Trades Complex project underway

Trades ComplexWork is well underway on the renovation and expansion of the Trades Complex on the Kelowna Campus. In September the B.C. government announced it was providing $28-million under B.C.'s Skills and Training Plan to expand and renovate trades training facilities at the Kelowna campus, ensuring future welders, heavy-duty technicians, electricians, plumbers and other skilled workers will get the training they need.

The total cost of the project is $33-million, a capital fundraising campaign will make up the difference needed to complete the building. Construction preparation began immediately; the projected completion date for the entire complex is the spring 2016.

The first building to be renovated and expanded is the Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport (HD/CT) Technician building on the northeast corner of the Trades compound. Over the last two weeks the outer buildings have been removed paving the way for a two story expansion to the east and to the west of the building.

The east expansion will be home to two 20-seat classrooms, one 24-seat classroom, office and storage space. The west expansion will house two 20-seat classrooms, office space, RV and Welding storage rooms. In addition, the HD/CT Technician building will be completely renovated to improve the shops space and make the building more energy efficient. These plans mean that the HD/CT Technician building will be completely transformed as a great first step to this exciting and innovative project on the Kelowna campus.

In 2003 the College trained 18 entry-level HD/CT Technicians in that building. Okanagan College expects to train approximately 138 foundation students and apprentices in those trades. 

New director highlights regional wine, food and tourism

RouseThe Okanagan’s exceptional culinary and wine-producing nature now has a new champion.

Jonathan Rouse, who is currently a faculty member in the Okanagan School of Business, has been appointed as Director of Wine, Food and Tourism at the College. The position also includes a half-time appointment as Associate Dean of the Okanagan School of Business.

Rouse will be focusing on further development of the College’s existing programming in wine and viticulture, culinary arts, tourism and hospitality.

“This is an exciting time for Okanagan College,” said President Jim Hamilton. “Jonathan’s contribution to the College, both in an instructional capacity and through his research into enhancing our delivery of wine, food and tourism studies, has been extremely valuable. His appointment marks a turning point for the College in its investment in these programming areas and in the commitment to further serving the region and economy.”

For more information, read the full release here.

Two teams off to Queen’s

Two teams from the College’s Okanagan School of Business have made it to the final round of the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Kelowna students Josh Widman, 22 and Daniella Hallam, 22, make up the finance team, which is being coached by Professor Derek Cook, while Nicole Hamming and Adria Couch, both from Vernon, will be competing in the Management Information Systems category with coaching from Professor Glen Coulthard.

Okanagan College is the only college in the country to be taking part in this year’s competition, where students are up against top-level competitors from Canadian universities including Simon Fraser, Calgary and Concordia.

For more information, read the full media release here.

Western Canada RoboCup Junior Games biggest yet

RobocupMore high school students than ever before entered the 7th Annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior Games held at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College Nov. 30.

Almost 200 students took part in the event, bringing robots that they had created and designed to play soccer, dance, or work their way through a mock search and rescue course.

In the Secondary competition (age 14-19), the winning teams were:
Rescue category - The Rescuers – Heather Nicholson from Online Middle School, Kelowna

Soccer category - Tornados – Tiana Fairbrother, Taylie Borg and Marina Blagojevic from Central School

In the Primary competition (age 13 and Under), the winning teams were:
Dance category - Pyromaniaardvarkz – Aiken Webster, Matthew Carson and Madison Smith from Independent school

Rescue category - Bot Builders – Fin Tobin, Ryan Pybus and Sean Steeves from Constable Neil Bruce Middle School, West Kelowna

The 7th Annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior Games is sponsored by Okanagan College, ASTTBC (Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia), Tekmar Control Systems, and BC Hydro.

To read the media releases click here.

Electrical students charged up over Revelstoke dam

Revelstoke damIt’s one of the most powerful hydroelectric developments in the province, and last month a group of first year Electrical students from Okanagan College got to tour the facility.

The students received an inside look at BC Hydro’s Revelstoke Generating Station, a 175-metre high concrete gravity dam and powerhouse.

The tour provided students with an insider’s look on the future of their career. To read the full media release, click here.

Salmon Arm student snags 3-Hour Short Story competition

A short story from a Salmon Arm Secondary school student has become the overall winning entry in Okanagan College’s 3-Hour Short Story competition.

