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 →

Gene Haas Foundation donates $500,000 to new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre

June 1, 2017

Haas Foundation donationThe Gene Haas Foundation has made a $500,000 donation to Red River College’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC), scheduled to open next year at the Notre Dame Campus.

The announcement was made at the RBC Convention Centre during the 2017 Skills Canada National Competition, taking place in Winnipeg until June 3.

“We are humbled by the generosity of the Gene Haas Foundation and their continued support of our College,” said RRC president Paul Vogt. “Not only will our Skilled Trades and Technology Centre expand our applied learning environment, it will foster a collaborative approach within our program areas that will have a positive impact on our pre-employment training, applied research projects, and overall student success. This gift from HAAS allows us to provide new and improved opportunities for our students and for that we are extremely grateful.”

With a footprint of approximately 100,000 square feet, the STTC will house new laboratory and shop space and classrooms for up to 1,000 students each year in high-demand trades and technologies. The building will be home to leading applied research, technology and innovation in the fields of robotics, automation, advanced manufacturing and more.

When operational, the STTC will boost RRC’s skilled trades training capacity by more than 30 per cent.

“Red River College has a reputation for producing high-quality and high-skilled students who turn into respected members of the workforce,” said Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator for the Gene Haas Foundation. “We are thrilled to be a part of this state-of-the-art facility and to watch as it continues to provide RRC with the momentum it needs to continue to develop and grow to ensure student success.”

The Gene Haas Foundation also presented RRC with a $30,000 (USD) gift for the Gene Haas Awards at RRC and a $60,000 (USD) gift to Skills Canada for the Skills Canada Financial Sponsorship that awards medalists in CNC Machining and Precision Metal and Manufacturing.

Shown above, from left: Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator, Gene Haas Foundation; Joanne Haas, representative, Gene Haas Foundation; Paul Krainer, President, Thomas Skinner & Son Ltd.; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, Red River College.

RRC students compete in Canada-wide 'Olympics of Skills'

May 31, 2017

Heavy Duty Equipment Repair, Red River College

This Thursday and Friday, 19 Red River College students will face off against competitors from across the country at the 2017 Skills Canada National Competition, a multi-trade and technology showcase for students and apprentices.

Approximately 550 young people will compete in what's being called the "olympics of skills," displaying their prowess in over 40 skilled trades and technologies, including robotics, cabinetmaking, landscaping, cooking, graphic design, welding, autobody repair, and many others.

The RRC students who'll be competing all collected gold medals at the provincial Skills Canada competition hosted at the College earlier this year. Those winners include: Read More →

Business Administration, Early Childhood Education grads earn Lieutenant-Governor's Medals for Proficiency

May 31, 2017

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who’ll pick up their awards as part of our 2017 Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 6 and 7.

Each year, a maximum of four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Nella DeRosa: A proud graduate of RRC’s Early Childhood Education Workplace program, DeRosa says she was drawn to the field because she was determined to build a profession that was both challenging and exciting.

DeRosa says her instructors enhanced her experience at RRC, noting they took the time to get to know her as a person rather than just a student. “They believed in you even when you though the impossible wasn’t possible,” says DeRosa, who cherishes the relationships she made with students and instructors during her time at RRC, and looks forward to continuing these friendships in the future.

A graduate of Oak Park High School, DeRosa currently works as an early childcare educator at Linden Meadows Child Care. When not at work or in school, her interests range from fashion and travel to cooking and baking. She loves being involved in her children’s extra-curricular activities and enjoys thinking about her future and all the possibilities that it holds.

Lauren SlegersLauren Slegers: A graduate of RRC's Business Administration program, Lauren Slegers will stay on at the College for another year as she embarks on her newest role as president of the RRC Students’ Association.

Slegers will act primarily as an advocate for students, helping to publish the student newspaper and planning a variety of different activities throughout the school year.

A Collège Sturgeon Heights Collegiate grad, Slegers entered Business Administration with the hopes of creating a meaningful career. She says doing so was easy, as the skills and information she learned can be applied to her career, and to her everyday life.

In her spare time, Slegers enjoys baking and crafting.

Instructor recognized for full-circle approach to students facing barriers

May 30, 2017

Kerry Coulter, Red River CollegeShe’s spent her entire career working with at-risk children and youth.

But in her current role as an instructor for Red River College’s Youth Recreation Activity Worker program, Kerry Coulter gets to re-connect with many of those same kids as they prepare to make a similar difference in the lives of others.

“My students are youth with multiple barriers, so often times they’re kids I used to work with, but now they’re all grown up and seeking access to post-secondary [education], and a supportive environment in which to be successful,” says Coulter.

