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Flame and fortune: Design grad named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year

October 31, 2019

Amanda Bushe, Coal and Canary co-founderA Red River College grad behind one of the city’s most popular startups has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women Business Owners of Manitoba (WBOM).

Amanda Buhse, co-founder of Coal and Canary Candle Company, was both the overall winner and in the Global Reach category at this year’s Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, held Oct. 24 at the Metropolitan Event Centre.

A 2006 graduate of RRC’s Graphic Design – Advanced program (now called Communication Design), Buhse launched the Coal and Canary brand with best friend Tom Jansen in 2014. The pair expected to start slow, selling a few hand-poured candles to friends and family, but mere months later were scrambling to fill Oscar and Grammy Awards swag bags while meeting the rising demand from their first retail clients.

These days, they’re a regular presence at pop-up shops and makers’ markets throughout the city, and their candles — made from high-quality soy and vegetable wax, with scents running the gamut from Don’t Be Chaito The Cider Made Me Do It— can also be found at their storefront in The Forks Market.

Buhse was working full-time as a web designer when she and Jensen first began brainstorming ideas for their business. She’d been encouraged to pursue graphic design training at RRC by a high school guidance counsellor, and while she found the program “surprisingly hard,” she’s eternally grateful for the advice. Read More →

Apprenticeship grad takes top honours at international culinary competition

October 10, 2019

Junior sous chef Darnell BanmanA Red River College grad served up the winning entry at a prestigious international culinary competition last month, spinning his home turf advantage into a mouth-watering win for Canada.

Winkler-born Darnell Banman, who completed his Apprenticeship Cook training with a Red Seal designation in 2014, beat out competitors from 22 other countries at this year’s La Chaine des Rotisseurs International Young Chefs Competition, which took place Sept. 19–22 in Calgary.

The black box-style challenge gives participants four and a half hours to create and prepare a four-course meal using surprise ingredients.

Banman’s winning menu included a pickerel bar with prawn mousseline, shallots, puffed skin and sauce beurre blanc, pan roasted beef tri tip with crispy potato, braised beluga lentils, jus and butter-poached quail breast, and for dessert, dark chocolate mousse, lemon thyme sable, poached saskatoon berries, candied acorn squash and peach gel.

“I was shocked, but also very excited when I found out I won,” says Banman, who currently serves as sous chef at the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club, where he’s spent the last year prepping for both the national and international versions of the competition under the tutelage of Chef Cameron Huley.

“It’s always been something that I’ve dreamed of achieving.” Read More →

Culinary grad hoping to plate a victory at prestigious international competition

August 15, 2019

A Winkler-born Red River College grad will represent Canada at a prestigious international culinary competition this fall.

Darnell Banman, who completed his Apprenticeship Cook training with a Red Seal designation in 2014, will face off against more than 20 chefs from around the world at the 2019 La Chaine des Rotisseurs International Young Chefs Competition, taking place in Calgary from Sept. 19–22.

Once there, he’ll be given four hours to create a four-course meal during a black box-style challenge in which chefs have to build menus using surprise ingredients. Banman (shown above, at centre) has some experience in this department, having won the national version of the same competition last October.

“It has a lot to do with telling a story — everything needs to make sense,” Banman told the Winnipeg Sun. “There needs to be colour, there needs to be texture and flavour. You don’t want to duplicate ingredients — you want everything to be different.”

Banman got his first taste of the culinary life while working as a dishwasher at a Winkler golf course. Shortly after moving to Winnipeg, he was hired at the St. Charles Country Club, where he trained under executive chef Takashi Murakami, a member of the Order of Canada and a 2011 recipient of an honorary diploma from RRC. Read More →

No cutting corners: Apprenticeship Carpenters showcase skills at annual competition

June 20, 2019

It was a race against the clock, but the contestants who took their time fared best at Red River College’s annual Carpentry Competition.  

The 25th edition of the contest took place June 7 and 8 in the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. 

This year’s event featured nine graduates of the College’s Level 4 Carpenter Apprenticeship program, each battling to be the best builder. On day one, the competing carpenters wrote an extensive exam worth 30 per cent of the challenge. Day two of the competition saw contestants tasked with building an elaborate “hug bench” with limited time and materials. 

Alex Mackenzie, of PBR Construction in Niverville, Man., was named the competition’s top carpenter, while Walker Enns and Caleb Gossen finished second and third, respectively. 

“A couple guys went right to the last minute. Actually, the last two guys that finished at the last minute, literally, they placed first and second,” says Jeff Martens, the core instructor of the Level 4 Carpentry Apprenticeship program. 

