Ontario Skills Gold medalist and Fleming Valedictorian Mark Melong strives for greatness

Mark Melong is ending his studies at Fleming College with two major wins: a Gold medal in Metal Fabrication at the Skills Canada – Ontario competition and the School of Trades and Technology G.E. Outstanding Achievement Award.

But the Welding and Fabrication Technician graduate worked hard for this, both inside and outside of the classroom, and is proud to serve as Valedictorian at the School of Trades and Technology convocation ceremony.

“The message that I will give to my classmates is to not settle for anything less than you feel you deserve,” said Mark. “Strive for greatness and push your boundaries to keep bettering yourself. Don’t be afraid to take risks in your career in order to get to where you want to be. Above all, find what you love to do, because we spend almost half our lives working, so it might as well be somewhere you want to be every day.”

Mark was introduced to welding in high school and enjoyed it, so he completed his first-year apprenticeship during grade 12 through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). He wanted to learn more and build his resume, so Mark chose to earn his Welding and Fabrication Technician diploma at Fleming College.

“I had a ball of a time at Fleming,” said Mark. “Getting to know my classmates and professors was the best part about it all. By the last semester there was only about 16 students in the class and we were a very tight-knit group. We went through a lot in the past two years, so it made us become the best of friends.”

During his first year at Fleming College, Mark lived in Residence and loved the experience of meeting amazing people from different Fleming programs. Mark’s Residence Advisor (RA) inspired him to become an RA for his second year of studies at Fleming, and Mark said it’s one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“I gained so many skills that I never knew I needed,” said Mark. “The team I worked with was full of amazing and inspiring people. This made my second year one of the best years of my life and being able to go to the Skills competition at the end was the cherry on top.”

Mark attended Skills Canada – Ontario, Canada’s largest skilled trade and technology competition, during his second-year at Fleming. It was his third time in the competition, having earned 3rd Place in grade 12 and 7th Place during his first-year at Fleming. This time, Mark walked away with a Bronze medal in Welding and a Gold medal in Metal Fabrication.

“I absolutely loved going to the competition. The vibe of the whole event is that of prestige and pride in the trades. Being in a room with the best welders in college and going head-to-head with all of them is exhilarating,” said Mark. “Also, being able to hang out with your professors for three days is fun too.”

For the Welding competition, Mark had six hours to follow a blueprint to fit and weld metal pieces (that were cut to shape) using a welding machine. In the fabrication competition, Mark had an I-beam, metal pieces (not cut to shape) and equipment to fit and weld everything to the specifications of the provided blueprint. Both are challenging and competitive, so Mark is honoured to win Gold in Metal Fabrication and Bronze in Welding against competitors from other Ontario colleges.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling,” said Mark. “It was so nerve-racking waiting for the awards. When I heard my name called and I looked over and saw [program coordinator Darryl Madussi] with the biggest smile on my face, it made me feel so accomplished. After three years of competing, it was nice to win Gold.”

Mark said Fleming does a good job exposing students to the variety of techniques and accompanying theory for welding.

“The final welding project we did allowed us to touch upon many different aspects of the trade to see what we enjoyed the most,” said Mark on the fourth-semester Industry Showcase, where students display their pressure vessel project. “From that, many of my classmates decided where they wanted to apply for jobs and many of them got hired from it.”

Mark labels the Industry Showcase as his favourite Fleming College memory.

“We got all dressed up and showed off our pressure vessel project that took us 15 weeks to complete. We were all so proud of what we had built and all the skills we had learned,” said Mark. “To see the few classmates that I started with in Week 1, and how far we had come, made me proud to be working with such amazing people.”

Now that Mark has finished his classes at Fleming College, he is working at Chematics Inc. in Pickering, Ont. The shop builds custom pressure vessels for the mining and gas industries, as well as nuclear operations and other industrial applications.

