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focus on

health sciences

adapting for





IMPACT mandy bujold Reaching for Olympic Gold


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COUNTSOUT THERE Nathan, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Robotics & Automation



Creating Pathways to Prosperity

Welcome to Connections 2012. This annual publication for Conestoga partners, friends and alumni will provide you with an update of some of the past year’s highlights and achievements as the College continues to expand at a rate unprecedented in our almost 45-year history.

It’s been a tremendous year. We’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the grand openings of new facilities at both the Doon and South campuses. The Cowan Health Sciences Centre at Doon is a showcase for high-impact, technologyenhanced learning in an interprofessional culture. The new Centre allows Conestoga to increase the capacity of existing health care and life sciences programs as well as develop new collaborative program initiatives with partner institutions in education and health. This past March, more than 200 health sciences students from across Canada had the opportunity to experience the new facility as Conestoga became the first college ever to host the National Health Science Student Association’s annual conference. The South campus, home to the School of Engineering and Information Technology as well as the Institute of Food Processing Technology, opened to students as

scheduled this past fall, and incorporates some of the most advanced technologies, processes, and health and safety standards from top processing plants around the world. The new facility, the first phase of a longer-term vision for the development of the site, provides a true research and innovation hub that allows Conestoga to expand our education and training capacity and serve the region’s rapidly growing technology industry and infrastructure. In other developments, Conestoga will provide business programs to serve the Brantford community this fall through a partnership with Laurier-Brantford. We expect those offerings to expand in the areas of business, media, health and community service in the future.

a comprehensive range of educational pathways for students. We work with more than 500 industry representatives through our Program Advisory Committees to ensure that our programs provide the training and experiential learning today’s employers expect and require. By all measures, those efforts are working. Conestoga continues to be ranked among the very best of Ontario’s colleges in both

Our students continue to excel, capturing top honours in provincial, national and international competitions.

Our total enrolment continues to grow, with some 55,000 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship students now studying at Conestoga. Our students continue to excel, capturing top honours in provincial, national and international competitions. Most of them credit the quality of their training, including the project-based learning we provide at Conestoga, for their success. There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the role of post-secondary education in Ontario, and how it might evolve to better meet the needs of both individuals and communities. Here at Conestoga, we’ve always focused our efforts on the development of career-ready graduates who have the skills and knowledge required to build successful futures and support industry needs. We’ve established partnerships with the local universities and provide a variety of upgrading and continuing education programs in addition to our full-time degree, diploma and certificate programs to provide

graduate employment and employer satisfaction in the annual Key Performance Indicators reports. Conestoga: Adapting for Prosperity, a new economic impact study conducted by Larry Smith, adjunct associate professor of economics at the University of Waterloo and president of Essential Economics, provides a clear picture of the role the college plays in supporting local employment and creating prosperity within the Region. You’ll find more details later in this issue of Connections. One of Smith’s key findings is that Conestoga’s growth, as monumental as it has been over the past few years, needs to continue if the College is to serve the needs of our rapidly changing community. We have been tremendously fortunate to receive the support of government, industry and community partners as we work to create prosperity for the region, and hope that we can continue working together as this evolution continues.

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

| 2012


Contributing Writers Hélène Beaulieu Hélène Beaulieu graduated from Conestoga in 1998 with a post-graduate diploma in print journalism. She earned her Bachelor of Education degree from Lakehead University in 2012 and has since settled in Waterloo with her partner Jon and her dog Nemo.

Managing Editor


Jan Bockmaster

Dan Abramovici, Callback Headshots Gary Beechey, BDS Studios Neil de Boer Mariangelica Forero Sylvia Galbraith Kevin Garrett Bryn Gladding Michael Hostettler Darren Humphrey, Humphrey Photography Bill Jackson,  Cambridge Times/ Kitchener Post Laurier-Brantford John MacDonald Meghan Kreller, Meg Pie Photography Ryan Métivier Terry Sebastian Rob Shorney Waterloo Region Record, Ontario Canada Eric Yu

Assistant Editor Ryan Métivier Contributing Editor Brenda Cassidy Director of Development Tim Tribe Writers Hélène Beaulieu Ryan Bowman Andrew Coppolino Neil McDonald Ryan Métivier Contributors

Ryan Bowman Ryan Bowman is a first-year student in Conestoga’s print journalism program and writes part-time for the college’s communications department. He has a degree in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Winnipeg and is currently living in Waterloo with his wife Rebecca and his cat.

Andrew Coppolino Freelance writer and former Conestoga instructor Andrew Coppolino has written for numerous magazines and websites and has co-authored a culinary history cookbook. Coppolino is also a local foodie who can be seen on Rogers TV and heard on 570 All News Radio.

Neil McDonald 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, two-year-old son Simon and three cats.

Ryan Métivier A public relations graduate at Conestoga in 2010, he also has a diploma in broadcast journalism. Ryan is the assistant editor for Connections Magazine, production manager for SportsXpress, and freelance writer. During his time as a student at Conestoga, he represented the College as a student ambassador.

Abby Brandes Joanne Buchholzer Brenda Cassidy Elissa Den Hoed Julie Gilles Kristen Goetz Karen Haynes Jen Mohaupt Larry Smith

Cover Photo Eric Yu

Magazine Graphic Design & Production Deuce Design Printer Denison Print Connections Magazine is published once a year for Conestoga’s alumni, faculty, staff and external stakeholders. It is the College’s primary tool for sharing our stories, ideas and accomplishments. Connections is distributed to approximately 35,000 in print format and electronically to nearly 30,000. Electronic version can be found at alumni/connections For advertising inquiries call 519-748-5220 x2356 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 contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the College. Conestoga respects your privacy. We do not rent, sell or trade our mailing lists. Please contact the Alumni Relations office if you do not wish to receive the magazine in the future, or would like to update your mailing address. Connect With Us To keep your address up-to-date with Alumni Relations and stay informed about upcoming events, special discounts and affinity packages contact us below: Alumni Relations Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning 299 Doon Valley Drive, Kitchener, ON N2G 4M4 519-748-5220 x3463 email: Or fill out the online form @ keepintouch/update.jsp


Contents President’s Message

From the cover

Health Sciences at Conestoga

Marlene Raasok Caring for others is a family tradition

College News

3 6 15 27

From the cover

Mandy bujold

Going for Gold

Student Success

Alumni News

From the cover

Adapting for Prosperity

36 48 52 63

conestoga connections magazine

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ealth Sciences at Conestoga

n e w camp u s c e ntr e s bring cutting - edge technology and research to conestoga wr i tt e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino ph o t o s b y: D arren H umphrey

Cowan Health Sciences Centre The 70,000 square-foot Cowan Health Sciences Centre at Conestoga has been home to a state-of-the-art Centre for Advanced Patient Care Simulation (CAPCS) since September 2011. Dozens of programs from life sciences, health sciences, nursing, informatics, community safety and community service now work and train in the dynamic Centre. The Cowan Health Sciences Centre’s official opening was the first week of December, when executive dean of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services Marlene Raasok pointed out that the facility encapsulates how Conestoga thinks and works – in an environment where knowledge is integrated with practice, which in turn is continuously improved upon through reflection in a teamwork capacity. “The challenges for the workplace are twofold,” Raasok said, “changing and maintaining their practice. This is why simulation is really helpful.”


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“It puts people into real-life settings, which is what they do in the field, and where they can focus on new knowledge or the same knowledge but in improved or new practice.”

Raasok stressed that the Cowan Health Sciences Centre features technology-enhanced education and learning as well as an interprofessional culture. It gives Conestoga a unique position among colleges in Canada to train health care professionals, and allows the College to develop strong collaborative partnerships with education and health organizations in the academic and private sectors. A key aspect of the way the Centre functions is through the teamwork that can be practiced and mastered through simulation at CAPCS, explained Raasok. Simulation allows “real-life” practice with medical procedures and techniques that, for obvious reasons, can’t be performed in an actual care setting. According to Raasok, the simulated environment is highly advantageous in permitting the implementation of a medical application which can then be reflected upon by participants through audio-visual and educational debriefing, something that can’t be done easily with live patients. “Debriefing,” said Raasok, “is the way we continually improve our practice and make connections between what went well and what can be done to improve.”

Headsets, microphones and closed-circuit TV take their place alongside “human-realistic” computerized mannequins of babies, young children and adults that serve as surrogate patients. This equipment, along with the critical commentary and conversation among students and instructors, are the tools of the trade when it comes to simulation. They allow students and their instructors to observe procedures and techniques remotely, and provide opportunities for critical reflection and feedback.

What is the practical, real-life benefit of simulation and the role of Conestoga College? For Raasok, it’s that health care institutions can change their methodologies and protocols after having performed tasks and procedures in a safe, simulated setting.

For instance, Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, north of Toronto, enhanced the role for Respiratory Therapists through the simulation-based learning that Conestoga provided for them. The simulated learning environment allows a regional health-care facility such as Southlake to improve caregiving to a level that is on par with what might be available at larger teaching hospitals.

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wr i tt e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino


ph o t o s b y: M ichael H ostettler

Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute of Aging

Brothers Brad [left] and Jamie Schlegel discuss blueprints with their father, Ron. The Schlegel family has been instrumental in providing long-term care and retirement living for the growing number of seniors in southwest and central Ontario.

Conestoga is on the cutting edge when it comes to gerontology research and practical care for seniors. As a partner in the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging (RIA), Conestoga is helping tackle issues focused on the care, health and well-being of older adults in long-term care, retirement and community living environments.


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Founded in 2005, the RIA has been made possible thanks to the philanthropy of Ron Schlegel and Schlegel Villages. RIA has multiple locations, with Schlegel Research Chairs located at the University of Waterloo, a Schlegel Chair located at Conestoga, administrative offices located in Kitchener, and living research and classroom environments in 12 locations across southwestern and central Ontario. “It is an infrastructure for innovation that is unparalleled in world,” said Ron Schlegel, founder of Schlegel Villages and the RIA. “We have a university that is tops in Canada for innovation and entrepreneurship, a college with a passion for building a workforce better equipped to meet the needs of growing numbers of seniors, a research institute with a strong track record of practice-relevant research, and a provider of long-term care and retirement living that is a leader in the province.” Veronique Boscart, newly appointed Schlegel Chair for Enhanced Seniors Care, comes to Conestoga with sobering demographic facts and daunting issues related to Canada’s aging population.

She cites the fact that for the first time in recorded history, “the number of persons 60 years and older worldwide is likely to exceed that of persons younger than 15 years by the year 2045.” Her role is to bring the education component at Conestoga together with the research component to give occupational and physical therapists, nursing students and others a thorough understanding of gerontology philosophy and practice in their health-care roles. According to Boscart, who holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and a position as an assistant clinical professor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University in Hamilton, the initiative benefits the community tremendously and puts Conestoga in a leadership position, enhancing the College’s curriculum at the same time it is creating and implementing innovative solutions for seniors’ care.

“Our model is direct application of research to training to practice,” said d’Avernas. “Residents and educators inform the research agenda and the research agenda informs the curriculum and programs for the direct benefit of residents.” “I’m absolutely thrilled to see this get off the ground in our region because I think we are particularly well positioned to have a partnership like this. We have the philanthropy from the Schlegel family who have committed over $50 million to the RIA. We have top-notch education institutions in the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College. All the stars have aligned to put the Region of Waterloo up front in terms of innovation for seniors’ care.” “Research and practical and functional care work hand-in-hand, and that is part of the Schlegel vision,” Boscart added. “He wanted to build a research institute that was addressing the needs of long-term care patients but with an academic research component. So the funding permits research that actually benefits the residents directly. Among her other initiatives, Boscart is working with faculty to create what are called “highly qualified personnel,” or HQPs. These are specially trained people in each program who have the resources and expertise to teach specific areas of gerontology to students.

Boscart described the optimum care as what might be called progressive. People can retire to a Schlegel community and over time, and as their health demands it, receive required care within the same community. “Every venue is built around a square in a residential subdivision with shops and with schools near by,” Boscart said. “If one of a couple is still mobile while the other is not, they can still stay together and receive the care they need.” Josie d’Avernas, associate director of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, sees the partnership with Conestoga as a one-of-akind arrangement geared towards innovation in seniors’ living and care, which will also create a better trained work force for seniors’ care.

As people live longer and as the baby boomer generation ages, health care needs increase. The current research includes a focus on dementia, healthy aging, and nutrition among the dozen areas of research for RIA. These studies are essential, according to Boscart, because the next generation is not fully prepared to take care of older people. Expertise in gerontology is very difficult to find in the hospital setting. “It’s a national phenomenon,” Boscart said. “What Conestoga and RIA want to do is work together to strengthen seniors care by integrating more gerontology, ensuring students have good placements, conducting research that gets integrated in the curriculum, and making sure our next generation is much better prepared to take care of older people.”

Conestoga first college to host WIHSC Conference wr i t e r : J en M ohaupt Conestoga alumni know that this institution has many boasting rights. Among the things that contribute to the excellence of this college are the many exciting extracurricular opportunities available to students as they prepare for successful careers. WIHSC (Waterloo Interprofessional Healthcare Student Collaborative) is one such club that strives to ‘learn with, from, and about each other’. Membership of this active group is comprised of students enrolled in health, community, and community service programs at the Doon campus. Some of the most popular initiatives that this group undertakes are interactive simulation exercises, peer-mentoring, and guest speaker presentations across a variety of disciplines. WIHSC is the Waterloo chapter of the larger National Health Sciences Student Association (NaHSSA), and was proud to host the Association’s annual conference in March 2012. Conestoga is the very first college to successfully win a bid to host the conference. The platform for this year’s event was technology and innovation in healthcare, a timely topic given Conestoga’s addition of the new Cowan Health Sciences Centre. During the conference, WIHSC members provided demonstrations of the use of high-fidelity simulation to foster interprofessional collaboration in a variety of active scenarios. This conference also allowed health sciences students from across Canada to share their research and information about various outreach programs with like-minded leaders of the future. We were thrilled, and proud, to welcome students from across this nation to Conestoga.

conestoga connections magazine

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Emergency Medical Services Centre

As 36 new students enter Conestoga’s Paramedic program each year, coordinator Robin Young makes sure they quickly get a real-life feel for the field. That comes in large part from the new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) station at Conestoga’s Doon campus. Built in partnership with the Region of Waterloo, the branch of government responsible for local emergency services, the state-of-the-art station provides essential services to southwest Kitchener as well as training students and housing the College’s training vehicles. Young says that the philosophy of the paramedic program – and the Health & Life Sciences and Community Services school in general – is to provide experiential learning for students that approaches real-world conditions. “We are trying to give students the best possible experience and bring them as close to real situations as possible for when they graduate and become paramedics,” said Young. The program includes theoretical learning that occurs through classroom lessons, critical thinking and problem solving. Students are also set up in labs where they work with different types of paramedic equipment and run through scenarios related to the assessment and treatment of injured and ill people.

