Okanagan School of Business tops national marketing competition

marketingA team of third and fourth-year students from the Okanagan School of Business won first place at the Intercollegiate Marketing Competition (IMC) hosted by Simon Fraser University on Mar. 7, 2009.

The team of Steve Hoffart, Paige Schoenfeld and Asia Snook best answered the challenge to win the top spot in the competition when they delivered a comprehensive marketing plan and presentation to REV Entertainment of Vancouver.

The team, coached by professor Rick Appleby, finished ahead of competitors from UBC, BCIT, Simon Fraser University and the University of Toronto.

A team of second and third-year students from Okanagan College (Katie Hoffman, Sang-lee Cordick, and Robert Morris) also competed but did not advance to the final round. To read more about the team and their accomplishment, read the Public Affairs press release.

Penticton campus hosts Aboriginal Day

Shaw TV covered Okanagan College's Aboriginal Day in Penticton, where students were treated to a full day of food, music, art and performances. The day opened with a welcome from Donna Lomas, Regional Dean and James Coble, Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator welcoming all people to Okanagan College. Dorothy Tinning, renowned local artist, unveiled her painting of Westbank First Nation coyote motif statue located near the Bennett Bridge. Dorothy also assisted with a donation to the event and served food. Okanagan Elder, Arnie Baptiste blessed the food with a traditional prayer and spoke of the importance of cross-cultural events. 

Bella McLoud, an Aboriginal Okanagan College student from the Yukon gave a presentation about the Okanagan Nation from pre-contact to present. Other highlights included a performance from Kane Kruger of the United Spirit Dancers, a hoop dance demonstration, clothing, craft and drum displays. Bob Searle, Aboriginal Mentor, Penticton Campus was instrumental in organizing and emceeing the event as was Aboriginal Recruiter Shelley Witzky.

SIFE Okanagan to advance to Nationals

sifeAs reported in the last edition of Inside Okanagan College, both Okanagan School of Business teams that competed in the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) regionals took first place in the categories of Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship. The win marks the first time a post-secondary institution has won both events in back-to-back years (SIFE Okanagan also won the titles in 2008). The teams will now prepare for the National SIFE competition in Toronto in May. Read a Public Affairs press release for more information about the team’s big wins.

Spaghetti Bridge World Record Shattered

spag1A packed lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus and new world record made for a dramatic finish at the 29th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building competition. The team of Aliz Totivan and Norbert Pozsonyi brought the full capacity crowd in Okanagan College’s lecture theatre to its feet when their Hungarian-built bridge shattered the previous Spaghetti Bridge world record by 90 kilograms. Totivan and Pozsonyi are now world record holders after their bridge, which weighed 982 grams, held 443.58 kilograms (975 lbs) before exploding. Finishing in second place in the heavyweight division were Okanagan College students Brendon Syryda and Tyler Pearson. Their bridge weighed 982 grams and supported 98.71 kilograms before faltering.

 Aliz Totivan and Norbert Pozsonyi
Okanagan College students captured the post-secondary team title with Jerry Gaba, Darin Jerow and Jen Halas as the only team in the post-secondary category whose bridge successfully made it through to the final round of testing. Their bridge weighed 87 grams. The dramatic finish to Spaghetti Bridge 2009 is now up on youtube. A clip from the event was also broadcast across the province by Global TV - check it out or read a Public Affairs press release or visit the media section to read full coverage of the event.

Residential Construction project kicks off in Salmon Arm

resconPartners Okanagan College, School District #83 and the Adams Lake Indian Band gathered at the future site of the 2009 Home for Learning project to sign a memorandum of understanding as well as offer a blessing at the site of the home. President Jim Hamilton met with Adams Lake Chief Nelson Leon and Dave Witt, Assistant Superintendent SD 83 to officially kick off the project, which will begin construction in early April. Students in the program include members of the Adams Lake Indian Band as well as dual credit students from SD 83. They will frame a split-level home, which has been designated for a family from Adams Lake.

Sustainability Team survey now complete

greenOkanagan College’s Sustainability Team hosted four open houses over the week of March 1-6, collecting ideas and promoting the on-line survey available on More than 100 people filled out the survey and shared their thoughts on how to make Okanagan College more sustainable.

This week and next, 12 groups of volunteers throughout the institution will evaluate and rate the ideas. Each group will make suggestions, which will result in projects, approaches and policies that will be included in a recommended short-term action plan at the end of the month.

