Okanagan College News 2010

Records 1 to 10 of 94
Making a good thing better:Product improvement process turns into a learning experience for Okanagan College students
Okanagan College Media Release

Take a B.C. entrepreneur with a proven idea, add in a class of determined and focused Mechanical Engineering Technology Students from Okanagan College, and you have the recipe for applied innovation.

Paul Auger is President of SNO-LIMO Mountain Eco-Touring, a company that has developed a chauffeured touring chair that can whisk non-skiers around a ski-hill for a first-hand experience of resort slopes.

He developed the concept and the first fleet of chairs several years ago. His chairs were at work at Whistler for the Olympics and have been on the slopes at Big White for five years.

But as functional, practical and safe as his sliding chairs have been, Auger saw the need to bring some engineering expertise to bear as he contemplates improvements and developing the next fleet of SNO-LIMOs.

Enter Okanagan College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, and Professor Iain Cameron. Auger approached Cameron, who saw an opportunity to give his class of students a chance to undertake a project that would incorporate problem-solving, brainstorming, refining, improving, prototyping and testing a real-world product.

Their efforts hit the slope on Sunday, Dec. 12 at Big White, as students, Auger, Cameron and others get to see first hand how the chair’s systems have been improved.

“I have no kind of technical background,” says Auger. “I’m a duct-tape kind of guy.”

Auger admits that the kind of detailed analysis, testing and development the students have undertaken would have been beyond his company’s means – the connection with Okanagan College made it possible.

Students have developed improvements to the braking system, to sled articulation, and to rider comfort. A student design team working on the suspension and seat developed a pneumatic system that allows standard ski lifts to transport the chairs up the hill. They’ve taken them from the idea stage, through mockups and validation and into prototype development.

For Cameron, the connection with SNO-LIMO and Auger was a great opportunity to put a full class to work on a project that meets the course needs and requirements for students. “It was a product they could see and understand, and most of them ski, so they could appreciate what was going on.”

“Truthfully, it is an example of how a College is part of applied innovation in this country. It’s great to teach students that they have a role to play now and later, as technologists, in innovation.”

Auger’s company has earned national and international media attention with the product and service associated with the SNO-LIMO. As the company’s website notes, significant portions of the public who visit ski resorts don’t actually ski or board: the SNO-LIMO is a way for them to get the true, on-hill experience that many of them may be seeking.

College teams selected for final round of Canada’s most prestigious business competition
Okanagan College Media Release

The Inter-collegiate Business Case Competition (ICBC) hosted by Queen’s University isn’t just Canada’s longest-running business competition – it is also the largest, most prestigious and is now open to the top business schools in Asia.

Every year Queen’s invites a select group of universities and one college to compete – that one college happens to be Okanagan College.

Okanagan College recently received the news that two of its six teams made it through the preliminary round to the final round, which takes place at Queen’s University from Jan. 6 -8, 2011. This will be the fourth time in five years a team from Okanagan College has made it to the finals.

The team of Robert Maier, Ramandeep Dhaliwal and Robert Moore will travel with coaches Lee Cartier and Laura Thurnheer to compete for national honours in Business Policy against teams from Wilfrid Laurier University, McGill University, Bishop’s University, the University of Calgary, and the National University of Singapore.

“We are doubly excited, as this is the second year in a row that a Business Policy team has advanced to the final round in Kingston. It really demonstrates how well prepared our businesses graduates are to take their place in the business world,” says Cartier.

A second team of students - Shawn Miller and Corey Wein - will compete in the Caro Systems MIS (Management Information Systems) event against Queen’s University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Brock University, the University of British Columbia and McGill University. The duo is coached by professor Glen Coulthard.

“The fact that these students have taken a single MIS course and are able to compete at such a high level speaks volumes about their ability to integrate, apply, and communicate all that they have learned in our program,” says Coulthard.

In the preliminary round, teams are presented with business cases and are charged with analyzing them to uncover weaknesses and provide solutions to strengthen the business, product or service. The cases are sent to invited participants by ICBC judges and teams are given a deadline to have their preliminary cases complete.

The top six finalists in seven categories (Okanagan College participated in six of those preliminary categories) travel to Kingston in January where they are presented with a brand new case and work under might tighter time constraints. The teams are given five hours to analyze the new case and spend just 20 minutes before a panel of industry expert judges where they present their case.

To find out more about the competition, visit: www.icbconline.ca.

RoboCup shines spotlight on fun and engineering technology

Okanagan College Media Release

Students from across the region had an opportunity to spend a day competing in robotics challenges as more than 40 local schools participated in the fifth annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior hosted by Okanagan College on Friday.

The opportunity to learn programming, robotics and engineering technology is one that Bruce Stevens, Regional Manager of the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), wishes he’d had as a student.

Stevens took in the action on Friday, watching as swarms of students converged on the Okanagan College PIT to put their robots to the test.

“I wish this kind of event was around when I was in school,” said Stevens. “We have been supporting RoboCup and other challenges like Spaghetti Bridge for a number of years and feel it is our responsibility as an organization to help generate interest in science and engineering because we know that some of the students here today will become technologist professionals.”

ASTTBC sponsors RoboCup, which is an internationally accredited educational competition that includes teams of students ranging from Grade one to Grade 12 working in teams to develop solutions to one of three specific challenges (soccer, rescue and dance) using robots.

A record number of students signed up for the event, which drew more than 120 elementary, middle, and secondary students from schools throughout the region.

The event got underway at 10 a.m. in the College’s Pit area with the soccer and rescue challenges. In soccer, teams comprised of two autonomous mobile robots track a special light-emitting ball in an enclosed field and attempt to score goals. In search and rescue, robots follow a course, negotiate hallways of a two-storey building filled with debris and identify victims within re-created disaster scenarios.

The dance competition kicked off at 1 p.m. in the College’s lecture theatre. Teams competing in dance performed with their robots in choreographed routines set to music and were judged on a range of areas including robot programming, design, costume, use of stage and entertainment value.

Electronic Engineering Technology instructor Nadir Ould-Khessal has been involved with the International RoboCup Federation for the past 14 years both as a team leader and participant. He designed teams while teaching at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore and later at VAASA University of Applied Science in Finland. His involvement stems from a belief that the games are an excellent way to promote learning in a challenging and creative environment.

“Every year RoboCup has gotten better and better and this year the students have improved dramatically over last year,” said Ould-Khessal. “We are at the point now where very young students are developing engineering skills and a keen interest in the field - but the best part is the fun of the challenges. The education that comes as a result of participating in this competition helps build a very strong foundation for future learning for this generation.”

Top performing students in Friday’s Western Canada competition will qualify to represent Canada in the World RoboCup Games in Turkey this July.

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

College and Regional District announce lease agreement to develop $7.8-million community sports facility
Okanagan College Media Release

At a joint press conference on Tuesday morning, Okanagan College and the Regional District of the North Okanagan announced a new lease agreement that will allow the partners to move forward with plans to turn 10 acres of College land into a $7.8-million multi-use sports facility that includes an Olympic size rubberized track, artificial playing field and field houses for use by community groups, School District 22 track meets and municipally-hosted events.

The project will need to be approved throughout a series of stages before development begins. The first stop includes approval by the Council of the District of Coldstream, as the proposed project falls within its jurisdiction. With approval from the District, the partners can then apply to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for non-conforming use status – the 10 acres on the College site is currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve but has not been used for agricultural purposes since the ALC was established in 1973. If approved by the ALC, the final decision on the project would be made by Greater Vernon residents via a referendum.

Okanagan College and the Regional District have entered into a no-cost lease of the site, which represents a significant saving to regional taxpayers. Jim Garlick, Mayor of the District of Coldstream, noted the price tag of the project to taxpayers is estimated at approximately $17 per year for the average household over a 20-year period.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton said the project has the potential to provide significant benefits to students and community partners.

“The College has a longstanding history of adding value to the Greater Vernon region and is a major contributor to the regional economy,” said Hamilton. “This project would greatly benefit students and the many users who will access the site. The facility and classroom have the potential to become a hub of activity for the region as well as open the door to new programming opportunities like the diploma program in Human Kinetics, among others.”

The proposed project will be reviewed and discussed at the Dec. 6 meeting of the Coldstream Council.

“We have taken a great deal of care and consideration throughout the process of this partnership to ensure the project meets the needs of its users and the community,” said Garlick. “We have consulted a variety of potential users and included everyone from the Vernon Hospital’s cardiac program to minor football to School District 22. We have received a great deal of support from each of these groups and are pleased to be able to share the plans for this project with the community. The location of the project is ideal for users and will enhance the entrance to the Greater Vernon community.”

Several potential users of the facility were in attendance at the press conference to show their support for the project. Among them were executive from the Kal RATS (Running and Triathlon Sports).

“The Kal RATS will fully support the initiative to construct a running track and multiple sports facility in Coldstream,” said Kim Young, Kal RATS Community Liaison. “Our objective is to improve the fitness of all members of the community, of all ages, and all abilities. The proposed facility will be a significant improvement over the existing track, and is destined to become a focal point for sport and fitness in the north Okanagan.”

Okanagan College’s Regional Dean John Lent has been instrumental in facilitating the project and the collaboration that has developed in the three years in which the partners have been working together.

“I am really excited about this opportunity for the Vernon campus because it connects the College more strongly to both communities and the region,” said Lent. “Although plans for this project are still being developed, our partnership with the Regional District is a great first step in providing a world-class recreational facility for the community.”

Penticton Auto Dealers rev up with support for Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies
Okanagan College Media Release

The Penticton Auto Dealers Association has helped fuel the fundraising campaign for Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation with a $10,000 donation.

The contribution was presented recently by Janet Parker, President of the Penticton Auto Dealers Association, and her fellow dealers, including David Newman, Tony Lunelli, Brian Calbury, Ken Huber and Hendrik Keij.

Yasmin and Rick Thorpe, Honorary Co-Chairs of the $5 million Centre of Excellence campaign, were on hand to receive the donation, along with Jim Henderson, the new President of the Okanagan College Foundation and Donna Lomas, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

“The Penticton Auto Dealers do a great deal for this community and this region,” observed Rick Thorpe, “and I want to extend my thanks and appreciation for this contribution to a project that will mean so much to the future of the South Okanagan and Similkameen.”

“We’re pleased to be able to make the contribution,” said Parker. “We can see how the Centre will contribute to the economic well-being of the region. It will provide more educational opportunities to keep our young people here, create employment, and bolster our reputation for a region that cares about sustainability and the environment. We know that those are goals we share with our customers and staff.”

The Centre of Excellence is scheduled for completion in March 2011. It will accommodate more than 800 students, and host a variety of new programs for the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

Tuck retires as Foundation President but commitment to helping persists
Okanagan College Media Release

Nearly a decade of service as President of the Okanagan College Foundation has come to a close for Steve Tuck, but his commitment to post-secondary education and supporting students is not waning.

Tuck retired on Wednesday from his role as the first and – to date – only President of the Foundation, which has grown to boast an endowment of more than $7 million, and a record of giving out more than $1 million annually in scholarships and bursaries to students.

He is being replaced by Penticton’s Jim Henderson, who moves from his role as Vice-President of the Foundation. Henderson has been a member of the Foundation Board of Directors since 2004 and has also been leading the $5 million fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation in Penticton.

Tuck said his passion for supporting students comes from many sources, but credits the support he was given when he was pursuing higher education as a major driver.

“My life wouldn’t be what it is today if others hadn’t offered the support that enabled me to pursue post-secondary education,” said Tuck. “And over my many years of experience in philanthropy, that story has been repeated time and again by students helped by the Foundation and the donors whose contributions make it what it is.

“Helping make those educational and life-transforming dreams a reality is one of the noblest things I can think of.”

When he’s not working on behalf of students and donors with the Foundation, or helping with other charities such as Sunshine Dream Lift for Kids, and the Agur Lake Camp Society, Tuck is the Publisher of Forever Young Magazine.

He will continue in a titled role with the Foundation - that of President Emeritus.

“This is to acknowledge Steve’s great and abiding service to the Foundation, and his expressed interest in continuing to help with the stewardship and fundraising efforts we undertake,” said Henderson.

“Steve has played a pivotal role in bringing the Foundation to this stage of its development,” observed Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “His commitment, his energy, and his passion have helped the Foundation through some teething and transition challenges. What makes Steve’s commitment even more meaningful is that it goes well beyond just being a part of the Foundation - he and his wife Terry have made their own donations to the Foundation in support of students.”

“Although I know that pride can be one of the worst sins, nevertheless, I take great pride in what we have accomplished,” said Tuck. “I say it because the credit needs to go to a whole variety of people; to those who have served on the Board of the Foundation, but especially to the donors.

“An example of the strength of our Foundation is that over the past three years, when other Foundations have had to cut back on what they’ve given out, we’ve managed to increase our disbursements.”

Three new vice presidents were named at the Foundation’s Board of Directors meeting: Frank Richter is the new Vice President Finance, Lorraine McGrath is the new Vice President Fundraising and Marketing and Jim Cookson is the Vice President Governance. (McGrath is an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College, while Cookson is a Distinguished Alumnus.)

College connections open opportunity for auditions
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players are looking for students, employees (current and former) and alumni to audition for roles in a comedy to be staged next March.

The play is George Farquahar’s The Beaux Stratagem, described as a wickedly funny 18th Century play. It tells the tale of two young men who depart London on the hunt for a wealthy mistress for at least one of them. The two pretend at being master and servant, switching roles as they move from town to town.

The auditions are being held this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Nov 18, 19 and 20th) in the lecture theatre at the College’s Kelowna campus on KLO Road.

Audition times are Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

No acting experience is necessary, according to the play’s director, Okanagan College Professor Jeremy Beaulne. Would be thespians will only be asked to read selections from the play at the auditions. Rehearsals will be held in January and February, says Beaulne, and the rollicking fun will be performed publicly in early March.

This will be the first production for the College troupe. “We know there’s an interest in theatre among our staff and students, and would welcome alumni and former employees to come out to audition as well.”

Beaulne will be casting for 18 roles.

For more information, Beaulne can be contacted at jbeaulne@okanagan.bc.ca or those interested can visit www.kalwriters.cin/stratagem.htm, or check out the Facebook page (Okanagan College Theatre).

Peters Bros. supports Centre of Excellence with $50,000 donation
Okanagan College Media Release

Peters Bros. Construction Ltd. is helping pave the way to improved access to post-secondary education in the South Okanagan and Similkameen with a $50,000 donation to support Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

“We know that sustainability is as much about creating access to education as it is about being environmentally responsible,” says Joe Cuzzocrea, President and General Manager of Peters Bros. “We see Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence as something that aligns closely with our goals of supporting the communities we serve, promoting environmental responsibility and pursuing excellence and giving students a closer-to-home education opportunity.”

Peters Bros. Construction Ltd. is a leading paving firm in British Columbia. It is a privately owned and operated company with its head office in Penticton and serves the entire province.

Peters Bros. Construction Ltd. has four plants in Penticton, Kelowna, Merritt, and Williams Lake. The firm is a leading a hot-in-place asphalt recycler that can recycle 100 per cent of the road being replaced.

“Peters Bros. is a well-known company with a reputation for innovation and excellence,” note Yasmin and Rick Thorpe, who are honourary co-chairs of the $5-million fund-raising campaign for the $28-million Centre of Excellence, being conducted by the Okanagan College Foundation. “Their support is another signal of how much this building means to the corporate community in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. They see the value of investing in the means to create the skilled workforce that we’ll need to watch our economy grow and prosper.”

The campaign has exceeded $2 million.

When it is complete in March, the Centre of Excellence will house approximately 800 students, creating an estimated $41 million in additional economic impact for the region annually. It will be home to a number of new programs, including Geo-Thermal, H-Vac, Power Lineman, Onsite Alternative Energy Sources, Metering and Monitoring of Green Buildings, Building Envelope Construction, Life Cycle Site Management, Refrigeration Mechanics and Applied Conservation Technician.

Lucrative aircraft careers taking off in the Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College is gearing up to help students launch themselves into the dynamic aerospace industry.

On Nov. 24, the Aerospace campus at the Vernon Airport opens its hangers for a free information event about the College’s successful Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Program.

“Our students are now working all over Western Canada,” said Dale Keegstra, lead instructor and Chair of the Aerospace Department.

The College launched the program in 2003 as a combined partnership with one of the province’s premier aircraft maintenance training programs -- Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.

Students take their first 12 months in Vernon, and then finish up with their last three months in Dawson Creek where they get hands-on experience working with everything from helicopters to Turbo props.

Since 2003, 126 students have gone through the program and they’ve come from all kinds of background.

“Maybe they’ve gone to an air show and become an aviation buff. They want to stay with it, but they don’t want to be the engineers who are designing the aircraft, or serve the public, and that’s when they discover the maintenance aspect.”

Keegstra noted that while an interest in mechanics is certainly key, students devoted to high standards, attention to detail and those who are passionate about aviation tend to excel.

Employment opportunities within the industry are on the rise, with the average annual wage in B.C. sitting at $58,571, and opportunities to earn up to $100,000.

Corey Nygren has his fingers crossed he’ll nab one of those jobs in a few months time. The Kelowna student, who worked as a glazier for 14-years before returning to school, is wrapping up his last two months in Dawson Creek.

“I love it, it’s just great. I always wanted to be a mechanic,” said Nygren, who just finished class where he patched a de-icer boot on the wing of a Turbo Commander.

Nygren was diagnosed with dyslexia in his early teens, so he wasn’t so sure about the book work. But College instructors helped him out and before long he was sailing through.

“I just hadn’t been reading for a while, but once I started up again it was second nature to me and now it’s no big deal, but it was quite a change.”

Keegstra is thrilled the program was such a good fit.

“It was interesting to see him come in not being sure if this was something he could do, and he was at risk because of a lack of confidence. But by the time he left, he was big time ready for the industry. He has really good hand skills, great interest, and a great work ethic.”

The program covers all apprenticeship technical training required for the AME-M license. The info night runs at 5 and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24 when tours, information and registration forms will be available for the next program intake on Jan. 31, 2011.

The Okanagan College Vernon Aerospace Campus is located at 6225 Okanagan Landing Road in Vernon.

For more information, contact program administrator Rob Kjarsgaard at 250-503-2670 or by email at rkjarsgaard@okanagan.bc.ca.

Letnick leads a look at health care
Okanagan College Media Release

As provinces, taxpayers and providers ponder the future of Canada's publicly-funded health care system, a well-known doctoral degree student in the Okanagan thinks businesses - and business students - need to focus their attention on the issue too, out of concern for competitiveness.

Norm Letnick, who is pursuing his PhD in health economics at UBC Okanagan (and who also happens to be MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country), will be speaking to third-year Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration students on Nov. 23 at Okanagan, in an open-to-the-public session that begins at 6:30 p.m. in the theatre at the Kelowna campus.

The students are studying business and Canadian government policy, and are taught by Okanagan College Professor Lee Cartier. (Letnick is on leave from his position as Professor in the Okanagan College School of Business while he serves as MLA.)

"This is an important topic to be engaging in with students, business and the public," said Letnick. "The BC Provincial Department of Health currently consumes 40 per cent of the province's operating budget and that is projected to increase to 42 per cent by 2012.

"Public funded health care offers Canadian businesses a competitive advantage," he noted, "but is this rate of growth sustainable?"

Letnick will focus on some of the challenges facing policy makers, some key provincial government initiatives to help address those challenges, and lead a discussion on ideas which could assist in sustaining our publicly funded health care system into the future.

Letnick was elected to the Legislature in 2009, and served on Kelowna City Council from 2005 to 2008.

College Honoured for Commitment to Sustainability
ASTTBC Press Release - Nov. 7, 2010

Okanagan College received the inaugural ASTTBC TECHGreen Award for an organization on Nov. 6, 2010 - from left, Trevor Williams, (BCIT's Dean of Energy), the Hon. John Yap, BC Minister of State for Climate Change, and ASTTBC President Doug Carter (President UNBC, far right) presented Jim Hamilton, President, Okanagan CollegeDonna Lomas, South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Dean, and Vice-President Education Andrew Hay with the award.

College Honored with First TechGreen Award for an organization

The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) has named Okanagan College the first Organizational Winner of its new TechGREEN Award, based largely on its new Penticton Campus Centre of Excellence.
College President Jim Hamilton accepted the award from John Yap, Minister of State for Climate Action, at a Vancouver ceremony hosted by the 9,500 member professional association Saturday, November 6.

“Our members are fully committed to incorporating and promoting sustainable practices in the workplace and the home,” explains John Leech, Executive Director of ASTTBC. “The Okanagan College Penticton Centre of Excellence project was unsurpassed in this year’s nominations of organizations.

TechGREEN Awards recognize and celebrate the best of the best. Nominees must demonstrate leadership and significant involvement in sustainable best practices, energy conservation and environmental benefit.”

Accepting the Award, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton stated, "As partners, we applauded ASTTBC's decision to launch the TechGreen Award when it was announced. It signals the sector's realization of the importance of embedding sustainability into what we do and say. To be named inaugural winner of the award is flattering, but more importantly, it signals to our staff, students and partners that we're on the right track. It communicates that the investment made in a greener approach to planning and practice is being noticed."

Nominator Bill Billups, AScT, currently working for the Canadian Wood Council as a Technical Advisor for Wood WORKS! BC was part of the Design Team, providing technical assistance for using wood in the design of non-residential building projects.

“A key feature in this project is its heavy use of wood including beetle-killed pine. The new campus building will be beyond the current built environment gold standard, even beyond platinum; the ‘Living Building Challenge’ - the highest international standard of sustainability, including zero net energy use.”

Billups cited the Regional College Dean and the Penticton OK Rotary Club as key drivers of the project, saying that the purpose of the $28-million Centre of Excellence building is to train technologists, technicians and tradespersons in the design and construction of fully sustainable buildings. “This building boasts built-in monitoring to make it a living laboratory, ensuring that any system failure is immediately corrected, and that future technological improvements can be incorporated,” Billups pointed out. “There will be zero water loss, and we see a future without air conditioners, with air quality systems powered by photovoltaics.”

John Leech of ASTTBC lauded Okanagan College on taking a lead in adopting policies and practices for environmental stewardship. “Okanagan College has helped create a national network of Colleges focused on training, research and partnerships associated with green buildings. The College is at the heart of a Canadian initiative funded by Environment Canada to develop new approaches to sustainable building design among Asia-Pacific nations.

Facilities are just part of the picture. Okanagan College offers respected programs in water quality and environmental engineering technology, and is developing an Environmental Conservation Technician program and a new Sustainable Construction Management Engineering Technology program.”

Runners-up in the inaugural TechGREEN Organization Award for 2010 are the BC Housing Corporation and the Abbotsford/Mission City Water and Sewer Commission.

BACKGROUNDER: The ASTTBC Citation from the Awards Ceremony

Since its beginnings in the early 1960s, Okanagan College has become the largest college in the BC interior and B.C.’s second largest trades training institution.It has a long history of working with ASTTBC.

The College is a major engine of economic, cultural and social growth in the Southern Interior, with over 1,000 staff serving more than 20,000 students annually.

Beyond responding to education and training needs, the College is demonstrating leadership at a regional, provincial, national and international level in environmental responsibility and stewardship.

