Okanagan College News 2011

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College half marathon celebrates 10 years of running
Okanagan College Media Release

halfmarathonRegistration is now open for the 2012 Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race. Event organizers are celebrating 10 years of the community race – with this year’s running events taking place on Sunday, April 1 in Kelowna.

The race has grown steadily over the past decade and has adapted to offer a variety of distances and fun events to encourage participation from every type of runner – from newbies to corporate challenge teams to competitive racers.

“The 2012 race will be a celebration of running, fitness and participation in our community,” said Christine Ulmer, Race Director.

The Half Marathon has a proud history in the Okanagan thanks to the great support it has received from local runners and also as a result of the dedication of a number of volunteers who make the race happen every year.

“We listened to feedback about the course and are pleased to be able to offer the same routes as last year, all of which proved to be popular, despite a rainy race day. We also moved the race to the first Sunday in April – it’s only a week further into spring than previous years’ races but we’re hoping the weather will be that much more accommodating for runners.”
Each of the three races begins between 8 and 8:15 a.m. 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, across Lakeshore and finish back at the KLO campus.

For new runners or those looking for a shorter distance, the relay race covers the same course as the half marathon and allows up to five runners to participate in segments of approximately 4 km each.

Back for a third year is the popular 10 km route, which will take runners along the same first and last portions of the half marathon course with a 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.

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.

All proceeds from the race are donated to Okanagan College’s campus recreation programs. To volunteer, contact Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or at mlowry@okanagan.bc.ca.
Ancient timber makes mighty gift for College carpentry program
Okanagan College Media Release

Leimert and Cotters2Recycled timber originating from 250-year-old B.C. forests will soon add an authentic note of heritage to Okanagan College thanks to a hefty in-kind donation to the College’s carpentry program through the Okanagan College Foundation.

Kim and Doug Cotter, owners of Cotter’s Bin and Demolition Services Ltd. in Penticton, salvaged the Douglas fir timbers from the historic Naramata packinghouse and offered to donate the lumber - worth approximately $22,266 - to the College.

“It makes you feel good to have something done of value from this salvaged wood,” said Doug Cotter, who spent time working in B.C.’s logging industry.

The Naramata Packinghouse was built in the 1930s from 250-year-old timber stands on Vancouver Island, explained Cotter. The Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative operated the packinghouse for decades, but closed the building a few years ago. When a water pipe burst last spring, the Cooperative determined the cost to restore the building was too great and hired the Cotters to demolish it.

Alf Leimert, who chairs the Construction Trades Department at Okanagan College, got wind of the demolition and approached the Cotters about making a donation. Earlier this year the towering posts and beams were delivered to the College’s Kelowna campus where the wood will be used in the carpentry program. Nails and massive fasteners had to be removed from the posts and beams to prepare them for stacking in the College’s shed.

Leimert said the wood gives his students a rare appreciation for the products that came out of the province’s forest industry more than 70 years ago.

“These were the original growth trees. They had closer grain, they were slow growth, and the trees were larger. You just don’t see that any more,” he said.

This coming spring, carpentry classes will begin using the wood to construct a large-scale heritage project for the Penticton campus. A decorative archway is expected to be complete by summer.

“There’s nothing greener than recycling,” Leimert said, pleased the end product will add some local heritage to the campus. “In-kind donations like this make a real practical difference to our students and help them create something we would otherwise never see.”

The Cotters have worked in the Penticton area for 24 years, operating Cotter’s Tree and Bin Service, and more recently Cotter’s Bin and Demolition Service Ltd., which provides roll-off waste bins, demolition and mobile container services throughout the region.

Kelowna entrepreneur weaves into fabric of Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

One of the most well-known entrepreneurs in the B.C. Interior is quickly fashioning a deep and lasting relationship with Okanagan College.

Mel Kotler, the founder of Fabricland, along with his wife Dina have invested in a new pattern for business program development – a Scholar Fund focused on retail management at the College’s Okanagan School of Business.

“I wanted to do something for the College and this seemed to be a good match,” said Kotler, who became an Honorary Fellow of the College earlier this year, and the School of Business’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence. “This new Scholar Fund will enhance the College’s business program, and allow the College to move into new territory.”

Kotler began his career working in wholesale textiles in Montreal before moving out West and launching Fabricland in 1977. By the time he retired in 2001, there were 40 Fabricland stores across Western Canada and another 20 franchises, paving the way for the company to become the largest fashion fabric distributor in the country.

Kotler, whose son attended the Okanagan School of Business, said students require far more than gumption to get ahead today.

“I got my master’s degree on the streets of Montreal, but business is far more complicated than it was back then. They need the kind of specialized training the Okanagan School of Business provides.”

Associate Dean of Business Barry McGillivray said the Mel and Dina Kotler Scholar in Retail Management Fund will give the School of Business the ability to expand its existing retail programs.

“The retail industry has become a highly complex field. It’s easy to purchase stock, it’s another thing all together to understand and appreciate the complexities of such things as inventory and supply chain management,” McGillivray said.

“This will give us the opportunity to appoint a professor who can spend three years building to develop a program framework leading to a comprehensive specialty in retail.”

Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, said Scholar Funds provide another building block towards supporting and expanding the programs offered to students.

“We truly value Mel Kotler’s commitment to our students here, and his clear demonstration of support and vision,” Butler said.

Kotler said he’s honoured to be part of such an important development in the business school. His greatest wish is that it will help the next generation succeed in retail.

“I tell young people I meet that whatever business they’re in, you need to have a passion. If you’re not doing something from the heart, then get out and do something else.”

Eat.Drink.Tweet. Market. Win.
Okanagan College Media Release

What happens when you turn to social media to market a social media conference that focuses on the wine and culinary industries?

First, you end up with a very successful program. Then, you end up attracting the attention and appreciation of your colleagues for the marketing initiative.

That’s the case for Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department, which was recently honored for excellence in marketing by the international Learning Resources Network (LERN).

“Eat.Drink.Tweet.” is a program developed by Allison Markin in concert with Okanagan College. Markin is a social media consultant who runs her own business (All She Wrote Consulting), based in Penticton. The program was, and is, a three-day introduction to social media practice and theory that combines education with an IRL (in real life) experience involving wine and food, bringing in local chefs and Okanagan wines. The first event featured wineries from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association, and received enthusiastic support from Penticton & Wine Country Tourism.

Offered for the first time in March 2011, it was promoted almost wholly through social media, and drew rave reviews from participants. It has spawned a series of similar events and courses offered through the College and the large three-day event is being held again this year in February. Markin has presented Eat.Drink.Tweet. events across BC and will expand to Alberta in 2012.

In one weekend, the inaugural event drew more than two million impressions on Twitter alone. “Eat.Drink.Tweet.” was a trending topic in Canada, second only to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which occurred the same week. Markin promised to get a tattoo of the Eat.Drink.Tweet. logo if the conference trended. It did, and she now sports some ink on her right ankle.

“We were astounded by the response to the social media campaign promoting the program and then were amazed when it attracted as much attention as it did,” says Markin. Surprised too, when LERN chose to recognize the College’s entry for excellence in marketing against a field of more than 100 submissions from four countries. And those 100-plus entries were the highest quality ever submitted, according to LERN’s Vice President of Information Services, Julie Coates.

“Lorrie Forde (Continuing Studies Program Administrator with Okanagan College) was instrumental in helping bring this to reality,” says Markin. “She had faith in the concept, helped promote the event and then made sure that LERN had a chance to find out about it.”

The LERN award wasn’t the first for Eat.Drink.Tweet.: earlier in 2011, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association awarded its Social Media Initiative Award to Markin for the invention of Eat.Drink.Tweet.

To register for the next Eat.Drink.Tweet., you can visit eatdrinktweet.ca or look for it on Twitter under the hashtag #eatdrinktweet, and on the All She Wrote Consulting Facebook page (of course).

Entrepreneur inspires a new generation with largest-ever gift in B.C. college sector
Okanagan College Media Release

One of the most sustainable buildings in the world will now carry the name of one of the province’s best-known entrepreneurs and community-builders, Jim Pattison.

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation was officially opened today in Penticton. The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of B.C., announced the building’s new name from inside the community hall of the $28-million building.

Jim Pattison joined Premier Clark, MP Dan Albas and approximately 250 guests, students and members of the community to announce a pledge of $2.5-million in matching funds to the College. Today’s announcement marks the largest private gift ever given to a college in the province of B.C.

With a vision to attract further support for this unique building and the innovative programs taught within its walls, this generous donation will be used to match new contributions over the next five years. Thus, the leveraging impact of the gift will be a boost of $5-million to the College’s fundraising.

“I am a firm believer in education and understand that innovative buildings such as this are the places where we will train and develop a skilled workforce and the leaders of tomorrow,” said Pattison. “I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by Okanagan College and the overwhelming community support this project has received.”

The project was first announced in 2009 and was constructed with $22.65 million from the provincial and federal governments under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. Shortly after the building was announced, the Okanagan College Foundation launched a $5-million fundraising campaign to fund its portion of the project budget.

“Today is a great day for Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation as we recognize the meaningful contributions of so many in our community, the province of B.C. and the federal government. We appreciate their investment in this building, our students and the future of this region,” said President Jim Hamilton. “It’s a prime example of what can be achieved when an institution, governments, students, individuals, communities, businesses and builders see an opportunity and seize it. The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is where vision and passion meet experience and enthusiasm and result in something truly inspiring.”

According to Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation, the Pattison pledge – contingent on raising equivalent funds from other donors – provides a huge incentive for others to contribute, given that all new donations will be matched dollar for dollar.

“This generous gift sends a message to students, industries and citizens throughout the province and country that Mr. Pattison recognizes and endorses the importance and growth of sustainable building practices and applied innovation,” said Butler. “He is clearly encouraging others to make an investment. The Pattison Foundation’s generosity will accelerate the College’s drive to realize the building’s full potential as one of the world’s leading centres of excellence in green construction, training and applied research.”

Butler also noted the Foundation has already raised over $200,000 in new gifts eligible for matching from the Pattison fund. Like those already received in the fundraising campaign, these new donations will be used for a variety of purposes from capital building expenditures to program development, student scholarships and bursaries.

“The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is a building that will grow and develop over time to lead the way in sustainable building techniques and practices,” said Lance Kayfish, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “What the building offers in terms of programming and infrastructure will be quite different 10 years down the road. Continued investment in the Centre, its students and the programs the College can offer here will result in significant growth of the building’s capabilities.”

From Ross Saunders’ perspective, continued investment in The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence will open doors to a brighter future for the people of the South Okanagan and beyond.

“Today’s announcement marks an important investment in the future of this region,” said Saunders, a second-year Criminal and Social Justice student and Penticton Campus Council Chair of Okanagan College Students’ Union. “Not only is this one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable buildings, it is also one that has been embraced by members of our community and beyond. That means a lot to me and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been a part of making this building a reality – especially Mr. Pattison.”

Entrepreneur inspires a new generation with largest-ever gift in B.C. college sector

Okanagan College Media Release

One of the most sustainable buildings in the world will now carry the name of one of the province’s best-known entrepreneurs and community-builders, Jim Pattison.

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation was officially opened today in Penticton. The Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of B.C., announced the building’s new name from inside the community hall of the $28-million building. Jim Pattison joined Premier Clark, MP Dan Albas and approximately 250 guests, students and members of the community to announce a pledge of $2.5-million in matching funds to the College.

Today’s announcement marks the largest private gift ever given to a college in the province of B.C. With a vision to attract further support for this unique building and the innovative programs taught within its walls, this generous donation will be used to match new contributions over the next five years. Thus, the leveraging impact of the gift will be a boost of $5-million to the College’s fundraising.

“I am a firm believer in education and understand that innovative buildings such as this are the places where we will train and develop a skilled workforce and the leaders of tomorrow,” said Pattison. “I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by Okanagan College and the overwhelming community support this project has received.”

The project was first announced in 2009 and was constructed with $22.65 million from the provincial and federal governments under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. Shortly after the building was announced, the Okanagan College Foundation launched a $5-million fundraising campaign to fund its portion of the project budget.

“Today is a great day for Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation as we recognize the meaningful contributions of so many in our community, the province of B.C. and the federal government. We appreciate their investment in this building, our students and the future of this region,” said President Jim Hamilton. “It’s a prime example of what can be achieved when an institution, governments, students, individuals, communities, businesses and builders see an opportunity and seize it. The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is where vision and passion meet experience and enthusiasm and result in something truly inspiring.”

According to Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation, the Pattison pledge – contingent on raising equivalent funds from other donors – provides a huge incentive for others to contribute, given that all new donations will be matched dollar for dollar.

This generous gift sends a message to students, industries and citizens throughout the province and country that Mr. Pattison recognizes and endorses the importance and growth of sustainable building practices and applied innovation,” said Butler. “He is clearly encouraging others to make an investment. The Pattison Foundation’s generosity will accelerate the College’s drive to realize the building’s full potential as one of the world’s leading centres of excellence in green construction, training and applied research.”

Butler also noted the Foundation has already raised over $200,000 in new gifts eligible for matching from the Pattison fund. Like those already received in the fundraising campaign, these new donations will be used for a variety of purposes from capital building expenditures to program development, student scholarships and bursaries.

“The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is a building that will grow and develop over time to lead the way in sustainable building techniques and practices,” said Lance Kayfish, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “What the building offers in terms of programming and infrastructure will be quite different 10 years down the road. Continued investment in the Centre, its students and the programs the College can offer here will result in significant growth of the building’s capabilities.”

From Ross Saunders’ perspective, continued investment in The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence will open doors to a brighter future for the people of the South Okanagan and beyond. “Today’s announcement marks an important investment in the future of this region,” said Saunders, a second-year Criminal and Social Justice student and Penticton Campus Council Chair of Okanagan College Students’ Union. “Not only is this one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable buildings, it is also one that has been embraced by members of our community and beyond. That means a lot to me and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has been a part of making this building a reality – especially Mr. Pattison.”

Green Building Design program draws interest from industry professionals
Okanagan College Media Release

Nick Hill knows about the challenges and opportunities that arise as a Nick Hillconsequence of the current focus on green building.

As owner of Ritchie Contracting and Design Ltd. in Penticton, he appreciates that clients want to incorporate sustainable practices and materials into their homes and projects. He also knows they are cost-conscious, especially in the current climate.

As a partner in Solum Rammed Earth Builders Ltd. and a partner in Earthen Living Inc., Hill can see the opportunity in the green building sector as it evolves and grows.

For those reasons, he’s been extremely interested - and involved - in the development of Okanagan College’s Green Building Design and Construction program.

“We need programs like this,” says Hill, who is also President of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of the South Okanagan. “We need to develop the professional expertise and networks that can help us answer client needs when they seek advice on green building.”

Hill has been part of an advisory group helping Okanagan College develop the 360-hour certificate program, which will be offered in a format that blends online instruction with workshops and classes in the College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, one of the world’s greenest buildings.

He’s also contemplating signing up for the program, either for the first intake in February or later. “There aren’t many programs about building envelopes that are easily accessible.”

That was part of the point of the blended format, explains Barry Brooks, an engineer who has taken the administrative and educational lead for the program’s development. “Most of the instruction and work is done in an online format, but students will be expected to come to the Centre of Excellence for a short period of time for the hands-on components.”

Besides being a good source of advice and input, Hill is a good example of the type of person who will benefit from the program, says Brooks.

“This is intended for the professional who designs or builds for a sustainability-focused clientele. One of the admission requirements is work or educational experience in construction, engineering, architecture or building design.

“We look at everything from building science, to solar and thermal control, from construction waste management to cost effectiveness. And underpinning it all is the message about balancing environmental stewardship with facility functionality.”

For more information on the program, curriculum, instructors, fees and schedules, visit okanagan.bc.ca/greenbuilding

Centre of Excellence a draw for national conference of colleges
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is already proving to be the economic engine it was envisioned to be.

James Knight, the President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), has announced that Penticton will host the organization’s 2013 annual conference, a four-day event that will take place from May 31 – June 3 and will draw approximately 700 delegates to the South Okanagan and Similkameen. Okanagan College is a member of ACCC.

"Hundreds of college leaders, faculty, students and international delegates will experience one of the world's greenest buildings, the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at Okanagan College’s Penticton Campus,” says Knight. “The conference will provide opportunities to network and dialogue on the key role colleges and institutes play in contributing to community economic development."

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton points to the Centre of Excellence as one of the prime reasons for ACCC’s choice of Penticton as a venue.

“There has been considerable interest nationally and internationally in what has been achieved here and the fact that it is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings.”

The $28-million building, constructed as part of the joint federal-provincial Knowledge Infrastructure Program, is the largest structure to attempt to achieve the Living Building Challenge the world’s most rigorous environmental standards for building construction and operation. The Centre of Excellence aims to be completely energy-neutral.

The economic impact of the ACCC will be significant, says Donna Lomas, the College’s Regional Dean for the South Okanagan and Similkameen. Penticton’s reputation as a tourist destination and Okanagan College’s growing reputation as a leader in the College sector also factored into the organization’s decision, says Hamilton.

Last year’s conference was held in Edmonton, and the 2012 event is being held in Halifax.

“We expect this conference will inject well over a million dollars into the regional economy, drawing on the spending experience of other visitors to the community,” says Lomas. “It comes at a good time – before the summer tourist season is in full swing.”

“This conference will have significant impact for the region and Penticton,” says Penticton Mayor and Regional District Chair Dan Ashton. “The municipality and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen saw the potential for the Centre of Excellence as an economic generator in the short- and long-term and our support for the project is obviously reaping rewards.”

Okanagan College makes its way into business playoffs
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College students with heads for finance, ethics and a host of other business skills have proven once again they’re among the brightest in the country.

Five teams, representing 11 students from the Okanagan School of Business, have made it into the final round of the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Business Competition, which takes place January 5-7 at Queen’s University.

“This is the Super Bowl of business for Canadian universities,” said Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of the Okanagan School of Business.

Okanagan College has reached the finals before, but never with so many teams. The local teams will now be going up against various universities including Queensland University of Technology out of Australia, Dalhousie University, the University of Calgary and Simon Fraser University.

This year 38 universities from around the world were invited to submit 165 preliminary cases – each one of these submissions responding to highly complex case studies.

“They don’t make these case studies easy,” said finance team member Jessica Wilson, who recently landed an articling position with Grant Thornton. “We had to work on a merger and acquisition case, which meant assigning a value to a home care business. It was very practical, and not as easy as they make these things in the textbooks.”

Wilson’s professor and competition coach Derek Cook said he couldn’t have been happier with the team’s results.

“This was the first year we entered the finance category because up until now we didn’t offer a corporate finance course, so I was very pleased with the result.”

In addition to the finance category, Okanagan College students will compete in the final round in the areas of accounting, business policy, debate, and ethics.

“There’s a real difference between talking about ethics, and applying ethics to real life situations,” said team member Zach Webster of the case they received involving a franchise owner, a small-town car dealership, and a wrongly applied discount.

“You really have to look at how you weigh one side over the other, and then think about how your client would justify a solution to employees, to their families, and to the other stakeholders in their business,” he said. “Business programs are really working hard now to have us integrate that ethical component.”

“We’re the only college in the country that participates in this competition, and our students perform at a very high level,” McGillivray said. “Our performance shows how good a business school this is, and how strong our students are.”

Okanagan College Trades program ready to build new careers
Okanagan College Media Release

The economy is turning around and with this comes an increase in demand for trades professionals, said Randy Werger, Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at Okanagan College.

“We’re seeing the beginning signs of a renewed economy, which means the construction industry is going to be looking for workers. This is a cyclical industry making it perfect timing for extremely passionate students to get their training underway,” said Werger.

A series of Residential Construction information sessions will take place at regional campuses up and down the valley over the next 10 days to allow prospective students and anyone interested in a career in construction trades to find out more.

Vernon Campus - Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 6-7 p.m.
Salmon Arm Campus - Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6-7 p.m.
Penticton Campus - Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6-7 p.m.
Kelowna Campus - Monday, Dec. 12 from 5-7 p.m.

The 30-week (900 hour) program begins in February. As part of the program, students will develop skills through hands-on experience with a community project.

“Adding practical understanding and practice within a supervised site allows students to build confidence,” said Werger.

The program covers a vast variety of skills including how to use power tools and other equipment used by residential framing technicians and carpenters.

“This year each of the Residential Construction programs in every region will have an opportunity to develop a new project and help the community,” said Werger.

Previous Residential Construction projects have included partnerships with the Caravan Farm Theater in Armstrong, a Habitat for Humanity project in Kelowna, and in Penticton, the construction of a cabin for Agur Lake Camp. Students in the Residential Construction program will not only develop experience but gain a sense of pride and accomplishment when the project is complete.

“Job site experience sets the Residential Construction program aside from others,” said Werger.

Okanagan College welcomes anyone to attend the info night, with all campuses offering the program. Okanagan College is British Columbia’s second largest trades training institution.
ALC approves College application
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College has received Agricultural Land Commission permission to allow use of a portion of its Vernon campus for development of a community-owned $7.8 million multi-use sports facility.

The College learned of the ALC’s decision late Tuesday. The decision pertains to a 5.8-hectare portion of the campus that is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The property is bordered by Highway 97 and College Way.

“This is welcome news,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “When we announced the concept of this project last December with our partners from the Regional District, Coldstream and Vernon, we acknowledged that there are several hurdles to overcome. Given that our Board had agreed to lease the property to the Regional District over the next 40 years, the first major one was to obtain Agricultural Land Commission permission for a non-conforming use on the property in question.”

Initially, in March this year, the ALC said no, but a subsequent reconsideration at the College’s request led to this decision. The College and the Regional District supplied additional information about further anticipated demand for agricultural land for sports, parks and recreation facilities within the Greater Vernon area.

“Clearly, there is significant support for this concept,” says Jane Lister, Okanagan College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean. “We can see benefits for the communities we serve, as well as for our students and the campus. The project’s progress is now in the hands of Greater Vernon Services, the Regional District, Vernon and Coldstream.”

The proposed facility includes an Olympic size rubberized track, a lighted artificial playing field and a field house. It also incorporates track and field facilities, and bleachers.

The ALC set two conditions on the approval of the non-conforming use:

· that topsoil be retained on the site and be used to develop the fields, or stored in berms at the edge of the site

· that the facility be developed within three years.

Okanagan College scores silver medal for sustainability
Okanagan College Media Release

The largest community college in B.C.’s Interior has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability with a silver STARS ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The ranking makes Okanagan College the first community college in B.C. to receive this recognition, and places the college among 22 Canadian educational institutes that have put sustainability at the forefront of their mandate. The assessment applies to all four campuses in Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.

Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton said one of the key aims of the College for 2010-2015 is to become a leader in sustainability, and this designation acts as a critical benchmark for that objective.

“This new designation supports our greater vision for Okanagan College – that we serve, lead and anticipate the social, economic and environmental needs of communities,” Hamilton said.

STARS (The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

The program requires that participating institutions assess their sustainable practices in the areas of education and research, operations, planning, administration and engagement, and innovation.

The College received STARS recognition for numerous practices and innovations including:

· The treated effluent water and heat recovery system at the Centre for Learning in Kelowna

· The use of a crusher to safely and efficiently dispose of Compact Florescent Lights

· Offering sustainability courses in 12 departments.

The silver rating was assessed prior to the completion of the College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewal Energy Conservation, one of the world’s most sustainable buildings, located in Penticton. Now complete, the net-zero water and energy building will make a considerable contribution to the College’s sustainability efforts. (FortisBC also recognized Okanagan College with two awards for its outstanding achievements in energy efficiency and for its leadership and commitment to innovation, conservation and sustainability at its annual PowerSense awards event held earlier this month.)

More than 250 institutions have taken part in the STARS program, which ranks participants with a Reporter, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating.

The AASHE was founded in 2005 to help coordinate and strengthen campus sustainability efforts, and to serve as the first North American professional association for those interested in advancing campus sustainability.

For more information about the STARS assessment program, visit stars.aashe.org.

Students can still register for three-hour short story competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Organizers of Okanagan College’s three-hour short story competition are willing to be a little lenient with those Grade 11, 12 and College students who are having difficulty deciding whether to enter this year’s competition.

The contest is scheduled for this Saturday, and the deadline to register for the event is Nov. 18. Organizers, though, are willing to accept walk-in traffic at the College computer labs where the event will be hosted in Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton.

“Those last-minute writers will have to realize, though, that pre-registration will guarantee them a spot in the competition. If they come at the last minute and we’re full, well, we’re full,” says Sean Johnston, one of the College English Professors organizing the event.

The short story competition is open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. The contest takes place simultaneously from noon – 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. Writers will work on College computers, and will not be able to access any pre-written material or anything online.

Four prizes of $250 tuition credit will be handed out – one for each campus winner. The grand prize winner will receive an additional $500 tuition credit.

Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting to sign up in advance or for more information.

Pay it forward giving drive to launch next week
Okanagan College Media Release

Now in its sixth year, Okanagan College’s Pay it Forward campaign, a giving event aimed at helping local community organizations during the holiday season, will begin accepting donations at the Kelowna Campus on Monday, Nov. 14.

The campaign began six years ago after Okanagan College Kelowna business student Sarah Comba was motivated to make a difference in her community.

Inspired by a concept taken from Catherine Hyde’s book “Pay it Forward,” Comba partnered with the Okanagan College Alumni Association to build on the concept of promoting a chain-reaction of single acts of kindness.

Now an Okanagan College alumna, Comba continues to lead the winter campaign -along with the College’s Campus Recreation department - which aims to collect a variety of useful items, food and clothing for a range of non-profit organizations in Kelowna.

Donations of clean and gently used warm clothing for adults, children and infants as well as non-perishable food items are being accepted at Okanagan College - Kelowna Campus from Nov. 14, through Dec. 8.

Cash and gift card/certificate donations are also accepted at the Campus Recreation office A 105 located in the S Building at 1000 KLO Road between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the final day of the campaign, Dec. 8.

Charities and community organizations in Kelowna that will receive donations include: Kelowna Gospel Mission, Inn from the Cold, and Kelowna Food Bank.

Okanagan College students all ears for upcoming concert
Okanagan College Media Release

Music comes alive at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus Thursday, Nov. 24 when the Audio Engineering and Music Production program puts on its 10th annual concert – The Man Bear Pig Awareness Concert.

