RRC instructor teams with Paralympics contender on bicycle modifications

September 9, 2016

Chantal Givens

It’s been a long road to Rio for Paralympic athlete Chantal Givens, who’ll make history this weekend as part of Canada’s very first paratriathlon team.

But the Winnipegger got a bit of an assist from Red River College instructor Leon Fainstein, who for the last year has been working with Givens on modifications to the bicycle she’ll use when competing in Brazil this Sunday morning.

A Mechanical Technology instructor at RRC, Fainstein was first approached by Olympic rower Jeff Powell, now the general manager of the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba. (Qualico vice-president John Daniels, a cycling-world acquaintance and one of Givens’ primary sponsors, recommended Fainstein to her team.)

With support from Don McDonald (Dean of Transportation, Aviation and Manufacturing at RRC) and program chair Bill Noakes, Fainstein worked with Givens — who was born without her left hand — on adaptations that allowed her to better grip her bike’s handlebar.

Together, they went through about 15 different iterations before arriving at the current model, which gives Givens the ability to better climb and descend hills.

“For most of the last year and at her Paralympic qualifying races, she has been using models straight from our 3D printer,” says Fainstein, who previously modified a wheelchair for use in wheelchair basketball while a Machine Shop student at RRC in the late 1970s. “The one on Chantal’s new bike in Rio is full carbon fiber layered over a core from that same printer.”

Givens, 38, is a three-time Canadian Paratriathlon champion and has twice placed fourth at the World Championships. Her Paralympic dreams were nearly dashed last summer when she fell from her bike and fractured her shoulder blade just weeks before a major event.

This year marks the debut of the triathlon event at the Paralympic Games. Givens’ team competes at 10am (CT) this Sunday.

Photo credit: Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba

College awarded $5.9 million in funding to bolster research in heavy vehicles and culinary innovation

September 7, 2016

Ray Hoemsen, Guy Levesque, Bettina Hamelin, MaryAnn Mihychuk, Paul Vogt, Karen McDonald, Mark Hoddenbagh

Red River College has received the largest influx of research funding since its applied research enterprise was first founded in 2004. The new $5.9-million investment will allow the College to boost innovation capacity in Manitoba’s vehicle technology and food development sectors.

“This is a red-letter day for the College, our partners, and for Manitoba’s innovation outlook in general,” says Paul Vogt, president and CEO of Red River College. “These national awards acknowledge not only industry needs, but the ability of the College to deliver innovation services, and Manitoba as a place where leading-edge products are developed.”

The Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (on behalf of the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science) announced today that RRC will receive $3.6 million for advanced and sustainable vehicle technology research and $2.3 million for culinary innovation.

“These new funds will be transformational for our research programs in the areas of vehicle technology and culinary innovation,” says Vogt. “Manitoba is already a major player in the world’s heavy vehicle sector, while we are undergoing a bit of a renaissance in terms of commercializing new food products. In both cases, these funds will help us work with producers to develop and test innovations.”

The awards have already sparked the establishment of a new Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) that will house MotiveLab, a 3,000-square foot research facility focused on supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle sector. MotiveLab will feature a 1,000 HP engine dynamometer test cell and a drive-in climatic chamber (large enough to fit a bus, truck or farm vehicle) with an integrated 1,000 HP chassis dynamometer. Read More →

CreComm grad to make Canadian broadcasting history this weekend

September 1, 2016

Danielle Doiron, CHS Field, St. PaulFor the second time this week, a Red River College grad is poised to make history.

On Saturday evening, Danielle Doiron (Creative Communications, 2016) will become the first woman to call the play-by-play for a Canadian professional baseball team, when she covers the third inning of the Winnipeg Goldeyes‘ game against the Fargo-Moorhead Red Hawks.

The game will be broadcast on the Goldeyes’ flagship radio station (93.7 FM CJNU), as well as Kenora-based “The Lake” (89.5 FM).

Doiron is serving her second year as the Goldeyes’ media assistant, and also worked as a studio host and board operator during away broadcasts over the summer. Last winter, she received the Jack Matheson Award from the Manitoba Sports Writers and Sportscasters Association.

“Daniele has earned this [play-by-play] opportunity through her incredible work ethic and high-quality contributions to the Goldeyes’ organization,” says team broadcaster Steve Schuster.

