Great work gets noticed

Employee Award Recipients 2014On May 21, Okanagan College honoured the outstanding contributions of its employees at the annual Employee Excellence Awards in Kelowna.

The atrium of Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning was packed with finalists and their supporters to celebrate employees across all four campuses.
“Created three years ago, these awards recognize the hard work of all Okanagan College employees but also shine a light on those who go above and beyond to create outstanding experiences for students and their fellow employees,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

A total of 22 finalists were fêted in nine diverse award categories with 12 being chosen as recipients by the Employee Excellence Awards selection committee.

The recipients were:

  • Strong Start: Alisa McAuliffe, Program and Event Coordinator, Business
  • Scholarly Activity: Cathy Fitzgerald, Professor Okanagan School of Business
  • Service Excellence Group: Carly Chute, Print Services Coordinator, and Ann Marie Ruether, Colour Copy Technician
  • Service Excellence Individual: Alison Beaumont, Scheduling Coordinator
  • Innovation: Chi-Fui Chong, Director of Finance
  • Leadership: Bob Eby, Vice President, Finance and Administration
  • Key Directions: Laurie Donovan, Biology Professor
  • Teaching Excellence: Derek Cook, Professor Okanagan School of Business, Jim Ingram, RV Technician Instructor, and Tracy Riley, Fundamental Literacy Instructor
  • Career Achievement: Kathy Hamilton, Associate Dean of Arts & Foundational Programs

An additional 22 employees were also recognized for achieving milestones in the last year, which included earning designations, diplomas and degrees, community awards, and publishing books and articles.

All attendees had the chance to feast on a spread of hors d’oeuvres and desserts created by Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department at the afternoon event.

Penticton student going to Pan Am Games

Will WrightGunnar Schock of the Human Kinetics Student Society organized a fundraiser in April for first-year Human Kinetics student Will Wright, who is representing Canada in karate at the August Junior Pan Am games in Peru.

Gunnar organized a group tabata class at the Penticton campus. All of the $430 proceeds were donated to Will to use towards his trip to the games.

Civil Engineering builds retaining wall

On April 4, the Civil Engineering Technology students in CiEn 236, along with their instructors Henry Murphy and Ken Langedyk, built a retaining wall by the east side of the Continuing Studies building by the Fitness Centre on the Kelowna Campus.

Some of the blocks used to create the wall were made from planters that were recycled from the construction of the Centre for Learning. Basalite Concrete Products, the main sponsor of the project, donated the rest of the materials, provided the technical instruction for the work, and pizza for the students at lunch. Facilities Management also lent support to the project.
This is the 10th year Civil Engineering Technology students have built walls around campus.

Okanagan College builds for skills

Groundbreaking 2014The $33-million Trades Training Complex renovation and expansion at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus officially broke ground on May 21.

Representatives from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments joined Okanagan College employees and students, and members of the Kelowna community at the event.

Speakers at the ceremony included the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education, the Honourable Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture and MLA for Kelowna Lake Country, Adam Rich from Sentes Automotive Group, and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

The project will give the College more than 5,500 square metres of new space on top of the 5,100 square metres of existing shop and classroom space. The renovations will meet LEED Platinum standards and the new three-storey tower has been designed to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Once completed, the new trades complex will accommodate up to 2,408 students and apprentices, including students that are currently accommodated at leased off-site facilities.

“The Province’s investment in the renovation and expansion of the trades training facility at Okanagan College will provide a significant return for our students, and the employers and industry partners who rely on them,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

The provincial government is providing $28 million toward the total cost of the project, with Okanagan College raising the other $5 million. Project completion is on track for spring 2016.

Check out the following media coverage of the event:

Global Okanagan


Kelowna Now

The B.C. Government also posted a video.

Campaign Sector Chairs announced

Sector Chairs CampaignRepresentatives from some of the Okanagan’s most successful businesses focused on the trades have thrown their support behind Okanagan College's new $33-million Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus.

Leaders from companies as diverse as automotive dealers to steel fabricators have joined the Okanagan College Foundation’s volunteer campaign team.