“It’s full circle. These students want to go back and be helpers in their own communities … They grow up, come to college, and are trained and educated in how to be helpers themselves.”

The recipient of this year’s RRC Students’ Association Teaching Award of Excellence, Coulter has been a Youth Rec instructor since 2002. Before that, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba (and later, a Masters degree in Education from Central Michigan University), and worked for a number of child and youth care organizations, including Child and Family Services and adolescent treatment centre New Directions.

Each year, the College’s Youth Rec program trains 16 participants — many of whom face socio-economic barriers themselves — to work with inner city youth as recreational leaders. Graduates of the program often find jobs with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (a program partner) and other inner city youth agencies, or as childhood educators and teachers’ aides. Read More →

RRC students launch fundraising efforts for dental mission to Guatemala

May 5, 2017

Dental Assisting students from Red River College’s Winkler and Winnipeg campuses are again gearing up for a dental and medical mission to Guatemala, where they’ll provide free clinical care for residents of remote villages.

As part of their trip to the region, six RRC students — in partnership with Dr. John Baird, North Dakota State Medical Officer — will provide free dental care to up to 1,700 Guatemalans — many of them children and residents displaced from their homes by an earthquake.

“Past team members have personally gained a lot from their experiences, and feel fortunate to have worked with the people they encountered,” says Dental Assisting instructor Athena Wilford. “In spite of poverty and meagre living conditions, the people we met were very gracious.”

This year’s team will spend time working with children at the Shadow of His Wings orphanage in Monjas, as well as an encampment near San Marcos, where hundreds of residents affected by the earthquake are still living in tents. They’ll also provide care to up to 100 residents of a women’s prison in Xela.

The trip takes place July 9 to 20; students have already begun fundraising efforts to offset their travel costs.

Last year, graduates travelled to six different sites, where they worked alongside medical and pharmaceutical teams from Minnesota and North Dakota.

This year’s team will be comprised of Dental Assisting students Madison Smith, Carissa Lariviere, Lauren Martin, Jessica Friesen, Christopher Hiebert and Robyn Knight.

To contribute to this year’s fundraising efforts, please contact Wilford at cawilford@rrc.ca or 204.632.2589.

Business instructor’s social innovation work leads to prestigious CICan recognition

May 2, 2017

Tatjana Brkic, CICan Awards of Excellence 2017A Red River College instructor’s commitment to classroom innovation has earned her a prestigious honour from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Tatjana Brkic (shown above, second from left), an instructor for RRC’s Business programs, received a silver CICan Award of Excellence last night in the category of Leadership Excellence for Faculty. Held in Ottawa, the CICan ceremony recognizes best practices from post-secondary institutions across the country.

“The recipients of our awards of excellence embody the best that colleges and institutes have to offer in a variety of sectors and disciplines,” says CiCan President Denis Amyot. “They are examples of innovation and dedication that make our institutions proud and contribute to the vibrant and welcoming culture found on campuses across Canada.”

In a news release showcasing all 24 recipients, CICan described Brkic as “a leading force in the design of innovative, experience-based learning methods, [who draws] on applied research, business research and social innovation, as well as curriculum development.”

In recent years, Brkic has helped raise the profile of RRC’s Business Administration and International Business programs, through an annual showcase of social innovation-related research work conducted in partnership with local businesses and organizations.

She’ll be sharing details of the ongoing initiative — and other ideas for implementing social innovation in business — at this year’s TEDxWinnipeg conference, taking place Tue., June 6, at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

College awarded nearly $2 million in funding for industry and university partnerships

May 2, 2017

Red River College has received nearly $2 million in federal funding for applied research in aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology, including a milestone for RRC in the form of its first College-University partnership grant.

“This is great news not only for the College but for aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “We are placing a strong emphasis on collaboration, bridging a critical gap between colleges, industry and universities by working directly with the University of Manitoba.”

Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced the grants during an industry breakfast at the Colleges and Institutes Canada Conference in Ottawa.

“I’m so pleased that the government of Canada was involved in such a valuable funding opportunity,” says Duncan. “Uniting Red River College with these sustainable industries will allow for brilliant minds to work towards a bright future for Canada; complete with a vibrant middle class, quality jobs and an innovative economy.”

Both grants were awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The first, worth $113,000, is for a partnership with the University of Manitoba to develop a cost-effective thermally broken concrete balcony. This marks the first time RRC has received one of NSERC’s College-University Idea to Innovation Grants, signalling an ongoing commitment to collaborate with other post-secondary institutions. Read More →