Grade 12 student Samantha Wex’s story Cat’s Cradle, won the Salmon Arm campus competition, and then judges selected her story as the overall winner.

Cat’s Cradle will be published in a limited fine art edition from Kalamalka Press, which is based out of the Vernon campus.

Other winning entries from each of the regions were:

•    Vernon – Drowning Emily by Casey Hesketh, from Charles Bloom Secondary School
•    Kelowna – Her Special Day by Valerie Scott, from Okanagan College
•    Penticton – Ruby Tuesday by Tricia Highley, from Okanagan College

Each of the regional winners received a $250 tuition fee credit. Wex, as overall winner, received an additional $250 credit for a total of $500.

A total of 54 students took part in the College-wide contest this year. This marked the third year the College has held the program. Previous overall winners were Gwenellen Tarbet from the South Okanagan, and Shvaugn Craig from Salmon Arm.

Okanagan College’s English department puts on the contest along with support from the Arts and Foundational programs at each of the College campuses.

Faculty Association lends support to educating Afghan girls

OCFA logoThe Okanagan College Faculty Association (OCFA) has donated $1,000 to Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan after hearing about the Kelowna organization’s efforts from History professor Howard Hisdal.

Hisdal also urged the OCFA to condemn the recent Taliban shooting of 15-year-old student Malala Yousafzai for being a vocal proponent of education for girls in Pakistan. The OCFA agreed, saying it is in the best interest of everyone to eliminate gender inequities, and provide education access to all.

To read the media release click here.


Steve Robinson Sr. to retire

Steve Robinson retiresThe New Year will look at bit different for Steve Robinson as the Director of Facilities Management wraps up his seven-year career at Okanagan College.

Robinson will be retiring Jan. 31, 2013 after serving the College through some of its biggest transitions – notably in the areas of sustainability that culminated with the creation of The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation.

“I’m proud that we aimed high – really really high with the Centre of Excellence,” Robinson said. “I always say the building is an agent of change. It changes everyone who has the opportunity to experience it.”

Robinson joined the College in early 2005 to provide project management as Okanagan University College transitioned to Okanagan College. He was then hired full-time as Manager of Operations and took over the Facilities department in 2007.

Stress-free in Salmon Arm

Stress LessAbout 70 people took part in the 3rd annual Stress Less Fair at the Salmon Arm campus this past Thursday.  

The two-hour event featured services and healthy snacks aimed to help students enter the exam period with a stress-free body and mind.

Local businesses provided free Yoga classes, chair massages and discounted services to students.

Donations by the truckload

Pay It ForwardOkanagan College’s 7th annual Pay It Forward giving campaign sent College alumna and campaign founder Sarah Comba off with not one, but two, truckloads of donations to Inn from the Cold and Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

Volunteers spent Monday morning sorting through donated winter coats, unwrapped toys, baby supplies, toiletries, toques, mitts and scarves – all donated by faculty, students, staff and community members.

Heather Carson, Lynn Johnson and Jenn Naiman from the Athletics, Recreation and Student Life department helped organize the donations at the Kelowna campus over a 12-day period.

Students showcase projects on children’s rights

Early childhoodStudents enrolled in Instructor Betty Cleland’s Early Childhood Education Professional class took their projects to the public at a National Child Day event held Nov. 17 in Kelowna.

Each student group created a tabletop presentation based on the individual rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

More than 300 people turned out for the resource fair, put on by the Community Action Toward Children’s Health.

WET students receive ASTTBC awards

ASTTBC 2012Two Okanagan College students, both enrolled in the Water Engineering Technology program, were recognized at the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) annual Technology Awards and Recognition Celebration in Vancouver Nov. 5.

John Partanen received the ASTTBC Wade Wicks Memorial Bursary ($1,000) while Chris Mackay was awarded the $1,500 ASTTBC BC Hydro Award.

Photo caption: Dan Mooney, AScT, ASTTBC Foundation board member and ASTTBC Past President (left) presented the ASTTBC Wade Wicks Memorial Bursary to John Partanen.

Salmon Arm’s Multicultural Café nominated for Nesika award

NesikaSalmon Arm’s Multicultural Café was among 160 nominees for this year’s fourth annual Provincial Nesika Awards, presented in Burnaby as part of B.C.’s multiculturalism week in late November.