A flagship example of that commitment is the $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation, under construction in Penticton and due to be finished in March 2011. This 70,000 square foot facility will be among the greenest buildings on the continent and all involved hope to achieve the Living Building Challenge, the highest international standard of sustainability, including zero net energy use.

Drawing international interest, this building is demonstrating that a “deep green” construction approach doesn’t have to mean “deep green” budget. This new building comes on the heels of the 2009 completion of the College’s Centre for Learning in Kelowna, which has recently been submitted for LEED Platinum Certification.

Okanagan College has taken a lead in adopting policies and practices for environmental stewardship.It has helped create a national network of Colleges focused on training, research and partnerships associated with green buildings. Okanagan College is at the heart of a Canadian initiative funded by Environment Canada to develop new approaches to sustainable building design among Asia-Pacific nations.

Facilities are just part of the picture. Okanagan College offers a respected program in water quality and environmental engineering technology, is developing an Environmental Conservation Technician program in association with the En’Owkin Centre and the Okanagan Nation Alliance, and is developing a new Sustainable Construction Management Engineering Technology program.

For these reasons, and a host of others, Okanagan College is a tremendous inaugural recipient of an award that we hope inspires other organizations and ASTTBC members to become champions for sustainability.

Community gives generously to SIFE’s Trick or Eat
Okanagan College Media Release

In a new valley-wide campaign to battle hunger, students from Okanagan College’s SIFE Okanagan collected 1,434 pounds of food for local Food Banks during a one-day Halloween food drive - Trick or Eat.

The SIFE students, whose mission is to create positive economic, environmental and social change in the Okanagan Valley, came up with the Trick or Eat food drive as part of their involvement in the Campbell’s Soup Let’s Can Hunger initiative. SIFE Okanagan won the Campbell’s Soup challenge last year and was recognized as the country’s top post-secondary institution at the national competition.

Campbell’s Soup challenged Canada’s SIFE teams to collectively raise 100,000 pounds of food for local Food Banks across the country. Okanagan College’s team collected more than 36,000 pounds on its own – more than a third of the national goal.

As national reigning champions of the Let’s Can Hunger project, SIFE Okanagan leaders Aman Sandhu and Jessica Zucchi organized teams of students in Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton, along with support from The Juice 103.9, and went door to door collecting non-perishable items.

“This was the first Trick or Eat event for SIFE Okanagan and it was a huge success,” said Sandhu. “We worked with the local food bank staff to target specific neighbourhoods where we know residents are most giving. We knocked on doors and nearly everyone we asked gave very generously.”

The students approached SHAW and Campbell’s -- who are currently running a Fill the Food Bank campaign as part of their Together is Amazing initiative -- with their total and both organizations matched the donations, tripling the amount of food collected for a total of 4,302 pounds.

All food items collected have been donated to their respective Food Banks in the communities of Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. SIFE Okanagan is now planning for their next major fundraisers – a charity hunger gala on Feb. 4 at Okanagan College and Canstruction Kelowna, an event designed to help end hunger one can at a time.

SIFE joined partners Rotary International, The Salvation Army and the Kelowna Food Bank in Canstruction Kelowna and is encouraging people to take part in the event by designing and building a structure out of canned food – all designs will be on display at the Orchard Park Mall from Feb. 8 – 13. The canned food will be donated to the Kelowna Community Food Bank and the Salvation Army.

Audio Engineering students to produce hard rock concert
Okanagan College Media Release

Students in Okanagan College’s Audio Engineering and Music Production certificate program are gearing up for their annual concert, which will feature two of Kelowna’s best hard rock bands, Trinity’s Tattoo and Smash Blvd.

The concert will take place at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. The all ages show is being promoted under the name Cosmic Eargasmic.

Though they don’t perform in the bands, the College students produce the show and work behind the scenes, putting their classroom knowledge to work in the real world. The Audio Engineering students will be operating the light show and a 20,000-watt sound system featuring two 32-channel mixing consoles.

It will be loud, but not too loud, and the sound will be a reasonable reproduction of the two groups new CD projects - Smash Blvd's CD is near completion and Trinity's Tattoo released their album BLUNT earlier this year.

Tickets to the show are available in advance at Select your Tickets.

For more information on the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at Okanagan College, call (250) 862-5480 or visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/cs.

180 mins to fame? Story contest pressures writers to produce
Okanagan College Media Release


Appreciating that diamonds are formed under intense pressure, Okanagan College’s English department is hoping a new three-hour story writing competition to be held next month will produce some glittering literary treasures.

“We are challenging high school and Okanagan College writers to put themselves in the hot seat for 180 minutes of pressure to produce,” said Sean Johnston, one of the English department professors organizing the contest, which will be held Nov. 20 simultaneously at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. “Having that limited time frame to work within can provide the spark that will ignite creation of a great story.”

The contest is open to all Grade 11 and 12 students and to Okanagan College students as well. Five prizes are available for the budding writers: one $250 tuition credit at each of the campuses and a prize of a $500 tuition credit for the judges’ choice of overall winner.

Johnston, who has published several works of fiction and poetry, is a firm believer that a little pressure goes a long way when it comes to coaxing the flow of creative juices. He’s participated for four years in a CBC Radio-Okanagan College poetry venture called “A Verse to Summer,” which challenges writers to take a listener-defined topic and turn it into a radio-ready poem within a week.

The three-hour writing contest will start at noon, will be conducted in Okanagan College computer labs, and will require the writers to include a phrase or prompt (that will only be revealed as the contest is about to begin) that will have to feature prominently in the stories that are developed over the three hours.

To ensure the focus of the contest is individual creativity and imagination, the contest rules also preclude use of outside sources – either online or hard copy.

Registration for the competition closes Nov. 19 at noon – those willing to step up to the challenge can register online or get more information at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting.

Career Fair offers up-close look at 21st century careers
Okanagan College Media Release

Instructors from more than 50 diverse disciplines at Okanagan College, along with an equal number of employers from throughout the Okanagan Valley, are gearing up for the largest and longest running career fair in the Southern Interior.

The 29th annual Okanagan College Career Fair gets underway Sunday, Nov. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the KLO campus in Kelowna.

Potential students curious about careers ranging from traditional arts and sciences to fields like aircraft maintenance engineering, interior decorating, or even audio engineering and music production, can meet instructors to find out more about educational pathways and career opportunities.

Visitors to this free event can also chat with experts and employers from various agencies like the National Research Council of Canada, the RCMP, Interior Health’s diagnostic imaging department, and numerous others.

“It’s great to see a lot of exhibitors from previous years come back and support the fair but it’s also great to have new exhibitors on board this year like Terus Construction and Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing,” said Career Fair coordinator Michelle Lowry. “It’s a good opportunity for jobseekers to find organizations that are actively recruiting employees and learn about educational requirements to secure such jobs.”

Back for the second year, is the popular Community Science Celebration, which takes place inside the College’s Centre for Learning, and features Science World and School District 23.

New this year will be a special outdoor Trades tent in the front parking lot of the KLO campus featuring a souped-up golf cart put together by the welding and automotive trades, plus a metal fab apron and welding trailer. Inside the welding shop itself, visitors can try out the welding trade by using a new virtual reality welding simulator.

John Haller, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, admits the current economy means there is a high level of competition for employment, but he’s equally aware that as baby-boomers enter their retirement years, there is a growing need for a new generation of skilled workers.

“The projected skills shortages are still forthcoming, which means students should be training now to meet the future demands."

Venture Okanagan provides opportunities for entrepreneurial success
Okanagan College Media Release

A new resource for entrepreneurs and the investors interested in backing them was launched at Okanagan College this week.

Venture Okanagan held its first investor forum on Thursday giving five aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a room of more than 80 potential investors and supporters.

Venture Okanagan is SIFE Okanagan’s latest business project – an angel investor forum aimed at introducing start-up entrepreneurs to early stage investors and mentors who can help them commercialize their ideas.

“SIFE wanted to give aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to the community,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, faculty mentor for SIFE. “Many golden ideas have fallen through the cracks and SIFE created this project to address the issue.”

Five entrepreneurs pitched products and services that ranged from Von Mynheer Automotive’s prototype of an electric car to Vampt Beverage Corp’s new cooler.

“Not only did the presentations look sharp, but the deals presented were very promising,” said Steve Watson, professor in the Okanagan School of Business and Chair of the Investment Review Committee for Venture Okanagan. “Prior to showcasing their ideas at the forum the entrepreneurs had a chance to gain feedback and advice from SIFE, Okanagan College faculty and other mentors and it was great to see them make use of it.”

“I am happy with what we achieved in the time we had and am keen to find out if any investors materialize from this, as networking can take time,” said Andrew Mynheer of Von Mynheer Automotive. “I am pleased that we have made it this far and I think the car received great acclaim, which we are very satisfied with.”

Other entrepreneurs who presented included Awesense Wireless providing hardware and software solutions for utility companies; VP Innovations providing environment monitoring and management services and WTFast providing software to enhance user experience in the online gaming industry.

After the presentations the College hosted a networking event that gave students, investors, and entrepreneurs the opportunity to mingle and interact.

“It was amazing to see such high energy in the room,” said Raymond Ong, Director of Venture Okanagan. “People were engaged throughout the night and I am sure a lot of connections were made.”

With the first forum now under its belt, SIFE’s newest project, Venture Okanagan, is generating excitement within the business community as it plans for future forums.

“The event was a great success,” said Raghwa Gopal, President of Okanagan Angel Network and SIFE Business Advisor. “With all the great feedback received, we can build on this and take advantage of the momentum going forward to future forums.”

SIFE Okanagan is now in its sixth year of operation and has successfully competed among some of the top universities and colleges in the country. Since its inception, the students have created an economic impact of over $800,000 and provided financial education to an array of people within the community.

For more information, www.ventureokanagan.com.

UVic Ocean Climatologist to address climate-change challenge from a BC perspective
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Tom Pedersen, Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, will present a talk in Vernon entitled: Responding to the Climate-Change Challenge in British Columbia: Science, Social Science, Politics and Opportunity, as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series, hosted by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. The talk will take place on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre of the Vernon campus of Okanagan College.

Global warming caused by human activities is happening, is scientifically well understood, and presents a serious challenge to human societies. Pedersen will explore how this challenge provides an opportunity for us to do things better, to unleash a new era of creativity, to improve the stewardship of our natural environment, and to revitalize our economy while generating new, cleaner industrial activity.

The talk will describe in lay terms the scientific underpinning of the reality of global warming, present the latest observational evidence that confirms the theory, explore mitigation and adaptation possibilities, and offer an optimistic view of a better environmental and economic future for Canada. The role the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, an endowed four-university consortium hosted and led by the University of Victoria, will also be briefly described.

Pedersen was appointed Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions in 2009. His previous positions included dean of science (2003-09) and director of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria (2002-03), and associate dean, research, for the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of British Columbia (2000-02). Pedersen holds a degree in geology from UBC and a PhD in marine geochemistry from the University of Edinburgh. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is an internationally recognized authority on ocean chemistry, has published extensively in the field of paleoceanography, and has longstanding interests in climate change issues and the application of government policy to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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

This event is sponsored by Sladen Moore Chartered Accountants, the Best Western Vernon Lodge, and Starbucks Coffee.

Women in trades recognized for excellence, perseverance
Okanagan College Media Release

Starting a career in welding just got a little bit easier for two worthy Okanagan College trades students.

Becky Mytting and Cole Reichman have both received enough tools to take their first jobs firmly in hand, in recognition of their hard work in the Women in Trades program.

Mytting was rewarded for her exceptional marks throughout the program, along with her demonstrated commitment to her studies, which required a daily commute from her home in Penticton to the Kelowna campus.

Reichman was recognized as the student who put forth the best effort in the program; the 25-year-old excelled in her studies despite losing her fiancé in a tragic mining accident one month before her course was to end.

“Definitely without teachers like Greg Wagner I never would have gotten through it,” Reichman said. “He was the most patient and perfect overall instructor I’ve ever had.”

The awards mean both women will receive a package of welding tools and safety gear worth more than $500. Air Liquide made the donation, and the Women in Trades program decided to match it so both women could be acknowledged.

“It’s basically everything they need to get started in the business,” said Air Liquide account manager Dave Smith.

“It seems to be a nice pat on the back and also prepares them to begin their careers,” said tool room attendant Alex Kortzman. “These awards have had a very positive effect in the last five years and we hope to keep them going.”

Okanagan College’s Women in Trades program is designed to assist women of all ages who are unemployed or under-employed. These two women say the program has changed their lives.

“I’ve wanted to be a welder ever since I was 17, but I could never afford to go to school,” said Reichman. “It costs a lot of money, and I was working in fast food jobs, earning minimum wage and paying the bills. It’s hard to save. It costs about $5,000 and the program paid for everything!”

For Mytting it was a case of finding a good match for her personality. After starting a Bachelor of Arts degree, she realized it wasn’t for her. She ended up working in retail and office jobs, but wasn’t seeing a real future for herself until she decided to test-run her idea by enrolling in Okanagan College’s 15-week Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program.

After checking out approximately nine trades, Mytting focused on welding which meant commuting back and forth from her home in Penticton to the Kelowna campus. But by June, she had her Level C ticket in her back pocket.

“I think the Women in Trades program is amazing,” she said. “I never could have afforded to do this. They paid for my tuition, books, tools, even my gas. I owe my entire career to them! It’s amazing what they did for me.”

Mytting is now doing what she considers to be a dream job – working as a welder at Bent and Beaten Metalcraft – designing custom gates and railings.

“What I love is being able to create something with an artistic bent – to take a piece of metal and then turn it into a vine – something you wouldn’t even expect to come out of metal. You can do anything with it.”

Reichman says her teachers always told the class women welders were greatly sought after for their steady hand, and their attention to detail.

“We are so proud of our graduates from the Women in Trades programs.” said Okanagan College program administrator Nancy Darling. “We started this initiative in 2008 and have seen 261 women enter our trades programs since that time. We are now seeing the true results of these interventions as women are becoming employed, and registered as apprentices in the Province of B.C. We are grateful to our partners at the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and the Province for the outstanding support and incredible opportunity they have provided to our students.”

The ITA Women in Trades Training initiative involves five demonstration projects, and is part of a long-term strategy to match women’s skills to the needs of B.C.’s workplace. Initiative funding is provided by the ITA, through the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Agreement between the Governments of Canada and British Columbia.

Potential welders, and other women interested in the trades, can find out more about Women in Trades by visiting www.okanagan.bc.ca/wtti and downloading the application form or contacting Jen Hamilton, Women in Trades coordinator, directly at 250-575-6194.

Okanagan gets its own Dragons’ Den
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan entrepreneurs itching to pitch their business now have a chance to do it right at home, thanks to a new program put together by Okanagan College’s award-winning School of Business and the innovative members of its SIFE team (Students in Free Enterprise).

The School has founded Venture Okanagan, which brings together veteran Okanagan entrepreneurs with fledgling businesses, and then links them up with accredited local investors.

Without a whisper of advertising, word has already spread prompting more than two dozen eager entrepreneurs to have their businesses evaluated by the team in hopes of being among the finalists selected to make a public pitch to investors at a special forum Oct. 26.

“It’s going to be an exciting event,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, professor with the Okanagan School of Business and faculty advisor for Venture Okanagan. “Everyone in that room will be both an accredited investor and someone who is committed to playing a role in supporting entrepreneurship in this valley.”

Venture Okanagan is unlike any other investment club in operation in the province. First, it’s focused on businesses from within the immediate reach of an Okanagan College campus, stretching from the South Okanagan up to the Shuswap. Second, it provides businesses with access to students who are skilled in a variety of fields from marketing to finance. Third, businesses accepted into the program gain valuable access to veteran entrepreneurs who have signed on to assist with more complex business management issues.

“What the School of Business wanted to do was find a way to support entrepreneurs who were falling through the cracks,” Myrah said. “We also knew there were people who wanted to give back to the community, but didn’t necessarily have time to provide the support required of hosting a forum and providing the ongoing mentorship. Our students fit that bill.”

Raymond Ong agreed. Ong is a fourth year Business student specializing in accounting, who decided to take a leadership role in putting Venture Okanagan together. He started off as a research assistant for the project, and is now project manager.

“From a student's perspective, the level of entrepreneurial activity that will take place is unlike anything you'd experience in the normal world,” he said. “Students that are involved will get a chance to network with the smartest entrepreneurs and investors in the valley and experience first-hand the makings of a venture capital deal.”

In setting up the program, Ong had the opportunity of being mentored by Raghwa Gopal, an Okanagan entrepreneur who launched and operated Vadim Software, the first IT company in the valley. Retired, he is now a member of Venture Okanagan’s investment review committee in charge of assessing which businesses are ready to put their names before investors.

“There’s a huge need for something like this,” said Gopal. “When I started my business 30 years ago in the valley there was hardly anything like this at all, and hardly anyone around to mentor and guide me.”

Gopal was involved in managing an angel investor group over the last few years in the Okanagan, but members quickly realized it would take the ongoing support of a group like SIFE to really give start-up businesses the lift they need. The students now do the work of organizing the various forums and intake, plus provide initial feedback and direction on the clients’ business plans, marketing plans and other initiatives.

Gopal is amazed by the success of the formula, which has already garnered the support of the Economic Development Commission of the Central Okanagan.

“This has all been by word of mouth,” said Gopal. “Thirty entrepreneurs have submitted applications. Once we have the first forum, and word really gets out, I’m sure this is going to double, even triple, in size.”

SIFE Okanagan is now in its sixth year of operation and has successfully competed among some of the top universities and colleges in the country. Since its inception, the students have created an economic impact of over $800,000 and provided financial education to an array of people within the community.

For more information, www.ventureokanagan.com.
Windsor Plywood gift to Centre of Excellence is helping build the community
Okanagan College Media Release

A $20,000 donation to Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence is an important example of Windsor Plywood’s long-time commitment to building the community, according to Doug Sudchak, the owner and manager of the Windsor Plywood Penticton franchise.

The donation is a welcome signal of how a locally owned and operated company is supporting the community and the importance it attaches to sustainability in building practices, according to Jim Henderson, Vice-President of the Okanagan College Foundation and the man spearheading a $5-million fundraising campaign for the Centre.

“Windsor Plywood has been in Penticton for more than 35 years and we know the role that Okanagan College has played here. With expanded trades training and the new programs that the Centre of Excellence will bring, we know it is going to be an even more important part of the community,” says Doug Sudchak. “We are really pleased to be able to offer this support as acknowledgement of that.”

“Over the years we’ve provided builders and homeowners with many of the materials that have gone into building this community. You could say that this donation for the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is doing the same thing.”

The $28-million Centre of Excellence promises to be one of the continent’s greenest buildings when it is complete in March, 2011. Federal and provincial investment, through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, is being supplemented by donations from the community to make the 70,000-square-foot structure a reality.

“This is an investment in the future,” says Henderson. “We know that the Centre will create jobs and benefit companies in our region for years to come.”

College contest to reward creative applicants with prizes
Okanagan College Media Release

Call it a twist on the old adage that “the customer is always right.”

This time, though, it’s the potential customer who is going to help market the product. And it’s the Communications Department at Okanagan College that has decided the people who might best be in a position to help them promote a new program – the Media and Cultural Studies diploma program – are exactly the people who might be interested in taking it.

To that end, the department has launched a contest for potential students to help promote the two-year diploma program. The contest runs until Nov. 30, and involves developing either posters or 30-second web videos to promote the program.

“We thought this would be an interesting way to communicate the fact of the program to the larger public and at the same time involve high school and college students to have them help to spread the word,” said Communications Professor Marc Arellano. “We’ve got an exciting new program with great profs, and we want to help more people understand what’s available at Okanagan College.”

All elements of the posters and videos must feature unique and original content.

Entries will be judged by a panel of three Communications professors from Okanagan College who will be looking for creativity and innovation.

“The criteria are intentionally fairly wide-open,” explained Arellano. “We want participants to dig around and find out about the program and this field of study and put their own spin on their project. Posters and videos should promote the program or how media and culture influences our lives.”

The contest is open to anyone who is considering registering full-time in the Arts program at Okanagan College next year. Participants may be Grade 12 students or adult learners who intend to study in one of the many disciplines housed in Arts at the College.

The first place winner will receive a $1,000 tuition voucher, which can be applied toward full-time studies in the College’s Arts program for the academic year of 2011/2012.

“We’re really excited to partner with Kelowna Cycle for the second and third place prizes,” said Arellano. The second place winner will receive a men’s Norco Cityglide 3 urban bicycle, perfect to cruise to school on—a $660 retail value. The third place winner will get a Lezyne AllPack backpack with hydration system—a $90 retail value.

Posters and web videos will be accepted online until Nov. 30. For more contest details, or to submit your entry, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/spreadtheword.

You can follow the contest on Twitter, www.twitter.com/OCSpreadtheWord.

Okanagan College Coyotes host inaugural breakfast fundraiser
Okanagan College Media Release

Hockey fans and supporters of Okanagan College’s intercollegiate baseball and hockey teams will have the opportunity to have breakfast with NHL Hall of Fame hockey player Glenn Anderson, all while supporting Okanagan College athletic programs.

The inaugural Coyotes Athletics Fundraising Breakfast will be held on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 7-9 a.m. at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna. The event will give members of the community and fans of the teams the opportunity to meet some of the players, coaches and find out more about the Coyotes Athletics program, while raising funds to support the fledgling teams.

The keynote speaker at the event will be hockey legend Glenn Anderson. Anderson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, represented Team Canada at the 1980 Olympics and is best known for his years with the Edmonton Oilers – where he won five Stanley Cups. He also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.

“Our athletics program is developing at a strong pace and we have attracted some first-class athletes to these teams,” said Russ Winslade, Director of Student Services at Okanagan College. “The fundraising breakfast will give people a chance to get to know more about the teams, the players and listen to one of Canada’s great hockey players.”

Okanagan College partnered with the Okanagan Baseball Society in the summer of 2008 to bring intercollegiate athletics to the College. The partnership formed the Okanagan College Baseball team, now Coyotes Baseball team, which plays in the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC).

One year later, on the heels of the successful baseball partnership, a group of Okanagan College business students formed the Okanagan College Hockey team, which competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL).

The College launched a new name and logo for its teams this year and now competes under the brand of the Okanagan College Coyotes. Both teams are responsible for covering their own operating costs and have received strong community support in the form of sponsorships. Proceeds from the breakfast fundraiser will go toward covering costs for the teams and their players in the 2010-11 season.

Tickets to the Coyotes Fundraising Breakfast are available at a cost of $100 per person or $750 for a table of eight. Contact Mike Craig at 762-5445 ext. 4754 to reserve your tickets.

Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. donation carries a pine message about sustainability
Okanagan College Media Release

A donation of pine boards from Gorman Bros. Lumber to Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence is driving home the messages of sustainability and stimulus.

A truck left Gorman’s in West Kelowna this morning carrying a donated shipment of tongue-and-groove pine boards to Penticton for the College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

“This wood comes from beetle-infested forests in the Okanagan,” explained Ross Gorman, one of the founders of Gorman Bros. “It meets the specific requirements of the College’s ambitious efforts to create one of North America’s greenest buildings, and we’re proud to support that.”

