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Connections Conestoga Alumni Magazine 2011

COLD SNAPS Environmental Scientist chronicles life in the Arctic

Grad profiles

Rubbing shoulders with TV’s “The Dog Whisperer” Dropping inches at Booty Camp Fitness Living the dream at the Royal York

The Hub

Connecting students

with real-life experience

Conestoga – our time is now!

Building to meet the needs of the community



2:21 PM


Conestoga – our time is now! as broad vision and the ability to adapt to changing needs and circumstances. Here at Conestoga, we’ve been tremendously fortunate to have the support of industry partners, municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments as we expand our programs, facilities and services to deliver on new solutions for a changing world.

It’s been an exciting year: • T he Roofing Training and HRAC (Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning) Training Centres have opened at the Waterloo campus. • A new Power Centre in Ingersoll has opened to provide training for workers in the electrical utility powerline field. • T he first phase of the new Cambridge campus is scheduled to open for the start of the Fall 2011 semester. This 260,000 sq. ft. building will be home to the School of Engineering and Information Technology, as well as the Institute for Food Processing Technology. The facility will incorporate some of the most advanced technologies, processes, and health and safety standards from top processing plants around the world. elcome to the new Connections magazine. After months of discussion with Conestoga alumni, students and staff, we’re pleased to introduce a fresh new format for our traditional alumni publication. As well as College news and updates, you’ll find more stories that feature the accomplishments of some of our remarkable graduates, our faculty, staff and students, all intended to help you keep in touch as Conestoga undergoes the most dramatic period of expansion in its almost 45-year history. When Conestoga opened in 1967 to provide career-based education and training for 350 students in Technology, Business and Applied Arts programs, it operated out of a small single building and two portable classrooms. Despite the simple surroundings, the institution’s mission was tremendously important: to support the needs of the local community by providing highly skilled workers for business and industry while inspiring students to achieve their potential.

• A Motive Power Skills Training Centre currently in development at the Guelph campus will provide advanced training for new century technicians in the areas of truck and coach, automobiles, engines, recreational vehicles and heavy equipment.

Although today’s Conestoga looks and feels much different from that initial structure, our core mandate remains largely unchanged. We strive to deliver education, training and applied research programs that will result in a stronger economy and a more sustainable future.

The future is bright as Conestoga evolves into a world-class polytechnic institute that provides multiple pathways and opportunities to meet the needs of a growing community and a diverse group of learners.

What has changed – very dramatically – are the needs of the community we serve. Thanks to rapid technological development, the need to remain competitive in a global economy and an expanding, increasingly diverse community, today’s business world requires highly skilled employees with cutting-edge skills as well

And there are more projects on the horizon. We’re exploring new or expanded initiatives in a number of areas, including culinary, hospitality, tourism and food processing, as well as sustainable and renewable energy.

Dr. John Tibbits, President Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Conestoga Alumni


• A new 70,000 sq. ft. facility at the Doon campus will open in August 2011 to provide Conestoga students with the most realistic and advanced applied learning environment for health skills training in Ontario, using the latest technology and interdisciplinary teaching methodologies. New training labs and a Centre for Health Informatics will be among the many features in this unique environment as we build the capacity to double enrollment over the next five years to meet emerging healthcare needs.


Contributing Writers Hélène Beaulieu

Jan Bockmaster

Hélène graduated from Conestoga in 1998 with a post-graduate diploma in print journalism. These days she lives in downtown Kitchener with a small domestic menagerie and commutes to Toronto three days a week to study English literature. In her spare time she volunteers for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Andrew Coppolino Freelance writer Andrew Coppolino has published in Whisky Magazine, Restaurant Report, Grand, Avenue Calgary, and others. He is also an instructor in the New Media program at Conestoga. Former restaurant reviewer for The Waterloo Region Record and current reviewer for Echo Weekly, Coppolino also publishes the food website “Waterloo Region Eats” and hosts “The Food Show” on 570 All News Radio and the restaurant and food segment on Rogers TV “Grand River Living.”

Neil McDonald

Ryan Métivier

Managing Editor

Neil McDonald is a graduate of the print journalism program at Conestoga and has a degree in English Literature from the University of Waterloo. He lives in Waterloo with his wife Sylvia, nine-month-old son Simon and four cats.

Assistant Editor Ryan Métivier

Magazine Graphic Design & Production Valerie Gray

Contributors Joanne Buchholzer Brenda Cassidy Waterloo Region Record: Luisa D’Amato Barbara Kelly Frank Mensink Wendy Rose Carol Terentiak Kaeli Unsworth

Photographers Gary Beechey of BDS Studios Stephen J. Edgar – Kevin Garrett Waterloo Region Record: Peter Lee MEG PIE PHOTOGRAPHY Ryan Métivier Moriyama Teshima Architects Nathaniel Novosad Charlotte Prong Parkhill Waterloo Region Record: Robert Wilson

Cover Photo Nathaniel Novosad, “The Fox and the Raven”

A Public Relations graduate at Conestoga in 2010, he also has a diploma in Broadcast Journalism. Ryan Métivier is the Assistant Editor for Connections Magazine, while also acting as a contributing writer. During his time as a student at Conestoga, he represented the College as a Student Ambassador.

Ryan also works as a freelance editor and writer for multiple magazines and websites and previously interned with the Kitchener Rangers for Public Relations, assisting on game nights and writing for the team program and magazine.

Charlotte Prong Parkhill Charlotte Prong Parkhill is a reporter at the Waterloo Chronicle. She is also a graduate of the print journalism program at Conestoga and a mother of two teenagers.

Printer Denison Print Connections is published once a year for alumni and friends of Conestoga College by the Alumni Services Department (circ 55,000). Electronic version can be found at For advertising inquiries call 519-748-5220, ext. 2356

Letters: Connections welcomes mail from readers who wish to submit stories or information to the magazine. Correspondence may be edited for clarity and length prior to publication. The ideas and opinions expressed by Connections Magazine are those of the contributers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Association or College. Conestoga respects your privacy. We do not rent, sell or trade our mailing lists. Please contact the Alumni office if you would prefer to receive only an electronic version of the magazine or would like to update your mailing address.

Connect With Us

2011 Edition

Keep your address up-to-date with Alumni Services and stay informed about upcoming events, special discounts and affinity packages. Your name will be entered in a draw to win a prize.


Before You Recycle


Please share the publication

To update your alumni record, please contact: Alumni Services Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning 299 Doon Valley Drive, Kitchener, ON N2G 4M4 519-748-5220, ext. 3463 email: or fill out the online form at:

Contents Connections Magazine

1......................President’s Message 4..................................Grad Profiles 16......................... Athletics Profiles 18.........................Conestoga’s Own 5

12 29

22.............................. College News 49

39.......................... Student Success 46...............................Alumni News


Cover photo ‘The Fox and the Raven” by Nathaniel Novosad

Conestoga Alumni




Innovating the senior care model By Hélène Beaulieu


aul Brown began his career with the Village of Riverside Glen retirement residence in Guelph immediately upon graduating from Conestoga’s Business Administration —Accounting program in May 2000. As a student he had worked for the owners, the Schlegel family, as a bookkeeper, and as a consequence, he became excited about senior care. “It either grabs you really quickly or it doesn’t,” he said. “In my case it grabbed hold of me and has become my own passion.” Today Brown is general manager of Riverside Glen, one of nine “villages” operating under the Oakwood Retirement Communities moniker. Oakwood communities represent a model in senior living providing a needs-based continuum of care within settings that operate like any other fully-serviced neighbourhood. What Brown finds particularly exciting is the way in which partnerships with Conestoga and the University of Waterloo have led to innovations in senior care within the organization.

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“Here in Guelph, we have partnered to do research projects for the last two years on Interprofessional Collaboration [IPC] through the Schlegel University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging [RIA],” he said. Typically, explained Brown, health care has an approach that tends to


isolate different services in a way that resembles individual silos. “The IPC study helps staff and teams realize that we don’t need those silos; we don’t need barriers. We all need to work together as a stronger team to deliver the care that these seniors need on a day-to-day basis.” The philosophy of the RIA is to put research into practice, said Brown. As such, Riverside Glen has a living classroom onsite where approximately 75 of Conestoga’s nursing students receive handson training. Part of that training includes practical application of the findings from the IPC research. “People are graduating with knowledge that is based on the research we did. We’re working to ensure that when students graduate they have a place to go where they can practice in the way they have been taught.” Later this year, Brown will have a new set of challenges as he moves into the role of director of operations and takes responsibility for six of the organization’s village structures. “There are a lot of envelopes and there are a lot of government dollars put through the organization. The beauty of it is that the accounting knowledge I have has given me an excellent base to really know the fundamentals of this business as it has grown.”

photo credit: Stephen J. Edgar - Paul Brown, director of operations for Village at Riverside Glen, works to break down barriers in health care for seniors, seen here with 10-year resident Elmer Young.


Making all the right connections By Ryan Métivier


oughly a year into her Public Relations career, Jessica Denomme is already rubbing shoulders with some of the most successful names in the entertainment industry. Mike Holmes, “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, Jane Dayus Hinch of Wedding SOS, the cast of Rookie Blue, Rebecca Hardy of Canada’s Next Top Model, along with several others, are all names she’s had the opportunity to work alongside in her positions at Shaw Media and It’s making these kind of connections that Denomme feels will get you the farthest in the public relations world. “In PR, it’s who you know. Volunteering and networking gives you a huge advantage when applying for jobs post-graduation. Meet with as many people as you can and learn about what has worked for them,” she says. Her quick start in the industry came directly from the internship she completed at Global TV during her program. This hands-on experience helped her gain the skills required for her current position as an account coordinator with Shaw Media (formerly Canwest Broadcasting) immediately after graduating in April 2010.

“The PR program challenged me in so many ways and pushed me to be the best I can be.”

Despite her many responsibilities with Shaw, Denomme took advantage of another volunteer experience she had during college where she met’s publisher. The connection led to an associate editor position with the website, where she assists with media relations, maintains the site and blogs about current modeling

Jessica Denomme’s public relations job means rubbing shoulders with celebrities like Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer.

events and models. “The world of PR is so small and it is important to brand yourself in a professional manner, as well as to ensure that you’re growing and building connections on a daily basis,” she says. Denomme also attributes what she learned while attending Conestoga to getting her where she is today. “The PR program challenged me in so many ways and pushed me to be the best I can be. I enjoyed coming to class every day because I knew that I was truly being prepared for the next phase in my life.” With such a quick and successful start to her career, Denomme has her sights set on one day becoming a full-time publicist with Shaw Media while also being able to help increase the reach of and help them maintain their spot as a leader for online resources for models.

Conestoga Alumni

Among many roles, the position has also allowed her to manage some of the network’s social media, while also having a hand in planning events like network anniversary parties, Cesar Millan’s Live Tour Contest and “Fall Upfronts,” where the season’s new shows are announced. Of all these events, Denomme says working at Entertainment Canada’s 5th Birthday Bash at the Toronto International Film Festival sticks out as a highlight to her so far. “My experience at TIFF was amazing. It took a huge group of people to pull off the event and I was lucky to be a part of it,” she says.


Creating food fit for royalty

A chef at one of the most famous hotels in the country, Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York, Jerek Bowman has found his dream job.

By Andrew Coppolino


onestoga graduate Jerek Bowman is the Fairmont Royal York’s first cook tournant, a jack-of-all-trades who works various kitchen stations at the restaurants and banquet facilities at the landmark hotel in downtown Toronto.

to the Royal York in 2006. His path to cooking for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II actually began in high school. Hailing from what he calls “an engineering family,” Bowman felt pressure to join the engineering ranks but resisted.

“I love it. The Royal York is my dream job. It’s iconic, arguably the most famous hotel in the country and probably the biggest kitchen. It’s fun to show up for work and be told to start preparing because the Queen of England will be with us in a few months.”

“At the time, I was working at La Costa restaurant in Kitchener, and I really gravitated toward cooking. I knew that it was going to be what I wanted to do. It’s cliché, but if you do what you love, you are going to succeed.”

The 30-year-old, Toronto-born Bowman credits Conestoga’s Chef Training (Co-op) program for helping him land the dream kitchen position. “I loved Conestoga. It was a really tough program. Chef Philippe (Saraiva) demanded a lot and emphasized the realities of the professional kitchen. He taught the basic techniques and stressed making sure you know those as you go into your first job.”

His day-to-day Royal York tasks include overseeing apprentices working multi-million dollar banquets and serving thousands of meals one day and cooking on the line at the CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award winning EPIC restaurant the next.

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After graduation, Bowman collected his Red Seal accreditation followed by his Certified Working Chef (CWC) credentials, which included a daunting “black box” test. Bowman says he was one of the first eight candidates to pass the tough test.


“You walk into a kitchen early in the morning and in front of six master-chefs prepare a four-course meal under their intense scrutiny. You hope that you don’t screw it up. It was really scary.” Initially hired by the Fairmont chain in 2003, he finished up his apprenticeship outside of the company but found himself recruited

As a chef, he loves the resources available at the Royal York. Need foie gras? There is probably three lobes in-house. Want porcini mushrooms? It’s likely that one of the kitchen stations has them. “My heart lies with a la carte but the place is so big I never get bored. I love the challenge of having to do something different every day,” says Bowman, who wants to stay with elite hotels like the Royal York because of its emphasis on customer service. “We are empowered to personalize the guest experience to make it the best of their lives. Fundamentally, I believe in that. Between the high-end banquets and high-end a la carte dining, I really enjoy giving the guests a memorable experience.”


Cooking outside the box By Andrew Coppolino


ow does a little hamachi and a side of Mstislav Rostropovich sound?

For Bento Nouveau Executive Chef and Conestoga culinary program graduate Dan Henderson, sushi and cello might just be a perfectly complementary pairing—when he has a spare moment. “I play classical cello music for sure, but there is a lot of modern music, too, and even new age and alternative. I play the cello for 20 minutes, and it is a total escape.”

Skill and training at Conestoga helped him get the job; serendipity opened the door in 2008. After a stint on Canada’s west coast working under a variety of sushi chefs, a headhunter got his name and the Bento job came along. He took the opportunity right away. Bento Nouveau operates just over two dozen gourmet food kiosks preparing and distributing sushi, sandwiches, salads, and heatand-serve entrees. The company has more than 325 sushi stations in premium supermarkets and food-service facilities across North America. That adds up to more than 10 million servings of sushi annually. Henderson is the chef behind those flavours. “Bento Nouveau hired me to head up the product development aspect of their business. I thought it would be a cool thing to do. A big part of my job is just playing around in the kitchen,” he said. A typical day for Henderson is spent coming up with ideas for new creations and developing the training materials for preparing them.

Executive Chef Dan Henderson enjoys “playing around” in the sushi kitchen of Bento Nouveau.

“That can include standard recipes and documentation, of course, but it might also be a video,” Henderson said. “I’ve costed over 2,500 recipes in this business so far.” The Conestoga culinary program and its instructors blended the nuts and bolts of working in a professional kitchen with “softer” components such as helping young cooks become flexible and adaptable chefs. “My time at Conestoga was phenomenal because I had such good guidance from the instructors. Chef Philippe (Saraiva) illustrated the points you need to know for the real world and to master basic skills.” Henderson adds the knife skills basics he learned have been vital, like a musician with a finely-tuned instrument. “You’ll need those wherever you go, but especially with a Japanese chef. There’s tradition. It’s an honour to learn how to prepare sushi because it is such an old cuisine. It’s just beautiful.”