Joining the team as sector chairs are:

  • Methal Abougoush (Owner and General Manager, Boyd Autobody & Glass)
  • Hugo Cookson (General Manager, Cookson Motors Ltd.)
  • Brian Crowley (Branch Manager, PrairieCoast Equipment)
  • Jason Friesen (Vice President, Voyager RV)
  • Graeme Jenkins (Manager, Enterprise Steel Fabricators Ltd.)
  • Oscar Krueger (Owner, Krueger Electrical Ltd.)
  • Adam Rich (General Manager, Sentes Automotive-Lexus of Kelowna)
  • Cordelle Rich (General Manager, Sentes Automotive-Kelowna Infiniti Nissan)
  • Debbie Robert (Retired Co-owner, L. Robert Enterprises Ltd.)
  • Patrick Waunch (President and CEO, Rambow Mechanical Ltd.)
  • Gord Wilson (Owner and President, TEAM Construction Management Ltd.)

Okanagan College Trades instructors have joined their business counterparts in the effort to create this new complex. They are Corey Bransfield (Automotive Service), Alf Leimert (Carpentry), John Euloth (Collision Repair), Tom Stapleton (Electrical), Doug Noble (Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport Mechanics), Brad Oliver (Plumbing/Mechanical), Alan Cohoe (Retired from Recreational Vehicle Service) and Dean Nutter (Welding).

For information on the campaign, visit the website.


Deb Matheson announces retirement

Deb 2014After 33 years at Okanagan College, Deb Matheson, Manager, Software & Support Services, has announced her retirement. Her last day on campus is Jun. 19.

During her time at the College, Deb has actually had two careers. For the first two decades, she worked in the Registrar’s office. Then in 2001, she moved over to IT Software and Support Services, where she has been ever since.

“Coming into IT at the time I did was really exciting," she says. “IT was growing as an industry and evolving quickly—there was always something to learn.”

“Positively impacting the lives of students and those who work with you requires lasting commitment," says Laura Eagen, Director of IT Services. Deb’s positive attitude and level of commitment to the vision and values of the College have been the hallmarks of her highly successful career and she will be sorely missed."

Deb says highlights of her career at the College include being part of the degree-granting period at OUC, doing research for OUC Memoirs, helping establish the first Canadian banner user conference, and being involved in the re-building of the IT team with the advent of the “new” Okanagan College in 2005.

“My time at the College has been very rewarding,” she says.

Future plans include “having more time to do the things I enjoy, such as swimming, painting, photography, and writing,” she says.

She is also set to embark on two new volunteer opportunities, one as a docent at the Kelowna Art Gallery and the other with Room to Read.

ASE Chair Marilyn Raymond is retiring

Marilyn RaymondMarilyn Raymond, Chair of Adult Special Education, is retiring after 31 years with Okanagan College.

In the 24 years she has been at the department’s helm, Marilyn has seen a lot of changes at the College but says the biggest is the inclusion of ASE students in the College community.

“Our students now have the same experience that other students do,” she says.

“I am proud of the success of the SAME (Supported Access to Modified Education) program and hope I have had a part to play in the collegial and supportive environment that exists in the ASE department.”

Marilyn is sad to leave but looking forward to having no agenda for a while, other than writing, travelling around B.C., and gardening with her husband.

ASE is hosting a drop-in event to celebrate Marilyn’s retirement on Jun. 13 from 3 – 5:30 p.m. in C120. RSVP to if you plan to attend.

New Health & Safety Officer

Duane Health and SafetyDuane Tresnich has joined the Ancillary & Business Services department at Okanagan College as the new Health & Safety Officer. He will be working with Carolyn Hayman, Manager, Health, Safety and Emergency Management.

He brings a strong background in emergency response planning and management and is currently the Vice President and Media Relations Officer for the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue group. Duane was also a member of the Kelowna RCMP Victim Services team and is an alumni of Okanagan College. In fact, he created the Walk Safe Program during his time here.

Hisdal making history

Howard HisdalHoward Hisdal, Kelowna campus History Professor and acting department Chair, had a busy month, participating in two special events.
On Friday, May 9, Howard, who is a reservist Captain with the British Columbia Dragoons, took part in the unveiling of a plaque for the National Day of Honour to pay tribute to Okanagan Valley men and women who served on Canada’s Mission to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014.