“Our company and employees share a significant belief in sustainable forest practices,” says Gorman Sales Manager Cameron Cook. “Being able to put excellent value-added product into a Centre of Excellence is a terrific fit. Helping the College meet the Living Building Challenge is especially meaningful to all of us at Gorman’s.”

“This lumber carries a very positive message,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “One of the valley’s best-known family firms is stepping up to support the Centre of Excellence at a time when we know things aren’t particularly rosy in the forest industry. This connection also points to how the local economy and local firms benefit from the investment being made in this building, in post-secondary education, and in sustainability. These are local resources being put to use, creating work for the area’s employees.”

When the federal and provincial governments announced funding for the $28-million Centre of Excellence in April 2009 under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, it was as part of the joint stimulus plan intended to spur sputtering regional economies. It’s estimated the project – due to be complete in March 2011 -will create 180 jobs.

“Support from Gorman’s is very much appreciated,” says Jim Henderson, who heads the Okanagan College Foundation’s $5-million fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence. “Collectively, we’re showing the world that this is a project that can draw the entire region together to make it happen. We’re demonstrating that environmental and economic sustainability can go hand-in-hand to create long-term capacity for education and training.”

Ross Gorman was named an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College in 2007 for the commitment he and Gorman Bros. have shown to the College through donations and scholarships and for the support demonstrated for the community.

Three local businesses to support Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Advisory

Three local businesses demonstrated their commitment to social responsibility today as they announced support for Penticton students and Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation.

Management from the Ramada Inn & Suites, Coast Penticton and Kettle Valley Station Pub presented Okanagan College with $50,000 to create student study space in the new $28-million building, which is on schedule to open this spring.

“Penticton is a close-knit community and what is good for our young people is also good for the community,” explained Gordon Ferguson, General Manager of the Ramada Inn & Suites and Coast Penticton. “Our contribution to the Centre of Excellence will go toward creating useful study space for students as they pursue their educational goals.”

Several students from Okanagan College were in attendance at the announcement and had the opportunity to express their gratitude toward each of the businesses and their owners, Janice and Robin Agur. The donation was accepted by Steve Tuck, president of the Okanagan College Foundation.

“We have had a long and productive relationship with the Agur family and the businesses they operate here in Penticton,” explained Tuck. “They are strong partners and friends of Okanagan College and their commitment to this community and its students is admirable. We are grateful for their continued support and value the services they extend to students, employees and community members.”

“Today’s contribution combined with the $66,000 raised over the years through the Ramada’s annual wine auction brings the total level of support for Okanagan College to $116,000,” said Martin Lewis, Director of Food and Beverage and shareholder for the Ramada and Kettle Valley Station Pub. “Our staff has been committed to supporting education and we are proud to be a part of the College’s growth and success.”

The Centre of Excellence is on budget and scheduled for completion in 2011 at a cost of $28-million. It is aiming to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge – the highest designation for sustainable building in North America, and one that has not yet been achieved.

The Federal and Provincial governments supported the Centre of Excellence initiative with $23-million in funding, $13-million and $9.1-million respectively, through their Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

Valley First honours former President and CEO with Legacy Awards
Okanagan College Media Release

Two Okanagan College students were on the receiving end of a generous donation made by Valley First and its employees on Thursday when they accepted the first ever Harley Biddlecombe Legacy Awards.

Valley First paid tribute to its former president and chief executive officer, the late Harley Biddlecombe, through the creation of a $100,000 legacy fund. The fund was established in honour of Biddlecombe’s passion for education and commitment to community and lifelong learning.

“Harley Biddlecombe was a tremendous supporter of Okanagan College,” explained Paulette Rennie, Valley First president. “He was extremely passionate about the pursuit of education and had a community focus that was inspiring to many. After discussions with Harley’s family, our board of directors felt a legacy scholarship in Harley’s name would be a fitting tribute to acknowledge all he did in the name of learning.”

Biddlecombe was a pioneer and leader in financial services. He served as president of Valley First for 31 years.

The Harley Biddlecombe Legacy Awards will create educational opportunities for Okanagan College students with a range of financial means now and into the future.

“The Okanagan College Foundation is honoured to offer a scholarship in the name of Harley Biddlecombe,” said Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “Harley was a great friend to Okanagan College and his legacy will extend through the disbursement of these awards.”

The $100,000 Harley Biddlecombe Legacy Award contribution is just one of many donations made by Valley First this year. Individual employees contributed thousands of dollars to the fund, which is managed by the Okanagan College Foundation.

On Thursday two Okanagan College students received the $1,500 legacy awards, which will be disbursed to students on an annual basis.

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. First West has approximately $5.6 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and more than 1,150 employees.

College's Culinary Arts students showcase talents as part of Wine Festival
Okanagan College Media Release

Residents and visitors will have two chances to check out how some of the valley’s freshest cooking talent is relating to the region’s wine industry next week as Okanagan College’s culinary arts students participate in two Okanagan College Wine Festival events.

Young chefs from the valley and students from the College’s program – established more than 30 years ago – will be putting their skills to work on Tuesday, Oct. 5 as part of a Young Chefs competition, where they will be challenged to create an appetizer, main or dessert course using award-winning fine cheeses from Alexis de Portneuf Fine Cheese Makers and matching them with wines from nine different Okanagan Wineries.

On Friday, Oct. 8 culinary arts students will be back at work as part of the Wine Festival, creating a five-course gourmet dinner that will be paired with wines from a host of area wineries, including Summerhill, See Ya Later Ranch, Gehringer Bros. and Sumac Ridge.

Tickets for the Young Chefs competition are available through Ticketmaster.ca or by calling 250 860-1470.

Tickets for Friday night’s dinner are available by calling 250 762-5445, ext. 4426. They both start at 6 p.m.

At the Tuesday event, the Okanagan Chefs Association will choose the Alexis de Portneuf Top Young Chef Award. The Quebec cheese-making firm has the distinction of having produced the world’s best cheese in 2009, an ash-covered soft-surface ripened goat cheese called Le Cendrillon.

“The challenge to make a recipe incorporating cheese from Alexis de Portneuf is very appealing to any chef,” says Willi Franz, Chef at the Grapevine Restaurant Patio at Gray Monk Estate Winery. “It is a delight that this event has been created for young chefs, wineries and the public to enjoy together. It provided further proof that our wine region is amongst the leaders in creating unique wine and food events and another reason why the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival is one of the Top 100 Events in North America.”

“So many of the students we have trained are distinguishing themselves in the region and helping develop the Okanagan’s reputation for culinary excellence, that it gives us real pleasure to be a part of the Wine Festival and to showcase developing talents,” says John Haller, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

Director of UBC Herbarium to speak about biodiversity in Vernon speaker series
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Jeannette Whitton, associate professor of botany and director of the UBC Herbarium in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, is coming to Vernon as the first presenter in this year’s Science in Society Speaker Series, hosted by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. This talk is in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity, 2010.

Professor Whitton will explore the challenging question of how can we decide which species to save when we don't know how many species we have? Her presentation entitled: Adventures in plant biodiversity: new tools, classic studies and the nature of plant species, will take place on Monday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre of the Vernon campus of Okanagan College, and will be followed by free refreshments.

Plants form the fabric of the landscape, and represent an intriguing component of biodiversity. Many plants can double their DNA content, interbreed with other species or give up traditional reproductive modes and become clonal. Examples of these unusual strategies will be used to illustrate how plant biologists use combinations of new tools and classic studies to help us understand the basic units of biodiversity. This fundamental understanding of what exists comes into play in prioritizing and evaluating species for conservation.

Whitton studies plant evolution, focusing on plants that have either very wide or very narrow breeding tendencies ­- from hybrids through asexual plants - and the factors that affect these tendencies. She received her PhD from the University of Connecticut in 1994 and was a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University before joining UBC in 1997. She currently serves as the director of the UBC Herbarium in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and as a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre www.okscience.ca or call (250) 545-3644 for advanced purchase of tickets or for more information.

This event is sponsored by Sladen Moore Chartered Accountants, the Best Western Vernon Lodge, and Starbucks Coffee.

Yvonne Moritz to lead College in Science, Technology and Health
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s new Dean of Science, Technology and Health will be bringing a broad spectrum of educational and managerial experience to her role when she starts in early October.

Yvonne Moritz is leaving her position as Associate Dean, Specialty Nursing, at BCIT to join Okanagan College’s leadership team. Prior to being Associate Dean, she was program head of Pediatric Specialty Nursing at BCIT.

Moritz’s experience is international in scope – from developing and implementing a pediatric nursing program in Guyana to helping the government establish some of the regulatory framework for pediatric nurses.

She has two master’s degrees: one in nursing and the other in adult education.

“The opportunities I see unfolding at Okanagan College are substantial,” said Moritz, who is already a resident of Peachland. “There are solid, well-respected programs in each of the these areas and I look forward to being a part of the continued success at Okanagan College as it responds to the changing educational needs of industry and the community.”

Moritz replaces Dr. Dianne Crisp.

“Yvonne is a great addition to our team at Okanagan College,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education. “She’s demonstrated a capacity to inspire and bring people together along with an enthusiasm for creating programs that meet student and employer needs.”

TELUS contributes $20,000 to promising engineering tech students
Okanagan College Media Release

For the fourth year in a row TELUS has awarded $5,000 to three of Okanagan College’s top performing Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEn) students through the Jordy Koenig TELUS Scholarship, bringing TELUS’ total contribution to Okanagan College students to $20,000.

Scholarships were presented on Wednesday in front of the largest classes of first and second year NTEn programs Okanagan College has ever seen. Troy Berg was awarded $2,500, Jeffrey Nishi earned $1,500 and Colin MacDonald accepted the award for $1,000.

The scholarship was developed in 2007 to support students who successfully complete the first year of the program on a full-time basis and enter the second and final year of NTEn. Named after one of TELUS’ own employees, Jordy Koenig, the scholarship is aimed at supporting students and more closely connecting students to employers, while helping to bridge the gap between education and industry.

Koenig, a communications and networking technologist with 30 years of service at TELUS, took a personal interest in students in the College’s NTEn program in early 2003 and has since contributed countless hours of his time working with students over the past years.

Driven by the belief that industry and training should be closely linked, Koenig spearheaded an initiative that brought NTEn students to the TELUS facility in Kelowna to gain a practical perspective on their future industry. The success of the partnership resulted in Jordy’s appointment to the College’s Program Advisory Council, a position he has held since 2004.

Taking an interest in students enrolled in NTEn has been a valuable investment for TELUS. Since they began offering the scholarship in 2007, they have hired 5 out of the 12 scholarship winners. In total, TELUS currently employs 22 graduates of Okanagan College’s NTEn program.

“In offering the Jordy Koenig TELUS Scholarship we have been able to achieve two important goals,” explained Mitch Galloway, Director of Network Assurance for the BC Interior and Island. “We are helping to ensure the existence of a solid pool of highly skilled potential employees for TELUS and we’ve been able to recognize and honour the contributions of one of our most dedicated and valued employees.”

Real Estate Foundation of BC supports College’s Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

refbcStudents who attend Okanagan College in Penticton will benefit from new classroom space dedicated to studies in sustainable building practices thanks, in part, to a generous donation of $100,000 from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

The grant was announced this afternoon at the Penticton campus by Karin Kirkpatrick, CEO of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

“Our Board has been impressed by the vision of Okanagan College and its leadership team in their pursuit of innovation and in their commitment to creating learning resources for living building technology in the Centre of Excellence,” said Kirkpatrick.

“Supporting this building and the programming that will develop as a result of the new space was a natural fit for our organization. Land use knowledge, sustainability and conservation are the driving forces behind everything we do as we seek to provide leadership in land use and work to align resources in this province.”

The six-figure donation was received by Rick and Yasmin Thorpe, Honorary Co-Chairs of the Centre of Excellence Fundraising Campaign and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

“This donation pushes the campaign total over the $1.78 million mark,” said Thorpe. “With support from community-minded organizations like the Real Estate Foundation of BC we are making steady progress in reaching the campaign’s $5-million goal.”

“It is extremely satisfying to watch as two organizations working in quite different sectors come together to pursue common goals and values such as sustainable development, conservation and education,” said Hamilton. “The key factor in this partnership is the Real Estate Foundation of BC’s strong leadership, generosity and their commitment to land use knowledge and responsible practices.”

The Real Estate Foundation of BC is a non-profit corporation that was established in 1985. Throughout the past two decades it has distributed more than $55.8 million in communities throughout BC. In the year 2009 alone, 57 grants totaling $1.48 million were approved by the Board of Governors.

The Centre of Excellence is on budget and scheduled for completion in 2011 at a cost of $28-million. It is aiming to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge – the highest designation for sustainable building in North America, and one that has not yet been achieved.

The Federal and Provincial governments supported the Centre of Excellence initiative with $23-million in funding, $13-million and $9.1-million respectively, through their Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

For more information: www.okanagan.bc.ca/centreofexcellence.
Student surge pushes College growth close to 20 per cent
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College campuses are bracing for another year of record enrolments as early registrations point to a double-digit increase in student numbers.

“We’re seeing a 19 per cent year-to-date increase in registrations,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “The pattern that has seen us grow more than 65 per cent in the last five years looks to be accelerating.”

And the rush isn’t over yet for this fall – students can still apply and register in many programs at each of the College’s four campuses until Sept. 17.

This year’s surge in student numbers will stretch the College’s lengthening record of exceptional growth, notes Hamilton. “Last year, we educated more than 8,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) students, including more than 420 international student FTEs. More than 20,000 people took courses and programs with us.

“We’re now the largest college east of the Lower Mainland and the second largest trades training institution in British Columbia. We are bigger than Okanagan University College was when it split in 2005 to become Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.”

For each of the five years since that transition, Okanagan College has outperformed provincial government targets for student spaces.

Most important, says Hamilton, is that the growth means the College is providing much-needed education and training opportunities for the area’s citizens.

“We’ve offered a growing range of programs throughout the region.”

So far, Okanagan College has registered 745 more students than it did last year at this point in the registration cycle.

Hamilton warns against putting too much stock in campus-specific numbers at this point because of differing registration patterns. Vernon, for instance, shows just a two per cent increase year-to-date over last year, but the snapshot of registrations was taken last Friday – before Vernon started registering students in one of the big program areas.

“You’ll probably see those numbers change the whole picture at Vernon,” he explains.

And at other campuses, where students in some programs were registered a week earlier than last year, there are whopping increases – as much as 53 per cent in Penticton and 61 per cent in Salmon Arm. Kelowna, with similar registration patterns to last year, showed 17 per cent.

“That’s the reason we really focus on the mid-September stable enrolment date as our reference point,” explains Okanagan College Registrar Jane Muskens. “But it is clear from the early numbers and the level of activity that it will be another year of significant growth.”

Okanagan College serves an area that stretches from Revelstoke to the U.S. border.

New programs being introduced at Okanagan College include: Studio Woodworking Certificate, Advanced Communications Certificate, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic, Domestic/Commercial Gasfitter Apprenticeship, and Domestic/Residential Certified Geothermal Technician Apprenticeship.
Okanagan College filmmaker plucks Grade A rating at film fest
Okanagan College Media Release

arellano2010 is starting to look like a bumper crop year for Okanagan College communications instructor Marc Arellano and his documentary Strange Fruit: A Changing Landscape in the Central Okanagan.

Congratulations have been pouring in since Arellano’s documentary on the local orchard industry picked up “Best Home Grown Award” at the recent Okanagan International Film Festival.

“It was pretty overwhelming, to say the least, to receive the OIFF award because it spans all genres of locally produced films,” said Arellano.

“I am so pleased that our judges rated Strange Fruit highly,” said Jason Woodford, president of the Okanagan Film Festival Society, which produces the annual festival. “It is a very worthy documentary and I look forward to seeing where he takes it next.”

It looks like the next stop will be Toronto this October. The Planet in Focus Film Festival has plucked Strange Fruit for its line-up. 
“They had heard about it somehow, and even though their program was already set, they asked me to send them some screeners. Once they saw it, they made room for it in their festival,” explained Arellano.

The Planet in Focus Film Festival, now in its 11th year, is the longest running environmental festival of its kind in the country. In 2009, the festival featured more than 85 environmentally-focused films from 25 countries.

Arellano said he’s seen a growing interest in local food security issues, with various groups and organizations contacting him about screening his film to launch a discussion, and even take action.

“I think what’s happening is that we’re building a wave of people who are recognizing how expensive it is to maintain our local food production. Food is now being used for commodity pricing and the industry is no longer looking after the interest of everyday folk. People who want to simply feed their family, are being left out in the cold.”

Arellano said it was a huge honour to be able to put his film before the board at the Okanagan International Film Festival.

“People are starting to see what an incredible festival this is, and how it’s giving new filmmakers another voice in Canada.”

Arellano’s Home Grown Award was one of many handed out at the festival.

8th Annual George Ryga Award Shortlist Announced
Okanagan College Media Release

There’s no shortage of talented writers who are grappling with the social issues of the day, as the judges for the eighth annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in B.C. writing and publishing have learned.

The George Ryga Centre, BC BookWorld, CBC Radio One and Okanagan College have announced the shortlist for this year’s George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in BC writing and publishing. In alphabetical order (writer’s last name), the top three books submitted for the award are: God Of Missed Connections, by Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood Editions), A Thousand Dreams, by Larry Campbell, Neil Boyd & Lori Culbert (Greystone), and Where The Blood Mixes, by Kevin Loring (Talonbooks).

“Once again, we received a large field of well-written submissions this year,” observed Okanagan College’s John Lent, who is among the readers assessing the submissions. The other readers are Reg Kienast, Jane Maskell, Ken Smedley and Liz Wallberg. “It’s maybe a sign of these times that this award draws such strength from the writing community, so many strong responses. If anyone ever thought writers weren’t engaging in the issues of our times, the books submitted for this award would convince them otherwise. In the end, these three books – a piece of non-fiction, a book of poems and a play – were the books that kept insisting themselves forward.”

This year’s Ryga Award’s final judge will be distinguished poet, play-write and journalist, Greg Simison, of Moose Jaw.

Simison has published three books of poetry, the last called What The Wound Remembers, hundreds of newspaper columns, and his work has appeared in numerous North American literary journals and periodicals. Currently, Simison has just completed another volume of poetry and a volume of humorous columns from his career as a journalist.

This year’s winner will be announced in the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland at a gala celebration of The Ryga Award at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, the last day of George Ryga Week. Summerland is the home of The George Ryga House and Centre and is where Ryga wrote most of his plays and novels. Excerpts from Bachinsky, Campbell and Loring’s works will be broadcast on CBC Radio One before the final winner is announced.

Last year’s winner was Steven Galloway for his novel The Cellist of Sarajevo.

Four colleges partner to advance sustainable building agenda
Okanagan College Media Release

Four of Canada’s prominent colleges are joining forces to bolster the country’s training and innovation in sustainable building technologies and renewable energy.

Ontario’s Durham College, Alberta’s Lethbridge College, Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and British Columbia’s Okanagan College recently signed an agreement linking the institutions’ training and projects that are related to sustainable buildings and renewable energy.

Under the agreement, they will work together to plan and co-ordinate program development, applied innovation projects and connections with industry and various federal and provincial agencies.

“This is a great example of co-operation among colleges across Canada which are committed to education and innovation vital to sustainability,” says James Knight, President of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. “Each college is already demonstrating leadership in its region and province. Co-operating nationally with industry and other partners will add more value to their efforts."

The agreement was born when college executives realized that an ad hoc consortium was developing as the individual institutions shared successes, approaches, and ideas with each other as they were developing programs and facilities.

“We’re working closely together with each other and with industry in this area,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “In many instances, we’re at the leading edge of new sustainable facilities and want to ensure everyone benefits from what the others are learning – and teaching.”

“A strategic partnership of this calibre is not only beneficial to the sustainability initiatives of our institutes, but to all our students across Canada,” says Tracy Edwards, Lethbridge College CEO and president. “We’re working towards having a nation of socially responsible citizens and couldn’t be more excited at the possibilities.”

“Durham College is committed to a vision that will see new opportunities for students in areas that are critical to the local, provincial and national economies with renewable and sustainable energy established as a clear priority,” said Don Lovisa, president of Durham College. “This partnership will provide an excellent platform for us to share our commitment to these sectors with other like-minded institutions and will allow us to work together on joint curriculum, new transfer opportunities, knowledge sharing and more.”

“At NSCC we value innovative ideas and actions that engage our students and our communities,” says Don Bureaux, NSCC Acting President. “We are committed to the development of advanced skills training and applied research that create sustainable building and energy solutions; a commitment that is strengthened through partnerships with respected institutions that share our passion.”


Okanagan College’s role in advancing sustainable building technologies is exemplified through two projects currently underway involving the institution.

The first is the $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation in Penticton, British Columbia, while the other is the internationally-focused Resource Positive Architecture Project, which draws on $500,000 funding from the Federal government and matching amounts from Okanagan College and its partners, and forms part of Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

The Centre of Excellence is a leading-edge sustainable building project that will be a net-zero energy consumer and which incorporates a host of innovative and sustainable design and material elements. The project is registered as part of the Living Building Challenge, which is the most advanced measure of sustainability in the building environment.

The Resource Positive Architecture project is a joint partnership between Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science & Technology Council but includes architects, engineers, universities and colleges from around the world. It builds on existing domestic and international agreements between all Asia-Pacific Partnership countries to share research on green building envelope design (including walls, roofs and foundations).

For more information about the Centre of Excellence visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/centreofexcellence.

For more information about the Resource Positive Architecture project visit: http://resourcepositive.com.

Vernon Woman Picks up a Hammer at Okanagan College and Nails Down Her Future
Okanagan College Media Release

A 20-year-old Vernon woman is making concrete decision about her future, thanks to enrolment last year in Okanagan College’s innovative Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program.

The 300-hour program, which gets underway this year on Sept. 20th, inspired Krystle Babott to enter carpentry this year at Okanagan College where she will be nailing down her future prospects with more hands-on training and practical experience in the construction field, including working with concrete.

“As carpenters in B.C. we do framing, we do roofing, and concrete, so that means I’m going to be learning how to make concrete stairs,” says Babott.

This time last year Babott had no idea whether a career in trades was for her, but she was willing to take the plunge after her mom spied an ad in the local paper. When she learned tuition fees and even the tools themselves would be covered, she couldn’t resist.

“I never would have been able to do this program if it hadn’t been for that. I didn’t have any money saved at all,” she said.

Within months Babott, who previously spent time working up north putting together pre-fabricated buildings, got her hands dirty tackling skills as varied as plumbing, carpentry, and installing electrical boxes.

“We got to build a model house, a shed, complete with outlets and everything. It’s encouraging. It feels good to know you’re a woman and can still do things like that,” she says.

By the end of the program, Babott was hooked, and ready to nail down a career in carpentry. This fall, she’s enrolled in her second year of the Women In Trades program.

Babott represents exactly what the Gateway program is all about – a chance to whet students’ appetites with experience of a variety of trades, before they decide to officially hone their trade skills with a certification program. It’s a formula that’s working.

John Haller, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, says nearly 200 women have taken part since the program’s launch in March 2009.

“Women continue to be under-represented in the trades according to the labour market analysis. The Gateway program gives them a chance to try out seven to eight trades and go from there,” he says.

Funded through the Industry Training Authority with assistance from the federal government, the program has become a great success, says project manager Nancy Darling, especially for its target group: underemployed and unemployed women.