Conestoga Alumni

The 30-year-old Kitchener-born chef even plays the bagpipes, a nod to his Scottish heritage. But whatever the nationality, the music gets pushed onto the back burner because Henderson’s plate is already pretty full commuting to Toronto to develop recipes and succulent ideas for the largest sushi company in Canada.



Turning over a new leaf By Neil McDonald


or Paula Johnstone, the path to Conestoga started with a tree – the one she was living under. After a lifetime of struggles with selfesteem, school and alcohol, Johnstone found herself homeless in Toronto, separated from her children and living in a park. With help from the Salvation Army, however, she entered rehab and found out she was pregnant with her now 9-year-old son. “To me,” she says, “he was the reason I was going to stay sober because I couldn’t do it for me, but I could do it for him.” After living briefly in Kingston, Johnstone moved to Waterloo Region and soon entered the Employment Training Readiness program at the College’s Cambridge campus. After some upgrading, she was accepted into the Social Services Worker program at Conestoga. “The minute I hit the ground here, it was like somebody picked me up by the scruff of the neck and just carried me along,” she says. The road to getting her diploma was not always a smooth one, Johnstone admits. She found the third semester particularly tough and, after failing a test by one per cent, felt like quitting. Her teachers weren’t ready to give up on her, however. “It was persistence, perseverance and, hearing the staff there tell me they believed in me, I had no choice but to believe in myself,” she says. “The Conestoga experience was fantastic. I was scared. I felt so inferior to all these younger students, but it was just a whole open and welcoming experience.” Johnstone graduated from the program in 2008 and is now employed as a family outreach worker for a community centre in Cambridge, where she works largely with families living in lowincome housing. She’s also a community advocate, speaking out on behalf of the poor as vice-chair of Awareness of Low-Income Voices (ALIVE). “I’d come through quite a (bit of) turmoil and tribulations in my life,” she says, “and I always thought that if I ever got my life together, that I wanted to help people like myself.” But did she ever really think she could come this far?

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“Never,” she laughs. “Never in my life. I have a driver’s license now, I have a car, I have my 9-year-old son living with me.” She’s reconnected with her older children and her parents and extended family as well. And, instead of living under a tree, she now has one in her yard – a leafy reminder of how far she’s traveled.


“I look at the tree sometimes and I think wow, I get to turn around and go back in the door and be warm. How did I ever do that, days and days out there, curling up under a tree?” she says. “Now I’ve come so far, it really helps in evaluating where I’ve come from.”


Ron Smrczek going from Mad Man to Amsterdam By Neil McDonald


“It’s going to be an amazing challenge,” he says of adapting to a new culture and lifestyle, as well as the chance to build on Taxi’s relatively new European presence. Though Smrczek admits it was tough to leave New York, he says his decision was not strictly a career move. The opportunity to travel and explore a new culture with his young family (he’ll be moving to the Dutch capital with his wife and baby daughter), was too good a chance to pass up. “It’s kind of a personal decision of mine as opposed to a business decision,” he says. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do for myself, but also now that I’ve got a family.” Smrczek says it’s a time of upheaval for Taxi as a whole – the company, originally founded in Montreal in 1992, was recently bought by the massive holding company WPP Group for its Young and Rubicon Brands group of agencies. It’s a positive change for Taxi, says Smrczek, because stronger backing and deeper pockets (WPP’s website lists their revenues for 2009 at around $13.5 billion) should translate to larger projects for the firm. “Taxi was purchased because we were a bit more of a creative boutique. It was a type of company that Y and R Brands didn’t have on their roster,” he says. Taxi’s reputation as a creative dynamo can be partly credited to Smrczek’s inventive work. He began his career shortly after graduating from Conestoga in 1996, first finding work at Toronto

Ontario College’s annual ”Premiere’s Awards” recognizes the outstanding contribution of college alumni. Ron Smrczek was Conestoga’s 2010 Nominee.

agency Axmith McIntyre Wicht, before being hired by Taxi as an art director for their Toronto office in 2003. Since then, Smrczek has carved out a glittering career laden with some of the advertising industry’s most important awards. His ‘Bleep’ campaign for Pfizer’s Viagra product was recognized as one of the top five television campaigns in the world by the Gunn Report, an authority on creativity in advertising. His follow-up ‘Gibberish’ campaign for Viagra won both Gold and Silver Lions at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2007. He was named one of the top 10 art directors worldwide in 2006, while continuing to rack up a trophy cabinet’s worth of awards. He rose to become Creative Director at Taxi Canada before being named Executive Creative Director at Taxi New York in the fall of 2008. Smrczek says he’ll be sorry to leave his colleagues in Manhattan – “That’s going to be the part I miss most,” he says – but is planning for an extended stay in the Netherlands. “I’d like to go for at least two years, ideally longer,” he says, adding he hopes to learn to speak Dutch while he’s there. As for work, Smrczek looks forward to adding a continental twist to the Taxi brand. “It’s still going to be the same high standards,” he says, “trying to do amazing work and build new business there but it’s going to be from a European perspective, so it’s got a slightly different flavour to it.”

Conestoga Alumni

he graduate of Conestoga’s Graphic Design and Advertising program is moving from his current position as Executive Creative Director at Manhattan advertising agency Taxi New York to assume the driver’s seat at the firm’s European headquarters in March.


Video shoot brings grads back to Conestoga By Ryan Métivier


hen Conestoga graduates Scott Bradford and Jeff Wilson were choosing a location to shoot their video, “A Day in the Life of a Student Diabetic,” it didn’t take them long to decide to return to the place where their careers started. Though there are nine years between their graduating classes, Bradford in 1982 from Graphic Design and Wilson in 1991 from the Business-Administration Marketing program, the two met up when Bradford approached Echo Bay Media (where Wilson is a producer) about the video idea. “Scott came to Echo Bay Media seeking a production team to create a video to be used as a sales tool for a medical product company. It was my job to oversee the project as a producer,” says Wilson. Bradford, who is the vice president of Cambridge-based advertising agency Commotion Communications was working for his client Roche Diabetes, who wanted an educational video about a college student living with diabetes. “Jeff’s connection to the marketing department as an alumnus of the program got the ball rolling,” said Bradford.

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“When I learned that Scott was interested in Conestoga as a location for filming A Day in the Life of a Student Diabetic, I felt a sense of pride on several levels,” said Barbara Fennessy, Chair of Business Programs. “First, this is a great initiative in terms of helping students with diabetes and helping educators understand how we can provide a supportive learning environment. I also felt proud because this is an outstanding example of how our graduates can apply their talents to successful entrepreneurial ventures.”


Ten years ago, Bradford joined up with an old friend who had just started Commotion Communications after working for various advertising and design agencies. Bradford came on board as a partner and 50 per cent owner of the company, and together the two have grown Commotion Communications to a 10person company with offices in Cambridge and Montreal. Bradford’s career has given him the

Stills provided by Scott Bradford

opportunity to work with numerous clients such as Spain Tourism, Heinz, Hershey, Microsoft, Blackberry, Labbatt’s and countless others. Among his many memories of Conestoga, Bradford says the grueling work schedule of the program helped hone his skills and prepare him for the equally tough working schedule of the real world. He also met his future wife Kelly, a fellow design student, during his third year and the two have been married since 1984. Little did Wilson know his third-year marketing project would actually become the business plan for what became Echo Bay Media, the company his brother started up and that Wilson came on board with two years ago. Drawn to producing television commercials, Wilson started his own consulting company, serving primarily to broker photography and videography services to marketing clients and to advise the business operations of Echo Bay Media. Also taking on a producer’s role, he’s directly involved with both the commercial production and television programming sides of Echo Bay’s business. Today Echo Bay Media’s first TV program, Departures, is a Gemini Award winning program, with the company hard at work on a new series for OLN scheduled to begin airing in January of next year. Wilson also remembers his time at Conestoga quite fondly, saying it was a refreshing change from the years he spent in university. “My best memories of Conestoga definitely revolve around the people I met, both students and faculty. Getting to spend time with the instructors at Conestoga who legitimately want to impact their knowledge on the next generation was truly refreshing.” It’s clear that for both of these alumni, coming back to Conestoga for this project was extremely important. For Bradford, he also wanted to give back to the College, and did so with a $1,500 donation to the school’s Business-Marketing program. “This generous donation will help support our Marketing students in the 2011 Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition (OCMC), a prestigious competitive event that has been running for over 30 years. Conestoga has become renowned for our winning record of achievement at OCMC,” says

Barbara Fennessy, Chair of Business Programs accepts a $1,500 donation from alumnus Scott Bradford.

GRAD PROFILES Connections Public Relations writing contest Each year Conestoga’s Public Relations program holds a contest, with the prize being to have one of their current first year students write a bio about a past graduate of the program for Connections Magazine. This year, among 25 submissions, Kaeli Unsworth was selected as the contest winner for her story on PR alumnus Connie MacDonald. Here is her winning entry.

PR Grad makes career out of caring By Kaeli Unsworth


rom wall-to-wall sticky notes to 6 a.m. wake-up calls, Connie MacDonald is always at the top of her game. Currently at the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Connie is working full-time as a communications specialist. Every day is a different challenge for this graduate of the Public Relations diploma program, but her passion for health care keeps her motivated in such a busy sector. When Connie ventured from the halls of Conestoga in search of a term placement, she felt very intimidated. However, Connie’s perseverance and determination helped her overcome her nerves. “If you want a career in public relations you will have it,” she says. “You just have to really want it.” With a positive attitude, Connie took on a work placement at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario. While conducting everything from photo shoots and marketing campaigns, to interviews and even working alongside other prospective grads, Connie fell in love with her position at the hospital. When the work term was complete, she was very keen on staying at Grand River. Connie knew what she wanted and stuck it out to achieve her goals, volunteering a great deal of her time to the hospital throughout the summer. Ultimately, Connie’s commitment and passion for helping people led to a full-time communications position at the hospital.

Public Relations graduate Connie MacDonald loves the different challenges that each day brings in her career.

Connie has had her share of success stories, working alongside a member of parliament being one of her highlights. However, Connie discovered her niche and shifted her efforts back to the world of health care. She has been working with Waterloo Wellington LHIN for eight months now and loves the responsibility affiliated with her new employment. She also enjoys meeting so many people and hearing their stories. Touching the lives of strangers has driven her success from the get-go, and she is happy she was passionate enough to take risks. “The chances you take are important to achieving exactly what you want.”

“The world of public relations can be somewhat intimidating. The great thing about Conestoga is that I am getting hands-on experience in the community, gaining contacts, and getting a feel for what my career will entail after graduating. I have definitely noticed a significant improvement in my writing, especially with having such a wide variety of real life assignments that never cease to engage my creativity. With each addition to my portfolio, I feel as though I am gaining the confidence to tackle any challenge and learning to take pride in my achievements.” Kaeli Unsworth

Contest inspires PR students “PR students need every opportunity to roll up their sleeves and write real stories for real clients. This is the fifth year of this contest, and students take it very seriously. It not only benefits the ‘winner’, thanks to the contest, students meet a grad who inspires them and they create a terrific portfolio piece.”

Paula Barrett, Professor of Public Relations (Media & Design)

Conestoga Alumni

Kaeli Unsworth, a first year public relations student won this year’s writing contest.



Environmental Scientist chronicle By Hélène Beaulieu


n 2004, when it was time for Nathaniel Novosad to do the co-op portion of his two-semester post-graduate program at Conestoga, he wanted to do something a little different from the standard urban remediation projects many of his classmates were doing. The Environmental Engineering Applications program in which he was enrolled was designed to give university graduates the practical experience

up the environmental hazards at decommissioned sites. “I wanted to go see a different part of Canada and that’s what led me to that job,” says Novosad. “At the time, ESG was supporting Defense Construction Canada with the clean-up of old DEW lines. My role was to support the contracts for the investigation, the deconstruction, and the clean-up of these sites.” Novosad was part of a team of environmental specialists and scientists that would camp at the site, take samples and map out contamination. During that time he participated in four site investigations, each lasting up to six weeks in areas so remote they were accessible only by plane or helicopter. It was after his first summer in the North that he decided he needed to capture some of his experiences to share with his family and friends, so he bought himself a new digital camera. “The first year I went North, I didn’t have a good camera and I missed a lot. I decided I needed a more forgiving camera, one that would let me take more photos of the great landscapes and the animals; in the remote locations the animals aren’t accustomed to having people around so they don’t have the same fear.”

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they needed to prepare for the workforce. Novosad had come to the program after earning a Masters in Applied Soil Physics and was looking to expand his horizons.


He ended up in some of the most remote locations of Canada’s Arctic North. Novosad was hired by the Kingston-based, Environmental Sciences Group (ESG), a non-profit research organization that specializes in Northern work and remote locations. He spent his next three summers investigating the environmental rehabilitation needs of different stations along the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line. The DEW Line is a series of radar stations built in the 1950s in response to the Cold War. Between 1985 and 1994 the DEW Line was upgraded and renamed the North Warning System and work got underway to clean

In 2007 he submitted one of his photos to Canadian Geographic magazine as part of its annual photo

es life in the Arctic contest. The photo, an Arctic fox in the foreground watched from a distance by a raven, was awarded runner up in the wildlife category that year and was one of four finalists for the cover image of a special issue in fall 2010. Today, Novosad works for Defense Construction Canada, the same agencies that held the original contracts for his first job. For his first two years he managed projects to clean up old bombing ranges across the country. Last September he was asked to move into a new role leading projects for the construction of buildings on army bases in Atlantic Canada. He admits this job takes him away from his original training, but he is excited by the opportunity it offers for advancement in the company. Nathaniel Novosad stands near a radar station across the DEW line in Canada’s Arctic North.

The photo, An Arctic fox in the foreground watched from a distance by a raven, was one of four finalists for the cover image of a Canadian Geographic magazine special issue in fall 2010.

All photos provided by Nathaniel Novosad

Conestoga Alumni

“As for my time at Conestoga, even though it was really short, it was very important for getting me to where I am today.�



Davis Design a hotbed for Conestoga Grads By Ryan Métivier


2011 Edition

onestoga alumni can be found throughout the region in numerous fields and industries. Venture a little farther outside of the region, though, and one company has been hiring Conestoga’s Graphic Design graduates at quite an impressive rate. The Glenn Davis Group is a privately-owned, Toronto-based company which operates three separate branding and design agencies serving North America: Davis, Bridgemark and b2 Retail Solutions. Founded on the principles of dramatic simplicity and excellence in design and service, each agency works with their clients to deliver brandbuilding solutions.


The Mississauga-located Davis Design currently has 17 former Conestoga Graphic Design students employed on their staff. The number has been growing over the years, with six grads employed back in 2000, including designer Mia Kristan, who graduated in 1979. Mia has been with the company for the past 25 years, and says the work ethic and creativity of Conestoga’s grads has been a big reason the company keeps looking to the College for new employees. “I think the course and its instructors prepare them well to succeed in this industry. It’s

far easier to continue to teach them, as they are genuinely grounded in the realities of the profession. I’m also very impressed at the talent that consistently comes out of Conestoga, as well as the general business minded approach to solving problems,” she says. Kristan says the company has a unique atmosphere with so many fellow alumni around. “It kind of feels like family. We all have gone through the same instruction and course style so we approach things in a similar way and enjoy each other’s input and always learn from each other.”