The show features two Kelowna alternative bands - Smash Blvd, and The Flu. Twenty students from the College’s program handle the work behind the scenes of the concert.

“This is our big live event and what we’re doing here is creating a professional concert environment, just on a smaller scale,” said Bob Gabelhouse, professional audio engineer, music producer and the program’s instructor.

"It takes three days of hard work on the part of the students to put on this show. They have to set up and calibrate the equipment, do the sound checks with the bands, and then on the last day, the students run the sound and lighting equipment during the show."

Former student Cory Bell-Esau said his experience as a student working on a live show prepared him well for the work he does now as owner of Mr. E Audio Production.

“It’s vital,” he said. “Quality live sound requires more skill than studio sound. When you’re live, you don’t have time to do things again – you simply have to do, and if you don’t do, you’re fired. This is real stuff they’re doing here.”

This marks the first time the event is taking place on campus. Previous locations

included the Community Theatre, Mary Irwin Theatre and Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

Tickets for the concert are $10, and available at the door or online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/csreg - search for CRN 71091. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert gets underway at 7 p.m.

Audio Engineering and Music Production is the largest program offered through Continuing Studies at Okanagan College. It runs full-time Monday to Thursday from September to May. At the end of the year, students complete their final project at a professional studio where they bring in their own band and produce a professionally recorded CD.

For more information about the Audio Engineering and Music Production program, contact (250) 862-5480, or visit the program website at www.okanagan.bc.ca.

Okanagan College business students offer insight into BC Parks’ future
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College students hooked themselves a second place finish with their presentation on BC Parks at the Tourism Industry’s 2011 Student Case Competition held recently in Victoria.

“It was a really tough competition,” said Laura Thurnheer, a professor in Okanagan College’s School of Business. “The students spent weeks preparing for this.”

The six teams, all post-secondary students specializing in hospitality and tourism, prepared some of their material in advance – all focused on BC Parks.

Once the competition got underway, the teams received their official task: craft a 15-minute presentation on how Tourism BC, Tourism Info-Centres and BC Parks can work together to market specific regions. The teams then had five hours to prepare and rehearse.

“Once we were in lockdown we realized we had lots of material we couldn’t use, but it was great to see how we pulled it all together as a team. It showed us how we could push past our comfort zone,” said Nathan Milligan, who along with Jena Huber, Shelby Franson, and Jordan Lacroix, made up the College’s team.

“Their delivery of the solution was very real,” Thurnheer said. “They brought a budget to it, they had their quantitative research, and what they created was a most viable and workable solution for BC Parks.”

Following the competition, the students attended the full conference, all paid for by industry.

“It’s great that the College gives us this opportunity, and it was great to meet all these other people from the industry,” Milligan said. “They respected what we were doing, and really wanted to talk with us.”

The team’s strong showing is the latest example of how hospitality and tourism students at Okanagan College take advantage, and excel, through a wide-range of opportunities.

Business students specializing in hospitality and tourism also had an opportunity to attend the three-day BC Hospitality Industry Conference and Expo underway Nov. 6-8 in Vancouver.

This year faculty selected Stephanie Belland, a fourth-year student who already holds a diploma in hospitality management, to be a delegate. The conference includes sessions on everything from a panel discussion featuring Liquor Control Licensing branch manager Karen Ayers, to a debate over which industry is best “optimizing revenue” – hotels or airlines.

“These are high level discussions, and important complex ones for our industry,” Thurnheer said. “What we want to create for our students by providing this enrichment is a thorough appreciation of what’s required from tourism and hospitality professionals so that they can begin to deliver that quality as soon as they enter the workforce.”

Partnerships with organizations like the Rotary Club of Kelowna-Ogopogo also enhance students’ appreciation for the larger world of tourism.

Earlier this year, Kali Mulholland travelled to Perth, Australia through the club’s annual tourism exchange program, designed specifically for the College’s tourism and hospitality students.

While there, Mulholland attended a marketing session of the Western Australia Tourism Council where she learned the council has to regularly overcome the challenge of Perth being the most isolated capital city in the world.

“Here in the Okanagan we’re trying to draw people in from Vancouver, so it was interesting to see that they used similar tools to us. Things like attracting visitors by highlighting their wineries, their surfing, their natural beauty and character,” she said.

Okanagan College regional dean Heather Schneider, who sits on the local Rotary selection committee, said students truly benefit from the experience.

“Perth has a very similar environment with an active eco-tourism industry, aboriginal tourism, and wineries. It’s a perfect experience for students from here.”

For more information about the tourism and hospitality specialization at Okanagan College’s School of Business, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca.

New endowment named in honour of Okanagan College faculty advocate
Okanagan College Media Release

An organization of retired B.C. college and institute faculty is making a big difference for the next generation of Okanagan College students.

The College and Institute Retirees Association of British Columbia (CIRA-BC) has given the Okanagan College Foundation a $14,800 endowment to start a new award – the Tony Williams Memorial Scholarship (CIRA-BC).

Tony Williams retired from teaching sociology at Okanagan University College in 1999, having been made an honorary lifetime member of the Okanagan University College Faculty Association, now the Okanagan College Faculty Association. He founded CIRA-BC in 2001 as a province-wide independent voice for retired faculty, and remained its president until his sudden death in 2003.

“By establishing an endowment, CIRA is honouring the memory of a dedicated and visionary Okanagan College employee and leader in our association, while ensuring the success of future generations of learners,” said CIRA president Ashley Dermer.

“He was an exceptional man – both in leadership and in mentorship,” said Kathy Butler, executive director of Okanagan College Foundation.

The CIRA award marks the second time the former sociology professor’s leadership skills have been recognized. Faculty, who remembered Williams as a strong advocate who stood up for human rights and principles, decided to create a bursary in his name.

“He saw it as his role to go in there and fight the battles that needed to be fought,” said retired Okanagan College English professor Michael Griffin, who knew Williams and worked alongside him in CIRA’s early days. “Tony pushed his students to investigate, to ask questions. That was his nature.”

This new fund will provide awards for Okanagan College students enrolled in a university studies program.

Butler said the endowment will result in an annual scholarship of about $500 that will help students for generations to come.

“A scholarship like this helps with things like the cost of books,” she said. “That can make a real difference for our older students who typically have higher financial needs than those starting post-secondary straight out of high school.”

For more information about how organizations and individuals can help build an educational legacy, contact the Okanagan College Foundation at 250-862-5630.

Okanagan College students top 2011 Irving K. Barber scholarships
Okanagn College Media Release

An unprecedented number of Okanagan College students have received good news, along with hefty $5,000 cheques, from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.

Twenty-nine of the 100 B.C. post-secondary recipients of the prestigious award came through Okanagan College – the highest number of recipients from any post-secondary institution in the province.

“It is a remarkable achievement for the College to have 29 of our students recognized for their academic achievements and contributions to the community,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “This is a testament to our talented students and dedicated staff. It is also an important reminder of the impact of Ike Barber’s leadership and philanthropy in this region and the entire province. These days, a $5,000 scholarship makes a meaningful contribution to enhancing the career aspirations of this province’s best and brightest.”

In order to receive the scholarship, students must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 or 87.5 per cent for 54 credits completed and have demonstrated service to their school and/or community.

“Our society is pleased to support the education goals of deserving young people and at the same time support B.C.’s strong post-secondary education system,” said Hugh Gordon, chair of the scholarship society.

The Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society was formed in 2004 as a result of a contribution made to the University of B.C. by philanthropist and founder of Slocan Forest Products Ltd. Irving K. Barber. To date, the society has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarships.

For more information about the fund or to view the full list of recipients, visit: www.bcscholarship.ca.


Rebecca Stewart, Salmon Arm

“This is awesome,” said Rebecca Stewart, who took her first three years at the Salmon Arm campus toward a degree in social work. “I want to become a parole officer and work in prisons. That’s been one of my goals in the last couple of years. At 30 years old, it’s hard to go back, but I figured if you want something you have to go for it. I’ve still got one more year of school to get my degree, so this really helps.”

Camille Brandt, Salmon Arm/Enderby

“This really takes the pressure off,” said Camille Brandt, who attended high school in Enderby and college at the Salmon Arm campus. “I’m a person that puts lots of pressure on myself to work and support myself. My parents are there for me, but I always tell them I’m going to do this on my own.”

Sana Mohammed, Vernon

“It’s not just about the money,” said Mohammed, who attended the Vernon campus on her way to completing a degree in social work. “It’s about being recognized and appreciated and thought of. This paid for my entire year and every day I attend class I think about that.”

David Mireau, Kelowna

“This helps me pay for tuition, my living expenses like transportation costs and even food,” said David Mireau, who took the Trades, Technology Teacher Education (TTTE) program at the Kelowna campus so he can teach shop in high schools and middle schools. “It’s a really competitive job market right now, so it’s important to work hard, and if you can get assistance, try hard for it because it helps. Doing things like volunteering or getting good marks in school, allows you to get a scholarship like the Barber.”

Travis Hofman, Oliver/South Okanagan

“This made a huge difference for me,” said Travis Hofman, who graduated from high school in Oliver and decided to study Trades, Technology Teacher Education (TTTE) at Okanagan College.

Hofman is now completing the second half of his education degree, so the scholarship comes at the perfect time.

“You can’t really work when you’re going to school full-time so basically this paid for my first semester at university.”

Extreme deep-sea environments exposed by UVic professor in public talk
Okanagan College Media Release

Canada’s leading authority on extreme deep-water sea life will be in Vernon Nov. 17 to present a public lecture on underwater exploration as part of Okanagan College’s Science in Society speaker series.

Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe holds the Canada Research Chair in Deep Ocean Research, and is a University of Victoria professor in the departments of Biology & School Earth/Ocean Sciences. Her presentation will give the audience a lens on some of the undersea worlds she has visited through her more than 120 deep sea dives and hundreds of hours spent with seafloor remotely operated vehicles.

The lecture takes place Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Vernon campus.

Tunnicliffe led the world’s first expedition to observe the hydrothermal vents off the west coast of Canada in 1983.

“The human species is limited by terrestrial adaptations and dependence on a few senses to understand our interactions with the environment,” Tunnicliffe said. “Penetration of the oceans by humans is difficult, and the lack of visual connectivity beneath the sea surface usually means ‘out of sight, out of mind’.”

The audience can expect to see imagery captured from various expeditions, including those to hot vents and subsea volcanoes – Canadian ecosystems seldom seem.

“Canada is a leader in development of subsea technologies that allow us to undertake such exploration,” Tunnicliffe said, “particularly when it comes to the use of submersible, remotely operated vehicles and subsea observatories.”

Tunnicliffe holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of many influential scientific publications and a children’s book, Kira’s Undersea Garden. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and is awardee of both the NRC Steacie Prize and the British Columbia Innovation Council’s Frontiers in Exploration prize.

The Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College) is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, and the Vernon Morning Star.

Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. For advanced tickets and more information, visit the Okanagan Science Centre at www.okscience.ca or call (250) 545-3644.

Okanagan College Welding program buoys up Oliver
Okanagan College Media Release

Vancouver’s new shipbuilding contract is creating a pent-up demand for welders that will be felt province-wide and now job seekers living in the South Okanagan can get in on the picture, said the Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship for Okanagan College.

“Any way you cut it, it’s looking good for welders,” said John Haller, as he makes preparations to bring the College’s welding program to Oliver for the first time this coming February.

The College is hosting two information sessions on Thursday, Nov. 24. The first will be held at Southern Okanagan Secondary School at 2:30 p.m., and the second later that evening at 5:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Oliver Centre. The welding program gets underway Feb. 6, 2012.

“For the last two to three months we’ve seen an increase in the number of employers calling and asking for students,” said Haller, adding the welding trade traditionally acts as a bellwether for the economy.

“Already there are more opportunities in the oil patch again, and now with Seaspan’s news in Vancouver there’s going to be a lot of movement, so that’s going to create a vacuum here.”

Delivering the 24-week entry-level session in the Town of Oliver couldn’t come at a better time, said Mayor Pat Hampson.

“Many residents in the South Okanagan are looking for jobs which offer good pay and with the demand for welders in general, this program offers residents the ability to train locally.”

Haller expects the program will attract students from throughout the South Okanagan – as far north as Summerland, and west to Keremeos.

The College is also working closely with local high school students interested in getting a head start on their career by obtaining dual credit through the Ace-It program.

Nick Hoy, a Grade 11 student at Southern Okanagan Secondary School, was already interested in becoming a welder when he heard about the dual credit option and jumped on it.

“I think this is a good idea. I get to take welding in place of other electives plus get my Welding C ticket, which means I can start work straight out of high school,” Hoy said.

High school students receive certification towards completion of an apprenticeship program all while receiving credits towards graduation.

“We hope this is the first of many partnership endeavours between School District 53 and the College to offer high school students trades training programs,” said Beverly Young, superintendent for the Okanagan Similkameen school district.

Seats are limited, and Haller said welding is also a growing field for women, making it especially attractive for those eligible for Okanagan College’s Women’s Trades Training Initiative (WTTI).

The WTTI program is targeting unemployed and underemployed women who are not eligible to receive Employment Insurance benefits. Funding for tuition, books and tools may be available to eligible women who apply for trades foundation training programs. There are limited seats available, so interested women should apply early.

Venture Okanagan aims for hat trick
Okanagan College Media Release

In the game called success, it’s all about achieving goals and Venture Okanagan hopes to score its third win when potential investors meet a fresh batch of entrepreneurs Wednesday, Nov. 9 at Okanagan College.

So far Venture Okanagan is two for two.

Mischa Steiner-Jovic, founder and CEO of Awesense Wireless Inc., took part in the first investor forum one year ago, and in eight short months landed in the winner’s circle at the BCIC-New Ventures competition with a $40,000 BC Hydro Sustainability prize.

Then Khalil Hosseini, who was making his living as a house painter, stepped into the spring forum pitching an efficient tool for professional painters. Hosseini hit a home run with a private equity investment from an angel investor. ColorWRX Technologies Inc. was born.

“Khalil was excited about the opportunity, and he made the most of it,” said Venture Okanagan chair and SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) faculty advisor Steve Watson. “Mischa was at the start-up stage and then look what he accomplished eight months later.”

Steiner-Jovic says the experience at Venture Okanagan proved to be a breakthrough.

“The feedback from the judging panel leading up to the presentation event was extremely helpful, and helped us refine our presentation,” said Steiner-Jovic. “We would highly recommend that companies in the Okanagan apply to the Venture Okanagan group.”

Watson says success stories like these give the program energy, and excite the students taking part.

“This gives our students a chance to hone their newly acquired business skills, plus provides the added value of working with real people starting new enterprises. They quickly see that many entrepreneurs are just like you and me. They’re inventors, they’re dreamers, and we help them reach their goals.”

Investors looking for an inside track on Venture Okanagan’s next successful entrepreneurs can register for the Nov. 9 forum at www.ventureokanagan.com. Cost is $35.

The Investor Forum takes place from 6:00-9:30 p.m. at the Kelowna Campus of Okanagan College in Room B112. A wine and cheese social follows in the Centre for Learning atrium.

College’s new IT Director brings experience, enthusiasm to role
Okanagan College Media Release

Laura Eagen is looking forward to landing in the Okanagan to take over her new job as the College’s Director of Information Technology Services.

She’s worked in Ireland, Newfoundland and Ottawa over the course of the last three decades, and brings with her extensive experience in a number of different scenarios. Most recently, she has been Chief Information Officer for Newfoundland Liquor. Before that was head of Strategic Development for the Bank of Ireland.

“I’m eager to immerse myself in the post-secondary environment,” she said. “Information Technology has always been an integral part of the education system, but from the business side of the equation to the classroom and to educational delivery, it is becoming increasingly critical. Okanagan College has a deserved reputation for leadership in post-secondary, and I’m hoping to help further bolster that.”

“Laura’s breadth of experience and her demonstrated capacity for innovation and for strategic development impressed us,” explained Bob Eby, Okanagan College’s Vice-President of Finance and Administration.

Eagen will replace retiring IT Director Dave Harris, who wraps his career with Okanagan College in December after almost 25 years as an employee. His history with the college, though, goes further than that. Dave’s relationship with Okanagan College began in the late 1960s when the computer business he worked at took on the College as a client, printing class lists from punched cards.

Eagen starts work in January.

Penticton Rotary clubs help students hit the books hard
Okanagan College Media Release

When students at Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence sit down to study, they’ll literally be supported by their local Rotarians.

The Penticton, Penticton-Okanagan and Skaha Rotary Clubs successfully pooled their resources to raise $21,660, which will create a designated study space.

“Education is one of the key focuses of Rotary, so this made perfect sense,” said Skaha Club director and lawyer Tom Kampman. “I remember what it was like trying to study during my academic years. I used to find a spot in the windowless basement of the library, and just put my head down. I think being in that academic air makes a difference.”

The three clubs presented their cheques to the Okanagan College Foundation at a special event held on the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the College’s new Centre of Excellence. Following the presentation, the Rotarians toured the net-zero energy facility.

“There is nothing that ensures a student’s success more than the combination of community support and personal effort. This is exactly what the Foundation likes to encourage,” said Okanagan College Foundation president Jim Henderson.

Erwin Ploner, president of the Penticton Club, said his club quickly took up the fundraising campaign when Henderson brought the idea to their attention.

“The new building will increase enrolment, and give students the opportunity to stay home so they can save the extra living expenses,” he said, adding it’s a great addition to the community as a whole.

Penticton-Okanagan club president Barry Reid agrees.

“The city, and the region, is already well known for open spaces, lakes, fruit and wine, and now it has a campus with high-tech courses focused on promoting green technology,” said Reid, who sat on the Centre’s campaign committee. “This is a good fit for the city and the city’s future. This Centre of Excellence is now part of our identity.”

The donations from Penticton ($15,000), Penticton-Okanagan ($5,000) and Skaha ($1,600) combined with the donation from Summerland Rotary ($25,000) earlier this year mark the latest demonstration of community support for the College and its unique multi-million dollar building.

Fire up imagination for 3-Hour Short Story Competition
Okanagan College Media Release

It could be a word, a phrase, or even an object – but organizers know that’s all it will take for talented writers to emerge victorious at Okanagan College’s second annual 3-Hour short story competition.

“What we’re looking for is a strong sense of imagination and creativity, and by giving students that one item to ponder at the beginning of the contest, we know that will spark something that will captivate the judges,” said Sean Johnston, one of the English department professors organizing the contest.

The short story competition is open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. The contest takes place simultaneously from noon - 3p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. Writers will work on College computers, and will not be able to access any pre-written material or anything online.

Four prizes of $250 tuition credit will be handed out – one for each campus winner. The grand prizewinner will receive an additional $500 tuition credit.

Last year more than 70 students took part, including Salmon Arm high school student Shvaugn Craig, who won with her story Poppies and Leaves.

“It was fun, and interesting,” said Craig, who is now enrolled in the Writing and Publishing program at Okanagan College. “When they gave us the prompt I wondered: how on earth do I include battery cables? But somehow I did.”

Johnston, who has been one of the regular contributors to CBC Radio’s popular series A Verse to Summer, says it always amazes him to see what even novice writers can do with a single word.

“So much meaning can be attached to such small things,” he said. “It’s one of the signs that, as instructors, we know we are working with keen observers of life.”

The contest gets underway simultaneously at noon at all four campuses, Saturday Nov. 19.

There is no fee, but you do need to register by noon Friday, Nov. 18. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting to sign up.

Open House showcases expanded campus
Okanagan College Media Release

An open house on Sat., Oct. 29 will give the public a chance to explore and learn about the revitalized Penticton campus of Okanagan College, serving the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

“The new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is a major addition to our facilities and has increased our program capabilities, but there’s so much more to the campus,” said Donna Lomas, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean. “We want to showcase what we offer here, not just in terms of all the programs that students can take, but the services that are available to them and the positive learning environment.

“This is a community college campus, and we want the entire South Okanagan and Similkameen to share our pride - not just in terms of the buildings - but in terms of the staff, the students, and the incredible opportunities at hand.”

Guided tours of the whole campus will be available or if you choose, you can explore on your own and participate in a variety of activities in Okanagan College’s shops, classrooms and recreational facilities.

The open house, at 583 Duncan Ave West, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking is free that day, and there will be activities for everyone to engage in, Lomas promises.

For more information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca and click on the “Join Us” link or call 250 492-4305 for more information.

Three books, one party: College faculty celebrate publications
Okanagan College Media Release

Consider it an opportunity to learn more about how Okanagan College’s faculty contribute to Canada’s culture and this nation’s understanding of itself.

On Oct. 19, at 7 p.m., three faculty members from the College’s English department will be celebrating and reading from their recently published works.

Sean Johnston’s most recent collection of poetry was published in September by Thistledown Press. The Ditch Was Lit Like This has been heralded as a return to his ancestral and poetic roots. “Johnston's use of unexpected and profound anecdote,” notes one reviewer, “is both wise and revealing.”

Frances Greenslade’s first novel Shelter tells the story of two sisters and their efforts to discover what happened to their mother after she leaves them in Williams Lake and disappears. Based in the Chilcotin region of B.C., Shelter is published by Random House in Canada, and rights have been sold in the U.S., the UK, Australia, Holland and Germany.

Melanie Murray’s For Your Tomorrow: The Way of an Unlikely Solider was published in May by Random House Canada and has earned the attention of the national press for its searing treatment of the life and death of a Canadian soldier. Captain Jeff Francis, Murray’s nephew, was a Buddhist and on his way to a doctoral degree when he decided to join the Canadian armed forces to serve in Afghanistan. He died in action in 2007. Murray’s book is both a profile of courage and document of grief as Cptn. Francis’s family struggle to deal with his loss.

“Three different authors, three different subjects, and three different genres,” notes Matt Kavanagh, Chair of the College’s English department. “Francie, Sean and Melanie are all incredibly well-respected writers. Their work not only speaks to the depth of talent that drives our department, it also attests to the contribution that our faculty make to the culture of this region, and to the entire country.”

The reading and celebration takes place in Infusions Restaurant at the College’s Kelowna campus on KLO Road. Admission is free.

New opportunities for aviation training and careers
Okanagan College Media Release

Students with an interest in aviation have a new opportunity to turn their passion into a profession. Okanagan College is offering an information session for anyone interested in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Structures (AME-S) program on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Kelowna Aerospace campus.

The first intake of the new program will begin Feb. 6, 2012 in Kelowna. The 37-week full-time program combines classroom training with hands-on training that takes students through the intricacies of inspections and repairs, with a heavy focus on fabrication.

Prospective students can expect to find out detailed program information as well as potential job opportunities in the growing field of aviation. Instructors will also be on site to answer questions about both the AME-S program and the AME-M license program.

Kelowna Flightcraft will open its doors to offer prospective students a tour of their operations. With more than 900 employees, Flightcraft is a prime example of the industry demand – the local company hires dozens of new mechanics annually.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Okanagan College,” said Grant Stevens, Director of Human Resources for Kelowna Flightcraft. “It allows us to hire locally trained AMEs to support our growing operations here in Kelowna and across Canada.”

B.C. Work Futures reports faster than average employment growth in the AME-S industry as well as higher than average wages. A recent Industry Salary Survey revealed an experienced AME can earn up to $33.29 per hour.

Students who complete the program leave with a certificate, and then gain training through their workplace before writing their final exam to receive their Transport Canada License.

The information session gets underway at 5655 Airport Way in Kelowna. For more information, contact Rob Kjarsgaard at 250-503-2670 or email rkjarsgaard@okanagan.bc.ca.

College catches rising baseball star for athletic banquet
Okanagan College Media Release

lawrieOkanagan College athletes and those who support them will have the opportunity to share breakfast with the Toronto Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie, the dynamic third baseman from Langley, who exploded onto the Major League scene earlier this year.

Lawrie will be the featured guest speaker at the second annual Okanagan College Coyotes Athletic fundraiser breakfast, which takes place Thursday, Oct. 27 from 7 – 9 a.m. at the Coast Capri Hotel.

At just 21 years of age, Lawrie’s path to the major leagues took him from Langley, through the minors with the Milwaukie Brewers, and then to the Blue Jays. As a player Lawrie is known for his versatility and shows a great deal of promise for the Jays club. His early success provides a great example to other young B.C. athletes and is a reminder of the rewards that come with hard work and dedication.

The Okanagan College Coyotes baseball and hockey programs are in their fourth and third years respectively, and are bringing both local and national recognition to Okanagan College.

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 2011-12 season.

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

Lawrie’s presence at the fundraiser is made possible thanks to support from West Coast Authentic Memorabilia.

Career Fair 2011 dishes out the real goods
Okanagan College Media Release

Every year when veterinarian Barbara Coughlin sets up for Career Fair 2011 at Okanagan College, she knows she’s going to hear one phrase over and over again – “I love animals!”

Coughlin, who works at Kelowna Veterinary Hospital, doesn’t skip a beat. “I don’t want you to love animals. I want you to like animals.”

It’s that kind of fine point coming directly from someone in the field that truly makes a difference for people seeking information about potential careers.

“The College’s Career Fair gives all kinds of professions exposure, and it really lifts the career off the page when people can talk directly to someone,” she said.

The annual fair is the largest of its kind in the Interior, attracting between 3,000 to 5,000 visitors in a single day. This year’s fair takes place Sunday, Nov. 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Exhibitors of all kinds take part – from bankers to police officers, photographers and accountants, and there’s still room for more to sign up.

Exhibitor Sandi Pidwerbeski says Career Fair is a perfect way to promote whatever business you may be in, or to recruit for employees or even students.

“It’s a chance to do a bit of PR around what I do, so people realize this is a career and not a job,” says Pidwerbeski, a technologist and clinical instructor of medical radiography, who shares information about her work at both Interior Health and at BCIT.

“When people think of medicine they usually think of nurses and doctors, but there are many different medical professionals who work in the health sciences aiding in the diagnosis and care of patients.”

Okanagan College is appealing to would-be exhibitors to register for this year’s Career Fair. Career advisors and exhibitors have until Oct. 14 to register and can do so by contacting the event organizer Michelle Lowry at mlowry@okanagan.bc.ca or 250-862-5473.

