Alumnus supports Trades with $10,000 donation

bachelderJohn Bachelder, owner of Bachelder Construction Ltd., has pledged $10,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College.

Bachelder studied Commercial Transport at Okanagan College in 1985 before launching his own construction business the following decade. In the years since, Bachelder has grown his business and watched his son, daughter and wife complete programs at Okanagan College.

“I like to support things that tug on the heart strings a little, and we’re lucky to have a place like the College in the region, it creates a lot of opportunities for students,” he said. “This is an incredible facility that really honours tradespeople. “I’m excited to be a part of that. I imagine students are going to feel very proud to learn here and proud of the career path they’ve chosen.”

Bachelder’s son Brady, who also trained at Okanagan College—earning Red Seals in Carpentry and Welding—and has gone on to be very successful right out of school.

“The trades are becoming increasingly technical, which is why education and training is so important,” notes Bachelder.

His wife Cynthia and daughter Anna-Leigh are also College alumni, having completed the Early Childhood Education and Human Service Work diploma programs in recent years.

To read more about Bachelder’s donation, follow this link.

Call for volunteers as College hosts Powwow

powwowThe courtyard at the Kelowna campus will welcome hundreds of students and community members on Thursday, Sept. 15 during the eighth annual Powwow.

Organizers of the event are looking for volunteers to help in a variety of roles to ensure the event is another success. Volunteers are needed to set up booths, assist elders, help direct guests and serve food, among other activities.

The Powwow runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Anyone interested in volunteering can register online or contact Dawn Belliveau for more information.  

Plans for downtown Salmon Arm campus not proceeding

Enrolment challenges mean that a prospective donation of land proposed as a potential site for a new campus of Okanagan College in downtown Salmon Arm will not proceed.
“We very much appreciate the generous offer of 20 acres of land for a campus closer to Salmon Arm’s downtown, but the agreement around the proposal included some conditions that we will be unable to meet,” explained Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “It would be unfair to Jerry Thompson (the prospective donor) and municipal planning processes to tie up the land by suggesting that we might be able to meet them in the near future.”
The offer of land to the College and the City of Salmon Arm’s commitment to servicing were contingent on a number of factors that the three parties agreed to in 2013.
Those included developing education and business plans that would warrant building a downtown campus. Because the land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the eventual donation would hinge on having the Agricultural Land Commission approve removing the parcel of land from the ALR, based on the education and business plans.
“We worked hard to identify programs and circumstances that would take us past those conditions, but we have been unable to do that,” said Hamilton. “One of the reasons is because we have not experienced the enrolment demand for programs in Salmon Arm that was anticipated, mainly as a consequence of changing demographics and declining school populations regionally. In order to proceed with an application to the Agricultural Land Commission we would need a compelling case based on a lack of space at our current facilities. That is not the case at this time or within the time frame anticipated by the agreement.
“We have been working closely with both the prospective donor and municipal officials, who have been gracious in their appreciation of our circumstances. While we regret that we are unable to proceed, the College remains completely committed to growing its activities in the Salmon Arm region.”

Follow this link to read the complete press release.

Help solve the OC parking pass mystery

parkingpassPublic Affairs recently received an email from Phil Devin, a resident of Brisbane Australia, who purchased an MGB Roadster with an unknown association to Okanagan College.

Phil was told the vehicle originated in the United States but doesn’t know much beyond that. He is interested in piecing together the car’s past.

roadsterThe car has an Okanagan College parking pass sticker in its window. If anyone knows anything about the car or its former owner, who may have worked at Okanagan College, please contact Phil by email.


Calder publishes second novel

calderOkanagan College English professor Hannah Calder has recently published her second novel, Piranesi’s Figures. Both this novel and her first novel, More House (2009), were published by New Star Books in Vancouver.  

Piranesi’s Figures is described by her publisher as “a romp through the magnificent psychological ruins of at least two marriages and one attempt at child–rearing, and a gleefully reckless contortion of novelistic conventions, sexual practices, and family dynamics.

"As in her first novel, More House, Hannah Calder peers into hidden corners and under creaking beds with such relentless abandon that even her own characters bristle at her advances. The result is a dense witches–brew of storytelling, a feminist–tinged fairy–tale that drapes the dirtiest secrets of domestic wreckage and illicit love in fancy dress and commands them to twirl around for our amusement.”

