Honorary Diploma recipients inducted into Order of Manitoba

July 14, 2017

RRC honorary diploma recipients Dave Angus and Lisa Meeches

A pair of Red River College’s Honorary Diploma recipients are among the distinguished dozen inducted into the Order of Manitoba this week.

Lisa Meeches, who received an honorary RRC diploma in Creative Communications in 2014, and Dave Angus, who received an honorary diploma in Business Administration in 2015, were among those recognized with the province’s highest honour during a ceremony at the Legislative Building on Thursday.

A highly respected TV and film producer, Meeches is the president of Eagle Vision Inc., as well as a four-time Canadian Screen Awards nominee, and a two-time winner for the docu-drama, praised by residential school survivors for its power to heal the wounds of the past.

She has received critical acclaim for a number of past projects, including The Sharing Circle, Canada’s longest-running Indigenous TV series; Tipi Tales, a Parent’s Choice Award-winning children’s series; the Gemini Award-winning TV movie Elijah; and the CSA-winning Jack, among many others. She’s also been integral to the success of the Manito Ahbee Festival since its inception, first acting as board chair, and later as executive director.

Angus, meanwhile, is a long-standing fixture of the city’s business community, having served as president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce until last summer. Under his leadership, the Chamber increased its membership to the highest level in its history.

Angus also played an instrumental role in bringing a World Trade Centre to Winnipeg, and in establishing Leadership Winnipeg, Yes! Winnipeg, and the BOLD initiative — a grassroots public policy campaign designed to mobilize community support for forward-thinking ideas.

Previous RRC honorary degree/diploma recipients who’ve been inducted into the Order of Manitoba include former Manitoba Hydro president and CEO Bob Brennan, Asper Foundation president Gail Asper, medical trailblazer Dr. June James, humanitarian (and former Palliser Furniture CEO) Art DeFehr, Western Glove Works president Bob Silver, and former premier Duff Roblin.

TV spot promoting RRC nabs top award for post-secondary commercials

June 23, 2017

A TV spot promoting Red River College as a post-secondary option that stands apart from its peers has been named the best commercial of 2016 by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Produced and released in spring of 2016, RRC’s “The Difference Is Here” spot received a recent Circle of Excellence Gold Award from CASE, beating out submissions from 41 participating higher education institutions around the world.

A panel of judges described the spot — which first appeared as a 30-second trailer in Manitoba movie theatres — as “entertaining, thought-provoking and even disruptive.”

“This commercial spot stands out from the pack … for two really important reasons: RRC knows who they are talking to, and knows their mission,” the judges said.

“Everything in this spot — from the hypnotic drumming of the soundtrack to the style of the images — is selected for a purpose, and the purpose always connects with the target audience and the important take-away message.”

The recognition for the commercial comes weeks after RRC’s 2017 billboard campaign was endorsed by CASE’s Opportunity and Inclusion Committee, for achievement in Best Practices in Communication and Marketing, and for efforts to foster and promote diversity.

College shares Indigenous culture with kids from Early Childhood Education Centre

June 21, 2017

National Aboriginal Day at RRC

As part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations across Canada, Red River College invited a group from its Early Childhood Education Centre to learn more about Indigenous culture through a unique morning experience.

The children were hosted by members of RRC’s Indigenous Student Support & Community Relations team, who read to them from David Courchene Jr.’s book, The Seven Teachings, and taught them about traditional drumming with help from wellness counsellor Sherry Gott.

“It was an honour and a privilege to share the Seven Scared Teachings with the children from our daycare centre here on campus as part of the ongoing process for reconciliation,” says Gott. “Reconciliation is about action and understanding, and this was a great opportunity to share that knowledge with our next seven generations, in a respectful, supportive environment.

Observed on June 21 (the summer solstice), National Aboriginal Day is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First NationsInuit and Métis peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

For generations, many Indigenous Peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

A number of events and activities are taking place throughout Winnipeg to mark National Aboriginal Day, including:

The above activities are free of charge, and open to all audiences.

New Peterbilt Training Institute opens at Red River College

June 20, 2017

Peterbilt Training Institute opening

Red River College, in partnership with the Peterbilt Motors Company, today welcomed its first group of students to the newly established Peterbilt Technician Institute (PTI) at the Notre Dame Campus.

A first for Peterbilt in Canada, the Institute is a manufacturer-paid training program offered to graduates of RRC’s Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic program, and to those interested in advancing their skills and training so they can become certified Peterbilt technicians.

“[The] College’s strengths in delivering this program come from our faculty’s connection to industry and the expertise they bring along with it,” says Tom Grant, Chair of Transportation and Heavy Apprenticeship Trades at RRC.

“Having this program delivered here will help Peterbilt develop their next generation of technicians, and we’re excited to play an important role in supporting them.”

