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Okanagan College accounting students win international case competition
Salt family donation a heavy-duty boost for Okanagan College trades complex campaign
Online gaming research leads Okanagan College team to Best Paper Award at international conference
Okanagan College professor remembered through creation of annual award
College graduates look to bring globally conscious business perspective to the Okanagan
Local non-profit organizations needed for survey: finding solutions to ‘conscious business’ challenges
College to offer natural gas industry training program
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Okanagan College accounting students win international case competition
Okanagan College Media Release

ICBC Jan 2015Two Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration accounting students can boast of being the best in the country after claiming top spot at a prestigious international business competition.

Jessica Lenz and Daniel Yarmak, respectively third- and fourth-year business students, competed in the accounting category at Queen’s University Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) held this past weekend, Jan. 15 to 17.

The pair successfully reached the finals by beating out 31 other teams. In the final round they outshone competitors from Simon Fraser University, McGill University, the University of Toronto, Lakehead University and the University of Regina to take first place.

“We are extremely proud of our five student teams who competed in the finals at this year’s I.C.B.C. events, and especially of Jessica and Daniel’s accomplishment,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “I have attended this event in the past and witnessed the impressive calibre of the competitors. Having so many teams progressing to the finals and one team achieving first place demonstrates that our students, professors, and educational programs can compete with the best educational institutions in Canada and beyond.”

“It is rewarding to have received top honours after so many months of hard work,” says Yarmak. Both he and Lenz maintained a full course workload during the preparation. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of our coaches and professors. I was especially grateful to have taken the Applied Corporate Finance course at the College: it included learning about valuation, which ended up being the focus of our simulation case. Gaining a cross-discipline education these past four years with Okanagan College made this win possible.”

The annual I.C.B.C. is recognized as Canada’s longest-running undergraduate case competition with eight events spanning accounting, business policy, ethics, debating, finance, human resources, marketing and management of information systems disciplines. Students are given five and a half hours to review the complex business-problem case within their designated field and prepare a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel comprised of esteemed Queen’s professors and industry professionals.

More than 140 teams competed in the preliminary round, with only 48 teams advancing to the finals. Okanagan College sent the second largest number of students to the event, 10 students—two shy of the leading representation by the University of Calgary.

Following success at the initial preliminary round the students worked with College professors Randy Newton and Margery Heuser as coaches to best prepare for the competition. As part of what turned out to be a winning strategy, the coaches engaged the broader Okanagan College community, inviting alumni who had competed previously to provide practice-round judging simulations. 

“The experience only helps me feel even more prepared for the start of my career,” says Lenz, who hopes to continue on to earn a CPA designation. “From the practices to the actual case, it was very similar to how you would present to a potential client. In practice, one of the alumni told us to remember our audience and that while we are presenting on accounting, it’s not just about numbers. That really helped and we were able to present a qualitative analysis that resonated strongly with the judges.”

“Our excellent team of professors have shown the depth of their commitment to furthering our students’ education,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business, who is also the Vice-Chair of the CGA B.C. Board. “Both Randy and Margery generously gave their time on weekends and over the holidays to support these students, imparting knowledge, giving feedback, and providing positive reinforcement to set them up for success.”
Salt family donation a heavy-duty boost for Okanagan College trades complex campaign
Okanagan College Media Release

A respected auto industry pioneer and family man from the Vernon area has made a heavy duty gift to the campaign to renovate and expand the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus.Art Salt Donation Jan 2015

Art Salt, owner for almost 40 years of Coldstream Auto Wreckers, has donated a Caterpillar ITI8F front-end loader to the College. The loader is worth approximately $60,000 and will provide students in the Heavy Duty Mechanics program with hands-on training experience on a common piece of equipment in the industry. 

When Salt learned that the trades training complex was undergoing a significant expansion, and that the College was searching for equipment to enhance these new shop spaces, he threw his support behind the campaign for the $33-million project. His motivation for donating the loader was simple: he believes the community needs to support up and coming tradespeople.

“These are the next generation of mechanics, right here,” explains Salt, motioning to students at work in the College’s bustling Heavy Duty Mechanics shop, during a recent tour. “We need to help get them going, get them started in their careers.”

“The new trades training complex at our Kelowna campus will elevate the Central Okanagan as a hub for trades education in BC,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our objective is to get students job-ready by providing state-of-the-art training, equipment, and technology. Mr. Salt’s generous donation supports that mission and will benefit many students for years to come.”

