RRC instructor releases new book exploring technology’s impact on the environment

November 27, 2014

Peter DentonRed River College instructor Peter Denton has released a new book exploring society’s obsession with technology, and its impact on the environment.

Technology and Sustainability is the fifth book for Denton, who teaches ethics, sustainability and technical communication at RRC. Published by Rocky Mountain Books, it challenges readers to re-imagine the ways they engage with technology, in the hopes of creating a better world for future generations.

From the publisher: “Technology is in our heads, not in our hands. If we don’t like what our technologies are doing to the world and to ourselves, then we all have both the power and the responsibility to make better choices today than we did yesterday. Technology and Sustainability redefines our relationship with technology and offers ways in which we can use these tools to make the world a better place through enlightened and positive engagements.”

In addition to his teaching role at RRC, Denton also serves as one of two civil society representatives for North America to the United Nations Environment Programme, and as an adjunct associate professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada and an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada.

His new book will appeal to anyone with an interest in technology, and in sustainable practices for improving the environment.

McNally Robinson will host a book launch for Denton on Fri., Nov. 28, at 7pm, while RRC will host a book signing on Tue., Dec. 2, at the Notre Dame Campus Library from 12:30-1:30pm.

Click here to learn more about Technology and Sustainability.

RRC-supported electric buses enter into service with Winnipeg Transit

November 27, 2014

electric busWinnipeg Transit will soon begin daily service using up to four battery-electric transit buses developed and designed by a consortium that includes researchers from Red River College .

The New Flyer Xcelsior® buses will be in daily operation on a 40-kilometre, two-hour route starting at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, making its way through the city centre to East Kildonan, and returning to the airport.

The route was chosen because its length, speeds and loads are typical of many central business district routes in Canada and the U.S., and because the Winnipeg Airports Authority permitted New Flyer to install a high-power charging station at the airport – a project that was completed in October 2014.

“We didn’t want an easy route,” says Paul Soubry, New Flyer’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We encouraged Winnipeg Transit to select a route that would showcase the technological capability of our Xcelsior battery-electric bus in a real life in-service situation that will experience a wide range of weather and traffic conditions.”

The project is a continuing collaboration between New Flyer, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Red River College and Winnipeg Transit. The project team – which started the effort in May 2011 – received additional assistance in October 2012 when Sustainable Development Technology Canada announced funding of $3.4 million to take the project from prototype to full production and field demonstration, and in 2014 when Manitoba’s Vehicle Technology Centre provided an additional $94,000 for charging station development.

“This electric bus project is a key element in Manitoba’s Clean Energy Strategy and supports our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of effective, cost-efficient, renewable energy,” said Eric Robinson, Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro. “Our innovative advancements in clean energy technologies have contributed to our placement as the first in Canada to employ the new, unique on-route rapid charging system, promoting affordable public transportation and electric vehicle knowledge which will create jobs.”

Zero-emission battery-electric propulsion transit buses are expected to significantly reduce green house gas and smog-causing criteria air contaminant emissions. In Manitoba, where the electrical grid is highly renewable (nearly 100 per cent of electricity is generated without burning fuel), the use of electric propulsion buses are expected to translate to an estimated reduction of 160 tonnes of green house gas emissions, per bus, per year.

“Red River College is proud to support community economic development as a participant in this project,” said David Rew, Interim RRC President. “Our instructors, staff and students have all contributed to the success of the consortium and we look forward to the zero emissions bus going into commercial use at many transit authorities across North America.”

RRC celebrates partnership with TransX Group of Companies

November 26, 2014

TransX_Announcement_20141126_0061_smIn recognition of a generous gift and ongoing support from TransX Group of Companies, Red River College unveiled a plaque today naming a classroom in the organization’s honour at the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC).

The newly-named space symbolizes the long-standing partnership between TransX and RRC, which includes support of alumni and student success, and a $100,000 pledge.

TransX joins a host of other industry partners that have supported HETC by providing opportunities for students who graduate from a variety of RRC programs.

“Support from industry partners like TransX assists Red River College in creating opportunities for students that align with industry needs,” says RRC President David Rew. “TransX’s financial and advisory support allows the College to create a state-of-the-art learning facility designed with industry in mind. Our students are the ultimate beneficiaries of their support, and we are grateful for this ongoing partnership.”

Located at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus, HETC boasts 60,000 square feet of classroom and lab space in which students can work on large vehicles representing a variety of industry sectors. Offering modern transportation technology, the facility meets the LEED silver standard in energy efficiency, and is home to four RRC programs: Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic, Outdoor Power Equipment Technician, Transport Trailer Mechanic Apprenticeship and Transport Truck/Bus Apprenticeship.

“We are proud to support a first-class training centre at Red River College that helps promote, attract and train heavy duty technicians for the transportation industry,” says Mike Jones, Vice-President of Operations at TransX. “Our industry relies on highly skilled graduates and we’re proud to partner with RRC to continue to provide these types of opportunities.” Read More →

Break barriers and open doors: International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Wed., Dec. 3

November 26, 2014

IDPDDid you know that one out of two Canadians will be touched by a disability, either personally or within their immediate family?