While the trucking and transportation industry plays a big part in driving Canada’s economy — with more than 25,000 people employed in Manitoba alone — RRC’s experience delivering industry-specific training programs made it an ideal choice when Peterbilt began exploring options for their Canadian dealerships and employees.

“Partnering with RRC will allow us to address the industry-wide shortage of qualified and certified Peterbilt service technicians,” says Kyle Quinn, General Manager at Peterbilt.

“Our partnership will attract the next generation of Peterbilt technicians, who will exceed expectations through exceptional service for our customers and their vehicles.”

The new training program will run for 12 weeks, with the first intake running from June to September. A spring intake is planned for March 2018.

RRC partners with Cypher Environmental on new eco-friendly product launch

June 19, 2017

Product launch and ribbon-cutting, Cypher Environmental

Cypher Environmental and Red River College are marking the launch of a new product line developed by Cypher in collaboration with RRC students.

Cypher’s new Dust Stop Municipal Blend product is designed as a non-corrosive and environmentally friendly alternative to road salts such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, offering superior road dust control results.

“Cypher’s new product is a perfect example of how Red River College partners with industry to foster innovation right here in Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “It’s a real success story, as students and faculty worked on this project, our facilities were used, and both the Cypher president and company staff are College graduates.”

The product was launched today at an event attended by provincial Minister of Sustainable Development Cathy Cox, along with a delegation of political representatives from the Belarusian province of Mogilev, who’ve shown interest in the product.

Earlier in the day, RRC took the delegation on a tour of the campus facilities used to develop the Dust Stop Municipal Blend.

“We have been working hard on getting this new product up and running, and we’re very excited to be able to officially launch,” says Todd Burns, president of Cypher Environmental. “This product will create new jobs and revenue for the province of Manitoba and we have a growing international market to cater to.”

Cypher Environmental is a Winnipeg-based company that engineers environmentally friendly, high-quality dust control, soil stabilization, and water remediation solutions and now exports to over 30 countries.

Work on the new product was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

Rebecca Chartrand appointed executive director of Indigenous Strategy

June 19, 2017

Rebecca ChartrandRed River College has announced the appointment of Rebecca Chartrand as its new Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy, to lead in the enhancement of Indigenous education.

Chartrand will oversee a planned expansion of student supports, the creation of new academic programming, and the expansion and deepening of partnerships between RRC and Indigenous communities.

“We are thrilled to add Rebecca to our senior leadership team,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “The College is moving forward with a plan to add transition and mentoring services to support the success of Indigenous students across the College, and new programs designed to provide the skills needed in Indigenous communities. Rebecca will lead the process in consultation with our elders and our dedicated and experienced faculty and staff.”

Chartrand, who will start in August, comes to the College from Seven Oaks School Division, where she spent the last seven years as Division Lead, Aboriginal Education. Chartrand is also a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, the president of the Indigenous Peoples Commission for Manitoba, the founder and professional development chair of the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba, and an education advisor for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

“Education is the key to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples and to improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations across Canada,” says Chartrand. “We need to create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous peoples to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society. I am excited to be joining a strong Indigenous education program at RRC and a College that is committed to doing even more for Indigenous students.”

With 15 years’ experience in education, Chartrand has created several ground-breaking programs from scratch, including an Ojibwe Kindergarten-to-Grade 3 language school, the first of its kind developed with an urban school board. She also has experience in developing and implementing transitional supports for Indigenous secondary students moving to Winnipeg to attend high school, which in turn has supported their transition to post-secondary institutions. Read More →

Hospitality students explore southern culture on culinary tour of Belize

June 16, 2017

RRC Hospitality students in Belize

A group of Red River College Hospitality students got a head start on their summer this year, travelling to Belize in May for two weeks of culinary exploration.

The six second-year students — from RRC’s Culinary Arts and Professional Baking and Patisserie programs — made the trip alongside 14 students from Vancouver Island University.

While in Belize, the group spent time in five different cities and town, exploring everything from bakeries to banana plantations, marketplaces to Mayan ruins, and spice farms to sustainable nature preserves.

They also got a first-hand look at the region’s version of the farm-to-table movement, learning how the raw ingredients in coffee, chocolate, and corn tortillas (among other products) make their way from farmers’ fields to your plate.

“It was incredibly enlightening,” says RRC instructor Cameron Tait, who accompanied the students on the trip.

“There are very few people in the world who get to go from picking fruit in the jungle to making their own chocolate — pouring their own bars and wrapping the finished product themselves. You may get to see bits and pieces of that process if you’re lucky, so to see the whole thing unfold was fascinating.”

In addition to the cultural component of the trip — which also included visits to animal habitats, organic gardens, jungle tours and rum distilleries — the students were able to incorporate a charitable element, as well.