The state-of-the-art facility at Doon has three bays, meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and has been built in a manner that will accommodate expansion. Conestoga’s new simulation labs also play an important role in student learning, especially for the paramedic program students. Thanks to connections with fire departments in Baden and Palmerston, students also have opportunities to work with professional first-responders in scenarios and mock accidents that involve extricating victims, triaging injuries, and working with multiple patients simultaneously. Students work in such scenarios numerous times through the year. “We work with the pre-service firefighter students here at the College in a couple scenarios on campus, including rescuing and attending to victims who have fallen through surface ice into the pond on campus and require first aid,” said Young. “The patients can then be brought into the building to F-wing where we have access to nursing students and respiratory therapists who can take part in the scenario.” According to Young, the presence of the training ambulance and pre-service fire truck alongside the real vehicles at the EMS station helps create a strong connection between the academic program and the actual services. For Brad Kueneman, coordinator of the Pre-Service Firefighter program at Conestoga, students are exposed to the “big picture” of the service by virtue of the Doon EMS station. The three-semester program blends theory and practice to prepare students for applying to fire departments and working in the field. Students learn everything from fire prevention and public education to fireground operations and emergency medical care.


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Interested in a career in the Public Service? Conestoga now offers a Graduate Certificate in Public Service.

“It’s a huge benefit to the students,” said Kueneman. “It provides us with fire hall simulation, allowing students a sense of pride and ownership in the use and maintenance of equipment. Before the truck and the station, we didn’t really have a home of our own to train in. Now they can see where and how they will fit into the emergency services picture in the larger community.”

Gain practical work experience through a co-op work term. For more information contact

The station and the training scenarios the pre-service firefighters collaborate on with their paramedic and nursing student colleagues help them understand what will be expected of them as they move into firefighting work in the community.

Gordon Greavette at ext. 2319 or visit

“We can simulate better what it is going to be like on the job. The interprofessional relationship is an added dimension to their training,” Kueneman noted. The new EMS station provides opportunities for students to ride with actual EMS personnel as well as working with their own on-site teaching ambulance.

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According to John Prno, director of emergency medical services for Waterloo Region, and a graduate of Conestoga’s Ambulance and Emergency Care program, the ongoing collaboration and interaction between the EMS personnel and Conestoga’s students and faculty provides tremendous benefits. “Instructors in the programs have more interaction with us as a management team in terms of what’s needed and what isn’t,” Prno said. “The students get to see what sort of facilities they are going to be working in and give us feedback too. It’s the constant interaction that is important.”

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conestoga connections magazine

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Professional Resource Centre

It takes a village... A partnership between Conestoga’s ECE programs, a local philanthropic foundation, and our municipal government is demonstrating the adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Goranka Vukelich, chair of Child Development & Education Studies at Conestoga, said the Centre adds a new and important layer for building better ECE professionals and leads to a stronger community. “The region has a very well-developed and progressive approach to supporting ECE,” Vukelich said. “They are not only supportive of families and children accessing good programs, but are also supportive in understanding that exceptional training and education are parts of good quality early childhood programs.” As director of children’s services for the Region of Waterloo, Nancy Dickieson calls Conestoga’s ECE program a rich resource for the community around it. (l-r) Melissa Bell, Amber Holmes and Samantha Burns are just a few of the friendly faces you’ll find working at Conestoga’s ECE Resource Centre.

This past spring, Conestoga’s Early Childhood Professional Resource Centre opened thanks to support provided by the Region of Waterloo and the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation. Conestoga’s ECE department includes a two-year diploma program as well as a fast-track where university grads from faculties of education return to college to strengthen their early childhood education skills. Fast-track students can move through the program toward accreditation in one year. The College also offers an early childhood education apprenticeship program for those who are currently working in the field who can take courses in the evening while they work during the day. Also available is a post-diploma program in resource teaching which builds on ECE experience and credentials in order to support families with children who have special needs. Now, however, students and ECE professionals can continue to refine their skills and engage in sustained learning and best practices through the new Resource Centre. The Centre holds research and reference materials, multimedia, equipment and toys, and will provide workshop sessions and seminars to support and enrich early childhood education and care. Seminars will focus on the changing dynamics of ECE and how to best adapt practice to new demands.


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“Not all communities have a college that provides an early childhood education focus. That’s a real strength,” Dickieson said. As well as operating early childhood programs, the Region of Waterloo serves as a system manager for early learning and childcare across the region, overseeing the planning function and administration of funding to licensed programs. Dickieson notes that the Resource Centre is important given how much the childcare sector is changing and being aligned with more of an education focus through the province’s Ministry of Education. “In terms of training, it helps to support best practices to keep people energized in their work with children,” she said. Vukelich noted that blending the qualities and strengths of these two institutions has created a formidable partnership that benefits students in the program as well as the families and children in the community. “The Centre creates a bridge between research and practice itself,” she said. “Through its services, educators and practitioners can access research and make sense of it, as well as contribute to knowledge in the field by adding their voices and experiences to the ongoing conversation. “Healthy communities are communities that support their families and children in very proactive and real ways,” Vukelich concluded. “The Resource Centre ensures that the services for children and families in the community continue to be the best available.”

w r i t t e n b y: R yan M é tivier p h o t o b y: S ylvia G albraith

Breaking down barriers between health care and technology Quality assurance analyst Wanda Olivares works to bridge the gap between health care and technology as a professional in the health informatics industry. Health informatics professionals work to provide better home care options for patients once they leave the hospital. Since patients are often hurried out of the hospital after surgery, or limited to only a few minutes with their doctors and physicians, Olivares’ job is to make the process of getting medical information to patients and home care providers easier. The role also includes facilitating communications between the programmers designing the technology, and the health-care professionals. A foreign-trained physician from Hungary, Olivares completed her studies before getting married and moving to her husband’s native Mexico. Upon deciding to pursue her dream of working in medicine, computers and the health informatics field, she moved and settled in Canada. “I was always interested in it and always had an interest in computers, but at the time when I started my studies this career didn’t exist. So I started studying medicine and was tinkering with computers on my own,” she said. “Once I moved to Canada I thought I might as well get the proper education now that it exists.” Her interest in the emerging field of health informatics brought her to Conestoga where she enjoyed the small class size and the helpful faculty that prepared her for her career. After graduating last August, Olivares accepted a position in quality and clinical analysis at MedShare in Cambridge. The company recently became part of CellTrak, the leading provider of integrated mobile solutions for the home health care, hospice, and private duty markets.

MedShare provides mobile solutions for home care, allowing patients and care providers to access patient files, records and prescriptions as well as communicate with doctors through a tablet, Blackberry or other mobile device. Olivares’ work is not only reducing the time it takes to find and ask the right questions, it also saves lives. “There are many examples of patients who haven’t been provided the adequate care because there was no situational awareness about their complete health profile,” she said. “If displaying the right information properly to the right person means saving a life, then I think that’s huge.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


At your service w r i t t e n b y: H é l è ne B eaulieu

p h o t o b y: B ryn G ladding

With the start of the new year, Gary Hallam took his place as Executive Dean, School of Business and Hospitality following the retirement of Executive Dean Frank Mensink. Hallam, who has served as Academic Chair for the school since 2006, will oversee Conestoga’s business and hospitality programs, which serve approximately 2,500 full-time day students as well as those taking evening classes.

According to Hallam, the focus in the coming months will be to use the academic excellence for which Conestoga is known to more effectively brand the school. “We have so many success stories in the school,” he said recently. “We want to share those success stories from students, graduates, faculty and staff.” Hallam said he will be looking for new program growth that fits within Conestoga’s polytechnic role and supports its position on the global stage. That will mean working closely with the Centre for Entrepreneurship and International Business as Conestoga evolves as a world leader in polytechnic education. “We will also continue to focus on whatever we can do for student success and lifelong learning,” said Hallam. “We’re looking at partnerships with Laurier and the University of Guelph, we’re strengthening relationships with local universities and creating new pathways for students to enhance their education.” The growing suite of graduate certificate programs offered through the school speaks to that commitment. As graduates continue to look for ways to build their knowledge and upgrade their skills, “we’ll be looking at the kind of program growth and flexible delivery that suits their needs,” Hallam continued. “Whether that means adding evening and weekend learning options to the degree program or applying an accelerated format to certain programs, flexible delivery will be the key to building pathways of learning.” “I will be listening to what the students and faculty have to say about the school and the college, about where they see themselves and the programs.”

A mark of distinction Hallam has also recently been acknowledged with a significant distinction. Hallam was elected as a Fellow of the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI). The OHI provides scholarships and bursaries to talented young people who might not otherwise be able to afford professional training. Established in 1977 by the leadership of the hospitality-tourism industry in Canada, the institute has sought to raise the standards of professional post-secondary hospitality programs in our colleges and universities while serving as the advocate for the industry in matters relating to professional culinary, hospitality and tourism education, training and apprenticeship. The institute provides financial assistance to the best and the brightest college and university students who are seeking lifelong careers in this industry. X4 1

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It’s tradition. Caring for others is a family tradition for Marlene Raasok. w r i t t e n b y: N eil M c D onald

p h o t o b y: D arren H umphrey

For the past century, the family of the executive dean of Conestoga’s School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services has been dedicated to helping people live better lives. It’s a tradition she’s keeping very much alive. A new assisted living suite at the School was made possible by a donation from Raasok through Conestoga’s Family Campaign. “For me, it was an opportunity to contribute to the Family Campaign and to do that in memory of one hundred years of caring by my family for assisted living, helping people live better in their homes,” she said. Her family’s history of care stretches back to early 20th century Scandinavia. “One hundred years ago, my mother’s aunt had an orphanage in Norway,” said Raasok. “My mother cared for her dad until he was two months short of one hundred, at home. Our whole family helped care for Grandpa.” “The whole family, particularly my mum and my sister, made my dad’s life so much better. My dad had MS. He stayed at home with mother’s yeoman help until she couldn’t handle it any more and he went to the nursing home. But my sister came every two weeks and brought him home to the house. And we all helped. I flew back every month to make his life better.” Her father’s death in March 2011 gave Raasok’s donation for the assisted living suite even more personal significance: “It ended up being even more meaningful because it really became a legacy for me of recognizing one hundred years of caring … of making a difference to people’s lives.” The assisted living suite is just one component of Conestoga’s School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, where students learn in interactive classrooms that simulate actual health care environments.

One hundred years of caring Marlene Raasok (far right), pictured in front of the new Assisted Living Suite with mother Solveig Raasok, twin sister Marianne Cole, brother Steven Raasok and younger sister Sylvia Axley with her two children Karsten and Kira. According to Raasok, Conestoga president John Tibbits’ plan to create a centre for excellence in health-care education was one of the first things that attracted her to the College in 2006. She then became a leader in bringing that plan to life and says seeing the school open and bustling with students is “just amazing.” “It’s interactive, it’s real-life, it’s collaborative, so (it’s) a highly experiential, engaging environment. That’s what we feel is critical to becoming a professional and being engaged and interested in the profession,” she said. Goranka Vukelich, chair of Child Development and Education Studies at Conestoga, described Raasok as a visionary, saying her leadership style creates a culture of creativity, collaboration and academic excellence at the College. According to Vukelich, Raasok’s contribution to the School, has created “an opportunity for our students to become better graduates. They’ll have a place now where they can integrate theory and learning in very real ways through the assisted living suite and become better health-care professionals from having the experience that was made possible by Marlene’s donation.” Raasok described the Family Campaign as a chance for everyone to contribute and felt it was important that she “step up” and lend a helping hand. “This is the best opportunity I’ve had in my career to be part of something that will really make a difference long-term.” For Raasok, it all comes back to the value of family and taking care of others. “The Family Campaign was an opportunity for me to recognize that important part of the family and to do it at the College in a way that can make things better, for a vision that I really believe in and feel privileged to be a part of.” conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


The entrepreneurship

experience Thomas Edison said that genius was one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. Recognition of the value of hard work in achieving success and innovation is what Conestoga’s “Experience Entrepreneurship” program is all about, and Edison would likely have approved. The series of workshops and mentorship sessions draws on the experience of successful entrepreneurs from the community, and gives Conestoga students practical insight into the hard work associated with running successful businesses. Students who complete 10 hours of mentorship and attend at least five workshops are credited with a program certificate designation on their College transcript. Still in its first year, the program started off as a pilot funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation and Conestoga Students Inc. with the support of several other community organizations.

w r i t t e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino p h o t o s b y: B ryn G ladding

Experience Entrepreneurship coordinator Sandie Heirwegh, who runs a company that trains entrepreneurs internationally, sees entrepreneurship and small business as important economic drivers in a community. According to Heirwegh, the program is designed to give students some exposure to entrepreneurship and small business and will provide valuable insights to those who may pursue entrepreneurship as a career choice. Mentors from various businesses, from printing companies to high tech, give back to the community through the program, as they share opportunities for networking with employee prospects and other mentors. Nathan Greene, a Kitchener native, is in his last year of Conestoga’s three-year advanced diploma program in business administration marketing. “Since I’m in my third year, I’ve been going to job fairs,” said Greene. “Employers are looking for entrepreneurship background or experience in that type of field.” Greene has been interested in small business and entrepreneurship since he began his studies at Conestoga. Workshops and mentoring are provided across a number of faculties in the college.

In March, students had the opportunity to present their business concepts to a panel of judges through the Venture Challenge, similar in concept to Dragons’ Den. In April, community business leaders will teach students the importance of social networking at a session to be held at Communitech. “We have a practical approach,” said Heirwegh. “We have called on community business people and in many cases our own alumni to mentor students and tell their stories. We’ve had a fantastic response.” Greene is currently working occasionally for his mentor Mike Jennings, president of, a Cambridge-based sales and marketing consulting company. According to Jennings, participation in the program is his way of giving back to the community: “We all went to school at some point, and I always found it helpful when people from real businesses gave us real advice and opportunities.” Jennings added that the Experience Entrepreneurship program provides him with a chance to gauge the calibre of the students and provide them with feedback on how they can be more job-ready when they come out of school. “We need to give them more street smarts and a taste of what the real world is all about, especially at the pace at which things move.”

At left: Students Nathan Greene [far left] and Brett Martin were mentored by’s Mike Jennings as part of the Experience Entrepreneurship program coordinated by Conestoga’s Sandie Heirwegh (far right). 16

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It’s easy being GREEN. w r i t t e n b y: N eil M c D onald

p h o t o : © 2 0 1 1 W at e r l o o R e g i o n R e c o r d

It sounds too good to be true. What if you could buy healthy, prepared food with packaging as compostable as its contents? With the help of Conestoga’s Applied Research and Innovation office, Jamie Draves is making that a reality. “My goal is to provide the healthiest prepared foods you can find with zero footprint,” he said. Draves is the founder of Katan Kitchens, a food company specializing in preparing healthy soups and salads made from so-called Superfoods – natural foods with extremely high levels of vitamins and antioxidants, such as blueberries and kale. The food is prepared in advance and frozen to preserve its nutritional value, before being shipped directly to customers. Working with faculty and students from the College’s mechanical systems engineering program, Draves has come up with an innovative solution to create packaging for his products using material made from bagasse, a fibre derived from Asian sugarcane. “They’ve been fantastic working with it,” Draves said of the Conestoga team who helped him on the project, developing what will be the only home-compostable product for prepared foods on the market. The Applied Research and Innovation office receives funding through a variety of sources, including the federal government’s Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Katan Kitchens was one of 16 projects to receive assistance during the latest funding period from September 2010 to March of this year, said Greg Robertson, director of Applied Research and Innovation at the College.

Katan Kitchens’ founder Jamie Draves has developed home-compostable packaging products for food with the help of Conestoga students and the Applied Research and Innovation office.

