Enactus Okanagan College team earns podium finishes, awards at nationals

financial lit team 2016Okanagan College business students shone at a recent national competition in Toronto. Adding to the impressive showing, which included multiple podium finishes, were a number of prestigious honours for students, team advisors and faculty.

A team of 24 students from the Okanagan School of Business journeyed to this year’s Enactus National Exposition, held from May 4-6 at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre. This event brings together students, industry leaders (who serve as judges) and faculty advisors from across the country to celebrate Canada’s future entrepreneurs.

The Nationals team from the College advanced to the semi-final round of competition (top 20), before being bested by last year’s national champion, the University of Ottawa. The College’s Financial Literacy team placed second in the country (behind only SFU) and received a $2,000 cash prize, while the Youth Empowerment Team came third in the country and received a $1,000 prize. The prizes will help fund the team’s participation in next year’s competition.

To cap off a successful trip, team members Abbey Jones and fellow BBA student and Enactus Okanagan College President Cassandra Lum were awarded $2,500 bursaries for their leadership efforts. Elvia Picco was named Team Advisor of the Year and Okanagan School of Business professor Andrew Klingel was inducted as a John Dobson Fellow for his significant Enactus contributions as a faculty member.

Read more highlights in the press release.

Local Ford dealer makes trades complex donation to honour father’s legacy

ford donationWith more than two dozen alumni on staff and a family connection to Okanagan College that spans decades, a local automotive dealer is carrying on his father’s legacy of supporting education.

Dan Assam, owner of Orchard Ford and Kelowna Ford has pledged $100,000 to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the new trades complex in Kelowna. Assam’s donation will help to outfit a new student lounge in the renovated corridor outside of the Automotive Service Technician shop; the lounge will be dedicated to Assam’s father Norm who founded Orchard Ford in 1983.

“My father was a big supporter of education and training,” says Assam. “Helping staff advance their skills was important to him, as was giving back to the community. This gift honours and celebrates his legacy, and we hope it will inspire the next generation of automotive tradespeople training at Okanagan College.”

Between the two dealerships in Kelowna, Assam currently employs 20 Okanagan College-trained Red Seal Automotive Service Technicians, with another six on staff who are in the process of completing their apprenticeship training at the College.

Read the full story in the press release.

Internationalization project team in development: call for volunteers

strat plan iocOkanagan College is taking strides to advance a Key Direction from its new Strategic Plan: Supporting Learner Readiness and Success, which pledges that the College will “implement an internationalization plan so that students better understand the world around them.” Volunteers are being sought out for the project team that will work to develop an institution-wide internationalization strategy.

“A successful internationalization strategy will result in the creation of a diverse, global educational environment with opportunities for international activity for all Okanagan College employees and students,” says Charlotte Kushner, Vice President Students.

The planning process will be led by a broadly representative project team of volunteers. The College is aiming to have the team in place in spring/summer 2016 to begin work on this project.

Employees are encouraged to review the Project Charter and consider participating. The details of the project team’s activities are not yet fully defined, but it is anticipated that involvement would initially require participation in two- to three-hour project team meetings approximately once a month over a period of up to six months. Attendance through electronic media may be a viable option in some cases.

Should you wish to become a member of the project team, please submit your name to Liz Plamondon by May 20, 2016.

Stepping Forward program, Career Fair help open doors for Aboriginal students

stepping forward may 2016Okanagan College and the Okanagan Indian Band (OIB) celebrated the achievements of 11 students who recently completed a collaborative program designed to help Aboriginal students build skills and get job ready.

“I am not the same timid person who started this program 22 weeks ago. I have grown and moved forward in so many ways,” says program graduate Mekaila John.

The Stepping Forward program, offered through the College’s Continuing Studies Department in partnership with OIB, is designed to help Aboriginal students boost Math and English skills, gain useful workplace certificates (such as FOODSAFE), connect more deeply with their Aboriginal culture and language, and build goal-setting skills. At the graduation ceremony on Friday, May 6 in Vernon, students rose to the occasion: drumming and singing the Okanagan Nation song for the 50 plus guests in attendance. Since 2012, more than 60 students have completed the program from the Shuswap to the South Okanagan.

career fairThat week the College also hosted the 22nd Annual Aboriginal Career Fair on Thursday, May 5 in Kelowna, in partnership with UBC Okanagan, The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society and Westbank First Nation.

More than 300 Aboriginal high school students from throughout the B.C. Interior converged on the Centre for Learning to explore a vast array of post-secondary and employment opportunities. Students had a chance to interact with exhibitors from colleges and universities, and employers in finance, trades, agriculture, health, technology, and other sectors.