As part of their fundraising efforts, they collected several suitcases worth of school supplies, which they donated to an elementary school in the village of Blue Creek.

BIT instructor honoured for efforts to promote government transparency and public education

June 15, 2017

Canadian Open Data Awards winners, 2017

A Red River College instructor has received national recognition for his work creating online resources that promote government transparency and accountability.

Kyle Geske, a Business Information Technology instructor at RRC, was in Edmonton this week to pick up an Open Data for Democracy Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit.

He accepted the award on behalf of Open Democracy Manitoba (ODM), a citizen-run community organization that helps educate voters by empowering them to understand the roles and visions of their elected representatives, in order to create a more accountable and respectful democracy.

Geske (shown above in front row, third from left) co-founded ODM with fellow BIT instructor Jody Gillis in 2010; he now serves as its executive director and oversees operations alongside RRC grad Ken Harasym (Digital Media Design, 2006).

Since its inception, OMD has launched two election portals — WinnipegElection.ca and ManitobaElection.ca — that have allowed hundreds of thousands of voters to research their candidates and learn about local democratic processes.

The sites feature ward/constituency maps and statistics, historical information about past elections, candidate profiles and social media links, and links to media coverage of candidates and election issues.

ODM’s latest project, WinnipegElected.ca, was launched last November to provide Winnipeg residents with easy access to city council decisions on reports, motions and bylaws.

WinnipegElected.ca was developed in partnership with the City Clerk’s office; with only a few tweaks, ODM was able to update the city’s existing record-keeping processes, allowing council decisions to be posted on the city’s open data portal.

In addition to the Open Data for Democracy Award, ODM has been recognized previously by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the City of Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman, and a host of national and local journalists and media outlets.

Photo credit: City of Edmonton

CreComm student recognized by Canadian Public Relations Society

June 7, 2017

Trenton Burton, Creative Communications grad

A recent Red River College graduate has received this year’s Student Award of Excellence from the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and Canada Newswire (CNW).

Trenton Burton, who graduated this week from RRC’s Creative Communications program, was awarded the 2017 CPRS/CNW Student Award of Excellence at a gala event in Kelowna on May 30.

The award recognizes student excellence in the field of public relations. Candidates are nominated by their instructors and program coordinators; winners receive a $1,000 cash award from CNW and a complimentary affiliate membership — designed specifically for new practitioners — from CPRS.

A singer-songwriter who earlier this year released an album in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Burton recently started a new position as corporate communications representative for Manitoba Blue Cross.

He’s previously worked as communications coordinator for Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, and currently serves on the board for CPRS Manitoba.

“When I found out I won [the award], I almost didn’t believe it,” says Burton, who couldn’t attend the ceremony in Kelowna, but sent thanks via a short acceptance video. “There are so many PR students around the country doing great work, and I was honoured that CPRS and CMW chose to recognize me.

“A lot of the credit goes to my PR instructor, Melanie Lee Lockhart, who taught me so much in the past couple years. And of course, I couldn’t have done it without the Creative Communications program in general, since it gave me so many opportunities I wouldn’t get anywhere else.”

Paul Charette named RRC’s 2017 Honorary Degree recipient, 50 years after first graduating from College

June 5, 2017

Paul Charette, Gerri Charette, and Paul Vogt
He’s a titan of industry, a paragon of philanthropy and a proud Red River College graduate.

So naturally, the College is just as proud to congratulate Paul Charette on receiving this year’s Honorary Degree — a distinction that comes exactly 50 years after he first graduated from RRC.

“We are thrilled to present Paul with an honorary degree and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Red River College,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at right, with Charette and wife Gerri).

“We are very fortunate to have graduates like Paul, who share their vision and support and are constant ambassadors for RRC across the country. Paul’s generosity and enthusiasm for our College, as well as his commitment to providing opportunities for our graduates, is essential to what we are building at RRC.”

The former CEO of Bird Construction, Charette graduated from RRC’s Civil Technology program back in 1967 (after receiving a $200 bursary from the Women’s Auxiliary of West Kildonan).

He added to his credentials with a Computer Programming degree in 1968, then worked for nine years with Manitoba Hydro on the development of the Nelson River and Manitoba Rolling Mills expansion projects.

In 1976, Charette began working for Bird Construction — first as a project coordinator, then as chief operating officer (1988), chief executive office (1991), and chair of the board (2001). During that time, he led the company through a period of substantial growth, increasing revenues from $90 million in 1988 to more than $1 billion in 2008, when he stepped down as CEO.

The Charettes are RRC’s most prominent individual donors, having over the years established two award endowments — which fund 12 student awards each year — and the Paul and Gerri Charette Manitoba Applied Research Chair in Sustainable Construction. Read More →