“They may be women who have been out of the workforce for a couple of years, older workers, or even workers who were laid off in related fields,” Darling says. And when it comes time to finding that job, there’s help there too. The United Food and Commercial Workers have come on board to assist with the job search process, as has the B.C. Construction Association, and women themselves.

“We now have a cluster of mentors for the women – ladies working in the trades who have agreed to help these women navigate the waters once they’re ready to enter the job market.”

“It’s so inspiring to see women who may be nervous or have low confidence and within a matter of months they’re totally confident and have a developed skill set that they can then use to build a better life for themselves and their family,” says Haller.

Interested women can learn more about this innovative program at the Women In Trades Information Session, which takes place Monday, August 23 from 5:30-7 pm in room D314 at the Kalamalka campus in Vernon.

The program covers a wide-range of trades including, but not limited to, carpentry and joinery, electrical, plumbing, drywall/painting, insulating/vapour barrier, roofing/flooring and automotive.

There’s still time to enrol in the 10-week long (300-hours) fall session, which gets underway Sept. 20th at the Vernon Trades Centre. Eligible students include women who are unemployed and/or underemployed adults and not currently receiving Employment Insurance benefits (EI).

Manning and Nahal join College Board
Okanagan College Media Release

There will be two new faces at the Okanagan College Board of Governors table when it convenes again this fall.

The B.C. Government has appointed Doug Manning and Dr. Sunddip Nahal to the Board for one-year terms, commencing July 31.

manning1Manning is an educational consultant and is the former CEO, president and director of Bridges.com, North America’s leading provider of career and educational planning solutions. He’s also the current Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Okanagan College.

Nahal is a teacher with School District 83 in Salmon Arm and an educational consultant. She’s also the co-founder of ilearn BC School Society and has a Doctor of Education degree in leadership and administration from the University of Phoenix.

nahal“I am really honored to be appointed as a board member for Okanagan College,” said Nahal. “I look forward to taking my educational experiences and serving the board with my continued passion for change in education and being involved in the interesting changes and innovative practices of the college.”

"Okanagan College has shown great growth over the past five years,” said Manning. “I am looking forward to working with the Board to continue development that benefits the students and employers in our community."

“Both Doug and Sunddip have significant experience in education and serving students. We’re looking forward to the contributions and perspectives that Doug and Sunddip can bring to our Board,” said Lance Kayfish, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “The Board will have an important role to play as we continue our pattern of success and continue to move the College forward with projects such as the Centre of Excellence in Penticton.”

Okanagan College now serves approximately 60 per cent more full-time equivalent students (8,095) in 2009-10 than in 2005-06. More than 20,000 individuals received education or training at Okanagan College in 2009-2010.

Manning’s and Nahal’s appointments come as board members Paul Johnson and Jane Lister complete their terms on the Board. Both were appointed in November, 2005.

Kayfish and William Cooke were both reappointed by the government for three-year terms. Other Okanagan College Board members are Phillippe Bourbeau, Michael Conlin, Rick Gee, Brian Hughes, Andrew Nelson, Yvonne Pinder, Lianne Rozniak, Tom Styffe, Jim Hamilton and Loretta Swite.

New advanced certificate program at College aims to get the message across
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will offer a new program this fall to address a growing demand by employers and professionals for enhanced communication skills.

Starting in September, the Advanced Certificate in Communication will help students develop professional writing and public relations skills, and offer education in management communication, writing for marketing, and visual communication.

An information night will be held at 7 p.m. July 27 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus, (Rm. E202 in the Centre for Learning) to explain the program and address questions that prospective students might have.

“This will interest people who already have post-secondary credentials and who can appreciate the need to develop further communication skills to advance their careers or meet employer needs,” explains Sharon Josephson, Chair of Okanagan College’s Communications department. “At a time when our world is caught up in an ever-increasing number of communication channels and challenges, it’s important to build the skills to communicate through the clutter.”

“It’s not enough to know the message you want to communicate, you need to know how to express it succinctly, effectively, and directly to the audiences who need to hear it.”

Admission requirements for the Advanced Certificate in Communication program include having completed 60 credits of post-secondary study in arts, science, business or engineering technology. (60 credits is equivalent to two years university education.)

“Really, this is aimed at people with degrees, associate degrees, and most college diplomas,” explains Josephson. “A qualified student could complete the requirements for the credential in less than a year of study, but the program really caters to people whose careers or lives lend themselves better to part-time studies. And those students who already have credits in first-year Communications or English can apply some of those credits toward the Advanced Certificate.” Six courses—18 credits—are required for graduation.

“If they have the right credits in English or Communications, they may only have to take four courses to complete the Advanced Certificate,” says Josephson.

Those interested in the Advanced Certificate can find out more by visiting www.okanagan.bc.ca/acc.

West Kelowna student finds support from Thorpe & Friends
Okanagan College Media Release

West Kelowna resident Danielle Hofer will have help pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Okanagan College this fall, thanks to the generosity of former MLA Rick Thorpe and his wife Yasmin John-Thorpe.

hoferthorpeHofer is the 2010 recipient of the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship. The Mount Boucherie graduate was selected for the scholarship based on her academic standing, educational pursuits and outstanding community contributions.

The $2,500 scholarship was established to support students from the west side of Okanagan Lake, from Penticton to Killiney Beach, who enrol at Okanagan College in a range of studies including: business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism, trades, technologies, English or creative writing.

Hofer will attend Okanagan College this fall to study business. The Okanagan School of Business was especially appealing to Hofer because of the opportunities for students to work closely with community and in student organizations such as Students in Free Enterprise.

“I am very interested in social entrepreneurship and I know there are great opportunities to specialize in this field at Okanagan College,” said Hofer. “My ultimate goal would be to one day work for the Canadian Red Cross and use my business training to implement programs, systems and support for health care and education around the world.”

Hofer has already gained experience working abroad. She, along with classmates from Mount Boucherie, worked on a campaign to raise funds for a village in Kenya to provide better access to potable water, medical services and education. The 18-year-old traveled to Kenya this year to provide feet on the ground for the project.

“I am really very grateful to be receiving this scholarship,” said Hofer. “I plan on doing great things with my education and am thankful that Rick and Yasmin Thorpe see the potential in me.”

FortisBC contribution energizes Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign
Okanagan College Media Release

FortisBC is supporting the establishment of Penticton’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation with a $50,000 donation to create dedicated classroom space for students entering the technologically challenging electrical apprenticeship program.

FortisBC Inc., a Canadian-owned electric utility with 14 field offices throughout the Southern Interior, has a longstanding relationship with Okanagan College since 1992.

John Walker, President and CEO of FortisBC and Terasen Gas Inc., made the announcement in Kelowna this morning in front of dozens of electrical apprentice students.

Over the years, the company has helped the Kelowna campus save more than 1.3 megawatts, or 5,808,839 kwh of energy — enough to power nearly 450 homes for a year. They’ve also provided more than $600,000 in energy efficiency rebates.

“We are proud to support Okanagan College in creating a sustainable building technologies and renewable energy conservation campus,” said Walker. “Our community investment strategy supports projects that promote electrical trades, literacy, leadership and safety.”

The company’s pledge of $50,000 establishes the FortisBC Electrical Apprenticeship Classroom.

“FortisBC is the latest of a host of organizations that have recognized the value in supporting the Centre of Excellence,” said Steve Tuck, president of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We have bee fortunate to partner with FortisBC in the past and this new development is a very real indication of their commitment to this region and its future.”

FortisBC’s contribution has helped push the Okanagan College Foundation’s fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence over the $1.52 million mark.

The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is playing a pivotal role in shifting the perspective of Canada’s construction community, demonstrating that going “deep green” on an institutional project doesn’t mean having to pay a premium.

The Centre is being built with the investment of $22.5-million from both federal and provincial governments, along with a further $5-million from the Okanagan College Foundation and donors such as FortisBC.

CHBA South Okanagan invests in the future

Okanagan College Media Release

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of the South Okanagan understands the importance of investing in the future.

That’s why the group recently announced a $10,000 donation to Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation along with an annual $3,000 contribution to fund awards for students enrolled in Residential Construction programs at the Penticton campus.

“Our board and members view this contribution to Okanagan College and its Centre of Excellence as an important investment in the future of our youth and of this region,” said Doug Carnegie, Treasurer of the CHBA South Okanagan and Commercial Account Manager for Valley First. “Investing in students and in the construction of the Centre of Excellence will deliver a large payback to our local economy.

“We will all benefit from this large expansion of Okanagan College. The Penticton campus will be able to offer a wide range of courses in Arts & Sciences, Health, Business and specialized trades. In addition to making education more affordable there will be more employment opportunities.”

With a strong focus on environmental sustainability and innovation in construction, the Centre of Excellence project aligns well with the value and goals of the CHBA South Okanagan, said Carnegie. The CHBA’s Built Green program is also aimed at reducing the building trades’ environmental impact. Carnegie points to new innovative trades training programs, such as the College’s new geothermal technician, as another way the College is addressing industry change and progress.

“We recognize the value of the support and strong partnership we have built with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of the South Okanagan,” explained Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “Their recent contributions will have an impact on the success of the Centre of Excellence and will be felt on a very personal level by the students who will receive the new CHBA South Okanagan Bursary.”

Students who are residents of the South Okanagan and Similkameen and are enrolled on a full-time basis at the Penticton campus in either the Residential Construction or Carpentry Level One apprenticeship programs will be eligible to apply for the bursary. The recipient will be determined based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need and the bursary may be split to assist more than one student per year.

“Our members are always looking for well-trained employees and we are aware that not every student is able to meet the financial challenges that come along with post-secondary training,” explained Carnegie. “It is our hope that the CHBA South Okanagan Bursary will assist students in achieving their goals and will further develop the strength of our work force and skilled tradespeople.”

The Centre of Excellence is being built with the investment of $22.5-million from both federal and provincial governments, along with a further $5-million from the Okanagan College Foundation and donors such as CHBA South Okanagan.

GM Canada revs up program with donation
Okanagan College Media Release

A donation of a dozen prototype engines by GM Canada is helping ensure that Okanagan College’s auto service technician program fires on all cylinders.

The donation – 12 non-saleable 5.3-litre V8 engines – was unveiled this month at the College’s Kelowna trades training facility.

“We believe this to be an important investment in future auto service technicians,” said Tom Odell, Technology Planning Manager for GM Canada. “Giving students the opportunity to research and understand current engine technology using a hands-on approach clearly provides a rich learning opportunity.”

The engines will be used by second-year apprentices at the College, explained John Haller, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“We rely extensively on industry support of our programs, and GM Canada has been a leader on that front. Their donations of cars, engines and other materials have helped our apprentices and entry-level trades people for many years.”

“A challenge for us – and one that industry expects us to meet in our role as trainers - is to ensure that our apprentices leave Okanagan College with an education in current technology,” said Al Cohoe, chair of the Motor Vehicle Trades Department at the College. “There was a big smile on my face when GM called to let me know about this donation and I can assure you that students are eager to get their hands on these engines.”

Canadian Navy Partnership with College Steers New Course to Technology Diploma and Naval Career
Okanagan College Media Release

Early one morning late last month, Chantel Boychuk was doing what most college students do after completing a grueling first year of intense study: enjoying well-earned sleep.

The phone call that woke her was welcome and expected. It was the Canadian Forces recruiting centre letting her know it was full steam ahead with her enrollment in the navy. The bleary eyed student was about to become Ordinary Seaman Under-Training Boychuk.

What this means, under the Non-Commissioned Member Subsidized Education Plan (NCM SEP), is the Canadian Forces will be picking up the tab for Chantel’s last year of her two-year Electronic Engineering Technology diploma including books, tuition and any necessary equipment or tools while providing her with a salary of $37,000 for the year. She receives full medical and dental coverage and all of her time in school qualifies towards a military pension. Further, she gets to enjoy 20 days of paid vacation this year, which is standard for all members of the Canadian Forces.

“It was great news,” said Chantel, who is among the first students at Okanagan College to take advantage of an “all expenses paid” technical education offered by the navy. She started the diploma program without prior knowledge of NCM SEP and only became aware after a presentation made by Petty Officer First Class Mike Babcock in September, 2009.

“As the navy’s recruiting and attractions coordinator for both British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, it is my primary duty to inform the public of these fantastic opportunities to serve in one of the most professional and respected navies in the world ” said Petty Officer Babcock.

As a member of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Electronic Engineering Technology program was recently accredited as meeting the necessary criteria for NCM SEP through the Canadian Forces College Opportunities Program quality control process.

“I saw it as a real opportunity,” said Boychuk.

The arrangement with the Canadian Forces means that, after Chantel graduates next spring, she will be promoted to the acting rank of Leading Seaman with a starting salary of over $65,000 for the year. It’s simple: for every month of subsidized education, the navy asks for two months of obligatory service, explained Petty Officer Babcock.

Her brief period of employment to 2016 will give her the opportunity to travel around the world in a state-of-the-art warship gaining a unique set of skills, forging life-long friendships, and experiencing a wide variety of cultures and places.

“We know that our graduates and co-op students have many career options and opportunities,” said Gary Schwartz, Chair of the Electronic Engineering Technology department. “This relationship we have with the Canadian Forces opens another door for them.”

The two-year electronic engineering technology diploma program provides the theoretical and practical knowledge required to understand the design and operation of analog and digital electronic systems. NCM SEP graduates will build upon this core body of knowledge with a further six months of intensive navy-specific, “class-of-ship” pneumatics, electronics, and hydraulics training delivered in either Halifax or Victoria.

Okanagan College’s Electronic Engineering Technology program is nationally accredited at the level of Engineering Technologist by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB). Graduates may also apply to bridge into engineering degree programs offered by the University of Victoria or Lakehead University.

Students who want to learn more about the Electronic Engineering technology program at Okanagan College can visit the department’s website at www.okanagan.bc.ca/electronics. To learn more about NCM SEP visit the CF website at: www.forces.ca/html/subsidizedtechnicaltraining_en.aspx

World-class speakers explore innovative architecture that improves environment
Okanagan College Media Release

Imagine a world where buildings don’t take from the environment, but give back to it.

Once found only in the world of science fiction, new innovations are emerging through the combination of technological developments, engineering and architectural design. The result is buildings that breathe, respond to the environment by automatically reducing consumption, and even create new energy sources.

“What we’re seeing now is that buildings can be resource positive, they can actually be alternative energy sources,” says Douglas MacLeod, Associate Dean, Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College, which is hosting two of the most cutting edge designers in the brave new world of architecture.

The free public presentation – The Future of Architecture – takes place June 15 at the College’s Kelowna campus lecture theatre from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and features Canadian architect Philip Beesley and British living architect designer Dr. Rachel Armstrong.

Beesley is the recipient of Canada’s highest award for architecture – Prix de Rome – and director of Waterloo Architecture’s Integrated Group for Visualization, Design and Architecture. Most recently, he was chosen to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale in Architecture, the world’s most prestigious architectural exhibition.

His devotion to both artistry and sustainability has resulted in an impressive portfolio that includes the headquarters for Greenpeace, the Toronto Dance Theatre and School, birth centres, playgrounds, and health care centres.

His innovative contribution is what he calls “responsive architecture” where, among other things, buildings are designed to sense light and moisture and respond accordingly to the environmental changes. (See his YouTube video on TED: www.youtube.com/watch?v=onQkV8egGAI)

“These are buildings that respond in the same way to the environment as shutters and shades do – they detect light and adjust themselves accordingly. It’s not only practical, but artistic. It’s beautiful work,” says MacLeod who crossed paths with Beesley many years ago while at the University of Waterloo.

Also taking part via video-conference is Dr. Rachel Armstrong, one of the world’s most dynamic, and unconventional sustainability thinkers and designers, who is taking part in Moses Znaimer’s Ideacity conference taking place concurrently in Toronto. Armstrong agreed to jump on board the College summit on the invitation of Beesley.

Armstrong is a living architect designer and teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, England. Currently she is working with scientists on sustainable solutions that have wide-ranging implications for the future such as paint that absorbs carbon dioxide, solar panels that generate fuel (perfect for overcast Okanagan winters) in hopes of creating what she calls metabolic materials that would enable architecture to change over time, becoming part of the evolving environment rather than imposing itself upon it.

“She’s really going to stir up the audience. We need people who think outside the box,” MacLeod says.

This presentation is part of The Resource Positive Envelope Design mini-summit June 14-15, funded in part by Environment Canada. The summit has attracted architects and designers nation-wide including from Dalhousie University, McGill, Ryerson College, and the University of Calgary, and reflects the high-level work being done at Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence building in Penticton.

The summit is a joint presentation of Okanagan College, the Okanagan Institute and the Okanagan Science and Technology Council (OSTEC).

2010 Grad Ceremonies at Okanagan College

Okanagan College Media Release - June 3, 2010

Evening Commencement kicks off
graduation weekend for Okanagan College

Herb Wong isn’t your typical trades graduate. At 46 years of age Wong left behind a 25-year career in accounting and financial services to begin an electrical apprenticeship at Okanagan College.
With his 50th birthday just around the corner, he’ll deliver a message to his fellow graduates at Okanagan College’s Trades Commencement, encouraging them to be persistent, learn from their mistakes and continue to follow their passion, no matter what age.
“I’ve always been strong in mathematics and am an analytical thinker,” explained Wong. “I just wasn’t satisfied in my previous career so I made the change and enrolled in trade training at the height of the construction boom in 2006. Even though the economy has slowed down, I’ve been with Kal West Contractors in Vernon for a few years and am very satisfied with my new career.”
In a new BC Labour Market Outlook Report issued recently, there will be demand for an estimated 1,460 electricians in the Okanagan College region between now and 2019. Wong is just one of the 800-plus trades students from Okanagan College who will be recognized this weekend, responding to the pending demands of the economy as they enter the workforce.
Over the course of two days and in three ceremonies, Okanagan College will confer credentials to more than 1,150 students. The weekend celebrations begin with Trades Commencement on Friday evening, where the College will recognize more than 800 entry-level and apprenticeship trades students.
This weekend’s ceremonies are just three of Okanagan College’s 12 Convocations throughout the year. Graduates from the Vernon campus will be recognized in ceremony in Vernon on June 28. The Kelowna campus will host a Summer Convocation for vocational and continuing studies graduates on June 29. Throughout the year the College also holds a Winter Convocation and graduates six intakes of Practical Nurses at individual Convocations.
The KLO campus will be bustling with activity throughout the day on Saturday as it hosts two ceremonies for graduates. The morning Convocation at 10:30 will recognize graduates of programs in Engineering Technology, Trades Technology Teacher Education, Arts, Science, Media and Cultural Studies, Criminal and Social Justice as well as the first graduating class of Human Kinetics.
In an afternoon ceremony that begins at 1:30, the College will confer degrees, diplomas and certificates to graduates of Business Administration and Commercial Aviation programs.
In total, Okanagan College will confer 365 credentials on Saturday (100 degrees), 196 Diplomas, 60 Associate Degrees, and 9 certificates.
The morning ceremony will recognize 2010 Honorary Fellow Peter Haubrich, President and Founder of the Okanagan Research and Innovation Council, as well as the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Service Award, former Regional Dean of the Shuswap Revelstoke region, Lynda Wilson.
During Saturday afternoon’s Business Convocation Gray Monk Estate Winery’s owners Trudy and George Heiss will receive their Honorary Fellow distinction.
College’s new studio program will appeal to those with a passion for woodworking
Okanagan College Media Release

Where are the lines between technical talent, craftsmanship and artistic undertaking when you’re working with wood? There isn’t a clear answer, but for those who want to explore where those lines blur, Okanagan College is introducing a new program – the first of its kind in B.C.’s interior.

Studio Woodworking, a 35-week program, begins this fall at Okanagan College, and encompasses a wide range of woodworking disciplines. While the program is not an apprenticeship, students completing the program will get credit for Cabinetmaking Level 1 from the province’s Industry Training Authority. That can be applied toward a Cabinetmaking Apprenticeship.

“This is a program for people who have a passion for woodwork,” explained instructor Tim Diebert, who boasts 30 years experience in the woodworking industry. His work includes custom guitar making, boat building, custom furniture, yacht interiors, millwork, movie sets, and staircases and balustrades.

“It will appeal to serious hobbyists who just want to gain some new skills or turn their passion into a business. It will also appeal to people who want to find a career in the woodworking business and for those already in the business who want to further their skills.”

Those who are interested in the program can learn more about it online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/studiowoodworking and can also attend a special information session, being held June 12 at 10 a.m. in the shop that will host the program at the College’s Kelowna Campus.

While promotion of the program is just ramping up, already there is interest from across the country, explained Diebert.

“It’s understandable. If you want to learn about woodworking and have to move somewhere to do it (there aren’t very many similar programs in Canada), then the Okanagan is a great attraction.”

Topics covered through the intensive course include everything from identifying and using different types of solid woods, to joinery techniques using both power and hand tools. Students will also learn how to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, will be introduced to computer-numeric-controlled (CNC) machining, and learn about veneering, finishing, marquetry and inlay techniques.

The curriculum will also help students develop some of the business skills they might need if they are considering starting their own shop, said Diebert.

For more information interested students can contact Diebert via e-mail at tdiebert@okanagan.bc.ca or call (250) 862-5457.
Support continues to pour in for Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

One of B.C.’s pioneering companies in the trades field has put its support into the establishment of Penticton’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

Andrew Sheret Limited, a B.C.-based 118-year-old plumbing and heating company, has donated $50,000 to create a dedicated classroom space for students entering the technologically challenging plumbing apprenticeship program.

“This demonstrates the industry is stepping up to support the Centre of Excellence,” said Steve Tuck, president of the Okanagan College Foundation. “Andrew Sheret Limited is a company that really recognizes the significance of this project and the training it will provide. That’s a strong endorsement.”

The president of Andrew Sheret Limited, Brian Findlay, says his company has benefitted over the years from the training and education provided to students who attended Okanagan College. The company’s donation to the new Andrew Sheret Plumbing Apprenticeship Classroom reflects that relationship.

"In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for qualified trades people, Okanagan College is building a strong reputation in providing the necessary training,” Findlay said. “We have been very impressed with the quality of the trades education and the training these men and women are receiving at Okanagan College.”

The Okanagan College Foundation has been actively seeking donations as part of its campaign for the Centre of Excellence project at the Penticton Campus.

“This donation is a significant contribution to our College and will support the training and education of the next generation of leaders in sustainable technologies,” said Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College.

The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is playing a pivotal role in shifting the perspective of Canada’s construction community, demonstrating that going “deep green” on an institutional project doesn’t mean having to pay a premium.

The Centre is being built with the investment of $22.6-million from both federal and provincial governments (as part of the Knowledge Infrastructure Project), along with a further $5-million from the Okanagan College Foundation and donors like Andrew Sheret
Former Dean honoured for distinguished service
Okanagan College Media Release

 Lynda Wilson
Okanagan College’s former Regional Dean of the Shuswap-Revelstoke region will be honoured at the 2010 Spring Convocation with the distinguished service award.

Lynda Wilson will be recognized for her dedication to Okanagan College, its students and staff, as well as for outstanding service to her community on Saturday, June 5 in Kelowna.

Wilson joined Okanagan University College in 2000, taking on the role of Regional Dean. She spent a decade at the helm of the region and carries much responsibility for the growth and development of the campus.