Over the past 20 years, Salt and his family have donated other parts and vehicles, including a Freightliner highway tractor. Salt also gave Okanagan College a front-end loader that required significant amounts of repair, which students then restored as a training experience using parts supplied by Salt; the students returned the loader to him in perfect working order.

“The equipment we’ve been fortunate to receive from donors like Mr. Salt is immensely valuable to our programs,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “It enhances the experience for our foundation students and apprentices, and gives them confidence working with a variety of equipment.”

Salt’s automotive career began in the late 1940s when he purchased a taxi business in Lumby. He then worked as a salesman for Capital Motors before founding Coldstream Auto Wreckers in 1957, specializing in the salvage of light and heavy truck parts. The business became Coldstream Truck Parts in 1994 when Salt sold it to the current owner, his son-in-law Bruce Davies. Davies joined Salt on a recent visit to the Kelowna campus to tour the trades classrooms and shops and to learn more about the plans to expand these spaces, including the building of a new three-story tower that will house more than 2,400 trades students and staff each year. 

Seeing students hard at work in the trades training shops, Salt offered up praise and words of advice:

“The opportunities present themselves. Be open to them. Good breaks will come to you if you take it one step at a time.”

“Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.”

Salt hopes many of the students will be able to find jobs in the Okanagan. “It takes a little luck. But you can do alright anywhere, as long as you work at it.”

The $7-million Bright Horizons, Building for Skills Campaign for the trades training complex expansion launched in October 2014. The campaign team is seeking monetary and in-kind (equipment, tools, etc.) donations to supplement the provincial government’s commitment of $28 million to the project.

When completed in spring of 2016, the new complex will be one of the largest, most sustainable trades training facilities in Western Canada. Okanagan College is currently the second largest trades training institution in BC. To learn more about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign
Online gaming research leads Okanagan College team to Best Paper Award at international conference
Okanagan College Media Release

Khmelevesky_Alstad Jan 2015A research paper born of collaboration between students, professors, and industry has resulted in international accolades for Okanagan College. 

Exploring improvements into both speed and connectivity in the online gaming world, the paper titled Minecraft Computer Game Simulation and Network Performance Analysis received the Best Paper Award at the second International VisioGame 2014 conference in Bandung, Indonesia held this past November. It will also be published in an upcoming journal with the U.K. Wessex Institute of Technology WitPress.

The paper was authored by fourth-year Okanagan College Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin, and supervised by Professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky. It was written in collaboration with WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett and CTO Alex Needham, as well as Universite Paris-Est Creteil professor Dr. Gaetan Hains.

“Our goal was to look at online games optimization, performance, and monitoring of Gamers Private Networks for faster gaming with better connections,” says Alstad. “In particular we analyzed specific gaming metrics that hadn’t been explored yet. You could consider our research as a foundation for improving gaming networks within the industry. As a student, having the opportunity to be a part of this project and receiving this award goes to show the caliber of the programs available at the College, and it reinforces my opinion that this program was the right choice to prepare me for success in my career.”

The team created a virtual network with automated game players to test varying degrees of play in a simulated environment. Gaming companies can use this research to help them determine the capacity of their games and overall server performance to enhance the end-user gamer’s experience.

“This research was presented in a highly competitive arena that included international university-academic, PhD students, and post-doctoral research,” explains Dr. Khmelevsky. “By teaching students what the tech industry needs and giving them co-op opportunities for applied research we provide them the tools they need to advance their studies and their careers.”

The six-month research project, from July to December 2014, was made possible by federal grant funding received from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and additional in-kind contributions from Okanagan based technology company WTFast.

“At the College we aim to provide a learning environment that goes beyond the textbooks and theory,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education. “We take pride in facilitating opportunities for the students to gain a broader, practical learning experience through collaborations with industry and global researchers.”  

The research further reinforces that Kelowna is quickly becoming known as a hot-bed for technology innovation and start-ups. A recent Accelerate Okanagan study estimates the tech sector in our region contributes $1 billion to our economy, and employs more than 6,500 residents.

“We’re seeing a real boom in Kelowna’s tech sector, and as such recruiting highly qualified and experienced candidates to join the workforce is a priority for us,” says WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett. “Supporting and collaborating with students helps us further their education and prepare them to join our industry.”

