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Builder honours father and industry with $50,000 gift to College
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Vernon-based home builder Keith Construction has stepped up to provide $50,000 towards the campaign to support Okanagan College’s new $6.2 million Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus.

Dahlen Family May 2017Ken and Karen Dahlen, owners of the custom home building and renovation company, are thrilled to be the first to contribute to the project as a way to demonstrate the company’s appreciation for its industry, employees and community.

“Our success over the years has come from multiple skilled tradespeople within our region,” says Keith Dahlen. “With a shortage of skilled trades, we believe the best way for the company to give back to our industry is by helping to provide quality training for the next generation.”

The $50,000 gift will support the construction of a new 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will help address the province’s skills gap by training approximately 150 students per year for the workforce. The building will include multi-purpose trades shops for the College’s electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as a dedicated welding shop.

“This gift sends a powerful message to our students when an employer with an exemplary reputation in the community invests in their future,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “It represents the value the Dahlen family places on education and will be truly transformative for trades training in Vernon and the surrounding region.”

Keith Construction has employed several carpenter apprentices from the College’s program and Dahlen knows the benefits that a high-quality education brings to the industry – a value championed by the company’s founder, Keith Dahlen.

“This gift is a fitting way to honour my father and the emphasis he put on learning the proper skills in order to provide quality craftsmanship to our clients,” he says. “He taught me that if you are going to do a job, do it right or don’t do it at all.”

In 1990, Dahlen’s father, a certified journeyman carpenter with more than 25 years of industry experience already under his belt, founded Keith Construction in Vernon. The younger Dahlen and his wife Karen joined the company when they moved to the Okanagan in 1994 and have continued to build on the company’s reputation since Keith’s retirement. Keith Construction has won 21 Georgie Awards, 37 Tommie awards and was voted the 2016 Best Residential Renovation Company (North Okanagan) and 2016 Best Residential Builder (North Okanagan) by Okanagan Life Magazine.

Dahlen recently completed an educational milestone himself – he is one of four in the province who has achieved a Master Residential Builder designation.

At a recent client appreciation event hosted by Keith Construction, the support of the community was demonstrated when an additional $2,580 was raised for the training centre by event attendees.

“Our business has always been about building our clients’ dreams – no matter how big or small. Now we will get to help build the dreams of students,” adds Dahlen.

The $6.2 million-dollar training centre will be constructed by Maple Reinders Inc., a national engineering construction company, with support from MQN Architects, as well as CIMA+ and Encora. The project is being supported primarily through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. Okanagan College will contribute the remainder of the project cost. 

Construction is scheduled to begin later this month, with completion targeted for the spring of 2018. More information on the project can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.

 

HOST program furthers hospitality, tourism skills
Okanagan College Media Release

As the busy summer tourism season approaches, the first students to complete the HOST certificate at Okanagan College are now wrapping up their practical work in hospitality, a booming sector in the Okanagan and across the province.

The Hospitality Service Training certificate (HOST) includes courses on customer service excellence, professional front desk training, and food and beverage operations, with comprehensive, occupation-specific instruction leading to entry-level employment in hospitality and tourism.

Jessica Soroka is one of the first students through the program. She is currently the Assistant Manager of Housekeeping at Predator Ridge. Her employer suggested she take the program to gain more insight and knowledge of industry trends.Jessica Soroka May 2017

“Food and beverage service is new to me, so I learned a lot of new information,” says Soroka. “It was also pretty cool to find out about environmental trends and hear stories and ideas from around the world from our instructor.”

Soroka says she would recommend the HOST certificate to anyone in hospitality, from newcomers looking to break into the industry, to those like herself who enter into the program with a wealth of previous experience.

“The program and the booklet are so packed with information, it was intense but a great experience,” says Soroka.

According to a BC Labour Market Report, tourism is a leading employer in the province, with more than 101,000 new job openings expected by 2020. With the Okanagan continuing to receive national and international recognition as a vibrant and diverse destination, job prospects are predicted to hold strong.

“These students took away some great insights that are difficult, if not impossible, to get from on-the-job training, where there can be disruptions inherent to the operational nature of a business such as a hotel,” says instructor Tania Rutt. “Being off-site in a classroom setting offers time to focus and encourages creative, out-of-the-box thinking.”

