Alumni Engagement

News, Profiles and Events

Creative Communications grad returns to CentrePort Canada, this time at the helm

September 5, 2023

Get to know Carly Edmundson and you will soon see that she is a natural-born leader. She just gets things done.

Having finished her coffee and a business meeting, Edmundson leans over her table in the Hargrave St. Market food hall to tell you about herself.

“I grew up in the community of Pierson, in the southwestern corner of Manitoba. The population there is about 175,” she explains. “I came from a place where, if you wanted something done, you had to act. I wasn’t going to have other people do something for me. That wasn’t a button I could press. It made me self-sufficient.”

Edmundson has taken herself from humble beginnings to become one of Manitoba’s most dynamic business leaders. As President and CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc. since May of 2023, she oversees North America’s largest trimodal inland port and Foreign Trade Zone.

The path to her corner office went through Red River College Polytechnic, where she earned her diploma in Creative Communications (commonly known as CreComm) in 2006, specializing in Advertising.

Established in 2008, CentrePort is a hub for transportation and distribution businesses. It covers 20,000 acres located west of Brookside Boulevard in Winnipeg and the municipality of Rosser. “That’s an area larger than Manhattan (14,600 acres),” Edmundson points out. Currently, more than 2,300 acres are in active development at CentrePort.

She worked at CentrePort for six years, climbing to Executive Director of Marketing and Communications by the time she left in 2019. After that, Edmundson was Senior Vice-President for four years at Cushman & Wakefield Stevenson, a real estate firm with dealings at CentrePort, before returning to the inland port corporation last spring.

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Aircraft Maintenance alum flying Perimeter Aviation into new era

August 24, 2023

In a high-flying career that took off thanks to the Apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Journeyperson program at RRC Polytech, Joey Petrisor feels like he’s landed the plane with his new job title: President and CEO of Perimeter Aviation.

“It’s always been a goal of mine since starting,” said Petrisor. “My hope was to eventually lead an airline and this is kind of getting to that pinnacle of my career.”

Joining Perimeter last fall, Petrisor brings a wide range of aviation experience to the leading role. After graduating from Aircraft Maintenance in 2003, he built extensive maintenance cargo experience before taking on different leadership roles, including Vice-President of Maintenance and Cargo at Calm Air and Director of Maintenance at Transwest Air.

In Petrisor’s most recent role as President of Alliance Maintenance, he helped merge Keewatin Air, Calm Air, and Perimeter Aviation’s maintenance departments under a new Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO) in Thompson, Manitoba. The reorganization helped streamline air travel in the north, which is work that continues for Petrisor at Perimeter and something he’s quick to highlight.

“The one thing from the last three or four companies I’ve worked at is that they’ve all served the north, and I’m proud of that. We’re working to ensure Indigenous people in the north have access to reliable, on-time air transportation in a safe and efficient manner. All four companies that I’ve been in a leadership role with, that’s a lot of their mission.”

Petrisor’s passion for aviation began in high school, but he’s the first to admit he “came into it a little by fluke.”

While exploring a high school program centered on youth internship, where hours spent working within a co-op program would count toward a future apprenticeship, Petrisor was asked what he wanted to do specifically.

“I wanted to be a mechanic,” he said. “They responded with ‘Okay, but which kind? Heavy duty, automotive?’ I said ‘airplanes?’ and the instructor just happened to have a student who recently joined the flying club in Regina as an instructor. So, they put me into this program for 240 hours.”

“I’ve just never looked back from there. My first few bosses and my experience at RRC Polytech made me feel at home – they really helped a young kid try to get his ticket to the industry.”

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Part-time program launches exciting next phase of career for three-time grad

August 16, 2023

Three-time RRC Polytech graduate Colin Szewaga, C.E.T. (Shuh-vah-gah) will tell you that learning never stops.

And with that mindset, neither do the career opportunities.

“To look at where I was 36 months ago, compared to where I’m headed, my career-growth potential has skyrocketed,” said Szewaga, who completed the Project Management certificate program in 2021.

Szewaga grew up in Winnipeg’s Garden Grove neighbourhood and graduated from the automotive discipline at Technical Vocational (Tec Voc) High School in the city’s West End.