Howard started writing, editing and designing the plaque as soon as Canada’s last troops were out of Afghanistan to ensure it would be ready for the occasion. His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Andy McQuilkin, asked Howard to unveil the plaque located at the Kelowna International Airport near the Coming Home statue at the ceremony. MP Ron Cannon and Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray were in attendance.

Read the Global News coverage about the event.

On Sunday, May 11, Howard travelled to Fort St. John to attend the annual meeting of the History Articulation Committee for B.C. While there, he went on a field trip to the Charley Lake cave, an 11,000 year-old camp site, and travelled by horse-drawn wagon to the proposed Site C dam location on the Peace River. The articulation meeting was held on May 12 at Northern Lights College, during which Howard volunteered to be the secretary of the committee for the coming year and discussed the potential of Okanagan College hosting the meeting two years from now.

Bike to Work Team Rides to Broadview 

Bike to workCongratulations to the 48 Okanagan College employees from the Kelowna campus who registered for the 2014 Okanagan College Bike to Work Team.

Last week the team rode a total of 1,524 kilometres, which is the equivalent distance of riding from Kelowna to Broadview, Saskatchewan.

Most of the team has also committed to riding to work at least once a week for the rest of the summer. If you are interested in joining the team next year, please mark your calendars and save the date for the last week in May 2015. For more information or assistance in creating your own ride to work program, please contact Paul Stephenson.

Silvestrone heading to global conference

Dennis SilvestroneDennis Silvestrone, the Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Administration, will be presenting at the prestigious International Leadership Association Global Conference in November in San Diego.

He is co-presenting with Dr. Stan Amaladas from the University of Manitoba. The interactive workshop, Generative Leadership and the Problem of Entanglement, will examine leadership roles and processes that facilitate a positive dynamic between the administrative functions, structures and procedures of organizations, and the creative dynamic that drives their innovation and development.

In Memory

The Okanagan College flag was lowered on May 29 at the Kelowna campus to acknowledge the passing of Lois Carrie Butler, who died on May 22. 

Butler worked at the institution teaching math in the late 1970s and early 1980s and established a scholarship at Okanagan College for women taking math or physics (her major when she graduated from the University of Toronto in 1940).
“She loved teaching and loved the College," recalls Kathy Butler, the College's Director of Advancement, who was married to Kip Butler, one of Lois’s three children. “It was a really important part of her life.”

Jun. 3, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 5


Pension contribution rate increase July 1, 2014 

A contribution rate increase will be put in place for the Municipal Pension Plan starting July 1, 2014.
Plan members and employers will share a contribution rate increase: members’ rates will increase 0.7 per cent of salary and employer rates will increase by 0.78 per cent of salary.

This rate increase is the result of the latest actuarial valuation, an independent financial review of the Plan’s assets, liabilities, demographic trends and investment performance. The 2012 valuation report has determined the following:

  • the Plan is currently 96.5 per cent funded
  • to address the shortfall in funds, the Municipal Pension Plan Board of Trustees must increase the total contribution rate by 1.4 per cent of salary

For more information, contact 1-800-668-6335 toll-free in Canada and U.S. or



Okanagan College is hosting the first of its convocation ceremonies this weekend. On Friday, Jun. 6, the College will recognize the accomplishments of almost 900 entry-level and apprenticeship trades students who completed their training over the course of the last year. Okanagan College alumnus Todd Regier, co-owner of Prestige Collision, will be speaking at the event, which starts at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Jun. 7, the College will confer nearly 500 credentials during two ceremonies.

Graduands from Arts, Science, Engineering Technologies, Computer Science, Health and Social Development will receive credentials in the morning, starting at 10:30 a.m. Honorary Fellow award recipient, Margriet Ruurs will be recognized for her work in promoting children’s literacy during this ceremony.

At 1:30 p.m., the College will confer degrees, diplomas and certificates to graduands of the Okanagan College School of Business. Two Honorary Fellows, Kelowna entrepreneur and former Foundation president Raghwa Gopal and Penticton business owner Jim Henderson, will be recognized at this event.