Okanagan College offers a four-year bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree and a two-year Computer Information Systems diploma that includes a broad selection of computing (software design and development, computer systems, or database systems), mathematics, business, and communications courses allowing graduates to function successfully in a variety of roles in the Information Technology field upon graduation. A co-op component is also available to provide industry experience that enables students to take the first steps in their IT career. 

For more information on the Computer Information Systems programs at the College, please visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/computerscience.
Okanagan College professor remembered through creation of annual award
Okanagan College Media Release

On Oct. 31, 2014, the Okanagan College family lost a beloved and highly respected member when Professor Tom Santosham’s car slid off the road and into a lake near his home in Penticton. Dr. Santosham died in the accident.Santosham Award Jan 2015

Shortly after this tragic loss, the Santosham family decided that it would be fitting, given Dr. Santosham’s passion for teaching, to create an annual award that would support business students at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus where he taught courses in global marketing for 14 years. 

On Dec. 5, two special memorial awards were presented by Dr. Santosham’s wife Penny, son Peter and nephew Vaz, to Kendall Ross and Nathan Milligan—both students of Dr. Santosham at the time of his death. Ross and Milligan reflected on the emotional loss of their professor and the personal significance of receiving the award in his memory.

“It was truly a privilege to have been educated by such a humble person who had an abundance of life and career experience,” says Milligan, who is currently completing his final semester as a Bachelor of Business Administration student. “Professor Santosham was a very kind, caring and knowledgeable professor. When he spoke, the students would listen intently because we all truly valued what he had to say.”

“He was a wonderful professor who was truly passionate about teaching, however, through his teachings it was also evident that his greatest pleasure in life was the success and wellbeing of his family and home life,” added Milligan. 

“This award could not have come at a better time,” says Ross, who completed her Bachelor of Business Administration in December. “Managing finances has been difficult throughout school and this has allowed me to start a savings account for my future, possibly to pursue a master’s degree.” 

Ross hopes to use her business training to launch a career in the tourism sector.

“Receiving the Thomas V. Santosham Memorial Award is a great honor,” noted Milligan. “I am very grateful for the kindness of the Santosham family in providing my fellow classmate and myself with this award. Their generosity will continue to aid future students in their educational endeavors for many years to come.” 

Working with the Okanagan College Foundation, and with donations from around the world, the Santosham family has established the Thomas V. Santosham Award in Business. The annual award of $1,000 will be open to domestic students continuing in the Business Administration program. Selection will be based on academic achievement and financial need. 

“Tom faced many educational challenges when he left India as a teenager to study in Scotland and then later in Canada,” says Penny. “Despite these obstacles, he always aimed high and told young people that with persistence, hard work and prayer they too could achieve academic success.” 

“The creation of this annual award by the Santosham family is a wonderful tribute to Tom’s memory and will serve as a reminder of his commitment to higher education, his passion for teaching and his dedication to students,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “We miss him dearly, and this special award will continue to contribute to students as they pursue their educational goals.”

The Santosham family hopes that the annual award will not only provide Okanagan College staff and students with a lasting reminder of Dr. Santosham’s enthusiasm for teaching, but will also help students to reach their educational goals. 

Dr. Santosham earned degrees in Naval Architecture and Professional Engineering from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a postdoctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering from UBC in Vancouver. His teaching career at Okanagan College began shortly after he retired from a successful career in International Trade Management, which took him to many parts of the world. In 2001, he was invited by Okanagan College to design and teach a course based on his business experiences. Throughout the years that followed, Dr. Santosham inspired many students with his remarkable depth of knowledge and passion for global marketing. 

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Thomas V. Santosham Award in Business can do so by contacting Anne Kirkpatrick, Development Officer, Okanagan College Foundation, or contributing online at www.okanagancollegefoundation.ca. The Santosham family wishes to thank everyone who has helped to create this award.
College graduates look to bring globally conscious business perspective to the Okanagan
Okangan College Media Release

Danielle Hofer Jan 2015_2In an increasingly connected and global world, companies are seeking candidates who understand that business today goes beyond borders. This resonates well with Okanagan College student Danielle Hofer, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in marketing this weekend. As part of her studies, she jumped at the chance to spend a semester studying abroad at sister school the Berlin School of Economics and Law with the College’s exchange program.