Help Red River College reaffirm and draw attention to the rights of the more than one billion people throughout the world who are living with a disability. Join us at noon on Wed., Dec. 3, for a Disability Awareness Lunch Hour Blitz at the Notre Dame Campus, where you can visit a display in the library hallway, or chat with students from RRC’s Disability and Community Support program.

Did you know?

Internationally: More than one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, are living with a disability. Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which affirms that all people with disabilities have human rights and freedoms.

Locally: Manitoba is about to sign into law Bill 26, the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. This legislation will ensure there is a plan to eliminate barriers that currently exist for 200,000 Manitobans with disabilities allowing them to experience their human rights with the same expectations as other citizens.

Personally: Join us in taking a stand against the “R” word (retard), and “Spread the Word to End the Word”. Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their families and friends. Make a personal pledge to remove this form of hate speech from our collective vocabularies.

Sponsored by the Disability and Community Support program and the Diversity and Intercultural Services department.

RRC Transportation Chair named top associate by Manitoba Trucking Association

November 24, 2014

Neil Cooke_20141119_0012_smNeil Cooke, Chair of Transportation and Heavy Apprenticeship Trades at Red River College, has been named 2014’s Associate of the Year by the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA).

Presented annually in conjunction with Payne Transportation LP, the award recognizes an MTA member who’s made a positive contribution to association programs, or otherwise contributed to the development of the association.

“This recognition is a testament to the leadership and dedication Neil brings to the College and the strong relationships he has developed with the trucking industry,” says RRC President David Rew. “Neil is not only a leader at the College but a leader in our community and vital to ensuring both staff and student success.”

Cooke has nearly 40 years of experience in Manitoba’s transportation sector, where he worked extensively in the heavy truck industry as a technician, mechanic and consultant. He worked for 11 years as an RRC instructor before assuming his role as Chair in 2006.

These days, Cooke oversees a team of more than 60 people who provide essential industry training and applied research capabilities for the transportation industry. Cooke and his team have contributed towards research on electric vehicle technology, biodiesel, and hydrogen production methods for RRC’s hybrid vehicles.

In early 2014, the federal government appointed Cooke to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), a major distinction — and one currently shared by only 12 council members across Canada.

“Neil has been pivotal in working with industry and helping further many of our applied research initiatives here at the College,” says Don MacDonald, Chair of RRC’s School of Transportation, Aviation and Manufacturing. “He’s a valued and dedicated member of this team and most deserving of this honour from the MTA.”

Click here to watch the Associated Trade Award video presentation.

RRC named one of Manitoba’s top employers for fifth year running

November 24, 2014

Top Employer 2015Red River College is proud to be named one of Manitoba’s Top 25 Employers for the fifth year in a row.

“What an honour to once again be recognized as one of Manitoba’s top employers,” says David Rew, Interim President of RRC.

“The College is an employer of choice in our province and this ongoing recognition is the result of the more than 2,500 dedicated people who work at RRC. We’re an organization dedicated to the success of our people, and our People Plan strategy fosters that environment at the College.”

A comprehensive human resources strategy, the People Plan has allowed RRC to be an employer of choice through a variety of initiatives related to recruitment, retention, professional development, succession, total rewards, labour relations and organizational effectiveness.

RRC provides exceptional benefits, such as three weeks of vacation for new employees, maternity top-up payments, a defined benefit pension plan, a flexible health care plan, and an on-site daycare. The College was also recognized for its efforts in improving environmental sustainability, which earlier this year earned it a designation as one of Canada’s 50 Greenest Employers for 2014.

“The positive work environment that we have worked so hard to foster offers many benefits for our employees,” says Rew. “It makes RRC more competitive in recruiting new talent. It reduces staff turnover and it improves productivity because satisfied employees who are empowered in their roles are enthusiastic about their work.

“It also creates an environment in which people know they are a significant and vital part of an organization committed to excellence.”

Feds launch new fund to strengthen communities, support social innovation research in Canadian colleges

November 21, 2014

CCSI FundAlready a model of the potential for success through partnerships with community organizations, Red River College stands to benefit even further from a new pilot project aimed at strengthening communities through social innovation research.

Announced today by the Hon. Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), the new Community and College Social Innovation Fund will increase colleges’ capacity to engage in collaborative projects with community organizations and businesses to address such social issues as poverty, crime prevention, community safety and economic development.

“Our government understands that local community organizations are essential in addressing social issues like economic development, poverty, education and integration in Canadian communities,” says Holder (shown above, fifth from left). “The Community and College Social Innovation Fund will connect the innovative talent of researchers and students at colleges and polytechnics to meet the research needs of local community organizations to build stronger, safer, healthier communities.”

Administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the fund allows colleges and polytechnics to partner with community organizations and businesses to apply for funding of up to $200,000 (plus an additional 20 per cent to offset overhead and administrative costs) to undertake collaborative projects that address community issues.