Project leader Arnica Rowan would like to thank everyone who visited the open houses, shared ideas and supported the Three Steps Forward project so far. As the famous cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." 


fitz Okanagan School of Business professor Catherine Fitzgerald was recently recognized by the BC Human Resources Management Association (BC HRMA) as a finalist for the 2009 Award of Excellence as HR Professional of the Year. Catherine teaches human resources and was nominated by student Jennifer McKenzie. Other finalists in the category include: Joanna Whalley, Westminster Savings & Credit Union; John Evans, BCAA; and Josh Blair, TELUS.

In the words of her nominator, Okanagan School of Business student Jennifer McKenzie...

Cathy Fitzgerald is an HR professional that epitomizes quality HR teaching, leadership, and guidance. She demonstrates highly effective leadership skills in each of her classrooms, in her interactions with her colleagues and peers, and through her involvement in our community. Many students in our business program regard Cathy as the 'HR guru,' and her willingness to provide guidance and support to each student is unparalleled. Cathy inspires students to reach their potential, and to understand the positive attributes of their particular talents. She helps others see the light in themselves.

Cathy recently returned from Vancouver where she and other finalists presented to an esteemed panel of judges. The winner will be announced live at the Awards & CHRP Recognition Gala on May 7, 2009 at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Christy Hyde earns national scholarship for women in technology

hyde2Second-year Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology student Christy Hyde recently received a $1,000 scholarship from CISCO Canada. Hyde was nominated for the 2008-2009 CISCO-ACCC Information Technology Award for Women by her NTEN instructor Nolan Fretz and was selected out of a vast number of nominees as one of six winners from across the country.

Students complete first Interprovincial Refresher program

evertonThirty-three students from Jamaica arrived last June to participate in the Interprovincial Red Seal Refresher Program for Culinary Arts and Collision Repair, a joint project with Okanagan College and the Jamaican Ministry of Labour. These students have now finished their program which, when successfully completed, gives them certification from Okanagan College as well Journeyperson status in their chosen trade and certification to work elsewhere in Canada. Everton Williams, one of the successful Culinary Arts students, shared his success with the International Education office last week. 

Dean position shortlisted, staff welcome to attend presentations

Three candidates are being considered for the Dean of Science, Technology and Health position. As part of the decision, candidates have been asked to give a presentation on “Educational Leadership in Science, Technology and Health in the 21st Century” which are open to the College Community. The presentations will take place on March 17, 20 and 24 in Kelowna. Staff are encouraged to listen to the presentations and provide feedback to the selection committee on the candidates. Candidate biography’s will be made available the day of their presentation. Presentation times are listed below.
March 17, 2009 3 – 4 p.m.
Kelowna Campus, Lecture Theatre - S104
March 20, 2009 3 – 4 p.m.
Kelowna Campus, Lecture Theatre - H115
March 24, 2009 3 – 4 p.m.
Kelowna Campus, Lecture Theatre - S104


The Globe and Mail published a glowing review of Dr. Alix Hawley's book of short fiction, The Old Familiar. Reviewer Shelley A. Leedahl refers to Hawley as a genius in her piece: Lightning Strikes. Hawley will join Brian Bartlett and Cathy Mamo for: The Lake: A reading Series from 7:30 - 9:30 at at the Okanagan Regional library's Downtown Kelowna branch (1380 Ellis Street).

North Okanagan Regional Dean John Lent appeared on CBC Radio reading two of his poems and talking about his upcoming book of poetry. Take a moment to listen to John read some of his outstanding original poetry.

The 26th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building competition garnered considerable media attention. View clips of the event on youtube and Global TV or check out articles in: Competitors set new world mark, Record demolished, UBCO duo hungry for spaghetti title (please note headline is inaccurate – should reference Okanagan College duo).

Engineering Technology alumni Jared Wilkison and Shantelle Clarke were profiled in a special edition of the Kelowna Daily Courier dedicated to engineering and geoscience week. Read about the success of the grads in: Grads make their mark and Professional engineers and geoscientists shaping the future.

Students involved in the Penticton Residential Construction program were featured in an article in the Okanagan Saturday as partners in the program signed an MOU. The program will see Okanagan College apprentices build a home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and SD #67. Read more in: Carpentry students build skills while helping to house poor.

News of the upcoming Okanagan math contest made the pages of the Oliver Chronicle. Read about the event in: Calling all math whizzes.

An article promoting the upcoming RV Lifestyle Seminar was written by Al Cohoe and appeared in Forever Young. Read more in: Uncover the secrets of the RV life.