“I was seeking a well-rounded perspective to my education that I knew would serve me well in my career. Studying marketing, I was interested in participating in new and creative experiences to help broaden my horizon,” says Hofer. “Plus, I’ve always had a passion for travelling, and I wanted to make my last year of study truly unique.”

Globally-minded, Hofer was also a leader within the College’s Enactus program: over the course of her four years of study, she participated in three regional, and two national Enactus team competitions, and was also the project manager for InStill Life. This project involved the team going into local elementary schools to teach Grade five and six students about financial literacy skills, sustainability and global citizenship principles. They worked together on providing agricultural grants to developing countries’ communities through micro-loans with Kiva. 

Currently interviewing with a number of local marketing firms within the Okanagan, Hofer sees the global perspective she gained through her exchange and Enactus as a marketable skill. She is making a point of asking in interviews what companies’ corporate social responsibility policies are, and looking to see how her globally-minded skills can contribute to further these objectives. 

“Our exchange program and Enactus are just two examples of how we create opportunities for students to build a network to launch their careers and provide unique educational experiences that go beyond the classrooms, and in Danielle’s case beyond Canada,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Our Winter 2015 graduates have demonstrated high achievement, ambition, and strong foundational skills, making this a dynamic workforce entering our local industries.” 

This Saturday, January 17, the College will confer 322 credentials, comprised of 70 bachelor’s degrees, 21 associate degrees, 161 diplomas, and 70 certificates, at the convocation ceremony. 

The morning ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. and will see students from Arts, Business, Science, Engineering Technologies, Computer Science, Culinary Arts, and Health and Social Development programs receive their credentials.

This winter ceremony marks the first of six to be held in 2015. In June, the College will celebrate Trades Commencement, Spring Convocation, Vernon Convocation and Summer Convocation in separate events. 

In 2014 Okanagan College graduated more than 2,100 students from its programs.
Local non-profit organizations needed for survey: finding solutions to ‘conscious business’ challenges
Okanagan College Media Release

Throughout January the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence within Okanagan College’s School of Business is seeking participants from Central Okanagan non-profit organizations for a student-led research survey to identify gaps within the sector that are impacting growth opportunities.

“We know that social service non-profit organizations in our region have struggled with sustained business models and financial stability,” says Dr. Sheilagh Seaton, Okanagan College Business professor, and co-leader of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence. “This survey will help us pin-point the causing factors, and to find adaptable solutions to increase the longevity of these organizations in our communities, shifting towards a more sustainable model of operation.” 

Individuals in an Executive Director or Board of Director role within these organizations can participate by January 30 through the survey link on the Centre’s webpage: www.okanagan.bc.ca/NPC. Following a review process, an analysis report will be released in mid-2015. 

Amanda Wright, Honours BBA student at Okanagan College, with the mentorship of Dr. Lynn Sparling, Okanagan College Business professor, is facilitating the survey that was developed following a series of interviews with industry experts in the non-profit field. Questions explore the non-profit organizational structure and capacity, finance, internal and external resources, and the capabilities of each organization.

“Leading this research gives me the opportunity to help define the sector in our region, as well as contribute to the sustainability of the non-profits that work to address some of our communities’ most challenging social issues,” says Wright. “It is rewarding to be able to support these conscious organizations while also applying principles that I have learned through the College’s curriculum and skilled faculty.” 

The College received a $100,000 donation from Scotiabank in April 2014 to create the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence, which has enabled this research. The aim of the Centre is to generate opportunities for non-profit organizations to access training, programs, students, and other support mechanisms that will assist in improving the state of the sector and positively impacting our community. 

“Until now, there has been very little research about the business of non-profit in the Okanagan region,” says Dr. Sparling, who is also a co-leader of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence. “Acquiring this data is a first step in gaining a better understanding of how the sector operates, how it can improve and what resources are needed to sustain its growth.”

More information is available on the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence website at www.okanagan.bc.ca/NPC.
College to offer natural gas industry training program
Okanagan College Media Release 

A four-week natural gas sector training program with tuition and support available to eligible participants starts Feb. 2, 2015 at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. 

The Workers in Natural Gas (WiNG) program will provide the specific skills and certifications required for those preparing to seek work in the thriving liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

“The College has joined six other B.C. post-secondary institutions to offer the energy literacy and certifications needed to help fill the projected demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers in the LNG sector,” said Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development at the College. 

