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Research Partnerships & Innovation

News and Events

Jojo Delos Reyes elected to the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association board

September 17, 2021

Congratulations to Jose (Jojo) Delos Reyes, Program Manager, Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI) at Red River College on being elected to the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association 2021-22 board.

Jojo Delos Reyes, Program Manager, Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC

Delos Reyes has been part of the RPI group at the College for over a decade, and oversees applied research projects, specially focusing on the shift to electrification and alternative fuel sources.

Most recently, Delos Reyes oversaw the Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre’s (VTEC) involvement in the Electric Vehicle (EV) Tundra Buggy project, with Frontiers North Adventures, a leading tourism provider in Manitoba.

Delos Reyes also sits on the board for the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI), a non-profit organization that supports technological advancement within Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing industry.

Going electric in the sub-Arctic: The EV Tundra Buggy project

September 16, 2021

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Tundra Buggy was more than three years in the making for Frontiers North Adventures (Frontiers North), a certified B Corporation® and leader in sustainable travel.

The EV Tundra Buggy is a proof-of-concept project that engaged several partners, including Red River College’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC), and was made possible in part by support from the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI) and funding from the Province of Manitoba’s new Climate and Conservation Grant.

Frontiers North’s goal of converting a Tundra Buggy® in their touring fleet from diesel-powered to battery electric was two-fold: to lessen their environmental footprint and reduce sound pollution across Manitoba’s sub-Arctic.

“Our company’s purpose is all about stewardship, and positively contributing to our communities and the environment,” said John Gunter, President and CEO, Frontiers North.

“By starting the conversion of our fleet with this first EV Tundra Buggy, Frontiers North is taking meaningful steps towards reducing our GHG emissions and creating new clean tech jobs.”

RRC’s involvement in the EV Tundra Buggy prototype commenced in early 2021. The opportunity to assist Frontiers North and project partners with testing and validating the Tundra Buggy conversion to battery-electric, meant leveraging the expertise of VTEC researchers, engineers, and technicians. It also provided the opportunity for RRC students in the Electrical Engineering Technology program to put their applied learning into practice, taking batteries provided by New Flyer Industries, and repurposing them for use in the EV Tundra Buggy.

A major component of the conversion to electric is providing training, specifically on safety procedures. Building upon past electric vehicle projects, VTEC provided training materials on safe handling and operation of the repurposed batteries.

VTEC’s role in EV Tundra Buggy project highlights the College’s commitment to supporting local industry integrate new technologies through its dynamic research facilities.

“The EV Tundra Buggy is a quintessential made-in-Manitoba story. The project has links to conservation, tourism, and environmental stewardship, highlighting the ability of industry partnerships to create positive impact in Manitoba, for Manitobans, through reducing environmental impacts and benefitting our local economy,” said Dr. Simon Potter, Director, Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College.

The EV Tundra buggy is estimated to reduce Frontiers North’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide during this autumn polar bear touring season. With the goal of converting their Tundra Buggy fleet to electric over the next 25 years, Frontiers North is paving the way to further promote sustainable tourism, while continuing to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for guests.

The EV Tundra Buggy was recently unveiled by Frontiers North and RRC at the College’s Vehicle Technology & Research Centre. Click here to watch the event recording.

RRC receives grant to support building performance project for long-term care housing

September 14, 2021

Red River College (RRC) has received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grant.

The grant supports a three-year project led by RRC’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) to provide building performance evaluations (BPE) and post-occupancy evaluations (POE) for existing and new long-term care homes (LTCHs) in Manitoba.

The built environment is a contributing factor for health outcomes, for example, poor air quality can be detrimental for people living with respiratory conditions. Additionally, poor air circulation can be connected to the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on long-term care residents, highlights underlying issues and the need to re-think the design, construction, and operation of LTCHs.

With approximately 10,000 residents currently living in LTCHs in the province – and the number of long-term care beds required in Manitoba projected to drastically increase by 2035 – the building performance project is an important initiative that will help inform critical improvements, impacting lives of long-term care residents.

