News

Previous Posts(0)
Archive(355)
December 2018 (2)
November 2018 (12)
October 2018 (12)
September 2018 (12)
August 2018 (15)
July 2018 (6)
June 2018 (16)
May 2018 (6)
April 2018 (9)
March 2018 (12)
February 2018 (6)
January 2018 (5)
December 2017 (9)
November 2017 (10)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (13)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (6)
June 2017 (11)
May 2017 (12)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (12)
February 2017 (15)
January 2017 (12)
December 2016 (9)
November 2016 (9)
October 2016 (10)
September 2016 (6)
August 2016 (11)
July 2016 (5)
June 2016 (8)
May 2016 (12)
April 2016 (7)
March 2016 (19)
February 2016 (14)
January 2016 (14)
Blog Topics(0)
Records 1 to 4 of 12
Miller demo day brings the future of welding to Okanagan College

A collaboration between Miller Electric Mfg LLC (Miller) and Okanagan College will continue to ensure that OC students have access to the latest welding technology, and on Oct. 9, the public will have a chance to ignite their imaginations by learning about today’s training opportunities and the equipment of tomorrow.miller welding demo day

The Miller equipment trailer and Miller representatives will be on hand at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9 to provide live demonstrations of the latest welding and plasma cutting machines.

Those looking to spark a career in welding will also have a chance to drop in, speak with Okanagan College staff and instructors about the College’s welding offerings and tour the shop throughout the day.

One of the largest manufacturers of welding equipment in North America, Miller recently partnered with the College to continually rotate and refresh equipment in College shops.

“Technology is always changing and so this agreement is great news for our welding students and apprentices, and for our instructors,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at the College. “It means that every six to 12 months, some equipment will be swapped out of the shops and our students will get access to the latest, most high-tech equipment from Miller.”

“When they step out into industry, our students will already have trained on the newest and most advanced equipment they’ll encounter out on the jobsite,” says Moores. “That’s going to give our students confidence and benefit employers as well.”

“The welding industry is evolving and the new technology allows welders and businesses to be more efficient,” explains Dean Nutter, District Manager, Northern British Columbia for Miller.

“We view working with the College to put new technology in the hands of students as investing in the future of our industry and the communities we serve, as these students are obviously the future of our industry. We’re also looking forward to showcasing the latest Miller equipment to the community and to industry through this event,” adds Nutter. “We know from talking with the businesses we work with all over the country that the demand for welders is huge right now, so it’s a great time to get into the trade and this is a great way to help students learn on the latest and greatest technology.”

The College’s Kelowna campus has one of the most advanced and sustainable welding shops in the Province, having undergone an extensive renovation and refresh in 2016. The College also recently opened a new welding shop at its Penticton campus, to expand and enhance trades training opportunities in the South Okanagan. The new Vernon trades training centre has also been designed to be able to offer welding programs.

The Kelowna-based demo day is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is not required. For more information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/welding.

 

 

 

College’s Vernon Trades Training Centre earns commercial building award
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College’s new Trades Training Centre in Vernon, which opened its doors to students last month, is already being recognized for its innovative construction.Vernon Trades Sept 2018

The centre took home the Institutional Award at the 10th Annual Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards held on Thursday, Sept. 20 in Kelowna, presented by MNP LLP, RE/MAX Commercial and the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA).

This year’s event saw a record-tying 37 finalists competing for honours in a host of categories including industrial, institutional, hospitality, retail, multi-family, mixed use and other types of buildings.

“We had three goals in mind when we set out to construct our new Trades facility in Vernon,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We knew we wanted to provide students with the highest-quality learning environment possible, to build a facility that will help meet the demand for skilled trades people in the North Okanagan and beyond, and, finally, to continue to raise the bar for ourselves in sustainability.

“On behalf of Okanagan College, thank you to SICA and to everyone who lends their time and expertise to these awards. We’re honoured to be recognized among such an impressive list of finalists and award recipients.”

