Mexican students make first trip to Manitoba as part of language and cultural training initiative

August 17, 2018

Thirty post-secondary students from Mexico visited Manitoba for the first time this summer, soaking in the local culture and sharpening their English skills with help from Red River College’s Language Training Centre.

The students were here as part of the Mexican government’s Proyecta 10,000 initiative, which sent 10,000 students to locations throughout Canada to explore culture and history while practicing their English.

The students visiting Winnipeg spent nearly a month attending the College's LTC, where they mixed classroom study with off-site excursions to sites such as FortWhyte Alive, Shaw Park and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

While in town, they billeted at homestays with local families, who also exposed them to such Peg-specific traditions as kayaking along the Red River and visiting the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

In order to qualify for a spot with the sought-after Proyecta program, students had to have good grades, letters of reference, and high-level language skills — though the latter improved significantly as a result of their time in the city.

“I’m astounded with how much it grew,” LTC program facilitator Carleigh Friesen said (to the Winnipeg Free Press), of the students’ fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation.

This marks the sixth year RRC has hosted a summer institute — a two- to four-week language improvement program that’s usually attended by students from the College’s sister schools in China — and the first year that RRC hosted students from Mexico, though Friesen says she hopes it won’t be the last.

“The community really embraced them,” she said.

Learn more about RRC's Summer Institutes.

Instrumentation grads design training skid for use by Engineering students at U of M

July 25, 2018

Joao Fidencio and Eric ChampagneDemonstrating core institutional values of leadership, ingenuity and collaboration, a pair of Red River College students created a new process control training skid that’s being used by the University of Manitoba to prepare their own Engineering students for industry.

As part of their final-year engineering design project, Eric Champagne and Joao Fidencio — both recent graduates of RRC’s Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology program — partnered with Canadian firm Lakeside Process Controls on the skid, which is now a component of the U of M’s control engineering laboratory.

“Lakeside had been trying to find the time to design, build, test and commission a DeltaV process control training skid for the U of M’s Engineering lab for some time,” says RRC instructor David Bertin. “They had put some effort into it, but hadn’t been able to complete it, so our students took on the project.”

Fidencio, who was working as a summer student for Lakeside when the project first came up, asked his manager if he could take the lead and use it as his final project at RRC.

The form and construction of the skid were similar to one Bertin had designed earlier for the College, but there were enough differences to require a significant amount of additional work on the part of Fidencio and Champagne (shown above, at left and right).

The skid itself is an invaluable tool for Engineering students looking to develop their process control skills using the latest hardware and software on the market. Equipped with Emerson transmitters and control valves — plus state-of-the-art DeltaV software — it allows students to control pressure, level, flow and temperature the same way they would on the frontlines of industry, introducing new capabilities to the U of M that RRC has offered its own students for years. Read More →

Funding announced for new culinary research centre at PGI

July 25, 2018

Rendering_RRC culinary research centreThe eleventh floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute will soon be transformed into a multi-functional culinary research centre, thanks to new federal funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan stopped by Jane’s restaurant this morning to formally announce the new project — one of several made possible through more than $10 million in funding for new research infrastructure at 11 colleges and polytechnics across Canada.

Through the CFI’s investment of more than $1 million in RRC, students and staff working at the new research lab will be even better positioned to collaborate with the food and agriculture industry on projects that will enhance food safety research, and address changing consumer needs and challenges such as food waste.

“Red River College is a leader in culinary research and innovation,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “To date we’ve worked on more than 40 different projects with local food and agricultural producers in Manitoba to help them innovate and bring new products to market.

“This support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation means that we can expand our research capabilities to meet this growing demand, and create a dedicated state-of-the-art facility for researchers, instructors and students to work collaboratively — shoulder-to-shoulder with industry — to make the impossible possible when it comes to new food product creation and culinary innovation.” Read More →

RRC grad dominates at Manitoba men’s amateur golf championship

July 23, 2018

Justin McDonald, Manitoba Men's Amateur ChampionshipsA Business Administration grad — and current Red River College staffer — made some serious waves on the fairway last week, maintaining a dominant lead to capture his first title in the Manitoba men’s amateur golf championship.

Justin McDonald — an accountant with RRC’s Finance department — quickly set himself apart from the pack during the first two rounds of play at Quarry Oaks last Monday and Tuesday, holding onto his lead for the final rounds at Glendale, and eventually finishing eight shots ahead of the field on Thursday afternoon.

The only golfer to finish the event under par, McDonald shot rounds of 68-70-73-74, for a four-round total of 285, or 3 under.