“Students from RRC’s Nursing, Architectural Engineering Technology and Construction Management programs are working in tandem with industry partners, which gives them a unique opportunity to develop their skillsets as they relate to industry and other program areas,” says Arnold Boldt, Executive Director, Academic, Red River College.

“The project not only provides students with applied knowledge for their future careers, but students are also getting the opportunity to help improve the lives of older adults in the community.”

The project has a strong interdisciplinary approach, engaging local industry partners – Efficiency MB, fT3 Architecture, MMP Architects Inc., and the University of Manitoba – alongside BETAC and RRC students. The interdisciplinary team is undertaking BPE, POE as well as using qualitative measures, including resident surveys, to determine perceived quality of life in the built environment.

The project brings to light the challenges of a global aging population, and how it relates directly to residents in LTCHs in Manitoba.

“The College and Community Innovation program provides innovative solutions for local and regional challenges through the expertise of Canadian colleges. On behalf of the Tri-agency, I would like to congratulate all college recipients and their industry and community partners who provide social, economic and environmental benefits to communities of all sizes across the country,” says Alejandro Adem, President, Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada.

BETAC staff, industry partners, and RRC students are currently working on the first phase of the building performance project. In addition to BPE, the project also uses POE, an area where there’s currently a lack of data for LTCHs, helping generate benchmarks.

The project’s reach will extend beyond provincial borders, through building awareness and sharing findings at national conferences and online webinars.

Powered by Plants: The Prairie Plant Protein Project

September 8, 2021

Products featuring plant-based proteins continue to pop up on grocery shelves everywhere – from cashew-based, non-dairy cheese to a plethora of plant-based beverages to jackfruit jerky and much more. The market for plant-based food products is growing and the Prairie Research Kitchen is at the pulse of new innovations.

The Prairies are home to an abundance of pulses – creating a rich opportunity for research centred on new ingredient applications and product developments. Over the past two years, the Prairie Research Kitchen, in collaboration with local and national partners, has continued to pave the way for pulses as the star ingredient in plant-based food products.

The Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK) collaborated with the University of Manitoba’s Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, as well as the ARD-Food Development Centre (ARD-FDC) – in partnership with funding from the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG), Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) and Ag Action Manitoba – to research new, innovative applications for Prairie plant proteins, including a variety of pulses, soybeans, and hemp.

The primary goal of the research project, entitled: Development of value-added food platform technologies using plant-based protein sources including bean, soy and hemp (The Prairie Plant Protein Project), was to discover novel plant-protein sources that function as protein extenders or replacers.

Project objectives also included fostering partnerships to integrate applied and culinary research into Manitoba’s research network; demonstrating new plant-based protein options for Canadian consumers, sourced from Manitoba and throughout the country; and helping increase and diversify the range of foods Canadians eat, highlighting the versatility of plant-protein sources.

The first phase of the Prairie Plant Protein Project involved assessing the macro-nutrients, specifically the proteins present, at the University of Manitoba’s Food and Human Nutritional Sciences lab. Outcomes indicated that fava beans had a good profile for making tofu, which helped shape the focus on the protein blends developed throughout the course of the project.

Next, researchers at ARD-FDC extracted the proteins from the Prairie pulses, coagulating them to form curds. The curds were then formed into tofu-like blocks. The intent for the new-style, or “nouveau tofu” was to incorporate into various food product applications to replace animal ingredients, or to complement and/or increase nutritional value.

The novel plant protein sources were tested to determine their unique nutritional profiles, with the end goal of combining amino acids from pulses, soybeans, and hemp to create complete protein sources.

Testing was completed to validate the increase in nutritional profiles of combining plant-protein sources, for example, soy-hemp tofu.

After developing several varieties of nouveau tofu, including a new take on traditional soy tofu, Prairie Research Kitchen’s chefs transformed the Prairie plant protein sources into food applications.

