Areas of Study
Connect with Us
Financial Aid & Awards
Alumni and Friends
In Case of Emergency
News and Events
Print this Page
Report an Error on this Page
For Linsay Ogden, 2018 has proven to be a very good year indeed. She crossed the stage at Okanagan College’s Summer Commencement ceremony on Wednesday and recently stepped into a rewarding new career in the Okanagan’s booming wine industry.
After working in the hospitality industry for several years, Ogden decided to switch sectors. She set her sights on an administrative role and enrolled in the Introduction to Office Administration Certificate program offered at the College to gain the education she needed.
“It was so easy to learn here,” says Ogden. “The were phenomenal – they even encouraged me to think critically about what I wanted for my long-term career plans.”
While in the program, Ogden decided to apply her newly acquired skills in the wine industry.
“The hospitality industry definitely has some crossover with the wine industry and I’ve always been intrigued by that world,” explains Ogden. “I immediately started looking for ways to use my skills at a local winery and searching for job openings – it wasn’t long before I got one.”
Shortly before graduation, Ogden was hired as estate coordinator for Black Hills Estate Winery.
Ogden is one of about 140 students from an array of Continuing Studies programs who were recognized at Summer Commencement on Wednesday at the Kelowna campus. About 165 more will earn credentials at Summer Convocation taking place tonight at 6 p.m. in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus – the ceremony marks the last of eight convocation and commencement ceremonies Okanagan College will host this year.
“This year Okanagan College will send more than 2,000 graduates out into the world,” notes the College’s President Jim Hamilton. “Among those graduates are our future home builders, educators, health care professionals, entrepreneurs and many, many other vocations – too many to name – that all will be critical to strengthening our economy and enhancing our communities in the region and far beyond. I commend each of our graduates on their achievements.”
The Okanagan College Foundation recently welcomed to its board five new directors who collectively bring diverse experience and community impact across a wide array of sectors from health care and technology to entrepreneurship, human resources and finance.
The new directors joining the Foundation board are:
• Paulo Araujo, Vice President of Retail and Business Banking at Valley First (South Okanagan)
• Sheri Hamilton, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union (Shuswap-Revelstoke)
• Dr. Gerry Karr, a former Penticton doctor and cofounder of the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition (South Okanagan)
• Christine Petkau, former Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Summerland (South Okanagan)
• Brea Retzlaff, Director of Operations at Accelerate Okanagan (Central Okanagan)
“It’s wonderful to welcome committed industry leaders from up and down the valley to our board,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director, Okanagan College Foundation.
“Our new directors join us at an exciting time and will have the opportunity to make a big impact for students. We have a growing student population that continues to need financial aid and we’re embarking on future development that will continue to transform our campuses.”
“The calibre of our new directors reflects the importance of the work carried out by the Foundation,” says Sharron Simpson, Board Chair, Okanagan College Foundation.
“Education is transformative to individuals and our communities, and we’re excited to continue ensuring education is accessible and our infrastructure reflects the quality of the education Okanagan College provides.”
The new board members join current board directors Chris Derickson, Surej Dhillon, Bob Eby, Colin Edstrom, Gladys Fraser, Kimberly White Gilhooly, Jim Hamilton, Rob Phare, Alan Sanderson, Sharron Simpson, and Tom Styffe.
Full biographies of the new board members are below:
Paulo Araujo, Valley First Vice President, Retail and Business Banking
During the last 18 years, Araujo has worked in various roles within the organization, including Director of Retail Banking, Regional Manager South Okanagan Region, Senior Manager of Retail Credit and Branch Manager. In addition to his current role as VP of Retail and Business Banking, Araujo also runs his family’s orchard in the South Okanagan. He is Lean Green Belt Certified and has taken leadership courses through The Banff Centre.
Dedicated to community leadership, Araujo is active in Valley First’s signature cause, Feed the Valley and an avid supporter of the South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association.
Sheri Hamilton, Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union (SASCU) Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Sheri Hamilton is the Associate Vice President Human Resources at SASCU where she oversees a range of areas including talent management, performance management, organizational effectiveness, total rewards and employee relations. Hamilton manages the team responsible for SASCU’s award winning culture and strong employee engagement.
During her time at SASCU, the credit union has placed on the Progressive Employers of Canada List, B.C. Business Magazine’s Best Companies to Work for in B.C., and a WorkLife B.C. Award of Merit.