The Class of 2019 graduate plans to gain more skills at Chematics and doesn’t want to set any long-term career plans in stone, as he’d like to keep an open mind and consider all the different routes available to him. But what Mark does know for sure is that he will strive for greatness, push his boundaries, keep bettering himself, and not be afraid to take career risks. 

Culinary students make Fleming College proud at Skills Canada – Ontario

Photo (left to right): Sophie Crowder, Kayla Daluz, Chef Steve Benns

Sophie Crowder remembers the nervous excitement she felt entering the Toronto Congress Centre, taking in the grandeur of Canada’s largest skilled trade and technology competition.

In Skills Canada – Ontario, skilled trade and technology students aim to impress their educators, family, friends and prospective employers, competing for Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals and the opportunity to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition. From there, competitors may go on to the WorldSkills Competition.

This was Sophie’s first experience at Skills Canada – Ontario, having just completed her first semester of Fleming’s Culinary Management program. Sophie was joined at the competition by faculty mentor Steve Benns and fourth-semester student Kayla Daluz, who was competing for her second time.

“Having this opportunity in my second semester is a privilege,” said Sophie. “I felt as prepared as I could be. I trained five days per week two weeks prior to the competition, working from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on everything.”

Each year, Fleming Culinary enters two students in the culinary arts competition at Skills Canada – Ontario. The first-year student is expected to try their best and take in the competition so they feel fully prepared next time, and the second-year student is expected to enter as a strong competitor ready for the challenge.

In the culinary arts category, students complete two modules. For Module 1,

Kayla made:

  • Mushroom Gougère: Shitake and shimeji mushrooms, bacon, green onions and brie stuffed in parmesan choux pastries
  • Cured Trout Appetizer: Quick cured trout on crispy brioche rounds topped with grainy mustard and chive cream cheese and a candied fennel chutney
  • Roasted Beet Tart: Slow-roasted beets, red onion marmalade, thyme, goat cheese and pistachios served in a savoury tart
Kayla’s Module 1. Photo by Dean Michelsen.

Sophie made:

  • Shimeji Mushroom Gougère: Pan-seared shimeji mushrooms, bacon, roasted red pepper and brie stuffed between parmesan and gruyere choux pastries topped with a lemon, white wine, chive and chili jelly
  • Cured Trout Open-Faced Sandwich: Quick cured trout on crispy challah points topped with chive cream cheese, pickled shallots, and a candied fennel and mango chutney
  • Waldorf “Style” Tart: Celery root, royal gala apples, mint, goat cheese and pistachios served in a savoury tart
Sophie’s Module 1. Photo by Dean Michelsen.

and for Module 2,

Kayla made:

  • Lobster Cannelloni: Fresh egg pasta stuffed with lobster, shallots and tarragon, finished with lobster glaze, tomato confit, chive white wine butter sauce and microgreens
  • Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie: Lemon curd white chocolate mousse, tuile cannoli, Italian meringue and citrus gelée finished with blueberry sauce, a sugar spiral, and assorted fruit
Kayla’s Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie. Photo by Dean Michelsen.

Sophie made:

  • Lobster Cappelletti: Pasta stuffed with lobster, fennel and shallots, finished with tomato confit, lobster glaze, citrus vinaigrette and microgreens
  • Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie: Lemon curd, tuile cookie and Italian meringue finished with raspberry sauce, a sugar stick, and assorted fruit
Lobster Cappelletti by Sophie. Photo by Dean Michelsen.

Although Sophie and Kayla were separate competitors, Sophie was pleased her work station was beside her Culinary Management peer. It gave Sophie the opportunity to not only work on her dishes, but observe a seasoned pro.

“She was calmer than I was. She carried herself well and followed her plan step-by-step. The way she carried through her work impacted me and I’ll remember it for next year,” said Sophie.

Kayla said she did feel calmer her second time at the competition.