The culmination of research and culinary art comes together in a cookbook, Pulse of the Prairies: A Culinary Celebration of Manitoba’s Plant Proteins. Throughout the cookbook’s pages, you’ll see recipes such as Smoky Red Pepper Non-Dairy Cheese made from fava hemp tofu and Tofu Taquitos (see recipe below) made from dehydrated and reconstituted fava hemp soy tofu. In addition to nouveau tofu, the cookbook also features recipes made from navy bean plant-based milk and okara, the starchy by-product of coagulating the plant proteins into curds.

The Pulse of the Prairies cookbook highlights the exceptional nature of resources, crops, and food ingredients combined with the skills and expertise of our province’s research community, demonstrating exciting opportunities for Manitoba plant proteins. Overall, the project helped build platforms for knowledge and technology to showcase how plant-based protein can be used in food systems in Manitoba, nation-wide, and beyond. Manitoba pulses are functional ingredients that can be used to meet growing consumer trends – our Manitoba research network and the Prairie Research Kitchen can help businesses apply and integrate plant-based proteins.

– Heather Hill, Research Manager, Prairie Research Kitchen

Tofu Taquito Recipe

Tofu Taquitos
Yield: 6 taquitos

IngredientMassVolume
DEHYDRATED FAVA HEMP SOY TOFU  
Fava Hemp Soy Tofu, firm454 g1 pound
   
TOFU TAQUITOS  
Fava Hemp Soy Tofu, dehydrated crumbles35 g1/2 cup
Water, hot (95°C)60 g1/4 cup
Canola oil5 g1 tsp
Onion, minced12 g1 tbsp
Garlic, minced5 g1 tsp
Cumin2.5 g1/2 tsp
Paprika1.25 g1/4 tsp
Coriander1.25 g1/4 tsp
Chipotle pepper, minced25 g1 whole
Adobo sauce10 g2 tsp
Salt3.5 g1/2 tsp
Mozzarella, grated60 g1/2 cup
Corn tortillas 6

Method

Dehydrated Tofu:

  1. Freeze tofu until solid.
  2. Thaw tofu and drain off all excess water.
  3. Crumble tofu into pea-sized crumbles. Using a dehydrator, dehydrate crumbles at 63 C/145 F for 10-12 hours until crumbles are completely dry.
  4. Store in an airtight container.

Tofu Taquito:

  1. In a small bowl, add hot (simmering) water to dehydrated tofu crumbles, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine all seasonings and spices.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add oil. Once oil is hot, add onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic, seasoning mix, chopped chipotle and adobo sauce. Sauté for 1 more minute and then add hydrated tofu.
  4. Sauté tofu mixture for 1-2 minutes until hot and just starting to get brown, crispy edges. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Remove from heat and pour mixture into a bowl to cool for 5-10 minutes. It should be cool enough that the cheese does not melt when you mix it in.
  6. Add grated mozzarella to slightly cooled tofu mixture and stir until well combined. You may want to add 1-2 tsp of water to moisten mixture. You should be able to form it with your hand, so it doesn’t fall out of the shell during the filling/rolling step.
  7. Heat oven to 400 F. Using a non-stick skillet, over high heat, add 1-2 tsp of oil. Once oil is hot, gently lay in 1 corn tortilla for about 5 seconds, and then flip, swirling to coat the tortilla with the hot oil. This helps to soften the tortilla for easier rolling as well as crisping up during the baking process. You may need to add more oil as it coats the shells.
  8. Carefully remove the tortilla and add 1/6 of the filling (or desired amount) to the bottom third of the tortilla. Tightly roll up the taquito and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan, seal side down. You may need to use a toothpick to seal if the taquito rolls open on its own.
  9. Repeat until all the filling is used up.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are crispy and cheese is melty. Serve with sour cream and fresh salsa.

Note: Adjust the amount of cheese as desired. For added flavour, bulk, and nutrition, add minced green peppers and mushrooms to your sauté mix before filling!

This is a great option that will be loved by both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

To request a copy of The Pulse of the Prairies: A Culinary Celebration of Manitoba’s Plant Proteins cookbook please contact the Prairie Research Kitchen.