“She has a bright future in the industry, and we are extremely proud to call her a part of our family. This is not only a monumental achievement for Danielle, but a significant milestone for Winnipeggers, Canadians and young women in general with career aspirations in sports media.”

Doiron is the second RRC alumna to make a foray into a male-dominated field this week. Last Saturday, Business Administration grad Amber Balcaen became the first Canadian woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned stock car race.

(Photo credit: Edward Doiron)

Give your head a shake! DisOrientation Week activities start Tuesday

August 31, 2016

Minute To Win It (2015); the Cave LoungeYou’re nervous, overwhelmed, possibly even panicked by the prospect of a new school year and related academic responsibilities.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re in good company. And thankfully, the Red River College Students’ Association has a full slate of DisOrientation Week activities scheduled to offset the chaos and confusion.

Starting Tuesday, you can work off some of that back-to-school stress at a series of parties and events aimed at reminding you that all work and no play … well, you know the rest. Read More →

Printed windows: RRC grads’ work featured in urban art installations

August 31, 2016

Isabelle Kilimnik

The eye-catching artwork of two recent Graphic Design grads earned a high-profile reveal last week as part of a new downtown beautification project.

Urban Wallpaper, launched recently by the Downtown Business Improvement Zone (BIZ), aims to transform and enliven vacant windows, storefronts and construction sites using jury-selected designs from local artists.

Jesse Warkentin's window, Urban WallpaperSo far, five downtown locations have been outfitted with urban art, including Donald and Kennedy Street sites featuring works by Isabelle Kilimnik (above) and Jesse Warkentin (work at left), both graduates of RRC’s Advanced Graphic Design program.

Downtown BIZ reps hope the new installations will not only improve the visual landscape downtown, but also combat impressions the district is uninviting or unsafe.

Kilimnik and Warkentin’s work was completed as part of their Visual Exploration class with RRC instructor Ken Stampnick.

Student Refugee Program welcomes second sponsored arrival

August 30, 2016

Wasim Alkabani, Winnipeg International Airport

Repeating a tradition first established last fall, organizers of RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) welcomed a special addition to the College community yesterday.

Members of the program’s Local Committee were joined by RRC executive and staff from Diversity and Intercultural Services, to greet Wasim Alkabani (above), the second student to arrive at the College under a sponsorship with the SRP, an initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

Now a permanent Canadian resident, Wasim arrived from Lebanon on Monday afternoon. Fluent in both English and Arabic, he’ll begin his Applied Accounting studies at the Exchange District Campus.

Born in Syria and raised mostly in Dubai, Wasim has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Damascus University. He’s interested in a career in business or finance — just like his SPR predecessor, Yves Ngendahimana (below, at right), who arrived last fall from Malawi as the program’s first sponsored student. Read More →

Victory lane: Business Administration grad makes NASCAR history

August 29, 2016

Amber-BalcaenA Red River College grad burned rubber and blazed a new trail over the weekend, becoming the first Canadian woman to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race.

Amber Balcaen (Business Administration, 2013) drove her No. 10 Lee Pulliam Performance car straight into the history books Saturday night, pulling from the pack to capture the checkered flag at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia.

The 24-year-old had previously found success on the local dirt track circuit, becoming the first woman in Manitoba to win a championship and carrying on the family tradition established by her father and grandfather, both accomplished racers in their own right.

Saturday’s win came during the second-last race of Balcaen’s rookie season on U.S. pavement, and bumped her to a third-place seat in the overall point standings. She’s earned top-five rankings in 10 out of 13 races this season, including podium finishes in the Limited Sportsman class of NASCAR’s Whelen All-America Series.

In a 2014 interview for RRC’s Going Places blog, Balcaen said her college experience gives her an edge over some of her racing-world competitors, especially when it comes to marketing herself and securing sponsorships.

“Not only is racing a sport, but it’s almost like a business where you need to be that full package,” she said then. “You need to be able to speak to people, you need to be professional, and then on the driving side of things, you need to be physically fit so you’re a good driver.”

Read more about Balcaen’s road to NASCAR.

