Alumni

Film and video instructor balances business savvy with artistic insight

March 21, 2016

JT imageJeremy Torrie is running a gauntlet every filmmaker knows. He’s pulling together the fine cut of Juliana & The Medicine Fish, his adaptation of Jake Macdonald’s beloved bestselling young adult novel.

There are thousands of takes from this past autumn’s work with stars Adam Beach and Emma Tremblay to comb through, and agonizing choices to face. Does he use the shot where Beach’s dialogue was note-perfect, or the one with the best lighting? When should he cut from one shot to the next? Is there a way to reclaim the out-of-focus footage?

“Those are the compromises you make,” Torrie says of the labour of love, which leans on his talents as writer, director and producer. “Films are not perfect – they’re a microcosm of anything and everything happening during prep, production, post-production… Most people don’t care about the behind-the-scenes stuff, but those are the things you have to deal with in the industry and hopefully come out on top of.”

It’s exactly the sort of industry insider insight — coupled with storytelling craft — that Torrie imparts to students taking Red River College’s AV Short Video Production course, and to those enrolled in the three-month Enhanced Filmmaking Skills & Techniques certificate course, offered in partnership with the Adam Beach Film Institute.

The fusion of art and business savvy is critical, Torrie says, for young filmmakers hoping to go on to full careers.

“Just because it’s artistic doesn’t mean it’s not a business,” he explains. “That’s what someone like me can bring to the table: to allow for the appreciation it’s not just a story – the story is absolutely important – but beyond that, there is an entire industry.”

“When you’re able to bring real business experience to a teaching setting, you’re going to set people up for success.” Read More →

Teacher Education grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s Medals for Proficiency

February 8, 2016

Congratulations to the latest recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, which will be awarded tonight and tomorrow as part of our Winter Convocation ceremonies.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and community activities. This year’s winners are: Read More →

BIT grad Dan Blair among 2016’s Future Leaders of Manitoba

February 5, 2016

21513_1111111062232924_855522822241646884_nCongratulations to Red River College grad Dan Blair, who was named one of the Future Leaders of Manitoba at last night’s awards gala.

Blair, who completed RRC’s Business Information Technology program in 2015, took the top spot in the FLM’s 20-25 category, where he faced competition from both the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.

A self-described technology entrepreneur, Blair has launched several companies since graduating from RRC, including Bit Space Development Ltd. — a local consulting firm that helps small- and medium-sized businesses explore and implement such technologies as virtual reality, 3D printing and modern frameworks — and PanoPla, a new Innovation Alley startup that helps businesses, realtors and schools share virtual tours and other VR content.

A regular presence at educational conferences like SAGE (Special Area Groups of Educators) and EdCampWpg, Blair also works with local schools to bring 3D printing, virtual reality and single board computing into the classroom.

As well, he supports and organizes a number of community-based groups, including Winnipeg Android (a user group for Android developers and students), Winnipeg Web and Mobile Developers, Kids Code Winnipeg and Ramp Up Weekend. He was a finalist in Innovate Manitoba’s Pitch Day 2015 competition, and one of the winners of Ramp Up Weekend 7 last spring.

While still a student at RRC, Blair earned a number of recognitions, including the Co-operative Education Manitoba (CEM) Co-op Student of the Year Award in 2014. More recently, he’s been working with RRC’s Accounting and Computer Education (ACE) department, to mentor students and help build a project space where they can work with local startups to build their skills and learn more about business and technology.

CreComm grad inducted into Manitoba Media Roll of Honour

January 28, 2016

imageA former Red River College student with ties to both TSN and CTV Sports was inducted into the Manitoba Media Roll of Honour this month, for his dedicated service in sports journalism.

CTV Winnipeg sports director Shawn Churchill, a 1993 graduate of RRC’s Creative Communications program, was inducted on Jan. 22 at the 60th annual Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association awards dinner.

Born in Saskatoon, Churchill enrolled at RRC after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree. He got his start in TV news working at a small station in Dauphin, eventually making his way to CKX in Brandon, then MTN (now City-TV) and CTV Winnipeg.

In 2004, he began working as a reporter for TSN; over the years, his career has found him covering multiple Grey Cups, World Curling Championships, Pan Am Games and the Memorial Cup.

Churchill wasn’t the only CreComm grad recognized at this year’s MSSA dinner. Current CreComm student Danielle Doiron received the Jack Matheson Memorial Award, named in honour of the former Winnipeg Tribune and CJOB commentator, and established to provide financial support to sports media aspirants.

Cabinetmaking instructor receives Apprenticeship Manitoba honour

November 13, 2015

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A cabinetmaking instructor from Red River College has won a prestigious provincial training honour from Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Todd Birtwhistle received this year’s Instructor of the Year honour at the Manitoba Apprenticeship Awards of Distinction, which recognize excellence in training and education.

An employee at the college for the last eight years (and himself an alum of RRC’s Apprenticeship Cabinetmaker program), Birtwhistle picked up the award at a reception in Winnipeg on Nov. 5.

His students describe him as an excellent instructor who enables apprentices to develop technical skills and self-motivation by giving them the tools and information they need to succeed, while also allowing them to make mistakes and supporting them when they take on increasingly complex tasks.

In addition, he encourages his students to strive for excellence and to take responsibility for their own learning, while always being there to assist and answer questions.

Birtwhistle (shown above, working with Grade 9 students during RRC’s Take Our Kids to Work Day) is known for regularly arriving early to open the Carpentry shop for his class, and for staying late to help students master difficult concepts or tasks. Read More →

New student award creates seamless pathways for generations of Indigenous learners

October 22, 2015

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Applications are still being accepted for the College’s new Seven Generations Award, available to any Indigenous student who’s the descendant (or dependent) of an RRC alum.