Get Smart(er): College-Industry Innovation Fund grant to enhance RRC’s Smart Factory

July 27, 2021

Researchers and students will gain new opportunities for learning and to innovate at Red River College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), and in turn, support Manitoba industry to access, test and integrate emerging technologies.

RRC is one of 15 colleges and cégeps announced this week by the Federal Government receiving a College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) grant through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure projects. The grant supports the enhancement of TACAM’s Smart Factory, an applied research space, experiential learning facility, and technology demonstration site.

The Smart Factory enhancement enables the College to grow its capabilities to support Manitoba industry in aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors, by expanding metals additive manufacturing capabilities, application-based robotics, composite manufacturing capabilities, and industrial network infrastructure. For example, application-based systems for post-production grinding and finishing as well as mobile factory robots and autonomous ground vehicles to facilitate material handling, can help industry boost their productivity by reducing laborious manual tasks.

Through applied research projects at Smart Factory, enterprises of all sizes can work with RRC researchers and students to find solutions to business-specific as well as larger industry challenges.

“Investments in applied research are critical in helping the College continue to support industry with opportunities to evaluate and integrate emerging technologies, improving their productivity and competitive edge,” says Simon Potter, Director of Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College. “They are also paramount to enriching our learning environment, exposing students to leading-edge technology and providing industry experience, in preparation for the workforce.”

Students in the Aerospace Manufacturing Technology program will have access to new technologies at the Smart Factory and Stevenson Aviation Campus to participate in capstone projects, classroom training, and direct engagement in industry research projects

Over time, knowledge generated collaboratively by industry, researchers and students will inform training and academic curricula, ensuring the next generation of RRC grads are not only  job-ready for their future careers, but ahead of the curve.

“Bringing industry partners together with researchers and students in spaces equipped with technology’s latest tools is a recipe for innovation and economic growth. This investment will enable bright ideas to be tested, applied and developed into new businesses in labs that have collaboration and partnerships at their core. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is proud to contribute to Canada’s future by supporting our extraordinary colleges, institutes and cégeps,” says Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Investments in RRC’s Smart Factory open up opportunities to support the province’s advanced manufacturing (AM) agenda through the Advanced Manufacturing Coalition as well as RRC’s aerospace roadmap, helping maintain Manitoba’s position as one of Canada’s AM hubs.

The College, alongside local and national partners, will fill identified gaps to enhance the capacity of RRC to respond to industry’s need for innovation support and workforce development.

CFI grants support applied research projects at Canadian colleges and cégeps, by providing funding for facilities, equipment and infrastructure. These investments allow colleges to expand their capabilities and advance innovation in their region and Canada-wide. The CFI funding awarded will foster and further strengthen industry partnerships, providing Canadian businesses access to technology, knowledge and expertise to stay future-focused.

The almost $900,000 CFI grant to enhance the Smart Factory marks a major contribution to the larger $2.5M project of expanding TACAM research facilities at RRC’s Notre Dame and Stevenson Aviation Campuses.

Testing Artspan Inc.’s one-step building envelope solution

July 5, 2021

Artspan Inc. (Artspan) is a company based out of Winkler, MB, that designs, manufactures, and distributes structurally insulated panels (SIP). Artspan provides a one-step building envelope solution for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

The company had previously conducted airtightness testing on completed houses, thermal testing on its insulation foam, and a variety of fire and structural testing. The Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) at Red River College performed further testing through an Engage Grant project, with financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The Engage Grant project with Artspan took place between 2018 and 2020, with the objective of conducting a performance assessment of the company’s panelized system and window installation details. Testing was broken down into three parts: air leakage and water penetration, air tightness and energy modelling, and thermal performance assessment.

Air Leakage and Water Penetration Testing

Air-Water-Structural (AWS) Test Chamber

Air-Water-Structural (AWS) Test Chamber

As mentioned, Artspan had previously conducted tests on its structurally insulated panels; However, testing of the panel joints (wall-to-floor, panel-to-panel, and floor-to-ceiling) and the window-wall interfaces had been limited. Resistance to air and water infiltration at these points is critical in cold and mixed climate zones, with regards to the building envelopes’ durability and its energy efficiency.