New Chef inspires new menu at Infusions
Okanagan College Media Release - Sept. 21, 2011

armstrongsmallExpect a world of new flavours on the menu next time you dine at Infusions – the showcase for Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts program.

With a focus on fresh with a B.C. flair, the new chef instructor of the Culinary Arts program Jim Armstrong brings the best of internationally inspired cuisine to the table.

Creations as varied as Baby Frisée Greens featuring an Okanagan apple walnut vinaigrette, to grilled pesto chicken Panini, or even a seared salmon with a shellfish saffron broth are bound to capture attention of foodies looking for new twists on tradition.

Armstrong comes by his passion for B.C. cuisine honestly. He launched his career 30 years ago attending the 10-month cook training program at Okanagan College. That quickly landed him a coveted three-year apprenticeship at the Four Season’s Hotel in Vancouver. From there he prepared succulent meals for four years at Chateau Whistler Resort, later returning to the Okanagan where, as executive chef, he was instrumental in establishing the Harvest Golf Course Dining Room as one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the region.

“I worked with local farmers while I was at the Harvest and it makes a real difference to the end product,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong added teaching to his repertoire a few years ago as head of the dual-credit culinary arts program at Mount Boucherie Secondary School. He says he’s looking forward to working closely with College students on more complex dishes, along with the skills of plating, and creating luscious desserts including one of his favourites – a lemon panicotti topped with a meringue.

Stepping into the Mount Boucherie program to teach the next generation of Okanagan-trained chefs will be veteran chef Bill Adams, who was instrumental in developing the program when it launched in 2008.

“Bill was the involved in the program from the beginning,” said John Haller, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “He helped with setting up the kitchen and getting the program underway. He has an extensive background in the Okanagan and so this will be an opportunity for him to showcase his chef skills at a different level.”

Infusions Restaurant is open Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch, then re-opens at 3 p.m. for midday service, followed by dinner starting at 5 p.m. The licensed restaurant offers a selection of Okanagan wines, and can be booked in advance for groups of five-to-200. Contact Susan Kane for reservations and more details at (250) 762-5445, ext. 4426
Young chefs bring their A-game to the College for Wine Fest
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus is one of the sites for partaking in the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival this year, with two events on October 6 and 7.

The first is on Oct. 6, when one of the many successful additions to last year’s Fall Okanagan Wine Festival returns. And this time the culinary talent that stars in the Young Chef’s Competition is likely to be turning up the volume.

In 2010, Alexis de Portneuf from Quebec - one of the finest cheese makers in the
world - challenged nine young BC Interior Chefs to get creative. The Quebec company is back on Oct. 6 with the same challenge for the chefs: create a small plate appetizer, main or dessert appetizer, main or dessert course using some of the firm’s prize-winning cheeses. The competing chefs, from area restaurants and Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department, work their magic in partnership with area wineries to create complimentary tastes to impress attendees and judges.

Executive Chef Willi Franz, of the Grapevine Restaurant, watched first-hand the efforts and energy expended last year in the competition.

“Those who attended the sold-out event were astounded by the variety, intensity and quality of the food and the accompanying wine,” he said. “It was a celebration of the creativity of the young culinary talent that is building this region’s reputation for excellence.

“I already know that the competitors are thinking about recipes and strategies for the evening. I anticipate that the competition will be more intense this year and, for those who get tickets, that can only spell a memorable evening of food, wine and fun.”

While professionals from the Okanagan Chefs Association will flex their gastronomic knowledge and trained palates to determine the Judges’ Choice Top Young Chef Award. Guests also get a say in the matter - they will vote for the People’s Choice Top Young Chef.

Competitors this year include three teams of apprentices from Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts Program, as well as Tiffany Anderson from the Grapevine Restaurant, Jena Angel from the Manteo Resort, Joe Diericksen from the Local Lounge and Grill in Summerland, David Mueller from the Eldorado, Eric Mummery from the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, and Evelynn Takoff from RauDZ Regional Table.

Tickets are $55, available from selectyourtickets.com or by calling 250-717-5304. The event runs from 6 - 8:30 p.m. and is a get-home-safe event, sponsored by B.C. Liquor Stores and the Johnston Meier Insurance Group.

The following day Okanagan College will host the Culinary Arts Student Wine Dinner. For $75 (plus taxes and tips), gourmands get to enjoy a five-course meal, paired with Okanagan wines, prepared by Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts students, led by renowned chef and Culinary instructor Jim Armstrong. To book tickets for that event, call Susan Kane at 250 762-5445, ext. 4426 or e-mail her at skane@okanagan.bc.ca

Community Foundation gift strengthens ties with Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

A gift from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan to Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Penticton will result in a physical testament to the Foundation’s goal of strengthening the communities it serves.

The Community Foundation recently presented a gift of $6,564.75 to the College for purchase of equipment for the newly-constructed gymnasium and fitness facility at the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

CFSO“Our relationship with the College goes back to 1994,” says Community Foundation Executive Director Aaron McRann. “This contribution toward the College’s fundraising efforts for the new building is a way to celebrate that friendship and to help students and the community at the same time.”

The partnership between the College and the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan began when OUC (the predecessor to Okanagan College) established an endowment with the Foundation to provide scholarships and bursaries for students. Since then, more than $31,000 has been disbursed through the Community Foundation to help individuals reach their educational goals.

“Many people focus on the energy saving and green components of the new building,” says McRann. “But the gymnasium and fitness centre reflect another part of the sustainability focus of the entire building and the College itself. The Community Foundation recognized that and chose to invest in something that really speaks to the physical health of students and the community at large.”

“We welcome this contribution from the Community Foundation,” says Okanagan College Foundation President Jim Henderson. “It illustrates how mutual support can help organizations reach their potential and help people.”

“The gym is a facility the entire community will be using,” says Donna Lomas, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the South Okanagan – Similkameen. “The fitness facility will benefit our students – especially those in the human kinetics program. It’s already proving a very popular attraction in the new building and is a tremendous asset to help attract students to the campus.”

One Story, One Song wins Ryga Award
Okanagan College Media Release

The George Ryga Society and Okanagan College are proud to announce that Richard Wagamese, author of One Story, One Song, is the winner of the eighth annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

The Ryga Award celebrates playwright George Ryga’s legacy by searching for an outstanding work of literary and social value by a B.C. writer. Wagamese’s book, published by Douglas & McIntyre, was one of nearly 60 entries in the 2011 Ryga Award competition. After being shortlisted with four other finalists, One Story, One Song was chosen by this year’s judge Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press, publisher of Johanna Skibsrud’s Giller Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists.

“Wagamese artfully weaves sixty-some short essays—stories, really—into an unpretentious philosophy of life rooted in personal observations and experiences, transposing an understanding of traditional Ojibway principles (humility, trust, introspection and wisdom) into modern-day life,” explained Steeves.

“Though drawing unflinchingly on his experiences as a native man, a child of residential school survivors, a homeless person and an addict, Wagamese writes with honesty and pathos without becoming ensnared in sentimentality. Yet it is not a book focused on hardships, victimhood or survival; rather, One Story, One Song is a frank and frequently mirthful testament to the prospect of a way forward; a reminder of our responsibility to live principled lives,” he added.

One Story, One Song will be celebrated at the 2011 Ryga Award gala on Oct. 1 held at 8 p.m. in the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland, B.C. In the week leading up to the gala, CBC Radio One (Kelowna) will air excerpts from the shortlisted books and interviews with Steeves and Wagamese. In addition to Wagamese’s Ryga Award-winning effort, the 2011 finalists include:

* Gabor Gasztonyi’s A Room in the City (Anvil Press)
* Sylvia Olsen’s Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater (Sono Nis Press)
* Benjamin Perrin’s Invisible Chains (Penguin)
* John Vaillant’s The Tiger (Knopf Canada)

This year's award evening will showcase “Portrait of a Lady: A Tribute to Margaret Laurence” featuring Dorian Kohl in her acclaimed performance as heroine Hagar Shipley, based on George Ryga's seminal adaptation of Laurence's classic novel The Stone Angel with dramaturgy by Michael Cook. The ceremony also features the presentation of “The Censor’s Golden Rope,” a unique artwork recreated annually by sculptor Reg Kienast.

Tickets for the eighth annual George Ryga Award evening and this special performance of "Portrait of a Lady" are $20 and available at Martin's Flowers in Summerland (250-494-5432), The Dragon's Den in Penticton (250-492-3011), the Okanagan College Bookstore in Kelowna (250-862-5622) or at the door.

The Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature is made possible with support from BC Bookworld, CBC Radio One (Kelowna) and Okanagan College.

Local scientist to discuss water issues in public speaker series
Okanagan College Media Release

searsIt’s one of the Earth’s most precious resources – it covers more than 71 per cent of the planet’s surface yet water sustainability is an issue of much debate, especially in the Okanagan.

Dr. Anna Warwick Sears, Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, will address many issues surrounding water in the Okanagan at a public presentation at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and the Okanagan College).

The Okanagan has become a center for water science and policy innovation in Canada. Many important questions need to be answered concerning water resources, including: How do we protect our aquatic environments? What activities should be allowed in the forested drainages around drinking water sources? How will we adapt to climate change? Who will go after the polluters? Who pays for what?

New models are evolving in British Columbia to regulate the use of water including such approaches as collaborative governance. As the government of British Columbia is in the process of revising its century-old water act, informed input, from all stakeholders, is crucial. In her presentation, Warwick Sears will be sharing the latest issues and approaches of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

Warwick Sears received a Ph.D. in population biology at the University of California - Davis, where she studied the competition for resources in arid environments. Before coming to the Okanagan in 2006, she was the Research Director of an environmental non-profit in California, leading watershed restoration and planning initiatives. Warwick Sears is particularly interested in using science to solve real-world problems and to build bridges with community stakeholders.

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.

Students at Okanagan College benefit from solar energy system in new school year
Okanagan College Media Release

College to benefit from educational, environmental and financial benefits

When students at Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence in Penticton plug in their laptops this fall, they’ll only have to look up and outside to see the source of their energy.

The solar energy system at Okanagan College’s newest building is the largest system developed in Western Canada. SkyFire Energy, one of Canada’s most experienced solar EPC contractors, was the project developer for the 260 kW solar energy system which is using 1,106 Conergy P solar modules, on the rooftop of Okanagan College’s newest building on its Penticton campus. Generating about 292,500 kWh per year, the solar energy system will help the building - the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation – meet the goal of being energy neutral over the course of an annual operating cycle.

With school back in session and students on campus, the college will have a three-fold benefit from the system. One, the solar energy system will help the College reach the goal of meeting the Living Building Challenge of net-zero energy and water consumption. In the Okanagan’s sunny summer months, the solar energy system will at times exceed the building’s needs and the energy will be fed into the grid. In the winter, the College will draw from the grid to meet the campus’s energy needs. Decreased operating costs in terms of energy consumption are another benefit, but the College will also benefit from educational benefits for students

The photovoltaic system will be used as a learning tool and integrated into the college’s trades and technology classes. With the interconnection recently completed, students and teachers have already reacted positively to the system.

The Okanagan College Students Union (OCSU), for instance, decided to contribute to the College’s fundraising efforts around the building. Prompting the investment decision was knowledge that the College was demonstrating leadership in incorporating sustainability into the building and curriculum.

“When you sit down and realize that the power for the projectors and computers is coming from the sun, and that at times the building will produce more energy than it will use, you appreciate how we can use technology and innovation to address problems,” says Cory Nelmes, a student who has been anticipating her first classes in the building, and who is also Financial Co-ordinator for the OCSU.

Apprentice and entry-level electricians being trained by the College will also be able to learn how the system functions, monitor energy production, and see how the system integrates into the rest of the building’s infrastructure and with the municipal power grid.

The decision to deploy solar energy at the campus was an easy one for Okanagan College. The climate and rooftop were ideally suited for solar energy.

“Even as we were planning and building the Centre of Excellence, students and staff were excited by the energy-saving efforts and technologies being employed. Sustainability ranks high among our goals at the College, and the solar energy system on this building is a key component of our efforts,” says Okanagan College’s Director of Facilities, Steve Robinson.

“We at SkyFire Energy are excited to have been involved in another school-based educational system as it will allow the current generation of students to learn the benefits of solar first hand. This installation and Okanagan College training will help to grow the solar industry in British Columbia and Western Canada. A showcase project such as this one provides an excellent reference point for the industry and raises the bar for photovoltaic installations in Canada,” said David Kelly, an owner of SkyFire Energy. SkyFire Energy chose Conergy P modules due to their low-price, high-performance characteristics, their Conergy-backed warranty and quality control and for the excellent customer service and resources from Conergy technical and sales staff.

“Installations of this size and profile built in Western Canada really showcase the diversity of the Canadian photovoltaic market,” stated Jared Donald, President of Conergy Canada. “The solar potential in Western Canada is exceptional. It will take industry leaders, like SkyFire and the Okanagan College, to ensure that this market grows to meet that potential. We applaud Okanagan College for its environmental leadership and innovative education programs.”

For more information about SkyFire Energy visit: www.skyfireenergy.com

For more information about Conergy Americas visit: www.conergy.us

Abbott and Koyczan to be honoured by College’s Alumni Association
Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is bestowing its highest honour on two former Okanagan College students – one of whom has used his education and dedication to public service to help shape the political landscape of the province, the other has succeeded in creating and sharing his art with the world, bringing a nation together through spoken word.

Though their ascent to roles of national and international recognition has taken them on divergent paths, both George Abbott and Shane Koyczan will receive awards at a celebration of their distinguished careers and achievements in October.

The Honourable George Abbott, Minister of Education and MLA for the Shuswap, will receive the OCAA’s Distinguished Alumni award in recognition of his commitment to education and public service.

Famed slam-poet Shane Koyczan is being honoured with the association’s Young Alumni award, which recognizes the achievements of Okanagan College or Okanagan University College graduates under the age of 35.

“That both Minister Abbott and Shane Koyczan were students at Okanagan College and continued on to be so successful in their chosen career paths is a testament to the educational foundation that Okanagan College provided to them,” said Kara Kazimer, Okanagan College Alumni Association President.

Abbott has a long history with Okanagan College, first as a student during 1971 where he took general studies, then later as a professor of political science at the Salmon Arm campus in 1989.

After initiating his studies at Okanagan College, Abbott went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia and then a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Victoria.

He was appointed Minister of Education in 2010. Previous ministerial responsibilities include Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Minister of Health, Minister of Sustainable Resource Management, Minister of Community, and Minister of Aboriginal and Women’s Services.

He was first elected as a B.C. Liberal MLA in 1996, where he represented the riding of the Shuswap. He was re-elected in 2001, 2005 and again in 2009.

Penticton’s own Shane Koyczan is well known for his performance at the opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics when he shared his poem for Canada, We Are More, in front of millions of viewers. The poem struck an emotional chord with Canadians as a heartwarming and at times tear-evoking homage to the nation.

Koyczan attended Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in 1998, where he took courses in the Associate of Arts degree program and excelled in creative writing. He moved to Vancouver the following year and immersed himself in the world of slam poetry where he quickly made a name for himself and attracted a dedicated following.

He won the US Slam Poetry Championship and Canadian Spoken Word Olympics; he has been featured on BRAVO television, and NPR, BBC, CBC, and ABC (Australia) radio. His first published collection, Visiting Hours, was the only work of poetry selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists. Koyczan has a new novel in verse, Stickboy, which focuses on issues of bullying.

Abbott and Koyczan will be honoured at cocktail reception event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College. Tickets are now available to the event at a cost of $55 per person.

Anyone interested in attending can contact Katerina Hay at (250) 862-5630 or khay@okanagan.bc.ca.

Classes at Vernon campus resume after power restored
Okanagan College Media Release

Classes at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus will resume on their regular schedule Friday morning, after power was restored to the campus late Thursday afternoon.

A failed transformer led to a power outage that began Wednesday afternoon and affected classes for approximately 500 students at the campus. The transformer has been replaced.

Assistance from the media in spreading the message and staff efforts at outreach meant most students learned of the disruption before showing up to campus on Thursday.

“We were able to get the message out quickly, and we really want to thank those who assisted,” says Jane Lister, North Okanagan Regional Dean. “We also want to thank the College staff, contractors, and inspectors who worked so diligently to fix the problem.”

Power outage at Vernon campus cancels classes Thursday
Okanagan College Media Release

The Vernon campus of Okanagan College will be closed, and all day and evening classes cancelled, on Thursday, Sept. 8 after a transformer failure late Wednesday afternoon disrupted the campus’s electricity. Classes taking place at the Vernon Aerospace centre at the airport are unaffected and will continue as scheduled.

College staff are working to address the issue and replace the failed transformer within 24 hours and expect to have power back up and running at the campus by the end of day Thursday.

The Okanagan College website – www.okanagan.bc.ca - will provide updated information as it becomes available.

While the website is the best place for current information, anyone with questions can call the switchboard at: 1-877-755-2266.

Program can help unemployed access skills training
Okanagan College Media Release

If you’re unemployed and not an Employment Insurance client, a government-funded program being offered by Okanagan College may offer you a path to getting the skills or certification you need.

The Employment Skills Access program provides access to skills training for individuals who are unemployed, non-Employment Insurance clients. The program helps participants to meet the demands and shortages in the labour market, build career paths and secure long-term attachment to the labour market.

The programs currently being offered at Okanagan College are:

· Wine & Service Industry Training

· Management Skills for Supervisors

For more information contact Roberta Sawatzky at 250 762-5445, ext. 4809 or email her at rsawatzky@okanagan.bc.ca.

The program is being funded by the Ministry of Job, Tourism & Innovation under the Canada/British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.

Centre of Excellence the right fit for Community Futures
Okanagan College Media Release
Community Futures of the Okanagan Similkameen is building on its 25-year partnership with Okanagan College through a major donation to the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.
Chair of the Board Linda Larson announced the not-for-profit organization will contribute $25,000 to the College’s campaign in support of the building’s commitment to alternative energy and innovation in green building.
Partnering with Okanagan College made a lot of sense to Community Futures, explained Manager Mary Ellen Heidt. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the community through support for small business development and community training.
“We know that local training and skill development programs benefit our community and do much to address the needs of small business in the region,” said Heidt. “The other aspect of the work the College is doing in the arena of green building and alternative energy was especially appealing to our organization.”
“Attracting support for the Centre of Excellence from an organization so deeply rooted in our community is a great thing for the Foundation and for this campaign,” explained Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We are extremely grateful to Community Futures of the Okanagan Similkameen for their contribution, for their vision and their willingness to support a building that will do so much for the people who have the opportunity to learn from it.”
With the Centre of Excellence in pursuit of the Living Building Challenge, the technologies and materials used during construction and those that will be taught through programming such as Green Building Design and Geothermal Technician, have done much to identify the Centre as one of Canada’s most sustainable buildings.
To find out more about the Centre of Excellence, visit: www.alivingclassroom.ca.

Okanagan College Librarians embrace innovation with national award
Okanagan College Media Release

With the school year about to get underway, Okanagan College librarians are positioning themselves once again at the forefront of innovation.

By the time students get into their classrooms, one-stop research through hundreds of thousands of academic journals, e-books and other on-line resources will be accessible with a single click.

“We’re the first in B.C. to adopt this service,” said Ross Tyner, director of library services. “Our students have been able to research our library on-line for more than 10 years. But they always had to know where to look. Rather than losing our users to Google, the library required a single place for users to begin their research that was easy to use and returned reliable, relevant results.”

With this new tool students will be able to independently search across multiple databases and resource types simultaneously.

“It’s what students expect today,” he said.

The new tool, developed by EBSCO Publishing, is just the latest example of innovation for a department that is committed to helping students understand there is a whole lot more to research than what non-academic search engines offer.

“When students first arrive here they have the illusion that they know how to search for information. They don’t realize that they’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Tyner.

This comprehensive research technology arrives on the heels of national recognition for the library’s instructional program that embeds research skills campus-wide into the first-year English curriculum.

“We’ve always taught students how to research, but now it’s embedded into their timetable,” Tyner said of the initiative, known as Course Integrated Library Research Instruction (CILRI). The classroom-based instruction helps students familiarize themselves more deeply with academic materials all while improving their critical thinking skills.

The Canadian Library Association was so impressed with the initiative that its Community and Technical College Libraries division granted Okanagan College its 2011 Innovation Achievement Award.

“Because of CILRI, the library is now better placed to be a full partner in the teaching and learning role of Okanagan College,” said Gladys Watson, chair of the CTCL.

English students aren’t the only ones who receive library instruction. Many other departments, particularly Business, also tap into the training on an ongoing basis, even though it’s not a mandated part of the curriculum.

In 2010-11, Okanagan College librarians provided classroom-based research instruction to 5,378 students in 295 classes on four campuses.

Twenty years and 700 students later, partnership between colleges takes root
Okanagan College Media Release

toyotaThe relationship between Okanagan College and Toyota Technical College may have started two decades ago, but as the 700th student from the Japanese institution prepared to graduate on Friday, the relationship between the two colleges is just starting to blossom.


On Friday, Toyota Technical College President Kazunori Ikeyama helped Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton plant a Japanese Cherry tree at the Kelowna campus in honor of the 20th class of Toyota Technical College students who had attended a summer program at the College.


“This honors our partnership and celebrates our friendship,” Ikeyama explained to the assembled students and staff from the two institutions.


“This partnership has turned into a strong and enduring friendship between our institutions, our employees and our communities,” noted Hamilton. “To honour that relationship, its history and bright future, we are dedicating a tree to commemorate this occasion.


“We have chosen to plant a Japanese Cherry tree, also known as a Sakura. This tree, which is native to Japan, will serve as a year-round reminder of our friends at Toyota Technical College. Its beauty and strength is often associated with the spirit of the Japanese people.”


The partnership provides the Japanese students with experience and training in auto collision repair through Okanagan College’s Trades and Apprenticeship training, at the same time that they have a chance to develop English language skills through the College’s international department. During the four-week visit to Canada, the students are introduced to Canadian culture through activities and sightseeing.


“This started with one of our collision instructors – Chris Burns – who has shepherded and nurtured the relationship with Toyota Technical College,” said Hamilton. “Twenty years later, he takes as much pleasure as he did with the first class in sharing Canada, training these students, and developing friendships that cross borders and oceans.”


Entrepreneur applies expertise to benefit College business students

Okanagan College Media Release

Mel Kotler’s record of service to the community is about to grow longer, but this time he’ll be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Okanagan.

Kotler has agreed to be Entrepreneur in Residence for the coming academic year in Okanagan College’s School of Business.

Kotler was born and raised in Montreal where he took on his first job in the textile industry immediately after high school. He spent 16 years learning the ins and outs of sales, management and marketing before moving west to Calgary in 1977 where he opened his first business, Fabricland. It wasn’t long before Fabricland opened its second location becoming a fast-growing chain of fashion fabric and textiles.

As Fabricland stores continued to spread through Western Canada, Kotler and his family moved to Kelowna in 1985. While building his brand and retail outlets, Kotler raised five children and focused on giving back to the community. From 1995 – 98 he served as the Chair of Leadership Gifts in the Campaign for Cancer Care. He also took on leadership roles with the United Way, Special Olympics of BC and was the President of the Okanagan Jewish Community for five years. In 2000 he was recognized by the Canadian Cancer Society for raising $200,000 for breast cancer research.

At the time of his retirement from Fabricland in 2001, there were 40 Fabricland stores in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and another 20 franchises across the region. Since Mel retired he has devoted his time to community projects. In 2002 he was presented with a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal by Sindi Hawkins for his outstanding service to the community. He was also named Entrepreneur of the Year as well as Community Leader of the Year. In 2004 Kotler was awarded the Fred Macklin Memorial Award for his contribution to the well-being of the City of Kelowna. The previous year he raised more than $1 million as chair of the Kelowna United Way fundraising campaign. United Way has recognized his leadership and service with a series of honours including the BC Vice-Chair’s Award of Distinction in 2004 and the Award of Distinction in 2008. In his retirement Mel has also served as a board member of several Kelowna companies including QHR Technologies and Pacific Safety Products.

“We’re excited that someone with Mel’s reputation for entrepreneurial success and his devotion to community is willing to voluntarily invest his time as a mentor for students,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the College’s School of Business. “The value of being able to draw on his knowledge and experience will be huge for students.”

“I’m eager to start working with the students. If I can inspire some and help them with advice borne of practical experience, then I know my contributions are of value. I know the School of Business has a reputation for providing students real-world experience and producing graduates who are career-ready. I’ll take great satisfaction in being a part of that process.”

Though he is no longer President of Fabricland, Kotler currently operates Mel Kotler Consultants Ltd., where he manages building projects such as South Point at Big White and The Madison in downtown Kelowna.

Kotler is Okanagan College’s fourth Entrepreneur in Residence following in the footsteps of Bill Redmond, Ed Hall and Doug Manning. As the Entrepreneur in Residence Kotler will meet with students, make presentations to classes and mentor students in small groups or individually.

Vernon brothers wow Istanbul with robots
Okanagan College Media Release

Robobros4Two young Vernon brothers smitten with robotics can now lay claim to being among the best in the world, thanks to their first place finish at the World RoboCup Junior championships, held earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey.

The two brothers, age 11 and 13, had previously picked up first place finishes three years running at the Western Canada RoboCup Junior Games held at Okanagan College.

“I saw RoboCup in the news about four years ago and thought it looked really interesting,” said Hudson Schier, who is entering Grade 9 at Fulton Secondary in Vernon.

With the support from his two parents, both kindergarten teachers, Hudson started collecting the components necessary to build his own robot. He focused his attention on the dance competition, which requires robots to move in synch with music for one to two minutes. It also gave his younger brother Nelson an opportunity to apply his interests as both choreographer and videographer.

RoboCup Junior is designed to introduce young people to the field of robotics and is an offshoot of the annual RoboCup event, which started in 1997 to advance the art of intelligent robots. Competition is divided into three sections: use of robots in dance, soccer – where robots exhibit competitive play, and search and rescue.

The Schier brothers competed as “The Robo Bros” with a green theme focused on reduce, reuse and recycle. Their three-foot tall robot “Sunny” stole the show dancing along to the music of The Three R’s by Jack Johnson of Curious George fame. Nelson’s claymation video screened in the background, while a few smaller robots including a robotic car that ran off of a hydrogen fuel cell, moved along the stage. Even their costumes sported a tech-flavour with pulsing electroluminescent wire that flashed to the beat.