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus recently hosted the High School SkillsBC Apprenticeship competition. Read about auto mechanics winner Bentan Atkinson, who plans on attending Okanagan College this September in: Valley students put skills to test.

A seminar on debt management was recently hosted by Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Read advice from the experts in: Memo to students: Live within your means.

Shaw TV profiled the opportunities available for carpentry apprentices and the training involved in becoming a carpenter. Follow this link to check it out.

Students involved in SIFE Okanagan are spearheading a new awards program recognizing economically and environmentally responsible businesses. Read more about the Eco-Nomics awards in: Biz responsibility.

Okanagan College’s baseball team received coverage in the Kelowna Capital News. Read about the team’s record in: OC baseball team works out the kinks in pre-season games and Great pitching now just needs some good defence.

Okanagan College Regional Dean John Lent was featured in the Vernon Morning Star talking about the work achieved by Gallery Vertigo. Read more in: Gallery pursues city funds.

CBC Radio One broadcast their segment North by Northwest at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo last week. Among those featured in the segment were Okanagan College’s John Lent and Jason Dewinetz. Check it out in: Vernon’s art scene featured on North by Northwest.

Okanagan College alumni Todd and Mark Regier were profiled in a special edition of Okanagan Life Magazine, Progress. Todd was featured in the article explaining the philosophy of their business, Prestige Collision. Read more in: Making it look like it never happened.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Jeanette Armstrong was recognized in an article in the Penticton Herald. Read more in: Honouring area women.

The Kelowna Daily Courier profiled the success of Okanagan College accounting graduates in a piece written about the College’s recent job fair. Read more in: Students, grads still in demand.

The Penticton Herald published an article about the College’s upcoming decisions on tuition fees and students’ reactions to a potential increase. Read more in: Students want to have more input on college tuition fees.

Maxine Dehart’s column featured news of Robert Macdonald’s recent appointment as publisher in residence at Okanagan College.

Okanagan University College alumna Dr. Janna Bentley was featured in the Kelowna Capital News’ Salute to Women in Business. Read more in: Doctor runs vein and aesthetics clinic as a medical practice.

Another alumna from Okanagan University College was featured in eVent magazine. Read about artist Tia-Maria Hoeller in: “Ladylike” rules fodder for teacher’s exhibit.

A third Okanagan University College alumna received ink this week when Samantha Bodie was profiled in the Okanagan Saturday. Read about the work the environmental assessor is doing in Kandahar in: Just another day at the office.

An article covering the success of dual-credit students appeared in the Kelowna Daily Courier. Read more about Tanner Davidson and his welding career in: Dual-credit graduate builds a rewarding career.

Okanagan College Board of Governors member Jane Lister was quoted in an article in the Vernon Morning Star discussing the economic impact and success of Okanagan College graduates. Read more in: College plan targets economy.

Check out Stan Chung’s Global Citizen column: The age of infidelity: How do you outsource love?

Jane Muskens had two School’s In columns published in the Kelowna Capital News. Read more in: Not many students actually read during reading week and College prep by schools is paying dividends.

Shaw TV covered Okanagan College’s Penticton campus Aboriginal Day on the program Okanagan Today. Check it out.
March 13, 2009 Vol. 2 Issue 23


College Pension Plan (CPP) members update

A retirement seminar will be held in Kelowna on Mar. 31 from 4 – 6:30 p.m. at the Sandman Hotel. The basics of the pension plan will be explained including a detailed coverage of the retirement process from application to receiving your payments. Members can learn more about the topics covered in the seminar by going to the website at: Registration for the seminar is available online at For more information, email: or call toll free: 1-877-558-5571.

Financial Services update

Okanagan College recently received professional advice on Canada Revenue Agency’s regulations relating to the taxability of meals while travelling on College business. The advice has clearly stated that all meals or allowances provided to faculty travelling to and from a “regular place of employment” (ie. a campus where they are scheduled to instruct) are taxable and should be included as employment income. This includes ‘per diem’ payments and actual expenses reimbursed by the College. However, payments for meals associated with travel to attend meetings or professional development are exempt. The College has therefore adopted the advice and changed its practice relating to these payments. Adjustments have been made to affected employees for the calendar year 2008 and your 2008 T4’s include such payments. If you have any further questions, please contact Vicki Pannell in Financial Services.