Experimental testing took place in the RRC Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI), using the Air-Water-Structural (AWS) Test Chamber, to conduct air leakage and water penetration testing on three test walls.

Air Tightness Testing and Energy Modelling

The project also included a whole building air leakage test and energy modelling of the Artspan office building, located in Winkler, MB.

The overall objectives of the tests were two-fold:
a) To measure the airtightness of the office building built with Artspan SIP panels both during and post-construction.
b) To expand the general knowledge base on the airtightness characteristics of commercial-style buildings in Manitoba.

Air leakage in a building can never be eliminated. However, it can be managed and controlled within limits to minimize several potential issues, including:

  • Excessive energy costs, for both heating and cooling.
  • Poor occupant comfort – cold drafts, poor air quality, and inadequate temperature control.
  • Negative impacts upon the HVAC system which can degrade its efficiency.
  • Damage to the building and its component materials from moisture-related mechanisms of deterioration.

BETAC’s research personnel conducted the Standard Test Method for Measuring the Air Leakage Rate of a Large or Multizone Building, with two airtightness tests using the Envelope Protocol. The first test was conducted during construction – building was near completion with installed windows, drywall, and HVAC. The second airtightness test was conducted once the building had been completed, transported to its location, and was occupied.

Test results of the Artspan Inc. office building air tightness and energy modelling were plotted alongside values for various new and existing commercial buildings in Manitoba.

Thermal Performance Assessment

The final portion of the Artspan project was conducting a thermal performance assessment of the insulation used in their SIP. The purpose of this testing was to compare results from newly produced samples (one month) to aged samples (six years).

Four samples were provided for thermal testing – two aged for one month, and two aged for six years. The Netzsch Heat Flow Meter was used to test the panel foam by determining the thermal resistance of each insulation sample.

After the Engage Grant project was complete, BETAC research staff had an Interactive Visit with Artspan to conduct additional thermal testing on different versions of their panel foam.

Reinventing the irrigation system wheel

June 25, 2021

Typically, agricultural irrigation systems use wheels with a steel rim and an air-filled rubber tire. As with most rubber tires, they are prone to losing air pressure, wearing out, and cracking over time. Rubber tire wheels are also difficult and time consuming to replace on large irrigation systems, causing significant downtime while the equipment is under repair.

Cascade Manufacturing (Cascade), located in MacGregor, Manitoba, designs and fabricates agricultural irrigation products, and saw an opportunity to improve the traditional irrigation system wheel. After creating a prototype for a low-maintenance, all-steel bolted wheel, Cascade worked with the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) at Red River College to perform a design review to identify and address high mechanical stress areas and potential points of failure.

In order to perform the review, Cascade provided 3D CAD files of their newly designed bolted wheel to TACAM for analysis. The TACAM research team used in-house expertise in 3D modelling and finite element analysis (FEA) to evaluate the stresses throughout the wheel in accordance with design allowable limits.

Cascade used the recommendations provided to redesign the bolted wheel and engaged TACAM to re-evaluate the new design for verification purposes. TACAM provided recommendations for design improvement and cost reduction based on findings. The original bolted wheel failed under 10,000 load cycles, versus the newly designed bolted wheel is expected to last more than 200,000 cycles. The improved bolted wheel design is currently being manufactured and promoted for local and export sales.

Bolted wheel on irrigation equipment

The newly designed bolted wheel in action!