On the couch, left to right: Sharon Cavallo - 1980, Jenn McCarrison -1993, Ian Greener - 1994, Mia Kristan (Vanseveren) - 1979, and Carrie Weiler - 1995 (freelance). Behind the couch, Heather Miehm - 2001 and Mark Roberts - 1990. Standing behind them: David Patfong - 1994, Shaz Ibrahim - 1993, Doug Robson - 1996, Jason DaSilva - 1995, Kai Muller - 1998, Anna Marie Hatayer - 2007, Cory Roberts - 1994, and John Hogenbirk - 2002. Missing in action: Luba Pushkar - 1998, Julia Archer - 1982


Women in skilled trades Conestoga’s WIST program gave Tina Allerellie (left) and Michele Dunsford the skills and confidence to take on non-traditional roles.


n a construction job site filled with men in black, white and yellow hard hats, Michele Dunsford’s pink hard hat would certainly stand out. And that’s ok with her. “You can be a tough person but you can also be a soft person,” she said. “I don’t want to be a guy. I’m still a woman.” A graduate of Conestoga’s Women in Skilled Trades program (WIST), Dunsford turned her class work placement with Great Gulf Homes into a full-time job as a health and safety administrator for the awardwinning homebuilder. It’s a career that requires her to be a Jill of all trades, from carpentry to electrical, plumbing and masonry. After graduating last year, Dunsford recently returned to Conestoga to speak to women currently in the program about her success story. “Working for a homebuilder, I can only tell you there’s a lot of need out there,” she said. The government of Ontario has been supporting the WIST preapprenticeship general carpenter certificate program since 2003, in an attempt to draw more women to this kind of career. The 38week program, which runs out of Conestoga’s Waterloo campus, is designed to provide the basic skills to acquire an apprenticeship in the construction and renovation industry. It’s not the first time Dunsford, 52, has worked in a male-dominated profession. She was a Peel Region police officer for 16 years before switching gears and going back to school. Now, she couldn’t be happier with her new career. “I have never felt so valued as an

employee as I have as a female in the construction industry,” she said. But entering the construction industry doesn’t come without challenges, said Tina Allerellie, a former classmate of Dunsford’s and now a colleague at Great Gulf. “Who’s going to hire me — a five-foot tall, 42-year-old female in a male-dominated profession?” she asked. She found herself on her first day of a work placement swinging a hammer at the top of a 20-foot ladder. “I got on the job site, and I was scared. These are big, brawny guys,” she said. “But they were so kind to me. They welcomed a woman on the work site.” Allerellie couldn’t work on the highest roof trusses because there wasn’t a safety harness small enough to fit her properly. And she found out fairly quickly that an injury acquired during 20 years working in a factory meant she wasn’t physically able to perform some tasks. “You have to work smarter, not harder. Because we are not guys. But we have a lot to add to the jobsite,” she said. Both women credit WIST with giving them the confidence and knowledge to move forward. But starting a new career as a mature student isn’t easy. “At times you feel overwhelmed. You’re cramming a lot into a short period of time,” Dunsford said. And getting homework done when you’re balancing a home or a family is challenging, she added. But all the women in the program rallied and started to rely on each other. “You do need a support system, because you’re forging new roads,” Dunsford said.

Conestoga Alumni

By Charlotte Prong Parkhill



bring out and instill in the next wave of Condors’ runners he coaches now, he says. “I try to pass along my work ethic to them. I will push them to the limit if they really want to make it, but they also have to be willing to make some sacrifices to get there.” Those sacrifices could come in the form of waking up at 5:30 in the morning to start training, or running 120-mile weeks; things he did quite often throughout his two-year career on the team in 2007 and 2008. That effort helped him take home many accolades, including winning Gold medals in Ontario both years, finishing eighth and sixth nationally respectively, and being awarded with Conestoga’s top honour given to athletes, the Athlete of the Year Award in both ’07 and ’08.

Dave Sharratt Still Running with the Condors By Ryan Métivier


2011 Edition

t was only three years ago that Dave Sharratt was a student at Conestoga, and was winning medals and titles on the Men’s Cross Country team. Now, roughly three years later, Sharratt has taken his experiences in the sport and parlayed them into a head coaching job with Conestoga’s Women’s Cross Country team.


“The toughest part is putting in the hard work when no one is looking. When I ran 100-mile weeks there was no one around to push me,” Sharratt says when talking about the hardest part of competing in his sport. It’s that drive and determination he tries to

Sharratt graduated from Conestoga’s Mechanical Technician – General Machinist program in January of 2009 and is now a machinist at the Ontario Driving Range. The job requires him to put in a full day’s work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., all before he laces his running shoes back up to run the workout his team will be doing for an hour before that day’s practice and training. With all the success Sharratt had in cross-country himself, one may wonder why he decided to turn to coaching. “I got worn out,” he says. “After graduating I started training in Tucson, Arizona for three months, where I worked out with U.S. Olympian Sarah Haskins who’ll be attending the 2012 Games in London, and one of Canada’s top triathletes Sean Bechtel. It was a great experience, but it began to be a little too much,” he continues. Sharratt credits his time at Conestoga and as a Condor for getting him where he is now, saying the confidence he gained from knowing he could run with the best in the country has got him here. Looking forward in his career, Sharratt would like to open his own machine shop, and hopes to one day also take over the men’s team at Conestoga, building the Cross Country program into one of the best in the province to motivate other athletes to make Conestoga their number one destination for athletics.

ATHLETIC PROFILES Kitchener-Waterloo location, one of the 100 locations the company has throughout Canada. “Drop an inch,” is a phrase she’s become famous for with her clients, as she pushes them to accomplish their health and fitness goals. Despite the “boot camp” moniker, she believes the success lies behind their motto of “Fun, Friendly, Fitness.” “It’s a very warm atmosphere and we aren’t in your face. It’s a new trend for women only, they really believe in it and are helping us grow by word of mouth,” she says. On top of being an elite drill instructor, Amanda also works as the marketing and projects coordinator, and had the opportunity to coordinate and perform in the Booty Camp Fitness Ultimate Home Edition DVD in Hawaii, something she mentions as one of the highlights of her career so far.

In signature Booty Camp pink camouflage, Amanda Zettel shows some muscle.

Dropping inches with Amanda Zettel

Throughout her time at Conestoga, Amanda tried to become involved in as many positions related to her field as possible and gives this advice. “Go after part-time jobs that you think will help you in the future, and don’t wait until after graduation to start building experience. Follow your heart and love what you do. If you don’t wake up loving it, then it’s not worth it,” she says. Amanda spent time recording the stats for the Condors’ hockey teams, in promotions at various radio stations and Sleeman’s Breweries, and as manager and dry land coach with a Waterloo AAA minor hockey team, where she continues to work in her spare time. She also credits her two co-op placements, the hands-on projects she worked on and her participation in the Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition as things which prepared her for her career. With Booty Camp Fitness continuing to grow throughout the country, Amanda has her sights set on staying in the fitness industry for as long as possible, and helping the company reach its goal of positively affecting the lives of one million women nationwide.

By Ryan Métivier it in on one of her boot camps, and you’ll see that Amanda Zettel has a true love for the fitness industry and what she’s doing. Amanda has been around sports and fitness her entire life, having played several sports growing up and during school. While attending Conestoga for the Business Administration Marketing Co-op program from 2002-2005, she was a member of the school’s varsity badminton team, making it to the semifinals in mixed doubles in her first year, finishing second at Provincials in each of the following years in girl’s doubles, and even coached the team for a year after graduating. Today, Amanda has taken her passion for fitness to Booty Camp Fitness, where she has taught since the spring of 2008. In a signature pink camouflage, Amanda trains women as an owner of the

Instructor Amanda Zettel (middle) and Booty Camp CEO Sammie Kennedy, on location in Hawaii.

Conestoga Alumni



A Place of New Beginning Conestoga opens Aboriginal Student Services office Myeengun Henry, manager of Aboriginal Student Services sits among traditional Aboriginal items.

By Andrew Coppolino


n Ojibwa, it is referred to as “Be-Dah-Bin Gamik.” It means “place of new beginning,” and it’s the Doon Campus’s new Aboriginal Student Services Office that is reaching out to the entire College community.

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The office represents Conestoga’s commitment to accessibility at the College, according to Vice-President of Student Affairs Mike Dinning. “We are extremely happy to be able to open this office and extend its services here at the College. It is part of our focus on individuals who have not had the same historical access as other groups.”


Myeengun Henry, manager of Aboriginal Student Services, helped oversee its opening in September 2010. An Anishinabe Elder, Henry brings administrative experience to the role but also his knowledge of traditional medicine and ceremonies. “I can help students in various ways such as with education, healing and wellness, and language. I’m an administrator but I’m also a counsellor and I bring those two elements to this department.” The office reaches out to what it estimates is about 200 students at the College, including individuals with Métis, Inuit, and First Nation

background. Henry says the Aboriginal Services Office, located in the Doon Campus, is building relationships and developing programs, including bursaries and valuable scholarships, designed to help these students gain access to the College. Many Six Nations youth require post-secondary education, adds Henry, and some of those needs are being met with four $3,000 scholarships put in place by the College. Two will support eligible Six Nations band members, and two will be available to any eligible First Nations students elsewhere in southern Ontario. “The scholarships will definitely help First Nations students,” Henry said, adding the office wants to connect with all members of the Conestoga community. “We’re not just here for aboriginal students. We’re also here to help the College understand the aboriginal students better and show various departments such as criminal justice and health sciences how they might incorporate aboriginal content into programs.” For more information about Conestoga’s Aboriginal Services, contact Myeengun Henry at or 519-748-5220 ext. 2251.


Chef Philippe on Rogers TV Daytime By Andrew Coppolino


onestoga chef-instructor Philippe Saraiva may be the culinary face of the College on the Rogers TV show Daytime, but his goal is a much more self-effacing one. Though he has been a regular guest on the popular noon-hour program since last November, his appearances on Rogers TV reach back a decade or so. A full-time Conestoga instructor since 1999, the 44-year-old Kitchener resident and native of Picardy in northern France is using his television platform to enlighten and entertain— and deliver the word about Conestoga’s culinary program. “In the past year or so, I was going there so often they asked me if I wanted to do a regular segment,” Saraiva says. “What I often see is that the television approach doesn’t explain to the audience how to be successful with a recipe. You see it demonstrated, you try it out, but it doesn’t work the way you saw it on TV.”

home cook, he is dedicated to showcasing Conestoga students and the instruction they receive. “I always bring one or two students with me to give them a sense of the other side of the camera when it comes to cooking. It also gives them a little audience and a little boost on their resume.” The restaurant business is a blending of technique and execution in the kitchen but in the front of the house as well, he points out. In future, Saraiva plans to bring some of his front-of-house colleagues to Daytime to give them exposure and show viewers more of the hospitality basics students are mastering. “My objective with Rogers is to take away some of the difficulty level and explain how easy it can be with simple techniques in order to produce something that looks good and tastes good.”

The Waterloo Region-based talk show airs live weekdays with same-day repeats every few hours. Saraiva’s segments are part of a burgeoning “food-in-the-media” culture across Canada. Saraiva takes it upon himself to dismantle some barriers and shatter some myths when it comes to food on the small screen. And while he strives to build confidence and stimulate ideas in the

educate eat experience at cone s tog a colle g e

Located at 108 University Ave E. Waterloo, our full service dining room offers exquisite 3 and 4-course meals and features an award winning wine list.

The Alumni department hosts several alumni dinners and events throughout the year. Reservations are highly recommended. Please use our online reservation system: Email: Phone: 519-885-0501

Chef Philippe Saraiva, and students Cassandra Keil and Sarena Unsal prepare desserts on Rogers TV “Daytime.”

Conestoga Alumni

Hospitality and Culinary students operate the dining room as part of their core curriculum.


Steven McDonald’s

taste for retirement Steven McDonald, seen in his cellar, has been using his free time in retirement to become a champion winemaker.

By Neil McDonald


ince closing the book on a 30-year teaching career in Conestoga’s marketing department in 2009, Steven McDonald has been busy living life to the fullest. World traveler, community volunteer and champion winemaker are just a few of the hats he’s worn since leaving Conestoga. “I absolutely love retirement,” he says. “It’s one of those things where you now have time to do the things that you want to do.” For McDonald, that means taking some time to see the world – he’s already traveled to New Zealand, Tahiti and the Caribbean since retiring, with plans to visit Europe in the spring. It also means he can spend more time volunteering in the community, a long-time passion for which he was recognized in 2009 as Wilmot Township’s Citizen of the Year. The importance of giving time to others is something McDonald also taught in the classroom.

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“One of the things that I talked to students (about) is ‘Help everybody else become successful and you automatically become successful.’ And it’s not unlike helping your community – if you help your community, it becomes a better place for you to live, too.”


McDonald donated his time extensively while at Conestoga, mentoring students and starting a class rep system to raise money so students could attend a provincial marketing competition. He also initiated the College’s clothing line, raised funds for expansion and served as a union representative.

“Rather than just being a teacher that came and taught and went home, being part of the College community was always important to me,” he says. About 10 years ago, McDonald joined a different kind of community when he bought a wine kit, kindling an avid interest in winemaking. He began entering competitions and eventually became an amateur winemaking champion at both the provincial and national levels. The teacher, it turns out, is also an excellent student. “The harder you work, the luckier you become,” he says, crediting research, study and the practical advice he received from judges for his success. “If you listen well, and you apply everything, you become very good at it.” It’s a message he used to give his students. “My philosophy was to make teaching as practical as possible. I have a lot of stories, and students learned more from stories than they did from textbooks. I very much believed in trying to share information rather than push information.” McDonald, himself a Conestoga marketing grad (“I’m very much a Conestoga enthusiast,” he says), today counts many of his former students as friends. He estimates around 100 of his ex-pupils attended his retirement party and says he’s even been invited to the weddings of previous students. “To me, teaching is probably the best job in the world,” he says. “I say it because it gives you the opportunity to help people, and the respect and the appreciation that you get down the road is probably my biggest thanks.”


Frank Mensink featured in Statements


s the 2010-11 chair of the Certified General Accountants Ontario’s board of directors, Conestoga’s Frank Mensink has seen the association grow significantly since he first became Conestoga’s CGA Ontario representative in 1987. His work with the association since then earned him a feature in the October/ November issue of CGA’s Statements Magazine. Statements is sent to more than 28,000 CGAs and students in the CGA program of professional studies, as well as other stakeholders and associates. Mensink is also the Executive Dean of Conestoga’s School of Business and Hospitality and is responsible for business and hospitality programs being delivered to thousands of students. These programs range from certificates, diplomas and degrees being taught by over 100 dedicated and knowledgeable faculty members.