Michael Turner, author of 8 x10, The Pornographer’s Poem and Hard Core Logo writes the following about Piranesi’s Figures, “At a time when writing is increasingly informational and pragmatic, it is refreshing to read prose derived from interior conditions, where ‘[t]he dream does its job…[t]hen it leaves in its place a hole where a story could burrow in and root itself.’ Reading Calder is to move through the world barefoot over asphalt, grass, sand and water. This is sensual, insightful writing."

In connection with UBCO professor Matt Radar’s summer intensive Creative Writing course “Bodies of Knowledge,” Calder will be reading with author Michael V. Smith at the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.   

Laura Thurnheer appointed to HRMA Board

thurnheerOkanagan College’s Chair of Business Administration, Laura Thurnheer, has been appointed to the Human Resources Management Association’s Board of Directors.

Laura joins Rita Ferrara, executive director, human resources, BC Liquor Distribution Branch; Marni Johnson, senior vice-president, human resources and communications, BlueShore Financial; Cheryl Pelletier, director of human resources, Nisga’a Lisims Government; and Kevin Howlett, senior vice-president, regional markets and government relations, Air Canada.

Laura is also a member of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors.

New Chair and Co-Chair of OCAD

The Okanagan College Assistants Development (OCAD) team is welcoming a new Chair and Co-Chair to leadership roles.

Margaret Johnson has stepped into the role of Chair of the group, working with newly elected Co-Chair/Recorder, Carla Whitten.

OCAD’s goal is to connect with the various faculties and departments to share issues and discuss best practices within the College as well as work closely with various departments to streamline processes and implement changes to procedures. If you are interested in presenting a topic at an OCAD meeting, please contact Margaret

Women in Trades welcomes Kim Noakes

noakesKim Noakes joins the College’s Women in Trades Training team with her knowledge of trades and office assistant experience. She has her B Level welding certification and recently graduated with her Office Assistant certificate from Okanagan College.

After spending many years working in the welding industry, she has returned to the College to encourage and support other women who are interested in pursuing a career in trades.

Kim can be reached at local 4597 or by email

July 12, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 8


IT Services: Planned Outages

With the goal of improving network and Internet services IT is transitioning the College to BCNET services over the month of July. This transition will result in service outages over the following weekends:

  •     Friday, July 15 after 6 p.m. - Sunday, July 17
  •     Friday, July 22 after 6 p.m. - Sunday, July 24

During these transition periods you can expect most services to be unavailable. All services will be restored prior to business hours Monday morning. For those attempting to access the website or myOkanagan, IT Services will set up a landing page to provide information on the outage and links to access any services that may still be available like Moodle.

For more information, please email Jenna Alain or call local 4326.

Emergency responders at Kelowna campus on July 14

Okanagan College’s department of Science, Technology and Health is hosting an interprofessional workshop in partnership with the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC) on Thursday, July 14.

Employees and students are advised that a number of primary care attendants, such as paramedics, will be on campus to attend the event. Visitors to campus should not be alarmed by the large number of emergency responders.

The event will also include participants from the Health Care Assistant, Practical Nursing and Pharmacy Technician programs as well as primary care attendants from JIBC. 

Employee and Family Assistance Program publication

This newsletter provided by Human Resources provides information on how to deal with conflict and argue effectively.

Click here to register for the upcoming webinar on healthy eating, which takes place on Wednesday, July 27. The webinar will shed light on how to eat well anywhere, even when you are away from home.

Explore effective learning & teaching environments: Planting The Seeds

New and continuing faculty are invited to participate in a two-day interactive workshop (Aug. 22-23) held at the Kelowna campus that will focus on creating effective learning and teaching environments. The "Planting The Seeds" event is presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services.

Much like planting a seed and watching it grow, learning and teaching provides a rewarding, organic experience of growth. This two-day workshop will look at the multiple topics to foster learner centered educational environments. Participants of this workshop can still attend Connections on August 24.

Register for the event by emailing Carla Whitten. Questions about the event can be directed to Ross McKerlich at ext. 4921.