Dr. Gerry Karr
Karr’s professional education includes a PhD in Pharmacology, MD and FRCPC (Internal Medicine). After 8 years with the Faculty of Medicine at the U of Calgary, Karr recognized his overriding passion for clinical medicine, moving to his present home in Penticton where he practised internal medicine and nephrology until 2003. During this time he established the first renal program in the Okanagan Valley and, along with St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, the program pioneered the development of evidence-based chronic kidney disease clinics in B.C. In 2003, he championed the innovative Integrated Health Center in Penticton, which merged the programs for diabetes, CKD and CHF care in the Okanagan Similkameen region. Karr accepted a role as Medical Director of Kidney Services with Interior Health from 2006 until his retirement in March 2012.
In retirement Karr has pursued his interest in primary prevention and health promotion prompted by many years of first-hand experience treating patients with lifestyle-related chronic disease. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Fair and of the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition.
Christine Petkau is from Manitoba and is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg.
Together with her husband and children, Petkau moved to Summerland in 2002. She has worked in the public sector, both in Manitoba and B.C., in the design and delivery of programs focused on entrepreneurship and employment as well as back to work strategies for job seekers. In the private sector she has owned two small businesses with partners and worked as a North American product manager for several companies.
For the past 6 years she was Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Summerland.
Brea Retzlaff, Accelerate Okanagan Director of Operations
Brea Retzlaff is the Director of Operations at Accelerate Okanagan. She has been supporting the growth of the Okanagan tech community for over five years. She spends her days overseeing day-to-day operations, managing the team, and ensuring strategic goals are being met.
Retzlaff graduated from Okanagan College with a degree in Business, but it was her hands-on experience managing a summer camp that gave her a taste for the startup life. Retzlaff also spent time working with Disney’s Club Penguin, where she was responsible for curriculum development, customer service training and policy documentation.
About the Okanagan College Foundation
Okanagan College Foundation has a mission to advance the power of education by engaging individuals and communities in contributing to Okanagan College. The foundation raises and manages private resources for the development and expansion of educational programs, services, capital projects, and student financial aid through scholarships, bursaries, and grants. To learn more visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/foundation.
Okanagan College Level 2 Apprentice culinary student Erin MacDougall cooked her way to victory and an all-expenses paid trip to Italy at the third annual OC Road to Riccione Cook-off competition today.
The competition saw four OC students design and prepare their own Italian-themed menu. They were tasked with creating a main entrée featuring arctic char and a dessert, all in a little over two hours. Competitors were given the opportunity to see the available ingredients on the common table beforehand but were told to anticipate a surprise ingredient, which turned out to be eggplant, a revelation that came just before they took to their stations in the kitchen.
“I’ve been practicing non-stop for this competition and it’s an amazing feeling to see that my hard-work and training has paid off,” says MacDougall. “I was totally shocked when I found out I’d won.”
MacDougall’s winning dishes consisted of oak crusted arctic char, mushroom risotto, sautéed eggplant, seared asparagus heads, fennel, citrus slaw and golden beets laid onto of a vibrant spread of asparagus coulis. For her dessert, she presented crepes with a lemoncello lemon curd, whipped mascarpone, macerated raspberries and candied hazelnuts.
While cooking and preparing their dishes, competitors were judged on their technical skills, station organization, safety and sanitation by OC Culinary Arts instructors Chef Stuart Klassen and Chef Geoffrey Couper. The final dishes were then judged on presentation, timing, doneness, innovation, textures and portion sizes during a blind tasting by OC’s Chef Jim Armstrong, Sysco’s Chef Brent Durec and former owner and chef of Gray Monk restaurant, Chef Willi Franz.
“We saw some well-thought out and beautifully presented dishes during today’s competition,” says Armstrong. “The competition was very close and we commend each student for their passion, guts, dedication and hard-work. Competitions like these aren’t easy, especially when you’re competing for such a big prize as a free trip to Italy.”
MacDougall will be joined by a winning student from an upcoming competition hosted by the Okanagan Chef’s Association, and OC instructors Chef Jim Armstrong and Chef Mike Barillaro when they travel to Riccione in early October. The trip will see students tour a prosciutto factory, watch culatello and parmesan being made, travel to the city of Modena to learn about traditional balsamic vinegar and to Bologna to experience a one star Michelin restaurant.
“I am so excited to travel to Italy,” says MacDougall. “I’ve never been to Europe and being a young mom with a two-year old, big trips like this aren’t really in the cards for me at this point in time. This is a life-changer for me.”
MacDougall will also have the opportunity to do a bit of cooking while in Riccione. The five chefs will be working together to prepare a traditional Canadian thanksgiving dinner at the renowned award-winning Hotel Belvedere.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and invaluable for up-and-coming chefs,” explains Chef Barillaro. “Each student put their heart into their plates and showcased a great level of composure, skill and technique in the kitchen today.”
Also competing in the cook-off were Culinary students Kassi Sherman, Leif Donglin Ye and runner-up Hannah Zheng.