Accounting Accreditation

The structure of this accounting degree was developed in consultation with the professional accounting organizations in the province of Ontario. The Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGA) have accredited the degree program.  The Certified Management Accountants of Ontario (CMA) have accepted the courses in the degree as completing the prerequisite courses for the CMA certification process.   The Institute of Chartered Accountants (CA) is currently reviewing the courses in the program for credit towards the 51 credit-hour requirement.   Interested students can keep track of this situation as they advance through this review.  Details are posted on the respective organization’s websites.   Graduates are also qualified to write

Photo by: Gary Beechey of BDS Studios Executive Dean, School of Business & Hospitality, Frank Mensink is featured on the fall issue of “Statements.”

examinations for the CIA designation awarded by the Institute of Internal Auditors. Graduates will be required to write the certification examinations and to fulfill experience requirements for these organizations after completion of the program. Graduates of this program will find employment in the public and private sectors as auditors, accountants, business analysts, tax practitioners and consultants, treasurers and controllers. Many graduates from accounting programs go on to other fields in business. The program addresses the need for professional accountants and auditors with information technology expertise. The curriculum will combine theory, integrated applied projects and paid co-op work terms. A variety of appropriate technologies will be used throughout the program to facilitate students’ learning.

Conestoga Alumni

The innovative Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, Audit, and Information Technology four-year degree is like no other offered in the province of Ontario. It will blend a comprehensive education in each of these disciplines to produce graduates who possess the skills needed in the global business environment. Graduates from three-year Business Administration - Accounting programs are able to receive credit for the courses already taken in the diploma program and enter the third year of the degree.



Building a house for education By Andrew Coppolino


hink of it as a living classroom. But more than that, Education House is an important connection between the home-building industry and the science and craft of house construction and Conestoga students. Waterloo Region Home Builders’ Association (WRHBA) partnered with a builder-member company to erect a home which has brought construction to life for trades and apprenticeship students at Conestoga. The house, completed in December 2010, is located on Westpark Crescent in Waterloo, Ontario. “The facility has enabled students to see first hand what they’re learning in the classroom and how it translates as an actual buildsite,” said Marie Schroeder, Executive Officer of WRHBA. The association has been a voice in the residential construction industry in Waterloo Region since 1946 and has about 225 member companies from builders, developers and renovators to manufacturers and financial specialists. For Conestoga students, Education House has represented an important teaching integration of the theoretical and the practical. Coordination between the College, WRHBA and the builder has allowed students to tour the site and get valuable insight into the construction process. The WRHBA provided a construction schedule of the various phases of the building project so students could follow step-by-step. Students can see everything from footings and foundations as they are built to drywalling techniques and finishing. In-class projects focusing on each of these construction phases were buttressed by visits to the house to see the actual work and talk to the crew members on-site who were building the house. That integration has been an important evolution in the way the discipline is taught, according to Rob Gilchrist, Conestoga’s Carpentry Programs Coordinator. “It’s an actual picture because the students get to see what we’re talking about in theory. We can only provide so much in a classroom and shop environment, but Education House is real life and the real structure.”

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With demand for skilled trades at a high level, the development of Waterloo Region’s various commercial and industrial business sectors in large part depends on robust and growing professional associations. Helping to build those business connections was in part what has motivated WRHBA, according to Schroeder.


“We want to bring to the attention of the students a professional association like ours and what it is we do and what we stand for. We want them to be aware of us and when they do graduate, we believe it is important for them to ally themselves with reputable associations in whatever trade they go into.” In the classroom, Education House represents practical training of which Gilchrist would like to see more.

Cutting the ribbon on Education House are (r-l) MP Peter Braid; MPP John Milloy; Janice Kochan, President WRHBA; Dr. John Tibbits, President, Conestoga College; MPP Elizabeth Witmer; Eric Kraushaar, Churchill Homes Ltd.; Dan Glenn-Graham, Acting Mayor, City of Kitchener

“We’re dealing with hands-on, visual learners and construction is physically big. We’re limited with what we can do within our confines and this supports all the theory in the projects we’re doing. It gives students that one extra piece we can’t provide within our walls.”

WRHBA Student Ambassadors

Another important alliance that has been established between Conestoga students and the WRHBA is a “Student Ambassador Program.” WRHBA Executive Officer Marie Schroeder says the association established this initiative through its own membership program. Students are invited to participate in some of the activities of the association and are sponsored by WRHBA member-companies. Spots for 10 second-year carpentry students to be able to visit WRHBA meetings have been allocated. For their part, Conestoga instructors have built this activity into their curricula as mandatory for their students’ education. Students have been given the opportunity to attend a WRHBA dinner-meeting allowing them to gain insight into events and issues in the industry and hear industry keynote speakers. They then write a report on their participation and observations, which goes toward course credit. “This gives them the chance to take a step toward building professional connections and exposes them to a business association,” Schroeder said. “For us, we are always looking for ways to make sure consumers have choice and affordability in our industry. This program with students helps build professionalism.”


Engineering program gains accreditation By Luisa D’Amato


n a historic move, Conestoga has had its mechanical systems engineering degree program accredited by Engineers Canada. This means that graduates of Conestoga’s program are placed on an equal footing with all university engineering graduates in the country as they work to obtain a professional engineer’s licence. They will also have a better chance of getting jobs and be treated with more respect by their peers. Conestoga and the British Columbia Institute of Technology are the only two post-secondary institutions in Canada that are not universities to have this accreditation. “It’s a huge day for us,” said College President John Tibbits in a news conference. Conestoga’s goal is to be a “world class polytechnic institute,” he said, and “we’re close.” But he cautioned: “we’re not trying to be a university.” Tibbits said he has always been frustrated by the attitude that colleges and universities in Canada seemed to operate on a two-tiered system of education. “This is helping to break that down.” Conestoga didn’t have to make many changes to its curriculum in order to get accreditation, said executive dean Mike McClements. In many cases, the Conestoga curriculum outperformed the accreditation requirements, and the only addition Conestoga made was to add a chemistry course to the basic science program. “They did a wonderful job and they richly deserve it,” said Tony Vannelli, Dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science at the University of Guelph. “They were ready, they were prepared

“After two years at university, I transferred to the Mechanical Systems Engineering program at Conestoga and finally began learning the way I learn best – by applying the theory I was taught. Now I’m completing my Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the top engineering schools in the world!” Rob Smith, MSE graduate 2008

thoroughly. We’re very pleased for them,” said Vannelli, who helped Conestoga by reviewing the application for accreditation. “I think it’s important in Canada that we grow engineering . . . If you look at our competition (China and India), that is a very prized discipline.” There are about 75 students in Conestoga’s Mechanical Systems Engineering program and class sizes are less than 30 students. Attending the announcement was Diane Freeman, president of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, which was represented on the accreditation team. “I’m thrilled,” said Freeman. “They’ve done it against the odds, because they didn’t have the title of university.” To get their professional licences, Conestoga’s graduates will have to gain four years’ work experience plus write an exam in law and ethics, just like university graduates.

Photo by: Robert Wilson, Record Staff Sean Phillips, a graduate of Conestoga’s Mechanical Systems Engineering program, holds his design of an intake manifold for a three-cylinder engine.

Students were pleased with the news, saying it will enhance their careers. “I’ve noticed a change in people’s perception of my education,” said Laura Martens, an engineering graduate who works at Melitron Corp. in Guelph, a custom sheet metal fabricator. “It means something to my colleagues, to other customers that I deal with.” © 2010 Waterloo Region Record, Ontario Canada

Conestoga Alumni

“Their academic background is not going to be challenged,” said Tony Martinek, a retired engineering professor who worked on the accreditation effort. However, people trained in nonaccredited programs must take more exams before they can get a professional designation.


Interested in a career in the Public Service?

CorporateTraining Your Partners In

Conestoga now offers a Graduate Certificate in Public Service. Gain practical work experience through a co-op work term. For more information contact Gordon Greavette at ext. 2319 or visit

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2011 Edition

Shawn DeBruyn 519-748-5220 ext. 2456


Sheila McGlashan 519-748-5220 ext. 2399


Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative (ARC) By Andrew Coppolino


ith good reason, Robert Taweel is excited about Conestoga receiving $747,400 under the $15-million Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative (ARC). Taweel, Conestoga’s Director of Applied Research and Innovation, said ARC will be crucial to helping small and medium-sized businesses in southwestern Ontario conceive, design and develop new products and get them on the market quicker and more efficiently. At the same time, it will offer tremendous opportunities to the College community. ARC is overseen by the Federal Economic Development Agency (FEDA) for southern Ontario and was designed to bolster the region’s economy following the downturn. FEDA has a $1-billion budget and a five-year mandate.

“Our contribution will be in

providing the expertise and resources to guide and help them achieve that goal which will in turn contribute to economic development.” Conestoga’s Robert Taweel, Director of Applied Research and Innovation

“This money is intended for us to engage SMEs—small and medium enterprises—in Kitchener-Waterloo Region and help them with applied research and commercializing their products. This will ultimately result in economic development and job creation,” Taweel says. “Our contribution will be in providing the expertise and resources to guide and help them achieve that goal which will in turn contribute to economic development.”

He offers a potential scenario: imagine a company is manufacturing a product and having issues with getting their machinery to work at the level of quality that is required. “That’s where we come in,” says Taweel. “We could help them re-design the manufacturing process and advise them how to move forward.” The ARC will result in a “triple victory,” adds Taweel. “It allows us to engage students who otherwise may never have had the opportunity on this scale to work with companies who might end up hiring them. “It’s win-win-win, though. The faculty can exercise their expertise, the students get real-life experience, and Conestoga is positioned directly with the local economy and contributing through many multi-disciplinary projects that showcase College programs.”

• Product and process innovation and development

• Prototyping and simulation • Testing and Analysis • Commercializing of ideas, concepts, products and services

• Business modeling and planning • Access to research and innovation funding

Please contact us at: (519) 748-5220, x 2349

Conestoga Alumni

Conestoga faculty and students, using Conestoga facilities, will solve particular problems that companies bring forward. It could be a design, development, manufacturing or marketing issue that is holding the company back. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be technology-based,” according to Taweel.



New programs Helicopter pilot training program In September 2010, Conestoga expanded its Aviation program to include pilot training on helicopters. Aviation students who want to acquire both a commercial pilot’s license and receive a College diploma can enroll in this joint program. It is being conducted through a partnership arrangement between Conestoga and Great Lakes Helicopter, which operates out of the Region of Waterloo International Airport. A similar and very successful partnership arrangement has existed between Conestoga and the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC) since 1996. Graduates of this program receive their Ontario College Diploma for the General Arts and Science Aviation program and their commercial pilot training leading to a Transport Canada pilot’s license through WWFC. Under this new arrangement, students will now be able to enroll in the same program at Conestoga, but will have the option of completing their Commercial pilot license training through either WWFC on fixed-wing aircraft or through Great Lakes Helicopter on helicopters.

Conestoga to offer first Public Relations Bachelor’s Degree in Ontario Conestoga has received approval from Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to offer a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, the first such degree in Ontario and only the third in the country. The program begins at Conestoga’s Doon campus in Kitchener in the fall of 2011. “This profession demands strong communication skills, diplomacy, strategic thinking and the ability to understand complex issues, and Conestoga’s public relations degree responds with a case-based approach,” said Fran Gregory, coordinator of the new program.

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Two co-op work terms will allow students to apply communication theory to public relations practice. A combination of theory-based and application-based courses will be offered in public relations and issues management, project management, writing for public relations, event planning, ethics and communication theory, among others.


Graduates of Conestoga’s existing two-year Public Relations diploma program will have the opportunity to take a five-course bridging sequence in the spring of 2011, which will allow students who successfully complete all the bridging courses direct entry into the third year of the baccalaureate program in the fall of 2011. The bridging needs of graduates from public relations diploma programs other than Conestoga’s will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Conestoga partners with Solar Living Institute to launch energy training program Conestoga has recently launched a customized, online program to meet the training needs for solar energy professionals working in the Canadian market. The Solar PV Design and Installation eCourse was developed in partnership with California’s Solar Living Institute (SLI), one of the world’s leading providers of education and training programs for green technologies. Accredited by the Institute for Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ), the course provides a solid foundation for a broad range of careers in the growing Photovoltaic industry. Topics covered in the course include: PV Market, Applications & Advantages, Fundamentals of Electricity, PV System Design, Gridtied & Off-grid Installation, Maintenance and Troubleshooting. Delivered in online format through Conestoga’s continuing education program, the course has been adapted to meet the needs of solar professionals working in the Canadian market. Canada’s Green Energy Act has accelerated demand for a trained local workforce with the requisite skills and training to design, install and maintain green infrastructure.

Conestoga and Laurier combine strengths with joint science technology programs Conestoga and Wilfrid Laurier University are combining their strengths in theoretical and applied learning to create two joint programs, one in computer science and the other in biochemistry/ biotechnology. The first program combines Conestoga’s software engineering technology diploma with Laurier’s honours Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in computer science. The second combines Laurier’s honours B.Sc. in biochemistry and biotechnology with Conestoga’s biotechnology technician diploma. Both programs began in September 2010 and are designed to enhance the educational experience of students and increase their job opportunities. In the computer science program, students will first complete the software engineering technology diploma at Conestoga, where they will acquire practical experience in software engineering and hardware applications. Students will then attend Laurier to complete part of their second year as well as third and fourth year of the computer science B.Sc. degree, where they will gain a solid foundation in theoretical computer science, algorithms and networks. Students in the biotechnology/biochemistry program will complete the first two years of the honours biochemistry/biotechnology B.Sc.


Interior Design Degree Beginning in September 2011, Conestoga will offer a four-year bachelor’s degree program in Interior Design. This unique program offers studies of the built environment from the focal point of interior design and relies heavily on project-based learning. Studies include colour, texture, acoustics, finishes, furnishings, illumination, contracts and other aspects that address aesthetic, comfort and functional requirements. This degree provides professional training in design development and the presentation of interior spaces with exposure to a variety of residential, institutional and commercial spaces. Students will learn to integrate issues of interior design with maintenance and management of the built environment, and will engage in a detailed study of the principles, methods and applications for technically and financially sound decision making in the field of interior design. Co-op work term opportunities exist in third and fourth year to provide students with relevant experience in the interior design industry that will complement their academic studies. The program has been designed to meet the eligibility requirements of the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) at the first professional degree level and covers the technical aspects to meet industry standards as set by the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO).

IT Innovation and Design (Cooperative Education) This three-year program will prepare graduates to be designers of commercial and business application software. Students will gain knowledge and skills in graphic techniques for the design of software, problem-solving techniques and also in marketing within this exciting industry. The program emphasizes design issues such as navigability and aesthetics with special attention to the design and development of software for mobile devices and emerging digital technologies. The entrepreneurial aspects of IT innovation and design such as product viability, capital funding and client specifications and expectations will also be covered. Co-operative education features terms in college and one work term in business and industry, with the winter semester of the third year being a paid co-op work term.

Welding Engineering Technology – Inspection Beginning in the fall of 2011 this is a new three-year engineering technology program sharing common years one and two with the two-year Welding Engineering Technician and the three-year Manufacturing Engineering Technology – Welding & Robotics program. This program will address the need for highly-trained welding inspection and quality assurance personnel in industries across Canada including power generation, oil and gas, structural steel, manufacturing, and the non-destructive testing industry. By building upon the foundation of a sound understanding of the welding processes and related technologies, the engineering technologist will be prepared to provide leadership in ensuring the quality and performance of welds in these critical industries. Graduates will have the opportunity for certification by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) as a Welding Inspector and as a Certified Welding Engineering Technologist (C.E.T.) through The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT).

