Accounting students win at international case competition

ICBC WinOkanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration accounting students Jessica Lenz and Daniel Yarmak have won the top spot in the accounting category at the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) held Jan. 15 to 17 at Queen’s University.

The pair were coached by College professors Randy Newton and Margery Heuser and successfully reached the finals by beating out 31 other teams in their discipline. In the final round they outshone competitors from Simon Fraser University, McGill University, the University of Toronto, Lakehead University and the University of Regina to take first place.

Okanagan College sent a total of five teams – 10 students – after a qualifying preliminary round, to the annual event, which is recognized as Canada’s longest-running undergraduate case competition.  Students are given 5.5 hours to review the complex business-problem case within their designated field and prepare a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel comprised of esteemed Queen’s professors and industry professionals.

Follow this link for more information about the competition and to read the complete press release.

Annual award honours late Okanagan College professor Dr. Santosham

Santosham awardDr. Tom Santosham’s family has turned a tragic loss into a gift that will benefit students for years to come. Shortly after Tom’s death this fall, the Santosham family decided that it would be fitting, given his passion for teaching, to create an annual award that would support business students at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus where he taught courses in global marketing for 14 years. 

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

In December two special memorial awards were presented by Dr. Santosham’s family to Kendall Ross and Nathan Milligan—both students of the late professor.

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

Follow this link for more information about the Dr. Santosham Award, learn how you can donate, and to read the complete press release.

Online gaming research wins Best Paper Award at international conference

Gaming researchA research paper collaboratively authored by Okanagan College Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin, supervised by Professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky, and contributed to by Okanagan based technology company WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett and CTO Alex Needham, as well as Universite Paris-Est Creteil professor Dr. Gaetan Hains, has won the Best Paper Award at the second International VisioGame 2014 conference in Bandung, Indonesia.

The research paper, titled Minecraft Computer Game Simulation and Network Performance Analysis explores improvements into both speed and connectivity in the online gaming world. It will also be published in an upcoming journal with the U.K. Wessex Institute of Technology WitPress.

“Our goal was to look at online games optimization, performance, and monitoring of Gamers Private Networks for faster gaming with better connections,” says Alstad. “In particular we analyzed specific gaming metrics that hadn’t been explored yet. You could consider our research as a foundation for improving gaming networks within the industry.”

The research was made possible by federal grant funding received from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and additional in-kind contributions from WTFast.

To read more about the research and for the full press release, follow this link.

Salt family donation a heavy-duty boost for trades complex campaign

Art SaltRespected auto industry pioneer and family man Art Salt – owner for almost 40 years of Coldstream Auto Wreckers from the Vernon area— has made a heavy duty gift to the campaign to renovate and expand the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus.

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

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

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

Over the past 20 years, Salt and his family have donated several other parts and vehicles to Okanagan College.

Follow this link for more information about the donation, the campaign, and to read the complete press release.

Earth Matters art competition

Earth MattersArtists, and those artistically inclined, are invited to participate in a new environmentally-focused art competition – Earth Matters, which is being sponsored by Okanagan College.  The two-dimensional artwork should highlight one of this year’s themes: biodiversity, water resources, waste, and climate change. Entries can be entered in one of two categories:

-Secondary school students in Grades 10, 11 and 12
-An open competition for adults age 18 and older

The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on March 20 in a digital format (can be a photo of the artwork). An awards ceremony will be held on April 9 at the Kelowna campus.

Winners in each of the four theme areas in the high school category will receive a $500 tuition credit from Okanagan College. Winners in the four theme areas from the open competition will receive a one-day workshop with nature artist Terry Isaac at his Penticton studio.

For rules and regulations and more information follow this link or contact Georgraphy, Earth and Environmental Science department Professor Kathleen Jagger.

Winter Convocation

Graduation Okanagan College recognized the achievements of more than 300 students on Saturday, Jan. 17 during the Winter Convocation ceremony.  

In total, 322 credentials were conferred including degrees, diplomas and certificates in a wide range of program areas including Arts, Science, Business, Engineering Technologies, Health and Social Development and Culinary Management. A photo gallery is available online

Wine and Dine at Infusions Restaurant

Winter IndulgenceWine and Dine is in full swing at Infusions Restaurant on the Kelowna campus.This year’s menu showcases a variety of B.C. ingredients, including crab from the Coast, pears from Kelowna, pork from Enderby and butternut squash from Aldergrove.

With guidance from Okanagan College Chef Jim Armstrong, the College’s Culinary Arts students do all the prep work in the Infusions Restaurant kitchen and offer their input on the plating of the dishes.

Infusions Restaurant will offer its Wine and Dine menu Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. for $25 (or $37 with local wine pairings) until Feb. 11. To view the full menu or to make a reservation, follow this link.