Read the full story in the press release.

Princess Auto Foundation equips the College with new bursaries

princess auto iocA national foundation dedicated to supporting trades education has launched new bursaries that will open doors for students looking to pursue or continue trades training at any Okanagan College campus.

The Princess Auto Foundation has donated $25,000 to establish the new award fund. Launched in Manitoba in 2007, the Foundation has distributed more than $4 million to colleges across Canada. Okanagan College joins two other B.C. institutions – BCIT and Camosun – on the list of those that have received support, to date. Princess Auto Foundation founder Bob Tallman and his wife Cathy recently toured the College’s new trades facilities in Kelowna.

“We were inspired by the way the College celebrates tradespeople and recognizes the contributions they make in our communities,” says Tallman. “The Princess Auto Foundation is proud to be a part of that vision.”

Read the full story in the press release.


College names von Mandl, Redmond and Winkler as 2016 Honorary Fellows

winkler ioc may 2016Okanagan College’s highest honour will this year be bestowed upon three Okanagan residents who have each made far-reaching contributions to the region, from entrepreneurship to philanthropy to ecological research.

Anthony von Mandl O.B.C., Bill Redmond and Dr. Rita Winkler will be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College at Convocation ceremonies on June 4 in Kelowna. von Mandl and Winkler will attend the morning ceremony and Bill Redmond will address graduands during the afternoon ceremony.

von Mandl, proprietor of VMF Estates and founder of Mission Hill Family Estate, will be recognized by the College for his vision and efforts to elevate the Okanagan as a winery destination. Redmond, whose career in the wholesale food industry spanned 40 years and who served as Okanagan College’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (2007), will be honoured for his business and philanthropic contributions to the region. Winkler is a forest hydrologist with a career spanning more than 35 years and whose research on snow processes in forests has refined our understanding of the science and guided the development of forest management practices.

Read more about each Honorary Fellow’s unique achievements in the press release.

2016 Employee Excellence Award recipients

employee excellence 2016 groupOn Wednesday, May 4, at the Kelowna campus, Okanagan College employees came together to celebrate the exceptional contributions made by their peers as finalists and recipients were recognized at the 5th Annual Employee Excellence Awards.

The event was hosted by Charlotte Kushner, Vice President Students and Cam McRobb, BCGEU Vocational Bargaining Chair and took place in the Centre for Learning. Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton congratulated all finalists and recipients. Employees had the opportunity to enjoy delectable culinary creations by the College's Culinary Arts students while they cheered on their peers.

The finalists and recipients in each of the eight categories spanned a diverse array of positions and departments, and hailed from all four of the College’s regions. Each was recognized for their unique contribution to the College’s mission to transform lives and communities. Randy Werger, Associate Dean, Trades & Apprenticeship received the Career Achievement Award and Donna Lomas received the President's Award.

Read the full list of recipients on the Employee Excellence Awards website.

Employees engaging in learning

roundabout rally iocA series of learning events put on by Okanagan College’s Learning & Teaching and IT Services departments is giving employees a chance to share their knowledge and learn from their peers.

Roundabout Rally kicked off on May 9 and offers a daily series of learning sessions that cover a wide array of topics, technologies, and strategies. The sessions are designed to help employees sharpen skills that will benefit them in their jobs, while also providing a chance for them to share their own expertise from finance to IT to graphic design to teaching, and more. Thirty-seven employees attended eight workshops last week; more workshops are slated for this week, with prizes available for participants.

Learning and Teaching also hosted an event entitled Indigenizing by Design last week, which was attended by 21 people at the Kelowna campus.

Register for the Roundabout Rally by email and check out the rest of the Roundabout schedule here.

Coyotes narrowly miss out on CCBC Championship title

coyotes 2016 iocThe OC Coyotes hosted the 2016 Canadian College Baseball Conference Championships and looked poised to take home the title on Sunday, May 15 at Elks Stadium in Kelowna, until a ninth inning upset ended their run.

Trailing by a run and down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Coyote’s opponents the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs hit consecutive singles to bring in two runs and outscore the Coyotes 5-4. The Coyotes went 2-2 in preliminary play, but were able to defeat the University of Calgary Dinos 14-9 in semi-final play on Sunday morning to advance to the final.

This tournament wraps the season for the Coyotes. Click here for more information about 2016 OC Coyotes roster and season highlights.

May 17, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 4


Kelowna gym closed over long weekend

The fitness facility in Kelowna will close for the May long weekend on Friday, May 20 at 5 p.m. and will re-open on Tuesday May 24 at 8 a.m.