The boys took the 3R theme to heart, incorporating everything they could into the final product, said Nelson.

“We used a lot of products that were recyclable, and we reused a lot of stuff that we already had – like the solar power we used to charge the fuel cell car.”

The win for the Robo Bros. is well deserved and is a showcase for the nation – the Schier brothers’ win marks the first time Canada has won the competition – and is an inspiration to future Western Canada RoboCup Jr. teams, said Nadir Ould-Khessal, who brought the competition to Okanagan College five years ago.

An instructor in the Electronic Engineering Technology department, Ould-Khessal is also the chair of Western Canada RoboCup Jr. and a member of the National RoboCup Canada committee.

He says the boys’ impressive showing will draw more local attention to this field, which has resulted in careers as diverse as working in special effects for movies, to building robots that are capable of working in dangerous situations, like the robots used in the recent recovery efforts at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

“We are very proud of these two young men and the dedication they have shown over the last few years to the field of robotics,” said Ould-Khessal. “Their win is well-deserved, and I’m sure they will inspire many other young people to take up the challenge.”

For more information about the RoboCup challenge: www.robocup.org. For more information about the Western Canada RoboCup Jr. and Electronic Engineering Technology, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/robocup and www.okanagan.bc.ca/electronics.

Finalists named for 8th annual Ryga Award
Okanagan College Media Release

The George Ryga Society and Okanagan College are proud to announce the shortlist for the eighth annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

The son of poor Ukrainian immigrants, George Ryga settled in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, where he was known as a feisty playwright committed to social justice in works like The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (1969). The Ryga Award celebrates his legacy by searching for an outstanding work of literary and social value by a B.C. writer.

The 2011 competition marks the expansion of the shortlist from three books to five due to a record number of submissions -- 57 in all.

“It’s a happy problem for us,” said Matt Kavanagh, chair of the Department of English at the College. “There are a number of worthy titles, which prompted a lively debate at our shortlisting meeting. The finalists range from a harrowing examination of human trafficking in Canada to a close study of B.C.’s iconic Cowichan sweater, which reveals how Aboriginal women have woven themselves into the fabric of our nation.”

The shortlist is traditionally announced on July 27 --Ryga’s birthday. This year’s finalists are:

•    Gabor Gasztonyi’s A Room in the City (Anvil Press)
•    Sylvia Olsen’s Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater (Sono Nis Press)
•    Benjamin Perrin’s Invisible Chains (Penguin)
•    John Vaillant’s The Tiger (Knopf Canada)
•     Richard Wagamese’s One Story, One Song (Douglas & McIntyre)

The winner of the 2011 Ryga Award will be announced at a gala presentation on Oct. 1 held at the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland, B.C. Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press (publisher of Johanna Skibsrud’s Giller Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists) will serve as the judge.

This year's award evening will showcase “Portait of a Lady: A Tribute to Margaret Laurence” featuring Dorian Kohl in her acclaimed performance as heroine Hagar Shipley, based on George Ryga's seminal adaptation of Laurence's classic novel The Stone Angel with dramaturgy by Michael Cook.

Tickets for the 8th Annual George Ryga Award evening and this special performance of "Portrait of a Lady" are $20 and available at Martin's Flowers in Summerland (250-494-5432), The Dragon's Den in Penticton (250-492-3011), the Okanagan College Bookstore (250-862-5622) or at the door.

The Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature is made possible by support from BC Bookworld, CBC Radio One (Kelowna) and Okanagan College.
Busey’s big on lessons in Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

One of Canada's best-known advocates of smarter, more energy-efficient construction is convinced Okanagan College's latest project is advancing the green building agenda.

Shell Busey, who has become an iconic radio and television personality over several decades of broadcasting, visited the College's $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation with his wife Frankie recently and was more than impressed: he was excited by the integration of energy-saving technologies and B.C. products and innovation.

"It is remarkable," said Busey, who was a key part of developing and promoting B.C. Hydro's Power Smart program in the 1990s. "People who tour the building will leave knowing that we can build comfortable, attractive structures that save energy. With imagination, foresight and determination we can change the places we live and work in."

Busey was impressed with how the building uses the power of the sun to generate electricity and provide light, and with the solar chimneys and geothermal systems that help heat and cool the facility. "It's also encouraging to see B.C. wood and B.C. innovations play such a key role in the structure," he said.

The Centre of Excellence has been built with the goal of being a net-zero energy consumer. Okanagan College, the building's architects (CEI Architecture Interior Planning), and its engineers and builders (PCL West Coast Constructors) are hoping the building can achieve the Living Building Challenge - among the world's loftiest environmental standards, that surpass LEED Gold and Platinum standards. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)

Busey made the Centre of Excellence and Penticton his first stops after relinquishing his behind-the-mic role at the Corus Radio Network's Home Discovery Show, which is broadcast across Western Canada and into Ontario. He's anticipating some heart surgery and then will return to create an ongoing series of informational and educational pre-recorded radio and video training programs, which will be made available for network radio and the internet.

"I'll definitely be talking about the Centre of Excellence," said Busey. "It deserves the international attention it's getting and we need to get the message out that this type of construction is not only possible, but practical."

For more about Shell Busey, visit: www.AskShell.com

Okanagan College joins list of schools eligible for federal research funds
Okanagan College Media Release

Canada’s largest research granting council has added Okanagan College’s name to the list of colleges eligible to receive and administer federal research funding.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has reviewed and accepted the College’s application to join the growing list of community colleges that will help propel Canada’s innovation agenda.

The decision followed an NSERC review of College policies and practices that pertain to research.

“This is extremely positive news that comes at an opportune time,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Increasingly, colleges are being regarded as a key component in the innovation and commercialization initiatives in Canada. In the latest budget, for example, the federal government set aside funds specifically intended to spur college and community research initiatives and partnerships.”

Among the announcements in the June budget, for example, was allocation of 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at colleges ($3 million in 2011-12, and $5 million a year permanently beginning in 2012-13). A further $12 million over five years was earmarked for an Idea to Innovation program that supports joint college-university commercialization projects.

“Okanagan College’s accreditation is welcome news,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan. “Our government is investing in innovation, and we see colleges as vital contributors and partners to help us realize Canada’s potential on this front.”

While the NSERC accreditation will ensure the College is able to apply for those funds and others, Hamilton says it is important to realize that the research and innovation agenda has always been a part of what happens at Okanagan College.

“We have many professors, instructors and students who have been engaged in innovation and research, whether it is a biology professor who is working with a developer to ascertain the effects of a marina on a fish population, or business students who are helping companies or non-profit agencies find better ways to conduct business.

“There is more applied research that goes on at a college than most would imagine. The federal government is seeing the close connections that colleges such as ours have to industry and community, and is coming to recognize the opportunity to leverage that by fast-forwarding innovation.”

The funding opportunities won’t distract Okanagan College from its mission, says Hamilton.

“We have been, and always will be, primarily focused on education and training. Research funding will help create more learning opportunities for students, and will strengthen those ties between community and college and add further capacity for us to contribute to regional development.”

Thurnheer joins provincial Wine Authority Board
Okanagan College Media Release

ThurnheerA familiar face of business in the Okanagan is taking on a new role at the BC Wine Authority with the announcement of Laura Thurnheer’s appointment to the Board.

Thurnheer, who is a Business professor at Okanagan College, joined the BC Wine Authority Board last month after being recommended for the position and undergoing a series of interviews with the provincial Wine Industry Advisory Committee.

“We are very pleased that our members have elected Laura to serve on the Board of the Authority,” said Jeffrey Thomas, Chair of the Board of the BC Wine Authority. “Her leadership skills, knowledge of HR-related matters and depth of experience in the wine regions of the Province will be of great value to us as the Authority continues to evolve and work to guarantee the quality and origin of 100 per cent BC wines."

Thurnheer holds two degrees from UBC - an MBA from the Sauder School of Business as well as an undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce degree. She has extensive industry experience in the fields of marketing, human resources management, international finance and entrepreneurship.

Thurnheer is a Director of Kelowna Community Resources, sits on the Central Okanagan United Way Allocations Committee, is past-president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Board, a former Director of the Economic Development Commission of the Central Okanagan, and a former Director of Kelowna Tourism Advisory (TAC) Council, among other professional association memberships.

She currently teaches upper level courses in Human Resources, Strategic Management and Tourism/Hospitality at Okanagan College’s School of Business, where she also serves as a faculty mentor for award-winning business competition teams.

“It is truly an honour to be a part of this provincial Board,” explained Thurnheer. “This Board is a great fit for me as a Business professor here in the Okanagan. I have a great love of BC wine and believe in supporting our growing BC wine industry.”

Thurnheer’s appointment marks an important development in the provincial Board’s four-year history – she becomes the first Board member to reside in the Okanagan.

The Wine Authority was created by the provincial government in 2007. It is a non-profit society responsible for implementing the Wines of Marketed Quality Regulation. It implements the system of wine standards and authorizes wineries to use certain prescribed terms on wine labels such as BC VQA. The Wine Authority was created for VQA certification, tasting and enforcement of the Wines of Marked Quality legislation.

Home Hardware joins the campaign to support the Centre of Excellence with $25,000 donation
Okanagan College Media Release

HomeHardwareThere are a multitude of good reasons why community-minded businesses in Penticton have joined the campaign to support Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence – for Paul McCann, the reason was threefold.

As the President and Owner of Pro Builders Supply Ltd., McCann and his team believe the new $28-million building and the educational programming it houses are worthwhile community investments. McCann recently committed $25,000 to the Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $5 million in community support.

“The Centre of Excellence is a great example of the kind of development that will build capacity in the community,” said McCann, whose company owns and operates Home Building Centres in Penticton, Osoyoos, West Kelowna, Kelowna and one store in Alberta.

“This building is a wonderful thing and we are happy to be a part of it. The number one reason we are supporting this campaign is because we recognize that continuing education builds career opportunities for graduates who then go on to add value to the community. Secondly, educational institutions such as Okanagan College are economic drivers in their own right. The impact of the building, the students and staff of Okanagan College all contribute to our local economy.

“Finally, the building’s focus on sustainability, green technology and the innovative programming that goes hand-in-hand with the Centre of Excellence is going to improve the quality of life for the people of this region.”

“We are extremely grateful to receive the support of Paul McCann and his Home Building Centres,” said Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “Mr. McCann’s businesses are recognized throughout our region as leaders in the home building industry and their focus on this community and the people who live here are evident in their ongoing success. We are pleased to call them friends of the Okanagan College Foundation – their support means a great deal us.”

Construction on the $28-million Centre of Excellence is now complete. The building provides space for 820 students from throughout the South Okanagan and beyond. Through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the Federal and Provincial governments have contributed almost $23 million toward the facility, which is being recognized as one of the continent’s most environmentally responsible buildings. Citizens and Corporations are raising the remainder through the auspices of the Okanagan College Foundation.

Plumbing program opens tap on new career
Okanagan College Media Release

MartiniWhen Cola Martini learned of the opportunity to immerse herself in a training program that would let her experience a host of different trades, it didn’t take her long to decide to jump in with both feet.

Four days later she was donning steel-toed boots, safety glasses, tool pouch and starting down a path that has led her to a good job with a respected local firm as an apprentice plumber.

“I was working in retail and knew that wasn’t for me,” says Martini. “I’m an outdoorsy person who likes to work with my hands, likes mental challenges and solving problems.”

In the end, she completed a 21-week plumbing pre-apprenticeship program offered by Okanagan College in Penticton. That turned Martini’s interest into a chance at employment as a tradesperson. (Applications are being accepted for another intake to that program in Penticton now – it starts Aug. 22.)

There was an important interim step along Martini’s path.

Martini enrolled in an Okanagan College program – the Gateway to the Trades for Women, part of the College’s Women Trades Training Initiative which is funded by the Industry Training Authority through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.

The Gateway program introduces women to a host of different trades. It was there that Cola unexpectedly settled on plumbing as a trade to pursue.

“I was thinking carpentry, and in fact had signed up for a program in joinery, when we started the plumbing component. I liked the trade, liked the instructor, and changed to plumbing before the end of the week.”

“We hear that a lot,” says Nancy Darling, who co-ordinates the Women in Trades Training Initiative. “People come to the Gateway program with preconceived notions about what a particular trade is like and when they get into it, they find out the reality is completely different. The exposure to the different trades gives the students a chance to see and think about what fits with their skill set.”

There are dozens of success stories from women who have come through the program, in a variety of trades, including electrician, carpentry, auto service technician and heavy duty mechanics.

A 21-week plumbing pre-apprenticeship certificate program in Penticton followed and now Martini is working Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., doing installations with Leask and Company in the Central Okanagan.

“It’s a great shift,” says Martini. “Every day is different. One day we may be doing waterlining and drainage in a house and then the next day we may be installing furnaces.”

“You’re always learning. That’s one of the great parts of the job.”

Martini is more than just a satisfied graduate with a job, though: she’s a vocal proponent of the Women in Trades Training Initiative. She serves as a mentor for the program, helping women like herself understand the opportunities and challenges that are at hand in pursuing a trades career.

“I’d definitely recommend it,” she says, although she cautions that there is a healthy, physical element to the occupation she has chosen. “I was pretty fit before, but I’m building new muscles every day.”

There is an opportunity to enroll in the plumbing pre-apprenticeship program in Penticton, which starts Aug. 22 in Penticton.

Vernon College grad nails down Home Inspection program
Okanagan College Media Release

GaynorTwo weeks ago Brad Gaynor celebrated the completion of a program that prepares graduates for a line of work where getting your hands dirty, scouting for cracks in foundations, investigating invisible plumbing leaks and other unexpected perils that plague home owners is all a part of an average day.

“It felt great to graduate,” said the 41-year-old general contractor who just completed the 355-hour Home Inspection Certificate at Okanagan College. “It’s not an easy course. You have to be willing to put your nose to the grindstone, that’s for sure.”

Gaynor’s familiarity with home construction helped tremendously with the program, but so did instructor Barry Brooks.

“He’s an excellent prof, and a home inspector himself so he was an awesome mentor for any of us doing this course.”

Home inspectors are in demand throughout the province, so the college will be offering the program again this fall at the Vernon campus – with both a full-time and part-time stream. Both streams lead to a Home Inspection Certificate accredited by ASTTBC (Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC).

The full-time program runs for 16 weeks, while the part-time distance education program lasts just over 26 weeks, punctuated with four separate weeks of on-campus instruction.

“We like both classes to be together to hear from electrical inspectors, experts on gas safety, and to take their Occupational First Aid,” said Brooks, who holds an engineering degree. “It also helps to get to know the other students. Home inspecting can be a solitary career.”

Brooks says up until a few years ago, anyone could hang up a shingle and call them self a home inspector, but in 2009 the rules changed and the B.C. government introduced licensing for home inspectors. He had approached Okanagan College about offering the program a year earlier so the timing was perfect.

The result is Okanagan College joins BCIT in being the only two institutions in the province offering accredited home inspection programs. Okanagan College’s program is packed with modules like building science and ethics, along with the more expected – like what to look for when examining the exterior. The program also gives students the brass tacks on how to run the business itself.

“By the time students are finished they’ll have done their business plan, have their elevator speech, thought about the start-up costs, and worked on their formal communications – both written and oral,” Brooks said. “To us these business issues are very important and it puts them ahead of the game so our graduates can be successful.”

While in the program, students participate in practical inspections. Once they graduate, students may undertake additional field studies with working inspectors to receive a provisional certification from ASTTBC, which allows them to become licensed inspectors, and are required to take part in three more field assessment sessions over the next year to obtain their full Certified House Inspector designation.

Students graduating from the program are also well prepared to apply to CAHPI (Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors) (BC), which will also lead to licensing in B.C.

Brooks says home buyers need to go into their purchase with confidence they’re getting what they pay for. That’s one of the reasons the industry now requires certification and licensing.

“Buying a home is usually the biggest investment anyone makes,” he said, adding 90 per cent of home offers now include a clause saying “subject to a home inspection” although inspections are not required.

Work prospects are strong, but like any entrepreneurial endeavour success rests with the individual. Brooks says typically it takes a few years to build up a client base at which point a good inspector can expect to earn between $50,000 to $70,000, with a few in the Lower Mainland earning in excess of $100,000.

Brooks says job prospects remain good, especially in some regions of the province that continue to be underserved.

For more information about the program, contact Continuing Studies at 250-545-7291.

Centre of Excellence campaign receives boost from good neighbours
Okanagan College Media Release

CdnTireIt’s been more than two years since Okanagan College began building the Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus. As with any major construction project, there have been unavoidable annoyances – a lack of parking, dust, noise and the growing pains that come along with the development of a $28-million facility.

What has been unusual about the past two years is the unequivocal support Okanagan College has received from its neighbours, chief among them, the local Canadian Tire.

It turns out good fences don’t make good neighbours – but rather, community –minded business owners make great opportunities for students.

Canadian Tire owners Doug and Lorraine MacMillan have announced a gift of $10,000 to support the Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign. The announcement comes after more than two years of support from the MacMillans, who took every opportunity to make the construction phase of the project as easy for Okanagan College as possible.

“Doug and Lorraine and everyone at Canadian Tire have been phenomenal allies during the construction of the Centre of Excellence,” said Donna Lomas, Regional Dean of the South Okanagan-Similkameen. “They have allowed us to use their parking lot for much of the last year. They have offered up their entry and exits for the big trucks that had difficulty maneouvering. They’ve put up with the construction noise, dust and have been nothing but supportive during it all. They have been a great partner and truly phenomenal neighbour.”

Their $10,000 gift speaks volumes to their belief in the power of education and in providing opportunities for local students.

“For the past six years we have been happy to build a relationship as neighbours to Okanagan College,” explained Doug MacMillan. “We strongly believe in the power and importance of education and as a neighbouring business to the College we believe it is important to support an institution that is so good for the community. We had the opportunity to go inside the new Centre of Excellence and are so impressed with what the College has brought to Penticton. This donation is a win-win situation for us. We are pleased to be able to support a building and College that does so much for our community.”

Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation, says it is donors like Doug and Lorraine that make a fundraising campaign about much more than collecting dollars.

“The MacMillans are a great example of local business owners who deeply care about their community and its future,” said Henderson. “The Foundation is incredibly grateful to them for their ongoing support, both during the construction of the building and now, during the final phases of our campaign. They are the kind of neighbours and business people who make opportunities for students and for higher education truly possible.”

Economic recovery showing in demand for welders
Okanagan College Media Release

Welding is one of the trades in the Okanagan that is showing signs of increased activity as Canada’s economy improves.

“I started to notice it about a month ago, as a growing number of employers started calling to ask about our graduates,” says Dean Nutter, who chairs Okanagan College’s Welding Department.

“It was quiet for several months, but now the companies are calling and talking about new projects and the fact that some of their regular clients are coming back with more work.”

A significant contributor to the business uptick is likely Canada’s oil patch – there are estimates that oil production from the Oil Sands will double by 2020.

“The message here is that this is a good time to be thinking about welding as an occupation,” says Nutter.

Justin Miller, Quality Control Manager at Enterprise Steel Fabricators Ltd. Of Kelowna, agrees. “We’re looking at hiring a number of welders in the months ahead. More projects are coming on line. Some of the work will be for experienced welders, but we’re also looking at projects that will be suited for students just out of school.”

“We’ve hired a number of welders in the last few months,” says Northside Industries’ Steve McKay, President for the West Kelowna company. “And with current customer demands along with upcoming projects in the fourth quarter, we are continuing to hire.”

“The other field we’re getting calls about is metal fabrication,” Nutter notes. “All you have to do is look at the job postings to know the demand for both welders and fabricators is increasing. It’s no surprise, the two fields are closely linked to each other.”

There are several opportunities to connect with a career in welding at Okanagan College, which trains about 230 students annually in the field. Welding Level C certification programs start Aug. 8 in Vernon, and on Aug. 23 and Sept. 6 in Kelowna. A metal fabricator program starts Sept. 12 in Kelowna.

If you’re interested in either of those fields, or in other trades offered by the College, the school also offers a try-a-trade-for-a-day program that will introduce you to the field and provide information on careers and pre-requisites.

For more information, call 250 862-5457.

OC students help get Kelowna Fire Museum off the ground
Okanagan College Media Release

Just when Brian Moore thought the Kelowna Fire Museum would never be built, an idea came to him like a bolt of lightning.

“It was 3 a.m. and I was thinking about it wondering what to do, and then I realized – the electrical students at Okanagan College!”

Moore, who works full-time as a Kelowna firefighter, is the executive director of the Friends of the Fire Museum Society that took over the old Boyd’s Autobody building at the corner of Leon and Pandosy for the new society.

“The project has basically been stalled for the last year or so because we couldn’t find any electricians with permits who could do the commercial work.”

Stoked with excitement at the possibility, Moore dialed up Okanagan College to see if they could help. Jim Gamble, chair of the electrical trades department, told him it was just the kind of community partnership the college longs for.

“Whenever we can create partnerships like this, we grab it. The challenge for us was to make sure we had all the right approvals so we could go ahead,” Gamble says.

Gamble checked with his program advisory committee, made up of local industry and trade representatives and Keith Wemp, owner of Kilo-Womp Electric quickly stepped forward.

“He made all the necessary arrangements through the local BCSA electrical inspection authority, so the college could take this on,” Gamble says.

Three weeks later, and the once-abandoned job site is now crawling with 28 eager students.

“It’s a fantastic experience,” says Okanagan College instructor Tom Stapleton, who is supervising the students along with fellow instructor Gary Walters. “This site was built in the 1940s so it has everything really – old wiring, new wiring, connections that weren’t done correctly even from the start. And then there’s all the computer and telephone wiring – that’s a bit of a mess – it’s all just running all over the place.”

Over the course of two full weeks, a rotation of students are coming in, pulling out the old wires, and installing new ones – a job that would otherwise cost the young society a minimum $15,000 in labour.

“This is awesome,” says Brody Raffan, a 22-year-old student who enrolled in the program in March. “We had to run wires on top of the roof on scaffolding, and it was pretty high up there. I was a little scared of the height at first, but you get used to it.”

It’s that kind of hands-on experience that classrooms have a tough time replicating, and really aids students in deciding whether a career is for them, says Stapleton.

“It’s absolutely the best way we could teach them. It’s a total win/win situation.”

For Moore, it couldn’t be better.

“I need to thank every one of them,” Moore says. “They arrived just at our darkest moment. We were stalled at the framing and without the electrical our entire project would be jeopardized. The whole thing was keeping me up at night, but I’m an eternal optimist and I knew something would happen.”

The irony for Moore is that this marks the second time in a matter of months that Okanagan College has assisted the society.

Earlier in the spring, three students from the college’s business administration program wrote up a strategic plan and a feasibility study to apply a new model of non-profit already in use in Europe. Called a “community interest company”, the model allows non-profits to essentially turn a profit, while maintaining their social responsibility.

“It’s pretty cool to see this happening,” he says. “You always hear about people being so darn selfish, but you need to remind people that that is not the case – they just don’t hear about it.”

Gamble says projects like this help students understand the relevance of their career in more ways than one, and he’s open to hearing from other community groups interested in helping students deepen their skills.

For more information about community partnerships, contact Jim Gamble at 250-762-5445 ext. 4882 or email jgamble@okanagan.bc.ca.

College to grant new certificate in Green Building Design
Okanagan College Media Release

Architects, engineers, construction professionals and others interested in creating a sustainable future will soon be able to add a Certificate in Green Building Design and Construction to their credentials, thanks to a new Continuing Studies program being offered at Okanagan College.

The 360-hour certificate program launches this fall and will provide students with the skills and hands-on experience to design and create sustainable buildings. The focus will be on main functions such as solar and thermal control, moisture control, indoor air quality, acoustics, aesthetics, construction waste management and cost effectiveness.

Barry Brooks, an engineer by trade who has taught at both Okanagan College and UVic, will be the lead instructor for the program, pulling together a team of industry experts to provide current content.

“I’m very excited about this,” said Brooks. “This is an emerging movement and there are a whole bunch of industries involved, including new technologies, new ideas and new ways of at looking at things.”

Brooks says the program places Okanagan College at the vanguard of an entirely new field of employment.

“People ask me: what does a green worker do? And it’s hard to say because there aren’t that many yet. What we do know is there are a lot of jobs that don’t exist now, that will arrive in the next few years.”

Recent statistics out of the U.S. indicate that despite an overall downturn in their construction industry, sustainable or green design construction is heavily on the rise.

McGraw-Hill estimates the green building products market will expand six per cent annually to nearly $80-billion in 2013, outpacing the growth of building construction expenditures over that period.

Within Canada, B.C. already is experiencing the largest appetite for green buildings with virtually half the registered Built Green builders in the country living in this province.

Brooks says these new students will be among those who will understand how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to green buildings.

“You can build all the technologies in the world, but moving things forward requires people to think differently as well. Right now, if you build something with efficient heating designed to minimize energy consumption, the building may not be as warm as we expect on a cold winter day, so people plug in portable heaters, and now you may be using more energy than before. In the future, designers will see how each component interacts with all the others, always taking into consideration the human element.

“You have to look at the whole system – the people as well as the building – in order to make it more sustainable. Aiding with that objective will be the new Centre of Excellence building in Penticton, where students will be able to experience for themselves what it means to live and work in a “living building.”

“Our plan is that this new certificate program will give students hands-on experience in using that building as part of their curriculum,” said Jo-Anne Yacheson, Manager of Continuing Studies. “They will be able to learn how it was built, and how all the components fit together in the design process.”

The curriculum will take place simultaneously at both the Penticton and Vernon campuses, with the classes interacting with each other online. Experts and guest speakers will be brought in via videoconference and webinars.

“This is going to be an innovative program in so many ways,” said Brooks. “It’s going to be an ideal program for someone who has a background in building and wants to be involved in integrating sustainable building into construction. These will be people who will be creating multi-disciplinary teams. There’s no question this movement is going to evolve.”

To learn more about the program, contact Continuing Studies at 250-762-5445.

College prepares for weekend Convocation ceremonies
Okanagan College Media Release

Staff at Okanagan College are busy preparing to welcome hundreds of graduates and their supporters to a series of spring Commencement and Convocation ceremonies at the Kelowna campus this weekend.