The Okanagan is an ideal location for the training, notes Rutt, given its four-season, multi-faceted tourism and hospitality sector, which creates opportunities for everyone from high school students seeking first jobs, to university students working part-time to fund their education, to retirees who enjoy working in hospitality, to tourism professionals in the midst of career development.

“Unlike many other centres, the Okanagan boasts such a wide array of hospitality and tourism employers – hotels, wineries, resorts, ski hills, golf courses and other attractions, says Rutt.”

Students in this intake were all currently employed in the sector, hailing from Vernon’s Sparkling Hill Resort and Predator Ridge Resort, and Kelowna’s Manteo Resort.

Both the Penticton and Kelowna campuses will be offering the HOST program this fall. Prior to admission, students must have both their Serving It Right and FOODSAFE certificates. HOST includes theory, demonstrations, and practical-skills training in various areas of the hospitality industry, with an emphasis on customer service and working together as a team.

Learn more at www.okanagan.bc.ca/hospitality

 

Sketch a career in animation with new Okanagan College diploma

Steff Farrar May 2017Aspiring animators will be able to bring their passion for drawing to life this fall with animation industry veteran Steff Farrar at the helm of a new two-year diploma at Okanagan College. 

“It’s exciting to be able to offer a program suited to an industry that has a lot of buzz right here in the Okanagan,” says Farrar, who recently moved to Kelowna in order to chair the Animation diploma program. She brings with her 25 years’ industry and training experience.

The College will be hosting a series of open house information sessions in its new animation lab in the Okanagan Centre for Innovation every Saturday in June to meet with prospective students and those interested in a career in animation. Farrar will be on site to answer questions and encourages potential applicants to bring their portfolios along. 

“Candidates might think their body of work has to be polished, coloured and poster ready, but to be honest, I’d rather see something loose and rough that shows good form,” she says. “That will tell me more about their skills and readiness to join and thrive in the program.”

With the animation entertainment industry experiencing exponential growth in the valley, graduates of the program will help to meet the local industry demands.

“All eyes are on Kelowna,” says Chris Derochie, Kelowna Supervising Animation Director at Bardel Entertainment. He explains that the lower Canadian dollar has helped the trend of big productions looking north. With the Vancouver sector exceeding capacity and the high cost of living there, it is creating opportunities within many studios in the Okanagan.

“We don’t necessarily want to have to search abroad for our talent, we need it to be close at hand,” says Derochie. “By hiring locally we can get the individuals into the studios quicker, and in turn those employees want to stay in the region where they have established family and life roots.”

Bardel’s Kelowna office started with four employees in 2013, today they have 82 employees and a target of getting to 120 by the end of 2017. It is this type of growth that has spurred the development of the College’s program.

Yeti Farm Creative echoes the same sentiments. 

“The industry is saturated with work and there are simply not enough qualified and skilled animators, designers, storyboard artists, FX artists, to fulfill current industry demands,” says Ashley Ramsay, Partner and CEO at Yeti Farm Creative. “The industry shows no signs of slowing down and Okanagan College graduates will be fortunate to have their pick of local opportunities should they wish to stay in Kelowna upon graduation.” 

Farrar is working in concert with local studios to ensure that an engaging curriculum responds to the changing needs of the industry, providing critical skills students need to fast track into being job-ready. The program focuses on drawing, design, and the principles and techniques of traditional and digital character animation in 2D, digital 2D and 3D animation. Skills will be developed in: visualization, animation software (Toon Boom Harmony), storyboarding, life drawing, and character design among others.

Students will learn in state-of-the-art classrooms at the Okanagan Centre for Innovation. A hub for creative digital arts and the tech sector, the Centre is newly opened in downtown Kelowna, placing students at the epicenter of top Okanagan animation studios including Bardel Entertainment, Disney Interactive and Yeti Farm Creative.

To assist with program costs, Okanagan College is providing $6,000 of financial support per program year to each enrolled domestic student ($12,000 total).

The free open house sessions will be held each Saturday in June (3, 10, 17 and 24) at the Okanagan Centre for Innovation (460 Doyle Avenue, Kelowna). The hour-long sessions will be offered twice each day: 10 a.m. and noon.

To find out more about the program visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/animation.

 

Greyeyes and Klick receive OC Alumni Association’s highest honours
Okanagan College Media Release

In recognition of outstanding contributions to the College and its surrounding communities, two Okanagan College alumni have earned the top honours awarded by the Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA).