Hive mind: RRC launches urban beekeeping initiative on downtown dormitory rooftop

August 5, 2016

Chris Kirouac (Beeproject Apiaries)

Red River College’s downtown dormitory is home to more than just students this summer. The rooftop patio at Paterson GlobalFoods Institute is also the new seasonal home of our very own buzz-worthy urban beehives.

A fixture at PGI since early July, the three hives each house between 40,000 and 50,000 European honeybees, a docile but still industrious breed expected to produce up to 75 kilograms of honey by this fall.

Until that time, they’re being tended to by Beeproject Apiaries’ Chris Kirouac (shown above) and Lindsay Nikkel, a husband-and-wife team of former nurses who describe their sticky venture as a DIY hobby gone wild, and with whom RRC’s Sustainability department struck a honey of a partnership earlier this year.

The resulting initiative is a perfect match with the College’s mandate on sustainable practices, offering environmental benefits (via the pollination of nearby greenspaces) and the opportunity to add another locally sourced food product to RRC’s menu — one that arrives at the table in very nearly its natural state.

“Honey is one of those amazing foods that’s better the less refined it is,” says Kirouac, noting the harvested honey is bottled in a CFIA-inspected facility, but not pasteurized or refined in any way. “The quality and safety of honey — right when you crack the hive and stick your finger in there — means it’s good to go, just the way it is.”

Once extracted, the honey will be used by students in PGI’s culinary labs (including in the kitchen of restaurant Jane’s), and by Food Services departments at all three Winnipeg campuses. It’ll also be available for purchase at College events throughout the year, including a new farmer’s market planned for the Notre Dame Campus this fall. Read More →

Corporate Solutions team seeks instructors, subject matter experts

July 6, 2016

Corporate Solutions 2014Do you have a knack for problem solving?

Are you an expert on management and business processes — or specialized trades such as hospitality, health sciences and construction — willing to mentor and instruct others on how to best improve their own practices?

Red River College’s Corporate Solutions department is seeking instructors and subject matter experts in a variety of fields — everything from leadership, analysis and conflict resolution to software, life sciences and sales management techniques.

Suitable candidates will be called upon to impart their expertise through classroom instruction, workshops and seminars, allowing Corporate Solutions to continue its tradition of responding to industry needs by providing made-to-measure solutions for corporate, government and non-profit clients.

“We are constantly looking for subject matter experts to work on contract, develop specialized curriculum and deliver customized solutions,” says Bill Rutherford, Corporate Solutions Manager at RRC. “Our contracts vary in length from a few days to several weeks. If you have specialized skills, love variety in the work you do and enjoy a fast-paced environment, we would love to hear from you.” Read More →

Development of new ceremonial grounds underway at Notre Dame Campus

June 29, 2016

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In the northwest corner of Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, there’s a peaceful retreat students and instructors can explore when they need a break from the hustle and bustle of classes. A loop of trees, small boulders and benches encloses another circle of coloured bricks, the quarters of which align with the four points of a compass.

The College’s Medicine Wheel Garden isn’t just a quiet pavilion, however. The Indigenous symbol at its heart emphasizes different concepts for different people — the four seasons, the journey from birth to old age, and the meeting of different nations. It’s a familiar image for young people who may have moved hundreds of miles from their home communities in order to attend College.

“The medicine wheel is certainly an important symbol to Indigenous people of North America,” says Dr. Mark Aquash, RRC’s Dean of Indigenous Education, who uses the medicine wheel as a tool for teaching students from any cultural perspective. “The Indigenous worldview is an important perspective today, as we are now feeling the impact of disrespecting Mother Earth and damaging our fragile ecosystems. Understanding the Indigenous worldview is learning about respect.”

In keeping with RRC’s strategic priority to advance Indigenous achievement over the next five years — weaving knowledge, philosophy, perspectives and content into programming and campus culture — a sweat lodge and change rooms will be installed at the same site this summer, marking the first step in the College’s ceremonial grounds expansion plan.

“There are several phases,” says Mark Wills, the project manager overseeing the build and a 17-year veteran of previous RRC expansions. “The committee involved has plans to extend the ceremonial grounds for powwows, and to set up sites for tipis and other structures.”

“The change rooms will be permanent, but the actual sweat lodge structure will be erected per use. They’re relatively simple, just a structure made of willow branches lashed together to create a shell. That’s covered by canvas, which I understand the elders will set up and take down themselves.” Read More →