Key project benefits:

• Cost-effective design evaluation and product improvement

• Attained confidence in the load-bearing capacity of a new product being introduced to the market

• Enhanced competitiveness and innovation, and potential for an increased local and international customer base

 

 

 

 

If not for our experience with TACAM, we likely wouldn’t have determined that the grade of steel used on our wheels was prone to low cycle fatigue. With TACAM’s expertise on how to minimize stress concentration points, we were able to produce a bolted wheel with thinner grade material than we thought possible. The FEA study they conducted determined that the stresses are within tolerance, which gave us confidence to manufacture and test the product in field conditions. Overall, we are very satisfied with the results from the bolted wheel project with TACAM. -Matt Waldner, Cascade Manufacturing

The bolted wheel projected received support from:

Let the good times roll: Hudson Bagels brings big city bagels to Winnipeg

June 22, 2021

The concept behind the West Broadway bagel shop, Hudson Bagels, is something owners Jessica Wylychenko and Chris Silva had been joking about for several years. In their travels to larger cities, they always found themselves searching for the best bagel spot.

“Bagels weren’t something that we ate regularly. It was more so hunting down the best bagel Montreal or New York had to offer and experiencing the vibe of the shop,” says Jessica Wylychenko, owner of Hudson Bagels.

One Sunday while they were enjoying a coffee along Sherbrook Street, Chris and Jessica noticed a for lease sign on 79 Sherbrook. A couple days later, they toured the space and shortly thereafter signed a lease for August 1, 2020.

The duo already knew exactly how they wanted the space to feel but they faced one major obstacle: a product. With three months of renovations and a November 2020 opening date, they needed to scale-up their 16-bagel recipe to yield hundreds of bagels, and they needed to do it quickly.

In true Winnipeg fashion, through a series of conversations and introductions, Chris and Jessica stumbled upon the Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK).

“Similarly to how we came about finding the space for our shop, it felt very serendipitous discovering this mythical research kitchen on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute,” says Jessica.

The PRK’s research team put their culinary and baking knowledge to work by scaling-up the company’s recipe as well as developing a signature sourdough bagel. A few weeks into the project, Chris and Jessica paid a visit to the Research Kitchen to check in on the project and, of course, sample some bagels.

“After this meeting, we stopped doing our own trials in our home kitchen. We felt confident entering into a research service agreement and leaving things in the very capable hands of the PRK team and their student assistant.”

The PRK team included a Red River College professional baking student through the entire research project, providing valuable, hands-on experience that they can take back to the food industry. Students represent the growing need in the food service industry for cooks and bakers with enhanced skill sets to help businesses grow. PRK is helping to provide the training necessary for students to become tomorrows’ food professionals.

With PRK at work on finalizing the classic and sourdough bagel recipes, Chris and Jessica had more time to focus on the many other moving pieces of opening up a new business.

Once the recipes were finalized, PRK research chefs created an in-depth process manual, affectionately known as the “Bagel Bible,” by the Hudson Bagels team. In addition to creating a process manual, the PRK team paid a pre-opening visit to the shop to help advise on the equipment and kitchen layout that would work best for their space.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen team helped us put all the pieces of the puzzle together – they were very helpful and flexible. Without their help we would’ve been spinning our wheels to get our head baker ready in the space.”

Opening up a new business comes with its challenges, let alone opening up a business during a pandemic.

“Opening during the second wave of the pandemic was a bit wild, but it was completely worth it from seeing the joy on customers’ faces and the incredible response we’ve received from the community.” 

In addition to spreading joy one bagel at a time, Hudson Bagels has created new jobs in Winnipeg’s culinary scene. They currently employ four full-time bakers, three full-time and three part-time prep staff, one full-time as well as four part-time front-of-house team members.

Growing Your Indigenous-Owned Food Business webinar

June 7, 2021

The Prairie Research Kitchen is hosting its second webinar of a three-part series highlighting Indigenous Food Business Stories, on Thursday, June 24 from 1-3 p.m.

The webinar, Growing Your Indigenous-Owned Food Business: Resources and Stories on the Path to Expansion, is for entrepreneurs and business owners who are preparing to expand product offering, distribution, and/or production.

If you’re looking to grow your food business, tune into the webinar to learn about scaling-up your business and preparing to approach funders for financing. Guest speakers will share the lessons they’ve learned along their entrepreneurial journeys and discuss options to prepare for and secure funding. Each session will be followed by a short Q&A period.

