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Class of ’84 grad donation gives boost to RRC’s Directions Conference

February 6, 2020

Ron Margolis, Margolis Capital, and Tony Balaz, Kensington HomesIt’s a donation 35 years in the making.

Red River College grads Ron Margolis and Tony Balaz have gifted nearly $1,000 to RRC’s annual Directions Conference with money from a group project they helped complete in their graduating year – 1984.

[Editor’s Note: 1984 was the year the World Wide Web and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg were born, Steve Jobs launched a boxy little number called the Macintosh PC, and Bill Gates shared the cover of Time magazine with a floppy disk. Historical records indicate that 1984 was also the epoch of the cassette tape, pager, answering machine, and peak Murder, She Wrote.]

At that time, Margolis (shown, above) and Balaz (below) were studying Business Administration and working on a huge final project with a team of over a dozen other students. The group raised funds to pay for the layout and printing costs needed to produce their group’s business plan, only to find out, just before the plan was due, that the printing company couldn’t produce the accounting tables and wouldn’t be able to complete the job.

“Cut to a dozen of us hammering away on typewriters around the clock, trying to get this thing into some kind of presentable form when we should have been prepping our oral presentation instead,” Margolis recalls.

[Editor’s Note: 1984 was also before word processing and layout software were basic human rights.]

“The final result wasn’t pretty, but we ended up with something we could hand in.”

The money to cover the printing costs sat in the account in case it was still needed, and was then forgotten – until Margolis discovered the bank statement book in a pile of papers just over a year ago.

The discovery prompted Margolis, now president of Margolis Capital Group Inc., a commercial mortgage firm, to reach out to Balaz, another member of the group still living in Winnipeg. (Balaz is vice-president of Kensington Homes.)

“It made sense to both of us to donate it back to the College on behalf of our group, Seminar 13.”

They earmarked their donation for this year’s Directions Conference, which connects RRC Business and Applied Arts students with industry and business leaders through a series of speakers, information sessions, and a roundtable networking event. Obby Khan, local restaurateur and former Blue Bomber, will share his story of family, football and entrepreneurship at the conference’s keynote address on Thu., Feb. 6, inspiring the next generation of professionals and leaders.

“We love how this donation gives a group of our grads the opportunity to bring their Red River College experience full circle,” says RRC Alumni Engagement Officer Katrina Sklepowich. “We couldn’t be more grateful to this awesome group of people for boosting the impact of potentially career-shaping networking events like Directions for our students.”

Thinking of making a gift to Red River College? Donate now!