“The province is currently estimating thousands of new positions will be created in direct and indirect jobs related to operating LNG plants,” said Silvestrone. “The WiNG program is a great opportunity for Okanagan College to build labour market skills and assist students interested in finding employment in an industry poised to have a positive impact on the provincial economy.”

WiNG program students will acquire nine industry certificates during the four weeks, including Occupational First Aid (OFA) Level 1, OFA Transportation Endorsement, H2S Alive, Petroleum Safety Training, General Safety Information, WHMIS, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Fall Protection and Confined Space.

Natural gas industry specific training covers operating in natural gas, technology and communications, and career planning.  Sessions on resume writing and interview skills are included.

The program runs Feb. 2 – 27. Classes are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Funding for WiNG is provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund. Eligible unemployed or underemployed participants must meet certain criteria, including being both legally entitled to work in Canada and a B.C. resident, and not enrolled as either a high school or post-secondary student.

For information on the program, additional details on participant eligibility or to apply, contact Heather Flood at HFlood@okanagan.bc.ca.

Okanagan College Continuing Studies offers a wide variety of professional development courses, certificate programs and industry-specific training at seven locations throughout the region. Oil and gas training is available through a comprehensive range of individual courses at all campuses throughout the year.
Okanagan Dodge gift revs anticipation for Trades Training Complex
Okanagan College Media Release

McAuley_Gabelhouse Dec 2014A local auto dealer sees bright futures for students in Okanagan College’s trades programs, prompting the company to invest in the $33-million Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna Campus to help make those futures a reality.

Okanagan Chrysler Jeep Dodge has pledged $100,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation for the $7-Million Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign that supports the expansion and renewal of the trades complex.

“Having run Okanagan Dodge for the past 12 years, and having seen the way Kelowna has embraced my business in that time, I began looking for a way to give back to the community that would truly have an impact,” says Dean McAuley, Dealer Principal for Okanagan Chrysler Jeep Dodge. “When I heard about the campaign for the new trades training complex, and after I learned more about the facility and the opportunities it will provide for students, I knew it was the right fit.”

The donation will go towards automotive shop space where students gain job-ready skills with state of the art equipment and technology. 

“I have Okanagan College graduates in my shop now. These young tradespeople are the wave of the future,” says McAuley.McAuley_Gabelhouse_Butler Dec 2014

“With a province-wide skills gap looming, Okanagan Dodge’s commitment is an example of industry stepping forward to help us meet that need,” says Jim Hamilton, President, Okanagan College. “It is encouraging to see such strong support for trades training – and a clear demand for trades workers – in our own region. We are grateful for their investment in our students’ futures.”

This donation is one of several from the local automotive industry. Members of the Kelowna Auto Dealers Association were among the first to donate towards the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna Campus when the campaign was announced earlier this year.

“We in the industry know there is a shortage of trained automotive tradespeople projected in the coming years and we have to be proactive,” says Adam Rich, Auto Sector Chair of the Bright Horizons Campaign committee. “Supporting the training of new apprentices is investing in the health and growth of the industry for the future. The new trades training complex will be a hub for trades education in B.C., as one of the largest most sustainable facilities in the province.”

The $7-million campaign, which includes $5 million for capital costs and an additional $2 million for student and program support, will help complete the $33-million project. The complex is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

The Bright Horizons campaign launched in October to raise funds and awareness for the Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna Campus of Okanagan College. The new facility will provide students with a state of the art learning environment and reflect Okanagan College’s commitment to sustainability. To learn more about the campaign and opportunities to be involved in shaping the future of Okanagan College, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign. Okanagan College is the second-largest trades training institution in B.C.
Business student and spouse hope they have recipe for success
Okanagan College Media Release

Matt and Nicole Knegt Dec 2014Third-year Okanagan College Business Administration student Matthew Knegt and his wife Nicole are in the throes of a real-life adventure in business development that is focused – at least for now – on the online activities of one of the world’s best-known chefs, Britain’s Jamie Oliver.

The Knegts have been operating a small gluten-free bakery for the past three years, well-known and patronized by customers of the Kelowna Farmers’ Market. 