The four students prepared meals in front of a crowd of friends and family and a few faces familiar to the College’s Culinary Arts program including former OC Culinary Manager Chef Bernard Casavant and 2016 Culinary Arts alumnus Josh Starrett. Casavant now serves as Director of Operations for RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd. He oversees the company’s four restaurants including Sunny’s Modern Table where Starrett works and MacDougall is currently completing her co-op term.
“We came to support Erin today,” explains Starrett. “I competed in two of these competitions when I was a student and can tell you first-hand how valuable they were in my skills development. I think the secret to cooking in competitions is to cook happy and to not worry about whether you’re going to win or not, but to find happiness with the plate you put out.”
A class of Grade 4 students at Queen’s Park Elementary in Penticton are some of the region’s newest published authors thanks to a new initiative by Okanagan College’s Enactus team.
Carrie-Ann McAlpine and Christie Reid, both business students at the Penticton campus, recently spent three days in the classroom working with students to write and illustrate their own stories.
“We wanted to develop a fun, hands-on way for the students to think about reading and writing – and something that ultimately could help teachers make literacy more exciting and tangible,” says McAlpine. “Our aim was to transport them into the mindset of an author.”
The theme, fittingly, was transportation. Over the course of three days, students learned about transportation – past and present – and were tasked with working in groups to envision and write about future modes of transport.
And while the College students may have been used to group work, they quickly found out it was a new experience for their elementary school subjects.
“For many of the students, it was their first group project ever, or the first of this scale where they worked together over a few days,” explains McAlpine. “So it turned out to be a great learning experience on the literacy side of things, and it also challenged them to work together, listen to each other, and make decisions as a group.”
Before stepping into the classroom, McAlpine and Reid found a way to make the students feel more like the real-world authors they know and look up to.
“We approached the Kiwanis Club of Penticton which agreed to cover the cost of professionally printing the students’ stories,” explains McApline. “When we brought in the published works, the students eyes lit up. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of, as a student or otherwise.”
Like the students they mentored, McAlpine and Reid have now turned their attention to imaging what the future could look like. They hope to grow the project and be able to replicate the writing and publishing experience for students in more classrooms and schools. They’re also looking into how the students’ published works could be sold to provide schools and community organizations such as Kiwanis with a new fundraising tool.
“This project really embodies what Enactus Okanagan College is all about,” notes Dr. Sheilagh Seaton, a professor with the College’s School of Business and a faculty advisor for Enactus OC.
“Carrie-Ann and Christie took a simple idea and found a way to bring it to life in the community to benefit others and foster new collaborations and opportunities. It’s been wonderful to watch how quickly they realized their vision and the positive impact it has had on students in the pilot project.”
Kalamalka Rotary has stepped forward with a major gift to support amenities for students in the new Trades Centre under construction at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.
“Kalamalka Rotary is proud to contribute $25,000 from the club’s Annual Dream Auction to support the College’s new Trades Training Centre,” says Club President Neil Perry. “We’re pleased to be able to support a space that will enhance the facilities available at the College, help to grow a skilled workforce in the North Okanagan and meet the increasing demand for skilled trades workers in the area.”
The club’s support will specifically help the College outfit men’s and women’s locker rooms in the $6.2 million, 13,450 square-foot facility, which is slated to open in August.
The gift also marks a significant milestone in the fundraising campaign for the project.
“Kalamalka Rotary’s support brings us over the $915,000 mark and within $85,000 dollars of our goal,” notes Michael Tindall, Chair of the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign. “We’re deeply grateful for all the support we’ve received – it’s come from individuals, it’s come from families, businesses large and small, and with just a couple months left to go before students step into the building, we’re confident the good people of Vernon will help us meet our goal.”
The new building will provide space for approximately 150 students per year to train in more than a half-dozen programs, including Carpentry, Electrical and Welding. It will help the College deliver specialized offerings like Aboriginal Trades Training and Women in Trades Training, as well as contract training to meet the needs of employers in the region.
“Skilled tradespeople play a significant role in the economic prosperity of the North Okanagan, as they do in many communities throughout the region we serve,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our new Trades Training Centre in Vernon is going to give our students a bright, modern and truly state-of-the-art facility that will match the quality of instruction they have always received at the College. And in so doing, it will help ensure we can continue to train the skilled workers needed to address the skills gap looming or already being felt in many areas across the province and the country.”
“We’re thankful to Kalamalka Rotary and all the donors who are investing in Okanagan College and in our students’ futures for years to come.”
The total cost for the new Trades Centre is $6.2 million. The project is being supported through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. The Okanagan College Foundation is fundraising for the remainder of the capital cost and to provide program and student support to increase access to training.
More information about the new Trades Training Centre and fundraising campaign is available at okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.