The $6.2-million, 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square-foot) facility can accommodate approximately 150 students per year and features a dedicated welding shop and multi-use spaces in which the College can deliver training in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing and pipefitting. (The first class of students in the shop were a group of 18 Plumbing and Pipefitting Foundation students who helped to officially open the building on August 7.)

The centre also houses the College’s Women in Trades training program and the first class of students from that program to access the new building began this week.

MQN Architects and Interior Design of Vernon designed the building. Maple Reinders Construction of Kelowna served as the General Contractor.

 

The facility was constructed to meet the minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard, building on the College’s commitment to delivering sustainable facilities.

Of the $6.21-million total project cost, the Province of B.C. provided $2.88 million and the Government of Canada provided $2.66 million. Federal funding was made available through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.

The project was also buoyed by significant community support. The Okanagan College Foundation raised more than $1 million toward the College’s $673,000 capital construction commitment, as well as provide support for students and programming.

“The building was a true partnership between the architects, designers, the builder, the College and the community,” notes Jane Lister, Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “We’re grateful to our students and staff for their patience during the construction period. The result has been worthwhile, as evidenced by this award and all the positive feedback we’re hearing from students and instructors so far.”

 


Culinary manager’s enthusiasm for Okanagan ingredients bubbles over
Okanagan College Media Release

Vincent Stufano Sept 2018_2His career has been consumed by locally inspired ingredients and teaching, and Chef Vincent Stufano would have it no other way.

The new manager of Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts program started this summer, and is looking ahead to infusing regional knowledge and products into the student experience.

“I wanted to teach here because when it comes down to what I am passionate about, the Okanagan is heaven. It has everything, from wine, farms, fruit, you name it,” he says. “The wine region is emerging, the farmers are getting better and better, and the artisans are making cheese. What better place could there be to teach young people who want to be chefs?”

Stufano was born in Montreal, raised by Italian and French family whose passion for fresh food, gardening, winemaking and locally sourced ingredients came second nature.

“A career in the culinary arts never occurred to me,” Stufano explains, adding that his education started early, following his father to specialty stores and farm stands to meet the people behind products. “Food has never been a trend for me, it was how our family shopped. You knew the farmers, growers, cheesemakers.”

After high school, the young Stufano struck out on his own to travel west, landing a position at the Coach & Four Restaurant, a long-time establishment in Victoria run by a Welsh owner.

“From there, I realized this is what I want to do for a living,” Stufano recalls.

He began working in several kitchens across B.C., apprenticing at Big White at the age of 23. After graduating, he found himself in Vancouver at the time of Expo 86 standing in front of Canada Place, inspired to cook in the city. He managed to talk his way into a meeting with the head chef of the Five Sails at the Pan Pacific Hotel, who brought him on as chef de partie.

He was certified under the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks in 1989/90, and embraced pastry while working at the Delta hotel in Whistler. That brought him to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, where he worked for 18 years and ultimately became the executive chef.

Stufano’s skills have been seen at culinary competitions around the world, including Singapore and Chicago for Team B.C., and representing Canada in Germany and Switzerland.

He found himself consulting, helping organizations develop and build their kitchens and menus throughout the province, and joined the El Dorado in 2017 and most recently Kelowna Yacht Club.

"I really enjoyed passing on information. I love history, and I need to understand the foundations of everything, how things have evolved,” Stufano says, adding that sharing knowledge has always been part of his philosophy in the kitchen.

“As a chef, if you are not naturally a teacher, a coach, a mentor, then I don’t know if you can succeed. You can come up with a concept, but if you can’t explain it to your team and have them understand and replicate it, then you fail."

Stufano says he views his position as an important link between students and the greater community of professional chefs who are connected to the land and region’s bounty.

“My role is to build the new programs to attract young inspired culinary students to us, and promote an environment of learning. I would like us to get to the point of bringing in chefs from across the region, so students are exposed to local ingredients from their point of view,” he says. “I have connections in the industry and culinary schools across the country, and I think we have what it takes here to rival every one of those programs.”