Penticton’s Grace Greyeyes is the recipient of this year’s OCAA Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes excellence in the areas of leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts and/or support for Okanagan College. Ben Klick of West Kelowna will receive the 2017 OCAA Young Alumni Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of alumni under the age of 35.

Grace Greyeyes May 2017Greyeyes has been a passionate advocate for education all of her adult life, first in her nursing career which spanned more than 35 years in Canada and the U.S. and later as a volunteer, advisor, Elder, and Aboriginal knowledge keeper in the South Okanagan. She has been a member of the Aboriginal Education Advisory committee for School District #67 in Penticton for more than a decade and recently began developing curriculum for SD#53 (Okanagan Similkameen).

For the last five years she has also volunteered with the Penticton Indian Band’s Grandma program, which provides support to local elementary, middle and high school students. She also recently founded the Penticton Indian Band’s Snpinktn Elders Society.

Her passion for education has been recognized locally and at the national level. In 2016, she was honoured with the Okanagan Nation Transition and Emergency Housing Award for her commitment to education in the community. This September she will be participating in the National Gathering of Elders hosted in Edmonton.

Greyeyes’ connection to Okanagan College dates back to the institution’s earliest years. She completed her Practical Nursing training at the College (then B.C. Vocational School) in 1968. She returned in the early 1990s to continue to her education, pursuing Arts courses at the Penticton campus. Since 2015 she has served as Elder in Residence at the College’s Penticton campus.

“I’m humbled and grateful to be recognized by the OCAA,” says Greyeyes. “Education has always been very important to me. I really do believe that education transforms lives, and so I continue to encourage our young people to think about their education, set goals and reach for them.”

At only 21 years of age, Ben Klick has already made his mark in the country music scene in Canada and the U.S. andBen Klick May 2017 continues to amass fans and accolades, along with the attention and respect of his fellow artists in the industry.

Klick enrolled in the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at Okanagan College in 2014. He set out to learn as much as he could about the music industry, from the technical aspects of the recording studio to the finer points of marketing and entrepreneurship that go into launching a successful career as an artist. After graduating in September 2015, he released his debut EP Today and went on to play nearly 60 dates across North America the following year.

Despite a hectic recording and touring schedule, and an ever-expanding list of awards to his name – including 2015 Global Country Star Search Winner, 2016 Canada’s Walk of Fame Top 7 Emerging Artist, British Columbia Country Music Association (BCCMA) Award (2016 – Best Website), and 2017 First Round JUNO Award Nominee – Klick maintains close ties with the College and his community.

In January he headlined the “North of Nashville” concert at the College’s Kelowna campus. The show was produced by students from the very program from which he graduated. The net proceeds of the concert – $1,500 – went back to students in the program through bursaries. On March 23, he once again dazzled a hometown crowd when he took to the stage at the Kelowna Community Theatre to open for country music legend Tanya Tucker. Klick is currently working with producers in Nashville on new singles, the first of which will be released on June 12.

“Okanagan College is near and dear to my heart, so this award is very special to me,” says Klick. “Given all the incredible young OC alumni out there in the world doing great things, I feel supremely honoured and humbled to be recognized.”

“Grace and Ben share a remarkable dedication to the College and to community involvement,” says Kara Kazimer, President of the Board, Okanagan College Alumni Association. “On behalf of my fellow OCAA board members, I congratulate both of this year’s award recipients on their accomplishments. Those accomplishments – and the example they have set – will no doubt inspire our future alumni to consider the impact they too can have.”

Greyeyes and Klick’s achievements will be celebrated at the OCAA awards ceremony and reception on Sept. 19 at the College’s Kelowna campus. For more information about the awards and previous recipients, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni.  

 

Wine Talks returns with an expert panel on wine marketing
Okanagan College Media Release

Together with Liquidity Winery, Okanagan College is presenting
Wine Talks, An International Perspective on Wine Marketing, for the second time. Five international experts will come together at the Penticton campus on June 26.

“We are so pleased to build on our connections with the B.C. wine industry, and to continue working with Liquidity Winery,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We look forward to hosting another Wine Talks with an excellent panel that brings a variety of knowledge to the table.”