In 2007, Draves was diagnosed with idiopathic pancreatitis, a chronic inflammation of the pancreas for which he was told there was no known cause, cure or treatment.

Eligible businesses are matched up with relevant programs at the College, where faculty members recruit students to work on the projects. These might take the form of a course-based project, where entire classes are involved, or independent projects where students work on their own time and are financially compensated. “Katan Kitchens is an excellent example where the students working on the project have gained very practical knowledge while pushing innovation further for the company than if the company had tried to do it on their own,” said Robertson. Although past participants have included local giants like Research In Motion and ComDev, Robertson says most projects help small to medium sized businesses. “We’re developing a relationship with the community where small companies that don’t have research and development capabilities can talk to us about applied research to design prototype products or processes in order to grow their company by moving their ideas toward commercialization,” said Robertson.

“Essentially, I was written off by traditional medicine, (so I) went out and saw everybody I could, built my own team of 12 health-care professionals and together we built up a very restricted diet that focused on regaining my health. I lost a third of my pancreas in the process, but was able to get back my health,” he said. With his newfound knowledge of the rejuvenating power of food, Draves founded Katan Kitchens to help others suffering from health issues related to indigestion, food intolerance and allergies. “All the foods that I’m going out and preparing are foods that brought me back to health,” he said. Draves says he was impressed by the high quality work done by Conestoga students and faculty in helping him realize his goal: “It’s been excellent.”

Katan Kitchens, for example, is a one-man operation. Draves started the company after a modified diet helped him through a serious health crisis. conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


Success is in

With a name that connotes fresh new growth and inspiration, bloom. restaurant has continued to build a solid reputation for excellence that benefits students in Conestoga’s culinary and hospitality programs as well as diners from the larger community of Waterloo Region who visit for lunch and dinner. With second-semester students in the dining room at the Waterloo campus, diners can expect bloom.’s prix fixe menu to be a bit more intricate with some additional options, including an award-winning wine list. “We’ve paired wines from our list to match with each course,” said Matthew Worden, maitre d’ and sommelier. “It gives students a chance to practice pairing wine with food and timing its delivery properly, and also gives our guests a chance to enjoy more than just the food on its own.”

w r i t t e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino p h o t o b y: S ylvia G albraith

The wine-pairing option is available at Monday evening’s dinner service, and at lunch from Tuesday to Friday. Since mid-February, bloom. has been running Monday to Friday for lunch and Monday to Thursday for dinner. Another feature this semester is that second-year students return for what Worden calls their “capstone” course on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Dining room guests can consider themselves as an interactive part of the students’ education.

“This is basically their thesis. Each night is a student’s exam worth 50 per cent of their grade. They are responsible for coming up with a menu theme, coordinating the front-ofhouse details and tasking a kitchen brigade with cooking and running the show for the night,” Worden said. Over the last three years, attendance for the themed nights has doubled and usually sells out. Perhaps more important, the positive critical feedback and success of the restaurant — where culinary icons such as Susur Lee have spent time working with students — has meant a growing reputation for quality in the program. Both culinary students entering the program and the community at large have come to anticipate the bloom. dining experience. “The word is spreading that the Conestoga culinary and bloom. brands are very good. This positive learning experience is carried with the students as they move forward,” Worden said. Recent graduates of Conestoga’s culinary and hospitality program have found themselves working at Lee’s LEE restaurant in Toronto and at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, recently named best hotel in Canada in the annual Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards. As well, Langdon tied for 42nd place on the list of the world’s top 100 hotels and resorts. Last year, bloom. received Wine Spectator magazine’s “Award of Excellence” having satisfied the requirements for content, volume, consistency, storage and wine program as well as how wine is used to heighten the food experience at the restaurant.


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Success is in

For culinary and hospitality students, this is a key component, and Worden sees the distinction as yet another way that the restaurant is reaching out to the community, near and far. “We’d like this to be a destination point, especially in a place like Waterloo where there could be customers from the high-tech sector travelling here from abroad. We’d like to be a point of reference when they’re deciding where to go when it comes to a restaurant.” “This is important for our students too. Those who have graduated see that we have achieved this distinction and they think that is pretty cool as they move into working in the industry.” The restaurant has approximately 190 labels, focussed on Ontario and British Columbia with about 40 per cent Vintners’ Quality Alliance wines. “My true passion lands in the old world, so we have a lot of selections from France, Italy and Spain. We also have a few rarities from California that we’ve been able to source. Many wines are consignment and winery-based acquisitions. The markup on our wines is very marginal so there is good value for our guests.”

Wearing their medals from last year’s Skills Competition, students Jordan Brown (left) and Marshall McPherson (middle), pose with Matthew Worden, Maitre d’ and sommelier of Conestoga’s bloom. restaurant. bloom. was recently presented with an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.

Jordan Brown

Marshall McPherson Matthew Worden describes second-year student Marshall McPherson, 23, as humble, motivated by constructive criticism and a student who “exudes hospitality professionalism.” Those qualities have garnered the Cambridge native two medals in Skills Canada competitions: he collected a gold medal in restaurant service at the 2011 Ontario Technological Skills Competition followed by a bronze medal at the national competition. McPherson worked with Worden and Conestoga culinary instructor Chef Philippe Saraiva in order to prepare for competition. It was that training and McPherson’s humility that very well may have been keys to his success. “I wouldn’t say I was better than anyone at the competition. I just had the best day out of everyone there. Luckily things went the way they did and I won provincials. The month after, I was pretty much at the restaurant five days a week (training) and would say that’s when I really improved.” According to McPherson, who spent a good deal of his youth in California, family, creativity and communications skills are other keys for service success. McPherson is currently training for the May 2012 Skills Canada competition. Last year, he mastered tableside Caesar salad and steak Diane preparations; this year he will be working on perfecting steak tartare, carving a roasted chicken and Cherries Jubilee for tableside presentation.

McPherson’s classmate Jordan Brown had similar success as a first-year Hospitality Management student in the provincial Restaurant Services competition. He picked up the silver medal to McPherson’s gold and just missed the chance to compete at nationals by one podium place. Along with McPherson, Brown trained for the competition with Worden. “Jordan possesses a great work ethic,” Worden said. He is the kind of person who never says no to a task, no matter what it is. His is a hard type to find that usually goes very far in this business.”

“I’m just excited to learn more things and try to perfect the things from last year. There’s stress involved but I love it.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


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Mike Holmes, star of the television show Holmes on Homes, has raised the bar – and the support beams – for an entire construction and renovation industry. It is perhaps in the spirit of what Holmes has accomplished that Conestoga College’s renovation technician program has leapt into action in our community through the College’s Centre for Construction Trades Outreach Program (CCTOP). This is the sixth year that CCTOP students from the College’s two-year diploma program in renovation have headed out into the community to help not-for-profit community groups with renovations and building. Doug Lockston, a faculty member in Conestoga’s Carpentry department, said the students take great pride in the work and in the knowledge that they are giving back to important social organizations such as the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, Pride Stables and Lisaard House. “Our students have disclosed to us while doing these projects that they have had to use some of these agencies at one point in their life and they feel good at being able to give back,” Lockston said. “This is a lesson that we believe is just as important and valuable as the skills that we are teaching them.”

raising the bar (and support beams) w r i t t e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino

He estimates the total value of the renovations done by the students is in the range of $600,000, though he is quick to point out that the monetary benefit is secondary to the students connecting in a meaningful way with their community. Lockston credits the College’s Program Advisory Committee and the construction industry itself with being staunch supporters of CCTOP. Support is provided through a partnership with the Waterloo Region Home Builders’ Association and members such as Menno S. Martin Contractor Ltd., Swanson’s Home Hardware Building Centre, Pioneer Craftsmen Ltd., Schnarr Craftsmen and Eastforest Homes. CCTOP approaches the United Way and the Volunteer Action Centre to identify potential groups to work with. Having settled on a particular project, students leave the classroom behind for two weeks and use their skills to work as volunteers for the agency. On any particular project, there may be up to 20 students working on-site under the supervision of Conestoga staff. “I felt like this was the highlight of the program,” said Conestoga graduate Matt Hughes, who helped renovate the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank in 2007. “We applied our skills and the knowledge we gained in class to an actual renovation project. This is the best learning experience possible.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


continued from page 2 1

Students have also been involved in an ongoing renovation at rare Charitable Research Reserve on the west side of Cambridge, a trust holding 900 acres of land in perpetuity for the good of the community. According to rare building project manager Amanda Newell, CCTOP has been ideal for them. “The students worked on a stone farm house built in the 1840s,” said Newell. “In the beginning, they did most of the gutting work for us. The house and barn together are being renovated into an “Every Child Outdoors” (ECO) Centre which will serve as a community resource focused on the environment.” The students tore down walls, removed glass, plaster and old building materials before erecting new walls which will be drywalled this spring.

“It has been extremely valuable to have Conestoga involved,” Newell said. “They’ve saved us thousands of dollars in labour costs. But it is also great for us to have developed personal relationships with young people who previously may not have known anything about rare and now have had a personal experience on the property.” Like the Conestoga students who are getting community exposure and hands-on renovation and building experience, area not-for-profits and social agencies clearly see the value of the Conestoga program. As Newell points out, “We have several old buildings on site, so we’re always in need of help with renovation-type projects.”

(pictured right) Renovation Technician students got hands-on experience when they helped to rebuild an old stone farm house for rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge.

Celebrity contractor inspires carpentry students s t o r y a n d p h o t o b y: R yan B owman For Conestoga’s carpentry students, the morning of December 13, 2011 began like any other, arriving at Conestoga’s Roofing Centre, a modern 12,000-square foot building on the Waterloo campus, to the familiar scent of fresh sawdust. But instead of attending their classes with their regular instructors that day, the next generation of Ontario’s tradespersons got a life lesson from one of Canada’s leading experts in their industry. Jim Caruk, best known as the charismatic host of HGTV’s Real Renos and Handyman Superstar Challenge, is a Toronto-based master contractor and editor-in-chief of the trade magazine Renovation Contractor. “I don’t believe in luck,” Caruk told his audience of nearly 200, the passion in his voice reverberating off the concrete walls with each syllable. “I believe in opportunity.” Caruk, who has built a career making the most of his own opportunities, began as a 22

“To have someone like Mr. Caruk come in and talk to the students is priceless,” he said. “All the students I talked to enjoyed how personable Mr. Caruk was and were impressed that he would take the time from his busy schedule to come visit the carpentry department at Conestoga.” Eric Peicheff, a 19-year-old carpentry student, said the presentation gave him confidence in his own future pursuits. Celebrity carpenter Jim Caruk from HGTV’s Real Renos spoke to students about life in the trade industry. sheet metal apprentice in 1973. Nearly 40 years and countless jobs later, he remains an avid advocate of the trades. “If you have a trade behind you, that’s your foundation for everything,” Caruk said. “The sky’s the limit.” Nate Smith, the carpentry instructor who organized the event, said he hoped Caruk’s visit would inspire his students to stay motivated on their paths as tradespersons.

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“As (Caruk) shared his experiences with us, I felt much less intimidated about my goal of custom home building and eventually running my own framing crew,” Peicheff said. “I still have a lot to learn, and his words were very inspirational.” Who knows? Maybe with a little hard work, and the right opportunities, he could be the next Jim Caruk. For more information on Conestoga’s carpentry program, please visit fulltime/07165.jsp


the year itch

w r i t t e n b y: R yan B owman

Business course connects students with community Year after year, semester after semester, Conestoga Business instructor Dave Barrett is impressed when his students manage to turn a class project into an opportunity to contribute to the community. Barrett has been teaching the college’s project management course, which requires students to design and complete a project for a local organization of their choice, for seven years. He said that while the primary purpose of the class is to teach his students the fundamentals of managing a project, the fact that so many of them are drawn to charities is a bonus. “My course is not to teach social awareness, but I see students really getting charged up about doing charity work,” he said. “If you can go out and do some good, let’s do it.” Barrett said the course teaches students a variety of skills, including time management, budgeting and networking, while providing them with experience in a comprehensive, real-world business environment. For business student Amanda Klassen and her group, that experience involved organizing a silent auction at her family’s church, a project that raised about $1,800 for a family doing missions work in Zambia.

Klassen said the process of canvassing for auction prizes taught her the importance of determination and perseverance. “Going around and asking people to give you things is not easy, even when it’s for a good cause,” she said. “But hearing the yeses really makes it worthwhile.” Another group from last semester’s business class teamed up with RONA Building Centres and held an in-store raffle and bake sale, raising approximately $800 for the Ontario Special Olympics. Group member Sarah de Boer said it didn’t take long for her team to fully commit to the project. “About halfway through our planning phase, we really began to become invested in the project and were excited to meet our goals,” she said. “We had lots of fun and we were proud of our accomplishment, regardless of the grade we received.” One of the more innovative projects of the fall semester was a fashion show fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph, entitled Fashion for Compassion. In addition to getting the venue, the clothing and the catering donated, the project raised about $1,700. Stephanie Blight, the coordinator of fund development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph, said she was impressed with the group’s professionalism and enthusiasm. “Having students step up to the plate and run such a fantastic community event is truly remarkable,” she said.

“Anyone could see the hard work and compassion that went into planning this event by all of the students.” Team member Jocelyn Phillips said the key to her group’s success was choosing a project that meant something to them. “I loved this assignment and I encourage anyone who has yet to take this course to choose something you are passionate about, something that will make a difference,” Phillips said. “It makes all the hard work worth it.”

Dressed for the festive season, project management students [pictured above] partnered with RONA Home Building Centres to raise funds for the Ontario Special Olympics.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


The Global Marketplace w r i t t e n b y: H é l è ne B eaulieu p h o t o b y: B ryn G ladding Rapid changes in the global marketplace in recent years have had a significant impact at all levels of Canadian business. Today, industry is looking for people who are ready to take on the challenges of a dynamic and geographically fluid economy. The Centre for Entrepreneurship and International Business under the leadership of Executive Director Barbara Fennessy is ramping up to ensure Conestoga’s students, faculty and graduates have the resources to meet those challenges. “This is an ideal time to be establishing a centre of this nature because there is a clear understanding throughout education and business systems that innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship are the driving forces of prosperity; they’re the driving forces of the future,” said Fennessy. Development of the entrepreneurship centre at Conestoga has been underway for the last year and now includes an international component. “So many of our students at Conestoga will have the opportunity

to engage in entrepreneurship-related careers,” Fennessy continued. “We want even small businesses today to realize that they are operating in a global marketplace.” The primary source of services for students and clients of the Entrepreneurship Centre will be a Small Business Resource Centre located on Doon Campus. Working across the college with administration and faculty, Fennessy wants the centre to develop and deliver new programs and courses that support all disciplines. It is not just about starting a small business though, says Fennessy: “The world changes constantly and we need to change with it. It’s about becoming an entrepreneurial person working in an entrepreneurial economy no matter what field you’re in. Developing these kinds of skills and attributes will be of use to students no matter what they do.” Fennessy also holds the position of chair, School of Business and Hospitality. She has been with Conestoga since 2008.

