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SpaRRCky flies: Student-built electric car cracks top 10 at Shell Eco-marathon

April 10, 2019

For the second year running, a team of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology students from Red River College have taken their battery-electric vehicle — dubeed SpaRRCky — to Sonoma, California for the Shell Eco-marathon.

The team beat their personal best, moving from a 14th-place finish last year to seventh overall in the battery electric category. And while this year’s race was ultimately a success, it wasn’t without its challenges.

“Going into our first run was the most nerve-racking part of the competition,” says team captain Joel Turner, an Electrical Engineering Technology student at RRC. “Our first set of available runs had been postponed due to rain, which furthered our nervousness, but as soon as we got off the line it was high fives and smiles all around!”

Nerves aside, the team also had to deal with various technical challenges. During the first run, SpaRRCky’s cover came loose and the team’s driver (Samantha Sousa, a Welding student who also constructed the racer’s steering knuckle) had to pull over for her own safety and the safety of the others on the track.

“Once we got the car back, we quickly brainstormed and fixed the problem on the fly, got SpaRRCky back in line, and were able to make the next run,” says Turner.

Students with battery-electric racerSousa noted that the first run track was the most nerve-wracking part of the competition, thanks in part to the weather.

“The rain was pushing our time slot back and the pavement was slick. I also had not driven SpaRRCky on pavement yet, only in the gym as we still had snow in Winnipeg,” she says.

But the stress didn’t stop there. “After our third run, a housing bolt had become stripped and we could not attempt another run with the vehicle in this condition,” says Turner.

Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and a visit to a local hardware store, they were able to make the fix and move on to the next run and a seventh-place finish. 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 →

Transportation trailblazer makes milestone $1.5M donation to Red River College

March 15, 2019

A transportation pioneer will help Red River College train the next generation of industry achievers, and ensure the viability of Manitoba’s skilled workforce for decades to come.

Jan den Oudsten — founder and former president of New Flyer Industries, and inventor of leading-edge transit technology — along with his wife, Maria den Oudsten, is donating $1.5 million to RRC, one of the largest gifts the College has ever received from individual donors.

Maria and Jan den Oudsten with RRC President Paul Vogt“I spent much of my life in an industry I am passionate about, and am incredibly humbled to be able to give back and inspire the next generation of learners,” says den Oudsten (shown above, with Maria and son Bob). “Working and living in Winnipeg was the best time of my life. Winnipeg has the best bus builders in the world, and it is my hope that with this gift that reputation of excellence can continue for many more years.”

RRC is celebrating the transformative gift by officially renaming its Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre. The 60,000-sq.-ft. training and research facility will now be proudly known as the Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology & Research Centre (VTRC).

The expansive complex was built in 2008, and was one of the first education centres in Manitoba to receive LEED® Silver certification from the Canada Green Building Council. Every day, close to 170 students at VTRC are trained in transportation technology programs such as Heavy Duty Mechanic, Truck Transport Mechanic (apprenticeship), Trailer Mechanic (apprenticeship), Outdoor Power Equipment (certificate and apprenticeship) and specialized training for General Motors.

VTRC also works with industry partners such as New Flyer to drive applied research in vehicle technology and development, and to support the transportation industry on energy conservation and alternatives (such as electrification), cold-weather testing and technology integration. Read More →

Former Business student slays Dragons, lands lucrative deal for eyebrow-bar boutiques

February 8, 2019

Giovanna MinenniGiovanna Minenna, a former Business Administration student at Red River College, certainly knows a thing or two about raising eyebrows in Manitoba.

And the local entrepreneur — owner of boutique chain Brows by G — caught the eye of millions more people this week, when she and her husband and business partner, Scott Russell, entered TV’s notorious Dragons’ Den to make a pitch to some of Canada’s toughest and best-known investors.

The duo flew to Toronto late last year, but only recently announced to local media that they’d faced the infamous Dragons, leaving friends and clients anxiously awaiting the air date of last night’s episode.

During Minenna’s on-air pitch, the brow queen shared stories of her success here in Winnipeg, and asked for $400,000 for 16 per cent of her company in order to continue expanding across the country.

Her solid business plan and pitch prompted three of six Dragons to shoot fiery deals her way.

Jim Treliving, chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International, offered $400,000 for 20 per cent of the company, with an eye on helping the duo franchise. Manjit Minhaus, co-founder of Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Wineries, offered the same amount to help grow their cosmetic product line across the globe. Finally, renowned venture capitalist Arlene Dickinson matched her fellow Dragons’ offers, but with an added promise to build more corporate stores.

In the end, Dickinson tweezed out a successful deal.

But long before she was making pitches on TV, Minenna was shaping her career path right here at Red River College.

She says she started her educational journey like many her age — unsure of what she wanted to study or do for a living. She enrolled in university classes, but it wasn’t long before she realized she needed a career that sparked her creativity. Read More →

College appoints new Truth and Reconciliation Manager to lead in commitments to Indigenous Education Blueprint

February 7, 2019

Carla Kematch, Red River CollegeAs part of its commitment to advancing Indigenous achievement while strengthening ties between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, Red River College has appointed its first Manager of Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement.

Carla Kematch will lead the College in its commitment to Manitoba’s Indigenous Education Blueprint, a pledge to advance Indigenous education in the province — and to make Manitoba a centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.

As one of nine post-secondary signatories to the Blueprint — which takes action on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada — the College recognizes it has an important, proactive role to play in supporting reconciliation efforts in the province.