Leading the discussion will be Mark Davidson, Global Education Manager for Wine Australia. Davidson has more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality sector and is a former Sommelier of the Year at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. He is an instructor with the International Sommelier Guild and is currently studying the theory section to become a Master of Wine.

Joining him is founder of WineDrops, Karen Graham. WineDrops offers commentary on policy and business issues in the Canadian wine and liquor industry, along with analytical and strategic advisory work through KMG Strategy Consulting. Prior to working in the wine industry, Graham held several senior level policy positions with the Business Council of BC and the United States Consulate in Vancouver.

Rob McMillan, Executive Vice-President of the Wine Division of Silicon Valley Bank, joins the panel once again, having presented at the first Wine Talks in November. In his role, McMillan supports the growth of California’s wine industry with his client base and by sharing views on factors impacting the fine wine business.

Vancouver-based lawyers Mark Hicken of Vintage Law Group and Shea Coulson, who practises commercial, regulatory, and constitutional litigation, will provide updates and insight on the direct-to-consumer market and interprovincial trade barriers. Hicken is the founder and co-chair of Vancouver’s annual Wine and Liquor Law Conference.

“The College plays a significant role in educating members of the B.C. wine industry, from the vineyard to the tasting room,” says Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Winery. “We are delighted to work with them to bring world-class industry experts to the Okanagan and provide professional development events for our growing wine region.”

Wine Talks will be held on Monday, June 26 at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College (room PC 113, 583 Duncan Avenue West), from 6 to 9 p.m., including a coffee and wine break. Early bird tickets are $35 until June 19, when the price increases to $45. Tickets can be purchased online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/winetalks.

 

Workshop to provide a guiding compass for social enterprises
Okanagan College Media Release

SoFun Workshop Hosts May 2017An upcoming workshop will equip those seeking real-world solutions to challenges in our communities with the essential business tools needed to set their social enterprise ideas in motion. 

On Thursday, May 25 the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence at Okanagan College and Purppl, a community enterprise accelerator, will join forces to lead the SoFun workshop, teaching social enterprise fundamentals. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College in room E103.

“Communities are struggling under the weight of chronic, persistent challenges like social justice, food and water security, accessible transportation, and economic empowerment,” says Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl. “The organizations tasked with solving these issues are struggling with unpredictable funding models.

“Using a social enterprise model can add predictable, sustainable, entrepreneurial revenue into these organizations which can be used to implement long-term solutions to community challenges. The SoFun workshop uses global entrepreneurial best practices and tools to help social entrepreneurs.”

Participants will examine the case study of Mission Possible (an organization which helps those affected by homelessness find meaningful work) through the global-standard Business Model Canvas tool. The model applies lean thinking, which aims to shorten the process from startup to implementation, therefore increasing efficiency and impact of the business idea. Participants will also be able to apply key learnings to their own business ideas and work on them while making the most of access to experts and resources in the room.

Increasing the sustainability of non-profit organizations has been one of the key directions of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence since it was established in 2014. Social enterprise is a tool that organizations can use to achieve a level of sustainability.

“Our research shows that lack of access, or simply not knowing where to find the information, is a big gap in the non-profit sector within the Okanagan,” explains Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor and faculty researcher at the Centre. “This workshop is one way to put information in the hands of those ready to help make the changes that will benefit our community.”

Attendees will each receive a copy of the Business Model Canvas, will have an opportunity to work on their own social enterprise ideas, explore available business resources, connect with other like-minded individuals, and have access to learn with and from other social entrepreneurs. The workshop is suited for: leaders of non-profits, individuals working in existing organizations (non-profit and for profit) with social enterprise initiatives, entrepreneurs looking to solve a social problem in their community, government employees looking to implement impact initiatives, and students.

Myrah and Greer will be joined by OC business professor Kerry Rempel to lead the workshop. Giulio Piccioli, founder of One Big Table, will also present about his experience of building a social enterprise focused on access to local food and the lean startup approach he has applied.

Tickets are $45 (at www.socialfundamentals.eventbrite.ca) and include lunch, coffee, and tea.

 

Enactus Okanagan College takes nationals by storm
Okanagan College Media Release

Enactus Nationals 2017 Fin LitFive students from Okanagan College’s School of Business have proven a small group of people can transform a community and were recognized for their empowering work with youth through the CANSave program at the 2017 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Vancouver last week, where they won top honours and were part of a larger group from the College who amassed an impressive number of awards and accolades.