Annual Business Expo and Employment Fair in February

Business expoThe eighth annual Business Expo and Employment Fair will be hosted once again by the Okanagan College School of Business and the Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 4. in the atrium of the Centre for Learning in Kelowna from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This event connects our skilled students, both those graduating and those continuing with their studies, with the broader business community to talk about career opportunities and vacancies locally and nationally. For our students, meeting these companies and potential employers helps them make decisions on the future focus of their education. This year 55 industry participants will be represented. For more information and to see the list of exhibitors follow this link

2015 BC Student Outcomes Survey underway

Student outcomes logoFrom now until June, Okanagan College is participating in the 2015 BC Student Outcomes Survey in concert with B.C. Stats. Our recent diploma, associate degree, certificate, and apprenticeship graduates will be surveyed by telephone or online to help us evaluate their experiences at the College, and their education and employment outcomes.

The information gathered from the survey helps us evaluate our programs and student experiences, and furthers our mission of educating, training and supporting our students to excel in the workplace, succeed in further education and become lifelong learners.

The results are available to the public via a dashboard on the BC Stats website. For more information about the survey, visit BC Student Outcomes Project or contact Jan O'Brien in Institutional Research.

Non-profit board members needed for research survey

A student-led research project is seeking board members of Central Okanagan non-profit organizations to participate in a survey. The research is part of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence within the School of Business and aims to identify gaps within the sector that are impacting growth opportunities.

If you, or someone you know, sit on the board of a non-profit organization, until January 30 you can participate through the link on the Centre’s webpage. Following a review process, an analysis report will be released in mid-2015. Questions can be directed to Dr. Sheilagh Seaton and Dr. Lynn Sparling.  

Half Marathon registration now open

half marathonOnline registration is now open for the 2015 Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, which will take place at the Kelowna campus on Sunday, March 29.

This year will mark the thirteenth anniversary of the race. Early bird pricing is in effect until March 2. Sign up online soon for the best rates.

The half marathon relay offers a great opportunity for staff from the College to participate in the event together. Each year the Penticton campus enters a number of relay teams in the race. Will 2015 be the year another campus enters more relay teams than Penticton?

The committee is currently seeking volunteers to assist on the race course as marshals again – please contact Michelle Lowry  if you would like to volunteer for a few hours on race day.

The organizing committee is also seeking expressions of interest from employees who would like to put their name forward to take on the role of race director, beginning with the 2016 race. Public Affairs’ Christine Ulmer has been the race director for the past five years and is looking for a successor who could join the committee this year in an advisory role and then take over as director next year.

If you are interested in putting your name forward as race director, please contact Christine Ulmer.


CCSSE next steps: sample of classes

Thank you to those who participated in the feedback sessions for the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE)  This is the third time that Okanagan College is participating in the survey that asks questions about institutional practices and student behaviours that are highly correlated with student learning and retention.

In the next couple of weeks those chosen to participate in the sample of classes will be contacted by Institutional Research to work out a mutually suitable schedule. The last report is available under the Reports Tab in myOkanagan. To find out more or if you have questions call Institutional Research at 4529.

Oh Canada: five employees are new citizens

Xavier Mendoza CitizenshipFive Okanagan College employees were among the 223 immigrants to receive their Canadian Citizenship at a January ceremony held at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Congratulations to Marie Bartlett (Continuing Studies), Marianna Chen (International Education), Ricardino Matias (Facilities Management), Xavier Mendoza (IT Services), and Ema Pecheanu (Ancillary & Business Services). Our Okanagan College community is diverse and truly global, as captured by Castanet.  

Kevin McPherson: literary award shortlist and competition (you can vote!)

Kevin ForgeEnglish professor Kevin McPherson’s third poetry collection titled Forge has been shortlisted for the 2014 Relit Award. The Globe & Mail acknowledges the Relit Award as “The country’s pre-eminent literary prize recognizing independent presses.” The winner receives a handcrafted, unique puzzle ring comprised of four alphabets that can be spun to create four-letter words.

This February, using his nom-de-plume, Kevin Martins McPherson Eckhoff will compete in Broken Pencil’s annual “Deathmatch,” a short-story literary competition. Broken Pencil is Canada’s magazine of zine culture and independent arts. From February 2-8 you can vote online for his story to help him advance to the final round. You can vote as often as once every hour.