Project manager Tracy Riley, along with café volunteers Tom and Masumi Kakuda, travelled to Vancouver for the event, and said it was very inspiring to learn about the work other organizations were doing to help raise awareness towards diversity, multiculturalism and anti-racism issues, promote respect and inclusion and create a welcoming environment in their communities.

Salmon Arm’s Multicultural Café is a not-for-profit business operated by immigrants that live, work and study in Salmon Arm and the surrounding area.

Young eyes all front for trades

HAC school visitGrade 9 students from Ecole KLO Middle School spent some time at the Kelowna campus checking out trades and other programs with Dianne Holm from the Trades and Apprenticeship department as their guide.

The tour was part of the school’s Health and Career Education (HACE) program where students had a chance to explore educational options for both high school and post secondary.

“This was definitely the highlight for the student’s HACE experience last week,” said teacher Cathie Pavlik. “Extending the trip to include more of the campus was extremely beneficial.”

Okanagan College student saves on gas

For the second year in a row, an Okanagan College student has been named one of the winners in the Carpool Week contest put on by TransCanada

Susanne Young used the website to find a carpool partner to travel to and from the Penticton campus. Her name was randomly selected to win her choice of a $150 Ticketmaster Card or $150 Fuel card.

College runners help Santa Shuffle lift off

Santa shuffleThis year’s Santa Shuffle got a bit of extra support this past Saturday from runners outside the Central Okanagan, thanks to Okanagan College employees.

For the first time in the four years of taking part, the OC Runners team included runners not only from Kelowna, but Vernon and Penticton, among them Drew Petrie, Val Tuhkala, Markus Heinrichs, Michelle Lowry and organizer Michelle Sinclair. Additional support came from friends and family members.

The team raised $300 in donations to help the Salvation Army feed local families this holiday season. More than 200 walkers and runners took part in the event.

Crackling good time at Penticton campus

Santa lunchThe Penticton Campus hosted its annual student holiday lunch. The fire was crackling on the big screens, Santa was handing out candy canes and the staff was hard at work serving a full turkey lunch.

South Okanagan Regional Dean Donna Lomas said it was a fabulous event and over 200 students enjoyed the meal.


Dec. 4, 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 17


Holiday season closure dates

Okanagan College will be closed to the public during the holiday season beginning Monday, Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. and will re-open on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

Fitness facility hours change for holiday

Starting Sunday, Dec. 9 and through to Friday, Dec. 21, the fitness facility at the Kelowna campus will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The facility is closed for the holiday season starting Dec. 22, and will re-open Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 6 a.m.

Manulife clarifies Emergency Travel Coverage

Manulife has provided a bulletin outlining new wording that it has added to Emergency Travel Coverage that is designed to clarify available coverage for unexpected medical emergencies that occur either out-of-province or out-of-country.

The coverage applies to employees and their dependants who are covered under Okanagan College’s Extended Health Care plan.

Anyone travelling this season is encouraged to bring along their MSP and Manulife cards.

Food for Fines

Anyone with outstanding library fines at any of the campuses can donate a non-perishable food item and have their library fines forgiven. Each food item pays off $2 in library fines to a maximum of $20. The campaign runs through to Dec. 15.

Winter Convocation

Be part of Winter Convocation and support Okanagan College grads. Volunteers are needed to hand out gowns to grads, be ushers and help with the reception. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Michelle Lowry.

Tuition-free programs open to eligible candidates

Three programs starting up this January at Okanagan College will be offering free tuition to eligible candidates as part of the Employment Skills Access Training.

The three programs are:

  • Landscape Horticulture and Golf Course Maintenance
  • Wine and Service Industry Training
  • Management Skills for Supervisors

Information sessions are taking place this Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Kelowna campus from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in Room A125, and next Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in Room D314 at the Vernon campus.

Eligible candidates must be unemployed, non-EI clients.


Dec. 4 – The film Eco-Warriors screens at the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus at 7 p.m. Vancouver-based producer Jennifer Pickford examines the practice of viewing environmental activists as being labelled terrorists through the U.S.’s Domestic Terrorism Section.

Dec. 10 – Okanagan College Art Group hosts a drop-in night for current and former students and staff to share their projects and ideas from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Kelowna campus. Room E107.