Having a strong mechanical aptitude, he entered RRC Polytech’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer program in the early 2000s. With a downturn in the aviation industry limiting job prospects during the program, a second Red River stream drew Szewaga’s interest.

“I had a dream to design homes in 3D and virtually walk clients through them,” he said, describing his decision to enroll in Civil Engineering Technology. Choosing Architectural/Engineering Technology as his specialization, he gained practical skills integrating knowledge of architecture, engineering, and building construction.

The program included an applied technical project during his final year.

“I did a cost-benefit analysis of three distinct levels of insulation of an identical home by upgrading the insulation levels, and then looking at the energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Later I designed my own home in St. Vital with upgraded insulation levels, which quantified my thesis.”

The program—and that final project—opened doors for Szewaga. There was contract work for the provincial government, looking at energy- and water-usage efficiency in the building and plumbing codes. Later he worked for a glazing contractor on the first two towers at True North Square, having a chance to help transform Winnipeg’s skyline and learn critical project management skills.

“There’s a sense of satisfaction seeing these two buildings come out of the ground and knowing you had a small part in it.”

As he was finishing his involvement with this development, Szewaga felt the need to upgrade his skills once more.

“I wanted to stay competitive with my peers and with younger workers coming up. My driver was to become more marketable. I was investing in myself.”

The part-time Project Management certificate program—round three for Szewaga at RRC Polytech—proved ideal.

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Join RRC Polytech for CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s free August event

August 16, 2023

On Friday, August 25, RRC Polytech graduate Barry Karlenzig will be the guest speaker at CreativeMornings Winnipeg’s free event taking place at The Cube in Old Market Square. All RRC Polytech alumni and community members are warmly invited to attend.

More than a decade ago, CreativeMornings was launched out of a desire for ongoing, accessible events for creative communities to connect. Today, these communities gather in 223 cities across 67 countries — including right here in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg chapter of CreativeMornings not only celebrates our city’s creative talent, but also promotes an open space to connect with like-minded individuals. From marketing legends to hometown heroes, speakers are selected by each chapter based on a global theme. This month’s theme is PRIDE: a celebration of our truest, radiant selves and a defiance against those who expect us to dim our own light. Together, we’ll discover how we can fully unfurl ourselves and ask how we can extend safety and solidarity so that we all may be unapologetically ourselves.

RRC Polytech grad Barry Karlenzig, President of Pride Winnipeg (Photo by Bryce Hoye, CBC).

Guest speaker Barry Karlenzig (he/him) graduated from RRC Polytech’s Business Administration program in 2008 and works as a Technical Sales Manager for New Flyer. When he isn’t busy with his day job, Karlenzig works tirelessly to serve Winnipeg’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community as a board member with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, president of the Snowy Owl Monarchist Society, co-chair of the Conference Structure & Integrity Committee with InterPride, and volunteering for more than a decade (and in many capacities) with Pride Winnipeg.

Karlenzig is the current president of Pride Winnipeg and has been in the role since 2019, including during the height of the pandemic when the organization switched to a virtual Pride celebration. He also led the team through hosting the national Fierté Canada Pride festival here in Winnipeg in 2022.

Since 1987, Pride Winnipeg has been celebrating the fights and victories of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, as well as showcasing reasons to be proud. This year’s parade and festival marked record-breaking attendance, with more than 90,000 people taking part in activities between May 26-June 4.

Next Friday, Karlenzig will touch on how he has personally used creativity in his leadership role with Pride Winnipeg. He’ll also share his personal journey in the ‘why’ behind his work.

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Vic of All Trades

August 3, 2023

At just 32 years old, Vic Savino is the Director of Communications for the Treaty One Nations.

It’s a dynamic role, one that allows him to serve community members from the seven First Nations in Treaty No.1 territory and dive into projects like the development of the Naawi-Oodena urban reserve. Such a prominent director position at age 32 is certainly not the standard. But then, Savino’s life has been anything but.

A proud graduate of RRC Polytech’s Business Administration program (class of 2016), Savino joined the team at Treaty One Nations in July 2022. Prior to that, he was a digital content programmer for SkipTheDishes, a communications officer with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization, an owner of a successful hot dog cart business, a freelance journalist, and an advocate for criminal justice reform.

Savino balances his professional endeavours with fatherhood—a delicate juggling act that he chronicled in The Projector in September 2015. His inspiring life journey has attracted the attention of national outlets, including CBC.