Trades students will be the first to receive their credentials at a Commencement ceremony on Friday at 6 p.m. The College will celebrate the achievements of more than 1,000 entry level and apprenticeship trades students from a wide range of programs who completed their training over the past year.

Two Convocation ceremonies will take place on Saturday. The first will kick off at 10:30 a.m. with graduands from diploma and degree programs in Engineering Technology, Trades Technology Teacher Education, Arts, Science, Environmental Studies, Computer Information Systems, Media and Cultural Studies, Early Childhood Education, Criminal and Social Justice and 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 420 credentials on Saturday (130 degrees, 215 Diplomas, 68 Associate Degrees, and 7 certificates.)

The morning ceremony will recognize 2011 Honorary Fellows Beverley Busson and Dr. Tom Landecker. The afternoon ceremony will recognize Mel Kotler as an Honorary Fellow.

This weekend’s ceremonies mark the beginning of Okanagan College’s Convocation season. Additional ceremonies will take place in Vernon on June 28 and a Summer Convocation will take place in Kelowna on June 29. Dr. Gary Dickinson will receive Okanagan College’s Distinguished Service Award at the Summer Convocation.

Okanagan College expands Aerospace program
Okanagan College Media Release

Students with a passion for flight have a new opportunity to work in the industry, thanks to a specialized program being launched at the Okanagan College Aerospace Campus in Kelowna.

The new Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Category S (Structures) program is a 37-week full-time program starting in February that combines classroom training with hands-on training that takes students through the intricacies of inspections and repairs, with a heavy focus on fabrication.

“People working in this field do things like large retro-fits – such as changing a passenger plane to a cargo plane, which means taking out the seats, installing new larger doors, and putting on a winglet system to reduce fuel usage,” said Rob Kjarsgaard, program administrator for Trades and Apprenticeship.

“What makes this program different is that it’s all front-end loaded. Rather than attending school for a few months, working and then returning for more classroom time, this program gives students credit for 10 months of workplace hours towards Transport Canada’s 36-months requirement.”

Students leave with a certificate, and then gain training through their workplace before writing their final exam to receive their certification.

Aerospace Industries Association of Canada says the country has become a “world leader” in the industry with more than 400 firms nation-wide employing more than 80,000 Canadians. Industry sales climbed to $23.6 billion in 2008.

B.C. Work Futures says AME-S is experiencing not only faster than average employment growth, but higher than average wages. A recent Industry salary survey revealed an AME can earn up to $33.29 per hour.

Award-winning Kelowna Flightcraft, with more than 900 employees, is a prime example of the industry – the local company hires a number of new technicians annually.

Potential students interested in the program will be able to attend an info session Wednesday, June 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. which includes a tour of Kelowna Flightcraft’s operation.

“Walking through their buildings, it’s amazing what they’re doing - military projects, and all kinds of huge projects are going on,” said Kjarsgaard. “When people come down and see this for themselves, they’ll be completely engaged with the idea of becoming a structures technician. It’s clean work, it’s exciting and it’s well-paid.”

Interest is already high in Okanagan College’s Aerospace Campus with its September intake for AME-M (Mechanics) already full. The College is offering a second intake in February 2012. Anyone interested in that program is also invited to take part in the June 8 info session and tour.

The session gets underway at the Okanagan College Kelowna Aerospace Campus at 5655 Airport Way in Kelowna. For more information, contact Rob Kjarsgaard at 250-503-2670 or email rkjarsgaard@okanagan.bc.ca.

National recognition for SIFE Okanagan as team wins Campbell’s Hunger challenge
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team returned to the Okanagan this week with three national awards and the well-deserved respect of their peers after making their way to the final round at the prestigious competition – the second time in SIFE Okanagan’s short six-year history.

For the second year in a row SIFE Okanagan won the Campbell’s Soup Let’s Can Hunger competition, which challenges teams to raise awareness around hunger issues as well as collect food for local food banks.

SIFE Okanagan implemented 31 initiatives in communities from Penticton to Salmon Arm and raised more than 80,000 pounds of food through the Let’s Can Hunger program, all of which was donated to local food banks. Collectively, 32 SIFE teams across Canada raised an extraordinary 314,000 pounds of food through this year's challenge, SIFE Okanagan’s contribution made up approximately 25 per cent of the national total.

"The SIFE Okanagan College team stood out by making a significant and lasting impact their community,” said Mark Childs, Vice President of Marketing, Campbell Canada. “We are inspired in our efforts to help alleviate hunger in Canada by these impressive achievements.”

As part of their recognition for winning the hunger challenge, Campbell’s Canada invited SIFE Okanagan to tour the company headquarters in Toronto, where the students had the opportunity to witness the soup giant’s manufacturing operations in addition to meeting their marketing team.

In addition to winning the Campbell’s challenge, SIFE Okanagan went head-to-head with 45 of Canada’s top post-secondary institutions, making its way to the final round of the national competition, which charges teams with making sophisticated presentations on the projects they have undertaken over the course of the year. SIFE Okanagan finished in the top five after their final presentation. Member of the national presentation team were Brant Jackson (Vernon) and Kelowna’s Megan Annand, Jeff Tassone, Jennifer Stefansson, Raymond Ong and Sattu Dhaliwal.

The SIFE Okanagan Entrepreneurship team finished second in the country, placing ahead of Ryerson University, University of Toronto, St. Francis Xavier University and others, finishing behind Memorial University, who went on to win the national competition. The team that presented on Entrepreneurship was made up of Penticton’s Brea Retzlaff and Caroline Wyatt, Vernon’s Jonathan Gardner and Kelowna members Aman Sandhu, Nikki Lees and Paven Sekhon.

In Financial Literacy, the team of Steven DeBoer (Salmon Arm), Jordan Pack (Salmon Arm), Justina LeeStolz (Kelowna), Danielle Hofer (Kelowna), Bunvir Nijjer (Kelowna) and Bill Wang (Kelowna) finished in the top six in the nation.

“SIFE Okanagan were real winners as they competed for the title of Canadian national champion as one of five finalists on the big stage at the Toronto Convention Center,” said Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “SIFE Okanagan did an amazing job completing projects with economic, social and environmental impact and reporting out on their successes. These students did a fabulous job representing our region, Okanagan College, the Okanagan School of Business and themselves.”

SIFE Okanagan Business Advisory Board member Sheldon Gardiner won a national award for his role in mentoring students, for acting as an ambassador of the program and for his guidance in developing Venture Okanagan. In addition to his role on SIFE Okanagan’s advisory board, Gardiner set up a scholarship award for SIFE – the inaugural award was presented to SIFE Okanagan President Sattu Dhaliwal.

"SIFE Okanagan met and exceeded all of their goals this year and achieved outstanding results at National Competition,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, SIFE Okanagan Faculty Advisor in the Okanagan School of Business. “I am proud to be part of such a dynamic and innovative student group that demonstrates ongoing leadership and community impact."

Dickinson recognized for distinguished service in education
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Gary Dickinson will be honoured by Okanagan College at its Summer Convocation ceremony with the Distinguished Service Award for two decades of leadership and dedication to Okanagan College as well as for outstanding service to his community.

Dickinson has a long and valued history with Okanagan College and its predecessor, Okanagan University College. With a career devoted to education that spanned more than 35 years, Dickinson worked in B.C. Secondary schools and post-secondary institutions until retiring in 2000. The last 20 years of his career were spent at Okanagan College and OUC.

“This is a very meaningful and relevant award for Okanagan College,” explained President Jim Hamilton. “In the six years since becoming the new Okanagan College we have only recognized two individuals with the Distinguished Service Award. Gary joins former Regional Dean Lynda Wilson in sharing the honour of becoming a Distinguished Service Award recipient and he is very much deserving. Gary did much to develop and promote learning and teaching at OUC and that legacy lives on at Okanagan College.”

Dickinson holds three degrees from the University of British Columbia. A Doctorate of Education, a Master’s of Arts in Adult Education and a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education.

After teaching positions in the Kimberly School District, East Kootenay Community College - where he was the institution’s first president - and after a spell as an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Dickinson joined Okanagan College in 1981 in the role of South Okanagan Regional Director, a position he maintained for five years before leading the Faculty of Adult and Continuing Education, where he was Dean for 14 years.

Dickinson’s leadership in Continuing Education contributed to the faculty’s growth and development throughout the region. At the time he joined the College, community education had been identified as an area of importance in which the needs of the community could be addressed. Between 1988 and 1993, total course registrations for CE centres alone grew by 24 per cent, exceeding 33,000 registrations in 1993.

“I began working for Okanagan College when Gary had become the Dean of Continuing Education,” said Charlotte Kushner, Director of Continuing Studies at Okanagan College. “The growth of our operation was very much a testament to his knowledge, skills and leadership in the area of adult education and continuing education operations. In fact, he was known around the province as the guru of all things continuing education.”

Dickinson spent the last year and a half of his career with OUC in an acting role as Vice President of Education. He retired from post-secondary in 2000.

During his career Dickinson spent a great deal of time using his education and knowledge for the betterment of a variety of working groups and boards. He was a member of the Task Force on Community Colleges, a member of the Vancouver Community College Board of Governors, President of the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts, Director of the Penticton Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Penticton Hospice Society, and Chair of the Ministry of Education Advisory Committee on Continuing Education.

Since retiring from OUC, Dickinson has followed his interest in continuing education by serving as President of the Society for Learning in Retirement, a 700-member organization providing educational programs for seniors in the Central Okanagan.

More recently he has served as a member of the Okanagan College Regional Advisory Committee since it was formed in 2006 and was elected as Chair in 2008, a position he continues to hold. He is currently also a community representative on the Okanagan College Research Ethics Board.

Dickinson’s exemplary career and dedicated service will be honoured at Okanagan College’s Summer Convocation ceremony on June 29 at 6 p.m. in Kelowna.

Why does a man give his life for his country?
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College English professor Melanie Murray will launch her new critically-acclaimed book FOR YOUR TOMORROW: THE WAY OF AN UNLIKELY SOLDIER (Random House Canada) on May 14, 1-3 p.m., at Mosaic Books in Kelowna.

FOR YOUR TOMORROW is Murray’s first book. The memoir traces the arc of her nephew’s life - from his birth on Remembrance Day, 1970 - to his death on Independence Day, 2007. It explores the forces that compelled him, at age 30, to abandon his Ph.D. studies to enlist in the Canadian military, then to risk his life for the Afghanistan mission.

The book also tells the story of his family, existing on the edge of hope and despair while he’s in Afghanistan, and their struggle to cope with his loss when he is killed there. It walks us through the paces of a family who has paid the ultimate price.

“When I learned that my nephew, Captain Jeff Francis, had been killed by an IED in Afghanistan, I knew I had to do two things: help my sister and Jeff’s family survive his loss and – to deal with my own grief – finally understand why my nephew needed to become a soldier,” explains Murray. “Everyone thought that Jeff, who had been a 38-year-old Ph.D. candidate in sociology, was immune to the family calling to military life. But five days before 9/11, he enlisted.”

“Jeff Francis gave his life not only for his comrades and their mission; he gave it with the firm conviction that it was his duty to humanity,” writes LGen. (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire. “This detailed account of the two lives of a Canadian Captain reveals his metamorphosis from a student philosopher to a dedicated military leader and father, deeply committed to his family and ancestry.”

Murray will launch her new book at four locations in the Okanagan and Shuswap before heading across Canada to share her story. She will be at Penticton’s Hooked on Books on May 26 at 7 p.m., at Vernon’s Bookland on May 28 from 1 – 3 p.m. and finally at Salmon Arm’s Bookingham Palace on June 4 between 1 – 3 p.m.

“Melanie Murray sketches the life and tragic death of one Canadian soldier with such a tender regard for his motives that she allows us to comprehend the sacrifice without ever asking that we accept the war,” writes author Carol Off. “She takes us to the heart of a grieving family as it struggles to find meaning within calamity. Through a sweep of history and myth – both personal and universal – she gives insight into a tragedy so many Canadian families have experienced. In the end, we come to share her family’s understanding of Jeff’s quest for higher purpose. This is an evocative and poignant story, written with style and compassion.”

Murray was born in Malagash, Nova Scotia and spent much of her childhood in Oromocto, New Brunswick while her father was stationed at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. She holds an M.A. in Canadian Literature, a B.A. in English and a B.Ed. She now lives in Kelowna, where she teaches English at Okanagan College. To find out more about Murray or FOR YOUR TOMORROW, visit: www.melaniemurray.ca

Respected researcher, top-ranking RCMP member and community-minded entrepreneur are College’s 2011 Honorary Fellows
Okanagan College Media Release

On the day it honours and celebrates the accomplishments of the graduating class of 2011, Okanagan College will also recognize the contributions, careers and service of three community-minded leaders that include a world renowned researcher, Canada’s highest-ranking female RCMP member, and an entrepreneur whose fabric stores dominate the Canadian textile industry.

landeckerOkanagan College will bestow the title of Honorary Fellow on Dr. Tom Landecker, Principal Research Officer at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), Beverley Busson, former Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Mel Kotler, founding owner of Mel Kotler Consultants Ltd. and working partner of the Fabricland Company, Western Canada.

“I take a great deal of pride in calling Dr. Landecker, Ms. Busson and Mr. Kotler Fellows of Okanagan College,” said President Jim Hamilton. “Awarding Honorary Fellow status to these deserving members of our community is the highest honour we can offer on behalf of our College. The students who attend Convocation in June will have the opportunity to hear from each of the Honorary Fellows at their respective ceremonies and I am confident they are going to be inspired by the careers and lives of each of these great leaders.”

Landecker is a highly respected astronomer, innovator, teacher and engineer. He was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and attended Sydney University. From an initial plan to become a chemical engineer, Landecker found a new passion while at university and emerged with two degrees - one in mathematics and the other in electrical engineering. Fascinated by the use of radio as a tool for probing the Universe, Landecker went on to earn his doctorate for research in radio astronomy.

He moved to Penticton in 1969 to work at the DRAO, where he joined the team building the Synthesis Telescope, bringing together signals from small dishes to make one giant telescope – 600 metres from end to end. He supervised major projects such as the Canadian Galactic Plane Survey, for which he and his team won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Research Council of Canada in 2010. He has been an adjunct professor at several Canadian universities, training students on their path to master’s degrees and doctorates, wrote a column on astronomy for the Penticton Herald, helped develop the Okanagan Research Innovation Council (ORIC) and joined the Board of Governors of Okanagan University College, where he was a member for six years and served as Chair of the Board for one year. He continues to follow his passion for astronomical research, working with colleagues in Canada and in other countries.

bussonBusson’s career path took on a very different route than Landecker’s – not concerned with the laws of the Universe, Busson spent more than three decades in Canadian law enforcement. Her career with the RCMP began in 1974 when she became one of the first women to become Regular Members of the RCMP. She spent her early years working as a constable in Salmon Arm and Kelowna. She went on to head B.C.’s Organized Crime Agency, earned a degree in Law from UBC in 1990, was invested as a commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces in 2004 and awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2006.

After rising through the ranks, Busson became the first female Commanding Officer of British Columbia in 2000, a rank she held until 2006 when she became Canada’s top ranking RCMP member when she was appointed Commissioner of the RCMP – she was the first female to hold the rank of Commissioner. Among her distinguished achievements Busson has been awarded the RCMP Long Service Medal for 30 years of Good Conduct, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Canadian Forces Vice Chief of Defence Staff Commendation for her support of the Canadian Cadet Movement. In 2004 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University College of the Fraser Valley and six years later was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Simon Fraser University in 2010.

Since retiring to Blind Bay she has been seconded by the Prime Minister's Office to a five member committee charged with making recommendations to reform the RCMP nationwide and also joined the Okanagan College Foundation as a Director.

kotlerKotler was born and raised in Montreal where he took on his first job in the textile industry straight out of high school. He spent 16 years learning the ins and outs of sales, management and marketing before moving west to Calgary in 1977 where he opened his first business, Fabricland. It wasn’t long before Fabricland opened its second location becoming a fast-growing chain of fashion fabric and textiles.

As Fabricland stores continued to spread through Western Canada, Kotler and his family moved to Kelowna in 1985. While building his brand and retail outlets, Kotler raised five children and focused on giving back to the community. From 1995 – 98 he served as the Chair of Leadership Gifts in the Campaign for Cancer Care. He also took on leadership roles with the United Way, Special Olympics of BC and was the President of the Okanagan Jewish Community for five years.

At the time of his retirement from Fabricland in 2001, Kotler had become a retail giant with 40 Fabricland stores in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and another 20 franchises across the region. In 2002 he was presented with a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal by Sindi Hawkins for his outstanding service to the community. He was also named Entrepreneur of the Year as well as Community Leader of the Year. In 2004 Kotler was awarded the Fred Macklin Memorial Award in 2004 for his contribution to the wellbeing of the City of Kelowna. The United Way has recognized his leadership and service with a series of honours including the BC Vice-Chair’s Award of Distinction in 2004 and the Award of Distinction in 2008.

Though he is no longer President of Fabricland, Kotler currently operates Mel Kotler Consultants Ltd., where he manages building projects such as South point at Big White and The Madison in downtown Kelowna.

Landecker and Busson will address students attending the morning Convocation ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on June 4 in Kelowna. Kotler will attend the afternoon ceremony which will be held at 1:30 p.m. and include graduates of Business programs.

Explore welding virtually at trade info session
Okanagan College Media Release

For those who’ve tried it, Okanagan College’s new virtual welding machine is proof that virtual reality can be as valuable a teaching tool as the real thing.

“You put the helmet on, pick up the torch and you feel like you’re welding,” explained Dean Nutter, chair of the College’s Welding Department. “There is feedback that comes to you through the welder, through sound, and it’s easier to analyze your weld and technique than with real metal.”

Okanagan College is the first school in Western Canada to acquire a virtual reality arc welding simulator. The VRTEX360, made by the Lincoln Electric Company (a familiar name to anyone in the welding industry) reduces the amount of material used to train welders.

“It’s also a great way to introduce people to the trade,” said Nutter, who sees a steady demand for those who want to pursue accreditation in the field. “Nothing will replace the experience of welding metal in a real-world situation, but this certainly is another tool that will help us introduce more people to welding at a time when we’re anticipating a growing shortage of tradespeople.”

Okanagan College offers a number of intakes into its welding programs each year. The next classes begin at the end of May.

Those interested in finding out more about the classes, experiencing the VRTEX360 or learning about career opportunities can attend a free info session at the College on May 19, at 7 p.m. in the welding shop at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus at 1000 KLO Road.

For more info or to register for the information night, contact Dean Nutter at (250) 762-5445, ext. 4433 or Dianne Holm at 762-5445, ext. 4439.

Sewell's legacy honoured through new bursary award
Okanagan College Media Release

A new award that will support Summerland students pursuing post-secondary training in trades or business has been established in honour of Art Sewell, one of Summerland’s most dedicated community members and strongest advocates for youth and education.

At its regular evening meeting on Tuesday, the Summerland Rotary Club, Summerland Penny Lane and members of the Sewell family announced they will each contribute $25,000 to establish a $75,000 bursary fund to support local students.

Sewell was a founding member of Summerland Penny Lane and served as its Chairman for eight years. As an active Rotarian for 35 years, he believed in the importance of providing access to education and training, as well as business leaders’ responsibility to provide opportunities for skill development in youth to help them reach their full potential.

“We wanted to do something that would honour the legacy of our dad as well as benefit others,” explained Ken Sewell. “Our father joined Rotary to provide service to his community. Raising money for important causes or contributing to community initiatives, that’s where he was in his element. This new bursary is an extension of his legacy of service.”

“In establishing this new bursary we are following Art’s dream of supporting youth in Summerland by providing greater access to education,” said Bob Van Balkom, President of the Summerland Rotary Club. “Our Rotary Club also firmly believes in Okanagan College and its role in both educating our youth and providing local and regional job opportunities for the future.”

The Summerland Rotary, Art Sewell, Summerland Penny Lane Bursary will provide an annual award of $2,500 to a student entering full-time studies in a Trades Foundation program or Business Administration program at Okanagan College. The recipient will be a resident of Summerland or will have attended high school in Summerland. Selection of the award recipient will be based on financial need.

“Art was instrumental in developing Summerland Penny Lane and S.A.D.I. (Summerland Asset Development Initiative),” said Orv Robson, Chairman of Summerland Penny Lane. “He and his family have been a great asset to this community. Art’s legacy will live on without this award but I think we can all be proud that we brought this bursary forward in Art’s name to help carry on the work he was so invested in – that being investing in young people and their success.”

“We are extremely grateful to each of the partners who came together to create this new award in Art Sewell’s name,” said Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We are well aware of the impact Art has had on this community and are fortunate to be able to play a role in continuing his good work in the lives of future students.”

Studio exhibit celebrates College’s artistry in woodwork
Okanagan College Media Release

When other girls could be found playing with Bratz and Barbies, eight-year-old Kara Jobb was more likely hanging out with her dad in the wood shop tinkering with a band saw.

“That was probably the first tool I played with,” said Jobb, thinking back to her days in Terrace when she and her dad would hike over to his buddy’s shop to spend the afternoon turning piles of square boards into useful, and sometimes even artful, objects.

Jobb is now among a class of students completing Okanagan College’s inaugural Studio Woodworking program – an eight-month program that delves into the artistic side of woodworking, teaching students the skills necessary to create fine cabinetry, even musical instruments and furniture.

This Saturday, May 7, Jobb will be among 18 students displaying their work at the exhibit Engrained held at the Tutt Street Gallery in Kelowna from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Jobb’s piece is a tall shelf crafted from two types of wood – cherry and sapele, a hard wood very similar to mahogany that gained popularity when it was used for interior wood trim in Cadillacs. The shelf itself incorporates another piece she worked on during the course – a treasure chest.

“The colours are really nice because the cherry is pink and the sapele is a reddish brown, so the legs and outside pieces are all sapele and the inside shows the cherry.”

Jobb will also be exhibiting her graphically illustrated handcrafted longboards.

“I’ve learned a few more techniques about how to do things in different ways and do some things better than before. My favourite is marquetry where you use paper-thin pieces of veneer to create pictures and then apply them. My theme was shoes, so I had all these shoes pieced together on a panel.”

The program’s blend of practical woodworking and art draws students from all kinds of backgrounds, said instructor Tim Diebert, himself a well-regarded luthier who turned his love of wood into creating handcrafted guitars.

“We’ve got students here who have retired and want to be hobbyists, an artist who wants to get better at working with wood, and a carpenter who wants to do finer work. This course really does appeal to a wide range of people.”

During the year, students have worked hard on a variety of projects that taught them techniques in inlay and finishing, and also exposed them to a variety of exotic woods – many of which have to be privately sourced.

“These are often kept secret,” said Diebert, who’s clearly willing to share. Students also learn how to market their work, right down to taking high quality photographs using inexpensive lights and simple backdrops. The images can then be used for their portfolio and for their websites.

For Jobb, it’s like a dream come true. Eventually she’d like to open her own business, with hopes that her birch plywood longboards will take off.

It’s a labour of love, and for Diebert and all the other students, it’s working with the wood that makes all the difference.

Students put skills to work to develop Agur Lake Camp
Okanagan College Media Release

The first cabin for Agur Lake Camp is taking shape thanks to students in Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program and a new partnership between Agur Lake Camp Society, Okanagan College, School District 67 Okanagan Skaha and C.M. Edwards Construction.

The students are building the cabin on the grounds of the Penticton campus – it will be moved to Agur Lake for final assembly later this summer. The cabin will be built by assembling two modules to the lock-up stage and then trucking them to Agur Lake Camp where they will be joined together as they are placed on the cabin’s foundation. Support pillars are positioned so the cabin floor can be built on top of them. This allows space for a truck to back in under the floor when it is time to move the building.

The Agur Lake Camp Society has long range plans for five cabins to be built on the site and hopes that this first cabin will be ready for use in the summer of 2012.

Chris Allen of Allen + Maurer Architects Ltd has been employed to do the site planning for the Camp. TimBr Mart in Summerland is generously donating all the lumber needed for this project. Chuck Edwards of C.M. Edwards Construction is contributing to this project by offering his services to supervise the construction.

“Building the first cabin has been made possible by the partnership of Agur Lake Camp Society, Okanagan College, School District 67 and Chuck Edwards of C.M Edwards Construction” said Barb Hatton, President of Agur Lake Camp Society. “It’s an exciting time for all of us. With one cabin under construction and many more on the horizon we welcome continued in-kind donations of materials and financial support from our generous community partners.”

The Residential Construction program is one of the College's most hands-on programs, providing an opportunity for students to build a home from the ground up. Students who complete the program not only have professional work experience on their resume – they can also receive technical training credit for Level One Carpentry and may become certified as a Residential Construction Framing Technician.

A dual credit Agreement between School District 67 and Okanagan College gives high school students the opportunity to combine the Residential Construction program with high school graduation. Dual credit students receive both high school and college credits in addition to the apprenticeship level one credit. Through contributing their time to the building of the first cabin, all students advance their own education and provide valuable service in the building of Agur Lake Camp.

When completed Agur Lake Camp will provide a wilderness camp experience for special needs people and their families. In addition to cabins there will be a network of trails, a dock for fishing and boating, and a pavilion. All facilities will be totally accessible for people with disabilities.

The Camp is located on 54 acres of land 20 kilometres west of Summerland. For more information about the Camp or Society, go online: www.agurlakecamp.ca.

College Board approves $92.9 million budget
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has approved a $92.9-million operating budget for 2011-12.

The Board passed the budget at a meeting Tuesday. The budget anticipates that student numbers will increase by approximately five per cent in the coming year.

“This was a challenging year,” said Board Chair Lance Kayfish. “We are facing inflationary pressures of approximately $1 million this year. The anticipated enrolment growth, along with careful reallocation of resources, will allow us to offer modest expansion in some areas. Targeted government funding will also allow us to introduce the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program this year as well.” (The BSN program was announced Thursday by the Province. It is a partnership arrangement with UBC, that will allow students to complete the first two years of their four-year degree program at Okanagan College and then finish at UBC Okanagan.)