“I was super nervous my first year and I didn’t know where anything was. It was way easier the second time around, I knew how things were laid out, I knew where the ingredients were, I knew what to expect,” she said. “I felt prepared. We trained a lot; every opportunity I had in between classes I was training. And then straight everything for two weeks leading up to the competition. I got to the point where I could measure by eye.”

It was worth the hard work and effort, as Sophie earned 5th Place and Kayla took home a Bronze Medal.

“Sophie, I am blown away. She is crazy talented just going into the program, and getting 5th on her first time? She will go somewhere,” said Kayla, who added that she placed 7th her first time competing. “And I love Chef Benns. I spend a lot of time with him training and I am so grateful to be training under him. He is super talented.”

For Sophie, the competition was spectacular, and she is excited to compete again next year.

“Ontario Skills was just spectacular, and it didn’t feel real until the closing ceremony. It took a long time to get here and I was so proud!” said Sophie. “I was taking photos of Kayla at the podium all teary eyed like a proud mom. Everything happens for a reason and I’m doing what I get to do and what I’m meant to do. I am so grateful.”

A Culinary Career Path

For both Kayla and Sophie, the path to Culinary Management was not easy.

When Kayla got pregnant in high school, she waited until her son was older to pursue her education. She went to PACE, which offers students the opportunity to earn college credits, and Kayla signed up for a dual credit in Fleming’s Culinary program.

“My chef instructor pulled me aside and recommended I continue this because he said I’m good at it,” said Kayla. “That meant a lot to me. I’m here now and the chefs are all proud of me, so I know I’m doing good here.”

Kayla’s advice to students at PACE is to find a career they love.

“If you love it, it comes,” she said. “When I walk in that kitchen, I feel a wave of happiness. If you love it, it’s there, it’s worth it. Seeing people’s reactions to my food, saying ‘I couldn’t do this! It’s crazy, it’s like art!’—that makes it worth it.”

She admits that training for the culinary industry and for competitions can be “hard, tiring and frustrating” with a four-year-old, but is grateful for her support system.

“My support system is great, especially my mom. She wants me in ‘Top Chef,’ she thinks I can go far,” said Kayla. “And my son is proud of it now. I showed him my medal to explain all that I’ve worked for, and he was excited and he’s proud.”

For Sophie, a culinary career didn’t seem possible for her due to health concerns.

When Sophie was 15, she slipped on wrapping paper and fell. Although she felt sore, Sophie wasn’t concerned until days later when her thigh was severely swollen. She visited her family doctor, who wrote Sophie a note for the hospital saying he suspected she had a blood clot.

Unfortunately, Sophie had to wait nine hours at the hospital as the clots spread. Once she was able to see a doctor, she had some blood tests done, followed by an ultrasound. When Sophie was wheeled out of the ultrasound, that’s when she realized something was wrong.

The accident had crushed Sophie’s collateral veins. The doctor injected Sophie with blood thinners and sent her to Sick Kids Hospital, who told Sophie if she had sat for another hour in the hospital her leg would’ve been amputated. She had ongoing healthcare treatments, including blood thinners, and was told culinary required too much standing for her to pursue.

Instead of culinary school, Sophie moved to Peterborough from Mississauga to study anthropological archaeology at Trent University. While she enjoyed finding connections between archeology and her passion (such as food vessel artifacts from Pompeii) and loved living in the city of Peterborough, Sophie still dreamed of a culinary career.

When her health improved and her doctor gave Sophie the all clear to study Culinary Management, she dropped out of archaeology and signed up for Culinary Management at Fleming College.

“I have a riser on my cutting board, I wear a back brace sometimes while cooking, and I wear compression socks,” said Sophie. “But this is the dream. I am so grateful I get to do it.”

Future Plans

Sophie, who began Culinary Management this January, will start training for the next Skills Canada – Ontario competition in September. She hopes to create a fine-tuned action plan, get her timing down, and come in feeling more prepared.