 

The student numbers keep climbing at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Enrolments at the College’s four campuses this fall have increased about 13.3 per cent over the same time last year, suggesting that the institution will likely exceed 2018-19 government enrolment targets. (It would be the 14th year that Okanagan College has done so – the best record among B.C.’s Colleges. Last year, OC achieved 113 per cent of those targets, based on full-time equivalent enrolments.)

Fall enrolment numbers are a snapshot of the College’s activity. Because the College has programs that start at various times of the year, the student numbers won’t be finalized until the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2019).

When the enrolment period for this fall semester ended in mid-September, Okanagan College had 9,570 students registered, compared to 8,446 students a year ago.

“The numbers are encouraging,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, “but what’s really significant is that they tell us and the community that we are helping more students pursue higher education.”

“The latest B.C. labour market projections show that by 2028, there will be 903,000 job openings that need to be filled in B.C.,” Hamilton noted. “Eighty per cent of those jobs will require some form of higher education. That’s where we come in.”

Kelowna’s campus enrolment grew to 6,126 this fall compared to 5,330 last year, while Vernon’s student headcount climbed to 1,088 from 970. Penticton enrolment grew to 1,025 from 940 and Salmon Arm’s student numbers increased to 721 from 692. Students registered in distance education courses grew to 610 from 514.

(Those numbers include students in all levels of programming – from new first-year students, to students enrolled in the fourth year of their degree programs.)

While international student numbers have grown at the College (1,393 this fall, compared to 876 last fall), so too have domestic student enrolments: there are 590 more students from Canada this fall than in the fall of 2017.

 

Business program compounds opportunities for finance students
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Everything is adding up for Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree, which has received a stamp of approval for its finance curriculum from the CFA Institute.

The institute, with investment professional members totalling 150,000 across the globe, administers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential – recognized internationally as the standard of certification for investment professionals.

In September, the College’s Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance Speciality was accepted for the university affiliation program, meaning the College’s curriculum is closely tied to the practice of investment management that is helpful for students preparing for CFA designation exams.

“Having the CFA designation is a requirement in this day and age for certain jobs, as finance positions are becoming even more competitive,” says Elena Mitropolsky, the Okanagan College professor of finance who worked on articulating the program’s curriculum to CFA requirements. “People often consider whether they want to pursue an MBA or CFA, and while graduate schools can differ in terms of quality of program, the CFA designation is a signal to employers that the individual has met international standards.”

Okanagan College is now one of 32 institutions in Canada that are affiliates of the CFA Institute, and the third in B.C. to be accepted into the program.

The CFA credential covers academic theory, current industry practice as well as ethical and professional standards to provide a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio-management skills. In order to qualify for the university affiliate program, the College had to submit course outlines for a variety of finance topics: statistics, economics, ethics, derivatives, investments and investment management, to name a few.

Up to nine scholarships will also be provided to College students who pursue the CFA exams, with the financial award administered by the Okanagan School of Business.

“This seal of approval from the CFA Institute is another marker of excellence for the BBA program at Okanagan College. It also is an excellent example of what our professors do to help students advance in their chosen profession,” says William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “Dedicated bursaries will also support those who choose to pursue their professional CFA credential, which is another great opportunity for our students.”

 

Renowned Okanagan artist and educator donates work to the College

A former Okanagan College instructor and nationally-acclaimed artist has donated one of his works to the College to acknowledge and celebrate the dedication of students and employees.ryley unveil 1

Bryan Ryley, who taught Fine Arts at the College from 1978 to 2005, was at the Kelowna campus on Sept. 20 to unveil his work entitled “PASSAGE,” an 84” x 120” acrylic on canvas painting that will be displayed in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning.