Pressure Systems Welding Pressure Systems Welding is a new 30-week post-graduate certificate program which will provide advanced welding skills training in all-position pressure pipe and plate welding beginning in the fall of 2011. This training opportunity will be available to graduates of a one-year Welding Techniques or Welding Fitter college certificate program, those with a Certificate of Qualification (Red Seal) in Welding, Metal Fabricator, or other similar qualifications. Pressure Systems Welding is a new trade that will be implemented in Ontario (456P) and this new program has been designed around this curriculum. It will provide advanced skills training and a theoretical understanding of the SMAW (stick), GMAW (mig), GTAW (tig), FCAW (flux-core) and SAW (sub-arc) processes along with supporting courses in welding metallurgy, welding codes, and inspection and quality control. Opportunities to obtain all-position welder qualifications through external agencies such as the CWB and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) will be provided.

There are many new programs at Conestoga. To find them all, go to our website: or call 519-748-5220, ext. 3656.

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program at Laurier, where they will develop knowledge in cellular and molecular biology, chemistry and biochemistry. Students will then complete one year of special study at Conestoga in the biotechnology technician diploma program to gain 180 laboratory hours in plant and animal cell biotechnology, immunology and fermentation biology. They will return to Laurier for the final two years of the B.Sc. degree.


COLLEGE NEWS Conestoga welcomes students to the first global business management grad certificate Given the artistic talent found in the first class of Conestoga’s exciting, new Global Business Management Program, you might think the College was recruiting singers, dancers and just generally fun-loving people. However, in addition to their many personal interests and talents, these students bring outstanding academic credentials such as Conestoga diplomas, bachelor and master degrees. The diversity is evident with students coming from Canada, India, Nigeria and Columbia. Classes are small to encourage interaction and lively discussion among all students and the professors. The professors delivering

the curriculum in this program are qualified to bring the Global Business world to our students. They have worked abroad in their teaching area or worked in multinational organizations and are experienced in large multi-national corporations, or have worked oversees in areas such as Human Resources, plus have extensive research and economic development background . The program will continue right through the summer semester. Applications for September 2011 are being accepted now. The program is designed for students who have post-secondary education from any discipline and want to focus on business in a global setting. No previous business experience is required. More information can be found on the college web site


One Year certificate programs for trades and apprenticeships Apply today

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Mechanical Techniques - General Machinist Mechanical Techniques - Tool and Die / Tool Maker


For more information, please email Abby at or 519-748-5220 x 2400


New Cambridge Campus opens September 2011

Conestoga has embarked on the most extensive growth plan in its history – a total campus revitalization that almost doubles the number of students and lays the foundation for unprecedented programmatic and educational innovation. At the heart of Conestoga’s Campaign is the creation of the new 260,000 square-foot School of Engineering and Information Technology located across Highway 401 from Doon Campus which will focus on training for advancement manufacturing, engineering and information technology. Aptly named Cambridge Campus it will also include the development of a brand new Institute of Food Processing Technology – the first of its kind in North America. When it opens its doors in September, this new campus will train an additional 3,000 full-time students and apprentices.

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Cambridge Campus Phase One


Conestoga – our time is now! Building to meet the needs of the community Roofing Centre, Waterloo, ON

Skills Training Centre, Ingersoll, ON

In partnership with the Ontario Contractors Association (OIRCA) Conestoga created Ontario’s only dedicated Roofing Skills Training Centre which opened in May 2010. This 12,000 sq. ft. centre supports industry and students with the development and delivery of training programs designed to support new and emerging roofing technologies, construction practices and materials. The Centre offers advancement of a shared vision toward the future growth and consumer safety/quality standards of this industry among government, education, and industry stakeholders.

Conestoga has partnered with the Town of Ingersoll to support business and industry partners through the creation of a new 12,000 sq. ft. Skills Training Centre. Though Conestoga has been delivering continuing education programs in Ingersoll since early 2009, the opening of the Skills Training Centre will allow Conestoga to further expand and diversify the range of continuing education and full-time programs delivered to the community.

HRAC Skills Centre, Waterloo, ON

Working with the Electrical and Utilities Safety Association (EUSA), Conestoga launched a full-time power line technician program in January 2010 to support the electrical industry throughout Ontario.

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Motive Power Skills Training Centre, Guelph, ON


Focused on providing the most innovative internal and external training environments in Ontario, the new 10,000 sq. ft. HRAC Skills Training Centre will serve the industry and enhance its base of qualified and highly-trained professionals. This past January, programs in heating, refrigeration, air conditioning and ventilation were launched that included: a two-year HRAC technician, refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic, facilities operation management, gas technician and gas technician apprenticeship.

In response to industry demand for a broader and more diversified offering of programs, Conestoga has built a dedicated 29,000 sq. ft. Motive Power Skills Training Centre. The Guelph campus will train practitioners (technicians, apprentices and pre-apprentices) in four specific high-demand areas. These areas will include alternative fuel vehicles, motor coach passenger vehicles, heavy equipment and small engine vehicles.

School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, Doon Campus

Conestoga’s School of Health is a leader in the education of health care and life practitioners. The establishment of a 70,000 sq. ft. applied learning and research facility at the Doon Campus which opens in September, will allow Conestoga to create Ontario’s most advanced health care training resource within a polytechnic/college environment, while also offering programs to wider audiences through electronic learning options to both train and upgrade professionals regardless of their location. With the completion of the facility, Conestoga will significantly increase the capacity of existing programs such as BScN (in partnership with McMaster University), the Practical Nursing diploma, and the Respiratory Therapy advanced diploma program. Overall student enrolment in health sciences programs will increase from 1,400 to 2,800 by 2014.

Emergency Medical Services, Doon Campus

The new ambulance station will improve waiting times in an area of the region that has traditionally been under-serviced, while Conestoga students will have enhanced learning opportunities at this facility. When completed in September, the facility will become an emergency medical services hub allowing police, firefighters, nurses and EMS personnel to work together. That includes the opportunity for Conestoga students to work alongside these professionals. The benefits to students goes beyond the nuts and bolts infrastructure. The proximity allows students to absorb some of the culture and the excitement—and better prepare them for some of the harsher realities of day-to-day operations in a EMS-station setting.

The nurse practitioner clinic will serve two important purposes: it is a facility for people in the community who do not have primary health-care access, and it gives College students the benefit of highly enhanced education as they train to become professionals. Working alongside other health care professionals, nurse practitioners will requisition tests and care for patients with basic injuries and those suffering from common illnesses, with emphasis on the management of chronic diseases. Primary care will be delivered by professional nurse-practitioners in healthcare sub-specialties like mental health, post-menopausal care of women, care of the senior, and issues like respiratory and cardiorespiratory issues.

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Nurse Practitioner Clinic, Doon Campus


Leed Certified means green Cambridge Campus By Ryan Métivier


hen Conestoga’s new Cambridge campus opens this September, not only will it be home to thousands of new students and many new programs, it will also be one of the most environmentally friendly campuses in the province.

“With the use of space heating and cooling, area lights, ventilation fans, etc, running the Cambridge Campus will cost 43% less energy…”

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Through a Request for Proposal process, Conestoga awarded the project by design competition to Moriyama Teshima Architects. Daniel Teramura, partner-in-charge of Moriyama Teshima Architects, put together a team of architects and consultants, which included Adam Muggleton of Cobalt Engineering and Tim Schaner from The Walter Fedy Partnership, to work toward the campus receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. LEED is the most prominent and widely known thirdparty certification program in North America, which recognizes a building’s commitment to sustainability. “We have a strong team. I give credit to the consultants and Vanbots Construction, the contractors, as we all worked well as a team right from the beginning and got the job done, even with a tight budget and schedule,” said Raymond Chung, Conestoga’s Director of Project Services.


To obtain LEED certification, points are obtained throughout five major categories: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Within those categories, numerous features can be pursued to gain points, of which 52 are available. Buildings can be ranked as either Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum depending on the amount of points reached. Conestoga will fall into the Silver category, submitting a proposed 37 points with an additional two, which may be reached (Silver covers the 33-38 point range, with Gold being achieved at 39). Once documentation is submitted post-occupancy, the final point scoring may fluctuate, however Adam Muggleton of Cobalt Engineering is confident the campus will come out at the Silver

level. The final ranking will only be determined approximately six months to one year from this June, once all documentation has been submitted. Muggleton also believes this will have an impact on enrollment at the College. “Going after LEED certification will attract students that are concerned about the environment. The public and the student body are being very environmentally active and it matters to them,” he says. “It’s important because Conestoga is going to differentiate itself. They made a stand for the environment by committing with their new developments to address sustainability as a development issue,” he continues. Among the numerous LEED features of the campus, bioswales will be located throughout the parking lot to treat and infiltrate storm water runoff and maintain groundwater base flow to a nearby cold water stream. Storm water collected from the building will also be infiltrated into the subsurface soils to reduce runoff from the site. Indoors, there will be a 50 per cent potable water use reduction from the use of dual flush, high-efficiency toilets, ultra low-flow urinals and low-flow lavatories. With the use of space heating and cooling, area lights and ventilation fans, running the Cambridge Campus will use 43 per cent less energy compared to the MNECB (Model National Energy Code for Buildings) and save roughly $160,000 a year in energy costs. Additional features include solar controls, low-e glass and ceramic frit, variable air volume terminals with local temperature sensors, 85 per cent construction waste diversion and the use of many low VOC products such as paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, carpet, composite wood and classroom furniture.

“Bioswales will be located throughout the parking lot to treat and infiltrate storm water runoff and maintain groundwater base flow to a nearby cold water stream.”

Conestoga is one of only a few colleges in Ontario which has pursued LEED certification, and doing so only adds to their continued commitment to being one of the top colleges in polytechnic education in the province and country. “Conestoga has aspirations to become a polytechnic institution. To do that, you have to have a green building. They simply go hand in hand,” said Chung.


Conestoga employees, alumni named to region’s 40 Under 40 E

arlier this year, the Waterloo Region Record honoured 40 outstanding people under the age of 40 who made a difference in the Waterloo region. Three members of the Conestoga family were recognized this year, in the annual showcase to celebrate young leaders in the community. The Waterloo Region Record’s 40 Under 40 recognizes individuals who live, work, study or play in the region. The three members recognized have a variety of backgrounds and talents and included:

Theresa Coon:

Theresa is a graduate of Conestoga’s Law & Security Administration (1997) and Social Services (2001) programs. Now a protection support worker at Family and Children Services of Waterloo Region, she co-facilitates groups for children and parents in partnership with community and Ontario Early Years Centres. She was recognized for her efforts to fundraise for Paulander Community Centre in Kitchener, as well as for her work on the Smilemakers committee and Chip in Fore Kids Golf Tournament.

Ryan Connell:

Photo by: Peter Lee, Record Staff

Ryan is a graduate of Conestoga’s print journalism program (2005) and now works as a Student Life Programmer at the college’s Doon campus. He was recognized for his leadership in the Respect campaign and United Way fundraising at Conestoga, his work with the Random Act of Kindness Day Committee at the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, and his volunteer work with the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area.

Conestoga congratulates these and the other young leaders whose efforts are making a difference to our local community. Photos: © 2011 Waterloo Region Record, Ontario Canada

Richard Hepditch:

Richard is a graduate of the Ambulance and Emergency Care program (1996) as well as co-ordinator for Conestoga’s pre-service firefighter program and acting captain of Waterloo Fire Rescue. He is co-chair of the annual Real Men Can Cook event, which has raised approximately $35,000 for children’s charities since 2006. He also serves as the convenor of the Conservation Meadows outdoor ice rink in his Waterloo community, and is a member of the emergency patient care committee with the City of Waterloo.

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Photo by: Robert Wilson, Record Staff



Conestoga students at The Hub of technology I By Andrew Coppolino

t makes use of reclaimed land and refurbished historic structures, but The Communitech Hub, a digital media centre located in downtown Kitchener’s landmark Tannery building is home to a state-of-the-art “accelerator centre” in which Conestoga has a key partnership presence.

The whole idea of the Hub is to nurture and develop—to accelerate—the growth of ideas, concepts, business and innovation in an atmosphere of linked ideas and synergies which can help both new and established companies grow and flourish.

As part of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a network of 12 partner organizations, the 30,000 sq. ft. Communitech Hub contributes to further bolstering Waterloo Region’s presence on the global digital media radar—a market worth billions of dollars.

“The smaller enterprises might have technology expertise or programming acumen, but they don’t have the knowledge or resources to market or promote a product or service,” Derro says, indicating that is where the College will play a significant role. “With our Conestoga faculty and our students with the training that they have, we are in a position to provide a value-added service.”

The Hub is its own collaborative network where well-recognized companies in Waterloo Region share an environment with earlystage and small and medium-sized businesses for interaction and collaboration. The smaller enterprises can make use of equipment, technology and knowledge to which they would otherwise not have access.

For their part, the Conestoga students involved with the Hub include a full-range of disciplines, from advertising and graphic design to videography and broadcast television. The new media convergence program at Conestoga is teaming up with colleagues in videography and members of the Hub to generate stories and produce content about new and emerging technologies.

Public and private sector funding

Creating, collecting, conveying information

Communitech was granted $26-million by the province of Ontario to create a nexus of digital media thinkers, tools, technology and their applications. The resulting Communitech Hub: Digital Media & Mobile Accelerator is a physical, intellectual and entrepreneurial space fostering innovation and driving the creation of new enterprises and jobs in Waterloo Region, Ontario and Canada. Among more than two dozen organizations, The Hub’s cornerstone group of companies include RIM, Open Text, Christie Digital, Agfa Healthcare and the University of Waterloo. The Hub has partnered with the Accelerator Centre located in the University of Waterloo Research and Technology Park. Given the list of prominent names, there are few locations anywhere with such a collection of technology leaders working together in a common integrated environment to promote each other. Conestoga was quick to recognize both the profile and the utility of this branding of like-minded progressive organizations, according to Mark Derro, Chair of Media and Design at Conestoga.

New media might be described broadly yet simply as “IC3” or “information created, collected and conveyed” virtually as opposed to physically. By its nature, new media can draw from—and draw in—information from sectors that might previously have been referred to as its “analogues.” New media has a host of applications, such as the Internet, education, e-health, biotechnology, film, video and mobile applications. “The new media and videography groups have recently produced what is essentially a tech show talking about what’s happening currently with companies at the Hub and what could happen in the future, but it will also help organizations to market and promote their businesses,” says Derro. “Students worked on one- to two-minute clips which can be packaged and reassembled into anything from a newsmagazine type of approach to a small or medium-sized enterprise using it as a marketing or promotional tool,” he says.

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“As a Communitech Hub academic partner, our intent in this enterprise is to put students in an environment that allows them an opportunity to gain real-world experience with the range of companies that belong to the Hub.”


Conestoga students have exciting opportunities Derro points out the relationships the students will build are not exclusively driven toward the established leaders in Waterloo Region but also toward younger, early-stage companies which are just starting out—and perhaps destined to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Students learn amongst several of the top communications companies in the region while working at Conestoga’s booth at The Hub.

The form fits the function Given the immense impact and ubiquity of digital and social network applications such as Facebook and Twitter—and the fact that the Hub seeks to accelerate new media ideas—the Conestoga students are delivering this information, not via conventional media `analogues’ like broadcast television, but rather through new media delivery modes. “As a Communitech Hub academic partner, our intent in this enterprise is to put students in an environment that allows them an opportunity to gain real-world experience with the range of companies that belong to the Hub,” Derro says.