“It’s such a cool experience,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Kayla, who graduates from Fleming College this June, has been hired at Rolling Grape Vineyard as the Executive Chef. She will create a food program from scratch, which includes building a wood-burning oven for pizzas and growing fresh herbs.

“A huge bonus for me is that I can stay included at Fleming College because of the Culinary program’s collaboration with Rolling Grape,” said Kayla. “I’ve asked the chefs here what it takes to teach. They have given me so much, so I’d like to give back.”

Involvement leads to opportunity, says Construction Engineering Technician grad Tyler Fenton

The construction industry is a consumer of resources and raw materials and a contributor to solid waste, but Fleming Construction Engineering Technician graduate Tyler Fenton is hoping to improve the environmental impact of construction with sustainability.

“Sustainability is not the silver bullet, but it’s a powerful tool to drive change for the better,” said Tyler. “Through pursuing higher levels of sustainability, we can lower the waste produced by construction activities, make the buildings we build healthier for occupants, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the energy required to run these buildings and create more affordable living for people moving into urban areas.”

As a Sustainable Buildings Solutions Coordinator, LEED Green Associate at EllisDon Corporation, Tyler is responsible for ensuring that projects achieve different levels of sustainability certification: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, Toronto Green Standard certification, or both. Tyler’s department services EllisDon projects across Canada, including hospitals, commercial towers, schools, train stations and institutional buildings.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of such a wide variety of projects that serve many different functions in their communities, but that are all striving for excellence in design, construction and operation,” said Tyler.

Fleming education and network leads Tyler to success

Tyler worked on-campus at the Office of Sustainability while attending Fleming College and one of his responsibilities was to book guest speakers to talk to Trades students about sustainability in the construction industry.

One of his speaking events featured the Director and Program Manager from the Sustainable Building Solutions department at EllisDon and, through this experience, Tyler started growing a network at his dream place of employment.

When he graduated, Tyler emailed the CEO of EllisDon seeking a job opportunity (scroll to “Proud Fleming College graduate” for how they met). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as Tyler had hoped…

“Because I did not have industry experience, they couldn’t justify hiring me at the time,” he said. “They told me to go get some experience and re-apply in the future.”

So, he did.

Tyler worked as a Construction Coordinator at Dufferin Construction for one year to get the experience he needed. And when he re-applied to EllisDon, he got the dream job this time.

Confidence in the KUBE is why Tyler chose Fleming

Tyler didn’t always dream of working in construction. With a resume ranging from wildland firefighter to tree planter, bartender to labourer, and even a gig in the jewelry industry, Tyler took his time finding the right career fit.

When he decided on construction and engineering, Tyler chose Fleming because the program introduces students to various trades to give them an understanding of the different disciplines they’ll encounter on job sites.

“I was very impressed with the D-Wing in particular,” he said. “In no other educational facility I’d visited had I seen anything like the KUBE. This made me confident that I would be in a good learning environment.”

Adding, “I would absolutely recommend that prospective students go and visit the campus, go to the Open House, because it will give you a perspective on where you’ll be learning and if it’s what you’re looking for.”

Proud Fleming College graduate

“I’m very happy with my Fleming experience and I’m proud to tell people that’s where I went to college,” he said. “Overall, you’ve got a beautiful, newly renovated, top-of-the-line building to learn in, instructors who are passionate and have real world experience, and as many opportunities to learn or get involved as you can handle.”

Now that Tyler has graduated from Fleming, his advice to students is to get involved.

“The more you get involved, the more opportunity you’re going to have when you graduate,” said the Class of 2018 graduate.

While at Fleming, Tyler volunteered with Enactus Fleming, worked at the Office of Sustainability, and collaborated with his program coordinator to research and test permeable pavement.

The permeable pavement project led Tyler to representing Fleming College, the Office of Sustainability and FastStart at the 2017 OCE Discovery event, where he met EllisDon CEO Geoff Smith (who Tyler emailed for an interview when he graduated).