While under her direction, the Shuswap-Revelstoke region of Okanagan College benefitted from expanded dual-credit programs for high school students, new trades programming in Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, Business diploma and certificate programs, ECE, Human Service Work, and health programming, including Home Support Resident Care Attendant and Practical Nursing.

With a mission of transforming lives and communities, Okanagan College’s distinguished service award is only bestowed on deserving individuals who contribute exceptional service to their community. Wilson is the first person to receive the award from Okanagan College.

Wilson is the President-Elect of the Shuswap Rotary Club, a past director of the Salmon Arm Downtown Improvement Association, a past director of the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and a past director of the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce. She was also named Salmon Arm Business Person of the Year in 2006.

Upon her retirement from Okanagan College she joined the Okanagan College Foundation, where she serves as a Board Director.

“It gives me a great deal of pleasure to recognize Lynda Wilson for her outstanding commitment to Okanagan College and the people of the Shuswap-Revelstoke region,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “She was a tremendous colleague, leader and a great friend. This award is given out with the utmost care to those who exemplify Okanagan College’s mission statement and Lynda is an extremely deserving recipient.”

The Distinguished Service Award will be presented alongside Okanagan College’s 2010 Honorary Fellow awards. Wilson will receive her award at the morning ceremony on June 5, during which time Peter Haubrich, founder and president of the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre, will receive his Honorary Fellow distinction.

Gray Monk Winery’s founders George and Trudy Heiss will be Honorary Fellows at the College’s afternoon Convocation ceremony on June 5. Dorothy Tinning, a former mayor of Penticton, will be named Honorary Fellow at the Summer Convocation on June 29.

SIFE Okanagan exits nationals with more hardware than any other team in the nation
Okaangan College Media Release

The competition was fierce, the presentations nearly flawless, and after two intense days at the SIFE National challenge in Calgary, Okanagan College is bringing home seven national awards – more than any of the other 53 teams in attendance.

Okanagan College’s Green Team won first place in the country after presenting to a panel of industry experts on a variety of community-minded sustainable projects that included partnerships with the Kelowna and Vernon Chamber of Commerce and Glenmore Elementary. The efforts of Kelowna’s Sattu Dhaliwal, Kevin Slater and Braydon Ouellet and Vernon team members Graham Moir and Megan Annand solidified the reputation of the fledgling team from Okanagan College as one of Canada’s top performing business institutions.

Green Team captain Sattu Dhaliwal said the win is a direct reflection of the support Okanagan College business students receive from their school and their communities.

“What we were able to demonstrate at this competition is that we stand up for our communities,” explained Dhaliwal. “We take every opportunity to create change and put our social entrepreneurship education into action.

“Last year when we made it to the finals, the advisors from Ryerson didn’t even know who Okanagan College was. Just one year later we are national champions in the Green Challenge. What is really important about this win is the impact our volunteer work has had in our communities because an award is nice but knowing that our team helped make this community more sustainable is very powerful.”

The Green Team win was just the first of a series of successes for the College.

In Financial Literacy, Okanagan College earned second place behind Ryerson University – the overall winners of the National competition. Projects executed by the team included mentorship of Young Entrepreneurs, consultation to Therapy Vineyards and credit management and educational program delivery to Bridges Youth Mentorship in Kelowna. Team members were from Kelowna: Travis Fleming, Jennifer Stefansson, Jeff Tassone, Raymond Ong and Vernon - Shawn Miller.

Okanagan College also won the Campbell’s Soup Can Hunger project, which charged Canada’s SIFE teams with collectively raising 100,000 pounds of food for local Food Banks. Okanagan College collected in excess of 36,000 pounds of food – more than a third of the national goal. As a result of the national win, executives from Campbell’s Soup will visit Okanagan College later this year to meet with students and administrators about the success of the initiative.

Third-year Kelowna business student Matthew Cosar earned the David Henderson Bursary for Entrepreneurial Leadership in recognition of his strong team leadership.

Okanagan College faculty were also singled out with awards. Faculty Advisors Sheilagh Seaton (Penticton) and Garth Maguire (Vernon) earned the John Dobson Ace Fellow awards for 2010. Garth is a founding advisor to SIFE Okanagan and is credited with building the success of the Vernon campus’s SIFE team. In 2009-10 SIFE Okanagan expanded to the Penticton campus and was led by instructor Sheilagh Seaton.

At the final awards ceremony Okanagan College received an unexpected but highly coveted award for the Most Supportive Campus Administration. Okanagan College received a standing ovation as President Jim Hamilton, Board Chair Lance Kayfish, Dean Jayne Brooks and Chair David Northcott took the stage to receive the award – evidence of SIFE Okanagan’s network of support from the institution.

“The support our team receives from Okanagan College is unlike any other institution,” explained Dr. Kyleen Myrah. “I am often asked how we are able to generate the kind of support we receive because other schools want to be in a similar position. This award is very significant and is generally handed out to top teams. No one was more excited for our administration to win this award than our students – they recognize the level of support they receive and understand just how crucial it is to their success.”

SIFE Okanagan’s national presentation team advanced through a challenging first round of the competition and entered the semi-finals as the top-ranked team from their pool, finishing ahead of teams from the University of British Columbia, St. Lawrence College and Mount Saint Vincent University. After an outstanding semi-final presentation, the team of Brittany Sjoblom (Vernon), and Kelowna’s Melissa Veregin, Deepak Garcha, Matt Cosar, and Aman Sandhu finished in the top 10 in the country.

“It was a huge thrill to support our SIFE team at nationals,” said Kayfish. “The fact that our students either set the standard or performed on par with the very best in the nation is a huge source of pride. Still, perhaps the most impressive part of the SIFE competition was hearing what our students are doing to make a difference in the Okanagan and beyond. Our SIFE students are truly changing lives and communities.”

SIFE Okanagan has been operating in Kelowna for five years, Vernon for two years and transitioned into Penticton for the first time this year. With a mission of bringing positive change to the Okanagan Valley, the students develop projects that utilize their unique skills such as entrepreneurship, financial literacy, credit management, marketing solutions, sustainability and ethics.

Global curiosity, interest in policy leads Okanagan College Arts student to Ottawa
Okanagan College Media Release

22-year-old Okanagan College Arts student Matt Hall has turned an interest in politics and policy into a rare opportunity on the national stage.

Hall will join 99 other young Canadians from across the nation in Ottawa from May 15 to 19 as part of the National Youth Ambassador Caucus. The Caucus is being hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Western Economic Diversification Canada. At the Caucus the youth ambassadors will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and other government, business and community leaders. While in Ottawa, the students will put their negotiation and leadership skills to the test, as only 26 youth Ambassadors (two from each province and territory) will be selected to participate in the Summits in June 2010.

Curiosity and ambition has led Hall to this remarkable opportunity – it helped propel him past the first phase of the National Youth Caucus and led him to request an interview with the Hon. Stockwell Day, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla. Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister to the Asia Pacific Gateway, sat down with Hall on April 28 to discuss how Canada is going to reap the benefits of our growing economy and how the federal government is going to sustain it.

Among the G7 Canada has the highest predicted growth rate, the lowest ratio of debt to GDP, and the soundest banking system in the world. Canada has an opportune chance to distinguish itself in the world economy. How will the Conservative government maintain and grow that success? Day’s response to Hall was succinct: “keep taxes low, keep regulation common sense and help our businesses do what they do best – that's to be innovative and be productive.”

“British Columbia is the gateway to the Asia-Pacific,” says Hall, “and on the flip-side it is the porch of the Canadian market for the economies of that region.” Gold and Silver medals of economic growth in the Asia Pacific region and the world economy respectively go to China and India. As the global financial crisis crippled the United States and while its demand for British Columbia's wood industry plummeted, it did not fall as far due to an increase of demand in China. Canadian trade reports show that China, the world's largest exporter, has become our third largest trading partner.

These emerging markets are not only “looking for Canadian products, but also Canadian talent – Canadian expertise,” says Day. “In China we're promoting everything from construction companies who know what it is to deal with cold weather construction and also how to save energy.” In a May 6th article called “Canada’s Resilient Economy,” The Economist outlines how our nation has experienced a “commodity boom” from China's growing appetite for raw materials.

Junior Team Canada, and MY SUMMIT 2010 are administered by Global Vision, a national non-profit organization that was founded in 1990 by Terry Clifford. The programs provide Canadian youth, ages 16-25, with the skills, experience and knowledge necessary to become the new generation of global leaders. Junior Team Canada has led missions to over 20 countries, with the most recent being to Malaysia in February 2010.

Hall, who characterizes himself as an eager student and seasoned world traveler, has an opportunity to represent British Columbia interests by being on the cusp of a Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia this fall. Diligence in research and dedication to Canada's prominence will aid him while addressing Summit issues such as Maternal Health, Food Security, and Nuclear Proliferation and possibly guide him in finding businesses that can benefit from the FTA – if he is selected (if he can attract more media attention).

For more information on Global Vision and its programs, please visit our website at www.globalvision.ca.

Medal count at seven as College brings home hardware from Skills competition
Okanagan College Media Release

In a collective show of trades and technology expertise, seven Okanagan College students earned medals at the Skills Canada BC provincial competition held in Abbotsford in late April.

Okanagan College won a gold medal in carpentry, three silver medals in the fields of Automotive Service, Welding and IT PC Network Support, and three bronze medals in: Automotive Service, Automotive Collision Repair and IT PC Network Support.

 Tim Dorn and Devon Hamilton
Despite an hour-long power outage that left drills, saws and PCs shut down, Okanagan College competitors were able to demonstrate their practical knowledge and skills in their chosen fields. Okanagan College’s Devon Hamilton dominated the carpentry challenge, winning a gold medal and qualifying for the national competition.

“Devon’s careful planning and execution set him apart from the competition,” said coach and instructor Tim Dorn. “While others started building their structures immediately, Devon put careful thought into the project then began cutting all of his pieces. Once he was finished cutting it was just a matter of assembling his project, which was performed extremely well.”

When he’s not at Okanagan College completing his training, Devon apprentices at Gux Construction where he is mentored by Okanagan College alumnus Jace Albrecht, a red seal carpenter who won the very same competition in 2008.

“Devon is a hard worker with a great attitude,” said Gux Albrecht, owner of Gux Construction. “His success is a result of the excellent training he has received and also due to his great skills – I’m lucky to have two of the top carpenters in the province working for me.”

The power outage came at a critical point for competitors in the IT PC Network Support challenge. Okanagan College students Jeff Nishi (silver) and Sasha Golin (bronze) had backed up their work and were able to demonstrate their competency despite the setback.

Their instructor Nolan Fretz was not surprised by his students’ final standings. Nishi and Golin are both standouts in the College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology diploma program. The demands of the program leave little time for preparing for competition – students take six courses per semester – but the heavy schedule prepares them for the real world of engineering technology.

“There is really no need for the students to prepare for these kinds of challenges, we ensure the course work covers everything they will need to know to troubleshoot real-world issues,” explained Fretz. “I am very proud of their success at the competition, it is another important gauge of their learning and ability. We hear feedback from employers that our students come to them job-ready and this is another indicator of that preparedness.”

 Brad Oakes
In the Automotive Service challenge Darrell Snow earned a silver and Jesse Gervais won bronze. Jonathon Perrault won a bronze for his work in the Automotive Collision Repair challenge and Bradley Oakes took home a silver in the Welding competition.

“We are very proud of the successes of our apprentices,” said John Haller, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “They are excellent ambassadors for our programs and College and the outcomes serve as a reminder that we have some of the best trades persons in the province and the country.”   
Community contributions diverse from College honorees
Okanagan College Media Release

TinningS HeissS  HaubrichS
 Dorothy Tinning     
 George and Trudy Heiss          
 Peter Haubrich

EDS: To download a high resolution image, click on Honorary Fellow's photo

Four prominent Okanagan residents – a woman who traded local politics for the world of art, a pioneering wine-making couple, and an innovator focused on building high-tech industry in the region – will be honoured by Okanagan College at its convocation and commencement ceremonies this spring and summer.

Dorothy Tinning, a former mayor of Penticton, Gray Monk Winery’s founders George and Trudy Heiss, and Peter Haubrich, the founder and president of the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC), will be made Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College at ceremonies in June.

“Each of these individuals has contributed to the cultural, economic or social development of our region and we’re pleased to recognize their commitment and to acknowledge that they are role models worth emulating,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

Tinning is an accomplished artist who has focused a great deal of her art on the Okanagan and First Nations influences. She served a term as Mayor of Penticton as part of her seven-year involvement with the municipal council, and has served as chair of the South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Advisory Committee of Okanagan College. She will address the Summer Convocation graduating class (June 29).

“I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition from the College,” said Tinning. “I have known many of the students at the Penticton campus through my involvement as an educator with the Okanagan Skaha school district, and that kind of connection creates something very special. There is a feeling that the community supports Okanagan College like never before, with the new Centre of Excellence coming on stream.” 

The Heisses are recognized as pioneers in the B.C. Wine Industry – they moved to Okanagan Centre in 1972 to establish Gray Monk Estate Winery and Vineyards, and were among those who helped push for a new era in B.C. wine production, with the advent of the Vintner Quality Alliance (VQA) program. The 20 acres they purchased in 1972 has grown to 100 acres of land growing premium vinifera grapes.

The Heisses will receive their Honorary Fellow medals during the afternoon ceremony of Spring Convocation (June 5), where they will address the graduating business class of 2010.

“It is really our privilege to be honoured as Fellows of the College and it is very humbling for George and I because we certainly did not expect this,” explained Trudy.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to speak with the graduates and impart some of the knowledge we have acquired over the years. It certainly hasn’t been an easy road – we started with nothing and worked very hard to achieve our success. We feel it is important for the graduates to understand that dreams are very important but it takes a lot of hard work to turn those dreams into reality.”

Haubrich is a well-known contributor to the high-tech industry in the Okanagan, who immigrated to Canada from Germany where he directed four research and development labs for SONY. Starting with the first incubator at NRC-DRAO, he has helped ORIC develop a second high-tech incubator in Kelowna and is currently at work establishing one in Penticton, which will be housed on Okanagan College’s campus.

He is a past board member of the Okanagan Science and Technology Council, a board member of the Okanagan Partnership, vice chair of the IEEE Okanagan sub-section and is a founding member of the Okanagan Innovation Fund.

“I am very pleased and honoured to receive this great recognition from Okanagan College,” said Haubrich. “The start-ups in our high-tech business incubators are creating job opportunities for graduates and I hope this will motivate them to stay in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Together we are building an entrepreneurial eco-system for the Okanagan that gives more graduates a chance to start their own successful venture and contribute to our economy.”

Haubrich will be honoured at the morning ceremony of the Spring Convocation (June 5).

The 2010 Honorary Fellows join colleagues: Robert Fine, Barbara Marchand and Charles Armstrong (2009); Jeannette Armstrong, Ken Harding, Richard Cannings, Robert Cannings and Sydney Cannings (2008); Ken Smedley, Lorraine McGrath and Ross Gorman (2007); Mike Roberts, Lois Serwa and Albert Baldeo (2006).
College to honour two outstanding alumni
Okanagan College Media Release

A highly-regarded B.C. painter and a musically-gifted young educator have been named the two recipients of Okanagan College’s 2010 Alumni Association awards.

Lee Claremont, whose vibrant Aboriginal artwork is held in both private and public collections around the world, is receiving the Distinguished Alumni award. She is a graduate of Okanagan College’s Fine Arts diploma program (1989).

Ryan Donn who many know for his musical talents, is a graduate of the College’s Human Service Work diploma program (2003) and now works as a certified education assistant. Donn is the recipient of the Association’s Young Alumni award.

Claremont entered the College in her late 30s as a single parent set on becoming a graphic artist. But she couldn’t resist her passion for paint and canvas and the College soon gave her the hands-on studio time she craved. A member of the Grand River Iroquois Six Nations, Claremont’s work took off, and she’s since become an internationally respected First Nations artist and distinguished Aboriginal Arts educator working at the renowned En’owkin Centre in Penticton.

She’s received the Aboriginal Arts Development Award in B.C., the Angel Award for her extensive contribution to visual arts in the valley, and was voted best artist in the Okanagan by public opinion poll five years in a row.

On May 5, Claremont’s work will be celebrated in a documentary airing at 4 p.m. on Bravo TV’s series From the Spirit. The half-hour feature follows Claremont’s life from her childhood growing up in Woodstock Ontario, to today.

Claremont said it’s hard to believe how her life is turning out, and wants to encourage other women to never give up on their dreams, no matter what their age.

“I just kept going, and just kept working. I owe a lot to Okanagan College. I feel thankful to them. I feel I should be the one honouring them.”

Donn shares Claremont’s enthusiasm for the College and what it did for him – well beyond the task of getting a degree.

Donn says he entered the College’s Human Service Work program in search of a bigger and better career working with children. But what he found was something that inspired him to develop his career in an even more powerful way.

“My instructor Michael Douglas gave us this mantra,” said Donn. “What he said was: ‘your job is to increase people’s quality of life.’ And that stuck with me in my first job as a CEA (certified education assistant), but then I decided to apply it to everything.”

Donn has spent seven years transforming lives at School District 23, and incorporating his passion for music into everything he does. He’s released two CDs of his music, crafted and performed original material for the 19th annual BC Student Leadership Conference held in Kelowna in 2009, and toured the valley with his rousing message to students about maintaining hope and fulfilling dreams.

“What’s ironic is that when you’re focused on increasing other people’s quality of life, you get a lot more out of life that way,” Donn said.

This year’s two highly creative recipients exude exactly what the College aspires for all its students – personal and professional success, and commitment to community.

“Both award winners exemplify the attributes of successful alumni and are extremely worthy recipients of the Alumni Association awards,” said Kara Kazimer, president of the Okanagan College Alumni Association.

Claremont and Donn will be honoured by the Okanagan College Alumni Association at a gala dinner reception later this year.

Colin Snowsell pens genre-bending novella
Okanagan College Media Release

Kelowna-based literary publisher and cultural collective, The Okanagan Institute, announced the official release of its second book, a novella entitled The Frollett Homestead.

A ghost story, lamentation for a lost country, and a work whose humour belies its sharp and sustained critique of the modern world, The Frollett Homestead marks the fiction debut of Colin Snowsell, a professor at Okanagan College who is already being hailed by Caterina Edwards, Winner of the Writers Guild of Alberta’s 2008 Wilfred Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, as a “full-blown talent.”

“What struck me right off the bat about Snowsell,” said Robert MacDonald, Publisher of The Okanagan Institute, "is that there is nobody in the country writing like he writes. Not only that, but in terms of literary ghost stories, there never has been anyone in the country who writes like this. It was amazing to me, in the first place, to learn that anyone anywhere was actually attempting this sort of Edgar Allan Poe kind of stuff. It’s more amazing that on his first try, Snowsell’s got it exactly right. ”

Snowsell, who teaches courses on media and cultural studies at the College, has published a range of popular and scholarly essays, mostly on popular culture, in national magazines such as Maisonneuve and This Magazine, as well as in popular online sites such as PopMatters and Rhetor: Journal of The Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric.

“Already respected as a sharp, sly observer of present-day pop culture, Snowsell reveals himself here as an expert spinner of tall tales and mind-twisting historical mysteries. The Frollett Homestead pulls you in with skill and charm, and I finished it longing for more of its ineffectual journalist hero, Allan Mow, and his world in which newspapers and crusty old country folk still matter. This little book is a genuine delight," writes Will Straw, co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Rock and Pop.

Snowsell is the fourth generation descendant of Edwin and Felicia Snowsell, pioneer settlers of the Okanagan Valley who arrived in Kelowna in 1925 and whose family owned and operated orchards throughout Glenmore. In 2010 Kelowna City Council honoured Edwin Snowsell and his descendants by renaming a segment of Glenmore Drive as Snowsell Street. His chapbook, “On Apples,” which documents his Okanagan roots, was published in February of this year.

Snowsell’s story is not set in any specific place, but it honours through distortion this pioneer legacy.

“The Frollett Homestead is a joy to read: a puzzle, a ghost story, and a psychological study. It is both amusing and thoughtful, challenging our expectations and simple understandings,” writes Edwards.

The Frollett Homestead is available for purchase from the Institute’s web site, okanaganinstute.com, and will be released officially May 6, 2010. It is published in a limited edition of 500 copies, numbered and signed by the author.

Snowsell will read from his novella at each of the three scheduled launch parties, which will also feature an art exhibit of the photos of Canadian Press Photo of the Year Winner Kelowna Daily Courier photojournalist, Gary Nylander, which accompany the text:

· Bohemian Café, Kelowna:
    Thursday, May 6, 5 p.m.

· The Kalamalka Cafe (at the Okanagan College campus), Vernon
    Wednesday, May 12, 5 p.m.

· Hooked on Books, Penticton
    Tuesday, May 18, 5 p.m.

Arts students to Stand Up Make Noise about global poverty
Okanagan College Media Release

After getting a taste of international politics at the Canadian International Model United Nations (CANIMUN), Okanagan College Arts student Lucille Murray-Dixon is preparing to bring a similar event to the Okanagan.

Murray-Dixon attended CANIMUN in Vancouver on March 10 -13 with a team she handpicked for success.

She and Okanagan College classmates Pat Brown, Craig Whipple and Jacek Gabanowich are the first students to represent Okanagan College at the model UN conference. The team had less than a week to become experts on issues such as human rights, food crisis and nuclear proliferation.

Each of the College students represented a different country. Team leader Murray-Dixon represented her native land of South Africa while teammates Brown, Whipple and Gabanowich represented Canada, the United Kingdom and Poland, respectively.

“I was so proud of our team from Okanagan College,” said Murray-Dixon. “We demonstrated a great deal of poise on the world stage. Where we really shone was in our ability to problem-solve, co-operate and think critically. The confidence we brought forward in our public speaking allowed those skills to come through and resulted in an incredible three days of learning.”

One of the major themes that came out of the conference was the various nation representatives’ concern about global poverty and hunger. As a result, the team from Okanagan College has proposed to bring a day of action to Kelowna to address these issues. September 18 will be Stand Up Make Noise – a public awareness campaign to shed light on the issues of world poverty and hunger.

Murray-Dixon plans on involving students from Okanagan College, as well as middle and secondary students from within the region.

“I feel like a fire has been lit in me and I am so motivated to spread that passion with anyone who shares a similar interest in these important world issues,” she said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the model UN and I plan on working to ensure this momentum does not slow down.”

A part-time student at the College, Murray-Dixon is volunteering a considerable amount of time to plan for the day of action in September. The event will be carried out in conjunction with the global campaign Stand Up Against Poverty: www.standupagainstpoverty.org.

Trades training expansion brings Welding to Princeton
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College is offering a new intake of entry-level Welding Level C in Princeton and is currently accepting applications for the program, which begins Aug. 9 and runs through Jan. 28, 2011.

The training will be offered in leased classroom and shop space in the community and is open to anyone who completes the admission requirements, including Secondary students, providing they fulfill course planning requirements as outlined by School District 58.

“This training development is a direct response to a need expressed by the community,” explained Randy Werger, Associate Dean Trades and Apprenticeship. “We have had a great deal of success operating this program in other communities and anticipate the program will go a long way in providing access to educational opportunities for residents of the South Okanagan.”