“As an educator, it was wonderful to be a part of Okanagan College, to witness the commitment of the institution and the sense of family among students and staff that was fostered,” said Ryley. “I’m really pleased to see this attitude and approach to education continues under the leadership of President Jim Hamilton, and a wonderful staff and student body that is so enthusiastic.”

“The title of the work is meant to capture the notion that we are always on a journey and always in a state of passage – which, I think, is particularly apt for students,” added the artist.

A photo gallery from the unveiling can be viewed here.

“On behalf of Okanagan College, I’d like to extend our deepest thanks to Bryan for this heartfelt gift,” said Hamilton. “It will be displayed in a place of honour in the Centre for Learning, for all to enjoy. Given the title, I couldn’t think of a more fitting or meaningful place for it to reside.”

Ryley retired in 2016 as an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan. His work is shown nationally and internationally and can be found in many private, corporate and public collections including: the Canadian Consulate, Paris, France; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Pratt Institute, New York; BC Arts Collection, Victoria; Kelowna Art Gallery; Vernon Public Art Gallery; Art Gallery of the South Okanagan, Penticton; (corporate) Nordstrom, Canadian Pacific, Petro-Canada, Enbridge, Encana, Cenovus, Sun Life Financial, Brookfield Properties and others.

 

Kiwanis gives $125k to Okanagan College to support youth
Okanagan College Media Release 

Kiwanis announcement - balloonsThe Kiwanis Club of Kelowna is donating $125,000 to Okanagan College to support students who will graduate and work with children and youth in the community.

The major gift establishes the Kiwanis Kelowna 2018 Legacy Education Endowment, which will provide two annual $2,000 scholarships to a student in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Human Service Work (HSW) programs.

“Both early childhood educators and human service workers play a major role in supporting the well-being of children and youth,” says Bob Bissell, President of the Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society.

“We wanted to help ease some of the financial burden on these students so they can better focus on their studies, which ultimately benefits our community’s children and youth.”

Students, College representatives and children from Little Scholars child care took part in applauding the announcement at Okanagan College this morning.

“We’re thankful to the Kiwanis Club of Kelowna, which has worked for more than 40 years to make a difference in the lives of children and seniors in our community,” says Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President.

“With the establishment of this significant endowment, Kiwanis is helping students today and tomorrow. In turn, these students will enhance the quality of life for children and youth in our community for decades to come.”

Kiwanis announcement - Bissell presentingSecond year ECE student Jo-Dee Lebrun spoke at the event, sharing her experience in the program. 

“At first, starting a new chapter in my life felt really overwhelming but with the guidance from our instructors a passion was lit inside me for not only this career but advocating for children and other early childhood educators,” says Lebrun.

“This program has taught us to not only be better educators but better human beings.”

Kiwanis is well known in the Central Okanagan for their support of activities for children, including the Kiwanis Music Festival and breakfast clubs at several elementary schools. 

The funds for the endowment came from the sale of the Kiwanis Tower, located at the corner of Lawrence and Gordon. The high rise was designed to provide affordable housing to low-income seniors and was managed by the Kiwanis Clubs of Kelowna for over 40 years until the sale in 2016.

Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society is using the funds from the sale to support children and youth locally and has donated to a number of charities.

Bissell says Kiwanis chose Okanagan College because it has an excellent reputation and the programs to ensure the investment is well utilized beyond the foreseeable future.

The donation will support the College’s Caring Starts Here campaign, which aims to raise money for the $18.9-million Health Sciences Centre located on the Kelowna campus, as well as student scholarships and bursaries.

College hosts its 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow
Okanagan College Photo Release

Hundreds of youth, students and community members gathered in the courtyard at the College’s Kelowna campus on Sept. 20 to take in one of the most vibrant cultural events of the year – the 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow.

Powwow 2018 Jackson and FergusonThe event began with a special ceremony honouring Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band and Noel Ferguson of the Canoe Creek First Nation. In acknowledgement of their long-time involvement in the powwow, OC President Jim Hamilton and Aboriginal Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac wrapped Jackson and Ferguson in traditional Pendleton blankets as a physical and spiritual symbol of respect and thanks for their years of commitment.