Volunteer for Convocation 2016

This June, Okanagan College will celebrate its graduating students at five Convocation ceremonies. Volunteers are needed to assist in two different roles, as event ushers and individuals are needed to help prepare refreshments for the reception. Please contact Michelle Lowry if you would like to volunteer, noting the ceremony you are available for.

  • Trades Commencement Fri, June 3 @ 6 p.m.
  • Spring Convocation Sat, June 4 @ 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Vernon Convocation Mon, June 27 @ 4:30 p.m. 
  • Summer Convocation Wed, June 29 @ 6 p.m.

For more information about Convocation, visit the website.

Register for Connections 2016

Registration is now open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference. Connections is organized by employees for employees. It is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses, and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work here through interactive, social activities and fun informative workshops.

You will hear from President Jim Hamilton about what's happening in and around Okanagan College and you will have a great opportunity to interact with your fellow colleagues. 

Register for sessions here. Thank you to all of the early birds who registered by May 15. Winners of the early bird registration prizes - two iPad Mini 2s - will be announced at Connections.

Connections will be held at the Kelowna campus again this year and employees have the choice of attending on either Tuesday, August 23 or Wednesday, August 24.

Camp OC registration now open with new employee tuition waiver

Looking for children’s camp ideas this summer? Browse the great day-camps offered through Camp OC at the Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon campuses.

College employees are able to register their children and grandchildren at a 10 per cent discount. New this year, on the Friday before a particular camp begins, employees can take advantage of a 50 per cent tuition waiver with certain criteria being met, including if a camp has reached minimum registration, but not yet met the maximum. Review the criteria to learn more (also found in myOkanagan under OC Express Forms).

This year, courses for Grade 10-12 students will also be offered at the Kelowna campus. Check out the website for more info.

HR monthly newsletter, webinar

HR is pleased to share the May edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter from our employee and family assistance program (EFAP). The topic this month is smoking cessation: creating new, healthier habits and choices that can help you feel better.  An upcoming webinar on May 25 will provide tips and strategies for Effective Communication at home and in the workplace. Follow this link to register.

IT Services has made it easier for students to obtain Office 365

Okanagan College's licensing agreement allows for students to use Office 365 during their studies here. Students can access the link for Office 365 through the student tab in myOkanagan (click on the Office 365 image in the student tab for more information).


Employee Social at Mission Tap House

May 19 – The KLO Campus social committee is inviting all employees to a pub night at Mission Tap House at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. There will be food and drink specials, as well as some fun draw prizes to be won. Contact Katerina Hay for more information.

Foundation's Charity Golf Tournament

May 26 – Volunteers are needed for the 25th Annual Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group Charity Golf Tournament at the Okanagan Golf Club. Last year’s tournament and silent auction raised more than $48,000 to assist Okanagan College students through scholarships, bursaries, and program support.

If you would like to volunteer for a fun day on the course, or host your own OC program booth on the greens, contact Samantha Blandon via e-mail or at local 4774.

Be Well at Okanagan College

This Challenge is open to all students and staff. It includes a weekly 3+KM walk exploring local parks and trails along with health and wellness tips. Once you register details of this challenge are posted on the private Challenge Facebook page.
Date:  Wednesdays, May 25 - June 22
Time: 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Cost:  $10 for staff, free for students
Click here to sign up online.

Bike to Work Week

May 30 - June 3 – Employees on all campuses are invited to join Okanagan College’s Bike to Work Team for 2016. Riders can register online or email Dr. Paul Stephenson with the words “Please register me online” in the subject line. Returning riders can simply re-activate last year’s registration. Registrants will have a chance to win raffle prizes (bike pumps, bells, tire repair kits, etc.)

Key dates:

  • New for this year, the College will be hosting a refreshment station: join us on Monday, May 30 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. outside the main entrance to new Trades building off KLO Rd. Join us for refreshments and meet your fellow riders.
  • A team photograph will also be taken on Monday, May 30 at 9 a.m. at the bike stands behind the Centre for Learning in Kelowna. 
  • The Prize Raffle will occur on Wednesday, June 8 at 9 a.m., also at the bike stands behind the Centre for Learning.

Hannah Calder Book Launch

June 2 – A book launch for Okanagan College English and Creative Writing Professor Hannah Calder's new novel Piranesi's Figures will be held at the Vernon Public Art Gallery on Thursday, June 2. Click here for more information.

Campus Commuter Challenge

June 6-11 – This is a challenge for staff and students to get to school using anything other than SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle). Walk, carpool, take transit, ride your bike – all qualify. Travelers can log their trips on the website to be eligible for prizes.