Alex Kortzman joins Health, Safety and Emergency Management Services

Starting on Monday Feb. 2, Alex Kortzman will join Okanagan College as the Health and Safety Officer for a six-month term.  He will be working with Carolyn Hayman, Manager, HSEMS. 
A well-known face in Trades and Apprenticeship Alex has been with the College since August 2005 as an auxiliary where he cut and processed steel in the trades yard.  His skills were quickly recognized, and he became a regular part of the Welding Department.  A mechanic by trade, Alex continued to achieve career goals that included Certified Service Technician for Miller Welders, Licensed Vehicle Inspector and Mobile Equipment Instructor.
In his spare time, Alex sits on the Board of Directors of the Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club and is also responsible for Range Officer Training.  Alex enjoys competition pistol shooting, and is a Canadian Firearms Safety Course Instructor.
Alex’s new office will be in the Ancillary, Business and Risk Management Services office in P113 and can be reached at extension 5405.

CTV documentary features College and its students

A recent documentary film that aired on CTV features Okanagan College School of Business professors and students giving back to communities in Ethiopia. The film highlights the work of Canadian Humanitarian, a College partner organization, and the course field school to Ethiopia that students participate in for the BUAD 339 Entrepreneurship & Development in Emerging Nations course. The documentary includes interviews with retired College professor David Northcott and current professor Dr. Sheilagh Seaton as well as showing the work of BUAD students while they were on the trip in 2013 teaching entrepreneurship and building bio-sand water filters. The film is available for viewing here.

Jan. 27, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 21


Family Day statutory holiday

Okanagan College will be closed on Monday, Feb. 9 in observance of the B.C. Family Day statutory holiday.  

Employee health and wellness newsletter

Okanagan College's employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides a wealth of information each month about an important issue regarding your health and well-being.

This month’s focus for The Balance Sheet newsletter is on strategies to help you achieve the goals you’ve set for the year. Read it here.

The 2015 calendar of events is also now available.

Submit your article for the ILT newsletter

Articles are now being accepted for the next ILT newsletter Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching on the theme “Experiential Education and Service Learning.” Join the conversation by sharing your experiences and best practices in this exciting area of active learning and teaching. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 2, 2015, with publication in the third week of February. For guidelines and more information please visit the ILT website.

Coyotes Baseball tickets now on sale

Coyotes logoSeason’s tickets for the Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team games are available for $25 from the Athletics, Recreation & Student Life Office A105 at the Kelowna campus. Did you know that season ticket holders are eligible for a number of prize draws starting Feb. 1? Support the team and be entered for your chance to win prizes including a trip to Las Vegas, Golf BC passes, Golf clubs, GCs for the Keg, West Jet, Earls, Starbucks and more!

Check your voicemail when off-campus

You can check your voice mailbox from outside OC:

Kelowna locals dial: 250-862-5454
Penticton locals dial: 250-492-4305
Salmon Arm locals dial: 250-832-2126
Vernon locals dial: 250-545-7291
Wait for the automated attendant, then dial 5454, followed by * and enter your password.
For further phone tips and listings online, go to the People Directory page in myOkanagan.


ILT Lunch and Learn

Tomorrow, Wednesday Jan. 28 the ILT hosts the Teacher as Leader in the Classroom lunch and learn. Business professor Roberta Sawatzky will lead a discussion on how to go beyond being the teacher, tutor, and instructor to your students and instead be the leader in an educational setting that supports students in their learning journey. This session takes place from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Kelowna Campus, room E102. To register and for more information, visit the ILT website.

TEa session with ILT and IT Services

Join the ILT and IT Services for the next Technology in Education Applied (TEa) session tomorrow, Wednesday Jan. 28. Jim Gamble, Chair of Electrical Trades, will be sharing insights on the department’s experience in developing a video library that students can use as a resource for performing practical assessments and lab assignments.  This presentation will discuss the collaborative efforts that identified the need for this resource and also provide examples of the videos that were developed. This session takes place from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Kelowna Campus, room L103. To attend, please register on the ILT website.

Health and wellness: seminar

Tomorrow, Wednesday Jan. 28, Mary Rocarelli will present the Choosing Change webinar that looks at ways we can improve ourselves and have greater success in achieving our goals for the year. The presentation will also expand on these concepts, suggesting ways we can establish the foundation needed for meaningful and lasting change in our lives. The hour-long webinar starts at noon and you can register here.

MacQuarrie Institute Lecture Series

Okanagan College will host the second lecture in its MacQuarrie Institute series when systems ecologist Barry Wilson presents, System Ecology: Holistic Planning for Today and Tomorrow at the Salmar Classic Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.

Wilson will be joined by Dave Ramsey, Vice President of BC Tomorrow Society and teacher at Salmon Arm Secondary, in a presentation that will focus on a holistic approach to land use that encompasses a common vision for the future.

Using recent examples such as the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, Wilson and Ramsey will provide an approach to land use that moves beyond confrontation and instead creates synergies and innovative solutions.