Launched last fall by RRC’s Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations team, the award seeks to create a seamless educational pathway for the next seven generations of learners. Two awards worth $500 each are available each year.

Application requirements include:

  • Must be a full-time student (and provide enrolment/registration letter)
  • Must be of Aboriginal ancestry
  • Must fill out a general RRC awards application
  • Must submit a 500-word essay, which includes an explanation of your relationship to the RRC grad in question, as well as a description of your career goals, community involvement and cultural awareness

Application packages can be dropped off at RRC’s Aboriginal Centre (F209, Notre Dame Campus). The deadline for submissions is Fri., Oct. 30.

For more information, please contact Joan Machendagoos at 204.632.2363 or amachendagoos@rrc.ca.

Shown above: Recent RRC grad Tynan Selkirk (at left) joins his father, fellow RRC grad Rob Selkirk, in announcing the launch of the Seven Generations Award at an Aboriginal alumni event in 2014.

Culinary grads score a clean sweep at Gold Medal Plates gala

October 21, 2015

OjjX6sH-rthtoaXq15ZtXd_W3pzP1pm4I2dDjZecBqY,DUSgDqwexQ30i-sHeivDfCpyisYI_IqV7WA2d1llzhYRed River College’s culinary winning streak continues, thanks to a recent sweep by our graduates at the prestigious Gold Medal Plates competition in Winnipeg.

Norm Pastorin, a 2002 alum of RRC’s Culinary Arts program, took the podium’s top spot at the Oct. 16 event, where he was joined by fellow grads Jesse Friesen (2009) and Melissa Makarenko (2006) in second and third place, respectively.

Pastorin (shown above at centre) is chef at The Cornerstone Bar and Restaurant in Osborne Village; Friesen (left) is chef at 295 York downtown, and Makarenko at Resto Gare in St. Boniface.

Pastorin’s winning dish — confit salmon with bacon-quinoa-salmon roe, pickled shallots, tamagoyaki and soy-ginger-anise glaze — earned him a gold medal at this year’s gala, which doubles as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s Own the Podium program.

Each year, the event finds local chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their creations to 500 assembled guests.

Each chef also faces scrutiny from a panel of judges, which this year included RRC’s Jeff Gill (Director of Food Services at the College) and former staffers Mike Green (Peg City Food blogger and one-time Master Chef Canada competitor) and Luc Jean (chef at Mon Ami Louis, and winner of last year’s Gold Medal Plates competition). Read More →

College receives research grant to continue partnership on solutions for dust control

September 24, 2015

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Red River College has received a $65,000 research grant to continue product development work with a local company specializing in environmental solutions for dust control.

The Applied Research and Development (ARD) grant — awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) — will allow RRC’s faculty researchers, staff and students to collaborate with Cypher Environmental staff to continue development and testing of Dust Stop, their dust control and dust suppression product.

This project will significantly enhance R&D capacity at RRC by engaging staff in a challenging multi-disciplinary area of research. The knowledge and experience generated will enrich curricula and teaching in different departments at the College; student engagement will contribute to new applied learning and expose students to real life experiences.

Through the National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Cypher has been working with RRC researchers from Civil Technology (Neil Chandler) and Life Sciences (Aman Abrha, Said Hassan and Michael Judge) on different facets of product characterization and testing. Judge and Hassan will lead the next phase of the year-long NSERC ARD project, which commences this month. Read More →

App-building brothers nominated for MBiz Award

September 22, 2015

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From “best startup” to “best medium-sized business” in less than a year? Apparently it pays to be bold.

Congratulations go out to Red River College grads (and brothers) Yvan and Eric Boisjoli, two of the founding partners of local software suppliers Bold Innovation Group.

Earlier this year, the company was named Startup of the Year at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s annual Spirit of Winnipeg Awards. This year, they’ve been nominated for a Manitoba Chambers of Commerce MBiz Awards, in the Outstanding Medium Business category.

The Boisjoli brothers, both graduates of RRC’s Computer Analyst/Programmer program (now called Business Information Technology) launched Bold in March 2012, along with co-founders Stefan Maynard and Jason Myers.

They’ve quickly become one of the leading third-party suppliers of apps for e-commerce giant Shopify, with almost 50,000 clients served, including Wikipedia, Subway, Time-Life and Cirque du Solieil. They’ve also branched out with experimental new projects unrelated to e-commerce, including Kickbooster, Fishbowl Prizes and Inviid.

In addition to the above accolades, they also won in the Young Enterprise category of the St. Boniface Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Prizes, and earned a national award for economic development and employability from Réseau de dévelopment économique et d’émployabilité (RDEE) Canada, the nation’s Francophone economic and employability network.

The MBiz Awards take place Wed., Oct. 28, at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

Project Management grad takes top student award at PMI Manitoba’s annual conference

April 16, 2015

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Congratulations to recent Continuing Education grad Fay Hartwick, this year’s winner of the Red River College and Project Management Institute (PMI) Top Student Award.

Hartwick, who graduated from RRC’s Project Management program in Fall 2014, picked up her award — and associated $1,000 cash prize — at PMI Manitoba’s annual Professional Development Days Spring Conference on April 15.

Each year, program instructors nominate one deserving graduate for the award, basing their decision on a mix of criteria that includes academic achievement, attitude, drive, determination, initiative and teamwork skills.

Hartwick currently works for the Life Science Association of Manitoba (LSAM), where she’s been the office manager since March — working closely with a program manager on event planning and general operations. Before that, she was the Program Director responsible for large conferences at NDG Financial Corporation, parent company to E-Care Contact Centers.

Hartwick, who also has her Management Development credentials from RRC, says she chose the College because of the convenience and comprehensiveness of Continuing Education’s delivery model. Read More →

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