Okanagan College sent four teams to compete at the national event after placing first in three categories during the regional competition. By the time the national exposition was over, of the 60+ universities and colleges at the event, Okanagan College was the only institution to win first and second-place National Challenge titles.

OC was also awarded a trophy for the nation’s Top Campus Administration. Business student Cody Troutman was one of only 12 in the country to earn a $2,500 John Dobson founder’s bursary for his work in the area of leadership. And OC alumnus Drew Vincent was recognized with a national award as the Top Alumni Over 30. Vincent is currently the Team Leader at OYP Collective in Kelowna.

“I am extremely proud, but not surprised, by the results of Enactus Okanagan College at the national exposition,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “I have had the pleasure of watching our students present and their knowledge, poise and confidence is truly remarkable. Even more remarkable though, is the impact of the work they are doing in our communities. They are living and breathing examples of how the College transforms lives and communities. I commend the team members and faculty on their performance and I know they will continue to do great things.”

Enactus Nationals 2017 YE

The most exciting moment of the competition came when Enactus OC won the Capital One Financial Education Challenge based on an impressive presentation that showcased the work they have done with the CANSave program. The project, which teaches financial literacy skills to elementary students, began in Kelowna last year and has since spread to 80 communities across the country. With support from Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, the program has now impacted more than 6,000 students across Canada. Team members included Julia Lalach, Cody Troutman, Bliss Ducharme and Rochelle Diaz. The team is coached by faculty mentor Devin Rubadeau.

Enactus Okanagan College finished second in the nation in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment challenge after presentingon the impact of CANSave and how it impacts youth to take control of their financial education. The Vernon-based team was made up of Mitchell Pepper, Christianne Edblad, and Anthony Peterson, who are all from Vernon and Gabby Edblad (Kelowna). The team was coached by professor Andrew Klingel. 

“This national competition was truly special, both for the achievements of our team, and also for the incredible support we continue to receive,” says Dr. Kyleen Myrah, faculty advisor with Enactus OC. “Having our entire institution truly behind us, in addition to the many community stakeholders and alumni who share their time and expertise with us, truly shows what a deep impact our Enactus team has accomplished.”

The College’s national team advanced through the first round into the semis but was stopped in its tracks by a dynamic team from Memorial University, who would go on to win the national event for the second year in a row. 

 

Camp OC offers summer fun and learning for youth throughout the region

 

From Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, youth will have an even better selection of summer camp opportunities to choose from this year with Okanagan College’s Camp OC returning for another year. camp oc 2017 web

Camp OC, coordinated by the College’s Continuing Studies department, offers week-long educational day camps full of interactive experiences, fun and adventure for youth.

Back for its 13th year in Kelowna, camps will once again be offered for students in Grades 2-12. Parents can select from a range of camps including Minecraft programming, wood and metal fabrication camps, fashion and cooking camps, and go kart and flight academy camps, among others.

New in Kelowna, camp organizers are offering optional after camp care for students who will be entering Grades 2-6 this fall. With camps running 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, parents will now have the option of enrolling their child in week-long after camp care in which qualified staff will engage them in activities until 5 p.m. The cost ranges from $24-30 for the week.

Camps are available at the Penticton campus for students in Grades 4-9. Parents and their children can choose from a range of camps including junior passion for fashion, video game workshop, and mad scientist camps to name a few.

Returning for its second year in Revelstoke, Camp OC is open to students in Grades 2-9. Parents and their kids can select from offerings including Chef Academy and Teen Cuisine camps for the aspiring cooks, to French language Mad Scientist camps. New for this year in Revelstoke is a Mini Up-Cycle camp designed for students in Grades 2-4.

New this year for Vernon and area residents is an expanded age range. Camps are offered for students in Grade 3 right up to and including Grade 12. Parents can select from a range of offerings including Minecraft programming, wood and metal fabrication camps, fashion and spa camps and cooking camps, among others.

And the camps aren’t all just fun and games. For the high school set, they are designed to provide a taste of life as a College student – and to open students’ eyes to careers that are in high demand, like computer programming.

This year students in Grades 9-12 can tap into a special two-week camp offering the fundamentals of coding at the Vernon campus.