Dec. 10 – Physics and Astronomy Professor Ryan Ransom examines the results of a $1-billion NASA/Stanford University test into Einstein’s theory of relativity – Gravity Probe B. 7 – 9 p.m. Room PL107 at the Penticton campus.

Dec. 25 – Jan. 1 - All Okanagan College campuses are closed to the public.

Jan. 3 – Welcome Back Winter BBQ takes place at the Kelowna campus from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. including free food, and sign-ups for volleyball intramurals, and trips to Big White. For more information, visit the Athletics and Recreation Facebook page.


Okanagan College alumna Sarah Comba helped shape the College’s Pay It Forward donation campaign, reported the Capital News. Read: Gratitude continues to shape OC’s Pay it Forward campaign.

The Western Canada RoboCup Junior competition received considerable coverage from local media. Read: Kids know their robots, from the Courier, and Record number of team entries for 2012 RoboCup Junior Games in the Capital News, RoboCup Games begin in the Morning Star, and Record number of teams for RoboCup at college.

Students in Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing Diploma program are now setting type and pulling proofs by hand, reported Off-Centre magazine. Read: College goes old-school with print shop.

Registrar Jane Muskens examined the role image plays when it comes to international students selecting a country to study in. Read: Canada’s safety a big drawing card for international students, from her School’s In column. She also focused on funding issues facing post-secondary institutions. Read: Funding needed in the Morning Star.

Okanagan College has appointed Jonathan Rouse as director of wine, food and tourism. Read: College appoints new director from Okanagan Saturday. The Capital News also reported on his appointment.

Okanagan Saturday reported on two Okanagan College students who picked up the top prize at the Venture Okanagan Investors Forum. Read: Careful cabbing. The story also appeared in the Capital News. Read: Business ventures green lighted.

Talk continues over the $8.5 million referendum on a new sports facility at Okanagan College campus in Vernon. Read: Questions surfacing over facility, Referendum details online, and Complex under scrutiny, all from the Morning Star.

Okanagan College will offer a new seven-week Bar, Wine and Service Industry Training program. Read: Kelowna campus to offer new bar, wine and service industry training program and Bar class on tap at college.

Okanagan College professor Lee Cartier has received a national research grant to examine innovation in rural agriculture. Read: Agriculture research grant given to OC School of Business, in the Capital News.

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus has been recognized again, this time with two awards from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies Canada. Read: Consultants lauded for college building.

Two teenagers a world apart, but with one objective in mind, have inspired the Okanagan College Faculty Association to support international efforts to educate girls. Read: OC faculty takes global stand on issue of educating girls, from the Capital News.

The 15th annual Okanagan Short Story Contest helps to provide creative writing scholarships for students transferring from Okanagan College to UBC Okanagan. Read: Short story writing submissions sought for contest.

The Courier's 50 Years Ago feature highlighted the announcement of a $1.5 million contract awarded for a new vocational school soon to be known as Okanagan College. Read: College contract awarded.

Okanagan College student Deannie Zahara was featured in the Courier’s Angel Campaign series. Read: Hoping for clothes for Christmas.

Okanagan School of Business Dean Dr. Heather Banham was featured in a roundup on achievements. Read: Valley business movers and shakers, from Okanagan Saturday.

Rick Gee, chair of Okanagan College Computer Science department, spent time in snowshoes recently. Read: Snowbound Trail, from Okanagan Saturday.

Vertigo Voices, launched by retired regional dean John Lent, will featuring a reading from the College’s Mackie Lake House writer-in-residence Terry Jordan. Read: Diverse line-up of authors to read at Vertigo Voices.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Dick Cannings has been nominated by the Penticton NDP Constituency Association in next May’s provincial election. Read: Cannings wins NDP nod.

Retired Okanagan College Foundation president Steve Tuck has been honoured with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Read: The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Former Okanagan College athletic trainer Alex Recsky was inducted as a builder in this year’s Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. Read: Hall of Fame enshrines inductees for 2012.

Local chef Mark Filatow took the Gold Medal Plates in Vancouver and is now preparing for the big competition, which takes place this February in Kelowna, including the black box competition held at Okanagan College. Read: Local food industry big winner with chef.

The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence was featured in the online publication Glass. See: Glazing: Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence.


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, Dec. 18, 2012.