Indigenous Concepts of Knowledge Symposium

June 15 - Moderated by Dr. Bill Cohen, Okanagan College Professor of Indigenous Studies, and Project Manager of the College’s Indigenization Task Force, several notable scholars will be at Okanagan College to discuss their perspective on topics such as connections between orality and literacy, Indigenous concepts of ownership and intellectual property, traditional ecology-based systems of knowledge, ethics of the use and curation of Indigenous knowledge, and research methods that respect Indigenous ways of knowing.

The symposium will take place on Wednesday, June 15, starting at 1 p.m., in the Centre for Learning, Kelowna Campus, Okanagan College. This event is free and open to everyone. Please register online in advance and find more information here.


The generous donation of $100,000 by local auto dealer Dan Assam of Orchard Ford and Kelowna Ford Lincoln was covered by Global Okanagan, Castanet, and KelownaNow; Assam has named a space in the new Trades complex in Kelowna in honour of his father Norm Assam who founded Orchard Ford.

The announcement of Okanagan College’s 2016 Honorary Fellows was picked up by many local media outlets on Friday and over the weekend, including the May 13 edition of The Penticton Herald and May 15 issue of The Okanagan Sunday.

Okanagan College’s sustainable renovation and expansion of its trades training facilities in Kelowna caught the eye of Award magazine editors, and was featured in the April 2016 issue. Award is a national publication for architects, designers, engineers, developers, contractors and landscape architects.

The Canadian College Baseball Conference Championship last week, hosted by the OC Coyotes who also played, was covered extensively by a host of local media, including the May 11 and May 13 editions of The Kelowna Capital News, the May 13 issue of The Kelowna Daily Courier and May 14 issue of Okanagan Saturday, as well as Castanet and KelownaNow.

The Daily Courier and Castanet helped spread the word about Okanagan College’s hosting of the 22nd Annual Aboriginal Career Fair on May 5.

Forever Young magazine published a feature story in its May issue about the Gateway to Trades program co-coordinated by Okanagan College and School District 23. The magazine's publisher (Okanagan College President Emeritus) Dr. Steve Tuck also acknowledged the program in his Publisher’s Corner, while the issue also highlighted the 19th Annual RV Owners Lifestyle Seminar coming up on June 24-27, an event at the College’s Kelowna campus that showcases instructors from the College’s RV Technician program. The publication also showcased the efforts of Okanagan College business students who through the Silver Surfers program are helping seniors build skills with the latest technology.

An announcement of provincial funding that will help create new seats in Culinary Arts and a number of other trades at the College was carried by The Vernon Morning Star on May 4.

Culinary Arts was also in the news that day when The Osoyoos Times ran a photo of culinary student Nathan Robinson putting his carvery skills to work at the 5th annual Pig-Out event held at Covert Farms in Oliver.

Okanagan College students earned podium finishes and the attention of readers of The Daily Courier, The Penticton Western News and KelownaNow with their strong showing at the recent provincial Skills Canada competition in Abbotsford.

The Vernon Morning Star educated its readers on Okanagan College’s partnership with the Vernon School District through the dual-credit program. This program offers students a chance to get a head start on their College education (across a variety of programs from English to Indigenous Studies to Trades) while still in high school.

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus once again played host to the Iron Sommelier event as featured in the pages of The Daily Courier on May 10.

The proposed amphitheatre at the Vernon campus continued to garner the attention of letter-writers, with the Vernon Morning Star running a selection of letters over the past week. Concerns were voiced around noise concerns (Amphitheatre opposed), to environmental (Just say no) and (Naturalists take aim at proposal);  Okanagan Summer Festival Society Managing Director and amphitheatre proponent Diane Bond responded to a number of these concerns in her May 11 letter.

Meanwhile in Vernon, the new track located at the Vernon campus received praise from a local citizen in a letter published in The Morning Star on May 8.

Sareena Nickoli was nominated for Vernon’s Women of the Year Award in recognition of her community involvement, an honour highlighted by the Vernon Morning Star in its May 6 and May 13 editions; Nickoli received the 2015 Okanagan College Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.

Another alumnus was in the news on May 1, when The Morning Star showcased plans for next year’s RespectFest event in Vernon; Okanagan College alumna and 2015 Honorary Fellow Annette Sharkey heads up the Social Planning Council which is the lead organization on the September 18-23, 2017 event.

MP Richard Cannings, 2008 Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College, was featured in The Oyosoos Times on May 11 after introducing his first three private motions in the House of Commons.


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 May 31, 2016.