Prospective students can apply online, in person at the Penticton Campus or can mail their application to the College. Paper applications are available at the Work Zone and at the Princeton Skills Centre.

The number of registered students is limited to 16 – anyone interested can contact the College for more information: www.okanagan.bc.ca or 250-492-4305 ext. 4288.

College business students golden at California competition
Okanagan College Media Release

A global recession and stock market crash were just two of the obstacles overcome by a team of Okanagan College business students to earn the honours of Top Company and Top Report at the 46th annual International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition in California last week.

The business simulation competition charges teams of post-secondary students from across North America with the challenge of creating a business product or service and then beginning with a share price of one dollar, the teams run their businesses, making decisions for the company over 20 quarters in a two-and-a-half month time period, which represents five years in the real world.

Ryan Rotariu, Asia Snook, Kim McIntyre and Michelle Plamondon ran their business, Taboo Apparel, more effectively than any other team, including top performers from the University of San Diego, San Jose State University and California State University - Long Beach.

Their product, bamboo briefs, ended with a share price of $56.61 – the next closest team’s product finished the competition at $12.54. As a company, Okanagan College’s Taboo Apparel earned the highest net income ($6.95 million in its last year alone), had the highest market share (29.2%) and produced the lowest unit cost.

Despite the global recession, during which the market was down 40 per cent – Taboo Apparel’s share price appreciated from $31 to $56.

Faculty Advisor David Cram noted that of the 16 teams in competition, Okanagan College’s team was the only group who did not earn course credit for the competition.

“I think it really speaks to the level on interest and the passion our students have for business,” explained Cram. “They have worked tirelessly on this project and represented the College with the utmost professionalism. After celebrating their win, they returned home immediately to write final exams.”

Cram also had the opportunity to speak with one of the judges, a successful CEO who witnessed the team’s presentation.

“He told me that of all of the presentations he has sat through from real CEO’s and their executive team, the Okanagan College team’s presentation would rank in the top 25 per cent,” said Cram. “He also wanted to know when he could buy their product.”

South Okanagan learning partnership signed
Okanagan College Media Release

A new partnership in the South Okanagan between School District 67, Greyback Construction, the Penticton Indian Band and Okanagan College will bring training opportunities for students and new facilities for the Penticton Indian Band.

The 2010 Home for Learning project will see 12 students in the College’s Residential Construction program work under the supervision of Greyback Construction and an Okanagan College instructor to build an office structure in conjunction with Westhills’ Aggregates.

School District 67 will work in support of one of its students who will take the dual-credit program while completing Secondary School graduation requirements.

Representatives from each of the partners met in early April to sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

“We have had great success with our Home for Learning projects,” explained Randy Werger, Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “A key contributor to that success is the strength of our community and industry partnerships. This program is a win-win for everyone involved, especially the students who have the ability to learn in a practical and applicable way. We value our working relationships with the Penticton Indian Band, Greyback Construction and School District 67, which make these kinds of projects possible.”

After spending six weeks in class learning about safety, tool usage and carpentry principles the students went on site April 12 and will work to bring the building to lock-up stage. Once their class is finished, in mid-July, Greyback Construction will complete the project.

Students involved in the project receive technical training credit for Residential Construction Framing Technician and for level one carpentry at Okanagan College.

Business students turn matchmakers for fundraiser
Okanagan College Media Release

A group of students in Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) are putting their heads together to create a fun event for young, local singles by combining the a few of the things they know best: business, networking and dating.

Seven Wines Seven Dates will be held on April 30 at Manteo Resort and offers a new twist on speed dating. Fifty-six singles (28 women and 28 men) between the ages of 19-30 will spend the evening sipping local wines while meeting new people.

Eight singles will be seated at one of seven tables, complete with four ladies and four gentlemen per table. The challenge at each table will be to correctly guess each of the seven different wines being served. Participants will move to different tables at approximately 15-minute intervals where they will be seated with a new group of people. After the festivities are over, the group will head downtown to Flashbacks Nightclub for an after-party with free admission.

“This event is intended to create a buzz among youth in the valley and showcase just how great our local wines really are,” said organizer Jeff Tassone. “We anticipate this event will fill a void for young singles who are looking to meet new people. We also want to encourage participants to become familiar with our local wines and support the industry.”

Tickets are available at a cost of $45 per person and are available by calling 250-878-9883 or emailing sevenwines7dates@hotmail.com. All proceeds from the event will go to support Okanagan College business students who will be competing for national honours at the 2010 Students in Free Enterprise National Competition in Calgary.

Strange Fruit to be screened in Vernon
Okanagan College Media Release

When Marc Arellano started producing his documentary film, Strange Fruit: A Changing Landscape in The Central Okanagan, he had no idea it would strike such a powerful chord with residents in the Okanagan.

Public interest in the film has led Okanagan College to hold a screening at its Vernon campus on Friday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m.

“I could see that the tree fruit industry was in the midst of a transition, but I didn’t anticipate other factors like the rice shortage of 2008 and the ‘buy-local’ movement to catch on so early and strongly,” explained Arellano.

Thinking local, Arellano decided to focus his documentary on the major pressures affecting local food production: land, labour and water. The ALR, the use of Mexican migrant workers and water management will define the direction of agriculture in the valley for the next five to 25 years.

“There’s no escaping it,” said Arellano, “there are no easy issues left when it comes to agriculture or development in the Central Okanagan. I think my documentary is simply a point of departure for a crucial conversation that our community needs to engage in.”

The full-length film, which has been selected for screening in the Okanagan International Film Festival in July, will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Joe Sardinha, President of BC Fruit Growers’ Association; Dave Dobernigg, local orchardist and Arellano, professor of communications at Okanagan College and film-maker.

“Food sovereignty is a top issue with people these days because we can finally see that the science and economics that have supported the green revolution can only go so far. If there is a real food shortage in the world because of war, natural disaster or geo-politics, how are local communities going to be able to support themselves?

“If you ask some European countries to give up their food sovereignty, they’ll just laugh at you and it’s because they experienced real starvation just after WWII. They know the value of local food production.”

Admission to this event is by donation with proceeds being split between the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan (FASNO) and the Okanagan International Film Festival.

The film will also be screened at a fundraiser event in Kelowna at The Habitat on May 7 at 6 p.m. For more information about the May screening, visit: thehabitat.ca.

En’owkin and College partner to support learners
Okanagan College Media Release

The En’owkin Centre and Okanagan College are strengthening their working relationship.

The organizations signed a Memorandum of Affiliation (MOA) on Tuesday that will serve to formalize the institutions’ partnership and joint efforts to provide access to education and training opportunities for learners in the region.

The College and En’owkin Centre have been engaged in collaborative work since the College’s creation in 2005. The MOA agreement will serve to enhance the institutions’ working relationship, creating a Joint Affiliation Committee, which will research, advise and develop new courses, programs and resources for learners.

“Today’s signing marks a step forward in our relationship with Okanagan College,” said Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Executive Director of the En’owkin Centre. “We share a common goal of providing education and training for the people of this area and are in a position to take a lead role in developing programming with a focus on Okanagan Indigenous content that respects the region’s culture, identity, ecology and history.”

As a result of the new agreement, students will benefit from reciprocal laddering opportunities between the two organizations. Furthermore, Okanagan College will have greater access to the En’owkin Centre’s expertise in Okanagan Indigenous knowledge and learning systems. The En’owkin Centre will also have access to the College’s expertise in learning, teaching and research.

“In formalizing our relationship with the En’owkin Centre we will be in a position to better serve our learners, particularly our Aboriginal learners,” explained Yvonne Pinder, Vice Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “Community partnerships such as the one we have built with the En’owkin Centre are at the heart of Okanagan College’s values and its mission to transform lives and communities. We have a great deal in common with the En’owkin Centre and share a mutual respect that will serve to enhance our College and the opportunities for students.”

The terms of the agreement will go into effect immediately; both organizations are currently working together to research and develop new programming for the South Okanagan in the area of Applied Conservation.

New Dean comes geared for business
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s new Dean of Business Administration and Commercial Aviation won’t have trouble finding her way around when she settles into her new role on June 1.

Dr. Heather Banham is currently an Associate Dean in the Okanagan School of Business and has been a professor and administrator for 18 years. She previously served as Acting Dean in 2006-07.

Banham will replace Dr. Jayne Brooks, who has served as a Dean since 2000.

“We’re excited to announce the selection of Heather as the new Dean,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President of Education at Okanagan College. “Applications were received from candidates across the country. The students and graduates from the Okanagan School of Business have a very successful track record and Heather has been an integral contributor to that success.”

Banham earned her Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and also holds a Master of Business Administration in International Management from the Asia Pacific International Graduate School of Management. She is also a Certified General Accountant and a member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants.

Her experience spans the public and private sectors and includes both general and financial management in industry and public enterprises. In 2007-08 she led a provincially-funded project focused on providing human resource management tools and information to British Columbia’s small business sector. She has been actively engaged in building international relationships between Okanagan College and business schools in Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

“The outlook for the future of business education shows tremendous potential and the opportunities for program graduates with their employable skills and knowledge, continue to grow. The reputation of the students for both excellence and participation is also expanding,” said Banham. “The programs and the graduates are highly regarded throughout the region. A great deal of credit for the success and reputation of the School lies with Jayne and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to build on that success.”

Donation pushes Centre fundraising campaign over $1.45M
Okanagan College Media Release
A $150,000 donation from the BC Wine Information Society has pushed the $5M Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign over the $1.4 million mark. The Society announced its gift at a special celebration held March 31. 

 Jim Henderson (left) with Jim Hamilton
“This is an extraordinary gift from an extraordinary group of people,” according to Okanagan College president, Jim Hamilton. “The Society has proven once again that they are committed to doing what is best for the community. Their donation will go a long way in supporting our students by creating study spaces, recreational facilities and providing the latest in equipment and technology.”
BC Wine Information Society Board President, Keith Bevington, says the Society’s donation reflects the importance it places on the College and in particular, what the Centre of Excellence will bring to the area.

“The Centre of Excellence will increase the opportunities for more people to study and stay in the area. The College’s viticulture program has already proven to be an enormous asset and the new programs offered through the Centre will benefit even more businesses.”

Established in 1996, the Society operates the VQA Wine Shop, the first VQA store in BC, located in the Penticton & Wine Country Visitors Information Centre and returns the profits to the community for wine education and awareness. It also promotes BC wines and wine tourism in the Okanagan. In 2006, the Society established two College awards and today it presented its Bursary Award, given to a full time student entering the Viticulture Certificate Program at the Penticton campus, to Nick Thompson of Penticton. Its Scholarship Fund is awarded to a student who has completed their studies in the Winery Assistant Certificate Program at the Penticton campus.

The Society’s donation to the Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign will help create more opportunities for more students through expanded and new programs. The additional space provided through the Centre opens the door for more than 500 new students to study and train in the South Okanagan while surrounded by the encouragement and support of family and friends. It is anticipated that when they graduate, most will continue living in the area, boosting the economy and increasing business opportunities.

Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign chair, Jim Henderson, calls the Centre a showcase and says it already has boosted the area’s profile.

“Our fundraising campaign is aimed at the latest technology that will take the Centre to the next level in green construction, energy conservation and sustainability,” said Henderson. “Our graduates will be job ready for the marketplace and will use their education to build and create new business opportunities in fields that are becoming increasingly important in our world.”

The Centre of Excellence is on budget and scheduled for completion in 2011 at a cost of $28 million. The Federal and Provincial governments supported the initiative with $23 million in funding, $13 million and $9.1 million respectively, through their Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The College has committed to raising the remaining $5 million through its fundraising campaign.

With one year left in the fundraising campaign, the eleven-member Centre of Excellence campaign executive committee is aggressively seeking donations to hit the $5M total. For more information and to donate visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/centreofexcellence or call 1-888-650-6968.

College’s wooden warriors - champs on the field
Okanagan College Media Release

When it comes to medieval mechanisms that can fling things accurately at targets, Okanagan College students are proving themselves modern masters.

On March 27, a team of five Civil Engineering Technology students from the College won the top team award in the performance category at the Wood WORKS! BC/Canadian Wood Council’s annual Wood Design Competition held at UBC Vancouver. Team members were Tyler Weise, Patrick D’amour, Scott Juniper, Corey Konkin and Chris Pieper.

In the performance category, the team beat out 10 other teams including four teams from UBC Vancouver, two teams from BCIT, one from Camosun College, one from North Island College, and a team of Mechanical Engineering Technology students from Okanagan College.

This was the third time in the past four years that an Okanagan College team has won on the field of battle. (Camosun College took top prize in the qualifying division, in which teams contributed written reports about their siege engines and presented to a panel of judges.)

Okanagan College’s five Civil Engineering Technology students also brought home a new award for team spirit.

“We were the only team that had a cheer,” said Pieper, in his first year of the two-year Civil Engineering Technology program. The cheer reflected the team’s name: Lignum Lightning.

“I was surfing the Internet and discovered the Latin word for wood is lignum,” explained Pieper.

The team had many chances to chant their cheer: they hit the targets (placed at varying distances from their all-wood catapult) more than any other team: 22 times versus 17 for the closest competitor.

“We also set a new record for consecutive hits on the furthest target – six times on the 45 metre target,” said Pieper. Okanagan College’s winning team scored 1,100 points on the field, while the second place team (North Island College) managed 880.

In terms of hitting targets, the competition itself also achieved what the organizers – the Canadian Wood Council – wanted it to: make tomorrow’s engineers and engineering technologists pay more attention to wood as a building material.

“Definitely, that message was really driven home,” said Pieper. “The report we had to prepare on our trebuchet (the particular type of catapult the students built), and the questions the judges asked us really made us think about different kinds of wood, and how they respond to different pressure and stresses.”

The trebuchet the students built was completely wood – no screws, bolts or other metal – except for the leather pouch that contained the two-pound balls that had to be flung. There was a concern about the difference in humidity between the Okanagan and Vancouver, but Pieper said the team had anticipated that and met the challenge.

“This is a valuable learning experience – it’s putting theory to work,” explained Tom Guenther, Chair of the Civil Engineering Technology department at Okanagan College. “The students used a catapult computer program for predicting projectile motion and put a lot of effort into designing, refining, building and practicing -- it was rewarding to watch that hard work pay off.”

The support from instructors and fellow Okanagan College students who had competed in the past was valuable, noted Pieper – and he intends to provide whatever mentoring he can to next year’s competitors.

Equally appreciated was the support and patience shown by friends and family: Pieper’s uncle in Armstrong provided the wood that made the trebuchet possible.

“And we spent a lot of time on the project too,” said Pieper. “I estimated we put 300 man-hours into construction and practice.”

Host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks coming to Vernon
Okanagan College Media Release

Bob McDonald, award-winning science journalist and host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks, is coming to Vernon as the fourth and final presenter in this year’s Science in Society Speaker Series, hosted by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre.

McDonald will explore the evolution of scientific ideas in a presentation entitled: Everything you know is…wrong! Great leaps in scientific thought.

The presentation will take place on Monday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Vernon’s Performing Arts Centre.

McDonald will present an historical look at science through the eyes of those who changed our view of the Universe as well as our place in it. What can the evolution of scientific ideas tell us about our current understanding of science and the world around us?

“From the Ancient Greeks who first measured the size of the Earth, through Galileo's view through the telescope, Darwin's perspective on life through time has found time and again that we're not as smart as we thought we were,” said McDonald.

“Today, we still find ourselves shrouded in ignorance as we search for dark matter, dark energy and other mysterious material that makes up most of the universe.”

McDonald is the recipient of many awards, including the Canadian Science Writers, Columbus International Film Festival and has been honoured by the Ontario Association of Environmental Educators.

Based on his work in the field, McDonald has received the triple crown of Canadian science medals: the Michael Smith Medal for Science Communication from the National Research Council, the Sir Sanford Fleming Medal for science promotion from the Royal Canadian Institute and the McNeil Medal from the Royal Society of Canada.

He is the recipient of four honorary doctorates from the University of Guelph, Carleton University, Laurentian University and McMaster University. McDonald was also the recipient of a 2008 Gemini Award for Best Host in a Pre-School, Children's or Youth Program or Series.

The Science in Society Speaker Series is presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students (plus gst), and may be purchased from Ticket Seller. For more information, visit: www.okscience.ca.

This event is sponsored by Sladen Moore Chartered Accountants, Canaccord Wealth Management, Canadian Federation of University Women (Vernon Branch), Michele Blais and Sandra Bradley of Good Neighbour Network Remax and Summit Environmental Consultants.

Search for Registrar leads back to the College

Okanagan College Media Release

A nation-wide search for a new Registrar at Okanagan College has led the institution to one of its own employees.

Jane Muskens is starting immediately as Okanagan College’s Registrar. She is a 17-year veteran of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College. For the past seven months she has been serving as interim Registrar. Before that she was the recruitment and events manager at the College.

“Jane’s educational background and her energy and enthusiastic commitment to improving the student experience impressed the committee,” explained Steve Koehle, the College’s Vice President of Students. “She distinguished herself among a group of candidates from throughout Canada’s post-secondary sector.”

The Registrar’s role is an important one for the College. Key responsibilities include student admissions and registration, course timetabling, issuing official credentials and serving as custodian of student academic records. Okanagan College served more than 19,000 students last year. The Registrar also works closely with the College’s Education Council.

Muskens holds a Master of Science in Education, with a specialization in enrolment management, from Capella University.

“I’ve seen many changes at Okanagan College and OUC over the years,” said Muskens. “That pace has accelerated dramatically in the last five years and I know it is not going to let up. But what has to remain constant is our focus on serving students and making it easier for them to enrol in the programs and courses they want.”

Muskens has been writing a column on post-secondary education for the past three years for Black Press, called “School’s In.” Last year, she led a project that created an interactive web-based introduction to post-secondary education for Aboriginal students. That project was highlighted at an international conference in Tucson, Arizona, where Muskens was a presenter.

Recently, as interim registrar, she led development of a new Okanagan College website for prospective students: www.okanagan.bc.ca/becomeastudent.

College Owns the Podium at business competition
Okanagan College Media Release

In a display of business competition dominance, Okanagan School of Business students owned the podium at the 21st Annual BC Business Simulation Competition, cleaning up in the team and individual categories winning 14 out of a possible 16 gold medals.

The College hosted the annual competition, which included teams from Langara College, Camosun College, College of the Rockies, College of New Caledonia, and Medicine Hat College in two divisions, senior (third and fourth year degree students) and sophomore (second year).

Twelve judges, each with notable industry experience, lent their time to the thee-day competition, evaluating the anonymously numbered teams and offering feedback to the budding business professionals.

David Crawford, Principal of Capri Intercity Leasing in Kelowna, was one of the judges for the competition; he has been judging similar competitions for the past three years and was immediately impressed by the Okanagan College team.

“They were so superior that it was incredible,” said Crawford. “They took it very seriously and were standouts in their professionalism, passion, execution and decision-making. They were clearly the front runners.”

In the three team competition categories Okanagan School of Business students won gold in: Best Communications (senior and sophomore), Top Financial Performance (sophomore) and Top Team (sophomore). Okanagan College rounded out its team medals with silver for Top Team (senior) and a bronze in Top Financial Performance (senior).

In addition to overall team strength, several individuals from Okanagan College were singled out for their strong performances. Second-year marketing student Shanna Stoesz earned the title of Top Marketing Officer (CMO) and credits the School of Business’s program and industry-savvy professors for her success.

“I’m very proud of our team and especially the sophomore team,” said Stoesz. “We swept the competition, earning gold in every sophomore team division and that is a credit to the strength of Okanagan College and our professors. They have industry experience and work hard to prepare us for the real world of business. That really comes through in these kind of competitions.”

In the individual sophomore medal categories Okanagan School of Business students won all the gold medals: Abbie Norris (Top CEO and Top CHRO), Anora Antoine (Top COO) and Daniella Hallam (Top CFO). Senior individual gold medals went to: Matt Cosar (Top CEO), Katie Hartman (Top CMO), Sattu Dhaliwal (Top COO) and Marlia Kostka (Top CFO). Matt Cosar won also won a silver medal for top CHRO.

“We were very pleased to host other teams and judges at the Okanagan School of Business,” said competition organizer and professor Rick Appleby. “The outcomes were fantastic and our students represented themselves and the region with the utmost level of professionalism. Mel Kotler, one of the senior division judges, told me he was very impressed by the level of business knowledge and skills demonstrated by these young business people and acknowledged they will be valuable assets to any business.”

$88-million annual budget passed by College Board
Okanagan College Media Release
Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has passed an $88.17-million annual budget that anticipates some modest program growth and which will support increasing enrollments for the sixth year in a row.

The budget, passed Tuesday, avoids cuts in service to students despite a $1.3 million decrease in government funding in the coming year for annual capital improvements and maintenance.

Maintenance and renovation projects at the College’s campuses and centres will be reduced as a consequence.

The 2010-11 budget also anticipates no increase in the primary government grant for continuing programs. Over the past five years, the province has funded new seats for post-secondary institutions; that funding ended in the 2009-10 fiscal year. 

“The important thing is that through some departmental cost reductions, we will be able to maintain our continuing programs and even have capacity to add more students,” says Okanagan College Board Chair Lance Kayfish. “Depending on what the Industry Training Authority decides in the coming weeks, we may add a few new programs. We know there is demand for our programs and we want to continue to meet community and student needs by providing the education and training where possible.

“Some areas of the economy are still struggling and we know that in tough times that’s when people come back to school. Okanagan College is committed to meeting that demand and spurring economic and individual recovery where we can.”

Over the past year, enrollment at Okanagan College has grown by about 10 per cent – increasing in 2009-10 to approximately 7,978 full-time equivalent (FTE) students in government-funded programs. Since 2005, the school’s student numbers have grown by approximately 62 per cent.
Even without firm word on ITA funding, however, the College expects growth in student numbers in 2010-11.

“We anticipate to see continued growth in enrollment,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our applications for next fall and beyond continue at about 10 per cent ahead of where they were last year. Our growth will focus largely on taking advantage of capacity in existing programs.
College Board tailors tuition increase for 2010-11
Okanagan College Media Release

Almost half the students at Okanagan College will see their tuition remain steady for the next year.

On Tuesday, the Board of Governors decided to freeze those tuition fees that are more than 10 per cent above the provincial average for similar programs. Tuition fees that are less than that will be increased.

That means approximately 50 per cent of students won’t be paying increased tuition fees next year.

“We’ve heard a well-articulated concern from students that our tuition should be comparable to similar schools in the province,” explains Board of Governors Chair Lance Kayfish. “This decision, along with last year’s decision to freeze all tuition fees, continues to move Okanagan College in that direction.”

Colleges have been bound by a provincial policy that limits tuition increases to the rate of inflation for each year. Okanagan College has only once raised its fees in the past five years. Indications are that the provincial policy will again limit increases to two per cent for 2010-11.

Every public post-secondary institution in the province other than Okanagan College increased its fees last year.

Domestic students in Adult Basic Education, Adult Special Education and English as a Second Language courses pay no tuition – they account for approximately 20 per cent of the students at Okanagan College.

Among those whose tuition will remain the same in the 2010-11 academic year are students enrolled in courses in university arts and science and business administration.