The Winnipeg Free Press described McDonald (who graduated from RRC’s Business Administration program in 2008) as arguably “the most impressive golfer of the summer,” noting he also took the provincial mid-amateur title at Falcon Lake on July 5 — with an equally dominant nine-stroke advantage.

Per the Free Press, McDonald hasn’t attended a driving range in years — and doesn’t hit balls before teeing off in tournaments, either — preferring to golf four to five times a week at Breezy Bend, instead.

McDonald’s clubmate Eric Johnson came second in the men’s amateur with a line of 69-73-73-78 to finish at 5 over, while Niakwa’s Todd Fanning finished third with a four-round total of 295.

Photo courtesy Golf Manitoba's Twitter page.

Construction begins on new Innovation Centre downtown

July 20, 2018

Brian Bowman, Ian Wishart, Rebecca Chartrand, Doug Hanna and Paul VogtWith funding now in place, Red River College is moving forward this week with construction of its new $95-million Innovation Centre, plans for which had to be put on hold while financial arrangements were sorted out earlier this year.

College President Paul Vogt received confirmation from the government recently that the $40.6 million in funding required for the project is now secure, and the College can begin issuing tenders so that construction can get underway.

On Wednesday, stakeholders gathered at site of the new Centre — at 319 Elgin Ave., right across the street from RRC’s Roblin Centre — to learn more about how the College’s latest expansion plan will help transform the Exchange District.

“For those of you who have been following this project closely, and have been wondering if we are still moving forward, let me be the first to say ‘yes,’ we are very proud to be starting construction,” Vogt said Wednesday.

“Nothing gets built without a vision. And right now it excites me to visualize that in a few short years we’re going to be able to look across the street from here and see a hub for creative innovation.”

Construction of the new Centre is slated to be complete by the fall of 2020. Once open, it will serve as the home of RRC’s business and information technology programs, as well as its Language Training Centre, ACE (Applied Computer Education) Project Space, and Research Partnerships & Innovation office. Read More →

Marion Street Eatery chef to join RRC faculty this fall

July 18, 2018

The local foodie community’s loss is Red River College’s gain, following an announcement that a popular St. Boniface chef will join our instructing staff this fall.

Earlier this month, Melissa Hryb — the head chef and co-owner of Marion Street Eatery — announced she’d be leaving her post in the restaurant’s kitchen, having accepted a position with RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

A 2005 graduate of the College’s Culinary Arts program, Hryb (shown above, at left) opened the Eatery in 2014 with fellow RRC grad Laneil Smith (Hospitality and Tourism Management, 2006), whose family owned the Marion Hotel and adjoining restaurant space.

The pair first met while working at Bergmann’s on Lombard, where Hryb was a sous-chef and Smith a front-of-house manager.

Though Eatery staff describe Hryb’s departure as bittersweet, they didn’t have to look far for a replacement.

Culinary Arts grad Camila Gamboa (also shown above) has been working for the Eatery for three years, having leveraged her RRC co-op placement into a full-time kitchen position in 2015. She was later tapped to fill in for Hryb while she was on maternity leave.

“Camila is excited to be taking the reins, and wants to bring you all those same favourite comfort foods you’ve always enjoyed,” Hryb said in a social media post.

“Taking on this big role at age 23 is no joke! [Camila] is brave, bold and courageous to put herself into the spotlight … I cannot wait for all our amazing customers to embrace these changes and welcome Camila into this position with open arms.”

Photo courtesy Marion Street Eatery.

Elder Mae Louise Campbell honoured with Folk Festival’s Glass Banjo Award

July 11, 2018

Elder Mae Louise Campbell, Winnipeg Folk FestivalA well-respected member of Manitoba’s Indigenous community — and a longtime support to Red River College students — was honoured this weekend by the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

On Saturday evening in Birds Hill Park, Elder Mae Louise Campbell took to the Folk Fest main stage to accept the Glass Banjo Award, which recognizes those who’ve made extraordinary contributions to the festival, now in its 45th year.

An Ojibwe-Metis Elder who’s served as one of RRC’s Elders in Residence for the last 13 years, Campbell is known for helping people incorporate ancestral Indigenous knowledge into various aspects of their lives, and for the warm and generous spirit she employs while offering help, healing and growth.

She was one of the first Indigenous artisans in the Folk Fest’s Handmade Village, and helped build early connections between the festival and other Indigenous artists. Each year, she greets artists and audiences alike at the festival’s welcoming ceremony and opening blessing — and says one of her most memorable Folk Fest moments was when seven eagles flew overheard while she was performing those duties in 2016.