Conestoga’s School of Trades & Apprenticeship is the centre of apprenticeship and skills training in Canada’s Technology Triangle. The College offers a comprehensive array of programs in construction, electrical, metal cutting, industrial maintenance, welding and fabricating, motive power and cabinetmaking in response to the needs of industry, supporting growth in our local economy.

School of Trades & Apprenticeship at conestoga


A featured program design for the School is the dual credential model, combining a co-op certificate/diploma with apprenticeship training. This model provides qualified candidates with pathways to both an apprenticeship and a post-secondary credential, as well as a bridge into a skilled trades career. In addition to apprenticeship programs, the School offers certificate and diploma programs including the new Motive Power Technician diploma programs, which give students a strong foundation in the general and specific trade-related academics, safety training, technical and business skills needed to succeed in careers related to motive power service. Conestoga is also pleased to introduce new Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Powerline Technician diploma programs. Operating from campuses in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph as well as a training facility in Ingersoll, the programs deliver current and relevant skills-based education and training that successfully prepares students and graduates for rewarding careers in the skilled trades.

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Camping for a good cause w r i t t e n b y: R yan B owman

“What you do here, counts out there.” It’s Conestoga’s newest marketing slogan, and it’s one the College’s Recreation & Leisure Services program takes to heart.

During their week at Onondaga Farms, students work on developing their teamwork and friendship skills. This sometimes includes dressing up in costumes to help promote the program.

For the past six years, the program has worked with the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation (THCF), a nonprofit organization that offers underprivileged youth the opportunity to attend camp. The partnership began in 2006, when a dozen students volunteered at the foundation’s Onondaga Farms, an agricultural camp in St. George, Ontario for one week during March Break. The experience was so rewarding that the entire class of first-year Recreation & Leisure students has returned every March Break since, a commitment which earned the program the THCF Volunteer of the Year award in 2010. Kevin Lindner, program manager at Onondaga Farms, said Conestoga’s annual visit is something his organization looks forward to every year. “The passion and excitement the students bring is wonderful and it rubs off on the campers, which gives them a week of memories that will last a lifetime.” Lindner added that as valuable as the experience is for the children, it is equally beneficial for the students. Not only do they receive the intrinsic reward of serving their community, but they have an opportunity to practice the skills they learn in the classroom in a real-world recreational environment. Norma McDonald-Ewing, coordinator of the Recreation & Leisure Services program, said this type of integrative learning is an essential aspect of the course curriculum. “When learners have an opportunity to experience hands-on, that’s when true learning occurs,” she said. “You can learn it in the classroom, but until you experience it you don’t fully understand it.”

“I think it’s very powerful for (the students) to see the impact that positive recreation can have on a child,” McDonald-Ewing said. So powerful that Elysia Townsend, who first visited Onondaga as a student in 2009 and then again as her co-op placement in 2010, decided on a career as a lead program facilitator with THCF. “The main reason I decided to go back to camp was because I felt like I could not only be successful there, but that I would have the opportunity to make a difference.” Townsend said her time at Conestoga equipped her with many of the skills necessary for her position, including leadership, public speaking, program planning, problem solving and community development. Now that Townsend has experienced it from both sides, she said the relationship between her former college and her current employer is the classic definition of win-win. “In the perspective of the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, the ongoing partnership with Conestoga is a valuable one,” she said. “Not only are we able to bring the students in for a leadership workshop and show them a little bit of what we do and why we do it, but we also get to help them along their career path.”

McDonald-Ewing said the experience was so positive for some former students, that it inspired them to return to Onondaga in advisory and facilitative roles for their summer camps.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


educate eat experience at co n e s to g a co l lege

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. Hospitality and Culinary students operate the dining room as part of their core curriculum. Reservations are highly recommended. Please use our online reservation system: Email: Phone: 519-885-0501

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Conestoga to offer programs in Brantford Conestoga president John Tibbits was joined by Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Chris Friel, mayor of the City of Brantford, on February 27 to announce that Conestoga will begin offering business programming in downtown Brantford this September. The programs include a two-year business diploma program and a one-year post-graduate certificate in human resources management, with plans to offer additional programs in the areas of business, media, health and community service in the future. Conestoga joins Wilfrid Laurier University, Nipissing University and Mohawk College in downtown Brantford, enhancing the city’s developing post-secondary ‘academic district’ and further providing opportunities for post-secondary education. “Conestoga has a long history of delivering relevant, career-focused learning programs that develop the skills and knowledge that lead to personal and professional success,” said Tibbits. “We are tremendously pleased to have this opportunity to work with the City of Brantford and our educational partners for the benefit of the local community.” “We have long enjoyed a strong relationship with Conestoga, and we welcome them to Brantford,” said Blouw. “Our innovative post-secondary partnerships continue to benefit the students, the institutions and the community.” Friel emphasized that Brantford is the leading city in Canada to revitalize its community through education. “As a community and as partners, we continue to engage and support the development of a unique solution to reinventing our downtown, one that continues to grow, prosper and present ongoing benefits to our community,” said Friel. “The presence of Conestoga College will not only enhance the postsecondary opportunities to our citizens and our ability to attract and retain businesses, but also contributes to showcasing Brantford as a Centre of Excellence.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


A fond farewell p h o t o b y: G ary B eechey of B D S S t u d i o s

Frank Mensink Frank Mensink began teaching in Conestoga’s Business-Administration and Accounting program in 1984 and worked his way to the role of executive dean for the School of Business and Hospitality. As executive dean, Mensink was responsible for thousands of students and more than 100 faculty members. “Those who worked with Frank found him hard working, dedicated and very supportive. He supported his team, he pushed for better within the school, the college, education and industry and especially the accounting profession,” said Barbara Kelly, chair of business. Mensink was also heavily involved with the Chartered General Accountants (CGA) as the College’s representative since 1987 and served as chair of CGA Ontario’s board of directors last year. His work with CGA earned him a feature in the 2011 October/November issue of their magazine Statements. “Frank the individual is so much more than dollars and cents,” added Kelly. “There is the funny side he keeps for outside of work. Frank has a dry sense of humour, a passion for travel, learning, sports in general and has taken up a new interest in golf that he is trying to master now that he’s retired.” Replacing Mensink will be Gary Hallam, former chair of hospitality programs.

3 r d Y e a r G r aph i c D e s i g n S t u d e n t at C o n e s t o g a

p h o t o b y: M ariangelica F orero ,

Carol Gregory As director of student development, Carol Gregory was instrumental in building a very effective program to engage students at Conestoga. Gregory started her career at Conestoga as a counsellor and went on to work 26 years at the College, assuming her role in student development in 2005. For Gregory, student success doesn’t just happen in the classroom, but also comes from student engagement and the manner in which students transition into college. Her role focused on improving student life, which included creating initiatives such as Orientation, the Respect Campaign and the Student Leadership program. “Carol is a visionary who has inspired us to collaborate and build something that is larger than each of us,” said Bonnie Lipton-Bos, manager of the Learning Commons. Carol’s adage was that, “You are who you choose to be,” and she took that approach in targeting students who have never had the opportunity to be involved with these kinds of programs. “Carol is one of the best people I have ever worked with. She deserves applause for what she accomplished on this campus and the contributions she made to students,” said Mike Dinning, vice-president of Student Affairs.


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Pathway to the stars w r i t t e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino

Conestoga’s new partnership with Lockheed Martin The motto of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Sic Itur ad Astra (“such is the pathway to the stars”), might sum up a new partnership between Conestoga College and Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest engineering, information systems and aeronautics companies. The $3.7 million partnership, formally announced last November, will give Conestoga students unparalleled access to Lockheed Martin’s training and industryskills programs, enhancing their education and benefiting area employers. According to Greg Robertson, Conestoga’s director of applied research and innovation, the partnership provides a wide range of courseware that will support multiple stakeholders and enhance curricula in software, engineering, project management, logistics, quality assurance and corporate training.

“It’s an opportunity for Conestoga students and faculty, as well as businesses in our communities, to truly benefit,” said Robertson. “It’s a really good initial step towards a long-term relationship.” Robertson’s office assists in making connections for applied research opportunities between businesses and organizations in the community and Conestoga faculty and students. As well as seeing to the administration and management of the research partnership, the office also procures funding. With the partnership mere months old, the materials are already in the process of being integrated into curricula. The courseware developed by Lockheed Martin and modified for external use for any postsecondary institution is not confined to the aerospace industry, but is much more general in its application. “The material provides tools for developing course material or entire courses that can be used for corporate training or enhancing internal education programs.

“Lockheed Martin has also provided funding for the ongoing marketing and improvement process that we would require internally,” Robertson added. Rod Jones, executive director of the Ontario Aerospace Council, said that Lockheed Martin’s practical and focused learning materials will be of keen interest to the industry in Ontario. “I think the major benefit is the opportunity for Conestoga to provide continuous learning programs and courses for companies in the industry,” Jones added. For Jones, the partnership represents a new element in Canada’s Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy, which contributes to the long-term benefit of the industry and its global competitiveness. “This will contribute towards Conestoga becoming a focal point for aerospace industry training in the province.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


Geoff Johnstone joins the Hall of Fame w r i t t e n b y: R yan M é tivier photo: ©  2 0 1 1 W at e r l o o R e g i o n R e c o r d

It would be tough to find a soccer player who’s come through the Conestoga Condors system in the last 40 years who wasn’t influenced or helped by coach Geoff Johnstone. Johnstone coached both the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor teams beginning in 1971, leading them to a combined 26 provincial medals, including six championships. “My best single memory is probably winning our first gold medal and the guys carrying me from the field, but the number of powerful memories both positive and negative could fill a book,” Johnstone said. Although Johnstone retired from coaching in 2009, his 38 years behind the bench are believed to be the longest term in Ontario college history. His accomplishments have led to inductions into the Conestoga Athletic and Recreation Hall of Fame and the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Johnstone is proud to have coached students from all over the world during his career, and always provided a friendly face for players to talk to. Though no longer coaching, Johnstone is still teaching social sciences at Conestoga, a position he’s filled for 40 years. Reflecting on his coaching career, Johnstone said: “My enjoyment came mostly from the constant interaction with all the wonderful young people who played for me. Quite a number of them are now Facebook friends and it’s great to see how well they have done in life and how much they value their time spent at Conestoga in general and playing for the soccer team in particular.”

Former NHL superstar, Fleury, visits Conestoga w r i t t e n b y: R yan B owman p h o t o b y: R yan M é tivier The Sanctuary was nearly overflowing on November 24, 2011 when former NHL superstar Theo Fleury spoke to Conestoga students for the college’s Health and Wellness Week. Fleury, who played more than 1,000 games in the NHL, collecting a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal along the way, is now a motivational speaker and full-time advocate against the sexual abuse of children. “I want to get as many victims of child sexual abuse into recovery as possible,” Fleury told the nearly 200 students in attendance. “I want to empower them, I want them to take control of their lives.”

His presentation, titled Don’t Quit Before the Miracle, encourages victims of sexual abuse to come forward and seek help. Fleury alleged in his 2010 best-selling memoir, Playing With Fire, that former coach Graham James had sexually assaulted him more than 150 times over a three-year span when he was a teenager. The reason it took him 27 years to come forward, said Fleury, is that there is a stigma attached to sexual abuse. While Fleury has not seen a decline in sexual abuse over the years, he said more people than ever seem to be coming forward. The key, said Fleury, is to never give up hope.


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“We all have miracles,” he said, “we just gotta go find them.”

w r i t t e n b y: R yan B owman p h o t o b y: R ob S horney

Connect with Conestoga through new media campaign A new advertising campaign launched this past summer uses a multimedia approach to reach out to prospective students and their parents with messages about the benefits of choosing Conestoga. The campaign is focused on the theme: “What you do here…counts out there.” “The slogan works because it covers just about everything we do here at the college,” said Paul Osborne, executive director of marketing at Conestoga. “Our many co-op and work placements give our students the skills to begin exciting new careers. Then, after entering the workforce, people use our Continuing Education programs to improve their careers and life in general.” The ads feature actual faculty members, current students and alumni, and promote Conestoga as a college that connects life and learning by preparing students with the practical knowledge and hands-on skills to succeed in the real world.

While prospective students aged 18 to 24 are the primary targets of the campaign, it is also geared toward the parents of prospective students, who Osborne described as “the greatest influencers in a student’s post-secondary decision.” The campaign, produced with the support of local media partners, includes TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, transit shelter and social media advertisements. It covers KitchenerWaterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas. A number of television commercials have been aired on CTV and radio spots are rotated on local stations including CHYM-FM, KOOL-FM, The Beat FM, K-FUN FM and CKGL-AM in the tri-cities, as well as MAGIC-FM and CJOY-AM in Guelph. Many of the ads also incorporate social media and feature the logos of popular websites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+. Bus shelter ads include a unique QR (Quick Response) code, which can be scanned by a mobile device and lead to a YouTube testimonial for the college. Watch for new ads in the coming months as this successful campaign continues.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


Investing in jobs and growth

On February 10, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced an investment of up to $2.3 million for Conestoga to help meet the needs of food and beverage manufacturers in southern Ontario through its new Institute of Food Processing Technology. “Our government is committed to investing in jobs and growth in Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector,” said Minister Goodyear. “Our contribution to Conestoga College will help enhance the food processing and manufacturing workforce, which will not only address the skills shortage in this sector, but also grow the competitive advantage of the region.” With this contribution through FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative, Conestoga will equip the new Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT) with modern food processing lines that simulate real work environments. The hands-on training provided by the Institute, using modern manufacturing equipment, will enhance the education experience of students. It will also produce a more highly skilled group of graduates, who will be able to meet the current and future demands of southern Ontario’s food processing industry.


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“This investment is tremendous news for Conestoga, for the community and for Ontario,” said John Tibbits, president of Conestoga. “The advanced education and training programs that will be delivered through the new Institute of Food Processing Technology will provide many opportunities for students seeking successful careers as well as addressing the needs of one of Canada’s largest industries.” FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative is designed to encourage businesses, not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario to undertake projects that will result in a more productive, diversified and competitive economy. For more information, visit the FedDev Ontario website at Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region’s strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth.

Pictured left to right at the FedDev announcement are: Mike McClements, Executive Dean, School of Engineering, Information Technology & Trades and Apprenticeship; Craig Richardson, Chair, Board of Governors, Conestoga and President, Alliance of Ontario Food Processors; John Tibbits, President, Conestoga; The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario); Luis Garcia, Chair, Institute of Food Processing Technology, Conestoga; Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament, Kitchener-Conestoga.

Provincial Awards Program Recognizes

Conestoga Apprenticeship Partners Two area companies with strong ties to Conestoga were among the recipients of 2011 Minister’s Awards for Apprenticeship Training. The annual awards program through Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) recognizes exceptional employers for their commitment to apprenticeship training. Among the companies recognized at this year’s awards were:

FLO Components Ltd.

has trained apprentices as Industrial Millwright Mechanics (IMM) since 2003. The Mississauga-based company, specializing in automatic greasing systems and a leading supplier to major manufacturers and truck and heavy equipment users in Ontario, has consistently taken an active role in the training of young apprentices. The company works closely with the Centre for Skills Development and Training in the GTA as well as with Conestoga to recruit candidates for apprenticeship opportunities. Vice-president Mike Deckert, a graduate of the IMM apprenticeship program, is the chair of Conestoga’s IMM Program Advisory Committee, and has been instrumental in working with the college to ensure program relevance and quality as well as with industry to secure awards and scholarships for deserving students.