Many students in trades, engineering technology and health programs will face an increase in the coming year as a result of the Board’s decision.

“This was a broad principle discussion and decision. We will be finalizing the list of actual programs that will and won’t be affected in the next weeks and that information will be reflected in our calendar and on our website,” explains Bob Eby, Okanagan College’s Vice President Finance and Administration.

Applicants sought for College’s Board of Governors
Interest is being sought from individuals who may want to serve on the Okanagan College Board of Governors. There are two anticipated vacancies that will open in July 2010.  

The Board oversees the affairs of the College, sets the standards of organizational conduct and supervises the President, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the institution, which has an $82.8-million budget, approximately 1,000 employees and the equivalent of about 7,650 full-time students.  

While the institution and the B.C. Government (which appoints individuals to the Board) are seeking expertise in several specific areas, candidates from all backgrounds and from all communities served by the College are encouraged to apply.  

The appointments are generally for a one-year term and may be followed by subsequent two-year appointments. Knowledge of a learning environment as well as First Nations communities would be an asset. The candidates will be expected to serve on committees, as well as the Board, which assist the Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities. 

The closing deadline for applications is March 23, 2010. To find out more, or to find out how to apply for consideration, please visit the British Columbia government’s Board Resourcing website.

Interested individuals can also call the Board of Governors office at 1-250-762-5445, ext. 4712 for more information. Applicants interested in finding out more about Okanagan College can visit the Board's webpage

TELUS to support Okanagan College's Centre of Excellence
telus_logoTELUS Media Release - March 2, 2010

Penticton, B.C. – In support of TELUS' philosophy to “give where we live,” TELUS will give $100 to the Okanagan College's Centre of Excellence for every new TELUS TV customer in Penticton, Summerland, Naramata and Okanagan Falls. 

“TELUS believes in the importance of community. I, along with all of our team members in the Penticton and South Okanagan area, am so pleased to support the Okanagan College Foundation with a gift of $100 in the name of every new TELUS TV customer in the area,” said Steve Jenkins, TELUS General Manager. “TELUS team members are proud to enable important community infrastructure projects that benefit the communities where they live, work and serve.” 

"We're excited that TELUS has chosen to support the Centre of Excellence through its campaign in the South Okanagan," says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. "The commitment of TELUS and its employees to the communities they serve is well-known. They have been recognized internationally by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for their philanthropic leadership, with the 2010 Freeman Philanthropic Services Award. Their choice of this project as a beneficiary shows how committed they are to education and sustainability."

The Okanagan College's new Centre of Excellence, a LEED certified building, will increase the college's capacity and will teach sustainable construction and energy conservation.

This new $100 gift in the name of every new TELUS TV customer in support of Okanagan College's new Centre of Excellence begins today and will run for one full year.

TELUS TV offers over 400 channels, including 40 in High Definition (HD); an HD Personal Video Recorder (PVR) allowing you to record, pause and replay live TV and Pay Per View, so you can order live events from the comfort of your couch. TELUS TV also offers onscreen Call Display right on your TV and time shifting so that there are more chances to catch your favourite programs outside your local time zone.

TELUS began offering TELUS Satellite TV in June 2009. TELUS Satellite TV service complements TELUS' IP-based TV service by expanding the availability of TELUS home bundles including TELUS TV, Home Phone and High Speed Internet to more than 90 per cent of households across British Columbia and Alberta.

To order TELUS TV or for more information, go to telus.com/tv or call 310-MYTV (6988).


TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $9.6 billion of annual revenue and 12 million customer connections including 6.5 million wireless subscribers, 4 million wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers and 170,000 TELUS TV customers. Led since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video. 

In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed $158 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 3 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead TELUS' local philanthropic initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company ever to receive this prestigious international recognition. 

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.
Dragons’ Den to hold auditions at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan is living up to its reputation as a hotbed for entrepreneurs. Recent news that the CBC’s hit show “Dragons’ Den” will be auditioning would-be participants at an open call on March 15 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus has drawn dozens of responses.

“We already have more RSVPs to the Kelowna auditions than most of the other cities we’re visiting, which is great. There seems to be a lot of entrepreneurialism in Kelowna,” said Dragons’ Den Associate Producer Justine Lewkowicz.

The atrium in Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning on the KLO campus will be the Kelowna Dragons’ Den casting call venue. The open auditions run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  According to the producers, no experience is necessary, just be ready to pitch your business in under five minutes. Make enough of an impression, and you could be invited to Toronto to face the Dragons when the sixth season is filmed.

Dragons’ Den, hosted by Dianne Buckner, is launching its new season with a nationwide audition tour in search of Canadians with creative ideas and money-making savvy to make the case for cash. Auditions began March 1 and due to overwhelming demand, the program has increased the number of audition cities across the country.

Okanagan College is a natural partner for the Kelowna auditions thanks to the Business Administration program, the active Students in Free Enterprise chapter, and the central location. In 2008, Buckner was the featured speaker at the annual business gala, organized and hosted by the Okanagan Business Students Association, and the College is excited to partner again with Dragons’ Den for the March 15 Kelowna casting call.

Scheduling information and full details on how to apply are available on the Dragons’ Den website: www.cbc.ca/dragonsden.
Two golds and one silver for SIFE Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

It was a three-peat performance for students from Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Okanagan at the 2010 Western Regional SIFE competition. Building on their record-setting performance from last year, the College business students are the first team in western Canada to win first place in two categories three years in a row.

SIFEcalSIFE Okanagan went up against 11 colleges and universities from four provinces in western Canada and finished first in the categories of Financial Literacy and in the Green Challenge. The students finished second in Entrepreneurship.

"The SIFE Okanagan team put forth an incredible performance, not just in their presentation, but in the work they have done in completing projects to compete at the SIFE level,” said Dr. Heather Banham, Associate Dean of Business. “Two first places and a first runner-up is more than any single institution could expect. Every single member of the team was an ambassador for Okanagan College." 

Kelowna’s Travis Fleming, Jennifer Stefansson and Melissa Veregin teamed up with Vernon SIFE members Brant Jackson and Blake Lewis to compete in the HSBC SIFE Financial Education Challenge. The team won the title of first place, $1,500, and a berth to compete at the national competition later this May. Their award-winning project was based on the Young Entrepreneur Competition, the Bridges Youth Mentorship Program and Solutions Consulting. The team from Okanagan College outperformed teams from Simon Fraser University, the University of Regina, Mount Royal University, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to win the title. 

In the 2010 SIFE Green Challenge, Kelowna’s Deepak Garcha, Matthew Cosar and Sattu Dhaliwal and Kevin Slater teamed up with Vernon’s Graham Moir for the top spot. The team earned a berth to Nationals and prize money of $1,500 after finishing ahead of Royal Roads University, Simon Fraser University, the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and British Columbia Institute of Technology. The team won the competition based on a presentation of their green initiatives, which include the Green Business Awards, Sustainability Coaching and the Grow Up Greener elementary school program. 

Okanagan College’s Entrepreneurship team was edged out of first place by Brandon University, finishing second and earning a prize of $1,000. The team of Brittany Sjoblom (Vernon), Mike Cestas (Vernon), Jill Konduc (Kelowna), Aman Sandhuu (Kelowna) and Brandi Callaghan (Kelowna) presented on the Young Entrepreneur Competition, the Student Entrepreneurship Club, and Solutions Consulting. They finished ahead of the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan, and Simon Fraser University. 

“The level of competition at SIFE events continues to rise,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, SIFE Okanagan Faculty Advisory. “It is so inspiring to see what all these students are achieving in their own communities. Top finishes for the SIFE Okanagan team once again demonstrates that these students are among the very best in the country.”

Based on results from the Western Regionals, Okanagan College will send three teams to Calgary to compete at the National SIFE Competition from May 10 -12. SIFE Okanagan will compete for national honours in three categories including: Financial Literacy, the Green Challenge, and the overall national team challenge.
OBSA Trumps Business Banquet with Apprentice winner Bill Rancic
Okanagan College Media Release
The Okanagan Business Students’ Association (OBSA) is presenting the 31st Annual Business Banquet at the Coast Capri Hotel featuring keynote speaker Bill Rancic, winner of the first season of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.
The Business Banquet will take place on the evening of Mar. 18 from 5 – 9 p.m. and is the most prominent public function for Okanagan College business students, giving students the opportunity to interact and network on a professional level with members of the business community.
RancicAn entrepreneurial expert, Rancic will reveal how to use challenging times to your advantage in a business environment as well as how to think long-term in a short-term world. Rancic will draw on his experience teaching individuals how to manage and lead teams in times of uncertainty.
“Bill Rancic radiates the entrepreneurial spirit that we’re sure many in the community will find motivating,” said Erin Chmiel, President of the O.B.S.A. “We are looking forward to promoting the talents of the business students at Okanagan College and the beautiful Okanagan Valley itself.”

The Okanagan Business Students' Association consists of current students enrolled in Business Administration at Okanagan College. As a not-for-profit organization, the O.B.S.A.’s goal is to provide a platform for students to learn in a non-competitive environment, to raise funds for student bursaries and scholarships, and to connect the business students with the community. This year the student association has also included developmental workshops that focus on techniques for resumes, interviews, and public speaking, explained Chmiel.
Attendance at this year’s Business Banquet is expected to exceed 250 people, including students, faculty, and community members. The event begins with networking at 5 p.m. followed by dinner and presentations by Okanagan College and Rancic. Tickets are now available through Select Your Tickets.
Key sponsors for the event include the Certified General Accountants of BC, the Coast Capri Hotel, Astral Media and Okanagan College
Hungarians hang on to win 27th Spaghetti Bridge contest
Okanagan College Media Release
He didn’t set a new world record but Roland Erdosi from the College of Nyiregyhaza in Hungary solidly earned the title of world champion at Okanagan College’s 27th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Competition today in Kelowna.

The title was his to lose near the end of the competition after his heavyweight bridge shattered under 255 kilograms of pressure under the watchful eyes of an anxious Iranian team, who was yet to compete.

The Iranians from A.B.A. University were unable to top the Hungarian’s score – they earned second place after their bridge failed at 184 kilograms.

“We are happy to win second place,” said team captain Ashkan Mohammadvali. “We know we can do better next year and we would like to come back to try again.”

The team of Sasha Podalchuk, Brad Wall, Justin Franz and Spence Costigan - engineering technology students from Okanagan College - won third place with a bridge that held 68 kilograms. 

The Iranians did take home a first place trophy in the post-secondary category. In all categories other than the heavyweight, bridges are not loaded with increasing amounts of weight. Each bridge must hold a pre-determined amount of weight for a specific amount of time. The lightest bridge to hold the required weight wins.

Results are as follows:

Post-secondary individual:
First - Nima Mazaheri Namini, ABA University, Tehran, Iran - bridge weighed 168.9 g
Second - Tim Westwick, Okanagan College - bridge weighed 278.6 g

Post-secondary team:
First - Peter Sandor, Roland Erdosi and Katalin Kitti Kromplak, College of Nyiregyhaza, Hungary - bridge weighed 58.7 g

Second - Alesha Fell, Jamie Schenkeveld, Spencer Costigan and Mike Verhage, Okanagan College - bridge weighed 72.1 g

Secondary individual:
First - Luca Starone, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby - bridge weighed 184 g

Second - Johnathan Halbgwachs, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby - bridge weighed 190.2 g

Third - Anna Offenwanger, George Elliott Secondary, Winfield – bridge weighed 190.7 g

Secondary team:
First - Brock Pendergraft, Alex, McCallum, Tim Paradis and Chris Schroeter, Osoyoos Secondary - bridge weighed 59.4 g

Second - Shaun Saunders and Quinn Logan, Kelowna Secondary – bridge weighed 60.1 g

Third - Rob Gore, Arianna Ormond and Tom Hardy, Kelowna Secondary - bridge weighed 64.5
UVic professor to shed light on ethnoecology
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will welcome a renowned ethnobotonist from the University of Victoria to present a lecture about ethnoecology at its Vernon campus on Monday, March 15.

Dr. Nancy Turner is a professor in UVic’s School of Environmental Studies. An expert in ethnoecology, Turner will shed light on the traditional ways Indigenous peoples perceive, use and care for the natural resources around them. Her lecture, Not Just Any Old Place: Ethnoecology in a Changing World, is co-presented by the College and the Okanagan Science Centre and begins at 7:30 p.m.

Ethnoecology provides an integrated approach to human-environment relationships at different scales of time and space. In north-western North America, the complex life ways and knowledge systems of Indigenous peoples who have resided for long periods of time in their home territories, can demonstrate critically important perspectives of human reliance on local ecosystems, and of escalating impacts on the other life forms of the planet.

The rich tapestry of biological diversity – from different varieties of Saskatoon berries to special habitats – is reflected in language, knowledge, practices and beliefs of First Peoples throughout the region. Due to a multitude of forces, environments and traditions of knowledge have been eroding in recent times. Ethnoecology can raise awareness of this issue and help reinforce traditional knowledge systems.

Turner is the author or co-author of dozens of articles, monographs and books including: Plants of Haida Gwaii (2004) and The Earth’s Blanket, Traditional Teachings for Sustainable Living (2005). Among Turner’s many honours are the Canadian Botanical Association’s Lawson medal for lifetime contributions to Canadian botany (2002) and the R.E. Schultes Award (1997), which is considered the top international award in ethnobotany. She is a member of the Order of British Columbia and the 2008 winner of William L. Brown Award for Excellence in Genetic Resource Conservation.

The Science in Society Speaker Series is presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre www.okscience.ca or call (250) 545-3644 for advanced purchase of tickets or for more information.

Penticton Council supports Centre of Excellence
CIty of Penticton Press Release
Feb 26, 2010

PENTICTON, B.C. – Penticton City Council is pleased to announce its support to the Okanagan College expansion project for the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Eenrgy Conservation facility to be constructed on the Penticton campus.


To assist the College with its goal to raise funds for this expansion project, Penticton City Council recently approved a grant in the amount of $267,000 to offset the cost of the Building Permit fees. In addition, Council recently adopted a bylaw that will enable the College to apply for a reduction in the Development Cost Charges that could result in a savings of $160,500 on the project.


Mayor Dan Ashton stated today that “the College is an important economic engine for our community and the entire region. Have a state of the art educaitonal institution like Okanagan College and their leading edge green initiatives and technology showcases this campus and community to the world.”


We look forward to the opening of the Centre of Excellence in Penticton as this expansion will significantly expand future programs and opportunities not only for students in Penticton, but also those in the South Okanagan and Similkameen area.


For further information:

Mayor Dan Ashton and Penticton City Council

Phone: (250) 490-2400

College seeks nominations for distinguished alumni

Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is inviting nominations for the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2010 Young Alumni Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College for their contributions to their communities and demonstration of excellence in the areas of: leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and/ or support for OUC or Okanagan College.

To qualify as distinguished or young alumni, nominees must have completed a certificate, diploma, degree, apprenticeship program or have competed a minimum of 30 academic credits at Okanagan College or OUC.

The Young Alumni Award will recognize the outstanding contributions of an alumna or alumnus who is under the age of 35.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 12, 2010. Nominations may be made by completing the online package available at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni and emailing it to the Alumni and Community Relations office, care of Erin Kavanagh: ekavanagh@okanagan.bc.ca or contact Erin at 250-762-5445 ext. 4771.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include: Launi Skinner (’85), President and COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?; Don Turri (’75), Managing Director of the Kelowna office of MacKay LLP Chartered Accountants; Nick Arkle (’81), Chief Forester with Gorman Bros Mill and local humanitarian; Robert Louie (’75), Chief of the Westbank First Nation; Dr. Jayne Brooks (’76), Dean of the Okanagan School of Business; Alan Store (’80), an internationally recognized sculptor; Jim Cookson (’82), business manager and entrepreneur on the international stage.

Past Young Alumni Awards have been presented to brothers Todd (’03) and Mark Regier (’04), owners of Prestige Collision; Chris Gibbons (’07), Finance Manager of Westhills Aggregates; Corinne Inman (’02), owner Morpheus Graphics; Michelle Boshard (’97), freshwater scientist and environmentalist.

The 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award will be selected by the Alumni Association Board of Directors and presented at a reception later this year.

Okanagan’s Poet Laureate launches ninth book in Vernon

Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan’s Poet Laureate and Regional Dean of Okanagan College, John Lent, will launch his latest book, Cantilevered Songs, in the Lecture Theatre at the Vernon Campus of Okanagan College at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26.

“I wanted to launch this book in a proper way,” said Lent. “I wanted to perform some of the poems the way they should be performed, and sometimes, in order to do that, you need to wait until you feel right about the performance.”

Lent went on a demanding public tour of this book last fall in Western Canada, delivering 12 readings in nine days in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo. He has read from his book on CBC Radio, but he has not launched the book here, where he lives, and where the material of the poems is rooted.

“I have been looking forward to reading from this book here in Vernon for a long time; I’m excited about it.”

Lent revealed that he will perform a sequence of his poems, called “Weightless,” and that he has involved some friends in putting this together. “There will be a few surprises,” he said.

Lent, who was recently proclaimed Poet Laureate of the Okanagan, has also been informed that he has just been nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of this year’s Okanagan Arts Awards.

“It’s quite simple,” said Lent, “I love writing and I love teaching. I’m a very lucky person. And for me, each book is a probe into that crazy mix of landscape and consciousness that faces us each and every day, the crease of it, its thickness. I love it. This book, more than any of my other books, tries to reach out for that crease, that thickness as I live it out right here in Vernon.”

The book launch is a free event that will be followed by a reception, refreshments and a book signing.

SIFE hosts gala to help Can Hunger in the Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Okanagan has partnered with The Gerry Fraser Realty Group to organize a charity gala at the Mon Reposa luxury penthouse suite on Friday, March 12, 2010. The goal of the Let’s Can Hunger Charity Gala is to raise awareness about hunger and poverty in the community while raising more than $9,000 for local food banks in the Okanagan. 

“The World Health Organization estimates that close to 1 billion people do not know where their next meal will come from, said fourth-year business student Paige Schoenfeld. “When you couple that statistic with our current economic climate, it’s more important than ever to lend a helping hand to our neighbors, as well as empower low-income citizens to break the cycle of hunger.”   

SIFE has planned an entertaining evening of events that includes live entertainment featuring local artists Anna Jacyszyn, Jazz Café and Thomas Kjorven. Arrowleaf Cellars is providing wine for the event; hors d’oeuvres from Ric’s Grill and Sal’s Prime Steakhouse will also be served and a silent auction with items valued over $5,000 will be included.  

Tickets are priced at $50 per person. All proceeds from the event will be directed to local food banks. To purchase a ticket, contact Chelsey at (250) 801-8707 or by email: chelsey_lockerby@hotmail.com. Tickets can also be picked up at Cupcasions on Spall Road in Kelowna.  

The gala event is part of SIFE Okanagan’s participation in the Let’s Can Hunger Challenge. The Okanagan College students partnered with Campbell Soup Company on the joint initiative, which seeks to improve lives through nourishment. SIFE Okanagan is charged with creating projects that tackle hunger threefold by: raising awareness about hunger relief, providing immediate hunger relief in local communities, and implementing long term solutions to break the cycle of hunger.  

About Students in Free Enterprise
SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.  SIFE teams are active on more than 1,300 campuses of academic institutions in 41 countries. For more information, visit www.sife.org. 


College and University call for entries in Okanagan math competition
It will be up to students to decide how they approach the preliminary round of the British Columbia Secondary School Mathematics Contest (BCSSMC) – organizer Clint Lee has just one rule that applies to everyone – no calculators allowed.

Top math minds from across the Okanagan’s middle and secondary schools are now eligible to register to compete in the preliminary round of the historic competition, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Students register for the first round of the contest through their respective schools.

Co-sponsored by Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, the contest was created in 1990 to promote an interest in mathematics at the high school level. Today, 12 identical regional math competitions occur each spring through the BCSSMC.

The preliminary round of the Okanagan contest takes place on March 31 and will include approximately 1,000 students from Grade 8 – 12 from schools from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm.

The contest is divided into two categories: juniors (Grade 8-10) and seniors (Grade 11-12). A standardized set of questions for each category, compiled by a province-wide committee of college and university mathematicians, will be administered to students at their school by participating teachers.

Sponsor teachers will grade the contest papers with the help of an answer key provided by the BCSSMC committee. The top three or four finishers from each school will be invited to attend the final round of the competition on Friday, May 7 at UBC Okanagan, this year’s host institution. Finalists will compete for top honours, cash prizes, and, for the top senior, a cash prize of $200 and a one-semester tuition scholarship to either Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan, to a maximum value of $3,000. 

For more information about the contest, contact organizer Clint Lee . Copies of the contests from the last several years, with solutions, are available on the BCSSMC website at http:// people.okanagan.bc.ca/clee/bcssmc/ .
Centre of Excellence story goes to a global audience

Okanagan College Media Release

The story of Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is going global. 

Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education, and Robert Parlane, a senior project manager with CEI Architecture Planning Interiors, will be in Seoul, South Korea next week to present a paper on the $28-million structure and its innovative design at an international conference focused on sustainable building technologies and higher education. It’s called SB10 SEOUL International Conference on Sustainable Building Asia.

The $28-million Centre, slated for completion in March 2011, is aiming to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge. That Challenge is a product of the International Living Building Institute and its guidelines focus on developing structures that are among the most sustainable possible. Two requirements, for instance, are that the structures have to be net zero energy and water consumers. Among many of its unique features, Penticton’s Centre will have the largest photovoltaic solar array on a non-utility building in Canada. At peak periods of the summer, it will be contributing electricity to the grid. It will also feature interactive instrumentation, so that students and others interested in sustainable buildings can monitor what the building is doing, utility consumption, temperatures, etc.

The Penticton-based project has already drawn attention across North America from the educational community. In November, Hay and Parlane were featured presenters in a conference moderated by the New York Times architecture critic. That conference attracted university and college executives from more than 100 institutions.

“The Korean conference will draw people from around the world and we’ll be able to share the information about our leading-edge project with a global community and learn from them as well,” said Hay. “More importantly, we’ll be strengthening the international network of institutions and organizations who are focused on building sustainable structures, and we’ll be establishing important communication links with potential partners and agencies in the Asia Pacific community.” 

When it is complete, the Centre will house several programs focused on green technology and sustainable building. It will also serve as a home for the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre, which will help incubate new green-focused technology businesses in the South Okanagan. It will accommodate approximately 800 students.
Prominent duo add their support to Okanagan College fundraising campaign

Okanagan College Media Release

Two prominent citizens of the South Okanagan are adding their support to the fundraising campaign for Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation in Penticton.


Yasmin and Rick Thorpe have a long association with Okanagan College and will serve as Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs of the $5-million fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence.


“I’m thrilled,” says Okanagan College Foundation President Steve Tuck. “Yasmin and Rick are tremendous supporters of the College and post-secondary education in the Okanagan. They’ve helped make higher learning a reality for many students in our region through their scholarship program.”


“I know the respect they have earned from the residents of the South Okanagan and British Columbians,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Their presence will significantly benefit our fund-raising and help make the Centre of Excellence a reality in Penticton.”


“Rick and I are strong advocates of Okanagan College and we are committed to working with the citizens, businesses and the communities of the South Okanagan to make the new Centre of Excellence a reality,” says Yasmin.