Shortly after Jackson and Ferguson were wrapped, the duo presented Okanagan College with an Eagle Staff as a symbol of respect and to recognize the College’s continued efforts to embrace Aboriginal culture and values and support the educational journey of Aboriginal learners.

Dancers and accompanying drummers came from across the B.C. interior to perform in a variety of dance categories including grass, fancy, chicken and traditional. The invited drum groups this year were Birch Creek, The Northern Tribes and Red Spotted Horse.
 Powwow 2018 Hamilton, Jackson, Ferguson

Attendees were treated to a fan-favourite lunch of Deconstructed Indian Tacos – prepared and served by the College’s Culinary Arts team and volunteers – and enjoyed shopping at the many craft vendors on location who were selling jewelry, artwork, soaps, moccasins and more.
 

“Powwows are intended to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together and highlight the richness of our culture,” says Isaac. “We host many cultural events throughout the year and believe that the more we can do to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing, the more we create a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for current and future OC students.”
 
  • View and download other high resolution photos from the College’s Flickr gallery.
  • For more information on the Powwow, please see the media release.
  • View recorded livestream of the event here.

 

College to host 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Powwow 2018Okanagan College will host its 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 20, once again bringing hundreds of dancers to the Kelowna campus for a celebration of Indigenous culture.

To mark the ten-year milestone, this year’s event will also feature a special ceremony honouring two Indigenous community members who have played integral roles in its success over the past decade.

Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band and Noel Ferguson of the Canoe Creek First Nation and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society will reprise their roles this year as Master of Ceremony and Arena Director, roles they’ve held for the past 10 years.

In acknowledgement of their long-time involvement, College officials will honour Jackson and Ferguson during a special blanket ceremony that morning. Jackson and Ferguson will be wrapped in traditional Pendleton blankets as a physical and spiritual symbol of respect.

“Working with and learning from the Indigenous community is one of our key directions at Okanagan College,” says College President Jim Hamilton. “The Powwow has been and continues to be a very meaningful and significant opportunity to strengthen relationships and celebrate Indigenous knowledge and culture on campus.

“On behalf of Okanagan College, I’d like to extend our deepest thanks to Richard and Noel for their leadership, energy and input over the years – and to everyone who has helped to make this event such a vibrant and well-attended celebration.”

The blanket ceremony isn’t the only special ceremony to take place at the event.

Shortly after Jackson and Ferguson are wrapped, the duo will present Okanagan College with an Eagle Staff as a symbol of respect and to recognize the College’s continued efforts to embrace Aboriginal culture and values and support the educational journey of Aboriginal learners.

The Annual Exhibition Powwow is a high-energy, family-friendly event that draws participants from across the British Columbia interior. Dancers and accompanying drummers perform in a variety of dance categories including grass, fancy, chicken, jingle and traditional. This year the invited drum groups include Birch Creek, The Northern Tribes and Red Spotted Horse.

Attendees will be treated to a fan-favourite lunch of Deconstructed Indian Tacos – prepared and served by the College’s Culinary Arts team – and enjoy shopping at the many vendors on location selling jewelry, artwork, soaps, moccasins, jams, lotions and more. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 and a raffle draw available with the proceeds going to financial awards for Indigenous students at OC.

Last year approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff along with members of the general community enjoyed this high-profile event that showcases Aboriginal culture and dance. This year, more than 600 students from various private band and public schools from across the interior have been invited to attend the exhibition.

The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any post-secondary institution in B.C. In 2017, the College provided educational programming to more than 1,745 Aboriginal students.

“Powwows are intended to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together and highlight the richness of our culture,” says the College’s Aboriginal Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac. “We host many cultural events throughout the year and believe that the more we can do to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing, the more we create a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for current and future OC students.”