George and Asmussen Ltd.

trains apprentice brick and stone masons. Also known as GA Masonry, the Breslau-based company with locations in Ottawa and Calgary has been one of North America’s largest masonry contractors for more than 50 years. GA Masonry participates in both the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the dual credit apprenticeship programs sponsored through the School College Work Initiative. The company was instrumental in the establishment of a partnership between Conestoga and Ontario Masonry Contractor’s Association that resulted in a new masonry training facility at the college’s Waterloo campus. Mike George, owner and general superintendent of GA Masonry, is vice-chair of the Masonry Program Advisory Committee at Conestoga and was heavily involved in the development and curriculum review of the college’s Masonry Fundamentals program.

BLM Transportation Group was also recognized among the top 16 finalists. The Kitchener company is a respected contributor to Ontario’s trucking industry and has been an active partner in apprenticeship training for more than 20 years. BLM is heavily involved in employment and experiential programs through local secondary schools and a key supporter of Conestoga’s Truck and Coach Technician and Truck Trailer Service Technician co-op programs. The company has been instrumental in the development and expansion of the motive power facilities at Conestoga’s Guelph campus, resulting in improved classroom productivity and enhanced learning experiences for apprentices.

Top: Pictured left: FLO President Chris Deckert receives Provincial Minister’s Award for Apprenticeship Training from Linda Jeffrey, MPP for Brampton-Springdale and Minister of Natural Resources. Bottom: Pictured right: FLO President Chris Deckert with some of his industrial millwright mechanic apprentices.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


It’s all about women helping women w r i t t e n b y: K aren H aynes

The Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, an organization that works to improve the status of women both locally and globally, has provided financial support to female students at Conestoga for the last five years. The Bev Thring Bursary, first awarded in 2008, is provided to female students entering non-traditional trades in honour of long-time Zonta Club member, Beverly Thring. The two newest recipients of the $500 bursary will be named in May. Students who are attending school full-time, have demonstrated financial need, and have successfully completed their first of two years in a trades and apprenticeship diploma program are eligible to apply for the award. According to Cathy Wordley, board member for the club’s charitable foundation, Thring was a strong advocate for the advancement and betterment of women, and it seemed appropriate to make an award in her name. “She was an amazing person,” said Wordley. Club president Anita Gatti described Thring as “a very feisty, good-hearted woman,” who was “never afraid to tell you what she thought, full of life and always caring about her fellow club members.” A new award that will provide support for Conestoga’s nursing students has recently been established. The Lynne Roden Memorial Fund, established in honour of 26-year Zonta Club member Lynne Roden, will provide one nursing student each year with up to $1,000 beginning in May 2013.

This endowed award has been made possible through the generous support of Roden’s mother Audrey and the club’s charitable foundation. According to Audrey Roden, the award is a fitting way to honour the memory of her daughter, a registered nurse who was dedicated to the health-care profession, working for Public Health in Toronto and Kitchener as well as in the role of branch director for Kitchener’s Victorian Order of Nurses. “Nursing was Lynne’s first love,” Roden said. “She was a sweet and caring girl who was very interested in people that needed help.” “She really went out of her way to make people feel better about themselves.” The Bev Thring Bursary and the Lynne Roden Memorial Fund are intended to help improve the educational status of women in Kitchener-Waterloo. “Hopefully it helps someone get towards her goal a little easier and more comfortably,” said Wordley. This year the Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, one of 1,200 clubs within Zonta International, celebrates its 34th birthday. With a current membership of 57 women, the local club has donated more than $496,000 since 2004 to support women’s programs both locally and internationally. In addition to helping women at Conestoga, the club also recognizes two local women each year with the Young Women in Public Affairs award and Jane M. Klausman Women in Business scholarship. Gatti describes the club’s award recipients as rays of hope for the future. “When you hear the profiles of what they’ve done and what they want to do, it’s really inspiring,” she said. Visit for more information about the Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo and its active involvement in the community.


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Annual Powwow keeps

First Nation spirit alive w r i t t e n b y: E lissa D en H oed p h o t o s b y: N eil d e B oer

What started as an initiative by Aboriginal Services to keep First Nation traditions alive on campus is growing in popularity with the student population according to Myeengun Henry, Manager of Aboriginal Services at Conestoga. An estimated 1,700 visitors attended this year’s traditional powwow on February 25, nearly tripling last year’s attendance of about 600. Henry said the purpose of the powwow is to bring the community together to learn about Canada’s original people and to keep the traditions of those people alive. Traditional dance, drumming, food and crafts as well as speakers on topics of interest to the area’s First Nation population and the general public were to be found in abundance at this year’s event. The powwow featured 118 dancers performing many different styles of First Nation dance. Many were from Toronto, and most were from southern Ontario. Henry said there are no formal classes for learning traditional dance. Instead, children brought to powwows are encouraged to watch the dancers and develop whichever style speaks to them. Dancers create their own regalia, and it often becomes a family activity, bringing families together.

Some of the most breathtaking action came from the highly skilled hoop dancers. Henry said that everyone attending the powwow “just stops” when the hoop dancers start performing. It’s a demanding style of dance that requires flexibility, co-ordination (the feet must keep in time with the drum beat), and the ability to juggle many, many hoops. “Not everyone can do it,” Henry said. Dancers make patterns with the hoops, which represent different aspects of life. At the end of the dance, the dancer holds up the hoops, interwoven into a ball, to represent the earth. Traditional food at this year’s powwow included corn soup with kidney beans and salt pork - a traditional favourite - as well as fried bread and Indian tacos. Henry said in the future he would like to offer some traditional meats for attendees to try, such as moose and deer meat. There were several speakers throughout the day, including George Kennedy, who spoke about “some important Original Peoples and Canadian history that nobody really talks about,” according to the day agenda. This included the story of the Wampum belt, which has two stripes that run parallel. According to Henry, the stripes represent two lifestyles - that of Canada’s original peoples and that of the Europeans who emigrated during the 1700s. The message of the belt was that as long as the two parties went their own way and did not interfere with each other, they could live in peace. “The paths should never cross,” Henry explained. Except, of course, if there is mutual respect. The support shown for Conestoga’s annual Traditional Powwow provides a powerful example of what can happen when differences are respected and embraced.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


wr i tt e n b y: R yan M é tivier ph o t o b y: E ric Y u

On the




Conestoga grad Mandy Bujold is ready to make an impact on the world stage with her sights set on the London Olympic games. The 2012 Summer Olympics are only months away, and Conestoga grad Mandy Bujold is busy bringing home medals as she works to qualify as one of the first female boxers to compete at the Olympics.

Women’s boxing makes its debut in this year’s Olympic Games, and Bujold has just one more stepping stone to go to claim her spot in London - the World Championships to be held in China this May. There she’ll need a top eight finish in her 51kg flyweight division to make the cut and be Olympics-bound. “Getting to the Olympics would be an amazing experience. Everyone is excited about women going into the Olympics,” Bujold said. “It will be awesome to say I’m one of the first to go. I know it will be 10 times more exciting than the Pan Am Games were, and those were really exciting.” Bujold is enjoying being a pioneer of sorts for women’s boxing and says it’s cool to meet people while she’s out who have heard her speak and tell her she’s inspired them to do something.


“I do this because I love it and it’s what I want to do. But to be able to impact other people at the same time or motivate someone to get into something, whether it’s boxing or something else they’ve struggled with, it’s kind of cool. I like being out there in the community and being a role model for young athletes and young girls coming up.” An active member in her community, Bujold trains other boxers at the Waterloo Region Boxing Academy, teaches the BOX-ON! program at Waterloo Region’s high schools and when not training, can be found speaking at a variety of events around town. The Pan Am Games, where Bujold took home gold last October from Guadalajara, Mexico, was the first step to Olympic qualification. “Competing at the Pan Ams was actually one of the highlights of my career,” said Bujold. “I was able to represent Canada in a major games event and made history as the first woman to box at the Pan Ams in the very first bout.”

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In January, Bujold traveled to Canada’s east coast in Cape Breton for the Nationals, and again achieved a gold-medal standing. Interestingly, not a single bout went the distance in her division, including her gold medal fight which she won by default as the result of her opponent’s eye injury from a previous match. “It’s too bad I didn’t get to fight, but either way I knew going in there wasn’t going to be anyone that could take my position from me. I’ve been here for seven years and no one was going to come in after just one year and take that from me after all the work I’ve been putting in,” said Bujold. A 2007 Office Administration grad of Conestoga, she’s enjoying the success she’s having, and is contributing to the growth of the sport community. “There’s definitely more girls joining. It’s been getting busier and busier. Just looking at the different tournaments, you can see more girls registering and more girls getting involved,” Bujold concluded.

Follow Mandy’s road to the summer Olympic games @MandyBujold |

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


John Rocchetta

finds his niche w r i t t e n b y: R yan M é tivier p h o t o b y: D arren H umphrey

John Rocchetta is a business grad of Conestoga who’s built not one, but two successful businesses since he graduated. Twenty years ago he opened the first Beat Goes On, which sells CDs, DVDs and videogames in Canada. Today the company boasts an 11-store chain. “Conestoga helped me understand the theory as well as the hands-on practical side of business in order to start me off with a sensible base,” he said.

The success of The Beat Goes On gave Rocchetta the inspiration to launch his most recent business venture, Booksmarts. Last September, Booksmarts opened, selling “remaindered” books to customers, operating out of a store located at Kitchener’s Highland Hills Mall. Booksmarts purchases the leftover books that are not ordered or sold from a publisher when a new book is released. These extra copies are sold at a discounted rate to stores like Booksmarts, which can offer customers great deals and true value, with up to 80 per cent off the cover price of new books.

Roccheta’s company brings in books by the skid that haven’t been sold by the publisher, and also sells items such as cards, t-shirts, cups, napkins and tote bags. The service is something he believes will change the way people are reading books. “Customers can now buy more books for their children, friends, family and themselves. Reading and learning is an essential part of any individual’s development.”

One “sketchy” character w r i t t e n b y: R yan M é tivier p h o t o b y: D an A bramovici Nigel Downer can’t contain his excitement at being a part of Second City’s mainstage, which performs original sketches written by the cast: “I make people laugh every day,” Downer said. “It’s a pretty massive rush when you get your first joke out there in front of 300-plus people.” An athlete and self-proclaimed class clown in high school, Nigel’s path to Second City began on a recommendation from a good friend and mentor to take some improvisation classes, which led to his first five minutes of stand-up at Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto. From Second City’s Dreams Really Do Come True! (and other lies)


“I didn’t bomb, but I certainly didn’t kill them with a ridiculous amount of laughter either,” he said. “After looking like a deer caught in headlights when an audience member heckled me, I enrolled in Second City’s Training Centre.”

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Downer performs at numerous comedy and improv festivals, appearing on stages in Toronto, Montreal and Chicago. He performed at the Dysfunctional Holiday Revue as part of Second City’s National Touring Company and with Canadian improv king Colin Mochrie in his first revue with Second City’s Dreams Really Do Come True! (and other lies). He has also appeared in a national AT&T commercial with 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin. Nigel studied Graphic Design at Conestoga as well as acting at the University of Guelph. “The design program is not only one of the best in the country, but also one of the most demanding,” said Nigel. “It taught me discipline and holding myself accountable for my actions in regards to my work.”

Heather Jamieson

looks for and finds the unexpected w r i t t e n b y: H é l è ne B eaulieu Heather Jamieson vividly remembers the day three weeks into her job as a registered nurse on the Kashechewan First Nations Reserve when she broke down. It was the autumn of 2009, she was a thousand kilometres from her home, her family and her friends, was recovering from the flu and had just worked four stressful hours of overtime at the reserve’s nursing station. In that moment she was sure her doubts had been confirmed and that she wasn’t cut out for the kind of high-impact nursing that comes with being remotely stationed. When it came right down to it, this was not the kind of nursing she had ever pictured doing prior to coming to Kashechewan. Jamieson earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) in 2007 through the collaborative program between Conestoga in Kitchener and McMaster University in Hamilton. The program is structured so that students can complete the entire four-year degree without ever setting foot on the Hamilton campus, which suited Jamieson’s small-town nature perfectly. For someone like her who grew up in a small town on the Georgian Bay shore, the idea of moving to the city was well outside her comfort zone. After graduating, Jamieson went home to Owen Sound to work in Public Health for the Grey-Bruce Health Unit doing exactly the kind of reflective work she had always expected to do. “It’s a thinking career with a lot of teaching and health promotion, which I loved,” she said. When her hours were cut, however, and she found herself in danger of being laid off, it sparked a spontaneity that saw her make one of the bravest and most challenging moves of her life. “I just wanted to try something different, and I found myself completely out of what I thought I would be doing.”

Leafing through the pages of a nursing magazine, Jamieson noticed a Health Canada ad for nurses to staff stations in Northern Ontario. She applied, got the job, and though she never imagined she could meet the on-your-toes demands of a typical emergency room, that is exactly what she found herself doing in a remote reserve nursing station. “We are a doctor’s office, a public health unit, an emergency department and an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) all wrapped up in one,” she explained. Nurses in units also work under an expanded role, with the authority to deal with conditions that nurses in traditional medical settings do not. “I could diagnose and treat small things like ear infections, throat infections and wounds out of a little pharmacy that was on-site,” she said. Ultimately, she mastered her misgivings and stayed in the north for two years. Today she works for an agency that sends medical staff to remote northern locations on short-term contracts whenever gaps open in the federal system. “It’s the same thing I did in Kashechewan, it’s just more flexible.” “Overall,” said Jamieson, “I now feel empowered to do anything.” That’s one reason she has applied to join McMaster’s two-year Nurse Practitioner program this fall. If accepted she will earn her Masters of Nursing and be licensed to do some of the day-to-day things that doctors have always done, much like what she was doing in Kashechewan. “It’s a role that is meant to take some of the pressure off the medical system, to fill a gap in primary health care so that people who don’t have a doctor can have better access to some of the services they need.” “If things go as planned, I’d like to open a small family practice.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


Paving the way to


Experience of almost a half-century has shown Steed and Evans Ltd. that success and growth in the industry is a two-way street, figuratively and literally. Give something, and you get something in return. The Waterloo Region-based construction company, which specializes in road building and maintenance, has partnered closely with Conestoga over many years.

w r i t t e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino p h o t o b y: D arren H umphrey

In doing so, they have provided college students with opportunities to gain practical work experience while in school. When their studies are complete, many of those students return to Steed and Evans as employees. The company, with its head office in Heidelberg, recently took a step to formalizing this partnership with a $150,000 donation to support Conestoga’s new Construction Materials Testing Lab (CMT). Malcolm Matheson, president of Steed and Evans, first became involved with Conestoga’s civil engineering technology students approximately 15 years ago through his service on the Civil Engineering program’s advisory committee. He says the company – and the industry – have benefited.


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Steed and Evans Ltd. has been employing and training Conestoga graduates and students for more than 15 years. Pictured above are some of their 50 employees, 21 of whom are graduates or students of Conestoga.