There are many ways up Everest if you have a good Sherpa. “What we’re designing is content that can migrate into a digital domain and mobile devices,” says Derro. “People can access this content either through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds in a subscription approach, or by visiting the sites where this content is generated and disseminated.” Content will be delivered by the students from two websites at Conestoga: “Inside Angle” on and Journalabs. com. Characteristic of new media, its broad applicability and accessability comes into play, Derro says.

“Multi-purposed content goes to many different applications. It serves our purpose for a newsmagazine through the Web. Then it could be fed to the MicroTiles video display system and the ScreenScape monitors. Communitech would then use the digital material as content for their website, and the individual companies would use it for promotion on their website or as a video upload when talking to prospective clients.”

Collaboration and mentorship What will occur organically at the Hub is collaboration and mentorship. You will see a graphic design student sitting beside an advertising or television/broadcast student working together on a project, each injecting his or her discipline-specific skills and knowledge. Simultaneously, each student is gaining some knowledge of those other disciplines. Students engage in information acquisition with faculty—the formal educational theory component—before moving into an application

Chris Martin, Conestoga’s New Media Technologist, works with the latest software at The Hub.

mode where the Hub can lend itself to high levels of mentorship. Project-based deliveries like those at Conestoga College rely on trial and error tempered by guidance, according to Derro—which is to say there are many ways up Everest if you have a good Sherpa. “Students go through a process of seeing what works. The technology is changing so dramatically that there is no one way to approach it, and there’s multiple outputs at the end. We don’t want students graduating out of our program with identical portfolios. This experience will give them skills and knowledge to apply creatively and produce content and materials that are unique. That’s in good part where the mentorship component comes in.” The spokes radiating from the Hub are many, according to Derro, where there is so much to get excited about in this environment. “For Conestoga this promotes our students and our programs within the Region. For the students it gives them a chance to demonstrate their skills and, we hope, gain employment. From the employers perspective it gives them a chance to see who the shining stars are and whether they are a fit for their organization.”

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Content can be reworked and repackaged for use on Conestoga websites and could become a visual directory, an “electronic repository of digital content” of members of the Hub and the services they provide. The connections and dovetailing are intricate, says Derro.



Partnership with Linamar helps develop skills By Andrew Coppolino


s director of human resources with Linamar Corporation, Shaun Scott likes to use the term ownership as it applies to employee development at the Guelph-based designer and manufacturer of precision metallic components and systems for multiple industrial sectors. “It’s important for our employees to own their development and to have a personal commitment to advancing themselves. We think that is important,” said Scott. The idea was crystallized for Scott while sitting on a workplace development committee at the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. He was impressed by a Conestoga College presentation that focused on helping employers develop their workers’ skills through the Test for Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES). “I was fascinated because I thought it was something that could really assist our employees in understanding the skill-gap that they might find they have and help them upgrade.”

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Scott immediately approached Conestoga and a partnership was formed creating the Pathways to Essential Skills project. This pilot program meets both the needs of students and employers, says Thanh-Thanh Tieu, chair of Workforce Development in the School of Career and Academic Access at Conestoga. The School designs programs to assist students and prospective employees and partners with businesses like Linamar in order to develop the skills and the sometimes subtly nuanced acumen needed to retain work.


“This is for the betterment of the entire community. Our mission is to provide pathways to education and employment for all Conestoga community members,” Tieu said. From Linamar’s perspective, the emphasis has been on selfidentification and encouraging employees to develop what Scott refers to as a “baseline” of where they are in terms of their skill-set and where they might need improvement. Akin to a “SWOT” analysis: employees self-audit their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats rather than a corporate office decreeing this is what they need. “We came at this from the standpoint that we wanted to encourage personal development and increase the bench-strength of our organization through our people. We were really interested in the essential skills concept and TOWES,” Scott says. TOWES is designed to ensure that Canadians have the skills needed for a full and robust participation in all aspects of their home and community life. While literacy and numeracy are seen as the fundamental “Velcro” that other skills are built on, Scott sees a much bigger picture in working with the College. “The overarching theme that we want to take away from this pilot project and the work we will continue to do is a commitment by Linamar to support the development of our employees through partnering with Conestoga so they can continue to develop themselves.”

The white belts demonstrate Linamar’s journey through Essential Skills awareness and training. White belts were received by the Human Resource staff that participated in learning sessions and completed their Pre-TOWES test.


Toronto-based restaurant Susur. That personal connection is what brought Lee to the Waterloo campus.

By Ryan Métivier


e’s travelled from Hong Kong to Singapore, to New York and Toronto, and now to Conestoga’s very own bloom restaurant. On Wednesday, March 2, world-renowned Master Chef Susur Lee took some time out of his busy schedule to cook alongside Conestoga’s hospitality and culinary students when bloom hosted the Culinary & Hospitality Student Fundraising Dinner. The proceeds from the $200 per plate event will be used for student scholarships and awards: with 75 people in attendance, roughly $6,000 was raised to assist in student success and learning. Lee brought a celebrity feel to the evening. Named one of the “Ten Chefs of the Millenium” by Food & Wine magazine, he has travelled the globe as a guest chef and consultant, making numerous television appearances and gaining even more popularity by defeating 20 competing chefs last year in the hit TV show, Top Chef Masters. Lee worked with the students to craft a menu with influences from around the world, reflecting the culture that he tries to create with his cuisine. “The students were great,” Lee said. “They really wanted to learn, were anxious and had very good energy. Everybody wanted to give a helping hand and do their very best.” The idea of bringing Lee to bloom came from maitre d’ and sommelier Matthew Worden and chef-instructor Paul Torrance, who decided to invite additional chefs to cook with the students after the success of the school’s Langdon Hall dinner with Grand Chef Jonathon Gushue last year. Worden worked with Lee for four years at his

Culinary students preparing spicy lobster tarts for a special fundraising dinner.

Culinary student Gerald Billing watches intently as Master Chef Susur Lee adds the finishing garnish to a spectacular dish.

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Learning from the Master

The opportunity is something that Worden thinks was “massive” for the students. Lee arrived at 7 a.m. and gave roughly 70 culinary students, as well as four different groups of hospitality students, the opportunity to take part in the creation. Gary Hallam, Chair of Hospitality Programs, believes the night was a win-win for everyone involved, from the students, to the program, and even the industry. “There were so many hospitality people here today, who are now going to think so much more highly of our graduates once they get out into the industry,” he said. At the end of the night, Worden had nothing but praise for the students who helped make the night a success: “My barometer for a great night is when I don’t really have to do anything and I haven’t done much tonight. The students have been fantastic.”


Institute of Food Processing Technology

Expand Your Technical Skills & Be Employed in Months! The IFPT offers training through its food processing and lab facilities, mechanical and electrical shops and work placements to get you job ready for the food processing industry. For more information, contact 519-748-5220 ext. 2499


Financial Planning Services Graduate Certificate Enjoy solving problems? Working with people? Have an aptitude with numbers?

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Graduate in 8 months!


For more information contact: David Kohler at


Cabinet maker tops in nation By Ryan Métivier


onathon Sinke has been interested in woodworking since Grade 7. In his hometown of Jordan, Ontario, his father is a builder who had a shop of his own at home when Sinke was growing up. This gave Sinke the chance to start practicing on his own and, over the years, he bought more machines to add to the shop. He has worked on several projects, such as veneer work, building a whole bedroom set and working on a half-round demilune table. At the Skills Competitions held at RIM Park last May, Sinke put his talents to work by taking home gold medals at both the provincial and national levels. In the provincial round he was in a field of four students, and was the only competitor to finish producing an oak wall cabinet. The national stage offered much stiffer competition, with top students competing to build a hall bench in 14 hours. “There was a lot pressure at the nationals because of the time restraints and trying to make as few mistakes as possible. You have to make a lot of split-second decisions and not crack under the pressure. If you make a mistake you need to quickly decide if you should fix, change it or just leave it alone and move on,” he says.

Sinke finished high school with top marks and could have had his choice of universities, however coming to Conestoga was an easy choice once he did his research and found out it was one of the top woodworking schools in the country. “I’ve been very impressed with the teachers and facilities at Conestoga and coming here has given me many opportunities such as competing at Skills. Being able to have a plaque in my office saying I’m the best in Canada will help me

Jonathon Sinke shows off his trophy and medals from last year’s Skills Competitions.

gain the trust of clients and definitely help me in the future.” A high school co-op at Tremont Wood Specialties gave him more experience in helping design custom interiors for yachts and boats. He also works at Old Mill Artisans where he builds cabinets, mantles, entertainment systems and custom furniture. This spring he hopes to have all of his apprenticeship hours and courses completed and to write the Red Seal Exam to become a certified cabinet maker. From there he hopes to start up his own custom furniture business. Looking toward October in London, Sinke is still finding this whole experience hard to believe, but is looking forward to the competition and visiting family in England and Holland.

To see Jonathon Sinke’s results at the World Championships go to

Conestoga Alumni

Mark Bramer is a professor at Conestoga and also the International Canadian Expert for Cabinetmaking. He was able to work with Sinke as a coach in the lead up to these competitions by going over important contest details, talking about past competitions and preparing him mentally for what it would take to compete. He sees the passion and motivation Sinke has for the trade and thinks he could have a chance to place high in this year’s World Championships in London, England in October 2011. The Worlds will be a 10-day event with a four-day competition, and will see Sinke begin working with a full-time trainer to prepare. Bramer is thrilled Sinke has had so much success and sees the Worlds as a great lift to the rest of the school. “This is a great opportunity, not only for Jonathan, but for the whole school. When one of your own go off to compete against the best in the world, it gives the school some pride and excitement which is well deserved,” he says.



He entered his first Skills competition while in high school in Mississauga, where he had immediate success by winning the Provincials, and finishing fourth on the National stage. After that fourth place finish, he was determined to redeem himself and keep improving for his next chance to compete again. “I’m always learning something new at Conestoga. There is no wasted knowledge. I carry around a notebook to write stuff down and had been practicing every day since January, both at school and at home to prepare for these competitions,” he says. Chef Instructor Paul Torrance spent a lot of time working with Wong to prepare him for last year’s competitions. He assisted with things like menu working, tasting, timing, speed and organization and says with the right experience, he could definitely see him becoming a Head Chef in the next four to five years. “Wallace is a very hard worker with an incredibly strong work ethic. He’s extremely prepared and I could see him being able to handle the high stress environment of a big restaurant or even working overseas.” Chef Philippe Saraiva has been with Conestoga for 10 years and his experience in judging allowed him to also give Wong some advice throughout the competitions. He sees a lot of potential in him and was impressed with his performance, considering he was going up against people with 2-3 years of experience.

Culinary arts student Wallace Wong uses chives to garnish his award-winning dish.

Culinary student claims gold and bronze medals By Ryan Métivier


2011 Edition

allace Wong, a Culinary Arts student at Conestoga, has one goal in mind when he steps into a kitchen, and that’s to one day rule the world one stomach at a time. Wong took home a gold medal at the 21st Ontario Technological Skills Competition, followed by a bronze at the national competition last May.


Wong got his inspiration for cooking at a young age, as he grew up in a culinary family. As a child the Food Network saw a lot of airtime in his household, and the many hours he spent taping and watching Iron Chef with his family got him hooked into the profession himself.

For each of the provincial and national competitions, Wong prepared four dishes spread out over two menus. The first was a vegetarian module menu, which saw him prepare a trio of tofu and lentils as his appetizer, followed by an Italian inspired Emilia Romagna fresh egg pasta tortelloni for his main course. For the duck module menu he prepared a duck ballotine as an appetizer and an Asian duck consommé for the main course. Wong said the biggest challenges were trying to balance his time and get used to where things were in a new environment. He also says it was a great experience competing at such a high level and going up against 11 of the best chefs in the country at the nationals. Gary Hallam, chair of Hospitality and Culinary programs at Conestoga, was thrilled by Wong’s showing, as he feels competitions such as these help raise the levels of all students and is a good opportunity to compare yourself to other schools. “When our students can succeed and win medals it motivates everyone else and encourages other students to feel like they can do it too,” he says. With his drive and maturity, Hallam believes Wong will have endless options after graduation. A business student at Laurier University as well, Wong has his sights set on either working in a major restaurant or owning a large food chain one day down the road.


Conestoga engineering students bring home top honours from national competition On the heels of their historic win at the Ontario Engineering Competition last month, a team of students from Conestoga’s Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) degree program proved their mettle once again, bringing home top honours in the national competition held at McGill University from March 10-13. The Conestoga team, consisting of Jamie Hobson of Waterloo, Ian Hillier of Petersburg, David Timmerman of Elora and Brian Montgomery-Wilson of Orangeville, competed against seven university teams from across Canada who had earned first or second-place rankings in their provincial competitions. In their first national competition, the Conestoga team received a second-place finish in the Senior Design category and was also awarded the W. R. Petri Engineering Design Award for innovative design. At the event, the student teams were given ten hours to design and build a prototype for a bridge that would sense when a boat was near, open to let the boat through, then close once the boat was clear. The structure also had to be strong enough to withstand the weight of truck traffic. Each team was required to present their plan to the judges, with a demonstration of the working model.

The Conestoga team: (l-r) Brian Montgomery-Wilson, David Timmerman, Jamie Hobson & Ian Hillier

Although competitors were presented with the general topic one week in advance, the specific objectives and constraints were not disclosed until the day of the event. Teams were judged on their presentations, as well as on the success of the tests on their working models. The results of the competition were announced at a gala event in Montreal that was attended by more than 100 representatives of Canada’s engineering elite: university deans, industry representatives and executives, including the president of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board.

The model that won Conestoga Engineering students a second place finish.

For McClements, the accomplishment has broader implications as well: “It sends a very powerful message that Conestoga is providing our students with the quality of educational experience that ranks with the very best, and that employers can expect excellent performance from Conestoga graduates.” Students from Conestoga’s Videography program were in attendance throughout the event and have created a series of video capturing some of the highlights. Videos are available online at:

The bridge was required to withstand 3 kg of weight. Conestoga student, Jamie Hobson, wowed the audience when he climbed onto the bridge and it supported his 63.5 kg.

Conestoga Alumni

Mike McClements, executive dean of Conestoga’s Schools of Engineering & Information Technology and Trades & Apprenticeship, commended the team on their “stellar achievement,” and the mix of “confidence, professional focus and enthusiasm” that contributed to their success.



Current students win accolades Conestoga students ranked #1 in Business Strategy Simulation The simulated company run by a team of third-year Business Management students from Conestoga was ranked #1 in the world for the week of Nov 8 – Nov 14, 2010. In the Business Strategy Game, management teams of one to five students are assigned to run an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against companies run by student teams from colleges and universities around the world. Each company must craft and execute a competitive strategy that results in a respected brand image, keeps their company in contention for global market leadership, and produces good financial performance as measured by earnings per share, return on equity investment, stock price appreciation and credit rating. The Conestoga team of Cordell Cameron, Jenna Lowry, Sara McKie and Malorie Ross topped the field of 3939 teams from 267 schools.

Welder caps off 5 years of competitions with gold, bronze medals At the May 2010 Skills Competition in Waterloo, Conestoga brought home 18 provincial medals, six more than any other college in the province. One of the highlights was a gold medal performance by Israel Lacombe of the Manufacturing Engineering Technology – Welding & Robotics program. Lacombe followed this up with a bronze medal in a field of 13 of the top welders in the country at the Nationals. “The competitions were very stressful. You were evaluated on your welding, blueprint reading skills and timing,” Lacombe says.