“Learning how the business world works.”

Savino credits RRC Polytech’s Business Administration program with many of the skills he uses daily in his current director role—including public speaking, effective networking, and learning to work within tight deadlines. One instructor in particular, Murray Moman, had a tremendous impact on his early career development.

“He always encouraged us to do a little extra,” said Savino. “He would encourage us to not just do the course work, but to look at everything.”

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RRC Polytech Students’ Association seeks Alumni Board Member – apply now!

August 2, 2023

The RRC Polytech Students’ Association (RRCSA) is accepting applications to fill its opening for an ex-officio alumni position on the Board of Directors. All interested alumni members are invited to submit an application!

The RRCSA is run by a student-led board of directors. The alumni representative on the RRCSA board brings industry knowledge and experience, and provides insight, direction, and mentorship to the team.

“The presence of an alumni representative on the SA board is invaluable. We are incredibly fortunate to have the wisdom and guidance of a graduate who brings their expertise to aid in our planning and decision-making processes,” said Prachi Ravi Chawla, President of the Students’ Association for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The SA board oversees a $3 million budget for projects, initiatives, trust funds, and donation requests, all to support and enhance the student experience at RRC Polytech. Decisions made by the board impact the RRC Polytech student body, the entire RRC Polytech ecosystem, and the wider community. The alumni representative will help guide the creation of the SA’s Strategic Plan and sits on the trust fund committee, which oversees capital projects.

“Being able to give back to RRC Polytech by working alongside and supporting students is a really rewarding experience — especially those students who have stepped up to be a part of the RRCSA. It was amazing to see what they are capable of and help cultivate that possibility,” said past alumni ex-officio board member Jerri-Lynn Orr (Honours Graduate, Aboriginal Language Specialist, 2007).

This volunteer board member position is a one-year term from September 2023 to September 2024, with an opportunity to extend per interest and approval. Meetings are held in-person monthly, with nine meetings a year.

Applications open on August 4 and the deadline to apply is August 19, 2023, at 3 p.m. For more information and to apply, visit the RRCSA website.

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Ceiling tiles and memories

May 24, 2023

It’s 2003 and the Design and Construction Technology graduating class have decided it’s time to leave their mark at the College. Did they carve their names in a tree? No. Did they sign a wall they weren’t supposed to? No. Did they create an elaborate time capsule that had multiple locks and keys? No (thankfully). Instead, this class decided to take a ceiling tile from their classroom in A4-12 and sign their names and attach a class photo to commemorate their hard work and dedication to be found one day in the future.

Fast forward 20 years to 2023 where Design and Construction Technology is now called Architectural/Engineering Technology and the classroom in A4-12 is being demolished to make space for the newly announced Interdisciplinary Health Sciences and Community Services Simulation Centre (SIM Centre).

“I walked up there Monday afternoon to check to see how they were making out, and leaning against the wall was this tile. I saw “2003” and well, that was my graduation year. As I looked closer, sure enough, I had signed the tile and saw a picture of our whole class,” said Curtis Jones, Senior Project Manager, Environmental Stewardship & Campus Renewal and 2003 graduate of Design and Construction Technology.

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Dishing up success in Manitoba’s Interlake

April 25, 2023

Anyone who has been to Fisher River Cree Nation knows Loretta Lynn’s dishes up the best slice of homemade pineapple cheesecake in Manitoba’s Interlake.

Culinary Arts graduate Loretta Lynn Cochrane was born and raised in Fisher River (Koostatak, MB), located approximately 193 kilometers north of Winnipeg. Her namesake restaurant in the community is celebrating 28 years in business in 2023.

“We are best known in the area for our homemade pineapple and strawberry cheesecakes and pies: strawberry-rhubarb, lemon, cream pies, and strawberry shortcake,” said Cochrane, who earned certificates in Commercial Cooking at Red River College Polytechnic in 1987 and 1988. “We pick the rhubarb locally, as well as berries like saskatoons for our pies,” she added.

Everything on the menu at Loretta Lynn’s Restaurant and Catering is homemade. From burgers and fries to fresh-baked bread and garlic toast, to a rotating selection of Soups of the Day, including cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, borscht, beef barley, and cream of potato.