Four Spoons Gluten Free Bakery was an enterprise born of Nicole’s need for a special diet because of her allergies and food sensitivities. In January 2014, the couple decided to take the business down another path, one focused on education, special diets, and cookbooks. In November they closed their bakery. An effort to raise funds to produce the cookbook failed, but they realized during the process that what they loved to do was to produce videos.

“We thought ‘why not send a creative package to Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube?’ Jamie is socially focused, Matt and Nicole Knegt Cardboard Toast Dec 2014which we love, and his Food Tube channel is innovative and is all about quality.”

“We decided that if we were going to garner the attention of Oliver’s production company, we had to do something different,” says Matthew. That involved getting a local company to laser-cut a large piece of cardboard in the shape of a piece of toast, and write on it “Gluten-free bread can taste like cardboard. A special-diets Food Tube channel could help change this.” (Food Tube is the largest food-focused community in Europe and boasts nearly a million subscribers).

Nicole took the challenge of getting the production company’s attention a step further. The video produced for consideration involved taking a recipe from one of Oliver’s latest cookbooks for profiteroles (creampuffs) and turning it into a gluten-free, delicious recipe.

The Knegts are the only Canadians who have so far cracked the Fresh Talent playlist. Seven of the nine competitors are from London, England, and the other is from Dublin, Ireland. The Food Tube producers have dubbed Nicole “the Canadian Queen of gluten-free baking.”

Matt and Nicole Knegt Profiterole Dec 2014While the couple have been developing their business Matthew has been savouring his studies at Okanagan College in the business administration program, and he’s found the recipe for education remarkable. “The small class sizes are great but what I appreciate most are the professors who can teach, impart their knowledge and bring their industry and life experiences to the classroom.”

“Our goal is to develop an online resource that will help people with special diets meet their needs,” explains Matthew. “Social responsibility is in the DNA of our company.”

While the way forward with Four Spoons isn’t mapped at this point, Knegt knows now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity provided by Oliver and his enterprises.

And that includes trying to convince as many people as possible to watch their online video and provide a thumbs up for the possible partnership between an Okanagan-based enterprise with one of the world’s best-known, socially-focused chefs. The Knegt’s video can be viewed here.
Kelowna Flightcraft lands with a donation to support trades training complex
Okanagan College Media Release

One of the Okanagan’s best-known businesses has thrown its support behind the campaign to expand and renovate the tradesLapointe Dec 2014 training complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

Barry Lapointe, CEO and Chairman of Kelowna Flightcraft, has made a $500,000 donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign that will help complete the $33-million project.

“I believe that people who have done well in this region should give back,” says Lapointe. “And we feel strongly about supporting post-secondary education.”

Lapointe’s donation to Okanagan College was acknowledged this week by Premier Christy Clark, area MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson, and several representatives of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation at Flightcraft’s airport hangar, where a class of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering students were nearing completion of their course.

“Barry sees what’s coming: a shortage of skilled labour, and a tremendous opportunity for trained people,” noted Premier Clark. “He has always supported the creation of more education and career opportunities in the Okanagan, culminating in this generous donation.”

Lapointe’s donation brings the $7-million campaign up over the $3 million mark. The money raised will help complete and equip the trades complex and create support for students who take programs there. The province has contributed $28-million to the project.

The building and renovation project is expected to be complete by spring 2016. Approximately 5,100 square metres of shops and classes will be renovated and an additional 5,500 square metres of shops, classroom and student space are being constructed along KLO Road.

The complex will accommodate approximately 2,600 students annually in a range of trades programs. 

“Barry’s support is a key donation for the campaign,” explains campaign chair Dennis Gabelhouse. “Industry support, from people like Barry, from the automotive industry, from companies like Westwood Electric sends a message to would-be tradespeople that validates their career choices.”

“We know that we are facing a significant skills gap – especially in the trades – in the coming years,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Barry and others understand that and are investing in our future.”

Okanagan College is the second-largest trades training institution in B.C.
Enactus Okanagan College receives three national grants in support of local entrepreneurship
Okanagan College Media Release

Brent Basil Dec 2014Enactus Okanagan College is the only college in Canada and one of only five post-secondary institutions across Canada to receive three or more national partnership grants from Enactus Canada to support entrepreneurship in the Okanagan. 

The grants are evidence that the non-profit student-run organization is making good on its goal of using the power of entrepreneurial action to help individuals in need. 

