College feeds local economy with unveiling of new culinary research kitchen

November 7, 2019

Manitoba’s vital agriculture and food industry is getting another boost with today’s grand opening of Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen.

The new research facility brings food science, culinary arts and industry together on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen supports the growth of our ever-important agriculture and food industry, and helps build on Manitoba’s protein advantage, which is one of our strategic priorities,” says Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler (shown above, at right, with interim RRC President Darin Brecht).

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to have provided $1 million from Research Manitoba towards the construction of the research kitchen, as culinary research is an area of tremendous opportunity. It’s exciting to see the College’s research chefs put their skills and expertise to work creating food products that are not only good for our health, but are also good for Manitoba’s economy.”

Culinary instructor plating food, Prairie Research Kitchen

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of manufacturing sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are SMEs, and this is where the Prairie Research Kitchen comes in — working directly with small and medium-sized operations to help bring new ideas and products to life. Read More →

Passion for InfoSec propels BIT student down new career path

November 5, 2019

A Business Information Technology (BIT) student from Red River College has won a prestigious award from ISACA (formerly the Information Systems Audit and Control Association), which will provide her with a $2,000 scholarship and valuable industry connections as she steps into her new career.

Now in her second year, Melanie Par enrolled in the BIT program hoping to combine her background in criminology with her technical skills as a programmer, and quickly discovered a passion for the information security (InfoSec) community in Winnipeg.

“I’ve never been more excited for the future,” she says. “Winning this award has been a reaffirming experience to pursue a career in information technology.”

Par learned more about InfoSec by volunteering for The Long Con — a community-based information security conference — and as president of RRC’s ISACA student group.

Karen Kabel, an Information Security instructor at the College, launched the student group last year, making RRC one of only two post-secondary institutions in Canada to have an ISACA student chapter. Kabel has been a member of ISACA for more than 20 years and was the first female president in Winnipeg; she thinks Melanie could soon serve in the same role.

“Melanie is always the first one to volunteer to help with our ISACA student activities,” says Kabel. “She was key in helping putting on the group’s first information security student conference (at the ACE Project Space). She volunteers to make a difference in the security industry for other RRC students, which makes her deserving of this award and the advantages that come with it.” Read More →

Opportunities await: Students help streamline operations for employment aid organization

November 4, 2019

Red River College’s ACE Project Space is opening new doors for Equal Opportunities West.

An initiative of RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department, the ACE Project Space plays host to students working in conjunction with corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits to bring business and project ideas to reality.

Students in the interactive workshop recently created an application for Equal Opportunities West (EOW) to automate its scheduling system. The organization provides support services to people with work barriers — such as physical and intellectual disabilities or mental health issues — to help secure competitive employment or start businesses of their own.

The non-profit also runs a day program for people with intellectual disabilities.

“We as an organization have expanded so much over the years,” says Susan Morgan, EOW’s executive director. “We really felt it was getting difficult to schedule everybody and get everything on paper. Just physically keeping track of everybody was becoming a daunting task.”

“We had an idea for an app. We heard about the ACE program and we went down to meet with them and they certainly thought it was something they could help with. I had looked at these canned apps, but they were mostly for the restaurant industry. There are lots of good scheduling apps out there, but nothing quite as in-depth and comprehensive as what we needed.” Read More →

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 →

Resilience, respect, strength: RRC board member recognized for leadership impact

October 22, 2019

Ashley RichardFuture of Good has named Ashley Richard one of 21 Canadian youth reshaping governance in 2019.

Richard, who was appointed to Red River College’s Board of Governors in 2018, says she is “honoured and humbled by the recognition.”

The annual list celebrates young directors making significant contributions to the non-profit boards on which they serve. The Future of Good blog tells the stories of people making a positive impact on the world around them. This year’s list was drawn from more than 125 nominees across Canada, including entrepreneurs, public servants, academics, activists, and more.

Richard, a woman of Ojibwe, Métis and Filipino heritage, says serving on RRC’s board allows her to play a vital role in shaping the future of Manitoba’s economy by supporting the achievements and successes of the College’s Indigenous students.

“My goal is to ensure that RRC offers the best we have to our students,” she says. “They are our present and our future.”

At 29, Richard may be one of the board’s youngest members, but she’s no stranger to achievement herself.