Literary Spoke Festival

This summer, Vernon's Spoke Literary Collective is putting on a writing festival from Aug. 19-21 that will feature a number of Okanagan College’s esteemed writers. The College’s very own English and Creative Writing professors, Jeremy Beaulne, Hannah Calder, Kerry Gilbert, and Sean Johnston, along with six other well-known Thompson-Okanagan writers, will be offering workshops at the festival. 

All four professors are hoping that the festival will attract creative writing students looking to add to the skills they have developed at OC. To encourage students to apply, the festival organizers are offering one free pass to the event to an OC, UBCO, En'Owkin, or TRU student – visit for details. 

“Vernon’s been waiting for a literary festival like Spoke Literary Festival for years,” says John Lent, poet, novelist, and retired OC Creative Writing professor. “There is such a need for this kind of high-end experience here, and now it’s finally happening. In fact, writers should register early because there will be a rush for seats.

“The truth is you would be hard-pressed to attend a literary festival anywhere else in Canada this summer that would offer such an outstanding spectrum of professional writers as teachers and mentors: Jeremy Beaulne, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sharon Thesen, Garry Gottfriedson, Sean Johnston, Laisha Rosnau, Kerry Gilbert, Hannah Calder, Natalie Appleton and Michelle Doege. Absolutely spectacular. I’m thrilled to see it happening," says Lent.


News of Okanagan College’s new partnership with Air Canada Jazz had reporters and industry insiders buzzing. Read more about the new opportunities for Commercial Aviation graduates in: Take the fast track to becoming a pilot (Daily Courier), Deal between Okanagan College and airline takes flight (Vernon Morning Star), Air Canada Jazz helps Okanagan students reach new heights (KelownaNow), Jazz adds Okanagan College to its professional pilot career pathway program (NationTalk).

The Vernon Morning Star published two photos from the College’s Vernon ceremony, held on June 27. See the smiling faces of esthetics and nail technology graduates Nicole Pearson and Ashley Reich here.

A press release about additional funding for Aboriginal support services put out by the provincial government was picked up by the Vernon Morning Star. Read more about the investment of $75,000 in, College funded.

Three new donations to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign made headlines in the Okanagan Saturday and Kelowna Capital News. Read about John Bachelder’s donation in Local builder proud to support the trades. Friends and colleagues Lambert Schmalz and Gord Wilson also contributed $50,000 each in support of Trades training. Read about it in: Alumnus ante-up with donation for future trades training.

Kelowna media shared the news of Electronic Engineering Technology graduate Zach Andrews’ gold medal finish at the Skills Canada competition. Read more in: College grad wins national electronics competition (Daily Courier) and Two-time OC grad wins electronics gold (Kelowna Cap News.)

The Salmon Arm Observer published an article about the value of supporting students through scholarships after Salmon Arm hosted its annual award ceremony last month. Read about it in: Awards help students reach goals.

Donors Rick and Yasmin Thorpe were featured in an article in the Penticton Herald that showcased the eight students who will receive this year’s Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarship. Find out more in: Opening more doors for local students.

The Salmon Arm Observer shared news that Okanagan College will not be moving forward with a proposed land donation to build a new campus in downtown Salmon Arm. Read about it in New campus option abandoned.

One of Okanagan College’s 2016 Honorary Fellows has been awarded the Order of Canada for his “innovative contributions to grape-growing in the Okanagan.” Anthony von Mandl is the proprietor of VMF Estates as well as the founder of Mission Hill Family Estate. Read more about his accomplishments in: Von Mandl to Order of Canada (Kelowna Cap News) and Von Mandl named to Order of Canada (Daily Courier).

Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts Manager Chef Bernard Casavant was named as one of the sponsors of a culinary scholarship fundraiser for women. Chef Casavant will be hosting eight people in his home to enjoy a special dinner. Read more about the fundraiser in the Kelowna Capital News Culinary scholarship fundraiser.

OC alumnus and distinguished alumni award recipient Ryan Holmes and his business Hootsuite were featured in an article in the Vernon Morning Star after one of his childhood friends, Kiley Routley, was interviewed about the impact Holmes and his platform have had on her own business, Back to Earth. Read more in Social media offers key support.

An Okanagan College alumnus who is now pursuing a BBA degree at the College has been appointed to the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Board. Read more about Ben Robinson on Castanet.


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

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 July 26, 2016.