“In my experience, the connections I made through my student worker position in the Office of Sustainability opened the door to my dream job,” he said. “And the skills and knowledge I gained from the program and from the instructors I got to know allowed me to land the job. It wouldn’t have happened that way if I hadn’t gotten involved in the things that I did.”

Wireless Information Networking student Innovates for Change



In Canada, only one third of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math – also known as STEM – are women. By increasing women in STEM subjects, we can fuel change that will impact our future, which is why the theme for International Women’s Day this year is #InnovateForChange (source: Status of Women Canada).

Manveen Kour is part of that change. Having studied electronics and communications at the University of Jammu, Manveen is adding a graduate certificate to her resume by taking Fleming College’s Wireless Information Networking program. She plans to grow her career in IT after graduating this spring.

“When I go to clients and look around their businesses, all I see are men. In an entire company, there is only a couple women!” said Manveen, who provides IT services through her Fleming applied project.

“I read online something like 20 to 30 percent of technology professionals are women, but I know companies want to hire women because equality is good. It’s not that the opportunity isn’t there, the women just have to go for it!”

One reason women are underrepresented in STEM subjects and careers, Manveen suspects, is because the interest isn’t nurtured from a young age.

“Where I’m from, India, there is inequality; boys are encouraged to take technology and women are not,” said the Wireless Information Networking student. “You have to encourage an interest in technology from the beginning, from your childhood.”

Manveen says she is fortunate her interest was nurtured from a young age the same way it was for her brother. She credits her father for this and feels very grateful for him.

“My brother would open up the computer and explore it because he was curious, and a lot of girls don’t do that because they’re not encouraged to,” she said. “The family plays a role in this and my father, right from the beginning, told me this is a great career and encouraged me. And I still call him when I have a question or dilemma, and he’s there.”

Teachers also play an important role in development, Manveen explains. She hopes teachers encourage girls and boys equally in developing STEM interests and pursuing careers in this field.

Manveen did feel encouraged by her family and teachers to study electronics and communications at the University of Jammu. During her university internship, she learned cloud computing and wireless networking, and really enjoyed it. She decided to enhance this skillset after graduating and moved to Canada for Fleming’s Wireless Information Networking program.

Manveen at her applied project.
Manveen at her applied project.

“Canada is very welcoming, I didn’t expect it to be so sweet! I love Canada!” said Manveen, adding that everyone she has met at Fleming College has been very helpful.

Faculty members Darren Gethons, Alwyn Appiah and Mamdouh Mina, in particular, are three instructors Manveen credits for their support and motivation. Manveen recommends any students who are struggling to speak with their professors for their help and guidance.

This semester, the Fleming College student has a very busy schedule. In addition to classes and a part-time campus job at the Contact Centre, Manveen is working at Interface Technologies on Wednesdays and Fridays for her program applied project. As her applied project, Manveen is helping provide IT services to clients across the city for Interface Technologies.

“When I was interviewed for my applied project position, I was against three boys. I was the only girl in the interview and I got it!” said Manveen. “I was scared being interviewed against them, but my dad told me he had this vision and I will get it and don’t worry—and I did!”

Manveen recommends this career path to anyone interested in it and to find someone to cheer you on.

“For me, that’s my father. He keeps me going,” she said. “Aim big and don’t settle. Never settle, know you deserve more. Like my father always says, ‘the sky is the limit!’”

“We’re no different if we can do the job” Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing students Amanda, Amy and Kayla



When you walk into the multi-story KUBE structure in the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre, Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing students Amanda Hancock, Amy French and Kayla Wilford do not stand out amongst the group of students welding pipes, finding parts, and polishing finished projects.

And that’s just the way they like it.

“I don’t feel any different,” said Amanda on being a woman in trades. “They help when needed and I love it here.”

Amanda’s classmate Amy agrees, adding, “We all help each other out.”

It wasn’t too long ago when there weren’t many female students in trades programs at Fleming College. Since 2014, when the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre opened at the Sutherland Campus, enrolment of female students grew from 3 per cent to 12 per cent.

Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program coordinator Neil Maika said that while trades may still be a male-dominated industry, women employed in trades careers is on the rise.

“There is an immense opportunity here. Multiple employment paths are becoming available,” said Neil. “Also, all of my students are great. They respect each other, they help each other, and they are all very professional. All students are treated equally by both faculty and their peers, whether female or male.”

First-semester student Amanda said she did have some concerns before she enrolled.

After hearing amazing things about Fleming College from her brother, who took the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning program, Amanda decided to give trades a try three years after graduating from high school. Amanda chose the plumbing program based on the recommendation of her friend’s stepfather, who is a plumber and loves his profession.

“I was worried about it myself, but they’re all nice. It’s no different being a girl here,” said Amanda. “We’re no different if we can do the job. And all the guys here are very friendly, kind and supportive.”

Her classmate Kayla, on the other hand, had no hesitation enrolling in the Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program right after high school.

“I spent the last two summers working in trades with a friend. I helped with renovations, basic labour, installing showerheads, things like that,” said Kayla, who graduated from Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School last year. “I was torn between going straight into an apprenticeship or taking this program. I decided to take this program to help figure out if plumbing is the trade I want to do, instead of going straight into a specific apprenticeship.”

In the Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing program, students learn a variety of trade-specific skills. They are also introduced to installing, maintaining and repairing piping systems in residential, commercial and industrial settings to enhance employment opportunities.

Amy French, a mature student who started college after having children, said she chose the program based on job prospects.

“I’m told women in trades are wanted and needed, and specifically asked for, so here I am,” said Amy. “I chose plumbing because plumbing was the most expensive construction cost, and I want to build my own house one day. I feel like it’s the right career path.”

Amy said she feels being a mature student gives her an advantage. She feels more mature now than she did right after high school, she doesn’t party, and she is very focused on finishing school.

Her advice to current students is don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Amanda added that there are many resources available for help, such as asking faculty when you have questions, signing up for tutoring, and taking advantage of D2L.

Kayla reminds students to stay focused on school. “Pay attention, get your homework done, get your projects done—focus,” she said.

Valedictorian Jacob Gregory graduates from Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician program with technical skills, industry experience, and lifelong friends

jacob-gregoryThere is one thing Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician graduate Jacob Gregory will not let control his life: the fear of failure.

The Valedictorian for the School of Trades and Technology, Arts and Heritage, and General Arts and Science hopes his convocation speech inspires graduates to not let the fear of failure steer their lives. “Step out of your comfort zone and take risks,” said Jacob. “That is the only way to learn, grow and achieve greatness.”

Jacob came to Fleming College for the technical skills to deal with control systems, robotics and electronics in a lab environment. “Fleming has one of the best engineering labs when it comes to this type of work,” he explains.

Through the Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician program, Jacob said he developed critical thinking, communication, teamwork, mechanical and electrical design, computer networking, electronics, process controls, automation controls and troubleshooting skills.

“My experience was amazing,” said Jacob about Fleming College. “I got the technical skills I desired, I got industry experience from the co-op, and had instructors and classmates turn into lifelong friends.”

One of Jacob’s favourite moments in the program was when the system works after hours of wiring PLCs and computers to sensors, and programming computer code to automate the system. “There is no better feeling than turning on the system and it working just like you designed it,” he said.

Jacob describes the Fleming community as inclusive, positive and friendly, and he “100%” recommends the Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technician program to others.

“There is so much work in the instrumentation and controls world. More and more processes are becoming automated and they need people who can design, run and fix these systems,” he explains. “The lab facilities are state-of-the-art and the instructors have been in the industry for a long time.”

Jacob received a job offer from Ontario Power Generation to work as an Instrumentation and Control Technician Apprentice at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, and plans to start work after graduation.

Riding the wave of experiential learning

By: Laura Copeland

blog-photoThe surf’s up for 15 Fleming College students who are working on a multi-faceted project to help a west coast surfboard company expand overseas.