Cost to attend: free!

Growing Your Indigenous-Owned Food Business featured speakers:

Cree Cheechoo, Business Development Officer, Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation (SIEF) Contribution Program
Lending solutions and applicant eligibility

Cree Cheechoo is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation in Ontario. Cree has worked as a Business Development Officer for the SIEF Contribution Program since 2016. In this role, she assists First Nations entrepreneurs throughout Saskatchewan to either start up or expand their businesses through the SIEF grant program.

For questions about the event, contact Jamie Chahine, Indigenous Research Liaison, Prairie Research Kitchen, at jchahine@rrc.ca.

Missed the first webinar of the series?

The Indigenous Food Business Stories webinar highlighted Indigenous food entrepreneurs and their stories. Guest speakers shared their unique stories and spoke about their experiences in the food industry – starting a business from the ground up, developing a new product, the challenges of entrepreneurship, and finding a niche in food business. Watch the webinar below.

RRC and Winnipeg Transit partnership helps bridge e-bus training gap

May 28, 2021

The rise of clean tech and electric vehicles is much more than a trend – it represents a long-term, sustainable solution to lessening environmental impact by reducing emissions and fuel consumption. As industries adopt electric vehicles, the need for specialized training has increased. The Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) at Red River College (RRC) is a hub for applied research, technical services as well as training for electric and hybrid vehicles. 

“RRC was part of the Joint Task Force on Transit Electrification, which assessed the economics and the greenhouse gas emission profiles for electric transit buses (e-buses) relative to diesel buses,” says Jose (Jojo) Delos Reyes, Research Manager, VTEC. “One key component of integrating e-buses into the current fleet is providing training. This is where we saw an opportunity to approach Winnipeg Transit about supplemental training courses.”

Currently New Flyer Industries (New Flyer) provides an intensive e-bus course to transit maintenance technicians across North America. While this training is immersive, the VTEC team saw a need for reskilling and upskilling transit mechanics and technicians in preparation for the New Flyer course. 

“For those who have previous experience working with electric buses or vehicles, they may be able to jump right into the manufacturer training. However, a diesel mechanic who has never worked on an electric vehicle, for example, may benefit greatly from supplemental learning,” says Delos Reyes.

A group from the RRC transportation department took the New Flyer e-bus course to determine where knowledge gaps might exist and what information and training would be a beneficial precursor to this course. The overall goal was to develop specialized training to prepare technicians and set them up for success.

After identifying the gap and demonstrating the need for specialized training, VTEC worked closely with RRC transportation department members Tom Grant, Chair of Transportation Heavy Apprenticeships and Trades, Ken Friesen, Program Manager, Dietrich Schellenberg, Academic Coordinator, and Leonard Wiens, Apprenticeship Instructor, to develop the “Intro to Electric Bus Technology” course in collaboration with Winnipeg Transit.

The Intro to Electric Bus Technology course is composed of three one-week modules, focusing on safety aspects, knowledge of electrical fundamentals, and interpreting data communications.

“The transition to electrification brings a rapid shift in safety and technology that our technicians need to be prepared for. This course will introduce technicians to the high voltage electric vehicle systems needed to support both battery electric and fuel-cell battery electric vehicle technologies, and prepare them for the more in-depth manufacturer training,” says Eric Rensfelt, Vehicle Systems Supervisor, Winnipeg Transit. “Safety is paramount, and technicians will need to be comfortable working with the new technology, as well as be able to diagnosis the complex systems through Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) programming and ladder logic. The partnership between Winnipeg Transit and Red River College resulting from this course is the first step in this process.”

The first RRC e-bus training course was slated to start in May 2020, but due to the pandemic, the brakes were temporarily put on the project. 

Students learning in a classroom at RRC

This spring, the first group of trainees completed The Intro to Electric Bus Technology course. As highlighted in the course description: completing this course will provide the strong electrical foundation required for transit technicians to successfully complete the in-depth manufacturer electric bus training, and in turn upskill members of Manitoba’s workforce.