctuated with draw prizes and a meal featuring beverages in Vernon from Okanagan Spirits, in Kelowna from Urban Distilleries, and in Penticton from Maple Leaf Spirits.

Along with Heinrichs, Gahman and Gill are part of the event’s large organizing committee that is a who’s who of Okanagan College-based athletes and supporters:  Penticton-based Geography Professor and Fondo rider Todd Redding, Economics Professor Brad Clements, who organized the 2011 Masters World Cup of Cross-country skiing, Chemistry Professor Scott Richardson who has an Ironman under his belt, ultra-marathoner and Bachelor of Science - Nursing Professor Monique Powell.

“When we started this, I just wanted to ride my bike,” Heinrichs laughed. “But at the end of the day, I’d like people to see how great the College is and associate OC4 Cyclosportif with the best event in the valley.”
Venture Okanagan invests in keeping kids safe online
Okanagan College Media Release

A Kelowna entrepreneur with a stellar track record for helping keep kids safe online is positioningVO April 2013 himself to do it once more, this time with some additional support from Venture Okanagan.

Chris Priebe, who helped his brother make Club Penguin the safe and secure site that has since become an industry standard, now runs 2 Hat Security. At the Venture Okanagan Spring Investors Forum, held April 3 at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, Priebe pitched his new product – PottyMouth – and received the grand $5,000 cash prize.

"I am really thankful to be able to pitch to my home-town,” Priebe said. “When I talk about keeping kids safe online that is something we get here in Kelowna.”

Okanagan College Business Professor Steve Watson, who chairs Venture Okanagan, said Priebe’s chat tools concept is just what parents are looking for.

“Rather than focus strictly on good and bad words, the tools analyze how people combine words and whether – once read in context – the meaning is naughty or nice,” Watson said. “Essentially, what they’ve done is design a better tool to help stop everything from cyber-bullying to potential pedophiles.”

2 Hat Security was one of six businesses that made presentations at the sold-out forum. Coming in second place was Janice Taylor, founder of Just Be Friends – a web-based platform that connects families and builds community. Taylor received one year of free-business service from Shaw Business.

“The six businesses all had very good concepts and the level of presentations was excellent,” said Marek Buryska, Mission branch manager of Prospera Credit Union, who along with Grant Thornton LLP co-sponsored the forum.

“This event reinforces Kelowna’s growing reputation for fostering and driving new growth businesses that will be the future of our economy,” said Grant Thornton partner Kevin Santos.

Also presenting were Trajectory Design Automation, Bananatag, Keycafe, and Factors 9 Sports.

“The entrepreneurs all had phenomenal presentations and business ideas,” said Delainie Shaw from Shaw Business. “It must have been a tough decision for the judges to pick the first and second place winners.”

The spring 2013 event marked the sixth forum, which is now in its third year of operation under the umbrella of Enactus Okanagan College. The judges included representatives from Grant Thornton, Prospera Credit Union, and select angel investors.

“In three years we’ve had great success with this program,” Watson said. “We’ve had five or six entrepreneurs receive equity investment, and an even greater number of budding entrepreneurs in the community have acquired a mentor, which is equally valuable.”

Enactus Okanagan College is a non-profit student organization that operates on all four Okanagan College campuses: Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and Salmon Arm. Enactus Okanagan College students put in over 6,500 volunteer hours during the 2011-12 school year, impacting more than 10,000 individuals in the Okanagan. Through a mix of entrepreneurial and education-based projects Enactus Okanagan College continues to empower individuals throughout the Okanagan.
Re-print of historic text lands award for Okanagan College professor
Okanagan College Media Release

Greenboathouse PressA new printing of a classic essay on typography has resulted in a prestigious book design award for an Okanagan College English professor.

Jason Dewinetz, who specializes in typography and teaches letterpress printing in “The Bunker” at the Vernon campus, received second place in the Limited Edition category in this year’s Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada.

Dewinetz’s book was among 41 titles that were acknowledged in this year’s awards, selected from 236 entries submitted by 112 publishers – all Canadian.

Dewinetz chose to reprint Stanley Morison’s essay First Principles of Typography. The British typographer, who created the Times New Roman font and died in 1967, is considered to be the most influential typographic scholar of the 20th Century.

“Morison's essay is one of the most important introductions to typography, and has been published in dozens of editions, yet there have not been many fine-press productions of the work,” Dewinetz said. “And, frankly, I wanted a nice copy of the essay for myself, which is usually the driving force for most of the books I make.”

With that in mind, Dewinetz produced a limited edition of 50 copies of the book, each one selling for $200.

“This modest little book is delicately handled with meticulous craftsmanship,” wrote the judges in granting the award.

The judges also appreciated Dewinetz’s decision to marry both old and new techniques, starting with his selection of type – a modified version of Romanée, a very rare early 20th-century metal type designed by Jan van Krimpen – a Dutch contemporary of Morison. Dewinetz then revived the type by converting it into a digital format, which was used to produce polymer printing plates.

“The bigger type size makes a dry text more approachable,” the judges wrote.

This marks the tenth Alcuin Society award for Dewinetz, who publishes his limited edition books through his company Greenboathouse Press, based in Vernon. Dewinetz also acted as judge for the 2007 Alcuin Society Awards.

This latest award means Dewinetz’s book can now take part in a number of exhibitions including one at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and as one of the books representing Canada at the Best Book Design from All Over the World competition held each year in Leipzig, Germany.

Dewinetz shares his expertise with the next generation in Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing program where students learn how to set type and pull proofs by hand. Projects have included the creation of chapbooks under the Kalamalka Press imprint, including the winning manuscript of the inaugural John Lent Poetry/Prose Award.