Business of the Year for Okanagan College

chamberawardOkanagan College received a significant nod from the business community when it was named Business of the Year at the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce Excellence Awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Charlotte Kushner, Acting Vice President of Students, and Regional Dean Donna Lomas were on hand to accept the award on behalf of President Jim Hamilton, who was out of the country during the awards banquet.

“Receiving this award is like earning a vote of confidence from the community,” explained Lomas. “It’s an indication that the community is proud of what we have achieved in the South Okanagan-Similkameen and it sends a signal that the work we are doing is valued.”

Key among the developments that have made the community take notice of Okanagan College is the recent opening of The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation – one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. The building has been widely recognized for its innovative design, construction practices and for the programming it will offer.

"I was very proud to help accept the award for the College but it is important to recognize this award is the result of the combined efforts of everyone at Okanagan College who contributes to the success of our students and plays a positive role in our community.”

Other nominees in the same category included McCoy Trailers, one of Penticton's largest employers, the Penticton Herald, Windward Software, Beltone Hearing Clinic, the Penticton Golf and Country Club, Get Bent Arts and Recreation, and Get a Headstart at Body and Sol. The award is sponsored by HSBC – also a donor to the Okanagan College Foundation. 

Incidentally, Andre Martin of the Penticton Herald, was named Business
Leader of the Year. Among his many other community roles, he was a member of the fundraising team for the Centre of Excellence.

To read more about the Business Excellence Awards, read a press release from the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.

2011 Employee Satisfaction Survey results are in 

Responses to Okanagan College’s 2011 Employee Satisfaction Survey have been analyzed and the results are now available to staff and faculty. Conducted over the course of three weeks in November, the survey is the third of its kind -- the first was held in 2007 and the second survey took place in 2009.

The voluntary and anonymous survey drew responses from 421 employees from across all four College regions. Overall results from the 2011 survey point to a relatively high level of satisfaction among employees with regard to their employment.

In the 2011 survey, 91.1 per cent of employees responding agreed or strongly agreed they were proud to work at Okanagan College. The statement that garnered the strongest disagreement from responding employees was “I received appropriate orientation and training to assist in doing my job well” - 44.3 per cent disagreed with that statement (down from 50.4 per cent in 2009).

Complete results of the survey, including an executive summary and comparison of previous survey results from 2007 and 2009, are available by logging into myOkanagan and following the link to the 2011 Employee Satisfaction Survey.

Kayfish and Styffe to lead College Board

kayfishLance 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 re-elected as the Vice Chair. Kayfish and Styffe were elected at the Board’s regular meeting last week.

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, who joined the College Board in January 2010, is a semi-retired Okanagan Falls resident with more than three decades of experience in construction project management, including such projects as the $25-million New Westminster campus of Douglas College.

Kayfish and Styffe join appointed members Bill Cooke, Douglas Manning, Sunddip Nahal, Yvonne Pinder, and Loretta Swite-Ghostkeeper, and elected members Michael Conlin, Lianne Rozniak, Ross Saunders, Mike Marino as well as ex officio members Jim Hamilton (President, Okanagan College) and Rick Gee (Chair, Okanagan College Education Council).

Students, staff stirred up

cccStudents and staff are making the final preparations for this year’s high-profile Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships, taking place in Kelowna Feb. 10-11.

This national event, currently held in conjunction with the College’s Culinary Arts department, gives students a chance to work alongside the top chefs in the country.

The focal point for the College students and area chefs are the preparations for the Mystery Wine Pairing at the Hotel Eldorado on the Friday night, and preparations for serving at the Grand Okanagan. The College also plays a role in hosting the fast-paced and sold-out Black Box Competition, held on campus Saturday, Feb. 11 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. The Chefs are given only 10 minutes notice to prepare and plate two dishes based on an array of foods contained in the box.

Competing this year are: Michael Dacquisto (Winnipeg, WOW Hospitality), Anthony McCarthy (Saskatoon, Saskatoon Club), Jean-Philippe St-Denis (Montreal, Kitchen Galerie Poisson), Michael Dekker (Calgary, Rouge), Jan Trittenbach (Edmonton, Packrat Louie), Rob Feenie (Vancouver, Cactus Club Restaurants), Jonathan Gushue (Toronto, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa), Marc Lepine (Ottawa, Atelier) and Mike Barsky (St. John’s, Bacalao).

Tweeting with the best

edtEat.Drink.Tweet. returns to Penticton this February 17-19 with some familiar and new faces on the social media front, including one of Canada’s top bloggers, a legally blind photographer, and a brief history of B.C.’s crazy liquor laws.

Following the success of last year’s sold out event, and subsequent EDTs held around the province, All She Wrote has once again partnered with Okanagan College to host Eat.Drink.Tweet., a social media conference with a culinary twist.