2011 Edition

Lacombe is a recent graduate of the three-year advanced diploma program and lists some of his teachers, including Jim Galloway, Jack Ronan and Kevin Furness, as people who helped him throughout his program and leading up to the competitions. “Israel has a great dedication to learning and his will to be the best are definitely the driving forces to his success. We were able to give him advanced training and worked on his confidence to help him relax and enjoy his skills,” Ronan says.


Lacombe now works for Fronius Canada as a welding application technician. As a salesman and technician, he travels around Canada to speak with, train and give customers demonstrations as to how the company’s equipment works and can benefit them. Right now he says he’s right where he wants to be, but somewhere down the road he sees himself translating that love of helping others into a teaching job, and maybe one day bringing students like himself to future skills competitions.

Photo by Zoey Heath

CE student wins International Photography Award Zoey Heath, a student in Conestoga’s Continuing Education Photography program, was awarded a silver medal at a black-tie awards dinner in London, England for her entry (pictured above) in the 2010 Young Commonwealth Photographic Awards competition. The theme of the 2010 competition was ‘Science, Technology and Society,’ and attracted more than 200 entries from 36 countries around the world.

Six students honoured by international foundation Pictured above with faculty advisor Jim Bechard (centre) are students (l-r) Arsian Djumaev, Flavia De Martino, Marissa Neves, Laura Murray, Jessica Cushing and Rick Krause from Conestoga’s Architecture – Project and Facility Management (APFM) degree program. The students travelled to the World Workplace Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia from October 27 – 29, 2010, where they were honoured as scholarship recipients by the International Facility Management Association, the world’s largest association for facility management professionals. Awards are based on past achievements, leadership skills and involvement in the world of facility management.

STUDENT SUCCESS Outstanding students honoured at Convocation Tracy Brown, a graduate of the Dietetic Technician diploma program, was presented with the Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving the highest composite academic grade average for all courses in a diploma program. Tracy earned an overall average of 96.58 per cent. Mechanical Systems Engineering graduate Sean Phillips was a double award winner at November’s 2010 Convocation ceremonies. Sean received the Mastercraft Award, which recognizes outstanding technical achievement in the creation of a program-related technical project, for his work on the design and development of a highly efficient, low-cost intake manifold for Skoda. He was also one of two recipients of the President’s Scholar Award, which is presented to the graduating student from a four-year degree program who achieves the highest composite academic average for all courses.

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                

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Both Sean Phillips and Shannon Symons, a graduate from Health Informatics Management, achieved overall academic averages of 90 per cent through their programs. The fall Convocation ceremony recognized 1,135 graduating students from degree, diploma and certificate programs.

Kayla Gerry, a second year student in the Materials and Operations Management Co-op program, earned the title ‘Head of the Class’ at a competition held at the Association of Operations Management (APICS) conference in Las Vegas from October 18 – 20, 2010. One of nearly 100 student scholars chosen by the Association to participate in this year’s conference, Kayla triumphed in a head-tohead competition with undergraduates from across Canada, the US and Mexico to test their industry knowledge in a fun and engaging way. This is the second year that APICS has hosted the competition: in 2009, students from Conestoga took second and seventh place honours.

Conestoga Alumni

Conestoga student named “Head of Class”


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2011 Edition or call 1-877-748-3535


These Employment Ontario programs are funded by the Ontario Government and in part by the Government of Canada

Advance Your Career With A Post-Graduate Certificate or New Credential

From The School Of Health & Life Sciences And Community Services!

Full-time Programs: •

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Full-time: Apply now for the above full-time programs through OCAS Part-time: For information regarding the above mentioned certificates, use the following link: and choose either the Community and Social Services or Health and Wellness options.

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Record-breaking alumni support T

he Alumni Office completed the second year of its Call Centre Program, raising over $17,000 to support student awards and bursaries at Conestoga. With assistance from the Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS), that amount increased to over $34,000. Through OTSS, the Ontario government enables contributions to an endowed student awards fund to be matched at a minimum dollar-fordollar and up to a maximum three dollars for every dollar donated. For ten weeks from October to December, 2010 a group of enthusiastic students telephoned graduates to update them on Conestoga life, and to seek their support for the Conestoga Student Excellence Fund. Over 300 alumni chose to make a gift in support of the College this year, with donations coming from single individuals as well as company contributions. We are so appreciative of our alumni’s generosity.

The Call Centre Program at Conestoga has raised over $24,000 since it was piloted in 2009 and without your support, it would not be possible. On behalf of our students, we extend a special thank you to our alumni for their outstanding support, both now and in the future. For further information about our Call Centre Program or about making a donation to the Conestoga Student Excellence Fund, please contact Wendy Rose, the Annual Fund Officer via or 519-748-5220 Ext. 3459.

With the increasing population of alumni, we hope that this calling program will inspire everyone to actively participate as members of the Conestoga community. If 25 per cent of our 83,000 alumni gave $100 a year we could raise over $2-million to support students each year.

2011 Edition

Alumni O


“I was delighted to receive a telephone call from a friendly young lady who is in the same program I completed. I enjoyed myself so much at Conestoga, that I offered to host and fund the Call Centre Program’s post program event celebration. I am pleased that my donation goes toward supporting students based on academic excellence or financial need through a scholarship or a bursary.”

Veronica Goodreau (Early Childhood Education ’92) Owner of Gopher’s Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf in Guelph

fficer, We ndy students Rose (front right) a t a p ost program celebrates with event.

Make a donation online:


2010 Alumni & Friends Open sets record high


he weather was fabulous and the links were full as 144 golfers gathered September 23 at Rebel Creek Golf Course in Petersburgh, Ontario, for the annual Alumni & Friends Golf Open.

Mark Your Calendar for the

Golfers, sponsors, prize donors and volunteers together raised a record $40,000 for student awards and bursaries. This money directly supports deserving students to help finance their educational opportunities. What an amazing feat!

7th Annual Alumni & Friends Open Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 Whistle Bear Golf Club $150 per person

Golfers were entertained with on-course activities or challenges at almost every hole and a raffle and silent auction helped round out the day.

For more information about the tournament or other ways to help or get involved, contact Wendy Rose at 519-748-5220, ext. 3459.

A special thanks to Johnson Insurance Inc., who have continued their support over the past six years of tournaments, and to Rebel Creek Golf Course for their exceptional facilities, wonderful staff and delicious dinner.

“Providing a financial contribution to the golf open is our way of showing appreciation for the great business relationship we have with the Alumni Association. It conveys our thanks, too, for the support the alumni of Conestoga have shown us through the affinity programs we offer.” Graham Stoddart, Johnson Inc.

supports students from all walks of life. To date, the tournament has made a donation of $81,700, only possible because of alumni and community support. This tournament is one of the best opportunities of the year to meet both existing and future alumni. The informal setting is a fun, relaxed atmosphere that has been excellent for expanding our network and strengthening the personal relationships to the College. It has proven to be a very successful event and I look forward to continuing being a part of this event in 2011. Thank you to everyone who supports this event. You are integral to the success of our tournament.” Martha George, Alumni Golf Open Committee Chair

Conestoga Alumni

“The number one reason why I support this tournament is the cause of our event. The tournament


The Alumni & Friends Open would like to thank our major sponsors.

YOUR CONESTOGA COLLEGE RECREATION CENTRE The Conestoga College Recreation Centre is proud to offer a variety of Intramural, Extramural and Varsity programs. The most recent additions to the Varsity Programs are Men’s and Women’s Volleyball which were added for the 2010/11 season and Women’s Rugby. The first Conestoga College Women’s Varsity Rugby season will kick off in the 2011/12 season. The league will include teams from seven other colleges. 299 Doon Valley Drive Kitchener, ON N2G 4M4 Tel: 519-748-3512


Hole Sponsors

2011 Edition

Avron Foods Ltd. Barber – Collins Security Services Bast Tire & Auto Service Bingemans Bulldog Fire, Security and Parking Business Interiors by Staples Charles Jones Industrial Ltd. Coldwell Banker Peter Benninger Realty CRD Construction Ltd. Delta Elevator Co. Ltd. Dordan Mechanical Inc.


Dutchies Fresh Quality Produce Global Audio Visual Ltd. Grenville Inplex Facility Logistics Leader Frames Marks Supply Inc. National Group Mortgages Nationwide Audio Visual Nedlaw Roofing Ltd. OPSEU 237 Suzuki SAAB of KW The Carpet Store ( Guelph)

the Benefits of


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First Alumni Ski & Snowboard Day a hit T

he sun was shining and the snow on the hills perfect for Conestoga’s first Alumni & Friends Ski & Snowboard Day at Alpine Resort in Collingwood. On Friday, February 18 nearly 90 alumni, family and friends of all skill levels attended the event for a day of fun, food and mingling with old friends. “I loved that the hills didn’t get too busy and I could get a lot of skiing done. It was also great to meet up with many of my old friends,” said Paul Kiss, who attended with his brother Vytas (General Machinist 2000). The day included breakfast, lunch and après ski fare, as well as prizes donated by the Alumni Association and event Sponsor Johnson Insurance. Johnsons’ also made a special $1,000 donation to Conestoga’s Student Excellence Fund which supports student scholarships and bursaries.

Thanks to our sponsor

Conestoga Alumni

Attendees enjoyed use of the private resort and complimentary ski and snowboard lessons, as well as a guided snowshoe tour. “The day turned out far better than I could’ve ever expected it to. The weather was awesome and for my first time skiing, this was better than I ever imagined,” said Al Nyikos (Renovation Technician 2010).



Alumni of Distinction Awards E

ach year Conestoga recognizes some of its outstanding alumni at the Alumni of Distinction Awards event.

This award, which began in 1997, is Conestoga’s highest recognition of outstanding graduates who have achieved substantial career success, made a significant contribution to their community and/or have achieved recognition in their chosen profession.

To top the evening off in style an ice fountain flowed with punch and an array of spectacular desserts were created and presented by the students of Conestoga’s hospitality program. For a list of nominees and winners, please go to our website Thank you to Johnson Insurance Inc. for sponsoring this year’s event.

Held last November in the beautiful Waterloo Region Museum atrium, 19 nominees from seven categories [Business, Engineering and IT, Health Sciences, Media and Design, Trades and Apprenticeships, Community Service, Recent Graduate] were honoured by their peers, teachers, community leaders, colleagues and friends. Award winners were from a variety of backgrounds and academic achievements but had one thing in common. They have distinguished themselves among their peers as outstanding within their professions, their community or both. Congratulations to all of our nominees and winners. Also at this special evening, 59 students received a Welcome Home Award. Presented by the Alumni Association of Conestoga, this financial award is given to students entering their first year of a full-time program and whose parents or guardians are graduates of Conestoga. The total award given was $9,000.

2010 Alumni of Distinction Award Winners

(l-r) Ingrid Von Cube – Office Systems Operations 1987 (Business), Keith Allen Zehr – Welding Engineering Technician 1985 (Engineering & IT), Brenda Halloran – Nursing 1976 (Health Sciences), David Shoalts – Print Journalism 1978 (Media and Design), Glen Spencer – Automotive Service Technician 1987 (Trades and Apprenticeships), Jessica Stovin – Recreation and Leisure Services 2006 (Recent Graduates) Not Present: Thomas J. Quinn – Recreation and Leisure Services 1970 (Community Service)

Call for Alumni of Distinction Award Nominees

2011 Edition

Do you know an outstanding Conestoga graduate you’d like to nominate for the Alumni of Distinction Award? The Alumni of Distinction Award is Conestoga’s highest recognition of outstanding graduates who have achieved substantial career success, made a significant contribution to society or their community and have achieved professional recognition. It has been awarded each year since 1997. To make your nomination, please contact the Alumni Association at



2011 Board of Directors Ron Budreau, President

Bob Foster, Director

Wally Vogel, Vice-President

Jeanine Misener, Director

1983, Electronics Engineering Technology Computer Systems President, Creditron Wally’s proven leadership has grown Creditron into a market leader in remittance processing. His former company, Purepay Canada Inc., also achieved success and recognition with over $5 million in revenues. Other volunteer activities: Founder of Kidney Cancer Canada

Debra Fagerdahl – Treasurer

2009, Post Graduate Diploma – Accounting and Information Technology Accounting Manager, KW Hydro Debra joined the Board of Directors in September 2010 as Treasurer. Previously she was the Accounting Supervisor and Manager, at Cambridge & North Dumfries Hydro.Other volunteer activities: Member of the Board of Directors and Audit Committee for the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries.

Machelle Denison, Director

1982 Business Administration – Marketing Executive Director, Strong Start, Co-Founder, Denison Print Machelle co-founded Denison Print in 1987, which has gone onto become an award-winning commercial printing company. Machelle currently works as Executive Director of Strong Start, an organization dedicated to children’s literacy. Other volunteer activities: Junior Achievement, United Way.

Alumni Services (l-r) Paul Osborne, Executive Director, Marketing & Alumni; Jan Bockmaster, Manager, Alumni Services; Wendy Rose, Alumni Officer; Joanne Buchholzer, Alumni Assistant

1974 Business Administration – Marketing Independent Consultant Bob has worked in the Property and Casualty insurance industry for over 30 years while also being on the board for over five years. Other volunteer activities: Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, local sports events and the Memorial Cup.

2003 Business Administration - Materials and Operations Management Buyer, Research In Motion Jeanine joined the Board in 2007 and is an active volunteer and supporter of alumni activities and events. Prior to working at RIM, she was a commodity supplies lead for Patheon. Other volunteer activities: Ontario Institute of Purchasing Management Association of Canada from 2001 – 2006.

Jordana Papadopoulos - Director

1999 Business Administration – Marketing Marketing, Shred-Tech Jordana has been involved with the Board of Directors for over four years. Prior to joining Shred-Tech, she was the marketing co-ordinator for Puresource. Previously she worked in the insurance industry. Other volunteer activities: Freeport Hospital, Waterloo Region Food Bank.

Mike Shipley, Director

1986 Business Administration - Materials Management Independent Consultant Mike is a consultant in the area of Materials Management and also volunteers with a number of additional organizations including the Ontario Institute of Purchasing Management and has served on the Board for the past five years. He was the Treasurer from 2004-2007. Other volunteer activities: Board Member of the Woolwich Community Healthcare Centre.

Conestoga Alumni

1983, Business Administration; 1984, Computer Programmer/Analyst Business Coach, Microsoft Working with excutive teams in Canada and Europe, Ron facilitates strategic planning, leadership development and sales and marketing. Prior to Microsoft, Ron founded CompuPower Solutions Inc., and Diamond Municipal Solutions. Other volunteer activities: Chairman of the Board for Click CONNECT, Board Member Brant County Power Services.