In recent years, Campbell has served on the City of Winnipeg’s Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, and received a 2016 Indspire Award for her contributions to Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

(Photo courtesy of the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Culinary Arts grad to honour Anthony Bourdain at fundraising tribute dinner

June 25, 2018

Adam Donnelly and Mandel HitzerA Red River College Culinary Arts grad will join forces with a fellow Winnipeg chef next week to pay tribute to industry icon Anthony Bourdain, while raising money to support those struggling with mental illness.

Adam Donnelly, co-owner of Osborne Village hotspot Segovia, announced last week that he and Deer + Almond owner Mandel Hitzer will host a culinary fundraiser to honour Bourdain, the globe-trotting gourmand who died by suicide earlier this month at the age of 61.

The six-course dinner — dubbed Remembering Anthony Bourdain — will take place at The Forks on Tue., July 3, and will feature a menu inspired by the best-selling author of Kitchen Confidential and host of CNN’s Parts Unknown. Proceeds raised will go to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The event will also feature a presentation by Michael Redhead Champagne, founder of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, as well as other discussions and perspectives relating to mental health.

“[Bourdain’s] death was so sudden and unexpected — it still doesn’t feel real,” Donnelly, a 2005 grad, told the Winnipeg Free Press last week.

“It shows that anybody can be suffering. We’re just trying to show awareness — that if you’re feeling like that, you might not reach out all the time. So look around you, with the people that you care about or who work for you, to see the signs and ask if they’re OK.”

Tickets for the dinner are sold out, but organizers are looking for volunteers to staff the event. Visit raw-almond.com for more information.

Shown above: Adam Donnelly (left) and Mandel Hitzer. (Via Hitzer's Instagram.)

The Force is strong with this one: Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo to receive Distinguished Graduate Award

June 14, 2018

Pablo HidalgoAs a wise man named Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”

And it certainly wasn’t luck, but hard work and passion, that earned Pablo Hidalgo — a Winnipeg-raised Star Wars fan, now working for Lucasfilm in California — a Distinguished Graduate Award from Red River College.

A 1996 alum of RRC’s Creative Communications program, Hidalgo proved to be more than a simple man trying to make his way in the universe. The skills he acquired at College put him on the path to where he is today.

While working at McKim Communications Group, he used networking skills to land a role with one of his clients, Frantic Films.

That leap took him to California, where he was quickly presented with an opportunity from Lucasfilm — to work as a writer and content developer for StarWars.com.

Since then, Hidalgo has become a creative executive as part of Lucasfilm's story development team, earning the unofficial title of Lucasfilm's ‘resident Star Wars geek,’ who’s most often consulted about the timelines and mythology within the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.

He’ll be presented with the award on Sat., June 23, at the second annual FanQuest convention taking place at RRC’s Roblin Centre. He’s also scheduled to speak twice at the event: presenting Inside Solo: The Official Guide (noon, Sat.) and From Winnipeg to a Galaxy Far, Far Away (1:00 p.m., Sun.).

“It feels great to be recognized by Red River College as a Distinguished Graduate,” says Hidalgo. “If anything, my journey has taught me to always take the opportunities that are presented to you and stay true to who you are. Growing up in Winnipeg was integral to growing my Star Wars hobby obsession, and it’s great to receive this award surrounded by people who understand the creative energy you can harness when you live somewhere that’s covered in snow half the year.” Read More →

College hits home run with new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning

June 13, 2018

Forget about peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Tonight, Red River College will partner with local snack mainstay The Pretzel Place, to launch a new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning at the Winnipeg Goldeyes’ game at Shaw Park.

The seasoning is the edible innovation of RRC’s Culinary Research & Innovation (CR&I) program, which in recent years has seen substantial growth in the areas of new product development and ingredient applications.

“The demand for culinary research and innovation in our province is increasing, and our CR&I program continues to ‘step up to the plate,’ to develop new and advanced uses for locally grown food while supporting Manitoba’s agricultural and food industry through applied research,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, with The Pretzel Place owner Sue Leclair).

“This partnership with The Pretzel Place is just one of many delicious examples of new product creation and culinary creativity at work in our community.”

The CR&I program is housed within RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, allowing researchers to tap into the knowledge of accomplished chef instructors, and to recruit students to work on applied research projects with industry.

The program was first launched in 2014, and has increased its activities with help from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). To date, the program has been involved in over 40 industry projects with organizations such as the Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers, Granny’s Poultry, Piccola Cucina, and MS Prebiotic Inc. Read More →