“Conestoga’s Civil Engineering Technology (CET) program is a large contributor to our industry and certainly a significant contributor to our business,” Matheson said. Currently, 21 of the company’s 50 salaried employees either graduated from Conestoga or are currently enrolled in programs. The group includes individuals with expertise and training in civil engineering, business and accounting, millwright skills, truck and coach mechanics, and heavy equipment operation. Conestoga graduates on staff at Steed and Evans include company partner Paul Sousa, managers Jim Karageorgos, Ken Lang and Gerhard Ens, project managers Jeff Fisk, Steve Mate and Cam Becker, quality control staff Richard Marco, James Costello and Mike Orth and a number of other supervisors.

“We actually have three senior management staff members who were in the same Conestoga class together,” said Matheson. The substantial donation to support Conestoga’s CMT Lab, which performs tests and analyses on concrete, asphalt, sand and gravel for different physical properties, will have a significant impact on the industry and students alike, according to Matheson. “We’re proud of the contribution and what we have been able to achieve with Conestoga,” he said. “The Lab teaches students testing methods and skills such as pavement design, which requires an understanding of the physical characteristics of the various materials in concrete or asphalt.”

Matheson believes that his company’s support of Conestoga, as well as the expertise that industry representatives provide to the program’s advisory committee, ultimately benefit not just the program and students, but also the industry itself: “Conestoga graduates are very employable because they’re current. We try to keep the curriculum right up to speed with what’s going on in the industry,” said Matheson. “We are proud of our contribution to the College in terms of the CET program, the heavy equipment and truck and coach mechanics program and certainly see that as a two-way street in the benefit that Conestoga has provided to us. As we look forward and toward expansion of what we do, we see Conestoga grads playing an even bigger role.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


one wild ride Seeing the world through the lens of Terry Sebastian C


B wr i tt e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino ph o t o s b y: T erry S ebastian


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From 3,000 metres above sea

That childhood interest became

level, you can gain quite a bit

more formalized when Sebastian

of perspective. It’s something

enrolled in Conestoga’s design

Conestoga graduate Terry

program, from which he

Sebastian knows a lot about –

graduated in 1991.

and first hand. Sebastian has

“I knew I wanted to go to

been perched in La Paz, Bolivia,

Conestoga because of the

one of the highest major cities

fundamental design teaching they

in the world, honing his

had there. And I wanted to go some

photographic skill.

place close to home,” he said.

Sebastian, 44, grew up creative

That decision set Sebastian off

and artistic in Cambridge,

on what he calls “a wild ride” that

Ontario with three similarly artistic

took him far from home to the

brothers. He spent much of his

heights of the world in Bolivia.

youth drawing, and by age 14 he

Skull-splitting heights, in fact.

was very interested in cameras.

Having previously been at near sea-level in the

He has found his immersion in the country,

Amazon jungle, Sebastian then travelled 3,600

including La Paz with its 2.3 million people, at

metres above sea level to La Paz in just an hour.

once invigorating and saddening. Bolivians,

He had to delay the Skype Internet phone call

Sebastian says, are focused on Bolivia, where

for this interview so he could acclimate.

average salaries are only about $80 per month. There are lots of states-of-siege and general

“When you do this kind (of dramatic altitude

strikes that last several weeks, making it a difficult

change), it can really affect your body,”

place to understand when you come from Canada.

he said. “You get altitude sickness and my head felt like it was going to explode.

“The people are passionate here and if

I got a really bad fever all of a sudden. It also

something goes awry, they will protest,” he said.

wreaks havoc on your system and it’s harder

“I’ve been caught in riots with tear gas landing

to digest food at this altitude. It’s a very

right beside me. If the price of gas goes up,

difficult place to live.”

it affects people directly and they will start a


protest in the streets and won’t stop until they

Two years ago, Sebastian was travelling through

get what they want.”

South America as a volunteer and ended up in Bolivia with a lead on an employment

It is why he describes Bolivia as chaotic and

opportunity. Knowing nothing about the

intense, and though Sebastian generally feels

country, he arrived in the capital of the

safe in La Paz, he has had a few ordeals with

landlocked nation located southwest of Brazil.

government officials, including some playful jests which reveal just the slightest tension and

Thanks to what Sebastian describes as

suspicion when it comes to foreigners.

serendipity, “the next day I was in the Bolivian president’s office taking pictures of him. I

“Recently, I was shooting in the jungle with the

didn’t even know who the president was at that

president and his entourage. They were showing

time,” said Sebastian, who soon became an

off this water project they had been working on.

official photographer.

He was turning on this tap and I was right in front of him and he sprayed my camera with water.”

Significantly, President Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous president since the country

For the short term, Sebastian will continue his

gained its independence from Spain in 1825.

photographic work and travels, but he eventually


hopes to return to Canada where he misses

“When Morales was first elected, the people

his family and green trees, which don’t grow at

really loved him and embraced him,” said

Bolivian altitudes.

Sebastian. “He was being re-elected and for three weeks straight there were ceremonies

“My passion is art and design, and I’d like to get

that I photographed. It was an amazing time

back into that. I hope to come back to Canada

and that’s how I have come to remain here.”

and be able to do that using my international experience. I’d love to photograph Canada and tell its stories. I’d love to be an advocate for what’s happening here.”



Old Man Haiti – The worn eyes of the old Haitian man hold many compelling stories. “We have been through so much, but we will endure.” Springbok, South Africa – The Springbok is a small Gazelle in the southern part of Africa. Fast food for lions and cheetahs, the small creature can leap up to an impressive 15 metres, as shown in this multiple exposure.




Salarde Uyuni – Sitting at over 4000 msl [mean sea level], the Salar de Uyuni is an extraordinary landscape where heaven meets the earth. The world’s largest salt flats also contain an immense quantity of Lithium ready to be exploited at any cost to developing nations. Peru Hands – A campesino in the highlands of Peru begs for a few coins so she can get through the day with a little bread. Most Peruvians survive on less than $1/day while the country exploits its vast mineral wealth to foreign mining corporations.



Boy in Window, Ebiraland, Nigeria – A young boy in the countryside of Nigeria takes a break from working in a slaughterhouse. Although Nigeria is one of the world’s largest producers of oil, Nigerians have not seen any trickle-down effect from massive oil profits. Haiti kids eating – In rural Haiti soon after the devastating earthquake of 2010, millions fled to the countryside to seek food and shelter. Kids at this school were lucky to receive a solid meal each day.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


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519-748-5220 X3241


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Staying safe in a wired world He may be retired from the force, but Rob Nickel is still dedicated to helping police catch the bad guys. w r i t t e n b y: N eil M c D onald

A graduate of Conestoga’s law and security program (now known as Police Foundations), Nickel is a world-renowned expert on internet safety and a 14-year police veteran who became the first officer in Canada to work undercover online to catch distributors of child pornography.

Retired police veteran and Colleges Ontario Premiere Award nominee Rob Nickel has been featured on popular television talk shows speaking about the importance of protecting children from cyberbullying.

Nickel, who retired from active duty as a detective sergeant in 2003, is now partowner of Eyez-ON Corporation, Aurora, manufacturers of a GPS tracking and location device armed with a panic button that can alert police when victims of abuse are in danger. The device is also used by people with Alzheimer’s disease and individuals with autism. “All they have to do is press a button, and that’s sent right to not only our monitoring centre but also victims services, and the police are dispatched within a minute to that GPS location,” he said. Nickel, who has appeared as an internet safety expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil and Canada AM, is the founder of and the author of Staying Safe in a Wired World, a self-published guide to internet safety that has sold more than 30,000 copies worldwide since its 2006 release. In his career as a police officer, Nickel specialized in undercover sting operations that led to the arrest and conviction of hundreds of online predators. His unique expertise made him an in-demand lecturer, training police around the world on investigative techniques used in the pursuit of pedophiles. The Cambridge resident and father of two girls is also an award-winning public speaker who travels the continent talking to more than 100,000 children and educators each year about online safety and cyberbullying. Nickel says he now sees children as young as those in Grades 2 and 3 with Facebook accounts.

“It’s starting at an earlier age,” he said. “Kids are wired a lot earlier in life now.” Part of Nickel’s crusade is to educate parents who, although more tech-savvy than when Nickel started giving presentations, often don’t take the time to learn what their children are up to online. “They still have to understand the Internet’s coming into their home,” he said. “That’s bringing the whole world into your house and we have to remind parents about that a lot.” Nickel is also spokesperson and part-owner of Hawa Technologies’ CyberSafe 24/7, a device that can filter and block websites while monitoring internet activity and usage. He believes tools like these can help parents prevent online predators and cyberbullies from breaching their virtual home security.

“You want to stop these things from happening before they happen,” he said, noting he also reminds parents that the advent of cyberbullying could mean their child is the bully and not the victim. In 2008, Nickel was a recipient of Conestoga’s Alumni of Distinction award and says addressing the graduating class that year was one of his favourite moments as a public speaker. He was also the College’s nominee for last year’s Colleges Ontario Premiere’s Awards for outstanding college graduates, and says he’s honoured by the school’s continuing recognition of his achievements. “I felt I really did what my passion was, and that all stemmed from the education I received at Conestoga, so it’s amazing to be recognized for what I love to do.”

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


w r i t t e n b y: A ndrew C oppolino p h o t o b y: S ylvia G albraith

A brief conversation with

Steve Dollar, LLB Federal Prosecutor When Steve Dollar, LLB, rolled into Waterloo Region in 1973 from Oshawa as a young teenager, he stepped onto the ice as a competitive-travel hockey player and unwittingly set in motion events that would lead to his role as a Federal Crown Prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Dollar’s start toward law school and counsel – he is a specialist in tax and white collar crime – was not always smooth skating, but he credits his time in Conestoga’s accounting courses with inspiring him to get his career chances in order. “I played a lot of hockey and got seriously distracted in high school and did very poorly there,” Dollar, 51, says. “Looking back, I wasn’t motivated and my heart wasn’t in it.” He found himself in discouraging, meaningless part-time jobs during high school and stopped his education before completing grade 13. He worked at one of those jobs full time for about 18 months before he saw the light. “I soon realized that things probably weren’t going to get a whole lot better from here down the road,” Dollar said. “One morning I just decided that I wanted to go back to school.” With his high school standing inhibiting acceptance at university, Dollar decided to enroll in Conestoga’s two-year businessaccounting program, from which he graduated in 1982. He can’t put his finger on what prompted the decision that he took, but serendipity must have been wearing very sharp skates. Dollar credits signing into Conestoga for accounting as one of the best decisions he has ever made, even though he says he wasn’t 46

unusually strong with numbers. He had only a strong interest in accounting, and little idea of what might lie ahead in terms of career prospects. “I remember in my first year in the Conestoga accounting program I had friends attending university programs and using the same textbooks. I realized that the only difference was that I was getting twice the amount of classroom instruction.” But it wasn’t only the textbook instruction. He thrived in the environment and did very well in his first year, enjoying the entire positive atmosphere. Dollar found that the instructors were sincere in their approach to teaching and seeing students succeed. It was that quality, he says, that contributed significantly to his success at school for the first time in a long time. With a Conestoga diploma in hand, the next step for Dollar was enrolling at the University of Waterloo where he took whatever courses interested him, from philosophy and history to even auditing an engineering course for general interest. “My older brother was at the University of Toronto law school, and he suggested I take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT),” said Dollar. “I didn’t have any expectations about the outcome, but I wrote the LSAT and did reasonably well.”

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No one was more surprised than Dollar himself when he was accepted at the University of Windsor law school in 1984 with his combined Conestoga and UW credits. He graduated in 1987 and was called to the Ontario bar in 1989. He has been practicing law with the Government of Canada ever since. “I discovered that I had an aptitude for prosecutions which had a financial component to them. That’s a result of the accounting training that I had and a good understanding of the jargon of accounting and taxation,” Dollar pointed out. Falling back on his accounting training and understanding of taxes from Conestoga on almost a daily basis, Dollar says he could not have planned it better with the combination of practical training at the College married with the theoretical training at university and law school. “Conestoga was a turning point for me. My experiences there restored my confidence and emboldened me to apply to and attend law school. I don’t think that would have happened were it not for the very positive experiences at Conestoga.”

Looking for a rewarding career as a paralegal? Conestoga now offers a paralegal postgraduate certificate designed to provide students with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to become licensed as a paralegal in Ontario. For more information contact: Dane Wesley at or 519-748-5220 ext. 3917

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For more information or to register, go online to: or call the Registrar’s office at: 519-748-5220, ext. 3656

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conestoga connections magazine

| 2012


Student tops Team Canada at World Skills Competition Jonathan Sinke, a student in Conestoga’s Cabinetmaker Apprenticeship program, brought home top honours from WorldSkills London 2011, an event that brought together more than 1,000 competitors from 51 member countries and regions to participate in team and individual competitions across 45 skills categories. Sinke captured a bronze medal in Cabinetmaking and also received the ‘Best of Nation’ award for receiving top marks among his Canadian peers. The team, made up of 34 competitors ranging in age from 17 to 22, took a total of four medals and 17 Medallions of Excellence, a record performance. In 2010, Sinke captured gold medals at both the provincial and national skills competitions, making him eligible to compete in this international event.

student Students honoured by international foundation Seven students from Conestoga’s Architecture – Project and Facility Management degree program travelled to Phoenix last October to participate in the World Workplace Conference and be presented with scholarships from the International Facility Management Association, the world’s largest association for facility management professionals. Congratulations to Yumna Nasir, Meagan Morrissey, Flavia De Martino, Alita Jones, Sean McBride, Jillian Harvey and Ryan Van Kooten. Their scholarships ranged from $1,500 - $5,000 for a total of $20,000.


Business grads take top prize in innovation challenge


Jeff Beitz of Kitchener and Matteo Elieff of Cambridge were two members of a team of four Canadian students who won first place and $15,000 cash on October 14, 2011 in the Griffith Innovation Challenge, a competition hosted by Griffith University in Australia. Students participating in the event must come up with an innovative product or service and then create a business plan for it. Both of the young entrepreneurs are graduates of Conestoga’s Business Administration - Marketing program. The winning students’ commercial plan was to create company logos out of vertical gardens, a venture they named Verve, Inc. A vertical garden is a wall, freestanding or connected to a building that is covered in plants. Vertical gardens don’t just advertise: they also lower the temperature of the building and enhance its visual appeal. The team was one of five finalist groups that had to provide a 20-minute presentation as well as a threeminute elevator pitch. The foursome won a combined three awards in the competition: best overall, best business and the people’s choice award for best pitch.

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Conestoga student finalist for Canada’s Best Handyman

Andrew Petheram, a secondyear student in Conestoga’s Architecture – Project and Facility Management degree program, was one of 12 finalists in Canada’s Handyman Challenge, which was broadcast on HGTV. Petheram, 19, was the youngest candidate in the competition and hails from Niagara Falls, Ontario. He has been practicing construction as a hobby for the last five years.