One program area that will likely see some reductions the coming year is trades training, as the College responds to a five per cent reduction of the Industry Training Authority’s (ITA) funding to institutions. The effects of that will be mitigated as the College reductions come in programs that have had low application and enrolment rates in recent years. Those include the Apprentice Commercial Transport Vehicle Mechanic and the Metal Fabricator programs. The number of intakes in other programs – Apprentice Automotive Service Technician, Apprentice Carpenter, and Apprentice Electrician – will be reduced, largely in response to reduced demand for those particular areas of trades training.

“With these reductions, we’re still anticipating that Okanagan College will be able to meet student demand for trades training,” explained Kayfish. A number of non-ITA funded trades programs will be offered in the coming year, and there are funding applications for two new programs still being considered by the ITA.

The College will also provide additional capacity to accommodate more students in human kinetics programming, arts, and business administration.

Okanagan College has surpassed its growth targets over the past six years, and now enrolls approximately 8,000 full-time equivalent students annually. More than 20,700 people attended the College in 2009-10.

Local professor hosts DVD launch for homegrown doc film
Okanagan College Media Release

After winning the Best Home Grown Award at the Okanagan International Film Festival, local filmmaker and professor Marc Arellano will publicly launch his award-winning documentary Strange Fruit: A Changing Landscape in the Central Okanagan, on Thursday, April 28 in Kelowna.

Strange Fruit examines the pressing issues of land, labour and water in the interior of British Columbia and how they impact local, tree-fruit producers and our ability to sustain local food production. Arellano, who directed and produced the film, will be in attendance to sign DVDs at the launch, which takes place between 5-6 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Infusions restaurant at the Kelowna campus.

“I feel like my documentary has captured a vanishing way of life,” said Arellano. “So many trees have been cut down and so many orchards have gone up for sale since I started this project in 2008. The situation doesn’t seem to be getting better for local orchardists.”

In the effort to raise awareness about the importance of local food production and educate a new generation of concerned citizens, all proceeds from the sale of the DVDs will go to the Ecole Glenmore Elementary Garden project, which promotes sustainability issues and curriculum innovation.

Following the launch party, copies of the DVD will be available for a donation of $15 at Okanagan College’s bookstore, Glenmore Elementary and at Leo’s Videos on Pandosy Street.

Lister appointed as North Okanagan Regional Dean


Lister to assume role as Okanagan College’s
Regional Dean for the North Okanagan

A prominent Vernon community leader will be assuming the role of Okanagan College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean in June.

Jane Lister, who has headed Community Futures Corporation of the North Okanagan for 20 years, will replace retiring Regional Dean John Lent.

“Okanagan College is a critical component in the cultural, social, and economic development of our region,” says Lister, who has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC. “Over the past two decades, I’ve worked closely with the College in my role as General Manager of Community Futures, and in other capacities.” Lister served as a member of the College’s Board of Governors and was Vice-Chair. “I’m eager to help the College further develop its connections with and value to the region.”

“We’re pleased to have Jane join us,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with her over the past two decades and I know that she will bring a dedication to education and service to the role.”

Lister acknowledges she’ll have big shoes to fill in replacing Lent, who retires after 32 years with the College. “John has a tremendous reputation as a teacher and casts a long shadow across the country as a poet and author. As a Dean, he’s helped focus the efforts of the staff at the College on the opportunities that are at hand in the region, and on better serving the needs of students here.”

Lent began his career with the College in 1978 when he was hired to teach an evening section of Business English at the Vernon campus. The following year he settled into a full-time teaching position in the English department, where his passion for teaching and writing flourished.

Lister’s efforts have extended far beyond her position with Community Futures. She’s served as a member of Vernon’s Economic Development Committee, of the Trades Industry Partnership Advisory Committee, the Provincial Regional Economic Development Initiative, the Vernon and District Community Land Trust, Vernon’s Affordable Housing Committee, and as chair of the volunteers committee of the 2011 Sparkling Hills Masters World Cup. In 1997, she was recognized by the Vernon Women in Business organization as the Woman of the Year. In 2009, she was named the Don McMillan Award Recipient for Provincial Community Economic Development work.

College dominates at Business Competition


April 12, 2011


Take two teams of four Okanagan College Business Administration students, ask them to operate an imaginary airline in competition with students from four other B.C. colleges and the results will give lift to Okanagan College’s continued record of success at the B.C. Business Simulation Competition.


Okanagan College’s sophomore and senior teams won top prizes in their categories at the 22nd version of Simulation Competition, which was held at the College’s Kelowna campus in late March. Okanagan College’s senior team was comprised of Haley Ryan, Vanessa Wittel, Jonny Webber, and Robert McEwen. Amanda Blanchard, Meghan Hidber, Kyle Yakiwchuk and Lingjun Zhao were the members of the sophomore team.


Last year, at the Business Simulation Competition, the College team won 14 of 16 possible gold medals. This year, the teams won four of ten gold medals and two silver medals.  Beside the two top team medals, Okanagan College students won:

  • Gold medal, Top Communications (senior team)
  • Gold Medal, Top Financial Manager – Vanessa Wittel
  • Silver Medal, Top HR Manager – Jonny Webber
  • Silver Medal, Top CEO, Vanessa Wittel
  • Bronze Medal, Top Marketing Manager – Haley Ryan


The College of the Rockies’ junior team was also awarded a gold medal in their category of the competition as a top team.


“I’m glad that at OC we have dedicated professors, deans and students who are willing to give their time for what appears to outsiders to merely be an extra-curricular activity,” says Wittel. “By running an airline, we felt the stress of decisions that would impact the company years into the future but we also learned the satisfaction that comes when a team can work harmoniously to create a fantastic end product.  I experienced team work at its best.”


Gold medal in the Top CEO category was awarded to Kathleen Semple, of Langara College, while Kyle Blakeney of Camosun College won bronze. Blythe Pearce of Langara College was honored as the Top HR Manager, while Dustin Gottas, of College of the Rockies (COTR) was given the bronze medal for his efforts. Top Marketing Manager was Charlene Winter of the University of Fraser Valley (UFV), and Scott Tracey of COTR was the silver medal finalist. Semple also won gold as top operations manager, while Blakeny won silver, and Mike Wood, of UFV captured bonze. The silver medal in Top Financial Manager went to Ellen Dragushan of Camosun College, while Andy Chou of Langara won bronze.


“I am always amazed at the level of effort put forth by these students,” observes Okanagan College Professor and coach Michael Orwick.  “Competing in these events is over and above the normal workload of the semester, yet somehow they are able to fit all the preparation and performance required in and around their mid-terms and projects that are due from other classes.”


“While the competitions measure many specific skills, some of the greatest values participants receive are in soft skills such as teamwork, conflict resolution, personality recognition, and mutual support,” Orwick notes.


“The simulation was one of the best experiences I had in my post secondary career,” says OC’s Haley Ryan. “Our coach Allan Rice offered creativity and encouraged me to work at a whole new level of thinking. Mike Orwick gave us passion and the ability build on ideas. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with two masterminds of business. They helped me refine my skill set and prepare me for my career. This competition was the most beneficial and rewarding learning experience of my business degree.”


The BC Business Simulation competition is open to degree and diploma teams from colleges and universities across B.C. and Alberta. This year, the teams of four were asked to pilot small regional airlines through a host of decisions that covered marketing, operations, human resources and finances and accounting. Making a series of decisions and presentations that imitates a year’s worth of business activity (compressed into three days of real-time), the teams are judged by business people who assess performance in 21 areas.


The competition is sponsored by the Certified General Accountants of British Columbia, the Certified Management Accounts of BC, and the Chartered Accountants of British Columbia, as well as Interpretive Simulations and B.C. Hydro.


TELUS delivers on yearlong campaign to support the Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

TELUSOne year after committing to donate $100 to Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence for every new TELUS TV customer in the South Okanagan, TELUS announced a $50,000 contribution to the Okanagan College Foundation to help support the region’s most innovative and sustainable building development.


TELUS General Manager Steve Jenkins along with 10 local TELUS employees spent the morning at the College’s Penticton campus where the group served breakfast to students before announcing the donation.


“We came up with the idea for this campaign as a means of delivering on our commitment to give where we live,” explained Jenkins. “By contributing to the Centre of Excellence we are taking the opportunity to become a part of the legacy Okanagan College is creating through this innovative development.”


The regional TELUS campaign began in March 2010 and wrapped up at the end of last month. For every new TELUS TV customer in Penticton, Summerland, Naramata and Okanagan Falls, TELUS donated $100 to the Centre of Excellence.


“It is incredible to witness the difference community-minded organizations such as TELUS can make when they take the time to consider the needs of the future generations,” explained Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “This contribution is certainly not the first time TELUS has supported Okanagan College students and the facilities they depend on to succeed. We have enjoyed a great friendship with TELUS and are extremely grateful for their commitment to support the communities in which they operate and live.”


TELUS hires a large number of the College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology graduates and also provides co-op opportunities for students.


In 2007 TELUS donated $25,000 to students in Okanagan College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology program through the Jordy Koenig scholarship, an award in the name of the longtime TELUS employee and Okanagan College program advisory council.




Interior colleges ensure transferability of writing courses
Okanagan College Media Release

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been reached between Okanagan College, College of the Rockies and Selkirk College that allows students to transfer directly into second year of the Writing and Publishing diploma program at Okanagan College.

“We are thrilled to provide students with this valuable option,” said Selkirk College Dean of University Arts and Sciences, Neil Coburn. “This is a great example of how colleges can work together to provide more educational opportunities and enhance the regions they serve.”

College of the Rockies Dean of Instruction, Laura Cooper, noted "It is through collaborations such as this that we are able to offer residents of the East Kootenay increasing opportunities to advance their education with the fewest barriers possible. This agreement will greatly benefit our students who wish to continue studies in this field."

The initiative is part of the Southern Interior Writers’ Project—a joint undertaking which creates new and improved services for learners through the smooth transferability of writing courses between post-secondary institutions.

The MoU will be in place until February 2014. As part of the agreement, Okanagan College will reserve a total of 10 seats for students coming from College of the Rockies and Selkirk. Students will be required to complete 30 credits, which include a combination of writing, English and business courses, prior to enrolling in the second year of the Writing and Publishing program at Okanagan College.

“This collaboration marks the beginning of the creation of a distinct community of students and teachers of writing and publishing in the Interior of British Columbia,” said Okanagan College’s Regional Dean of the North Okanagan, John Lent. “We have been working towards this kind of partnership among these three colleges for a few years now and are excited by the potential it will open up for sharing students, courses, writers, magazines and presses.”

Participating departments at the respective institutions include: the Arts and Foundational program and Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College, University Studies and Business at College of the Rockies, and the Schools of University Arts and Sciences and Business and Aviation at Selkirk College.

Insights into subatomic particle physics coming to Okanagan College April 15
Okanagan College Media Release

If your curiosity extends to the world of high-energy experimental subatomic particle physics, mark Friday, April 15 on your calendar for a presentation by Dr. Andreas Warburton of McGill University.

Warburton, who has worked at the University of Toronto and Cornell University, will speak about the first results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is the world’s largest scientific instrument that has been operating at the CERN laboratory near Geneva since March 30, 2010.

The presentation is organized by Okanagan College’s Physics and Astronomy Department and sponsored by the Canadian Association of Physicists. It starts at 7 p.m. in Rm. H115 of the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College and there is no cost for admission.

Warburton’s presentation will focus on the developments in high-energy experimental subatomic particle physics. It will include a discussion of the Large Hadron Collider machine performance, the complex experiments that are now recording collisions at increasing rates, and a selection of early important physics results now emerging at these new frontier energies.

After graduating from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991, Warburton moved to the University of Toronto where his graduate work involved the Tevatron matter-antimatter collider on the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF). Seven years later, having earned his PhD, Warburton moved to Cornell University to work on studies of quark-flavour transitions in hadrons produced in electron-positron collisions.

He return to Canada and McGill in 2003 where he started work on next-generation CDF experiment at Fermilab and the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. (There are 3,000 scientists, 38 countries, and 174 universities involved in that experiment).

Habitat for Humanity Kelowna and Okanagan College Announce Partnership to Build Homes for Two Low-income Families

Habitat for Humanity Kelowna’s next build project will be in partnership with Okanagan College. Students from Okanagan College’s residential framing program will spend four months, beginning in April, building a duplex on the Westside. The duplex will then be sold to two low-income working families with children as part of Habitat for Humanity’s partner family program. The families will also help to build the houses.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the College,” said Brian Wrightson, board member and chair of HFH Kelowna’s building committee. “This is a real win-win situation – the students will have hands-on experience building a house from foundation to lock-up, and we’ll help two more families who might not otherwise own their home”.

”Through our Home for Learning projects, Okanagan College and our partners have provided hundreds of students the chance to contribute to the development of a host of communities in the Okanagan, Shuswap-Revelstoke and South Okanagan-Similkameen,” explains Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, John Haller. “Blending teaching, learning, and community partnerships is a great way of living up to our mission of transforming lives and communities.”

About Habitat for Humanity Kelowna:

Founded in 1992, Habitat for Humanity Kelowna is a non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. Their mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. The volunteer organization has provided 22 families with safe, decent and affordable housing in the Central Okanagan. Habitat for Humanity Kelowna is one of 72 Canadian affiliates and is a member of Habitat for Humanity International, which has built or renovated more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing shelter for more than 2 million people since it was founded in 1976. For more information on Habitat for Humanity Kelowna, please visit www.habitatforhumanitykelowna.ca.

About Okanagan College

With four major campuses, Okanagan College trains and educates more than 20,000 people a year in the Southern Interior. The College is B.C.’s second-largest trades training institution and has more than doubled in size in the past six years. For more information visit www.okanagan.bc.ca

Top entrepreneurs face off in second round of Venture Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Four aspiring local entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of accredited investors after successfully making it through the first round of the investor forum Venture Okanagan.

The forum is hosted by Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). Second round action takes place on Wednesday, April 6 at the Kelowna campus. The forum will offer investors the opportunity to observe presentations from the top entrepreneurs in the valley, allowing them to potentially invest in these golden ideas. The forum is open to the public and anyone who attends will have an opportunity to ask questions at the forum and in person during a networking event post forum.

“It is great to see a platform such as Venture Okanagan exist for local entrepreneurs to present their ideas,” said Steve Watson, Okanagan College professor and Chair of Venture Okanagan. “It is imperative that we support our local entrepreneurs throughout the valley by providing them a link to financial capital.”

The four ideas to be presented during the forum cover exercise technology, renewable energy solutions, a home repair product as well as a safety system for heavy equipment.

“The ideas that come through Venture Okanagan are as diverse as they could get,” said Raymond Ong, Okanagan College student and Director of Venture Okanagan. “This being the second Venture Okanagan forum, we are excited to see what these four entrepreneurs can bring to the table.”

The presentations begin at 6 p.m. in room H115 at Okanagan College and are followed by a wine and cheese reception at 8 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning. Tickets are $35 and will include admission, appetizers and one complimentary glass of wine. For tickets please contact Raymond Ong at 250.869.6393 or via email at raymond.anthony24@gmail.com.

OCAA opens nominations for annual Alumni Awards
Okanagan College Media Release

Nominations are now open, and easier than ever to complete, for the Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award and 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 completed 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 OCAA has adopted a new selection process with the aim of making the nomination process easier and more comparable across candidates.

"Over the past few years, the number of nominations for the Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Awards has been consistently increasing,” explained Kara Kazimer, President of the OCAA. “This diversity and larger number of nominations necessitated a revised selection process to more easily compare and contrast the nominees to allow for a more straight forward selection. We are confident that this year we will again receive a number of nominations that demonstrate the impact Okanagan College and OUC Alumni have in their organizations, industries and communities and we are excited to once again honour two very worthy alumni with our awards."

The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 29, 2011. Nominations may be made by completing an online form available at: www.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include: Lee Claremont (‘89), award-winning B.C. artist; Launi Skinner (’85), CEO of First West Credit Union; 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), former 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 Ryan Donn (’03), musician and educator; 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 2011 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.

Agenda will focus on next steps after ALC decision
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College and its partners are considering their options after receiving news that the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) will not approve an application to reclassify 10 acres of the Vernon campus for a non-conforming use to allow development of a multi-use sports facility.

The application for reclassification would have moved the College, Regional District of the North Okanagan and the District of Coldstream one step closer toward their goal of developing a $7.8-million multi-use sports facility that would have included an Olympic size rubberized track, artificial playing field and field house, all for use by a variety of community groups. The partners applied to the commission earlier this year after several years of cooperative planning and significant support from potential user groups.

The Regional District of the North Okanagan and Okanagan College entered into a lease agreement in December giving the Regional District the ability to affordably lease the land from the College in order to build and operate the facility.

“Obviously we had hoped for a different outcome,” explained North Okanagan Regional Dean John Lent. “We have to respect the mandate and responsibilities of the ALC. At this point we will be consulting with all involved parties including the College’s Board of Governors.”

In its letter to Okanagan College, the ALC concluded the proposed 10 acre piece of land is suitable for agricultural use and that if moved out of the ALR the potential of the property for agricultural development would be negatively impacted.

College’s South Okanagan Literacy Program celebrates Adult Learners’ Week
Okanagan College Media Release

April 2 - 9 is International Adult Learners’ Week and the South Okanagan Community Literacy program has a lot to celebrate. The program, which operates out of Okanagan College, currently has 25 trained tutors who work one-on-one with 21 adult learners throughout the South Okanagan region. Another four students have been using the service on a drop-in basis.

The South Okanagan Community Literacy Program trains volunteer tutors to work one-to-one with adults in Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls. Adult students and tutors meet weekly at Okanagan College in Oliver, WorkZone, schools within SD # 53, and the Sonora Centre. The program is free for adults age 19 and over and helps learners develop confidence in their skills, reading with their children, finding employment and building skills for further education.
“We appreciate the support we’ve received in Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls,” said Mary Kiviste, Volunteer Tutor Coordinator. “We want everyone in the South Okanagan to know there is free literacy support for adults so that all of our citizens can be part of the conversation that makes up a vibrant community.”

The South Okanagan Community Literacy Program is one of 67 Community Adult Literacy Programs (CALPs) across British Columbia. These programs are funded by the Ministry of Advanced Labour and Market Development. CALP programs are community-based and offer flexible, learner-centred programs in a non-institutional context.

Across BC, CALPs serve approximately 1,800 core learners each year, and an additional 1,450 drop-in learners, who access help for a specific need such as understanding a rental agreement. Approximately 1,600 British Columbians volunteer with adult literacy programs each year.

“I have tutored adult learners for over 20 years,” said Norma Scott, Oliver tutor. “It has been a rewarding experience to help learners attain not only literacy skills but the self-confidence that allows them to advance to better employment and further education. The very special relationship that develops between a tutor and a dedicated adult learner continues to be an inspiration.”

For more information about the program, please contact Mary Kiviste at Okanagan College (250) 492-4305 ext. 3244. For more information about the importance of literacy for communities, please visit Literacy BC at www.literacybc.ca.
Emma Donoghue visiting Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Prize-winning fiction author Emma Donoghue will be visiting Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Thursday.

Donoghue, whose work Room earned her the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and a shortlisted nomination for the Man Booker Prize, will be speaking in room E202 in the College’s Centre for Learning from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 31.

Room is a tale told by a five-year-old; a boy who has lived his life with his mother in a room that’s 12 feet by 12 feet. His mother was kidnapped seven years prior. If the plot sounds somewhat familiar, there are resemblances to the true story of the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter in his basement for more than two decades.

Admission to hear Donoghue is free, but space is limited and seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Board tailors tuition approach for coming year
Okanagan College Media Release

About 70 per cent of Okanagan College’s students will see their tuition remain steady for the coming year, as a result of a Board of Governors’ decision Tuesday.

The Board decided to replicate a decision it made last year and freeze those tuition fees at Okanagan College that are more than 10 per cent above average for similar programs at other institutions.

The result is that for many students, the fees at Okanagan College will remain the same next year.

“This is a student-centric decision that means that most of our students won’t be seeing tuition increases for the coming year,” says Board Chair Lance Kayfish. “Where we are notably higher than other comparable institutions, we won’t be compounding that difference.”

“Earlier this year, we adopted a new strategic plan and one of our core values is accessibility for students. This decision reflects our commitment to our students and access.”

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 chosen to raise all its tuition fees in the past five years. Indications are that the provincial policy will again limit increases to two per cent for 2011-12.

Programs where tuition will remain the same in the coming year include the Associate of Arts degree program (approximately $3,078 annually), the Associate of Science degree program (approx. $3,298 annually), the Bachelor of Business Administration (approx. $3,880 annually), the Criminal and Social Justice Diploma program (approx. $3,078 annually), Culinary Arts (not including apprentice cook) (approx. $3,754), the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer M-License program (approx. $7,334), and a number of others. Other unaffected programs include Adult Basic Education, Adult Special Education and English as a Second Language, for which domestic students are charged no tuition.

London Drugs announces new scholarships to support students at Penticton’s Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

London Drugs is the most recent Penticton business to back Okanagan College’s new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, announcing a $10,000 donation to support a series of annual financial awards for new programs, which will be offered at the Centre.

Store Manager Colin Campbell made the announcement today at London Drugs’ Cherry Lane Mall store. The $10,000 commitment will fund two annual awards, each valued at $1,000 for the next five years.

“We are so pleased to be a part of the Centre of Excellence campaign,” said Campbell. “This partnership with Okanagan College and its students is a really good fit for London Drugs. We are deeply committed to our community and the Centre of Excellence is going to be an incredible facility and resource for the people of Penticton.”

Campbell went on to explain the decision to support the campaign was an easy one for London Drugs, as its corporate giving focuses on two main streams – supporting education and health. The Centre of Excellence will create space for approximately 500 more students at the South Okanagan-Similkameen campus in Penticton.

The Centre will also offer an array of new programs that are focused on sustainability and green technology. The building itself is striving to meet the Living Building Challenge, committing to a net zero consumption of energy and water.

“By contributing to these new financial awards London Drugs is helping to realize its goal of making our local community stronger,” explained Campbell.

“This donation is going to make a real difference to local students in helping to finance their education and training,” said Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for the support of London Drugs and are well aware of the important role our local businesses play in our community.”

College Half Marathon runners brave snow to complete 21.1 km course
Okanagan College Media Release

Wet weather and periods of snow weren’t enough to slow down the winner of Okanagan College’s ninth annual Half Marathon this morning. Penticton’s Jeff Symonds completed the 21.1 km race in a time of 1:15:42, enough to hang on to first place.

Kelowna’s Graham Hood finished second with a time of 1:17:11. Rossland runner Dallas Cain was just 40 seconds behind Hood, finishing in third place.

Kelowna’s Keddi-Anne Sherbino won the women’s Half Marathon, crossing the finish line at 1:21:41. Vernon runners Mary Edgar (1:34:09) and Jennifer Bond (1:35:46) came in second and third.

In the 10 K race three Kelowna runners took the top three spots in the men’s division. Jonathan Little won with a time of 37:12, Yannick Letailleur finished second with 38:10 and Aurelien Schilles earned a bronze with a 39:48 finish.

On the women’s side the top three 10 K runners were also from Kelowna. They are Lisa Vinge (45:45), Pascal Li (46:57) and Corinne Wade (47:26).

The Relay Race was won by the 21 K Beer Run; team members were Scott Landsiedel, Ben Lees, Jack Meenaghan, Jim Stewart and Josh Teather.

Complete race results will be posted at www.okanagan.bc.ca/halfmarathon on Monday.

HSBC endowment for scholarships

Okanagan College Media Release

HSBC Bank Canada establishes award in Business Administration at Okanagan College

The Okanagan College Foundation is proud to announce that it has received a $30,000 donation from HSBC Bank Canada to establish the permanently endowed HSBC Bank Canada Entrance Award in Business Administration.

 HSBC donation
 Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton (middle) accepts a $30,000 donation from HSBC Canada’s Barry Taitinger, Assistant Vice President and Regional Manager (left) and Kelowna Branch Manager Marcia Jones during the Okanagan Business Students’ Association banquet.
One award will be granted annually to a first-year student at Okanagan College enrolled in the Faculty of Business Administration. Award recipients must demonstrate academic achievement, financial need and community service.

“Corporate and community support helps ensure that students who can benefit from post-secondary education get the chance,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, who is also a director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “HSBC Bank Canada understands and has been a strong supporter of our business program. As I express our appreciation, I’m doing so on behalf of a group of students who will benefit in the years ahead.”

“HSBC Bank Canada has a long-standing commitment to education, one of the main focuses of our charitable giving, and we are delighted to have established this Award at Okanagan College,” said Sandra Stuart, Chief Operating Officer, HSBC Bank Canada. “We are proud that this donation will help students pursue post-secondary education, giving them a bright future and opportunities for success.”

The Okanagan College School of Business offers a two-year diploma program and a four-year bachelor’s degree. Both offer specialty options in accounting, financial services, general studies, hospitality management, human resources management, management and marketing.

About HSBC Bank Canada:

HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, has more than 260 offices, including over 140 bank branches, and is the leading international bank in Canada. With around 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories and assets of US$2,455 billion at 31 December 2010, the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.

About the Okanagan College Foundation and Okanagan College:

The Okanagan College Foundation supports student learning by developing scholarships and bursaries and raising funds for programs and capital projects at Okanagan College. The Foundation acts as the recipient and manager of charitable gifts and builds meaningful relationships with communities to support Okanagan College.

Okanagan College is a public, comprehensive, post-secondary educational institution that was established under the provisions of the College and Institute Act (2004). Okanagan College offers a wide variety of career, continuing education, degree, developmental, trades and technologies, university studies, and vocational programs. The region served by Okanagan College covers 37,750 square kilometres, and extends from Osoyoos and Princeton in the south and west to Mica Creek and Revelstoke in the north and east.

College students raising funds for Japan
Okanagan College Media Release

College students rally to offer Hope for Japan

hopeforjapanA dedicated group of Okanagan College students have coordinated a fundraising campaign to support victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Energized by community support, the students are taking their fundraising efforts off campus and into the community to help spread awareness and raise money.

More than 40 Japanese students attend Okanagan College; dozens of the international students, along with domestic students have joined forces to launch the Hope for Japan fundraiser.