This year, Naramata Bench Wineries returns to pour for the live Twitter wine tasting, which will be paired with creations by Okanagan Street Food, and a pre-conference day on the art of blogging — titled “Beer’n'Blogs” will see Chef Neil Schroeter’s food paired with craft beer from Penticton’s own Cannery Brewing.

The Beer’n'Blogs session takes place on Friday, Feb. 17, and will be led by Lorraine Murphy, a prolific blogger on her own site, Raincoaster, and now a reporter for The morning will see an intro to WordPress session, followed by two breakout sessions featuring photographer Cathy Browne and Kathleen Rake of Click Media Works.

The day will end with a panel on the best practices to build and maintain your blog. To register for Eat.Drink.Tweet., go online.

Search on for communications advice

Employees will soon be able to access exclusive insider news, top internal links and people-focused features with the click of a button.

With input from members of the Employee Survey Implementation Task Force, Public Affairs has fleshed out the plans to introduce a new employee communications area within myOkanagan.

With implementation and design steps underway, Public Affairs is asking for volunteers interested in providing regular feedback as the project evolves over the coming months. The Employee Survey Implementation Task Force will continue to provide advice and input.

The plan is to have the site operational by March, with committee members meeting every two or three weeks at first, and then once every couple of months over the course of a year.

“We want this intranet to answer employees’ needs, create a greater sense of community, and be an open space where people can engage with each other,” says Allan Coyle, Director of Public Affairs. “Feedback at this early stage will help keep the project on track, and provide us with a good solid ground to grow from.”

Anyone interested in taking part, can email Allan.

Window on student prospecting

pspSince September 2011, prospective students have been signing up to connect with Okanagan College through a link inside Become a Student.

Once inside myOkanagan, prospects are able to browse through useful information, campus videos, event news, important dates, photos and program highlights, focusing on real students.

They can also create their own custom calendar of programs they are interested in, which is saved so they can come back to it the next time they login.

Anyone signing up for an account will receive an email within two business days, generated through the College’s Client Relationship Management System (CRM), advising them on how to log into their myOkanagan account.

If you want to take a look at what prospects see, you can log into a test version of myOkanagan with the username: prospect2, password: beagles. Be careful not to delete or move anything around though and be sure to log out when you are finished.

Please continue to encourage anyone interested in Okanagan College to sign up by visiting the web

Aircraft program fuelled with renewed energy

ameWestJet has announced plans to create a short-haul regional airline subsidiary using turboprop aircraft. This comes as welcome news to prospective students, and those already enrolled in both the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Program and the Commercial Aviation Diploma Program.

For more on the WestJet announcement, read: WestJet departs from past with regional plan.

Packed house for multicultural celebration

newyearAbout 700 people from Okanagan College and the community came out in force to enjoy Chinese New Year and International Night, a multicultural celebration put on by students with Okanagan College International Education.

This marked the first year the event was held at the Kelowna Community Theatre. For highlights of the events, check out this clip on YouTube.


Greenslade wins over Brits

greensladeAt a gala launch in London in mid-January, Waterstones, the UK’s largest book chain, announced the 11 new authors published in Britain in 2012 that will be featured in a year-long promotion touting them as the best debuts of the year.

Among them is the lone Canadian novel, Shelter, by English professor Frances Greenslade (Knopf Canada, Free Press in the US). Greenslade was in attendance at the London announcement. Eight of the selected writers were women. Read the article that appeared in The Guardian.

New employees welcomed

orientationMandatory employee orientations at Okanagan College started out strong in 2012 with two well-attended sessions, including the orientation of Okanagan College’s new Director of IT Services – Laura Eagen.

“Participant feedback at the employee orientation has been very positive,” said Randy Maradyn, Director of Human Resources. “We’ve made adjustments from previous sessions based on employee input and now extended the session from 90 minutes to four hours.”

So far, five sessions have taken place, orienting 97 of the College’s newest employees.

“We have been particularly pleased with the support and cooperation of many of the Executive and Directors of the College and the strong support from the representatives of employee groups,” Maradyn said.

The next two orientation sessions are scheduled for August 23 and 24, 2012.

Entrepreneurs inspire students

A panel of four successful entrepreneurs took time out of their day to inspire students in the Okanagan School of Business on January 27.

Anne Marie Kirby, CEO of CoreHealth Technologies is a proven leader in the healthcare information sector. Tracy Rawlings of Trawlings Expressions started selling her unique gift baskets online a year ago. From Abbottsford, Daryl Verbeek and Derrick Westbrook discussed the risks and rewards of owning 15 Booster Juice franchises, including several in the Okanagan. 