Education Experience in Wales In 2009, Glamorgan University in Wales awarded three scholarships to Conestoga marketing students resulting from excellent performance by Conestoga at the Ontario Colleges’ Marketing Competition (OCMC). The three students who received the awards were Alex Hayes, Kyle Loder and Greg Morrison. “Being selected to represent Conestoga and the marketing program as a member of the OCMC team was an honour in and of itself. Achieving the level of success that we did at the competition and subsequently securing the scholarships to attend the University of Glamorgan was an amazing experience that enabled me to continue in my pursuit of further education,” said Loder. The program has a focus on specialist marketing modules that offer insights into emerging issues

to critically examine marketing and its relevance in contemporary business on a global scale. “Because of the international focus of the program, we had the opportunity to work with many other students from different nations, giving us insight in how different cultures think, work and collaborate with others,” said Hayes. They opted to enroll in the Bachelor of Arts and Business Excellence (Marketing) program offered at Glamorgan University. All three graduated from Glamorgan with first class honours. Only 13 out of the 148 students in this program achieved this academic distinction. “It was a great feeling to know we all received distinctions, not only personally, but also knowing that it shows the talent of Conestoga graduates,” said Morrison.

cess in marketing and gives students the opportunity

Marco Nogueira

New Orleans Habitat for Humanity Build During study week this past February, a group of 26 students and 3 faculty members from the Architecture Construction Engineering Technology program travelled to New Orleans to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build. The project was located in the Carrollton Ward, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. To date, only about 30 per cent of homes have been rebuilt.  Students also had an opportunity to tour Brad Pitt’s Make it Right development in the Lower 9th Ward. On the first day of the build, the Conestoga team challenged the record for the fastest construction of a complete floor, missing it by only 20 minutes. 

Scott Sherriffs

Jeremy allen

Outstanding students recognized at Fall Convocation Three outstanding graduates from the Class of 2011 were recognized for their achievements during the fall convocation ceremonies held at Conestoga on Saturday, November 5, 2011. Marco Nogueira, Bachelor of Applied Technology in Integrated Telecommunication and Computer Technologies, received the President’s Scholar Award as the graduating student with the highest composite academic average in a degree program. His overall academic average was 93 per cent. Scott Sherriffs, Renovation Technician Diploma program, was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal for highest composite academic average in a diploma program. His overall academic average was 98 per cent. Jeremy Allen, Mechanical Engineering Technology - Design and Analysis, received the MasterCraft Award for his design of a unique drivetrain and braking system for Conestoga’s baja car.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012




Inaugural 4x4 Challenge a huge success written by: ryan bowman photo by: Bill Jackson, courtesy of Cambridge Times/Kitchener Post A total of 32 students, organized into 10 teams, registered for the event which received sponsorship from Communitech, RIM, Clearpath Robotics and Cambridge Elevating. Most of the teams worked day and night brainstorming, designing, developing, troubleshooting and perfecting their projects. Justin Lang, a second-year Software Engineering student whose team created a work-flow design tool for Smartphones, said his group spent about 50 hours between Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning working on their solution. “I think I got maybe 10 hours of sleep this week,” he said. “But all the hours were definitely worth it. We’re 100 per cent happy with the end product and the overall experience.”

While college students typically use the annual Study Break week to rest, relax and recharge their batteries for the final stretch of the school year, a group of Conestoga’s technology students were


From February 21 through 24, Conestoga hosted its inaugural 4X4 Challenge, an event which gave students the opportunity to design and create unique mobile applications and embedded device solutions for their industry.

While there was a competitive component to the event, and $400 in prize money up for grabs, many of the students said they participated in the challenge to have fun and gain practical work experience.

Ig Kolenko, event organizer and chair of Engineering and Information Technology at Conestoga, said he named the challenge with the hope that students would create four successful solutions over the course of four days.

Chris Sippel, Dylan Corriveau, Brendan McFadyen and Colin Wheat, all second-year Software Engineering students, designed the winning solution – a mobile app for Grand River Transit which locates nearby bus stops and displays their schedules.

busier than ever.

Kolenko said he didn’t know how much interest there would be over the study break, but that the response was overwhelming.

From left: Chris Sippel, Colin Wheat, Brendan McFadyen and Dylan Corriveau won first place in Conestoga College’s first ever 4x4 Software and Electronics Challenge for their Grand River Transit mobile application.

“It exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I got more teams than I expected, more students than I expected, the quality of the solutions was amazing and the support from the industry was tremendous.”

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Sippel said that while it was nice for his group to be rewarded for their hard work, the real prize was the experience itself. “The reason we entered the challenge was for the experience and the networking opportunities,” he said. “Winning was just a bonus.”

w r i t t e n b y: R yan M é tivier

Students Test Their Skills in Iron Chef Competition Oktoberfest started early last year for Conestoga’s first-year culinary students, who participated in the annual festival’s first-ever Iron Chef competition on October 5, 2011 at Bingemans’ Marshall Hall in Kitchener. Students teamed up with some of the region’s most respected chefs to create signature pork dishes that would win votes from the audience and a panel of judges. The event, which was designed to raise money for scholarships as well as providing students with the opportunity to work with industry professionals, featured executive chefs and staff from Solé Restaurant, Blackshop Restaurant and Wine Bar, Bingemans, Gusto Catering Company, The Bauer Kitchen, Waterloo Inn & Conference Centre, Hog Tails Bar-B-Que, Borealis Grillhouse and Pub and Wildcraft Grill and Bar. According to Gary Hallam, executive dean of the School of Business and Hospitality, providing students with early opportunities to test their skills in a professional context is an integral component of their studies. “This is a great way for students to engage with executive chefs from restaurants working in a real-world environment right away,” said Hallam. The pork dishes prepared by the executive chef-led teams were evaluated by the guests at the event as well as by a panel of judges. The Waterloo Inn team received top honours from the judges as well as the People’s Choice award for their dish of red eye glazed pork belly, served on aged cheddar grits with bourbon palm bay local tomatoes with a bacon fat and brown sugar candy pecan.

Institute of Food Processing Technology Enhance Food Safety Culture in your organization! The IFPT is offering on-line and in-class versions of Food Safety Level 1, a comprehensive and interactive course for plant-floor employees covering all aspects of GMP and an introduction to HACCP. It is equivalent to the Level 1 training of Ontario’s Process OperatorFood Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program. Corporate discounts available. To Register call 519-748-5220 ext. 2499

The event was sponsored by Ontario Pork and raised $10,000 for student scholarships.

conestoga connections magazine

| 2012



Christopher Bell Materials Management 1986 Jerek Bowman Chef Training 2003 Nancy Dickieson ECE 1977 Dwayne Drover Pre-Service Firefighter 2004

alumni o f


William G. Elliot Broadcasting – Radio & Television 1973 Dominic Ellis Chef Training 2004 Larry Freiburger Construction Engineering Technology 1971 Mike Gilles Construction Engineering Technology 1986 Amanda Little HR Certificate 2008 Dianne McLeod Social Service 2003 Adrienne South Journalism-Broadcast 2009 Event Management 2011 George Vezza Business Administration – Marketing 1983 James Wagner Motor Vehicle Mechanic 1993


Each year Conestoga recognizes some of its outstanding alumni at the Alumni of Distinction Awards event. This award program, 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, or achieved recognition in their chosen profession. The 2011 ceremony, held in November at the Waterloo Region Museum, celebrated the accomplishments of our 21 nominees and awarded eight of them with Alumni of Distinction Awards. The evening was sponsored by Johnson Insurance, and featured an amazing ice sculpture by Conestoga’s own Chef Philippe as well as delicious desserts prepared by the culinary students.

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Business Chameli Naraine

Babar graduated from the Broadcast Journalism program in 2010 and works as a newswriter and producer at OMNI-TV Alberta. He’s also an active member of the Edmonton Immigrant Services Association, helping newcomers to Canada with a variety of services.

Chameli graduated from the Materials Management and Operations program in 1983 and has recently been named President and CEO of Symcor Inc. With the Naraine Global Fund she established, she has been working to improve the lives of women and children in targeted areas worldwide.

Mark Kershey Mark is a 1981 graduate of the Electronics Engineering Technologist program. He is the founder of Spartan Bioscience Inc., and serves as President and CEO of Magnitude Partners Inc. where he provides consultative advice to early-stage technology CEOs.

Health and Life Sciences

Engineering and Information Technology

Richard graduated in 1996 from the Ambulance Emergency Care program. He currently serves as Assistant Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Waterloo. Among several recognitions, he was recently named as a recipient of Waterloo Region Record’s 40 Under 40 award.

Recent Graduate

award recipients

Community Services Richard Hepditch

Babar Tahirkheli

Daisy Wright A 2003 grad of the Career Development Practitioner program, Daisy is an award-winning Certified Career Management Coach and founder of Wright Career Development, which provides career transition coaching. She’s twice received the Outstanding Canadian Career Leader award and is a mentor with the Mentoring Partnership.

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Media & Design


award recipients

Daniel Henderson

Brenda Irving

Daniel graduated from the Food and Beverage Management program in 2001 and the Chef Training program in 2002. He is now the Executive Chef with Bento Nouveau, where he is responsible for national product development and preparing training materials for a staff of 1,300 chefs. Daniel has been instrumental in opening more than 50 locations.

Brenda became a sports commentator with CBC Sports after graduating from the Radio and Television Broadcasting program in 1982. In addition to being the first woman to appear on Hockey Night in Canada, she has reported live from the Olympics, FIFA World Cups and various amateur sport World Championships. Brenda is a threetime Gemini Award nominee.

Trades & Apprenticeship

Call for alumni of

distinction Nominees Mike Deckert A 1992 graduate from the Industrial Maintenance program, Mike is now the Vice-President of FLO Components Ltd. He is a member of the IMM Program Advisory Committee at Conestoga, a part-time instructor at Mohawk College, a member of the Canadian Lubrication Professionals and member in Good Standing of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.


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Do you know an outstanding Conestoga graduate you’d like to nominate for the Alumni of Distinction Award? Contact Alumni Relations at


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Graduates of Conestoga share something very special besides their credential. They possess a treasure that is common to all, yet at the same time, unique to each – the Conestoga experience. Your planned gift can help ensure that future generations of students will have an opportunity to share this experience as well. Students who might one day learn in many of the same classrooms and walk the same halls and discover themselves in many of the same ways as thousands of others before them. Whether you are a graduate or a friend of Conestoga, your financial support is always appreciated. However much you give, in whatever way you choose to give it, your planned gift to Conestoga will help to secure the future of one of the finest colleges in the country.

For more information on making a gift to Conestoga, please contact: Tim Tribe, Director of Development 519-748-5220 ext. 2409 or visit:

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1970 Business Administration – Marketing Bob Rigg writes... Retired from Sears Canada (38 yrs) as General Manager of Resource Investment. I then started my own Canadian corporation offering companies with multiple locations a SaaS-based (Software as a Service) platform for task management.

1972 Legal Secretary Lori South (nee Thodt) writes... Donna and I have stayed in touch with five other students we met through college over all these years. We started mini reunions six years ago and now I’m very proud that my daughter Adrienne K. South has also graduated twice from Conestoga. She was also a nominee for last year’s Alumni of Distinction awards.

1979 Photography Dennis Corrigan writes... Presently living in retirement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Married Arlene (U of Waterloo, 1979) May 17, 1980. Children born in 1981, 1982, 1986 & 1988. Two are married and work in Pembroke/Chalk River area; two are in university in Hamilton and Ottawa. Our first granddaughter, McKay, was born on Dec. 11, 2010. I retired from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Chalk River in January, 2010 after 30 years as a photographer. Arlene retired from the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board in March, 2011 after 30 years as a teacher, Vice Principal & Principal. She is presently Principal of Taylor’s College - Cambridge A-Level Campus in Kuala Lumpur. 56

grapevine 1988

What have alumni been up to since graduating from Conestoga College?

Broadcasting – Radio & TV For the last 25 years C to C Productions with founding partners Carol Ann Whalen and Robert Currie have gone from producing local sales and instructional videos to international documentaries and promo pieces for the likes of Disney, Microsoft, Heinz, TD Canada Trust, Argo, Croplife International, and several others. Robert Currie also took home the honour of being named a 2002 Alumni of Distinction winner by the College.

1989 Early Childhood Education Audrey Stickel (nee Lassel) writes... Life certainly has moved at a fast pace since graduating 22 years ago. I worked for Conestoga in ECE for almost seven years post-graduation. I have been happily married for 21 years, and we have two beautiful daughters and two handsome sons. I was fortunate to be able to put my education to great personal use by staying home and raising my own children. Getting back into the field professionally after a 14-year hiatus was easier than I expected. After only four months of working back in the ECE field, I landed a position with the Waterloo District School Board. I had a strong circle of supporters, and it reinforced my belief that anything is possible if you work hard enough. You have to believe in yourself if you want others to believe in you.

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1992 Business Management Susan Vance writes... This year I graduated from the University of Windsor with a Masters in social work. In 2010 I graduated from the University of Windsor with a BSW. I am currently supervising PSWs as they work in the community and also providing in-home counseling for clients on a needs basis.

1993 & 1997 1993 Critical Care Nursing 1997 Cardiac Care for Registered Nurses Bonnie Kester writes... Graduated from Nursing Administration from the University of Iowa in 2010. Previously Chief Nursing Officer at Washington County Hospital and Clinics, Washington IA. Husband transferred to Pittsburgh so I started my new position in October 2011. It is the first time in my 34-year nursing career that I will not be working in a hospital and I am excited about the change.

1997 Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technology John Kay writes... I have recently been named an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Fellow for my contributions to arc-resistant medium voltage control and protection. I’ve been working with Rockwell Automation for more than two decades and our arc-resistant control equipment designs provide that additional level of protection, channeling dangerous arc energies away from people. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honour. Only 329 individuals have been elevated to IEEE Fellow for 2012. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. It also publishes 30 per cent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields and has developed more than 900 active industry standards.

1998 Accounting Tim Jamal writes... I have two wonderful children and a family-run business (Jamco Intl.) that has grown a lot the last five years. We are now doing 60 per cent business in USA, 10 per cent export (Europe, S.America)...are the worldwide exclusive distributor of eagletronic chargers. We have also hired two current Conestoga students through the co-op program. Nursing Steven Jones writes... Living in BC now. Finally finishing my Bachelors Degree in nursing and plan on starting my Masters next year. Currently I’m working in an educator/ leadership role supporting Case Managers. Just had a baby girl. All’s well! Would love to connect with a few old classmates. John Leonard writes... I lived in Texas for seven years working in ICU, then left for a few months back to K-W before returning to Texas in Dallas and Killeen for a year or more

in ICU. From there I headed to California for a year for neuro ICU in Temecula. I now reside in Alberta working at the U of Alberta Hospital in the pulmonary unit with licenses for four states and two provinces being active. I married just over a year ago and am missing the warmth of the south of course, but Alberta is unique and this is my first time experiencing mountain ranges and the magnificent scenery. I would like to connect with any grads from the ‘98 class.

1999 Legal Secretary Melissa Challenger (nee McLean) writes... I`m a grad from ‘99. My husband and I are presently in private practice locally. We own and operate Challenger Rehab on Wheels Inc. We are a Driving Therapy practice that assist clients post-crash who suffer from in-vehicle anxiety. We have been very successful in helping people, and we started the program after my involvement in a serious crash a number of years ago. We have sold a number of franchises of Challenger Rehab to be officially opened in BC in 2012, and in Alberta in 2012-13. Currently, we are also working on a DVD Treatment Program, which we can provide to clients who need help with their driving anxiety and don`t have access to our program either due to geography, or to insurer denials. It was a lot of work, prep and research leading us to this point, but we’ve just recently released the DVD Treatment Program in January.