The Enactus Okanagan College students have already applied funds from two of the grants to encourage social entrepreneurship in young people and have launched a new social enterprise, InnSpire, to generate funds for a homeless shelter in Kelowna. 

The grants are part of the Enactus Canada partnership program and include the Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur Project Partnership sponsored by the RBC Foundation and presented by Futurpreneur, the BDC Entrepreneurs First Project Partnership, and the 3M Canada Problem Solving Project Partnership. 

“Being selected for the three grants goes to show how much effort our team, and our community partners put into our programs,” said Tom Arrowsmith, president of Enactus Okanagan College. “These grants add an extra level of validity to our programs by having them be nationally recognized.”

Dr. Kyleen Myrah is the faculty advisor helping oversee the newly launched InnSpire venture, which is a partnership with Inn From the Cold. The students have created a social enterprise that generates revenue from the sale of donated soap. The funds support Inn From the Cold’s Chandler House and the students get the chance to put their business skills to use.  

“The goal of this project is to run a social enterprise; providing a sustainable source of revenue that also serves to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness, promote the work of the Inn From the Cold organization, and provide long-term employable opportunities for the men in the Chandler house,” said Myrah. 

The Enactus Okanagan College students launched the social enterprise in November using the proceeds from the 3M Project Solving Partnership as seed money. The project has already achieved several thousand dollars in revenues for Inn From the Cold. Future plans for the project include expanding the number of sales locations and the product base to further support the sustainability of the program.

The Unleash Social Business Case Competition funded by RBC and presented by Futurpreneur was hosted at Accelerate Okanagan during Entrepreneurship week in November. This case competition pitted teams of students working together to develop sustainable business plans to address social issues facing our community. 

The finalist from the program presented their case to a panel of judges. Karen Vandergaag, a member of the winning team, described the experience and the winning case.

“When we received the case, my team looked at how we could take a few social issues in our community and bring together some entrepreneurial ideas to come up with a solution,” said Vandergaag. “I got a lot of value from the process of turning our ideas into a concept that would solve some of Kelowna’s pressing social problems.”

The BDC Entrepreneurs First Grant will be used to support the growth and expansion of Venture Okanagan. Venture Okanagan provides a forum for start-ups to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists and other potential funders.  

In addition to connecting startups with investors, Venture Okanagan also provides mentorship and support throughout the multi-week process. This competitive forum will be held again in the spring of 2015.
Westwood Electric donation powers up new electrical controls lab at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College students in the Electrical Trades programs will soon plug into a cutting edge new learning space thanks to a Westwood Dec 2014generous donation of $100,000 from Westwood Electric. 

Westwood’s donation to the Okanagan College Foundation’s “Bright Horizons: Building for Skills” Campaign will support the Trades Training Complex, currently under construction at the Kelowna Campus. The electrical controls lab in the new facility will feature state of the art equipment, technology, and workstations for students.

Westwood’s decision to support the campaign for the Trades Training Complex was based on the recognition that proper training is crucial for maintaining the overall health and growth of trades, both locally and beyond.

“Today's apprentices are tomorrow’s qualified journeypersons, supervisors and industry leaders. The best possible trades training will only further promote the apprentice’s future, opportunities for local business and ultimately the province of British Columbia,” said Jason McCormick, Vice President - Operations and Partner of Westwood Electric, which is celebrating 40 years in business.

“We see this as a very special opportunity to be a part of the campaign behind the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus,” said McCormick. “We are honoured be involved with what will be one of the largest, most comprehensive and environmentally sustainable trades training facilities in British Columbia.” 

"This support from Westwood is exciting news for Okanagan College and especially so for our students enrolled in the Electrical Trades programs, which is one of our largest trades programs, having grown by over 80 students this year," said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. "The Trades Training Complex will provide students with a learning environment that reflects Okanagan College’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. We thank Westwood for their generous investment in our students and in our College’s mission to transform lives and communities."

Work on the $33-million complex expansion and renovation has begun and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016. The provincial government has committed $28-million to the project and the Okanagan College Foundation is responsible for raising an additional $7 million; $5 million for capital costs and the remaining $2 million going towards student and program support.

Okanagan College embarked on the expansion to be pro-active in anticipating and meeting industry needs at a time when there is a looming shortage of trades workers.

“We are excited to watch this new facility take shape and look forward to the many benefits it will provide to the apprentices and businesses in our region,” said McCormick.