The entrepreneurs emphasized the importance of communication skills – from selling your business to investors, to selling your product, networking and dealing with employees.

Three of the four entrepreneurs have found a business coach invaluable, in both their personal and professional growth. The panel discussed the need for a wicked business plan, which happens to be the major project in the business entrepreneurship class. The students, working in groups, must develop a business plan for a new business they would like to start. After listening to the panel, the students are sure to produce some wicked business plans.
January 31, 2012 Vol. 5 Issue 21


Next round of Provincial Instructor Diploma program begins February

The next offering of a Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PIDP) course at Okanagan College is beginning in February.  

PIDP 3220 – Delivery of Instruction will be held over two weekends on February 10-12 and February 24-26 at the Kelowna campus.

For those who have just recently completed the College’s Learner Centred Instructor Certificate (LCIC) program or who are planning to take the LCIC program in the future, transfer credit is granted for PIDP 3220 so you do not need to take this course.

For those who are currently working on the PIDP and still need the PIDP 3220 course, this is the perfect time to take it in class at Okanagan College.

For further information please contact Glenn Galy or call 604-871-7513.

Teaching tips

The Winter 2012 issue of the Institute for Learning and Teaching’s newsletter offers up thoughts on social learning, role playing, and many other ideas. This issue of Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching can be accessed online or via a pdf version.

To find out more about the ILT please visit its webpage.

SIFE Okanagan Gala

Make a date with yourself to support SIFE students on Thursday, Feb. 16 when they present this year’s fundraising gala event featuring social entrepreneur Nikos Theodosakis, founder and director of OliveUs Education Society.

The evening event will take place from 6-9 p.m. in the Atrium at the Kelowna campus, and provides a great opportunity to hear about the projects SIFE students are working on this year, and network with many community and business partners.

The event helps raise much-needed funds for the team’s upcoming participation in both regional and national competitions. For more information on tickets ($35), contact Holly - 250-575-3795 or Adrienne - 250-801-1006.

Wine & Dine Okanagan

Infusions Restaurant at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus is taking part in this year’s Wine & Dine Okanagan.

The restaurant’s locally inspired menu is available through to Friday evening.
There’s a choice of two menus – a $15 or $25 three-course dinner. Wine pairings are available as well, at an additional cost.

Features include roasted winter squash soup, braised pork belly, Okanagan apple tarte tatin or a chicken consommé with a prosuitto wrapped lamb chop, and Okanagan poached pear for dessert – all created by the students and staff of the Culinary Arts department.

For reservations call 250-762-5445 ext. 4426.

Support Staff celebration

The Institute for Learning and Teaching is hosting a Support Staff employee appreciation luncheon on Feb. 21 in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning.

There will be two sessions with the same presenters and presentations. The first session starts at 11:30 a.m. and the second session starts at 12:30 p.m.  As the sessions are identical, support staff may join in at any time.

The presentations include an orientation session from the Employee and Family Wellness Program, and health and exercise strategies from the Campus Recreation department, as well as information on opportunities for engagement through events and activities at Okanagan College.

A light lunch will be available for attendees. Please RSVP to Patti Toma by Feb. 14.

Turn down the heat

February 9 is National Sweater Day, sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation, and Okanagan College is encouraging staff and students to take part.

The campaign encourages people to raise awareness about climate change by wearing a bright sweater, and lowering the thermostat at work, school and home.

College staff can get together on this within their own work place settings. Once everyone affected is on board, the engineering team will come by and adjust the thermostat for your department. (Please don’t adjust the thermostat yourself as sometimes this affects other zones unintentionally.)

For more information about the National Sweater Day go online. For questions, contact energy manager Rob St. Onge at ext. 4676.

Yoga at Okanagan College

Personal trainer and yoga instructor Michael Christy is stretching the minds and bodies of staff and students at the Kelowna campus.

The lunch time sessions, held Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the lecture theatre, are designed for beginners with no previous experience.

Payments can be made directly to the instructor with a 10-visit punch card for $70. The card has a four-month expiry. Drop-in fees are $8, and payable to the instructor.

For more information, contact Kim Snyder at ext. 4625  or Angie March at ext. 4501.

Have a Heart team challenge

The Have a Heart, Not a Heart Attack team challenge gets underway on Feb. 13 and runs until Mar. 16.

This popular team event attracted a tremendous number of participants last fall, and the College’s Athletics and Recreation Department in Kelowna is hoping for similar numbers this time around.

The aim is to challenge students and employees to put fitness into their daily routine. Teams of four (minimum one student per team) can sign up at the Athletics and Rec office in Kelowna (A105) or email Lynn Johnson. The cost to join the challenge is $60/team.