To watch the convocation ceremonies via live streaming, visit

CanFlip 2014

The third annual CanFlip 2014 conference is taking place Jun. 19 and 20 at Okanagan College. This conference brings together educators to discuss 21st century teaching and learning techniques, including the Flipped Classroom concept. The conference offers an exciting roster of speakers in an environment where presenters and participants can interact and learn together. Visit for more details on speakers, conference fees and registration.

Scenic Canyon hike

On Jun. 21, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the Athletics and Recreation team is leading a hike through Kelowna’s Scenic Canyon. This moderate to challenging trek goes through a range of terrains, so sturdy boots are recommended. Pack a backpack with lunch and water. Sign up in the Athletics and Recreation and Student Life office, A 105, by Jun. 18. This event is free.

Social on the green

On Jun. 13, the Okanagan College Social Club is hosting a nine-hole co-ed golf tournament. Join in the fun by dressing in best tacky golf costumes to win prizes. Tickets are $25. Tee times start at 3 p.m., Mission Creek Golf Club, Kelowna. If you are unable to attend the golf portion, come to the restaurant for dinner (everyone will be ordering off the menu). Contact Angie March at ext. 4501 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Links to Learning

On Jun. 20, the 18th annual ACIC Links to Learning Golf Tournament takes place at the Talking Rock Golf Club, Quaaout Lodge Hotel and Resort, in Chase. The tournament is hosted by Okanagan College's Salmon Arm Campus and the All Canadian Investment Corp. All proceeds from the event are going directly to local Okanagan College students in need. Shotgun start at 12:30 p.m., $200 per person. To register, fill out the form.

Contact Leslie Bogula at local 8259 for more information.

Be Well Challenge

The Athletics and Recreation department on the Kelowna campus is hosting the Be Well at Okanagan College Challenge on Wednesdays from 12 – 1 p.m. until Jun. 25. Participants will take part in a daily 10,000-step challenge and weekly group walks, and also receive fitness tips, healthy recipes, myth busters and giveaways. It’s $10 for staff and free for students to participate. Register at A105 or online.

Idle No More Teach-In

On Wednesday, Jun. 4 from 1-3 p.m., the Kelowna campus will be hosting an information session for staff, students, and the public on the Idle No More movement. The event will provide an understanding around Bill C-33: First Nations control over First Nations education, and why Aboriginal people have issues with the planned changes. Dennis Saddleman will be reciting his poem “Residential School Monster” and talk about his experiences as a residential school survivor, during the event, which takes place in S104.

The event will be streaming live, click here to view.

For more information, contact Norah Bowman or Gail Smith


Okanagan College biology alumna Kristen Magnusson passed away on May 13 following complications of a double lung transplant, see the Obituary in the Okanagan Saturday.

An MoU establishes a groundbreaking new program, see SD 23, OC partner up on Early College program in the Kelowna Capital News.

Community heavyweights show their support for Okanagan College’s $33 million trades complex, see Industry leaders back OC trades complex, and Ground broken for trades bldg at OC in the Kelowna Capital News, College to build $33 million trades complex in the Okanagan Saturday, and College trades complex will be huge in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College Foundation donor and former employee Lois Carrie Butler passed away on May 22, see the Obituary in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Okanagan College announced its Honorary Fellow recipients for 2014, see College to honour four people for contributions to community in the Kelowna Daily Courier, and Quartet to receive Okanagan College’s highest honour in the Kelowna Capital News.

Jane Muskens wrote about Okanagan College’s alumni awards in her column in the Kelowna Capital News, see Alumni Awards go to truly inspiring people.

Okanagan College alumna and Olympian Kelsey Serwa will be the keynote speaker at a charity event, see Serwa to speak at Rotary event in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Author and former Regional Dean of Okanagan College John Lent is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award, see College bestows highest honour on former dean in the Vernon Morning Star.

Two Okanagan College employees (Mark Ziebarth, business professor, and Meredith Birchall-Spencer, Public Affairs) have been elected to the Board of Directors for the Boonstock Entertainment and Arts Society, see Boonstock names board of directors in the Okanagan Sunday.

Okanagan College alumni Lane Shupe and Donnie Ungaro are being fêted on Jun. 12, see Alumni association honours 2 successful grads in the Kelowna Daily Courier.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 Jun. 17, 2014.