Last year more than 1,500 students took part in more than 100 different camps as part of Camp OC across the College’s campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Revelstoke. The program has seen incredible growth since it launched in the summer of 2004, then with only 70 kids enrolled in about 10 camps.

More information about Camp OC is available at www.campoc.ca

 

Okanagan College is RIPE for applied research

Okanagan College Media Release

Curiosity, entrepreneurship, and creativity will be hot topics at RIPE, the Research and Innovation Partnerships Expo being held at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College on May 9. RIPE celebrates applied research and will bring together researchers and businesses to explore working together to solve real-world problems.

“Applied research greatly enriches the learning and teaching environment at Okanagan College and opens up doors to collaboration with our communities that advances economic and social development in the region and beyond,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President, Education. “The College’s growing applied research portfolio unites employees, students and our industry and community partners to explore subjects from the economic impact of wine tourism, to creating better outdoor play spaces, to building ‘plug-and-play’ homes.”

RIPE is the first major showcase of applied research projects going on at the College. It will include presentations, workshops, and demonstrations, as well as a call for research partners led by Mark Holland of New Monaco. The day begins with keynote speaker David Chalk. 

dave chalk newsA self-proclaimed epic entrepreneur, Chalk is recognized as a leader in technology, cyber security, and business consulting. He hosted Canada’s longest running technology show, Dave Chalk’s Computer Show, and aims to bridge the gap between technology and practicality.

“Technicians 

can get mired in the details, while innovation drives entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs feed a passion, and the post-secondary sector drives innovation as the forefront of ideas and research,” says Chalk, whose talk is titled Innovation is Nothing New.

“A quality education means I would rather be looking at my future than examining my past. Applied research can be that future,” continues Chalk.

Applied research at Okanagan College can involve any employee, not just instructors, and students play a key role as partners in projects, gaining valuable real-life experience that can lead to future employment.

When a business or organization approaches the College with a possible project, it is evaluated based on whether or not it answers a practical research question, if the College has the right experience for the project, and if it embraces curiosity.

“We can all be engaged in applied research,” says Hay, “and our goal with RIPE is to create greater opportunities to connect across the college with our communities.”

RIPE gets underway at 8:45 a.m. and runs until 2:15 p.m. It is free to attend, however guests are asked to register in advance. Full details can be found at
www.okanagan.bc.ca/appliedresearch.

Computer Science research may help cities bounce back quicker from disaster
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College Computer Science faculty and students have partnered with a renowned 3D modeling expert on an international research project aimed at simplifying the way buildings are assessed and repaired after natural disasters.

Dr. Sugihara CIS May 2017Dr. Kenichi Sugihara is a professor of Information Science at Gifu Keizai University in Japan who specializes in Computer Graphics (CG) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). His current research finds him blending both disciplines by exploring how cutting-edge algorithms can automatically generate 3D urban models.

Enter Dr. Youry Khmelevsky, Chair of the Computer Science program at Okanagan College, who is helping Sugihara refine his working model of a program specifically tailored to evaluate roof damage in buildings using 3D simulations.

“Current 3D building models for construction take a lot of time to produce,” says Sugihara. “New technology and programming techniques are simplifying the process, making it much more efficient.”

Sugihara and Khmelevsky’s project is focused on applying 3D modeling to areas beyond the traditional applications of planning and construction – such as translating satellite images into models which civil engineers can then use to assess damage and re-build after natural disasters like floods or wildfires.

“This project may help city planners and insurance companies assess damage quicker,” explains Khmelevsky.

The six-month project was recently awarded a $25,000 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Engage grant. Esri Canada, a Canadian distributor of GIS software, is providing in-kind support to match the grant and is also working with the College to explore new ways of teaching GIS – a field in need of skilled workers in the province – both in the classroom and in the field.Cocar and Wallace CIS students May 2017

“Esri Canada is excited to be working with Dr. Khmelevsky and Dr. Sugihara on an innovative approach to roof geometry modelling that holds promise for multiple application uses in 3D building models,” says Dr. Brent Hall, Director of Education and Research at Esri Canada. “We’re also particularly pleased to be able to support GIS use in instruction and research at Okanagan College.”

Two Okanagan College students will play key roles in completing the 3D modeling project over the next six months.

Second-year Bachelor of Computer Information Systems (BCIS) students Matt Cocar and Marty Wallace came on board in March and had a chance to meet with Sugihara when he visited the College and spoke in Kelowna about his research.