Coyotes teams live streamed

Ryan and Intersync Video Productions are presenting free web telecasts of both the March 3 Coyotes hockey game versus TRU and the April 7 Coyotes baseball game (Coyotes will host the University of Calgary).

Watch live at

Hollywood hitmen take over big screen

The Hollywood Renaissance Screening Series continues in Kelowna this week with some of the more nefarious characters from the 1960s and 1970s on display.

From The Godfather, to Chinatown, and Taxi Driver and many others, these classics are a great way to spend a Thursday night.

All screenings start at 6 p.m. and take place at the theatre in the Student Services Building. See the full schedule on the series’ Facebook page, or send an email to Jeremy Beaulne. You can also follow the series on Twitter @OCScreening2012.

2012-13 Calendar update

The 2012-13 Calendar will be published on March 31, 2012. This annual publishing date has been set to provide more complete information to prospective and current students at an earlier time. A second edition will be published in June.
At this point, department chairs are being asked to review their Calendar content and submit any changes to Carlyn Young  by March 2, 2012. You can review your content online.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Dan Chetner, of the Adult Academic and Career Preparation Department at the Penticton Campus, who has won the Friday, Jan. 27 payday draw for $595!
Thanks to participants, the 50/50 Staff Lottery 2011 has awarded $14,443 to students needing immediate financial assistance. If you’re interested in joining the almost 200 staff who participate, please contact Tessa Derksen (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni office. Or download a registration form online.


Feb. 10-11 – The Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships are underway in Kelowna. Canada’s top nine chefs will compete at Okanagan College in a Black Box competition beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Feb. 15 – Science in Society Speaker Series features green IT specialist Bill St. Arnaud. The lecture gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus. Admission is $5 in advance or $7 at the door.

Feb. 16 – SIFE Okanagan is hosting its annual Red Tie Gala, a fundraiser to support SIFE teams in their pursuit of regional and national competition titles. Tickets to the event are $35 and are available by contacting Holly - 250-575-3795.

Feb. 17-19 - Eat.Drink.Tweet, a social media conference with a culinary twist, will take place at the Penticton campus. To register for Eat.Drink.Tweet., go online.


Nineteen-year-old Sachika Hattori was among a few Japanese exchange students to take part in the Coming of Age Ceremony held at the Vernon campus. See: A Transition Tradition in the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan Sunday picked up the media release on the Board of Governors’ election. Read Kayfish and Styffe to lead college board.

Canstruction Kelowna added some weight to its campaign, as the Kelowna Capital News reported in its story Save-On-Foods signs up for Canstruction project.

Success at a prestigious business competition at Queen’s University gave student Steve DeBoer reason to praise Okanagan College. Read College gets down to business in the Salmon Arm Observer.

The Okanagan School of Business’s performance at Queen’s continued to draw media attention throughout the month. Read College scores big at Queen’s from the Vernon Morning Star.

The Business Thompson Okanagan picked up the media release on the grand opening of The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton. Read: Pattison gift is B.C. college’s largest ever.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused on the link between education and global events, and climbing the academic ladder in her Kelowna Capital News columns: Current global uprisings reflected in tale of a kingdom and Your PhD can start at a local community college.

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau drew crowds to the Vernon and Kelowna campuses, resulting in numerous stories in the region. Read: Liberal Party royalty visits Kelowna, and Trudeau in town to boost Liberals.

The Downtown Penticton Association announced it is expanding its team. Read Allison Markin joins the DPA team, from The Penticton Herald.

Penticton is among the top ten most talked about destinations on Facebook, wrote Eat.Drink.Tweet. host Allison Markin in her Penticton Herald article Social Media puts Penticton on the best destinations map.

Kelowna Minor Baseball and the Okanagan College Coyotes baseball program have teamed up to offer winter baseball programs in Kelowna. Read Winter baseball at CNC.

Gutsy Coyotes players staged a comeback in their game against the Victoria Vikes. Read Character victory for gutsy Coyotes in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Rivalry between Okanagan College and TRU played out in fine fashion at the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. Read: Historical split for OC.

Mel Kotler, the founder of Fabricland, along with his wife Dina have invested in the Okanagan School of Business through a new Scholar Fund focused on retail management. Read Entrepreneur assists OC, from The Kelowna Daily Courier.

The Business Thompson Okanagan reported on the endowment the Stewart Brothers Nurseries have set up. Read Nursery puts up bursary.

The Okanagan is working on cultivating a new tech cluster in the field of animation and gaming, and that effort includes a request that the College offer a two-year animation diploma. Read Bardel leaving Vancouver for Kelowna in the Business Thompson Okanagan.

The Vernon Morning Star published a guest column from Jason Beck on the need for a new track. Read: Hockey isn’t the only game in town.


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

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 Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012.