Working with staff from the International Education department and with support from the Canadian Red Cross, the students developed a logo and designed and printed t-shirts, which are now on sale. The group has sold more than 500 shirts in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Salmon Arm and even as far away as the Yukon. The shirts are $10 and proceeds go directly to the Canadian Red Cross to support victims in Japan.

The Hope for Japan student outreach team is holding a series of events this week where t-shirts will be available. They will be at the Rutland Senior Centre at noon on Wednesday, March 23, the Japanese Canadian Association in Vernon on Saturday, March 26 and at Evangel Church in Kelowna at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 27.

The event at Evangel Church will feature traditional taiko drummers as well as other cultural performances by the students. The students and their outreach team are available to perform at a variety of locations or organizations around town. There is no obligation for inviting the outreach team - donations to support the relief are appreciated.

Hope for Japan t-shirts are also available in Kelowna at the International Education office from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and at the Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses. The Hope for Japan outreach team is also inviting everyone who purchased a t-shirt to join for a group photo on Thursday, March 24 at 12:30 p.m. in the Okanagan College courtyard.

For more information about the campaign or to get in touch with the Hope for Japan team, please contact Masami Kostiuk, International Student Services Assistant,
at mkostiuk@okanagan.bc.ca or call 250-762-5445 ext. 4203.

SIFE Okanagan is best in the West, again!
Okanagan College Media Release

Two top-place finishes at the Western Canada regional competitions this month have left Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team eager for the national competition in May.

The College’s SIFE team showed once again that it is the dominant team in Western Canada, when it returned home from the Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) Regional Exposition in Calgary (held March 13-14) with more hardware than any other competing team.

The SIFE Okanagan students took first place in the TD SIFE Entrepreneurship Challenge, besting Thompson Rivers University, the University of Alberta, the University of Saskatchewan, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and British Columbia Institute of Technology. The SIFE students participating in this competition were Sattu Dhaliwal, Kyle Abbott, Nikki Lees and Aman Sandhu (all from Kelowna) and Megan Annand from the Vernon campus.

SIFE Okanagan also took first place in the SIFE Financial Literacy Challenge, beating out SIFE teams from the University of Regina, Simon Fraser University, Brandon University and Devry Institute of Technology. The SIFE students participating were Jeff Tassone and Raymond Ong (Kelowna campus), Kaylin England and Brant Jackson (Vernon campus) and Steven DeBoer (Salmon Arm campus).

The SIFE Okanagan team just missed the 'triple crown' by placing Runner-up in the Scotiabank & SIFE Go Green Challenge, beating out Mount Royal University, University of Regina, Thompson Rivers University and Royal Roads University. The SIFE students participating in this competition were Jenni Stefanson, Danielle Hofer, Bunvir Nijer and Cooper Harrison (from Kelowna campus) and Jesse Postnikoff (from Vernon campus).

Students from all four campuses (Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm) participate in the SIFE Okanagan program and were there cheering on their team in Calgary.

“Through SIFE Okanagan’s entrepreneurship and financial education focused projects, this team continues to strive for greatness and takes pride in their accomplishments,” said Amy Harder, ACE President. “They are a perfect example of the tireless efforts of our SIFE students to help build a better Canada for today and tomorrow.”

"It is so rewarding to receive recognition for all the hard work the team has put into these projects throughout the year,” said Sattu Dhaliwal, SIFE Okanagan President. “It has been an honour to lead this motivated group of students and to see our SIFE team this year expand its impact and reach to our fourth campus of Salmon Arm."

"The structure of SIFE is such that participants benefit immeasurably from their experiences. They are fortunate to share in a powerful applied experience with peers through one of the most effective learning processes I've witnessed,” observed Madelaine Befus, Associate Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “The level of engagement and enthusiasm of all student delegates and faculty advisors was remarkable. All students I spoke with recognized they were taking part in a life-altering event; many commented they were either changing or recommitting to educational pathways as a result of their SIFE experience."

Some of the projects the SIFE students presented on included the Dragon's Den middle and high school entrepreneurial competition (operating in the Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna campuses), the Instill Life program delivered to elementary schools in Penticton, Naramata and Kelowna, the Green Business Awards program in Kelowna and Vernon, the Venture Okanagan capital and mentoring forum, and financial literacy projects delivered to youth, post-secondary students, and people struggling with mental illness.

"The SIFE Okanagan students at Okanagan College continue to impress and inspire me,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, SIFE’s faculty advisor. “Their dedication and commitment to their community makes me confident about the future generation of strong leaders that programs like SIFE are helping to create.”

The students are now busy preparing for the National Competition on May 9-11 in Toronto. They are competing in four events: National Entrepreneurship, National Financial Literacy, National Campbell's Soup Let’s Can Hunger Challenge and National SIFE team. The top SIFE team in the country will compete at the SIFE World Cup this fall in Malaysia.

In 2010, SIFE Okanagan had a tremendous showing, coming home with major awards including the 2010 National Campbell’s Soup Let's Can Hunger Champion, the 2010 Scotiabank Go Green Challenge National Champion, and the HSBC Financial Literacy National Runner-up.

College Half Marathon underway this weekend
Okanagan College Media Release

Runners have two days left to register online for the ninth annual Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, which takes place this Sunday at 8 a.m.

Though online registration closes at midnight on March 23, would-be racers can still register in person on Saturday, March 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning.

The course is an out-and-back route that starts and finishes at the KLO campus of Okanagan College. Runners follow the Abbott corridor into City Park and into the north end, turning around atop the first hill on Knox Mountain. Runners will retrace their route and continue into Gyro Park, where they will cross Lakeshore at Swordy, continue to Casorso, Lanfranco and then back to the College campus.

The 10 K route is similar but turns around in City Park. The race also includes a relay event that covers the same course as the half marathon and allows up to five runners to participate.

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.

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/halfmarathon. Those wishing to register after the March 23 cutoff can visit the website to print off a registration form and waiver and bring cash or a cheque to Okanagan College on Saturday, March 26 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

All proceeds from the race are donated to Okanagan College’s campus recreation programs.

Volunteers are still needed for the race and will receive a race crew t-shirt. To volunteer, contact Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or at mlowry@okanagan.bc.ca.

Agur Lake MOU signing


Agur Lake Camp Society signs MOU with College

Presidents from the Agur Lake Camp Society and Okanagan College met today to sign a new memorandum of understanding, which formalizes the organizations’ commitment to work together to provide educational opportunities for students while supporting community members of the South Okanagan.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton (left, seated), Agur Lake Camp Society Board member Steve Tuck, Agur Lake Camp Society President  Barb Hatton and Okanagan Colelge student and Agur Lake Society member Amanda Lewis at an MOU signing Friday. Residential Construction students from Okanagan College who will build the first cabin for the camp are behind, along with instructor Darrell Butler.
The two organizations have developed a mutually beneficial relationship, partnering on recent projects such as the College’s Residential Construction program, which will see entry-level carpentry students build a cabin for the Agur Lake Camp Society and its users.

The Agur Lake Camp Society was formed in 2004 after the Agur family signed a 99-year lease agreement, providing four acres of waterfront land to the registered society. The mandate of the Society is to provide barrier-free outdoor experiences to those who would not normally be able to attend a camp due to physical, sensory and/or medical challenges.

“Okanagan College has been a friend to the Agur Lake Camp Society for a number of years and today’s signing of a memorandum of understanding builds upon our existing relationship and acknowledges that both of our organizations can benefit from continued collaboration,” explained Barbara Hatton, President of the Agur Lake Camp Society.

“Our mission statement says that Okanagan College transforms lives and communities,” said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We feel a strong sense of commitment to organizations such as the Agur Lake Camp Society who are enriching the lives and experiences of the people who live in this region and beyond. We recognize our students can benefit from experiential learning through programs like Residential Construction and we hope to work toward further partnerships with the Agur Lake Camp Society.”

Sixteen students from Okanagan College’s Penticton Residential Construction program began their studies in early February. Next month, after learning about carpentry, tool usage and safety, the students and their instructor will begin building a cabin for the Agur Lake Camp Society. The cabin will be constructed at the Penticton campus and will be transported to Agur Lake in August.

Event connecting today’s business leaders with tomorrow’s
Okanagan College Media Release

Take two young entrepreneurs who’ve made a comet-sized impact on the international stage, throw in their sweet recipe for success, add scores of determined business students and a healthy dollop of Okanagan business people, and you have a recipe for the 32nd Annual Okanagan Business Students Association Business Banquet.

“From a business students’ perspective, this is one of the premiere networking events of the year,” says Greg Krasichynski, OBSA President. “For the valley’s business people, it’s a chance to connect with each other, and the business leaders of tomorrow, as well.”

Krasichynski expects between 250 and 300 people to turn out for the banquet on March 24 at the Coast Capri Hotel. Tickets are $99 (including HST).

Guest speakers this year are Larry Finnson and Chris Emery. If their names ring a bell, there’s a reason. Look at the faces on that package of Clodhopper’s on your desk.

The two young men took Chris’ grandma’s recipe for a wafer and chocolate treat and turned it into a thriving business manufacturing and selling Clodhoppers across North America, before the Manitoba-based business was sold to a B.C. firm. The duo has been acknowledged by a host of media and publications, including CNN and Profit Magazine and Fortune’s Small Business.

“Larry and Chris have a compelling story to tell about the power of personality, tenacity, and how to use a story to help build a business,” says Krasichynski. “It’s why we chose them for our banquet: they bring insights about entrepreneurialism to the event that should appeal to the people who have chosen to make the Okanagan their base for doing business.”

Information about the event and an opportunity to order tickets online are available at www.topgraduates.ca. For those companies or individuals who want to help sponsor the banquet (which helps raise funds for scholarships for business students), they can contact Krasichynski directly at greg@topgraduates.ca, or call 250-762-6091.

Thorpes enhance their support for South Okanagan-Similkameen students by $50,000
Okanagan College Media Release - March 17, 2011
thorpe2Following the recent $37,000 donation from Okanagan College students to the Centre of Excellence on the Penticton campus of Okanagan College, the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship Fund is enhancing its commitment to supporting students of the South Okanagan and Similkameen.
The Thorpes are announcing today their scholarship fund will award a further $50,000 in scholarships to first-year trades and technology students at the new Centre of Excellence in Penticton.
“I am a long-time supporter of Okanagan College, having attended the College myself, and this partnership seems right,” said Yasmin John-Thorpe. “It is fantastic to see Okanagan College students contributing to the Centre of Excellence and we are pleased to provide further support for our local students.”
“I have always believed in supporting those who want to help themselves and I applaud the students of Okanagan College for showing their support of higher education, especially to our students of the future,” said Rick Thorpe. “Yasmin and I are very proud to partner with Okanagan College and assist students from the South Okanagan and Similkameen with scholarships.”
With this announcement there will be four new annual $1,500 awards to students of the South Okanagan-Similkameen region who will be entering the first year of a trades or technology program at the new Centre of Excellence.
“This donation underscores the importance of community participation in the campaign and the project," said Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton. "The Centre of Excellence will have significant impact on opportunities for our communities and our young people for decades to come. Rick and Yasmin, who continue to show incredible support for the community, clearly understand that."
"Well done, Rick and Yasmin Thorpe; your gift helps all of our communities by providing the opportunity to train students throughout the region at the new Penticton Centre of Excellence,” said Janice Perrino, Mayor of Summerland. “You continue to inspire giving in every community; we are grateful for all of your dedication and support."
"Yasmin and Rick clearly understand how important it is to create opportunities for higher education close to home and I have to commend them on their commitment to this notion, which goes far beyond the financial commitment that is being made," said Princeton Mayor Randy McLean. "We need to work together to build those programs and places for the young people of our region to prepare themselves for a changing economy. Clearly, the Thorpes are hoping to communicate that message, and to build on the message that the College's own students themselves have sent."
The new awards are in addition to the existing six scholarships valued at $12,500 awarded annually by the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship fund to Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.
College and Salvation Army partner to provide relief for earthquake victims
Okanagan College Media Release

After spending the last two weeks studying language and culture at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College, a group of nine Japanese study tour students have offered to courier emergency supplies with them when they return to their country later this week.

Staff from the College’s International Education department are appealing to the local community to assist with donations to purchase supplies to help provide relief to those affected by last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

With support from Okanagan College, the students from Japan’s Iwate University are working with the Vernon Salvation Army to collect funds to purchase emergency supplies that will accompany the group on their return to Japan.

The students are scheduled to return to Japan on Saturday and hope to do so with relief supplies that will be of use to those at home.

Iwate Prefecture is less than 200 kilometres north of Sendai, one of the areas hardest hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

“Our goal is to collect enough money to purchase emergency supplies to send each of the nine students back to Japan with a suitcase full of items such as emergency blankets, water purification tablets, dried food, flashlights, batteries and anything else that is non-perishable and of use during this crisis,” said Jennifer Kerr, program administrator for International Education at Okanagan College. “The Vernon Salvation Army has stepped forward to receive the cash donations for the Okanagan College Japanese Students Fund. We are hoping Vernon community members will see this as an opportunity to help people who are in desperate need.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the emergency relief fund can visit the Vernon Salvation Army with a cash donation or a cheque made out to the Vernon Salvation Amy, with a note that funds should be directed to the Okanagan College Japanese Students Fund.

Okanagan College Students’ Union shows support for the Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan College Students’ Union is demonstrating its support for the environment, for leadership in education and for enhanced learning spaces and opportunities, with a $36,997.10 donation to the fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

“Looking back to when this building was first announced, I remember thinking of the incredible impact it would have for students on this campus as well as residents in the South Okanagan-Similkameen,” observed Cory Nelmes, Financial Co-ordinator for the OCSU. “From the very first days of the design process Okanagan College has committed to making this building truly a Centre of Excellence. As students and as an organization, we’re pleased to have been involved in the process that led to its development and are eagerly awaiting the doors opening on its shops, classrooms, and student spaces.”

“It will make a difference in where we learn, how we learn and what we learn.”

“We don’t have a great deal of money, but careful stewardship of funds over the years by ourselves and our predecessors left us with an opportunity to make a contribution to the fundraising campaign. We have already seen many groups and individuals step forward to contribute to this building and we are appreciative. We hope that our donation will inspire others to contribute to the $5 million campaign as well. As students we see the tremendous investment in our future that this building represents.”

The Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation will be one of the most environmentally responsible public buildings in North America when it is complete later this spring. Okanagan College, CEI Architecture and PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. and many other companies and organizations have been co-operating to build the $28-million project to allow it to meet the Living Building Challenge. That challenge incorporates some of the most demanding environmental building standards that focus not just on construction, but also on building operation.

“We involved our students from the start of the design process,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “They’ve been supportive and understand what the building means in terms of improvements to the campus and in terms of educational opportunities in the region.”

When it opens, the building will create space for approximately 500 more students at the South Okanagan-Similkameen campus in Penticton.

“Having the students choose to support our fundraising efforts is a vital signal to the rest of the region,” says Jim Henderson, President of the Okanagan College Foundation and Chair of the Campaign Committee.

“At a point when we are broadening our appeal to the larger community, it is a great show of support from the people that this project will affect the most: our students. We appreciate their commitment.”

Jet Propulsion scientist decodes comets in public speaker series
Okanagan College Media Release

What can comets tell us about the origin of the solar system?

A lot, if you’re Dr. Paul Weissman, Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Weissman will be the Harlow Shapley Astronomy lecturer for a series of public presentations at Okanagan College. This talk is co-presented by the American Astronomical Society and Okanagan College (and the Science in Society Speaker Series in Vernon).

Weissman will unveil scientists’ understanding of the origin of the solar system through the investigation of comets. His talks will be presented at three different locations and dates:

· 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - Kelowna campus lecture theatre (S104) – FREE

· 7:30 – 9 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, 2011 – Vernon campus lecture theatre (D310) - 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. Proceeds from the admission support the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by the Okanagan Science Center and Okanagan College)

· 7:30 - 9 p.m., Thursday, March 24, 2011 - Penticton campus lecture theatre (PL107 Ashnola Building) - FREE

Comets are the most primitive bodies in the solar system. They contain a mix of volatile ices, organics, and silicate dust brought together 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system formed. For that reason, comets retain a record of physical and chemical conditions in the solar nebula at that critical time in our past. Scientific exploration of comets using interplanetary spacecraft has greatly increased our knowledge of these primitive bodies over the past decade. Weissman will review recent results from missions such as Deep Space 1, Stardust, Deep Impact, EPOXI, and Stardust-Next, and what they have told us about how our solar system came to be.

Weissman was a co-investigator on NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter and is an Interdisciplinary Scientist on ESA’s Rosetta mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko; he is also a co-investigator on several Rosetta instruments. He is the author of over 115 refereed publications in the scientific literature and 30 popular articles, is an editor of the Encyclopedia of the Solar System (Academic Press, 2007) and co-author of The Great Voyager Adventure, a children’s book written with Alan Harris. Weissman received his Ph.D. in Planetary and Space Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1978, and his A.B. in Physics from Cornell University in 1969.

This event is sponsored by American Astronomical Society and Okanagan College.

Everything from soup (culinary arts) to nuts (and bolts) at Regional Skills Canada competition Friday
Okanagan College Media Release

On Friday, scores of high school students will be congregating at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, and at the Centre for Arts and Technology to compete in the regional edition of the Skills Canada Competition.

Okanagan College has been organizing the regional competition since 1996. This year, more than 100 people are competing in a host of skills competitions, says Regional Skills Co-ordinator Dianne Holm.

“It’s an amazing display of activities and events,” says Holm, who has been fostering a growing community interest in the competition. The competitions range from culinary arts through cabinetmaking, from welding to carpentry. There are student competitions in mechanical and architectural computer-assisted drawing and automotive repair.

A competition in 3D animation will take place at the Centre for Arts and Technology on Friday and a competition in fashion design will occur at Summerland Secondary School.

Students that place gold in their contest areas advance to Provincials, then to the National level and finally to the International level.

“It’s absolutely open to the public,” says Holm, who wants to see more people come to appreciate the skills the students are developing. “We’ll have drop-in tours available and we’re going to be broadcasting the competitions at the College’s Centre for Learning building atrium,” she notes. It’s a great opportunity for interested parents and others to tour Okanagan College’s shops, talk to instructors and learn more about the skills that form the heart of the competitions.

A new event this year is a gravity vehicle competition that will be run in the Centre for Learning atrium from noon to 4 p.m.

There’s also a belt-sander race (with stock and modified divisions) that will run in the trades building from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the Central Okanagan Regional Skills Canada event this Friday, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/skillsbc or call Dianne Holm at 250-762-5445 Ext. 4439.

Pasta crown stays at home, but champs are science and technology

Okanagan College Media Release

A high school student from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby was the unexpected champion in the 28th Annual Okanagan College International Spaghetti Bridge Building Competition on Friday, but the real winners were science and technology, according to organizers, sponsors and participants.

Johnathan Halbgwachs, a 14-year-old student, built a 965-gram bridge that held 209 kilograms to capture top spot in the competition’s heavyweight category. This is the first year in several that the heavyweight bragging rights haven’t flown across the Atlantic with a team of Hungarian students. (But Halbgwachs’ accomplishment is far from a world record – that was set in 2009 by a team from Hungary with a bridge that weighed 982 grams and held 975 pounds. Another Hungarian team won the competition in 2010, but didn’t break the world record.)

“At the heart of the competition is the idea of promoting science and technology to elementary and high school students,” says Okanagan College’s Vice President of Education, Andrew Hay. “Hundreds of students from throughout our region, from Osoyoos to Revelstoke, show up with pre-built bridges, to build bridges on site and to compete in or watch the heavyweight competition. They leave with a much richer appreciation of how much fun and how exciting it can be to put to work all those principles and theories they’ve been introduced to in school.”

The comments about excitement will probably register for some time with Halbgwachs: he won $1,500 for his efforts.

Second place in the heavyweight competition went to a team of students from Okanagan College, led by Chad Marsh with colleagues Rajveer Dhillon, Cory Konkin, and Tyler Weise.

Third place went to Hungarian student Peter Sandor, from College of Nyíregyhaza.

Henry Murphy was among those excited to see the championship title return to the Okanagan. But like Hay, he sees the real value in the competition to be the link it builds for younger students between fun, excitement, drama and the application of science and technology. Murphy is a representative of the Applied Science, Technicians and Technologists of British Columbia, which is a long-time, major sponsor of the Spaghetti Bridge Contest at Okanagan College.

“Events like this are important because they lead students to look at science and technology in a different light. We know that we need to keep reinforcing the importance of this kind of education and the doors its opens in terms of careers.”

Jason Luff, a teacher from King’s Christian School in Salmon Arm, brought his Robots and Rocketry class of Grade 8 and 9 students to Kelowna for the competition for the first time. During the day, they were able to supplement the contest acitivities with a tour of the College’s engineering technology labs.

“Spaghetti Bridge matches perfectly with this class,” says Luff. “It is a tremendous way to promote and generate student interest in science and technology.”

The winners in the various categories are as follows:

Heavyweight Competition (open to Secondary and full-time Post-secondary students):

1st - Johnathan Halbgwachs, Charles Bloom Secondary
2nd - Chad Marsh, Rajveer Dhillon, Cory Konkin, Tyler Weise, Okanagan College
3rd - Peter Sandor, College of Nyíregyhaza, Hungary
4th - Patrick D'amour, Jeff Earl, Scott Juniper, Jarod Kawalle, Okanagan College
5th - Sean Potter, Brad Heard, Colm Friar, Clint Bannister

Post-Secondary (Lightest bridge built, that has to hold a 2-kilogram weight for five minutes without failing)
1st - Peter Denes, College of Nyíregyhaza, Hungary (bridge weighed 126 grams)

Secondary (Lightest bridge built, that has to hold a one-kilogram weight for five minutes)
1st - Clayton Mazu, Charles Bloom Secondary
2nd - Anna Offenwanger, George Elliott Secondary
3rd - Elizabeth Hardy, KLO Middle
4th - Kenedi Hurlburt, KLO Middle
5th - Landon Rahn, Revelstoke Secondary

Post Secondary Teams (Bridge built on day of competition, according to rules revealed in the morning of the competition)

1st - Chris Pieper, Okanagan College
2nd - Peter Denes, Peter Sandor, College of Nyíregyhaza, Hungary
3rd - Cory Konkin, George Winter, Luke Sebastianis, Okanagan College

Secondary Teams (Bridge built on day of competition, according to rules revealed in the morning of the competition)

1st - Rebecca Ruthven, Kenedi Hurlburt, Kohl Rieger, KLO Middle
2nd - Brock Pendergraft, Austin Harrison, Jordan Konti, Karsten Coty-Schell, Osoyoos Secondary School
3rd - Alex Ewing, Glenrosa Middle School

300 years later, the scheming still works on stage
Okanagan College Media Release

The Beaux’ Stratagem was penned more than 300 years ago, but the humour, plot, characters and twists hold up, and the troupe performing this play is as fresh as they come.

Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players are presenting their first-ever production in mid-March, and have chosen a wickedly funny 18th-Century comedy to use for their debut. The Beaux’ Stratagem was originally written by George Farquhar in 1707, and has been adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig (both renowned modern playwrights). The play tells the tale of two young men who find themselves running short of funds and who settle upon a plan to leave London and hunt for a wealthy wife for at least one of them. The two pretend at being master and servant, switching roles as they move from town to town.

“It really survives as a great piece of comedy, and challenges the actors,” explains director Jeremy Beaulne, an Okanagan College professor from Penticton. “There’s a cynical undertone about marriage that permeates the play – something not altogether unfamiliar in much of this era’s entertainment. Add to that a host of character and plot twists and it works beautifully to engage and entertain the audience.”

The Beaux’ Stratagem opens on Friday, March 18th at 7:30 p.m. in the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre at the College’s Kelowna Campus. It plays Saturday at 7:30 and a matinee is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, Okanagan College’s bookstores and at the door.

The Red Dot Players troupe was formed last fall, when Beaulne and colleagues in the College’s English department realized there was an appetite among students, staff and alumni to flex their theatrical energies, talents and ambitions. “Today we have more than 30 volunteers who are finding that opportunity for self-expression that we hoped this troupe and play would provide,” says Beaulne.

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

Heavy Duty Mechanics turns out to be light load
Okanagan College Media Release

Imagine thinking you could never get it right. Now imagine turning that belief on its head, and you’ll understand why Shistar Pollon can’t get enough of Okanagan College.

The 27-year-old single mother left school at age 14 and landed in construction. But after years of working on the bottom rung, she found herself battling a bout of lay-offs. Then her home was hit with a housefire, and her boyfriend of six years passed away. It was a heavy load.

But things quickly changed for the better when she heard about Okanagan College’s Women in Trades program, and landed in the apprenticeship program for heavy duty commercial transport mechanics.

shistar4“This is a life-changing thing for me. I never graduated from high school,” said Pollon, one of 19 students already enrolled in Okanagan College’s Heavy Duty Commercial Transport mechanic program. The College is launching a new intake March 14, and Pollon says there’s no shortage of work out there, with wages averaging more than $30/hour.

So far, there’s every sign she’ll succeed. Instructors tell her she’s a natural, and so far the marks coming in confirm that – 91 per cent, 80 per cent, and even 100 per cent on a few projects.

With only a few weeks under her belt, Pollon is committed to making it onto the Dean’s list, and then heading up north with her daughter where companies are clamouring for qualified people to work on big rigs – from cats to cranes and semi-trailers.

“People in Prince George and Fort McMurray are screaming for heavy duty mechanics. When I did my research there was 40 or even 50 jobs offerings up there, and it was all heavy duty mechanics.”

“I’m really doing the best that I can,” said Pollon, who received a scholarship to get into the program. “I want the instructors to know I’m not wasting their time.”

Pollon says unlike regular mechanics, physical strength is no issue when it comes to the big pieces of equipment. Hoists do all the heavy lifting and it’s simply a matter of getting in there to get the job done.

Once Pollon is up north, she plans to continue her training and obtain as many tickets as she can so that her skills continue to be in high demand.

“A few years ago, I never have thought I’d be here. I’ve worked so hard my whole life, and now there’s a chance to change things not just for me, but for my daughter. I want to show my daughter that it is possible to do anything you want to do. I want to graduate top of my class, and I set that target high because it keeps me on my game.”