2001 Industrial Engineering Ian Jenkins writes... I just quit my engineering design job after 14 years with Emerson Electric. I received a patent for designing North America’s first explosion proof circuit breaker. My director of engineering said that most engineers retire without ever receiving a patent and that he will probably be one of them. So I figured if I’ve already achieved the top goal of most engineers and I should move onto to something else. So I got my Realtors license and walked away from engineering. All my choice. Now I work my own hours in residential and investment property and at 43 years old feel like I’m living a brand new life.

2005 Robotics and Automation Brian Rodenburg writes... In January 2008 I moved to British Columbia to start a business selling robotic equipment in the dairy industry. I was working as a service technician since graduation in Ontario and the opportunity arose to start on my own. We arrived in the marketplace in BC and very few people believed that automated milking equipment would work. We started out a little slow, but after only three years with four other competitors in the market place we boast a 70 per cent market share of all new milking equipment. I use the knowledge gained from my education at Conestoga daily and am always thankful of the path I chose. Since I have moved to BC I have met a wonderful woman to whom I owe my success, without her understanding and hard work behind the scenes we would not have such success. We have a child on the way, and I can honestly say I have no regrets.

2009 Office Administration Executive Laura Forde writes... Since graduating I have gone on to become completely self-taught as a blogger about my life with cerebral palsy. When I started I had no idea that it would grow to what it is today. In the first year, I had over 20,000 visitors, from as far away as Australia. Recently, because of my blog, Bearskin Airlines flew myself and three others to Ottawa free of charge, where I spoke at a local high school about my life with cerebral palsy. You can learn more about me from my blog which can be found at

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2010 Home Inspection Ken Koekhuyt writes... After graduating from the Home Inspection program I’ve held a full-time job and started my own business doing home inspections. I enjoy it even more than I thought I would. So if you’re looking at real estate, give me a call and put my skills to work for you.

2011 Advertising Jessica Graham writes... If there’s one thing I learned that has stuck with me through school and now into my career is that it’s all about the connections you make. Whether you make them through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or face-to-face, your connections will make a huge difference and can even help you jump-start your career right out of school. Making connections in the community is what determines the success of my career – and I never stop making those connections. So jump-start your life and career and start to build your network – it will take you farther than you ever thought you could go. Broadcast Radio John Soule writes... I just graduated from Conestoga and within the first week I received a job working for CKPC radio (Jewel 92 and sister station News Country AM 1380). It has been going very well and has opened my eyes to all the benefits that come with a full-time career.

Business Administration – Financial Planning Matthew Kennedy writes... I am happily and enthusiastically working towards my Bachelor’s of Commerce degree while at the same time training with Edward Jones as a Financial Advisor. I have been contacted by one of the top 10 Advisors in Canada within Edward Jones to train in her office and eventually participate in an asset-transfer program. Volunteer Management Ella Schmidt writes... I am currently living in Penang Malaysia. Wow, what an amazing experience and lifestyle change. The daily/ weekly/yearly forecast is: hazy, hot and humid, with a chance of rain. I am volunteering with both the International Women’s Association (IWA) and Girl Guides of Malaysia and have met many wonderful people. Journalism Print Lisa Bucher writes... Founder of Pink & Teal Magazine which launched in January. Pink & Teal will be the only Canadian quarterly publication aimed at responding to the everyday questions and concerns of all Canadian women living with a breast or gynecological cancer diagnosis.


grapevine Faculty updates

Business Foundations & Broadcasting Patsy Marshall writes... I have been teaching with Conestoga College since 1977. This term I am teaching in the Business Foundations Program and Broadcasting Program. Recently I was selected as District Governor for the Guelph-Trillium Rotary Club for the year of 2014-2015. I’m currently serving as assistant governor of the Guelph Wellington cluster, a member of the District training team and a Rotary Leadership Institute facilitator. I’ve also served on the Ribfest leadership team since its inception for the past 13 years and co-chair RYAL and Camp Enterprise at the club level.

To connect with fellow grads or faculty, please contact the Alumni Relations office at Do you know a lost grad? Email us! Tell us your story. Have you changed jobs,

1972 grads


won awards or From l-r: Lori (Thodt) South, Legal Secretarial, Rick Masters, Photography, and Donna (Fuller) Moss, Legal Secretarial.

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climbed Mount Kilimanjaro? We want to know!


benefits Conestoga’s alumni community is currently 85,000 members strong and it continues to grow alongside the expansion of the College. The Alumni Relations office is dedicated to providing exceptional support, benefits and services to our alumni members. We encourage you to keep our office up-to-date with your current email or home address so we can inform you of the many networking, mentoring and volunteering opportunities we have available. You’ll also receive the newest edition of our monthly online newsletter, eConnections, and this annual magazine, Connections. Alumni of Conestoga also receive access to Co-op and Career Services, lifetime use of the Library Resource Centre and discounted rates at the College’s multi-purpose Recreational Complex. The following products and services offer value-added incentives and a portion from the sale of these services supports alumni activities.

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. 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.

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

Purchase a frame for your degree, diploma or certificate at Convocation or place an order online.

Johnson Insurance 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.

Offers Conestoga College 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.

The Alumni Association of Conestoga is proud to offer access to exclusive discounts on tickets, hotels and other various products and services to all alumni through our new discount partner Perkopolis.

Discounted online tickets available from the Alumni Association of Conestoga through TicketOps. Purchase discounted tickets to attractions all over Ontario, and elsewhere. Vacationing? Check out the “City Pass” for Toronto, Canada and various U.S. cities.

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Alumni hit the slopes for Ski Day


Anniversary Reunion

1986 Nursing Graduates of Conestoga College Stratford Campus celebrated their 25th Anniversary at The Queens Inn in Stratford, Ontario on October 22nd, 2011. Twenty nurses attended, bringing old pictures from their college days and new pictures of family updates. Alumni from as far as Marathon and West Port, Ontario attended, as well as nearby as Stratford. Lots of laughter and memories were shared and photos taken. We are all very much looking forward to our next reunion in 5 years time. From left-right – 1st row (bottom): Lois McCallum, Heather Kane (Tallor), Gloria Walsh, Julie Book (Winston). 2nd row: Judith Gaunt (McMichael), Anita Capeling (Ramseyer), Lois Gill (Finnie), Heidi DiDiomete (Merkle), Jane Fenton (Bickle). 3rd row: Nancy Blackwell (Penfound), Michelle Popma (Roth), Deb Guthrie (Roes), Barb Klomp (Smulders). 4th row : Deb Schalk (Kok), Karen Goforth (Dieleman), Joanne Keller (Pepper), Rhonda O’Connor (Miller), Rolanda Cole (Richardson), Janet Barr.

Upcoming Reunions For more information or to plan a reunion, email Alumni Relations, or visit us online.

1982 Business Administration - Materials Management To be held May 2012 Conestoga alumni and friends took to the slopes of Osler Ski Club in Collingwood for a day of fun and comraderie at Conestoga’s 2nd Annual Alumni Ski Day. Johnson Insurance once again provided generous sponsorship support for this stellar day. To find out more information on alumni events and activities, email Alumni Relations at alumni@ or call 519-748-5220 ext 2356.

All Years - Human Services Foundation Saturday, May 26, 2012 from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm in the Blue Room at the Doon Campus.

1982 Recreation Leadership Spring - Summer 2012 (Date and location to be determined)

1976 Nursing Rescheduled from 2011 to June 2012 (Date and location to be determined)

1974, 1975 and 1976 Recreation & Leisure Services Held annually the second Sunday of August.

1977 Registered Nursing - Stratford Date and location to be determined.

1977 Registered Nursing October 26, 27 and 28, 2012 - To be held in Stratford 60

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Classic and Alumni Tournaments a


Conestoga Golf Classic honours Dare family

Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament raises funds for students

On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Conestoga ran its 16th

On September 20, 2011,

Conestoga Golf Classic tournament at Rebel Creek Golf

140 golfers hit the links at

Course. The tournament saw 136 golfers come out for a

Whistle Bear Golf Club for

day of fun, with proceeds going to benefit the Institute

the 7th Annual Alumni and

of Food Processing Technology. The 2011 tournament

Friends Golf Tournament.

honoured Carl Dare and his family as 2011 honourees

The tournament raised

and raised approximately $50,000.

$46,000 for student awards

This year’s Classic will honour community and business leaders Ronald Schlegel and family of RBJ Schlegel Holdings / Schlegel Villages / Schlegel Urban Developments. Schlegel is a provincially recognized

and bursaries and directly supports students to help finance their educational opportunities.

operator of quality long-term care and seniors’ retirement

A special thanks to Johnson

home facilities including The Village of Winston Park

Insurance Inc., who have

Continuum of Care Campus here in Kitchener-Waterloo.

continued their support

Since 1986, Schlegel has also been involved in developing

over the past seven years

the Williamsburg Town Centre in southwest Kitchener.

of tournaments.

College president John Tibbits (left) accepts a $40,000 donation cheque from golf tournament chair, Wally Vogel. Proceeds from the sold-out Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament support student scholarships and awards.

Proceeds from this year’s event will support Conestoga’s new Cowan Health Sciences Centre located at the Doon campus.

Mark your calendar for this year’s tournaments!

Conestoga Golf Classic

8th Annual Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012

Rebel Creek Golf Course – $400/person

Rebel Creek Golf Course – $125/person

Contact Julie Gillis at 519-748-5220 ext 3285,

Contact Kelly Robison at 519-748-5220 ext 2490,

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TRADES & APPRENTICESHIP Automotive Service Heavy Duty Equipment Motorcycle and Power Sport Vehicles Truck and Coach For more information, please contact Abby at or 519.748.5220 ext. 2400

Your invitation to innovation! Thursday May 3, 2012 Conestoga College Library Resource Centre 3pm - 6pm Featured Programs: - Architecture—Construction Engineering Technology - Civil Engineering Technology - Civil Engineering Technology—Environmental - Computer Applications Development - Computer Engineering Technology - Computer Programmer - Computer Programmer/Analyst - Electrical Engineering Technology - Electronics Engineering Technology—Telecommunications Systems - Software Engineering Technology - Woodworking Technician


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This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for! On Thursday May 3, 2012 at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, experience the creativity, quality and exceptional skills of our graduating students.

Contact: Robin Carmichael 519-748-5220 x2310


c o m m e n ta r y b y: larry smith

Conestoga Understanding Conestoga’s From time to time, we must all ask ourselves whether we are achieving our goals and what factors may be affecting our success. This requirement is true of individuals, organizations and communities. To be successful and not to understand that success is to invite failure. In order to better understand its contribution to the economy, Conestoga College commissioned a new report on its impact, updating a study conducted in 2002 and using an improved quality and detail of data. We discovered that Conestoga College has provided training and educational services to almost half the adult population and to at least 40 per cent of local resident employment. And several thousand businesspersons who contribute their entrepreneurial energy to the local economy. Why is this exceptional accomplishment so important? It is commonly and correctly observed that in today’s global and interconnected marketplace, the quality of one’s labour force is the most important source of competitive advantage. But we must do more than note this reality; we need to address it aggressively. By providing post-secondary skills training to such a large proportion of the local labour supply, Conestoga is clearly adding to the community’s competitive strength. Moreover, it is from this competitive edge that our long-term prosperity is won and sustained.

success Given that the training needs of the local labour market are so varied and the personal situation of individuals so diverse, Conestoga offers training programs of greatly differing types, formats, duration and purpose. This very wide range of training opportunities provides the flexibility that individuals, employers and the marketplace require. Through its regular programs, Conestoga helps young secondary school graduates launch their careers. Through Corporate Training, employers receive training customized to meet their exact requirements. Through the School of Career and Academic Access, Conestoga offers a helping hand to those who need a new start or second chance.

Nevertheless, we note that more than 60 per cent of the college graduates working locally have been trained somewhere else. This is the result of the fact that Conestoga was undersized relative to the local population and that the local economy has a strong growth momentum. By analyzing Conestoga’s past successes, we can understand where the next priorities lie. We can see where strengths need to be built upon and extended and where new initiatives are necessary to address emerging requirements. Conestoga’s work has just begun.

Moreover, it is also widely recognized that in our rapidly changing world, the local labour force must continuously adapt in scale and skill. We tell ourselves that life-long learning must become the norm. Instead of just talking about this issue, Conestoga is making it happen. Using its Continuing Education programs to provide careerrelated training to more than a quarter of resident employment, Conestoga helps older workers upgrade their skills or find new areas of employment opportunity. It is adaptation in action.

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Almost 84,000 individuals can now be counted among Conestoga program graduates. That’s an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2002. Close to 65 per cent of our graduates remain in the local area, contributing to regional prosperity and the well-being of our community. Our graduates contribute more than $1 billion to the local economy each year. Conestoga is Ontario’s fastest-growing college, with a broad range of education and training opportunities through degree, diploma, certificate, post-graduate and apprenticeship programs, as well as corporate training and part-time studies designed to meet the needs of the labour market. We asked Larry Smith, president of Essential Economics and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo, to conduct an independent study to assess the impact of Conestoga on our local community and its economy. Here are some highlights of his findings:


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More than 3.300 Conestoga graduates operate their own businesses: more than 2,000 are in the local community. Since 1990, continuing education at Conestoga has attracted more than 706,000 course registrations, providing almost 200,000 individuals with opportunities to build their careers or explore personal interests. Almost 50 per cent of the local adult population has participated in education or training programs at Conestoga. Academic upgrading and career services at Conestoga have helped more than 42,000 individuals create pathways to more prosperous futures.

Conestoga’s growth rate is the highest in the More than 36 per cent of

Ontario college system

area adults have chosen GR O W I N G TO M EE T LOC A L N EED S • Conestoga’s growth rate, at 42 per cent over the last five years, is by far the

Continuing Education at Conestoga to build their skills and knowledge

highest in the Ontario college system. • Despite such rapid growth, further expansion is required to meet the needs of our local economy: currently, two-thirds of college graduates in the community are drawn from other areas. • Projected population growth across the region further necessitates continued expansion for Conestoga to fulfill its primary mandate as an educational institution, i.e., to serve the needs of the local labour market.

45.0% 40.0% 35.0%



5.0% 0.0%




25.0% 20.0% 15.0%



Avg. Small Avg. Mid-Sized Avg. Large Colleges Colleges Colleges

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| 2012




conestoga college “is indispensable to local prosperity and the health and competitiveness of the labour force.” - Larry Smith, Adapting for Prosperity



• 53,887 Grads in region (10.7%)

Conestoga grads in region

• 183,539 CE Students (36.4%) Total accessing Conestoga:




Continuing Education Students

“conestoga is the predominant adult educator in the local area; no other institution can rival the scale of its contribution.” - Larry Smith, Adapting for Prosperity

Read the full report at /prosperity 66

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 Accounting, Audit and Information Technology  International Business Management  Architecture – Project and Facility Management  Integrated Telecommunication and Computer


 Interior Design  Mechanical Systems Engineering  Community and Criminal Justice

Ian, Mechanical Systems Engineering

Diploma RPN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (collaborative with McMaster University)

Health Informatics Management

Nursing (collaborative with McMaster University)

Public Relations

WHAT YOU DO HERE... COUNTS OUT THERE Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Conestoga College Alumni 299 Doon Valley Dr. Kitchener, ON N2G 4M4

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Connections 2012  

Connections, Conestoga’s college-wide magazine, covers everything from College news to alumni, faculty and student profiles.