The festivities run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Kelowna campus courtyard, with the special ceremonies happening first thing in the morning. Attendance is free and open to the public.

For those who cannot attend, Okanagan College is livestreaming the event at www.facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.

 


Students and parents can have their post-secondary questions answered during free public info night at Okanagan College

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will serve as the backdrop for a free public post-secondary information night on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

cfl psi photoBeginning at 7 p.m., attendees will have a chance to speak with representatives of Okanagan College and 13 other institutions in the atrium of the Centre for Learning (E-Building).

This is the second year running that PSI-BC (a collaborative of BC post-secondary institution recruitment offices working together as partners to support students, parents and high school counsellors) will host the event the College’s Kelowna campus. It is designed to help students access information directly from institutions as they look ahead to making decisions on which college or university program they might attend.

“While post-secondary reps have visited high schools in the Okanagan for many years, the school-hour schedule has traditionally made it difficult for parents to participate in the conversation. The format of the evening will allow parents and students to interact directly with representatives from all 14 institutions in attendance,” says Josh KellerPSI-BC Administrative Co-ordinator.

The mandate of PSI-BC is to assist students and parents with finding both the institution and the program of study that best fits their personal strengths and career objectives. More information about PSI-BC is available at http://www.psibcinfo.com/.

Institutions expected to attend include Okanagan College, BCIT, Canadian Forces/RMC, Capilano University, College of the Rockies, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Quest University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, Trinity Western University, University of British Columbia, and University of Victoria.

 

OC Speaker Series takes the stage Sept. 10

Learning isn’t just for little ones going back to school this fall. On Sept. 10, Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is launching a series of presentations designed to engage your grey matter.

“The OC Speaker Series is an opportunity for the community to come hear inspiring speakers talk about subjects they are very passionate about,” says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “We want Okanagan College’s Penticton campus to be a home for lifelong learning and most importantly a place where the community comes together to learn.”  

The lineup of experts and authorities will cover a wide range of topics, from astronomy and environmental initiatives in the region to B.C. cultural history, democratic systems, and debunking stereotypes about Chinese culture. The series includes:

  • Sept. 10: The Canadian Arctic Airfield Program of the 1970s, by Ray Wolowidnyk
  • Sept. 17: The Traditional Songs of B.C., by Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat
  • Sept. 24: Proportional Representation: what it is and why it matters, by Margaret Holm, Fair Vote Canada
  • Oct. 1: The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Celebrates 100 Years of Successes, by Dr. Dennis Crabtree
  • Oct. 15: Fortune Cookies and Chop Suey, by Dr. Shao-Kang Chu
  • Oct. 22: Humans and Nature: an Evolving Relationship, by Don Gayton
  • Oct. 29: Restoring Salmon Runs in the Okanagan River System, by Karilyn Alex, Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries Department
  • Nov. 5: Climate Change and Implications for Forest Management, by Dave Spittlehouse
  • Nov. 19: Screening of Blue Heart: The fight for Europe’s last wild rivers
  • Nov. 26: Wastewater and Biosolids: Society's Challenges, by Andrew Drouin
  • Dec. 3: Food and Wine Pairing by Chef Chris Van Hooydonk

Talks are 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (PL 107) of the Ashnola Building. The Okanagan College Penticton campus is located at 583 Duncan Ave. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to support students in need.

Event information is available at https://ocspeakersseries.weebly.com/.

Jacobsen family donates $1 million to Okanagan College

It’s the largest gift ever to support Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, and it will accelerate a centre of excellence in automotive training and open doors for students for years to come.jacobsen gift announcement photo

Muriel Jacobsen and her children Rhonda and Shayne are donating $1 million to support the Kelowna Trades Training Complex in honour of their late husband and father Ron Jacobsen. Ron owned and operated Jacobsen Pontiac Buick for more than 40 years.

“My dad always wanted to give back to the community that supported him,” says Rhonda Jacobsen-Lebedoff. “As someone who loved and valued the importance of learning and improving, he would be delighted to know his success is supporting future automotive leaders.”