Yasmin is very active in several programs focused on writing and literacy in the South Okanagan. As a co-founder of the volunteer organization, the Penticton Writers and Publishers, she was instrumental in organizing an annual week-long BC Youth Write Camp and is also very involved in the South Okanagan’s Raise-a-Reader program.


Rick served for 13 years as an MLA and Cabinet Minister in the South Okanagan, retiring in the spring of 2009.


In 2005, Rick and Yasmin, in partnership with Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, established a $250,000 scholarship fund. To date, 28 students from the Okanagan have received $2,500 first-year scholarships (for a total of $70,000).


“Yasmin and Rick have been sincere and valuable friends to the College as it has developed,” says Jim Henderson, who is spearheading the volunteer fundraising committee in the South Okanagan. “Their decision to help with our fundraising efforts is a welcomed boost.”

Manning signs on as 2010 Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Okanagan College Media Release

Consider it a homecoming of sorts - Doug Manning will revisit his roots in education when he joins the Okanagan School of Business as its 2010 Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
ManningManning is the third of a string of local renowned business professionals to lend their time to students at Okanagan College. He takes the reins from Ed Hall who served in the position in 2009. Prior to Hall, Bill Redmond was the College’s inaugural Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
The program allows business students to supplement their in-class learning with presentations, guest lectures and one-on-one mentoring from industry professionals who have made a name for themselves as entrepreneurs.
That kind of real world learning - blending theory and practice - is just the kind of partnership that makes Manning tick.
“I’ve always thought it was important for teachers to incorporate the community in the classroom,” said Manning. “It gives students a diversified perspective on whatever topic is being taught.”
Manning is the Executive Director of Special Projects for Envictus Corporation, a company whose mission is to help schools prepare more college- and career-ready students. Envictus provides curriculum and consultation to high schools to educate students about a missing discipline: self-management - or what the company refers to as navigation curriculum.
“We feel very fortunate to have Doug join the Okanagan School of Business,” said Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean. “If you look at Doug’s experience as an entrepreneur, his track record of success is impressive. When you combine that with his expertise in career development, education and counseling, it adds up to a strong asset that I think our students are going to benefit from tremendously.”
Manning is well known throughout the region as the co-founder and former CEO and President of Bridges Transitions. Before selling the internet-based career information system company in 2006, Manning was honoured for his leadership of Bridges with the Ernst & Young eBusiness Entrepreneur of the Year – BC (2001) and as Kelowna’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2000).
Prior to developing Bridges, Manning had a long career in School District 23 as a teacher, counselor and administrator. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in education from the University of Victoria.
Manning is an active blogger, public speaker, published author, and dedicated community volunteer, serving on the BCCampus Advisory Board (2003-07), University of British Columbia – Okanagan Advisory Board (2005 – present), and leading the fundraising efforts for the 2008 BC Summer Games.
His biography paints the picture of a savvy entrepreneur with a passion for education, a commitment to community, and a desire to help others succeed.
“I didn’t discover business until I was 40 years old,” explained Manning. “I’ve had so much fun working in enterprise. I particularly enjoy the formative stage of entrepreneurship, working to figure out how to practically develop all the things you dreamed were possible.
“Business is really just two things: creating something that fulfills a real need and then figuring out how to tell all those who want it that it’s available.”  
Though his full-time commitment to Envictus racks up his frequent flyer miles, Manning will be available to staff and students of the Okanagan School of Business beginning this month.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with students and faculty at Okanagan College,” said Manning. “I find entrepreneurship fascinating and invigorating and I love enabling other people to be enterprising in their lives.”

College enrolments continue to climb
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College continues to experience growing enrolments at each of its campuses and in many of its program areas.

January enrolment statistics show approximately 5.7 per cent more students – 5,504 – attending the College’s campuses than in January 2009. That represents an increase of 298 more students than the 5,206 registered in 2009.

The students are also taking more courses this semester than they did last year; course registrations are up 10.8 per cent overall from the previous year.

“The reasons are many for these increases, and the numbers suggest we are offering the education and training opportunities that citizens of this region need,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Over the past five years, we have seen a growing number of students who start at the College in January.”

The largest headcount growth in absolute terms occurred at the Kelowna campus – 140 more students than last January, while the largest percentage growth occurred at the Vernon campus: 15.6 per cent more students (717 compared to 620 last year).
In terms of course registrations, though, Penticton and Salmon Arm recorded the largest growth: 19.1 per cent and 17.4 per cent respectively.

“Okanagan College has experienced remarkable growth in the last four years – we have grown by 48 per cent overall,” noted Hamilton. “We’re on track to exceed our own and the government’s enrolment targets for a fifth year in a row.

“But the numbers themselves aren’t the important piece of news here,” he said. “What’s important is that we’re able to provide a growing number of individuals with the training and education they want and need.”

Hamilton cautions that the enrolment reports produced in September and January present just a snapshot of the College’s activity. They don’t capture enrolments for programs that may start later in the semester, for instance, and don’t capture all the enrolments in Continuing Studies programs.

“A complete look at our data last year, for example, showed that more than 19,000 people took courses from the College. That is almost one out of every 20 people in the region the College serves.
Kayfish will chair Okanagan College Board of Governors
Lance Kayfish has been chosen as the new chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors. He was elected Tuesday at the Board’s regular meeting. The new vice-chair is Yvonne Pinder.

Kayfish has served on the College Board since 2007 and is a risk management expert with the City of Kelowna. He holds baccalaureate degrees in both commerce and political science. Before beginning his employment with the municipality in 2003, he served as a manager for the University of Calgary in both the Risk Management and Safety functions. His previous board experience includes a three-year term on the Alberta Student Finance Board and the University of Calgary’s Senate and General Faculties Council. He has also been actively involved in leadership roles for the Risk and Insurance Management Society, an international professional association.

Pinder is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and a Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada.  She holds an MBA from the University of Saskatchewan. She has extensive experience as a senior financial executive for organizations in the Health and Education sectors including Okanagan College, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, and Parkridge Centre for long term care (Saskatoon). She has served on several community and foundation boards in Saskatchewan and on several professional committees for CMA Canada at both a provincial and national level.

Kayfish follows Janet Shaw as Board Chair, who finished her term as a Board member at the end of 2009. Shaw served six years on the Okanagan College Board. Kayfish was Vice-Chair.
“I’m flattered by my colleagues’ decision,” says Kayfish. “The months and years ahead will be interesting and challenging times. We all recognize that the provincial government is facing significant financial pressures that will have an impact on public agencies.

“Over the past five years we’ve exceeded expectations in terms of enrolment and performance and we see the demand for our programs continuing to grow. Balancing demand and resources will be, as it always has been, the challenge for Okanagan College and the Board. I have every confidence we will continue meet that challenge and serve the needs of the region, our students, staff and supporters.”

Kayfish and Pinder are joined on the Board by appointed members Bill Cooke, Brian Hughes, Paul Johnson, Jane Lister, Tom Styffe, and Loretta Swite, and by elected members Michael Conlin, Lianne Rozniak, Andrew Nelson, Phillippe Bourbeau as well as ex officio members Jim Hamilton (President, Okanagan College) and Rick Gee (Chair, Okanagan College Education Council).
College hosts Business Expo & Employment Fair linking employers with job seekers
Okanagan College Media Release
Job seekers and those looking for career development opportunities in the area of business will gather at Okanagan College on Wednesday to find out about employment and career options in the South, Central and North Okanagan.
Hosted by Okanagan College and the Okanagan School of Business, the Business Expo & Employment Fair will bring together business professionals and local industry sponsors for students and community members interested in all things business within the Okanagan.
The expo and fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the KLO campus of the College on Wednesday, Feb. 3. This free event will give participants the opportunity to speak with employers such as: The City of Kelowna, Kal Tire, TD Canada Trust and the RCMP about current and future career development.
“This student and community focused event provides an excellent opportunity for anyone considering a new career or employment in the Okanagan,” said Jamie Morrow, Okanagan School of Business Program and Event Coordinator. “By bringing industry experts together with those seeking careers we are able to offer a direct line of communication and networking for job seekers. The fair is focused on providing people with career options and valuable information to help them find the job they want.”
Visit the Okanagan School of Business website, www.okanagan.bc.ca/business, and click on events to view the full list of participating employers.
RBC Donates $135,000 to Okanagan College campaign
Okanagan College Media Release - Jan. 25, 2010
RBC contributes $135,000 to College’s Centre of Excellence

The campaign to establish Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation received its largest donation to date with the announcement of a $135,000 commitment from RBC.
RBC’s contribution will help realize the Okanagan College Foundation’s $5 million capital fundraising campaign to finance the development of the $28 million Centre of Excellence in Penticton, which is being designed and built to meet one of the most demanding set of environmental standards, the Living Building Challenge.  
“It is exciting to be a part of such a unique and inspiring project,” said Karen Borring-Olsen, Regional Vice President RBC Royal Bank. “RBC is pleased to join the growing network of community-minded donors, both citizens and corporations, who share a vision for education, innovation and sustainable growth in the Okanagan.”
The announcement of RBC’s donation was made this evening during the Olympic Torch Relay community event held in Kelowna. RBC is the presenting partner of the 2010 Torch Relay, which invited thousands of Canadians to participate in the relay through its carrythetorch.com campaign.
“We have been extremely fortunate to partner with a number of organizations that have taken the time to grasp just how important and groundbreaking this building will be for the Okanagan,” said John Walker, President & CEO, FortisBC and Chair of the Okanagan College Foundation’s capital campaign. “The addition of RBC as our largest corporate donor is tremendous news for the campaign and for Okanagan College.”
For Okanagan College Board of Governors member Brian Hughes, news of the donation hit home – he is also a Vice President for RBC Dominion Securities in Penticton.
“I have the privilege of working with Okanagan College through the Board of Governors and know first-hand how much great work is being done by the College in the South Okanagan,” explained Hughes. “I take a great deal of pride in the fact that RBC is stepping up to support such an important project for the people and future of this region.”
The Centre of Excellence is funded by the Federal and Provincial governments, who provided $22.6 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, and the Okanagan College Foundation and its donors. The 6,622 square-metre facility is being heralded as one of the most innovative and environmentally sustainable buildings in the nation. It will more than double the size of the existing campus and will expand program and research opportunities for learners across the region.
To find out more about the Centre of Excellence, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/centreofexcellence.


For more information:

Jennifer Cabeldu
Manager, Donations
Public Affairs, BC Region
Allan Coyle, Director
Public Affairs
Okanagan College

Okanagan College joins Project Hero
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College is joining a host of Canadian colleges and universities participating in a scholarship program created to help the dependents of Canadian Forces personnel killed in action since 2002.

The College has announced that it will join Project Hero, which was started a year ago by Kevin Reed and Retired General Rick Hillier.  Reed is Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the 31 Brigade, Service Units and Chairman of Equity Transfer and Trust Company.  Okanagan College will join 38 other institutions in the country offering to help the eligible dependents by helping cover the cost of tuition.

Beginning September 2010, the College will provide a tuition waiver – to a maximum of $3,000 per semester – for eligible students for up to four academic terms toward the completion of two-year post-secondary program, with potential renewal for an additional four academic terms for students who pursue a degree at the College.

“Project Hero scholarships are a positive and meaningful way to acknowledge the sacrifices of soldiers who have lost their lives and the hardships their families can face,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

“I am thrilled to have Okanagan College join the Project Hero initiative.  We are well on our way to obtaining the support of most post-secondary schools and Okanagan College’s commitment is significant step in that direction,” says Kevin Reed.

For more information about Okanagan College’s Project Hero Scholarship go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid.
Mechanic’s legacy to carry on through College apprentices
Okanagan College Media Release

The legacy of Hermann Koessler’s passion for trades will carry on through students at Okanagan College thanks to a generous donation made in his memory.

Three years after her husband’s death, Ute Koessler made the difficult but emotionally rewarding decision to donate his tools to students at Okanagan College, despite being offered thousands of dollars for the valuable collection.

“The last thing Hermann said to me was ‘I have so much knowledge to give, I wish young people would want to be tradespeople,’” she said. “My husband was so skilled and willing to teach people, he was so proud to be a tradesperson. I know he would be honored to have his tools used by so many learning the trades.”

Koessler’s lifetime worth of tools, valued at more than $87,000, were hand delivered by his friend Mike Goodmurphy and his wife Ute, who took the time to speak to a group of entry-level Automotive Service Technician students at Okanagan College; telling them about Hermann’s life, his work and his passion for their chosen field.

A German immigrant, Hermann arrived in Montreal in 1969 with one heavy suitcase containing a few articles of clothing and his most prized possessions, his tools. A trained and experienced mechanic, possessing a meister brief from Germany, Hermann’s lack of English made his early years in Canada challenging. While others were paid $5 per hour, Herman earned just $2 for the same work.

Supervisors quickly took note of his mechanical aptitude and ability to fix nearly anything and Hermann was able to overcome his language barrier, rising through the ranks.

Hermann’s skills took him around the world; he and his wife eventually moved to the Okanagan and settled in Oyama. In 2001 a fire swept through the Koessler farm burning down Hermann’s workshop and collection of tools.

Insurance replaced Hermann’s tool set, which included grinders, drill presses, table saws, and hand tools – those new tools all now live at Okanagan College.  

In one of his last conversations with his wife, Hermann told Ute “Every day I have left is a gift, and I have only one regret, people don’t want to learn from my vast knowledge they just want me to do it for them.”

“If Hermann were here today,” said Ute, “he would give you apprentices this advice: take it easy, make it nice. There is no such thing as good enough - it either works or it doesn’t, tools don’t fix things, you do. Don’t be ashamed to be a tradesperson, it is a noble profession, tradespeople are extremely valuable, little to nothing runs without a tradesperson, and you will help so many people with your skills and knowledge.”

As per his wife’s wishes, Hermann’s tools have been distributed throughout the trades shops at Okanagan College. Some went to the RV Service Technician shop, others to Automotive Service Technician and some to Carpentry. Ute believes Hermann would have been most happy working in the RV department, where students learn a little bit of everything.

“We are honoured to accept Hermann Koessler’s tools,” said John Haller, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Okanagan College is a place of learning and a place where we promote the same passion and appreciation for the trades. We know the importance of providing skills and training to the next generation and are humbled to carry on his legacy.”

In addition to her generous donation of tools, Ute plans on establishing legacy scholarships at Okanagan College in her husband’s name to support students in the Women in Trades program and individuals coming through the Gateway to the Trades program.
SIFE to bring style at College fashion show
Okanagan College Media Release

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Okanagan is presenting an evening of style at a fashion show fundraiser aimed at generating support for local business students.
The 2010 Dress to Impress Fashion Show will feature students and faculty from Okanagan College who will model the latest in business attire as they walk the runway of the College’s new Centre for Learning (E) building on Friday, Jan. 22. The evening event begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., followed by a two-hour show designed to showcase professional trends for spring 2010.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will help cover the costs of sending Okanagan College’s SIFE team to Calgary this spring for the regional business competition – a competition they have won the past three years in a row.
With a mission of inspiring positive change in the Okanagan, SIFE’s fashion show will not only showcase local business but will also help fund many of its community outreach projects.
The clothing for the fashion show will be provided by local businesses including: Bella Clothing, The Wardrobe, Frock, Deviate, Fresh, Threadz and Bro Sista Clothing. There will be six segments to the fashion show: casual, business casual, business formal, evening wear, SIFE clothing line, and Okanagan College clothing.
Tickets are $15 and include one free drink, appetizers, and a chance to win one of many great door prizes. Non-perishable food items will be accepted at the door; each food item donated will earn an additional ticket to increase chances of winning. DJ Cooper of the Party Wreckers from Level Night Club will provide entertainment and music for the show. There will also be a silent auction.
For tickets, contact Aman Sandhu: 250.485.2364 or Brandi Callaghan: 250.808.4740

Saturday’s game brings College night with the Vees
Okanagan College Media Release

While rooting their team on against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, Penticton Vees hockey fans will also have the opportunity to find out more about the region’s most exciting and innovative building, Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.
College night with the Vees will take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Discounted tickets to the game are currently being sold at the College’s Penticton campus with $2 from every ticket going to support the fundraising campaign for the new $28 million Centre of Excellence.
Hockey fans who enter their name in a draw will have the chance to participate in on-ice activities sponsored by the College. If testing on-ice skills in front of a full arena isn’t appealing to would-be prize winners, the College will also draw names for great prizes including: a one night stay with breakfast at the Penticton Ramada Inn and Suites, a gift certificate to Canadian Tire and a voucher for Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies. There will also be giveaways for Okanagan College alumni who reconnect with the College at the alumni booth at the game.
Amid the prize giveaways and intermission activities, Okanagan College staff will have information available about its new Centre of Excellence – a building that is already shaping up to be one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible and sustainable facilities. 
With construction underway on the new building, the College is reaching out to the community for support in its $5 million fundraising campaign.
“College night is shaping up to be a great partnership with the Vees and the South Okanagan Events Centre, both of whom have been very supportive of our new building and campus in general,” said Donna Lomas, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “Our college has strong ties to the community and having a presence at the Vees game will give us a great opportunity to share news of our developments as well as connect with community members and alumni.”
To purchase a discounted ticket for Saturday’s game, drop by the Duncan Avenue campus administration office until 4 p.m. on Friday or call Jake Mason at 250-492-4305 ext. 3205. To find out more about the Centre of Excellence, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/centreofexcellence.
Campus-to-Campus Half Marathon to offer more for runners in 2010
Okanagan College Media Release

c-clogoRegistration is now open for the first major Okanagan road race of the new decade – Okanagan College’s Campus-to-Campus race series, which will take place on Sunday, March 28 in Kelowna.
The race, now in its eighth year of operation, will offer runners a half marathon, half marathon relay and a 10 km race. With a goal of increasing community, student and staff participation, the College offers races that vary in length and difficulty; from a 4 km relay portion to a 10 km race to a 21.1 km half marathon.
Also new this year is an out-and-back course beginning at the KLO Road campus of Okanagan College. The half marathon course will cover 21.1 kms of Kelowna pavement, taking runners along the Abbott corridor into City Park and will turn around atop the first hill on Knox Mountain. Runners will make their way back along the waterfront to Gyro Beach, cross Lakeshore at Richter and finish at the KLO campus.
For new runners or those looking for a shorter distance, the Campus-to-Campus offers a relay race that covers the same course as the half marathon and allows up to five runners to participate.
For the first time in its history, the Campus-to-Campus will offer a flat and fast 10 km course on race day. The 10 km race will begin at 8 a.m. and will take runners along the same first and last portions of the half marathon course but will turnaround in City Park.
Prize money will be offered to the top three finishers in the male and female division of the half marathon. On each side, first place will receive $250, second place will take $150 and the third place finisher will receive $100. Prizes will also be offered to winners of the 10 km and relay portion of the race.
“This year’s Campus-to-Campus offers something for every kind of runner in our community,” said Christine Ulmer, race director. “As much fun as it is to watch the elite runners battle it out for top spot in the half marathon, we are really looking forward to seeing runners of all levels take part in the 10 km and relay and are promoting a corporate challenge to community businesses that are committed to health, wellness and the spirit of competition.”
Any non-runners wishing to be involved with the race can lend their time as race volunteers or course marshals, explained Ulmer.

“There’s no experience necessary, just some common sense and a desire to help out. Course marshals do not direct traffic but momentarily stop cars to allow racers to pass.”

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/halfmarathon. Those wishing to register offline can print off an entry form from the above website and mail it or drop it off at Okanagan College c/o Public Affairs or Fresh Air Experience.
Students receive a $5 discount. All proceeds from the race are donated to Okanagan College’s campus recreation programs. Half marathon runners receive a long sleeve technical running shirt and a medal. Relay and 10 km participants will receive a t-shirt.

Volunteers will receive a race crew t-shirt. To volunteer, contact Karma Lacoff at 250-762-5445 ext. 4657 or at klacoff@okanagan.bc.ca.
Okanagan Falls resident joins Board for one-year term
Okanagan College Media Release
 W. Tom Styffe
An experienced construction project management professional is the latest addition to the Okanagan College Board of Governors.

Okanagan Falls resident W. Tom Styffe has been appointed by the Provincial Government to a one-year term on the College Board, ending Dec. 31, 2010.

Styffe is semi-retired after a career in construction project management that spanned more than three decades. His work included projects ranging from the $25-million New Westminster campus of Douglas College to schools, hospitals, commercial projects and more than 1,000 units of residential construction.

He’s serving his second term as an Alternate Director for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and has been active in municipal and provincial politics, including serving as a councillor for Logan Lake.

“I’m very excited by this opportunity,” says Styffe. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the development and growth of Okanagan College.”

Styffe knows well the impact a College can have – he’s a graduate of the Construction Management program at Douglas College and has taken courses at Vancouver Community College and BCIT. He’s an active member in the Southern Interior Local Government Association, the Union of BC Municipalities, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“Tom’s experience and insights will be valuable at the Board table,” says Lance Kayfish, the interim chair of the Board of Governors. (An election will be held at the Board’s Jan. 26 meeting. Janet Shaw, the previous chair of the Board, concluded her term on Dec. 31, 2009.)

Styffe joins Kayfish, Phillipe Bourbeau, Michael Conlin, Bill Cooke, Brian Hughes, Paul Johnson, Jane Lister, Andrew Nelson, Yvonne Pinder, Lianne Rozniak, and Loretta Swite, as members of the Board. Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Okanagan College’s Education Council chair, Rick Gee, are ex officio members of the Board.
Colombe cooks


Award-winning Culinary arts student
hits the shelves with debut cookbook

Second-year Okanagan College Culinary Arts Apprentice David Colombe has a new challenge – marketing his debut cookbook, Colombe’s Cooking in Your Kitchen.

The affable fan of great cooking and local ingredients came to media attention this year when he won grand prize in the Florida Tomato Committee’s 20th Annual Best of the Best Recipe Contest for his creation, Fire Roasted Florida Tomato Gumbo soup.

The $2,000 in prize money from that contest fueled his next endeavour – publishing a cookbook. Now, the book’s a reality and he’s engaged in marketing it when he’s not toiling at one of the best restaurants in the Okanagan, RauDZ and taking classes toward his Red Seal certification. (And, as if that’s not enough, Colombe also contributes his time and expertise to the Community Kitchen program in Vernon that supports individuals to use their resources more effectively t feed their families ona limited budget.)

“I really wanted to share my love for fresh and local and the book is a great vehicle for that,” says Colombe, who moved from the U.S. for the Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College. The book is 136 pages, features 71 recipes and more than 450 photos by Mark Reichert.

Recipes include  Harissa Lamb Lollies, Pasta Puttanesca, Okanagan Strawberry Sorbet, Blueberry Lavendar Ice Cream, Cardamon Spiced Rice, Chicken Artichoke Skewers .  . . the list goes on.

“Many people have asked me what the impetus, theme or direction has been for this book. The best answer I could come up with was that I am trying to show people that it is easy to create really good food in their own kitchen. People have become so busy in their daily lives that cooking has seemed to have taken a back seat to many other seemingly important tasks,” says Colombe. “This book has a small collection of recipes that are really big on flavour, but are not hard to create.”

Colombe has a website kwiditi.com/colombescooking and he’s also taking orders for the book via e-mail: dcolombe@hotmail.com. Cost is $28 plus delivery.