“It was incredible to have the opportunity to spend a few days with Dr. Sugihara,” says Cocar. “He showed us some brilliant, complicated algorithms that we’re now working with and learning more about as we go.”

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” says Wallace. “This research has definitely opened my eyes to a new path in computer science.”

Cocar and Wallace are already hard at work on the project. Both students started part-time in March. Cocar will continue part-time, while Wallace will ramp up to full-time over the summer.

Attendees of RIPE (Research Innovation and Partnerships Expo) happening at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on May 9 will have a chance to chat with Khmelevsky and other OC employees and students championing applied research projects. The event includes talks and networking opportunities focused around education-industry partnerships in the Okanagan. More information about RIPE is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/ripe.

 

 


Enactus OC’s Soup’s On warms Vernon and Kelowna
Okanagan College Media Release

 

After two years of serving up soup for a good cause in Salmon Arm, Enactus Okanagan College students found the recipe for success in expanding their Soup's On fundraising initiative to Kelowna and Vernon this year, raising more than $5,200 in support of local social service providers.  

Soup's On Vernon April 2017The inaugural Soup’s On Vernon took place at Okanagan Spirits' Vernon location on Thursday, April 27. More than 100 people turned out to sample some of the finest soups and spirits in the region at the sold out event. Basket Case Picnics produced a Thai soup that garnered the most votes, narrowly edging out second-place finisher Kal's Naan Stop and third-place finisher Kal Sports Bar. More than $4,000 was raised, with proceeds benefiting the Upper Room Mission and Enactus Okanagan College students.

“We could not have achieved this success without incredible support from community members and local business owners,” said event organizer Mitch Pepper, VP of Enactus Okanagan College at the Vernon Campus. “A special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Prospera Credit Union, and to Okanagan Spirits for providing the beautiful venue and drinks.”

“Soup’s On was a blast,” said Kelsey Galt, owner of Basket Case Picnics. “The Enactus team blew us away with such a well put together event. It was a pleasure to be there supporting the fundraising effort and it was an honour to be awarded first place. We can't wait for next year.”

Two days later the soup was back on, this time in the Centre for Learning at the College’s Kelowna campus, whereSoup's On Kelowna April 2017 attendees had a chance to sample and vote for their favourite bowl from 14 of the city’s top chefs at the inaugural Soup’s On Kelowna event. The winning soup was a Thai Pumpkin Curry by Chef April Roy of Train Station Pub. More than $1,200 was raised in support of the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank and Enactus Okanagan College students.

Nobody was more pleased with the response to both events than Alexandra Jacques, a second-year business student who spearheaded the Kelowna and Vernon expansion after being a driving force behind Soup’s On in Salmon Arm for the past two years.

“I am blown away with all the positive feedback we have been receiving from people who attended and businesses who supported the events,” said Jacques. “We are deeply grateful to them and also would not have been able to pull this off without the help of other Enactus OC students and faculty advisors.”

Based on the strong community support for the events, Jacques said Enactus Okanagan College hopes to be able to run the events annually in Kelowna and Vernon, in addition to Salmon Arm.

“These events are a lot of work to organize, on top of a busy course load, but it's something I am very passionate about and thrilled to be a part of. I'm already planning for the second annual Soup's On in Kelowna!”

Jacques’ optimism about the future of Soup’s On is echoed by Dr. Kyleen Myrah, a professor with the Okanagan College School of Business and mentor with Enactus OC.

“We are so proud of our students for realizing their vision and bringing Soup’s On to two more communities this year,” said Myrah. “Thanks to their hard work and dedication, I expect Soup’s On will continue to grow and develop as a wonderful way to engage the community, showcase local culinary talents and benefit worthy causes.”

 

College names Manuel, Shepherd and Terbasket as 2017 Honorary Fellows
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College is bestowing its highest honour on three notable Okanagan residents, each of whom has made unique and meaningful contributions to the region through historical preservation, volunteerism and mentorship.

Randy Manuel, Sharon Shepherd and Edna Terbasket will be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College during Convocation ceremonies in Kelowna this June.

Randy Manuel HF 2017Manuel, an artist, writer, historian and public servant whose career spans more than five decades, will be recognized by the College for his vision and multi-faceted efforts in documenting, celebrating, and preserving the history and ecology of the region.