Financial Services would like to remind everyone to please submit their expense claims for expenses incurred in the current fiscal year. The cut-off for submitting your expense claims to Finance is April 6. Expense claims received after this date will be charged to Fiscal 09/10. Please ensure any expenses for April are reported on a separate claim.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Cathi Clark from the Welcome Centre in Kelowna who won today's payday draw for $487.50. The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees of Okanagan College. If you wish to sign up for the lottery, registration forms are available from: Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (P103, KLO Campus), Human Resources (Landmark V, Kelowna) or online.

Nominate a Fellow

Nominations are still being accepted for Okanagan College’s Institute for Leadership in Learning and Teaching. Ten fellows of the Institute will be nominated later this spring from eight instructional areas and two staff groups. Those fellows will be tasked with developing “communities of practice” in their respective areas that will encourage sharing, mentoring and dialogue around learning and teaching. Nominations are being accepted for Fellows from the following groups:

1. Librarians, Ed Tech, Learning Centre Coordinators, Ed Advisors, HR Advisors, Counsellors, Recruiters, and other staff with an instructional focus.
2. Student Services, Advancement, Registration, Admissions, Facilities, Human Resources, IT
Services, Public Affairs, Ancillary and Business Services, Finance, Institutional Research,
Excluded Staff, and other staff with a service focus.
3. Adult Acadmic and Career Preparation, Special Education
4. Arts
5. Business, ABT, Aircraft
6. Continuing Studies
7. Health and Social Development
8. International and ESL
9. Science and Technology
10. Trades

Follow this link to download a pdf of the nomination form and submit forms to Lara Jennings by March 31. For more information about the Institute contact Stan Chung.

Human Resources reorganization update

Human Resources is reorganizing to serve the College more effectively
As a result of changes within the Human Resources department including retirement and new hires, the department is restructuring to improve service by providing a “first point of contact” for managers and employees through assigned Human Resource Advisors.

After 32 years with the College, Phyllis Van Steinburg is retiring. Consequently, the responsibility for benefits and leave administration has been redistributed amongst Human Resource team members. 

As part of the staffing function, Human Resource Advisors and Assistants will be responsible for employee enrolment in health and welfare benefit plans and coordination of subsequent changes. Leave requests, calculation of such benefits and acknowledgment letters will also be handled by the Human Resource Advisors and Assistants.

Lynda Dreaper, previously assigned only to HR Information Systems, has new responsibilities added to her Human Resource Advisor portfolio. She has now also been assigned to provide assistance to managers and employees in the Senior Managers, Administrators and Excluded Staff groups.

Vanessa Griffin has recently joined Okanagan College as a Human Resource Advisor. A 2007 graduate of the College’s degree program in Business Administration, Vanessa comes from Kelowna Flightcraft. She has been assigned to provide assistance to managers and faculty in the OCFA and Vocational groups. 

Joan Kleinsteuber continues to provide assistance as a Human Resource Advisor to managers and employees in the Regular Support Staff group. She has also been assigned to provide system support for POST and has responsibility for reclassification requests related to Support Staff positions.

Dawn Southern, formerly a Human Resource Assistant, has been promoted to Human Resource Advisor. She has been assigned to provide assistance to managers and employees in the Auxiliary Support Staff group.

Arlene DeBruin, formerly with Science, Technologies and Health, has joined the department as a Human Resource Assistant. She has been assigned to assist both Lynda and Joan with their respective portfolios.

Bianka Blandon has joined the department as a Human Resource Assistant on a temporary basis. Bianka is also a 2007 graduate of the College’s degree program in Business Administration and a former employee of Kelowna Flightcraft. She has been assigned a project to update Okanagan College job descriptions and organizational charts.

Denise Fallis continues to be responsible for Labour Relations advice and support in her role as Labour Relations Specialist.

Jill Toth continues to provide retirement advice, pension plan enrolment and changes, and sick leave claims and disability management in her role as Pension and Benefits Coordinator.

To view the entire HR Team structure, individual position responsibilities and an organizational chart, visit the HR contact page.


Mar. 12 – 15 – Okanagan College will host the World Community Film Festival from March 12 -15 at the Kelowna campus. This free event is BC’s largest documentary film festival. For a complete schedule of movies go online: The event is free and donations will be accepted for the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre.
Mar. 16 - Kalamalka Speaker Series: Happiness (part two): How to develop these virtues/traits in order to improve/maintain genuine happiness with Dr. Ben Coleman. Happiness (part two) will focus on developing and maintaining essential virtues for living well and doing well. (See Happiness Part I March 9). This lecture takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the lecture theater.  