The new fund will provide $15 million over three years in support of social innovation projects, which could take the form of products, processes or programs that create positive social outcomes for communities.

“Social innovation requires breakthrough ideas, applied research and community collaboration,” says David Rew, Interim President of RRC. “We welcome the government’s recognition that colleges like RRC are instrumental in making meaningful contributions to advancing solutions to issues that face communities, not only in Manitoba, but [throughout the globe].” Read More →

RRC ironworking expert named Instructor of the Year by Apprenticeship Manitoba

November 20, 2014

20141119_neil and barry_0049_sm[1]A heavy metal shout-out to Red River College instructor Barry Chetyrbok, who’s spent the last 10 years forging a reputation as a highly-respected mentor to apprenticing ironworkers in Manitoba.

A former tradesman who turned to teaching after being injured on the job, Chetyrbok was recently honoured as the Instructor of the Year at Apprenticeship Manitoba’s annual Awards of Distinction.

Chetyrbok says his instructor position gives him the opportunity to invest in the next generation of ironworkers, by sharing his expertise with students and doing his best to prepare them for careers in industry.

“In my mind, the students themselves are responsible for their own learning. I’m just here to facilitate,” Chetyrbok told the Winnipeg Free Press recently. “I try my best to instill character, work ethic and a strong command of what the trade involves. I’m here as the result of an accident, so I really stress the safety part of it.”

Chetyrbok (shown above with Neil Cooke, chair of Transportation and Heavy Apprenticeship Trades at RRC) got his start as a student in RRC’s Welding program, but took an interest in ironworking after visiting a friend at a job site. After he suffered an on-the-job injury that prevented him from returning to work, his business manager suggested he try teaching.

Chetyrbok said he’d give it a go, and hasn’t looked back. He recently took time out of his schedule to coach a trio of students taking part in a Western Canadian apprenticeship competition.

Two of those students (Sebastian Barychynski and Jordan Orieux) took first and second place, respectively, while the third (Matthew Chetyrbok, Barry’s son) took sixth. All three travelled to Toronto in September for the 2014 Iron Workers International Apprentice Competition. Read More →

Teaching the teachers: Teacher Education students help integrate technology in Manitoba classrooms

November 18, 2014

Eva Brown2Teacher Education students at Red River College are flipping the professional development experience by teaching teachers how to integrate technology into their classrooms.

It’s all part of Flipping PD, a program developed by RRC’s Eva Brown, an instructor with the Business/Technology Teacher Education program offered jointly through the College and the University of Winnipeg.

Brown knows it’s impossible to anticipate the future of technology. Instead, she focuses on developing the skills teachers need to effectively utilize technology in lessons.

“My student teachers need to learn how to use tools, but more than that [they need to know] which tool to go where and how to help their students figure things out, because things are changing so rapidly.”

Future teachers need the ability to constantly learn and adapt; Flipping PD facilitates this by putting them in situations where they’re forced to think on their toes.

“I take my student teachers out into the world. I take them to conferences and different schools and they deliver professional development to reach teachers that want to use these technologies to teach in their classrooms.”

For example, Brown’s students might demonstrate ways classrooms can use Google Drive or Skype to facilitate global learning. Rather than demonstrate how to use a specific tool for a specific lesson, however, they show the learning opportunities that can be facilitated through technology.

“It’s categories of tools that we try to teach, and the ones that will be the most bang for your buck.” Read More →

International Business student wins $1,000 for innovative startup pitch

November 13, 2014

20141112-IMG_5796A smartphone-controlled dog collar designed by a Red River College student fetched a $1,000 prize at Innovate Manitoba’s annual pitch-off.

Pablo Steinberg (above), an International Business student at RRC, won the Best Student Pitch award at Innovate Manitoba’s Pitch’Day, where 20 local startups were given two minutes each to convince a panel of judges to support their respective business concepts.

Steinberg’s award was for N’leashed, a dog-training collar that’s operated with a smartphone. Steinberg will soon take the next step to finish the N’leashed prototype and bring it to market.

This year’s Pitch’Day drew its largest attendance yet, with roughly 200 innovators, investors and business leaders gathering to challenge and cheer on the startups pitching their ideas.

The event’s $7,500 top prize went to Chris Karasewich, whose Cattle Track app digitizes farmers’ log books, while the $2,500 second-place prize went to Matthew Doak, whose GameChangr service matches competitive eSports players with suitable one-on-one coaches.

The People’s Choice Award, Best Researcher Pitch and Best Technology Pitch (worth a combined $3,000) all went to Andrea Kraj and Noel Ferrer, whose CORE Renewable Energy Inc. provides real-time solutions for complex energy problems.

All of the event’s winners received entry into Innovate Manitoba’s Launch’Pad Startup Skills Workshop. Jan Lederman, Innovate Manitoba president, said she was thrilled with the concepts presented.

“The quality of the pitches was impressive, and I have no doubt that many of these innovative companies will go on to great things,” said Lederman. “[Even] companies that didn’t win here today may be our next big success stories.”

Click here for more information on Innovate Manitoba, and here to learn more about RRC’s International Business program.