“It’s amazing, the attention to detail. And of course, detail takes time. They used every second that they had.”

Mackenzie (shown above) won a $1,500 shopping spree courtesy of Bosch, while second and third prize were worth $1,400 and $1,000, respectively. The six other contestants all went home with $500 worth of portable power tools and accessories.  Read More →

Childhood Education, Construction Management grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s medals at Convocation

June 14, 2019

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who received their awards as part of our 2019 Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 4 and 5.

Each year, up to four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Adele Petri, Spring ConvocationAdele Petri — Early Childhood Education Workplace

Adele Petri helps kids to be the best they can be.

A graduate of RRC’s Early Childhood Education Workplace program, Petri is a supervisor at Starting Blocks day care centre in Stonewall. In 2015, she co-founded the Stonewall support group Families for Autism Awareness & Support.

In 2014, Petri’s son Tanner was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.

“When you’re a parent of a child that’s diagnosed with autism, you really aren’t given any direction. You really have to be an advocate for your child,” says Petri, 47.

“There wasn’t a local support group here in town, so that would mean parents would have to travel to the city. Parents are already tired, so we wanted to provide a safe place where they can come.”

Petri says the support group allows families to compare notes on how best to navigate the vast spectrum of autism information and services.

“It goes both ways. I see what the support does for other families and I’m also getting support from them,” she says.

As an early childhood educator, Petri believes her career goes way beyond babysitting.

“You’re there to bring out the best in children and foster all the things children need to flourish,” she says.

Allison Enns, Spring ConvocationAllison Enns — Construction Management

Don’t tell Allison Enns she can’t do something.

After she was told in university to drop every course that had “reading, writing and numbers” because of her learning disabilities, Enns did what anybody would do: she enrolled in the Civil Engineering Program at Red River College.

Years later, Enns is still putting it to her naysayers, having graduated from RRC’s Construction Management program. She is currently working as a site coordinator at Akman Construction.

“I applied to engineering at Red River kind of out of spite, and to prove to them and myself that my learning disabilities don’t define me,” says Enns, 24.

“The school helped me understand my learning disabilities. My GPA skyrocketed from university to Red River because I finally understood how my brain works.”

Enns, who has dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD, spoke at RRC’s recent REDx Speaker Series about her struggles and successes with learning disabilities. She was also a member of an RRC advisory group where she helped to create guidelines on how presenters should format workshops so that they’re accessible to everyone.

“Whatever limitations people put on you, your only real limitation is yourself,” she says. “You can be you to get where you want to be.”

Honorary Diploma recipient celebrates lifelong link to RRC

June 5, 2019

Marilyn Kenny, portraitFamilies, friends and guests of Red River College will gather this week to watch their loved ones cross the stage and accept their degrees, diplomas and certificates — signaling the completion of their academic journey as students.

As these 2,000 new grads look ahead to their careers, the College looks back on its history, and proudly announces former board member Marilyn Kenny as this year’s Honorary Diploma recipient.

“Marilyn Kenny has truly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Red River College, and to learning,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“From her dedication to women’s employment initiatives to her work with the development of language training, Marilyn has been working shoulder-to-shoulder with the College for her entire career, and we are honoured to recognize her achievements.”

Kenny will receive her Honorary Diploma in Community Development/Community Economic Development. She now joins the ranks of fellow recipients such as Gail Asper, Ray St. Germain and Ace Burpee — all of whom have demonstrated high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements, and whose local, national and international accomplishments qualify them for such a recognition.

“I was honoured and overwhelmed when I learned that I had received the award — I think it was the first time anyone at the College has ever heard me speechless,” says Kenny. “When I look at where my career has taken me, Red River College has always been a part of it in some way or another — and I guess I’ve always been a part of Red River.”

Kenny says her career really began when she tried to help a little girl who’d been in and out of difficult situations and hospitalizations, but was unsuccessful because she didn’t have the proper credentials. She was later devastated to learn the girl had passed away.

Around the same time, she learned of RRC’s Social Welfare Services program, which her husband and family encouraged her to apply for.

“At the time I was driving in from Ashern in the evenings for my classes, but it felt like this was what I was meant to do. Red River College put the wind beneath my wings and gave me what I needed to keep going.” Read More →

School’s out for summer, but learning continues at RRC youth camps

May 24, 2019

Whoever said summer school was a drag clearly hadn’t heard of Red River College’s summer youth camps. For any child who dreams of building their own race car, or cooking like Canada’s next master chef, RRC has a number of fun-filled, hands-on camps returning by popular demand this summer.