The funding announcement was made in the courtyard of the new Trades building. In honour of the generous donation, Okanagan College is naming the bright study, gathering and corridor space used by so many students as the Ron Jacobsen Pathway to Excellence.

“This gift gets to the heart of what we set out to do in revitalizing and expanding our trades training facilities at the Kelowna campus – providing our students with a world-class learning environment, helping to address the skills gap and needs of employers, and elevating the skilled trades as a career path, something Ron championed through his leadership and commitment to excellence,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

“On behalf of everyone at Okanagan College, I’d like to express our gratitude to the Jacobsen family for this remarkable support, which will help us continue to create access and advance training for the next generation of automotive trades people. There will be generations of students who walk along the corridor and appreciate the legacy of Ron, and – like him – will tread the pathway to excellence.”

The Jacobsen family hopes Ron’s legacy will live on with the funds contributing to the following key areas:

• Development of curriculum and purchase of start-up equipment for the College’s forthcoming automotive service technician diploma
• Development of training in alternate fuels and purchase of start-up equipment
• Purchase of state-of-the-art training equipment
• Refreshing the automotive facilities to more closely resemble the appearance of newer dealerships and service outlets
• Financial support for students

Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, says the funds will help the College invest in equipment, education and infrastructure to ensure students are prepared to work on the hybrid and electric vehicles of today and tomorrow.

“We know from speaking with employers that as new technology emerges and becomes more mainstream, the sector will require technicians who are adept with hybrid and electric engines, alternative fuels and so on. This gift will help us to put in place the training, equipment and shop facilities to stay ahead of the curve,” says Moores.

Mark Bannister of Bannister Automotive Group says the announcement is amazing news for the College and the automotive industry.

“One of our biggest struggles is finding technicians, so to have this major investment in state-of-the-art training and student support is incredible for students and our local automotive sector,” says Bannister.

The gift announcement marks the close of the Okanagan College Foundation’s fundraising campaign for the Kelowna Trades Training Complex —a $33-million project that started in 2014.

The province invested $28-million into the project and the Okanagan College Foundation set its most ambitious fundraising goal to date: raise $7 million to complete the trades facility and provide life-changing program and student support. The campaign goal was not only met but exceeded by $1.5 million.

“Ron was a generous community builder, so it feels apt to have him close our campaign, which brought together industry leaders in the automotive, welding, construction, plumbing, mechanical and electrical sectors,” says Kathy Butler, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director.

“We are very grateful to the Jacobsen family and thank everyone who supported us in reaching this inspiring milestone.”

About Ron Jacobsen
Ron was born in Red Deer, Alta, and was an identical twin and youngest of nine children who grew up working on the family farm.

His first job was at a sawmill while taking a correspondence course in accounting. Ron went on to become the accountant at Hub City Motors, a Volkswagen dealership in Prince George. He would later buy into the dealership.

In 1971, Ron sold his half of Hub City Motors and moved to Kelowna where he started Jacobsen Pontiac Buick. The company grew to more than 75 employees with a focus on hiring the right people, investing in modern equipment and creating a learning environment.

The auto dealership and body shop also adopted the trademark “Jacobsen Excellence.” Ron always encouraged employees to think about whether their actions were good enough or excellent and to aim for the latter.

While committed to his business, Ron was also passionate about his family, enjoying camping, boating and playing cards. He gave back to the community, volunteering with the Kelowna Rotary Club, and sponsoring sports teams, golf tournaments, and the Apple Triathlon.

The latest gift from the Jacobsen family builds on past contributions to Okanagan College from Ron. In 2009, Ron set up the Jacobsen Pontiac Lou Simonelli Achievement Award to recognize one of his longest serving automotive technicians. Ron and Muriel also previously donated to the Kelowna Trades Training Complex.

View the photo gallery from the announcement here. View recorded livestream on the College’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.