Heavy Duty Commercial Transport Mechanics overhaul, repair and service equipment such as graders, loaders, shovels, tractors, trucks, forklifts, drills, and wheeled and tracked vehicles. Working from manufacturers' specifications, they identify and repair problems in structural, mechanical, or hydraulic systems.

For more information about the Heavy Duty Commercial Transport Mechanic program, call Jen Hamilton in the Trades office at, 250-575-6194.

There is currently funding available for eligible women entering trades programs at Okanagan College.

Apprentice Chef’s legacy honoured by Cactus Club
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College alumnus Kelroy Munroe is being honoured for his energy, enthusiasm and excellence through a new scholarship in his name funded by the Cactus Club Cafe.

Staff from the Cactus Club Kelowna restaurant have developed an annual $1,000 scholarship in memory of the Jamaican student who moved to Kelowna in 2007 to become a Red Seal certified chef. Munroe was a scholarship student who attended the Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College.

As part of his training he worked at the Cactus Club location in Kelowna. Munroe spent three years apprenticing at the Cactus Club and earned a sous chef position with the company.

In the summer of 2010 Munroe lost his life in a boating accident. In the time since his passing, his Cactus Club colleagues have worked with the Okanagan College Foundation to develop a scholarship to honour his life and memory.

“Kelroy was an extremely well-liked and respected member of the Kelowna Cactus Club team,” said Christy Murphy, Director of Marketing for Cactus Restaurants. “He was a great friend and mentor to his colleagues and it is our hope that his legacy will be recognized through this new scholarship.”

The Cactus Club Kelroy Munroe Memorial Award is an annual $1,000 scholarship for a domestic or international student who has completed the entry-level 10-month Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College and plans to return to complete Level two training within 18 months. Recipients will be selected based on financial need and will be in good academic standing. The award will go toward tuition payment for Level 2 training at the College.

Teaching the Trades gets traction at College
Okanagan College Media Release

When Jeremy Gooding set out to launch a new career, he turned to two passions – fine arts and trades. But after years working with his hands, he discovered an even deeper passion – teaching.

“When I first graduated from high school, I had no idea I wanted to become a teacher. I ended up in the landscaping business and realized I had a skill teaching others how to do things.”

Gooding enrolled in Okanagan College’s Trades Technology Teacher Education program, which provides two years of trades and technology training ending with a diploma. Students then move to the second portion of the program – teacher training at UBC-O. From there, it’s into middle and secondary schools teaching the next generation.

“It’s a dynamic atmosphere,” said Gooding, who now works throughout School District 23 teaching everything from woodwork to automotive. “I like the hands-on part of it. You can be more creative in your teaching methods when passing skills and knowledge on to the students.”

On Wednesday, March 2, at 6 p.m. the College is hosting an information night for anyone interested in enrolling in the next intake of TTTE, which begins this fall in Kelowna. The info night takes place in the carpentry shop at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

The TTTE program covers health and safety, use of hand tools and power tools, followed by focused studies in electricity, electronics, mechanical fabrication, automotive service, welding, robotics and basic cabinetry.

Now operating in its fifth year, the TTTE program has seen its grads land in positions throughout the province, said program administrator Nancy Ankerstein.

“Outside of the Okanagan, Vancouver and Victoria, shop teachers are in short supply. There’s a significant demand.”

Ankerstein said it is important that secondary schools expose students to a wide variety of fields – including both academics and trades. Without that exposure, students may never realize their abilities and the opportunities they have for the future.

“There is a real need for skilled trades people in the workforce,” she said.

For more information about Trades Technology Teacher Education, drop into the March 2 info session at the Kelowna campus or visit the college website at www.okanagan.bc.ca and click on the links to programs and courses followed by the 2010-11 calendar.

Culinary students clamour for role in Canadian Culinary Championship
Okanagan College Media Release

 Canada's top eight chefs gathered at Okanagan College's kitchen to
prepare for the Gold Medal Plates competition this weekend
Okanagan College Culinary Arts students are poised to have the experience of a lifetime as they work alongside the best chefs in the nation when the Canadian Culinary Championship gets underway in Kelowna this weekend.

“They’re all nervous, and everyone wants to do the work,” said culinary arts instructor Perry Bentley. “Most of these students will work side-by-side with their championship chef helping them prepare the competition food. The students have everything to gain, and nothing to lose!”

The Championship marks the culmination of a series of Gold Medal Plate events that took place in nine cities. Now the eight chefs will have to create three remarkably tantalizing dishes. More than 30 student volunteers have signed up to help them and are prepared to work the gruelling, adrenaline-filled 48-hours, which begin Friday when they can expect to be on their feet for as long as 15 hours.

This marks the first time the competition will be held outside a major urban centre. Bentley says that could make his students’ home-grown expertise all the more precious. In many cases it will be the students who will help direct the eight chefs around the kitchen, and around the community – pointing them towards the best available products. For their part, the chefs will have to assess the talents of their student helpers to get the best from them.

“We’re fairly judgemental people and we have to be because time is of the essence,” said Bentley, who is also taking part as a judge. “The chefs will quickly determine what the students can or can’t do, and then they’ll change their plan accordingly. I’ve told the students to be as helpful as they can, and to remember that they’re learning.”

The competition starts Friday with the Mystery Wine Pairing, and then continues Saturday morning with yet another mystery - The Black Box event, coordinated by Bentley and hosted at Okanagan College.

“All I can say about what’s in the Black Box is that it will feature local high-quality organic products, and there will be something ‘alive’ as well that will be arriving from the purveyor at the crack of dawn Saturday morning.”

The grand finale takes place Saturday night at the Delta Grand.

Kayfish and Styffe to lead College Board
Okanagan College Media Release

Lance Kayfish has been re-elected to a one-year term as Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors, while the South Okanagan’s Tom Styffe was chosen as the new Vice Chair. Kayfish and Styffe were elected at the Board’s regular meeting in January.

Kayfish has served on the College Board since 2007, became Chair in 2010, and is a risk management expert with the City of Kelowna. He holds baccalaureate degrees in both commerce and political science.

Styffe joined the College Board in January 2010 and was appointed to a one-year term. He was reappointed in December and replaces Yvonne Pinder as Vice Chair.

“The Board is incredibly appreciative of Yvonne’s contributions as Vice Chair and her continued input on the Board as a member will serve the institution well,” said Kayfish.

Styffe is a semi-retired Okanagan Falls resident with more than three decades of experience in construction project management. His portfolio includes 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 is also 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.

“Tom’s leadership and experience are extremely valuable to the Board of Governors,” said Kayfish. “I am confident his personal and professional backgrounds will benefit the Board, as will his South Okanagan perspective.”

Kayfish and Styffe are joined on the Board by appointed members Bill Cooke, Brian Hughes, Douglas Manning, Sunddip Nahal, Yvonne Pinder, and Loretta Swite-Ghostkeeper, and by elected members Michael Conlin, Lianne Rozniak, Jacek Gabanowicz, Phillippe Bourbeau as well as ex officio members Jim Hamilton (President, Okanagan College) and Rick Gee (Chair, Okanagan College Education Council).

College to host Eat.Drink.Tweet., a social media bootcamp
Okanagan College Media Release

Eat.Drink.Tweet. Sounds simple, unless you don't know what a "tweet" is.

Teaming up with All She Wrote, a boutique communications agency specializing in social media marketing for the wine, culinary, and agricultural tourism sectors, the Penticton Campus of Okanagan College will host the inaugural Eat.Drink.Tweet. event this March.

"We're bringing together wineries, restaurants, accommodators and other tourism stakeholders to learn about social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and at the same time practice their newfound skills at several gourmet food and wine events," said Allison Markin of All She Wrote.

"Eat.Drink.Tweet. combines education, food and wine, an ideal professional development event as the Okanagan becomes a culinary destination," explained Donna Lomas, Okanagan College Regional Dean of the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

Eat.Drink.Tweet. begins Friday, March 11 with an evening keynote presentation from Rick Bakas, the world's first winery social media director. Bakas has recently released the book Social Bites, and has championed worldwide wine tastings via the micro-blogging social network, Twitter.

"We're excited to support Rick's first visit to the Okanagan," said Jessie Campbell, Tourism Marketing Manager at Penticton & Wine Country Tourism. "Rick will bring his thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends on a virtual tour, exposing Penticton to wine and food lovers around the world."

Following Bakas' presentation, the Naramata Bench Wineries Association will host its first live Twitter wine tasting. Designated "Tweeters" will post their thoughts on the wines, encouraging a large-scale wine discussion online. Okanagan Chef Roger Planiden will provide a fantastic tasting menu to pair with the wines, as well as a gourmet lunch on Saturday, March 12, a day of seminars for the participants.

"Naramata Bench Wineries have always had an appetite to present their wines in fun and accessible ways to everyone who appreciates fine wine. We are looking forward to a real time online tasting that our fans everywhere can take part in, plus introduce new people across North America to the Naramata Bench Experience," said Tina Baird, Marketing Director for the Naramata Bench Wineries Association.

The conference will wrap up on Sunday morning with a networking breakfast, a final seminar and an IRL panel -- In Real Life – a group of local wineries and businesses sharing their success stories in the use of social media.

For more information and to register, visit www.allshewrote.ca/eatdrinktweet, or call Okanagan College at 1-866-510-8899.

Vale Farms a model for visiting sustainable business students
Okanagan College Media Release

Students in professor Arnica Rowan’s Sustainable Enterprise class at Okanagan College donned their gumboots on Monday and made a trip to Lumby to visit a working cattle and sheep farm.

“We drove out to Vale Farms because they are a model of sustainable practices in the agricultural industry,” said Rowan. “This family farm demonstrates that operating an ethically-driven business can be very successful.”

The farm is certified organic, SPCA certified, and sells their grass-fed meats directly to the public through Okanagan farmer’s markets.

“We used to be a conventional farm,” explained Don Hladych, Vale Farms manager. “But once you start farming the way we do now – you just can’t go back.”

The third- and fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration students learned about niche marketing, the process of becoming an organic farm, and right-sizing a business. They also chased sheep and took a lamb inventory while Hladych performed non-surgical castrations.

The field trip was the first of many connections with the Okanagan green economy for Rowan’s Sustainable Enterprise class.

“Going green is no longer a fad or a way of capturing a new market,” stated Rowan. “It’s a completely different way of doing business that values an organization’s community and environmental impact as much as the bottom line.”

In the challenging course, students learn to do a triple-bottom-line report, an industrial ecology plan, and a green business impact assessment.

“The students love the course because they get to see a whole new approach, and learn how to apply their analytical business skills in a new realm. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”

College celebrates Chinese New Year & International Night
Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan College International Education Department is hosting its annual Chinese New Year celebration and International Night on Friday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Student Services Building at the KLO campus.

This free public event is open to everyone and features international cuisine, networking opportunities and cultural entertainment from around the world. Hosted by international students, the annual evening event brings together the community in a celebration of international culture.

Join Okanagan College in celebrating the Year of the Rabbit at this community wide event. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Come early, so you are sure to find a seat. Donations are welcome.

College trades instructors bring Games torch to life
Okanagan College Media Release

In a real-life demonstration of how collaboration, creativity and hard work can produce beautiful results, a talented team of Okanagan College trades instructors put their skills to work for the community, designing and building the torch for the 2011 International Children’s Winter Games (ICWG).

“I was approached by ICWG Chair Heather Schneider who asked if I might be able to come up with a concept for a unique torch for the Games,” explained Jim Gamble, Chair of Okanagan College’s Electrical department. “She told me the torch needed to be portable and appropriate for indoor and outdoor venues. So I got to work sketching and came up with what is now known as ‘the napkin blue print.’

“Then all of the Chairs of the various trades departments got together to brainstorm how we could bring the torch to life.”

Gamble put in a call to the Culinary Arts department and ordered the largest stainless steel bowl available. The team envisioned the bowl as a potential base for the cauldron.

Carpentry Chair Alf Leimert and his colleague Marvin Rode were charged with building a base for the torch. In a little more than six hours, Leimert and Rode constructed a four-and-a-half-foot tall tapered pedestal base out of BC lumber.

For the next stage of the project Automotive Collision Repair instructor Jeff Francis got extremely creative designing a set of flames out of 16-gauge stainless steel.

“With help from Chris Burns, we came up with a drawing for the flames,” said Francis. “We used a plasma cutter to define the flames and then polished them. The next step was bringing them into the painting booth where I coated them with candy apple red and used special effects powder to bring it to life.”

With the flames, cauldron and base coming together, Gamble worked with colleagues in his department to light the flame. Using three LED lights set on timers, the torch imitates a flickering flame but without the negative environmental residue from gas or real flames. The torch is also extremely safe and can be lit up indoors and outdoors and close to people.

“It was great to be a part of this project and to know that we were able to give back a bit to the community,” said Gamble. “When I saw the finished product I was reminded of the incredible amount of talent we have in our trades department.”

The project is an example of Okanagan College staff at their best. The team estimates they put in approximately 30 hours of volunteer time to build the torch.

“Community projects are just the right thing to do,” said Leimert. “This project was a great collaborative effort and it was exciting to see each piece come together to create such a nice looking piece.”

Standing over eight feet tall the new ICWG torch will be used throughout the course of the Children’s Games this month. After the closing ceremonies the torch will be returned to Okanagan College, where it will remain on display.

Campbell’s executive to address SIFE Okanagan team
Okanagan College Media Advisory 

Good news keeps rolling in for members of Okanagan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE Okanagan) as they undertake a regional hunger awareness project in conjunction with Campbell Canada - Let’s Can Hunger.

The students received word last week that their efforts up and down the valley have earned the team a $1,000 bursary from Campbell Soup Company to help achieve their goals of raising 80,000 pounds of food for local food banks and not-for-profit organizations such as the Women’s Resource Centre.

Let’s Can Hunger activities have been taking place all week at each of the College’s four campuses. SIFE Okanagan has collected more than 30,000 pounds of food toward their goal. In Vernon, SIFE students partnered with local schools to raise awareness about hunger issues in the Okanagan. Vernon schools alone donated 20,000 pounds of food to SIFE in support of the Let’s Can Hunger initiative.

SIFE students are spreading their message of hunger awareness around the Okanagan this week with a variety of activities, all leading up to their main fundraising event – the SIFE Charity Gala – which takes place on Friday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning. Tickets to the networking event are available for $75 or can be purchased at a group rate of $400 for six. The event includes one complimentary drink, food provided by Cabana Bar and Grill and live entertainment.

The Gala will feature a keynote address by Mark Childs, Vice President of Marketing for Campbell Canada. Childs made the commitment to address Okanagan College SIFE students and the general public in Kelowna after SIFE Okanagan won the national 2010 Let’s Can Hunger challenge at the Canadian SIFE competition last May. The team from the College collected 36,000 pounds of food – more than a third of the national goal.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mark to Okanagan College,” said Sattu Dhaliwal, Co-president of SIFE Okanagan. “It is a rare and unique opportunity to hear from a business leader with such an extensive and impressive career and we can’t wait to tell him more about our upcoming initiatives and projects in our region.”

In his role at Campbell’s, Childs provides thought and team leadership for the Canadian soup, beverage and cracker portfolio and actively participates on the Canadian Senior Leadership Team.

“I am looking forward to meeting the SIFE Okanagan team, discussing their new hunger projects and highlighting the initiatives that Campbell’s is taking to alleviate hunger in this country, said Childs.”

He has 20 years of proven marketing and sales leadership experience in consumer packaged goods. Prior to his Campbell role, he held progressive marketing and sales positions at Tribute Entertainment Group and Kellogg Company in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Originally from the U.K., Mark is a French bilingual communicator and attended Groupe ESC Business School in Reims, France, following his studies at Queen Mary’s College in England.

SIFE Okanagan is reaching out to the general public for support in reaching their goal for Let’s Can Hunger. Teams of students will be at the following locations this week collecting non-perishable food items and cash donations:

Friday, Jan. 28 – Westside Warriors Hockey Game, Royal LePage Arena (7 p.m.)

Saturday, Jan. 29 – Westside Warriors Hockey Game, Royal LePage Arena (7 p.m.)

Saturday, Jan. 29 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Wal-Mart Fill the Tent event in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton.

Friday, Feb. 4 - 7 p.m. SIFE Charity Gala & Keynote Address – Okanagan College Centre for Learning Building, Kelowna campus

For more information about Let’s Can Hunger or SIFE Okanagan, please visit: www.sifeokanagan.ca. To purchase tickets to the SIFE Charity Gala, please contact Brandi Callaghan – brandi.callaghan@gmail.com or call 250-808-4740.

McGill Professor demystifies the magic of chemistry in Vernon speaker series
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Joe Schwarcz, professor of chemistry and director of the McGill University Office for Science and Society, will attempt to demystify the complexities of chemistry in a presentation entitled: “Have you wondered…(or how the mysteries of the world can be explained by chemistry.)”

The presentation is the latest public lecture offered through the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Center and the Okanagan College) and is in celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, 2011 and the Vernon winter carnival, “Cooking with Carnival.”

The lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre of the Vernon campus of Okanagan College, and will be followed by free refreshments.

Schwarcz will address questions such as: Why, for years and years, there were no red M&M's or how they get the maraschino cherry to float in the syrup inside a Cherry Blossom? What is the link between the bombardier beetle at the V-2 rocket? Why does popcorn pop? Why are there holes in Swiss cheese? Can chocolate really make you fall in love?

Schwarcz is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. He has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public. Among these are the Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Award and the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award. His latest awards include the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sandford Fleming Medal, the Society of Chemical Industry’s Purvis Award and the Chemical Institute of Canada’s Montreal Medal. Schwarcz was also awarded an honorary Doctorate degree by Athabasca University.

“Dr. Joe” has appeared hundreds of times on the Canadian Discovery Channel, TV Ontario, Global Television, CBC-TV, CTV-TV and various radio stations. He hosts the "Dr. Joe Show" on Montreal's CJAD every Sunday from 3-4 p.m. He also hosted “Science To Go,” a series on the Discovery Channel that focused on common foods. Schwarcz writes a weekly newspaper column in the Montreal Gazette entitled “The Right Chemistry” as well as a monthly column in Canadian Chemical News. His books “Radar, Hula Hoops and Playful Pigs,” “The Genie in the Bottle,” “That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles,” “Dr. Joe and What You Didn’t Know,” “The Fly in the Ointment,” “Let Them Eat Flax,” “Brain Fuel,” “An Apple A Day,” “Science, Sense and Nonsense,” and his latest, “Dr. Joe’s Brain Sparks” have all been best sellers.

Admission is $10 in advance or $12 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.

Valley-wide College Business Expo & Employment Fair brings career opportunities
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s fourth annual Business Expo & Employment Fair will feature more than 45 employers, many of which are hiring for a variety of opportunities in the Okanagan Valley and beyond.

The Business Expo & Employment Fair will be held at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College in the Atrium of the Centre of Learning Building on Wednesday Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will give participants the opportunity to speak with employers regarding career opportunities.

While the event will take place in Kelowna, organizer Jamie Morrow wants people to know there are a number of regional and national companies who are looking for staff throughout the province.

“We have got four national banks recruiting at this event as well as a number of multinational organizations and we want to let people know that are opportunities for people across the region,” explained Morrow.

“This event provides an excellent opportunity for anyone considering a new career or employment in the Okanagan. By bringing industry experts together with those seeking jobs and careers we are able to offer a direct line of communication and networking for job seekers. This fair is focused on providing people with career options and valuable information to help them find the job they want.”

A host of employers will be onsite with information booths set up to support job seekers. The City of Kelowna, Tolko Industries Ltd., Factors Group of Nutritional Products Inc., CIBC and URBANSYSTEMS are just a few of the 45 participating employers.

For more information, go online: www.okanagan.bc.ca/business and click on events for a full list or participating employers.

Women in Trades program breathes fresh air into career aspirations

Okanagan College Media Release

Remodelling a bathroom or putting down laminate flooring might be a weekend pastime for some women, but it could also be a sign of a new career.

That’s exactly what led two Okanagan women to sign up for Okanagan College’s Gateway to the Building Trades for Women Program – a 12-week course that introduces women to a wide range of trades from carpentry and joinery, to plumbing, electrical, drywall, roofing and even automotive service.

“I had done a lot of home renovations – put in a couple of laminate floors and hardwood floors and I like carpentry work,” said Summerland resident Kim Small, who entered the program in 2009.

“I felt like I had won the lottery. I just loved it. It was especially great that they didn’t hold age against me,” she said, admitting she belongs to the over 50 set. “I learned skills in electrical, carpentry, roofing – I absolutely hated welding, but there were other women who loved it, and at the end of three months I got to pick a trade and decided to take the RV Service Technician program.”

Small got hooked on the idea of trades after attending an information session at Okanagan College. New sessions are taking place in Vernon on Jan. 25 and Feb. 21 (5:30 p.m.), and in Penticton on Jan. 26 and Feb. 9 (5:30 p.m.) in preparation for the new program intakes starting in April.

Like Small, 43-year-old Danielle Boileau of Vernon also enjoys home renovations. She considers herself among the “inner circle” at her local hardware store and was thrilled to find a hand router and new table saw under the Christmas tree this year.

Boileau worked in retail and owned a souvenir shop in Whistler before she moved to the Okanagan. Last fall she heard about the Women in Trades program, signed up, tried out all the various trades and is now enrolled in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic program in Penticton.

“There are not a lot of women in that field and there seems to be a demand for it,” she said. “I like the practical side of being in a trade, and the instructors were all great.”

The Gateway program provides students with practical employment skills plus industry recognized certificates. Eligible women are unemployed or underemployed, and not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. Eligible students will be granted an interview and if they are accepted into the program would be eligible to receive student financial support for tuition, books, tools, personal protective equipment and clothing for the program.

Funding for the 12-week program is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development as provided by the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Agreement.

For more information or to register, please contact Coordinator Jen Hamilton at 250-575-6194 or email jahamilton@okanagan.bc.ca.

Son’s heart surgery inspires Kelowna father to enter new career
Okanagan College Media Release

When Darrell Hopegood’s 18-week-old son underwent heart surgery, it was an experience he would never forget.

The images lingered long after the recovery, but it was the significant role of the nurse involved that really shaped Hopegood’s future in a way he could never have expected.

“He was a male nurse and he did a fantastic job – I was just amazed at what he did,” recalls Hopegood, who will be among 115 practical nurses graduating this Saturday at Okanagan College’s Winter Convocation ceremonies.

Returning to school was quite a change for a 42-year-old man who has managed to keep up his trade as a finisher in the construction industry.

“It was last year when I decided this would be a good thing to do – a bit of a career change and add some skills.”

Hopegood upgraded his Grade 11 and 12, and with good grades was accepted into the program. Now it’s time to find work.

“I’d love to work in the O/R room, but I’ll need a few more courses to do that.”

Okanagan College is hosting two separate ceremonies for its Winter Convocation to confer credentials on 429 students graduating from more than 30 fields of study.

The morning convocation at 10 a.m. will recognize graduates from a variety of programs including Engineering Technologies, Business, Computer Information Systems, Health and Social Development and university studies in Arts and Science.

The afternoon ceremony starts at noon with the College conferring certificates on practical nursing graduates.

This is the first Convocation ceremony of 2011. Okanagan College’s larger Convocation and Commencement ceremonies take place in June.

Last year, Okanagan College conferred credentials on nearly 2,000 students.

Okanagan College Half Marathon
Okanagan College Media Release

Registering for Okanagan College’s Half Marathon, 10 K or Relay Race may just be the perfect way to beat the gloomy winter skies and tackle the aftermath of excessive holiday indulgence. The race will open its online registration on Jan. 9 – leaving runners lots of time to prepare for the first major road race of 2011.

The Okanagan College race will take place on Sunday, March 27 in Kelowna. Now in its ninth year of operation, the race will offer runners three different options: a 21.2 km half marathon, a 10 km race, and a 21.1 km relay for teams of up to five runners.

The popular fast and flat course from 2010 will be offered again this year. The races begin between 8 and 8:15 a.m. 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, across Lakeshore and finish back at the KLO campus.

For new runners or those looking for a shorter distance, the relay race covers the same course as the half marathon and allows up to five runners to participate in segments of approximately 4 km each.

Last year the race offered a 10 km route, which proved to be very popular. The 10 K is back for 2011 and the route will take runners along the same first and last portions of the half marathon course with a 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.

“We are looking forward to organizing another great running event for the community,” said Race Director Christine Ulmer. “The race has grown significantly over the past few years due to an excellent organizing team, a fantastic group of volunteers and we’ve been told we offer the best finish-line food around. The inclusion of the 10K race last year drew a lot of young runners, as well as experienced racers. We are planning on making this year’s event better than ever.”

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 after Jan. 9, 2011.

Students receive a $5 discount. All proceeds from the race are donated to Okanagan College’s campus recreation programs. Half marathon runners receive a 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 Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or at mlowry@okanagan.bc.ca.

“The Roving Mike” signs on with support for Centre of Excellence
Okanagan College Media Release

One of British Columbia’s broadcast icons is adding his voice to the chorus of personal and corporate support for Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies.

Bill Hughes, whose radio career in British Columbia lasted nearly 50 years, recently made a generous contribution to the fundraising campaign for the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies in Penticton.

Hughes began his radio career in Trail in the 1940s. Two years later, in 1946, he started work at CKNW. During his time there, besides becoming president and part-owner of the station, he was the voice of The Roving Mike, an assignment that lasted until 1994, when Hughes retired after doing more than 15,000 episodes.

He was also the President of the Vancouver Canucks from 1972 until1981.

He has been a significant supporter of post-secondary education in B.C. and his family carries on the tradition: son Brian Hughes is a member of the Okanagan College Board of Governors.

Bill Hughes was a longtime member of the Douglas College Foundation and was a major supporter of The Bill Hughes Family Library at Douglas College.

“I understand what an asset a College is to a community and the country,” said Hughes, “and I’m pleased to be able to lend my support to the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies. It will be an important training facility producing skilled workers to deal with the new world order around a changing climate.”

The $28-million Centre of Excellence will provide space for 820 students from throughout the South Okanagan and the rest of the country after it is completed in March 2011. Through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the Federal and Provincial governments have contributed almost $23 million toward the facility, which will be one of the continent’s most environmentally-responsible buildings. Citizens and Corporations are raising the remainder through the auspices of the Okanagan College Foundation.