Were you the first in your family to attend college or university? We would love to hear from you! First Generation Student Initiative is designed to give customized support and guidance to students who are the first in their family (besides a sibling) to attend post-secondary education

We are currently seeking first generation graduates for success stories and mentoring to help students at Conestoga piece together their success! Please contact Morgan Braganza at: (519) 748-5220 ext. 2729 or for details






2011 Edition




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GRAPEVINE Beryl Badwal, (Retired RN) I wanted to let the students of today know that it is possible to live your dreams and achieve them, by taking your first step into the portals of Conestoga College, and trusting the faculty to teach you not only your subject, but guide you into your chosen career. I am well into my 70’s now, a retired Registered Nurse, having lived my life’s adventure to the fullest. I was in my 40’s when I first went to college, after settling as an immigrant in Cambridge with my husband, and three-year-old daughter Diljit from Britain. We started a new life in Ontario, where I first met Jean Levy, Chairman of Conestoga and KW Nursing School, who advised and guided me through my student years and career. I have written about our lives and all the fascinating people I have met and worked with and finally have my first published book in my hands. I’m currently living on the Island of Cyprus, but recently travelled to India to do some lecturing in nursing care at the Guru Nanak Teaching Hospital in the Punjab, while also visiting Vancouver and hopefully Conestoga to introduce myself to you in my beloved country of Canada. The Campus has grown immensely since I attended as a student, and I feel very proud to have been a small part of that growth.

1976 Radio and Television David Ryan writes… Sending a shout out to my fellow 1976 grads of Radio and Television Arts. Wow how time flies! One minute the bunch of us long hairs are producing TV drama in the studio with the old turret

lens B&W cameras, and the next minute I’m retiring at age 55 from my career as Senior Producer at Global Television Creative Services, Calgary. Cheers to all, Dave Ryan

1976 Early Childhood Education Rose Ann Lievens-Lernout writes… I just celebrated 33 years with George, (Electrical Engineering University of Waterloo, 1977). We have a healthy family of two girls and two boys who are grown up now. I worked in nursery schools in the Lambton and Kent areas for 10 years and after having my third child I switched careers. I have now worked in retail for over 20 years and haven’t been in touch with anyone since graduating. My daughter just graduated from Conestoga in 2010 and that is how I found the STAY CONNECTED address.

1983 Journalism-Print

Rod Hilts has been Managing Editor of The Observer in Sarnia, Ontario for the past 10 years. Rod is the Regional Managing Editor for Sun Media’s Southwest Division. He is celebrating 27 years in the industry, 25 of those years as an editor. He will soon marry the love of his life, Kelley Doyle. He’d like to say hi to fellow classmates and hopes to hear from other grads from the class of 83 Journalism-Print program. Email him at rhilts@

1991 Broadcasting – Radio & Television

2002 Teacher/Trainer of Adults

Sandra Shedlowich (nee Ballantyne) writes…A big hello to all BRT’s, or as we affectionately referred to ourselves as… BRATS. I’ve been back in Canada for the last 10 years and it’s good to be back in my “...home and native land...” I did it! I got married and now my last name is still 10 characters long! It’s easy to pronounce...break it down and annunciate (was that Parkhill?) SHED-LO-WICH. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezie. This past year has been a whirlwind. My husband Robert and I launched AnimotionArts, a visual media production company that outsources and provides our clients with animation and design for visual media. You can see what we’ve been doing at Our BRT 20th anniversary is coming up. 20 years???? I would love to hear from my fellow BRT’ers: Peter, we still have to connect; A big wave to Tracy and her bars and tone man, Sean. What is everyone else up to? Enquiring minds you know.

Susan E. (Reid) Cutler writes… As End-User Trainer for a large environmental, engineering and IT services company, my courses in Adult Learning were put to good use preparing training for both internal and external clients. After moving to Toronto and changing to a much smaller consulting firm, I found my training still useful as my responsibilities became much broader. There are always opportunities to provide staff learning in all areas, and even occasionally to provide direction to clients and sub-consultants. Every course taken through Conestoga College has proven valuable to me to some degree.

1999 Graphic Design Jolene MacDonald writes… Just celebrated 7 years in business operating as Two Blonde Chicks Inc. - Design & Marketing. Got married 2 years ago and have a 9 year-old daughter and 14 month-old baby boy. Life is great and couldn’t be happier.

2003 Business Admin. – Accounting and 2004 Machine Tool Builder Tamara and Robert Wallace write…On September 10, 2009 we welcomed the birth of our second daughter Shelby. A little sister for our daughter Rori.

2005 Computer Programmer Jason Blamire writes…After graduating from Conestoga College I’ve had a few different technical jobs with IBM and Equitrac Canada before coming to RIM. I started at RIM doing BlackBerry technical support and was recently earned a promotion to the IT Service Desk. Outside of work I support my community as a volunteer firefighter with the Woolwich Fire department in Elmira.

Tell us your story...

Have you moved, changed jobs, recently married or had children? Connect with fellow alumni: Email alumni@ and tell us your story today!

Conestoga Alumni

1976 Nursing



2006 Business Administration and 2006 Public Relations

1981 Nursing Christina Smith (nee Boddy) of Owen Sound, peacefully, at Grey Bruce Health Services in her 50th year, after a courageous battle with cancer on Monday, March 1, 2010. Beloved wife of Brian Ward. Dear mother of Jeremy Smith and Koreen Northcotte and Jocelyn Smith and Tim Siecker all of Owen Sound. Daughter of Catherine Boddy and the late Charles Boddy. She will be sadly missed by her extended family and her amazing network of friends.

Matt Teeple, a graduate of the Business Administration class of 2006, and Bev Psenak, dual graduate of the Woodworking Technology (2004) & Public Relations graduating class of 2006, celebrated their wedding with close family and friends on October 3, 2009.

@ St

Upcoming Reunions

e de!s. t c e n n ay C o Alumni Servic

h -date wit cial ss up-to ing events, spe re d d a r u m o o y c p p u e e t K ou rmed ab ages. prize. Stay info nd affinity pack a draw to win a sa in discount will be entered e at m ate.jsp a n rm r You line fo uch/upd n to o in e p h t e e Complete t 3463. ac ex conestog t 519-748-5220 a s u or call

1985 N ursing Reunion (Stratford Campus) - May, 2011 1991 B usiness Administration Accounting Reunion - May, 2011 1991 B usiness Administration - Management Studies - July 9, 2011 Class o f 1974, 1975 & 1976 Recreation & Leisure Services Reunion - August 11, 2011 1982 B usiness Administration - Materials Management - May, 2012 For more information, email Alumni Services at or call 519-748-5220, ext. 3463.

Planning a Reunion? We Can Help! Alumni Services would be happy to assist you with your class reunion. Please call us at 519-748-5220 ext 3463 or complete the online form at: ✔ class lists & grad tracking

✔ print & mail your invitations free ✔ advertise your reunion in Connections and on the website ✔ contact for RSVP information

✔ door prizes & handouts ✔ publish your article & pictures in Connections ✔ help arrange location, guest speakers and campus tours

Plus any other details that would make your reunion the event of the year.


Changing the future of diapers By Ryan Métivier

When Karen Creed-Thompson sat down to think about an invention that could help parents, she had diapers on her mind – diaper mats and pads to be exact. She searched the globe to find the best materials for a durable, nonslip rubber mat that doesn’t absorb moisture, and a special microfibre for a diaper pad that will. Both important elements when changing a baby. Together, the mat and pad became the Eco-Mat and Puddle Pad. Her company, Thula Inc, is the maker of these eco-friendly pink diapering tools geared toward improving the diaper changing process for parents like herself. A mother of two and a Business Administration – Marketing grad in 2000, she’s used the skills she acquired at Conestoga to network with several companies and build a growing customer base. In roughly a year, she had made numerous connections to getting her company off the ground, including a rubber supplier in Taiwan, a microfibre supplier in Pennsylvania, an import broker in Mississauga, two sewing companies, a national sales agent in Toronto, plus over a dozen small retailers. She also made the decision to approach several boutique retailers as some of her initial customers, all decisions which have proved beneficial as she continues to grow Thula, and expand her product base. To improve your diaper changing experience, visit

Do you have an innovative idea or company? Share your story with us! Contact


Lost Sheep Civil Engineering Technology

Ralph A. Celentano Michael A. Cooper Chantal P. Desjardins Elaine F. Goodenough Douglas Harmer Bryan J. Justice James G. Macintosh Douglas L. McDougall Clair McGlogan Jeffrey K. McLean David J. Oates Jeffrey F. Sager Kim K. Virag

James A. Craddock Valentino E. Demartin Gerhard Ens Manuel J. Freitas David J. Gutpell Rolf J. Skiperis Andreas Y. Socratous David A. Sparks Frank H. Van Nynatten Mario R. Virant

Broadcasting - Radio and Television Todd Frarraci Michael S. Gauley Tim O. Goebel Geoff Matheson Eileen E. Rankin Craig Rintoul Paul Williamson Michael Wright

Business Administration James E. Dorey John S. Gerow Gary H. Langdon Jo-Anne L. Leslie Mark McDowall Mark J. Readman Michael A. Rizzuto Daniel D. Squires Dawn L. Stone Janet E. Stroh

Construction Engineering Technology Steven Cronsberry Stephen R. Curtis Beverly A. Fisher Jerome L. Gagne Jerry D. Morrow Deborah J. Near Mark Pilarski Roberto Reale Mark S. Shody David J. Vonk Ron P. Wettlaufer Colin C. Wilson James A. Witmer

Electrical Engineering Technician William J. Fowler Joseph H. Plust Keith J. Pollock Gary Tuck Richard H. Paes John Vlasov

Electronics Engineering Technology Brian F. Buitenhuis Grant D. Culp Charles G. Gale Kevin W. Golka Mark D. Kershey Mario Lisi David R. Pauhl Timothy R. Stockall Steven Z. Virag

Blaine V. Gaouette Gwen C. Gascho Roger A. Gremo Steven J. Kotan Monica K. Liedtke Brenda J. Mackenzie Cindy L. Mark Carmela Mason Joseph F. McGuinness Darlene A. Miller Rosemary J. Pagnan Jennifer L. Totzke Sharon A. Zaniewski

Film Production

Journalism - Print

David E. Buder William M. Davern James R. Dennison Elizabeth L. Fanjoy Therese H. Paquette Walter D. Petrovic Catherine A. Rice Bradley K. Scott Brad E. Stephenson Debra A. Wilhelm

Ric Ament Rob J. Chester Jim H. Heer Brenda A. Hoerle Karen E. Kraemer Jill M. Malleck Magne O. Svela Nora E. Whittington

Food and Beverage Management Constantine G. Goros Carrol A. Hicks Stephen E. Howcroft Catherine A. MacDonald Glenda M. Nodwell Cheryl J. Steffler Carol D. Stokes Sandra E. Wideman

Graphic Design Susie Ament Kathy A. Clerk Christopher C. Corke Janet A. Fox

Mechanical Engineering Technology Grant M. Cameron Marcel Ferrazzi Frank J. Fortes Paul C. Gatt Randall H. Grein Robert J. Harley David A. Hart Simon C. Ramcharitar John D. Wiens

Recreation Leadership Linda C. Crago Jennifer L. Gratton Beth S. Hilts Jana Holomek

Laura A. Holtom Beatrice Jordon Stephen Leighfield Barb G. McCauley Janet M. Powell Catharine M. Proll Kathryn D. Rooke Diane Ross Mary A. Thorpe Jill L. Turney

Social Services Carole Behn Marilyn R. Evens Graeme Fisken Cathy A. Friedmann Deborah A. Haswell Lilian I. Heise Bonita A. Holmes Marilyn Keipfer Sharon Kelly Stuart A. Lamont Kimberly A. Larion Irene O’Toole Carol M. Sampson Pamela Scheerer Dawn A. Selman Doreen J. Warner Shelley M. Weiler Elizabeth J. Wright

Welding Engineering Technician Maurizio Bonesso Michael W. Krone William P. Meads Stephen V. Rudd George R. Ryder Donald J. Savage John D. Simard Gary P. Steffler Peter C. Thackeray Norman P. Wey

Conestoga Alumni

Ambulance and Emergency Care


Higher Talent.

Hire Conestoga.

Conestoga co-op students and graduates are a cost-effective solution for your hiring needs. Whether you are looking to add motivated, fresh talent to your organization; gain competent extra help during peak periods of activity; or make progress on special or short-term projects, you can receive up to $3,000 per co-op student per work term by qualifying for the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit (CETC).

Email: Tel: 519-748-5220 ext. 3438


Advertise your employment opportunities on MyCareer.

• Post co-op, graduate, part-time and summer job opportunities

Recruiting Information

• Target students from specific programs or clusters of programs

Recruitment Support Knowlegeable staff are available to provide support throughout the hiring process and during work terms.

Promotional Support Raise your organization’s profile on campus and become an employer of choice.

2011 Edition

Sandra Cocco Manager, Employer Relations and Job Development Co-op & Career Services

Free Online Job Posting

Contact us for data on current salary levels, academic programs and student availability.


Contact us for all your recruitment needs:

• Monitor the number of students who have viewed your job posting • Retrieve applications and schedule interviews – all online. (Co-op only. Applications are available one day after the posting closes.)

Support, services and benefits for you – our alumni The Alumni Association of Conestoga and your Alumni Services office are dedicated to offering exceptional support and benefits to our alumni. The following products and services offer value-added incentives - you enjoy discounted pricing and our affinity partners give a portion back to support the activities of the Association.

Leader Frames

Online resume tool that identifies and captures your key information. Input modules target your most important work experiences and automatically generate powerful statements. Your entire resume is focused on the employer’s top priorities for interview selection and hiring - Formatted and ready to print in about 1 hour.

Purchase a frame for your degree, diploma or certificate.

Conestoga Alumni Travel

Conestoga Alumni Travel offers great rates on destination hot spots and hotels. Fast and easy to use with competitive prices for holiday packages and hotels all around the world, register online to save.

National Group Mortgage

Offers Conestoga Alumni a mortgage program that is committed to saving you thousands of dollars on your mortgage. As a graduate you can take advantage of preferred rates and enjoy outstanding service.


Convocation Flowers

Discounted online tickets to attractions all over Ontario and elsewhere. Vacationing? Check out the “City Pass” for Toronto, Canada and various U.S. cities.

Purchase flowers for your graduate at Convocation or place your pre-order online.

Additional Discounted Tickets

Johnson Inc.

Johnson Inc. offers insurance solutions designed exclusively for Conestoga Alumni. Purchase coverage for home, auto and travel insurance. New! Johnson also offers Personal Health – Medical and Dental Insurance.

Discounts to many attractions through online and phone-in ticket sales including: Canada’s Wonderland, Ontario Place, Bingemans, African Lion Safari, The Ontario Science Centre, Chicopee and numerous entertainment events through Core Entertainment.

For more information go to

As an alumni of Conestoga you also receive access to Co-op and Career Services, lifetime access to the Library Resource Centre and discounted rates at the College’s multi-purpose recreational complex.

Preferred Mortgage Rates for Conestoga Alumni

Ask about our “Better than Best Rates� with our home purchase program Conestoga Alumni can SAVE on a mortgage through preferred group rates while enjoying outstanding service. Whether purchasing your first home, considering a renovation, renewing or refinancing, trust National Group Mortgage Program to help you with your mortgage.

Call us for a pre-approval today!

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National Group Mortgage Program is a company of registered Mortgage Agents licensed with Argentum Mortgages FSCO No. 11892 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Conestoga College Alumni 299 Doon Valley Dr., Kitchener ON N2G 4M4

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Connections Spring 2011 Issue  
Connections Spring 2011 Issue  

Conestoga's Alumni Magazine