Swell Composites Supply Ltd., based in Richmond, B.C., is sponsoring three applied projects for business students. Applied projects, available within certain programs in the School of Business and School of Trades and Technology, see students spend their final semester finding innovative solutions to a real-world challenge. The students gain academic credit and on-the-job experience. At the same time, the project results provide new information, answer questions, contribute to planning, and lay the groundwork for future innovations.

For Swell Composites – Entropy Resin’s Canadian partner that is the Importer and Distributor of the complete range of composite materials used in Fiberglass and Resin manufacturing within the sporting goods, custom manufacturing and marine industries in Canada -, a team of students in the International Business Management program have been creating a logistics and export manual that will aid the company in exporting to international markets. As well, two groups of Global Business Management students have been analyzing the markets of targeted, specific countries.

International Business Management student Duy Vong says working in teams on the applied projects has been both eye-opening and uplifting.

“I have been very lucky to work with an incredible group of people who are super supportive. They always help me whenever I’m in need and help me get over my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”

Duy added that working on the project has been an “incredible journey” thanks to the sponsor, Swell Composite Principal Cofounder Jimmy Stewart, who is also a Fleming alumnus.

“He has taught us meaningful, real-life lessons, and he has provided a lot of information to helps us get our work done more easily and more quickly.”

Arielle Smith, an International Business Management student, says the three teams were “synergistic” and helped each other grow and develop over the semester. Like Duy, she also appreciated the support from their sponsor throughout the project.

“As a past Fleming graduate, Jimmy knows what it’s like to be in our shoes. He’s been able to offer us advice on what to do after we leave Fleming, advice about the industry, and has been a great overall guide for the project. He’s gone through information with us to ensure we have a solid understanding on the material, which has helped us in giving him an overall better final product,” she said.

Both Arielle and Duy said that communication between students and across projects presented a bit of a challenge at times.

“In order to be successful as a team, you need to have an effective channel of communication, to make sure that everybody is on the same page. Distance does not, and will not, stop a team from being successful as long as you know how to overcome the challenges,” said Duy.

Arielle says she is grateful for the applied project opportunity, as it will help her move forward into a career.

“With the experience I’ve gained from working for Swell Composites, I feel more prepared to enter the workforce than ever before,” she said. “I think it has been invaluable not only to myself but also the other groups. It’s easy for teachers to recreate situations for students to participate in, but there’s nothing like the real-life experience that we learned from the applied project.”

International student Hannah Le impresses at Field Placement

Hannah Le (left) with Jennifer Seeley
Hannah Le (left) with Jennifer Seeley

While many students leave the nest for college, Wireless Information Networking student Hannah Le moved to a new country for her studies. Raised in Vietnam, Hannah booked a flight to Canada to learn electronics, telecommunication and programming at Fleming College.

She describes Peterborough, Ont., as a peaceful, quiet city and appreciates the design of the Sutherland Campus building.

“I have had a wonderful experience at Fleming. My classes were so great with lots of excellent teachers, who were not only enthusiastic in class or lab but also gave timely responses to my email questions with very useful information,” said Hannah. “Fleming also had many activities inside and outside the campus, which gave me good chances to meet, communicate and connect with other students.”

The Wireless Information Networking graduate certificate focuses on the design, planning, implementation, operation and troubleshooting of wireless networks. For hands-on, real world experience, Hannah also completed a Field Placement at Genpak, a food packaging company.

“When I searched on the Internet about Genpak and knew that it has many plants in both the US and Canada, I thought this would be a great chance to see how this company handles their business,” she said. “Besides, I can still stay in Peterborough and meet my friends, while exploring the real workplace environment and working culture of the company.”

Hannah describes her colleagues at Genpak as nice, helpful, kind, supportive and encouraging. She said Field Placement has improved her communication skills, programming VBA skills, problem-solving, time management, and productivity. She added that Field Placement and Fleming College has also taught her a lot about Canadian culture.