“A key priority for the College is to strengthen our partnerships and continue to advance Indigenous achievement in our communities, and education is the key to improving the lives of Indigenous people and to improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations across Canada,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“Our role as a college is to ensure we create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous people to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society. We are looking forward to the skills, experience and perspective that Carla will bring to the team as we address Truth and Reconciliation throughout the College.”

Kematch arrives at RRC with 30 years’ experience working within Indigenous communities in a variety of capacities, including the development of training programs for staffs, community clients, board members and other partners, in areas such as policy development, needs assessment, implementation plans, and evaluation and delivery of group training. Read More →

Culinary students serve up victories at national chefs challenge in Toronto

January 31, 2019

In the immortal words of Guy Fieri, Red River College students Argie Garcia and Anthony Carino took the judges to Flavourtown during the Young Chef’s Challenge in Toronto last weekend.

Garcia (shown above, at right), a Level Two Apprentice Chef, finished in first place at the event, while Carino (at left), a Term 6 Culinary Arts student, finished second.

They were two of six student chefs from across Canada selected to participate in the challenge, hosted annually by the World Association of Chefs and Cooks.

Each chef was given three hours to create a three-course meal that showcased creativity, taste and kitchen organization. They also had to incorporate a set list of ingredients, including chilled salmon (appetizer), beef striploin (principal plate) and dark chocolate and tea (dessert).

“These two talented young chefs had world-renowned judges scrutinizing all of the flavours they built and every move they made in the kitchen, so to have them both come out on top is an incredible feat,” says RRC Chef Instructor Gordon Bailey (shown above, at centre).

As the first-place chef, Garcia will now have the honor of representing Canada at the World Chefs Congress, taking place in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2020. Carino’s talents also earned him an offer to join the Canadian Junior Olympic Chef Team in Prince Edward Island.

“Argie and Anthony demonstrated their technical skills and knowledge in the kitchen on the national stage, and they did so with such a high level of poise and professionalism. They represented the College and the province proudly,” says Bailey.

“To watch them grow over the last two years into the chefs they are today has been an incredible experience as a fellow chef, and as an educator. I look forward to seeing where their career paths take them – with this achievement, and as they build their craft in this business in the future.”

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 →

Paramedicine, Electrical Engineering grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s Medals for Proficiency

January 29, 2019

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who’ll receive their awards as part of our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremonies on Feb. 6 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Each year, up to four Lt.-Gov.’s 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:

RRC graduate Grace HartGrace Hart — A graduate of RRC’s Paramedicine — Primary Care Paramedicine program, Grace Hart is a big proponent of paying it forward.

Now 24, Hart grew up in Winnipeg, graduating from Fort Richmond Collegiate in 2012. She spent her childhood living in poverty, finding support through the charitable services of such organizations as Winnipeg Harvest, the Christmas Cheer Board and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.

“I was 12 or 13 and my bed just broke in half, so I was on the floor with an air mattress for about two months. We found out about Hands of Hope and got a bed through them,” Hart says.

“As soon as I got into junior high, I got involved with a philanthropy group and did a lot of volunteering. When I finished high school and started university, I got into Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg, and because I had a car, I started delivering for the Christmas Cheer Board.”

With a strong desire to help people, Hart entered the Nursing program at the University of Manitoba. However, an extended hospital stay put her on a different path. Read More →

Mentorship exchanges allow students to ‘study abroad’ without leaving home

January 11, 2019

While attending Red River College, students will make friends, become exposed to new ideas, and learn the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workplace. The one thing they might not get to do is study abroad — unless they take time out of their academic schedule to do so.

But RRC’s Intercultural Mentorship Program allows students to broaden their horizons without having to incur the costs of plane tickets, living expenses or additional student fees. In fact, the only investment required is 10 hours of volunteer time, spread over the winter term.

Each year, RRC welcomes over 700 immigrant and international students who wish to further their education in Canada, just as the province regularly welcomes new immigrants who help to grow our economy and strengthen cultural diversity.

In the case of students, cross-cultural exchanges can have positive impacts on their careers, as well.

“Having an understanding of diversity and cross-cultural communication are key power skills to have in our global economy,” says Vera Godavari, RRC’s Mentorship Program Coordinator.

“In Michelle Obama’s talk on The Importance of Studying Abroad, she emphasizes building intercultural bridges as a key to success in the global economy. As she points out, good grades are important, but it’s also about having ‘real experiences with the world beyond your borders — experiences with languages and cultures and society that are very different from your own.’” Read More →

College establishes academic partnership with top-tier university in India

January 7, 2019

Red River College will partner with Chitkara University — one of India’s leading teaching and research institutions — to deliver innovative programming and continue efforts to internationalize the College and compete on the global stage.

“Red River College is a global operation, and growing in stature in the area of international education,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Over the past few years, we have significantly increased our efforts to internationalize the College, and the signing of this agreement with Chitkara University will allow us to continue to encourage academic collaboration, educational exchanges and innovative joint research projects with a leading institution in India.”

The College is exploring pathways to establish a satellite campus at Chitkara that will enable RRC to deliver the two-year Business Information Technology (BIT) program to students studying in India, beginning in the fall of 2019.

The proposed one-plus-one delivery model will also create new opportunities for students to complete their final year of studies here in Manitoba, and for RRC students to study overseas — part of the College’s student mobility strategy. Read More →