The story of how she survived homelessness, poverty, abuse and assault made the pages of Maclean’s magazine in 2015. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the Asper School of Business, where her final project on Indigenous economic development was published in the Journal on Aboriginal Economic Development, she worked at Leaders International and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. Today she is a youth engagement activator for TakingITGlobal, a worldwide network dedicated to empowering young people to do good in their communities. Read More →

Campuses to go smoke-free in 2020

October 22, 2019

No smoking/no vaping symbolRed River College is “butting out” starting Jan. 1, 2020, when smoking and vaping will no longer be permitted at any of its campuses across the province.

The new policy is part of the College’s commitment to provide a healthy environment for its students, employees and visitors — one where they can work, learn, study and live.

RRC is one of Manitoba’s largest institutes of applied learning, and the province’s largest trainer of health-care professionals. It’s also consistently ranked as one of Manitoba’s top employers, and one of the greenest.

“We’re proud of these distinctions, and with that pride comes a responsibility to show leadership and set an example by putting an end to smoking and vaping everywhere on campus,” says Melanie Gudmundson, RRC’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

“We all share the same air. By adopting a 100% smoke-free policy, we’re eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke on campus that is known to be detrimental to people’s health, and contributes to local air pollution.”

The policy applies to all members of the College community, including students, staff and faculty.  Visitors to campus, including visiting instructors, prospective students, contractors and external clients, will also be prohibited from smoking on RRC property.

The College is making smoking cessation programs and resources available at no cost all members of its community through its Health Centre.

Exemptions to the policy will be granted to RRC community members who practice smudging and pipe ceremonies on campus. Red River College will also provide accommodation for the medical use of cannabis on campus in accordance with applicable legislation and policy.

To learn more about RRC’s smoke-free policy, visit

Better angels: RRC students partner with non-profit providing support to grieving families

October 21, 2019

Red River College’s ACE Project Space has been touched by an angel.

An initiative of RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department, the ACE Project Space plays host to students working in conjunction with corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits to bring business and project ideas to reality.

This past summer, students in the interactive workshop created an application for Manitoba Angel Dresses to digitize its inventory system. Manitoba Angel Dresses is a non-profit organization that provides families who are grieving the loss of an infant with items crafted from donated bridal and bridesmaid gowns.

Diane Monkman, a spokeswoman for the organization, says the students and staff at RRC were very supportive of the project.

“The College was so helpful, so open and so accepting of the project,” Monkman says. “It can be very hard to start a conversation saying what we do, because a lot of people shy away from that, but it’s a needed service.”

“One instructor at the College, he just touched us so immensely. We had brought the items in one day so the students could see exactly what they’re doing. One of the instructors, it touched him so much that he got a little bit emotional.” 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 →

RRC’s staff team pulls out a win for United Way Winnipeg

September 19, 2019

Earlier this month, Red River College staff and students rolled up their sleeves for United Way Winnipeg’s 16th annual Plane Pull — in which RRC’s staff team logged the fastest time for the Lockheed C-130 Hercules pull.

The team of employees — made up of administrative staff, educational assistants, instructors, and College leaders — pulled the plane 20 feet in 11.12 seconds. The RRC Stevenson Campus student team pulled the Boeing 727 the same distance in 16.45 seconds, for a sixth place finish.

“I was happy to be part of a great team from Red River College” says Joan Machendagoos, administrative assistant for Skilled Trades and Technologies at RRC. “This gave us the opportunity to meet staff that we only see in emails, and to bond as a team. Giving back to the community was a bonus.”

RRC's staff team pulling planeRRC’s Stevenson Campus was once again the proud facility sponsor, providing the campus hangar and volunteers for the fundraising event, which launched the 2019-20 United Way Annual Giving Campaign. This year, the organization announced it’s seeking a goal of $21.6 million for more than 100 agency partners, all of which benefit Winnipeg residents.

The Stevenson Campus — a 55,000-square foot training facility, complete with aircraft hangar — is home to RRC’s aviation and aerospace programs, making it the ideal location for the Plane Pull to take place each year.

“Next year we hope to have a few more teams so we can not only be the top team for the best pull time, but also have the highest fundraising teams,” says Machendagoos.

More than 80 teams participated in the 2019 Plane Pull, raising more than $88,000 towards United Way’s campaign goal.

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 →