Mar. 17 - Okanagan College and the Canada Council for the Arts presents a free Writers West reading by Warren Cariou at 7 p.m. in the Penticton campus cafeteria. Cariou is the author of The Exalted Company of Roadside Martyrs and Lake of the Prairies: A Story of Belonging, which was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction in 2004. Lake of the Prairies was chosen as a Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year in 2002 and won the 2003 Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize. He is a Canada Research Chair and Director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture at the University of Manitoba.  His most recent work in fiction and in film explores the interactions between Aboriginal people and oil companies in the Canadian west.

Mar. 18 - Okanagan College and the American Astronomical Society present the Harlow Shapley lecture: “Cosmic Evolution: From Big Bang to Biology” with Dr. Chris Impey. The lecture will take place in room C-272 from 7:30 – 9 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Impey is Deputy Head of the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona. He has been the recipient of eleven teaching awards there and is the youngest person ever to be awarded the position of University Distinguished Professor at Arizona. In 2002, he was named the National Science Foundation Distinguished Teaching Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation, and in 2005 was selected a Galileo Circle Scholar, the College of Science’s highest honor.

Mar. 21 – Two students in Kyleen Myrah’s BUAD 339 (social entrepreneurship) have organized a Women’s Art Festival in Kelowna as part of their term project. The show is open to the public and will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Pit at the Kelowna campus. Event organizers are still looking for women artists who are interested in exhibiting their art. Funds raised at the event will be donated to the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre. For more information email:

Mar. 23Penticton campus Speaker Series presents: Getting away from it all – in the Okanagan, with Howie Richardson at 7 p.m. in the lecture theatre.

Mar. 23 - Kalamalka Speaker Series presents: Noticing Synchronicity: Mindfulness Beyond “Mere” Coincidence with Dr. Ralph Maddess at 12:30 p.m. in the lecture theater. The Swiss Psychiatrist C.G. Jung coined the term 'synchronicity' in seeking to explain the modus operundi of the I Ching, which is often roughly translated as meaningful coincidences. Through noticing these synchronicities in our daily life, one glimpses, sees, then knows the interconnectedness of our inner and outer 'worlds' of experience, linking subject-object, self-other and inner-outer. There is no admission cost and parking is free during the lecture.

Mar. 28 – Okanagan College’s Penticton campus will partner with the Skaha Rotary Club for the third-annual Adopt-a-Trail event. Everyone is welcome to join in the cleanup efforts, which will begin at 10 a.m. along the train from McNicoll Park School along to the Art Gallery. The City of Penticton will provide tools, garbage bags, gloves and take-away service. People interested in getting involved can register at McNicoll Park School.

Mar. 28 – Join Okanagan College for “An Amazing Night of Music: Saving Grace” at 7 p.m. at the Old Dog Pub in Salmon Arm. Three bands will be playing with all proceeds at the door going towards helping  a Salmon Arm ECE student. For further information regarding the event please contact Deb Jarvis, Barb Duffy or Donna McGrath.

Mar. 29 – Register now for the Campus-to-Campus Half Marathon or Bookworm Relay Race. The 21.1 km half-marathon race will begin at UBC Okanagan and follow a speedy course that will take runners along Lakeshore and back to the Kelowna campus. The relay race includes teams of 5 runners (each of whom run approximately four kms) and follows the same course. Today is the final day for early bird registration pricing – go online to sign up or contact Race Director Jane Muskens for more information. 

Mar. 30 - Kalamalka Speaker Series presents: Peru: A 15,000 Foot Vertical Drop with Madelaine Befus at 12:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre. Peru is a land of intriguing contrasts: wealth and poverty; ice-clad mountains, dry coastal deserts, and flourishing jungles; ancient cultures and optimistic future. Enjoy a pictographic trek from Lima to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco; then from the 15,000-foot Salkantay pass to the valleys chasing the glacier melt to the hot springs of Agua Caliente. Explore the fascinating, deserted Inca city of Machu Picchu; then hop a train for a trip through the mountains. Flee the dry highlands of Cusco to the lush jungles of the Tambopata Nature Reserve in the Amazon basin. This event is free.

April 8 - Okanagan College English professor Dr. Alix Hawley will join Brian Bartlett and Cathy Mamo for: The Lake: A reading Series from 7:30 - 9:30 at at the Okanagan Regional library's Downtown Kelowna branch (1380 Ellis Street). Please contact Nancy Holmes at 250.807.9369 for more information.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Friday, Mar. 27, 2009.