“Red River College takes great pride in being a valued member of the community. Summer camps are just one way we are able to introduce young people to many potential career paths in a way that is interactive, engaging, and most importantly, fun,” says Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic.

“We’re thrilled to offer a variety of different camps throughout the summer months in our state-of-the-art facilities and taught by our industry-leading instructors.”

Each summer, the College week-long interactive learning experiences for students aged 10 to 14. This year, RRC is pleased to offer the following summer programs: Read More →

RRC becomes province’s first post-secondary to offer credit for Armed Forces experience

April 5, 2019

Red River College has entered into a new partnership that will help Canada’s veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces trade the experience they gained serving our country for a diploma.

As part of the announcement, RRC signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government’s National Advanced Placement & Prior Learning (N-APPL) program, which supports the recognition of military experience in post-secondary settings. Thanks to the agreement, veterans and reservists now have the opportunity to turn their training and experience into academic credits.

“The strength of Red River College is our ability to be agile in meeting student needs and the changing needs of our economy,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Not only does this partnership formally recognize military service, it allows the College to offer a broad talent pool for employers and open new career paths for Canadians who serve our country.”

The agreement makes RRC the first post-secondary institution in the province to formally acknowledge that skills, training and experience acquired through military service can be applied towards a college diploma.

RRC will pilot the project by fast-tracking veterans and reservists into the second year of its Business Administration program, with plans to expand to other program areas in the future. Read More →

Culinary instructors to rep RRC at showcase celebrating International Women’s Day

March 5, 2019

A quartet of Red River College instructors will join prominent chefs from across the city for an annual culinary showcase celebrating International Women’s Day this weekend.

Culinary Arts and Professional Baking instructors Chantalle Noschese, Kimberly Cooke, Lylah Erkau and Melissa Hyrb (shown above, from left to right) will represent RRC at this year’s Women, Wine & Food fundraiser for the Women’s Health Clinic (WHC) in Winnipeg.

The event — which takes place Friday night at the Manitoba Museum — was first cooked up by RRC alum Kelly Cattani (Culinary Arts, 2005), now the chef at catering service Bluestone Cottage.

Working with Janet Hamel, Director of Development at WHC, Cattani coordinated both the event and its all-female lineup as a means of benefiting the community-based clinic, which has supported women through health services, education and advocacy since 1981.

Come Friday, participating chefs will serve up a mouth-watering menu of canapes, which will then be paired with wine and beer tastings from local vendors.

Members of the RRC team won’t be the only participants with ties to the College. This year’s lineup of chefs also includes Culinary Arts grads Jackie Hildebrand (Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar), Connie Klassen (Pizzeria Gusto), Melissa Makarenko (Resto Gare Bistro & Train Bar), Kristel Pastorin (The Grove), Tara Podaima (Little Sister Coffee Maker) and Chinnie Ramos (Mon Ami Louis).

Business grad turned trucking magnate launches award for inner-city scholars

January 31, 2019

Students entering three business and I.T. programs at Red River College now have the opportunity for their educations to be covered, thanks to a new award for inner-city scholars launched by trucking magnate Gary Coleman.

The president and CEO of Big Freight Systems Inc., Coleman graduated from RRC in 1981 with a diploma in business. He recently established the Gary Coleman Award for Inner-City Scholars to help students build successful careers of their own.

“This scholarship program is a way of saying thank-you and giving back to the community, because the community has been very kind to me over the years,” says Coleman (shown above, at centre).

“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life. I grew up in a family with a mom and dad who taught us that if you worked hard, you end up achieving over time. I was also fortunate enough to go to college, get an education and then go into the family business. I had some big dreams for the family business and we’ve been successful in accomplishing many of them.”

Coleman’s award is now available to graduates of eight inner-city schools in Winnipeg who have been accepted into RRC’s Business Administration, Business Information Technology or Business Technology Management programs. The award will cover the costs of tuition, textbooks and expenses for two students in the 2019-2020 academic year, and will expand to cover four students in subsequent years.

“Red River College is honored that Mr. Coleman has made this commitment for young students to hone their skills in three of our business-based programs — free from the worry of financial barriers,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at left).

“It’s truly wonderful to see that Mr. Coleman, a proud graduate of our Business Administration program, has decided to give back and provide the same opportunities and education he received. These students will be receiving the highest level of hands-on training, and will make connections to get their foot in the door and take the steps necessary to become leaders in their careers.” Read More →