The event is by donation and doors open at 6 p.m.

Celebrate Valentine’s at Winter Indulgence

Winter Indulgence is coming back to the Kelowna campus just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Treat yourself and your Valentine to an evening of wine and an assortment of fine desserts made by the College’s Pastry Arts students on Feb. 14 from 7 - 10p.m. The dessert offering includes strawberry champagne French macarons, red velvet cupcakes with orange buttercream icing and a variety of local and international cheeses.

Culinary Arts Pastry Chef Danny Capadouca and Culinary Manager Chef Bernard will also be hosting a pre-Valentine’s Day dessert class on Feb. 13, where you can learn different techniques and create your own treats to take home. Space is limited.

Tickets are $40 per person for the Feb. 14 event, $50 per person for the dessert class on Feb. 13 or $75 per person to participate in both events. All proceeds will go to the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Eventbrite.

Spring Municipal Pension Plan seminars

Two free seminars are available to Municipal Pension Plan members this spring:

  • Your Pension, Your Future (1½ hours), for new and mid-career plan members.
  • Thinking About Retiring (2 hours), for members within five years of retirement.

All plan members, including those receiving long-term disability benefits, are welcome. Please note that registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis and members are responsible for their own travel and associated costs.
For dates, locations, and to register, visit the Municipal Pension Plan webpage. If you have any questions about these seminars you can email or call 1-877-558-5573 (toll-free).

College Pension Plan Seminar

On Tuesday, March 10, the College Pension Plan will host the Thinking About Retiring pension seminar in Kelowna at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre. Join us to learn about your Member’s Benefit Statement, pension options, determining your retirement income and how to use the online tools and resources.  The seminar is free and takes place from 5 – 7 p.m. Please see the attachment for more details and to register, follow this link.


Media took note when Okanagan College conferred 322 credentials to the first graduating class of the year at the Jan. 17 convocation ceremony. Graduate Nancy Furman, at 68 years of age, was featured on the front page of the Okanagan Sunday and an accompanying full page of photos of the ceremony, Hailey Causton of the Westbank First Nation singing the Okanagan Song at the ceremony was in the Westside Weekly, and Bachelor of Business Administration grad Danielle Hofer’s global experience with the exchange program was profiled in the Okanagan Saturday and the Kelowna Capital News. Kelowna Daily Courier interim editor Ross Freake also published an editorial about the contribution of the College to the city, see College adds spice to city, and noted the ceremony in a ValleyInBrief note.

Maxine DeHart’s Kelowna Capital News column noted Okanagan College’s School of Business dean, Dr. Heather Banham being elected 1st vice-chair of the Certified General Accountants Association of B.C. Board of Governors.

Honouring the memory of late Okanagan College professor Dr. Santosham, his family created a new award for business students through the Okanagan College Foundation. The announcement was shared with articles in the Penticton Herald and the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Vernon auto industry pioneer Art Salt donated a Caterpillar IRI8F front-end loader to the College to help students in the Heavy Duty Mechanics program with hands-on training as part of a contribution to Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons: Building for Skills campaign. See Donation gives college a heavy-duty boost in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky and fourth-year bachelor of computer information systems student Trevor Alstad’s collaborative research into online gaming networks and their international Best Paper Award win was reported by the Kelowna Daily Courier, see College research could improve gaming.

The Vernon Morning Star published a photo of Okanagan College instructor Mark Stathers with a young student trying out a welding simulator during the Trading Up Career Fair at Len Wood Middle School in Armstrong.

The newly announced Working in Natural Gas (WinG) program at the Vernon campus was reported in the Vernon Morning Star, see College fuels gas training.

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will host once again the Skills BC event on March 6 showcasing the talents of Grade 6 to 12 students in trades. The event highlights additional funding Skills Canada B.C. has recently received to promote these competitions. See Extra funding for skills competition in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

In a nod to the Okanagan’s booming wine industry, the Penticton Herald’s article A toast to our wine industry, recognizes Okanagan College instructor and Calona Wines senior wine maker Howard Soon for the historical wine accolades received, and Honorary Fellow George Heiss's comments about the establishment of BC VQA.

Okanagan College alumna Kelly Scott’s journey at the 2015 B.C Women’s Curling Championship is recounted in the Kelowna Capital News’ Scott pursues her seventh B.C. title, Okanagan Sunday’s Scott into semis at B.C. Scotties, and the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Scott knocked off at B.C. Scotties; Knezevic claims title, berth.

Infusions at Okanagan College is included in the Wine & Dine participating restaurants roundup list in the Okanagan Saturday’s Time to Wine & Dine article.


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

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Feb. 10, 2015.