“Another specialty, I would say, is our liver and onions. I get a lot of requests for that dish,” said Cochrane, on the phone from her restaurant kitchen. “The community and surrounding areas have always supported Loretta Lynn’s; we serve a need. I have to say, I feel like people appreciate the business being in the community.”

Cochrane switched to take-out orders only at the start of the pandemic, staying open for business but closing her dining room that seats about 28 guests. She has yet to re-open it. Aside from her bustling take-out business, she also provides catering services in Fisher River and communities across the Interlake.

“I’m hoping to have more staff soon, but it seems to be hard right now. You train new people, and they tend to leave. I usually have four to six staff on hand,” she said. “We’re a small establishment. I need one answering the phone and taking care of the customers, with three in the back, and sometimes more depending on what we’re doing.”

“Mind you, I have a lady who has been with me for 24 years, my server Janice Mowat. That’s pretty remarkable for being in the restaurant field because there’s such a high turnover.”

Cochrane also gets a lot of help from her husband and adult son. “Like me, he grew up in the restaurant business,” she said.

Her mother was in the cooking and catering field and taught home economics at the Fisher River school. “I grew up around cooking, but I didn’t realize until later that I was going to do it as my livelihood.”

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Networking & Mentoring to Land Your Dream Job: Free Virtual Event

April 14, 2023

You’re invited! In partnership with Ten Thousand Coffees, we’re excited to offer a special panel discussion with career experts from across the country to RRC Polytech alumni and current students. This free virtual event will take place on Wednesday, April 19th at 4:00 p.m. CT.

Ten Thousand Coffees founder and CEO Dave Wilkin will chat with a panel of leaders who will share valuable insights on building professional relationships, networking effectively, and finding a mentor to guide you on your career path. This session will benefit anyone looking to enhance their career prospects, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned professional.

Expert panelists include:

  • Karissa Bussard, GE, Global Senior HR Partner, Digital Technology
  • Gopal Bansal, Managing Director & Head, HR, RBC Capital Markets
  • Tiffany Smye, Senior Director, Talent, Learning & Development at MLSE
  • Cielito Ward, Partner, Financial Services, Deloitte, and Ontario Culture & People Leader

Why you should register:
Networking and mentoring are essential components of a successful career journey, regardless of your level of experience. Building relationships with professionals in your field can open doors to new and exciting opportunities you didn’t know were possible. And, taking the time to mentor current students and recent graduates in your industry is not only a fantastic opportunity to help shape tomorrow’s leaders, but also a phenomenal way to develop your own leadership skills. Invest in these relationships to land your dream job and cultivate essential skills at any stage in your career!

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to grow your network and learn essential skills – click here to register for this special panel discussion on Wednesday, April 19th at 4 p.m. CT.

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Celebrating a distinguished alum: RRC Polytech to present Civil Engineering grad with top honour

April 12, 2023

RRC Polytech is proud to honour engineering expert Robert Okabe (Civil Engineering Technology, 1983) with a Distinguished Graduate Award.

This award recognizes the outstanding personal and professional achievements of RRC Polytech’s most accomplished alumni.

As CEO of the Certified Technicians and Technologists Association of Manitoba (CTTAM), Okabe leads an organization that certifies aspiring engineering and applied science technicians and technologists, while connecting them to important resources — and to each other.

It’s a role he’s been in since 2015, and one that keeps him close to his RRC Polytech roots.

“Most of our members are graduates of the College,” said Okabe. “So I find it a really good experience for me to interact with future graduates or current students and hopefully, in some way, be able to mentor them and make it easier for them post-graduation.”

Both Okabe and CTTAM have generously supported the College over the years. Okabe participates in all nine of the school’s Engineering Technology Advisory Committees — which provide direction and curriculum support from those working on the ground — and in 2008, established the Robert Okabe Achievement Award for Civil Engineering Technology.

His reasoning for the support is simple: he recognizes how important a helping hand can be in propelling students from the world of academia into a lifelong career. You can learn more about Okabe’s career journey here.

A well-deserved celebration

We’re thrilled to recognize Okabe’s leadership in the fields of engineering and education, as well as his support of RRC Polytech students, at the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Manitoba chapter’s annual Awards of Excellence, taking place on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.

RRC Polytech alumni and supporters are welcome to attend. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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