Born in Naramata and raised in Penticton, Manuel trained at the Kootenay School of the Arts (Selkirk College) as a Commercial Artist. He began volunteering with the Okanagan Historical Society at age 17 and has supported the organization for more than 50 years, including serving as its president from 2013-15. He served as president of the Okanagan-Similkameen Parks Society in the late 1970s and established the Kettle Valley Steam Railway Society and the S.S. Sicamous Restoration Society in 1988.

Manuel was the Curator of the Penticton Museum from 1986 to 2005, during which time he helped to draw wider public attention to the history of the region. He served as a Penticton City Councillor from 2005-08, and then as a director and president of the Okanagan School of Arts, guiding in the restoration of the school’s historic Shatford Cultural Centre, which was extensively renovated in 2010 and reopened in 2011. Manuel has published more than 500 historical articles and has lectured at the Penticton campus as part of the OC Speakers Series.

“Education has always been an important part of my life and work so this is a huge honour,” says Manuel. “I’ve dedicated myself to preserving the history of the region and to sharing that history with others because I am a firm believer that if we don’t know where we’ve been, we’ll keep making the same mistakes.”

Sharon Shepherd has been actively engaged in improving quality of life in the City of Kelowna for nearly 40 years, as aSharon Shepherd HF 2017 volunteer, educator, mentor, business owner, long-time councillor and two-term mayor. She has championed numerous causes for youth, families, women, the environment and health, including CATCH (Community Action Toward Children’s Health), Soles4Souls, Arion Therapeutic Farm, and East meets West. She also served as an Honorary Chair of the Red Cross fundraising campaign and was a member of the KGH Foundation’s Be a Lifesaver campaign.

Shepherd holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from UBC and has been a business owner and manager of a medical practice since the late 1970s. She served as a Kelowna City Councillor from 1996-2005 and as Mayor from 2005-2011. In the last few years she has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Kotler United Way Humanitarian Award and the Anita Tozer Memorial Award. Despite her hectic schedule, family has always remained extremely important for Shepherd, a mother of two and grandmother of two.

Shepherd’s connection to the College dates back to her early years on Council. Since the early 2000s she has volunteered with the Okanagan College School of Business and Enactus OC as a mentor and judge for student competitions, and has also been an advocate for the Women in Trades Training (WITT) program. She has also instructed a course on pharmacology to nursing students at the College.

“I am deeply moved by this honour,” said Shepherd. “The College opens doors to education for so many people, not just in Kelowna but throughout the Okanagan. I consider it a privilege to be an advocate for OC and to be a part of the College community.”

Edna Terbasket HF 2017Edna Terbasket has been a passionate proponent for education for people of all ages and backgrounds in the Okanagan for more than 30 years.

A member of the Okanagan Indian Band and renowned Indigenous educator, she serves as Executive Director of the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society in Kelowna, an organization which provides support for the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of all peoples, through the development of community based services. The society provides support for families with children aged five and under who may be at risk for developmental delays. Skemxist Pre-School culturally-based preschool helps equip children with skills they will require for Kindergarten. Family and elder counselling, and poverty and family legal services are also provided. The Society also operates i spa-us ki-low-na Heart of Kelowna, an 86-unit affordable housing project in the heart of downtown Kelowna.

Terbasket was a driving force behind the creation of the College’s Aboriginal Career Fair that began in 1995 and continues to this day. She has also served on the Okanagan College Board of Governors (1999-2001) and in 2013 was named by the College as one of the 50 people who made a difference in the development of the institution. In 2012 Terbasket received the Education Advocate of the Year Award from the Association of BC Deans of Education.

She credits her mother, who overcame tremendous adversity in a lifelong pursuit of continuing her education, as one of her greatest role models.

“I draw great inspiration from her journey in education,” explains Terbasket. “My mother is 84 now and taught the Okanagan language until she was 82. When I see our youth struggle, I try to guide them to education, to find something they are passionate about and want to pursue. I’m honoured to be recognized for being an advocate for education in our community.”

Sharon Shepherd will address graduates at the morning ceremony on Saturday, June 3 in Kelowna. Randy Manuel will speak during the afternoon ceremony a few hours later. Edna Terbasket will deliver her address in an evening ceremony on June 29.