“Field Placement is a great opportunity to gain experience in the real work environment. In the real world, not everything will be set up and fixed, so you have to face a lot more challenging problems and find the solutions to them,” said Hannah. “Field Placement helps me connect and apply what I have learned to the particular situations and develop my skills.”

Jennifer Seeley, Quality Assurance & Food Safety Coordinator at Genpak, was impressed with Hannah’s work.

“Hannah is one of those students that it just clicks with,” said Jennifer. “She took the placement very seriously in terms of her attendance, promptness and focus. She brought a lot of new ideas (to us) to the table with a number of the small projects that she worked on. Her friendly and curious outlook encouraged us to work a little deeper on some things, so that she could see and understand how things worked and why.”

Hannah had the opportunity to work in four different departments at Genpak: I.T., Engineering, Materials/Inventory, and Quality/Regulatory. Each supervisor was happy with Hannah’s work, writing in their feedback that she is:

  • “very knowledgeable and puts that knowledge to work in not only solving issues, but also learning” – I.T.
  • “always focused on her work and was great at noticing small details that needed attention” – Engineering
  • “pleasure to work with and eager to help” – Materials/Inventory
  • “we all benefitted from her help. She grasped concepts quickly, not only worked well independently but thought about what she was working on and could make valuable suggestions along the way. Hannah is definitely someone who can go far in her field” – Quality/Regulatory.

Fleming College offers many programs that feature Field Placement opportunities. Hannah’s advice to other students who want to excel on placement is to be confident, punctual and respectful, follow the responsibilities given in the Field Placement offer and be prepared, work hard and take it seriously, and do not hesitate to ask your teacher or supervisor for help.

Trades students create tour bus for James Barker Band

James Barker BusFleming College’s School of Trades and Technology teamed up with the James Barker Band to transform a GO Transit bus into a tour bus. With the help of Trades faculty, Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, and Welding students renovated the bus to include bunk beds, a lounge, washroom, two dinette tables, and kitchen area.

“This was such an amazing opportunity for our Trades students, as it provided a real life industry scenario. It took the student completely out of their normal setting and img_7570required them to be creative at times and to think outside-the-box,” said Paul Jordan, lead faculty on this project. “It showed a student that you had to figure things out on the fly and be able to adapt or change as needed to make a concept work.”

The opportunity came from a discussion Paul had with James Barker, who is a friend of his, when James asked Paul for ideas on how to refurbish a bus into their tour bus. After brainstorming, Paul realized this would be an amazing project for Fleming College students.

With only a seven week time-frame and no blueprint (other than the layout wanted by the band), the team at Fleming’s School of Trades and Technology got to work:

  • Carpentry and Renovation (Techniques/Technician) students completed the framing of the lounge, bunk, washroom and kitchen areas. They also did the fitting and finishing of these areas, and installed the kitchen cabinets, counter-tops, and dinette tables.
  • Electrical (Techniques/Engineering Technician/Advanced Electrician Apprentice) students designed the electrical layout for the bus, completed all rough in wiring; installed receptacles, light fixtures and switches; and configured the battery bank and inverter into the separate on-board electrical system.
  • Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing students completed the rough in of supply and drain lines; installed the freshwater, grey water and black water tanks with level sensors; and installed the shower, sink, toilet, and hot water tank.
  • Welding (Techniques/Fabrication Technician) students completed two table legs for the dinette tables, made fasteners for anchoring framing, and built a steel frame to hold a battery bank and inverter. They also fabricated brackets to help anchor holding tanks.

Businesses that supported this project include: Bardon Supplies, Buckeye Marine (Bobcaygeon), Fleming College Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing, Great Canadian RV, Guillevin International Co., HB Cycle, Home Depot, Jackson Water Conditioning, Kawartha Battery Sales and Service, and Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre.

img_7559The completed James Barker Band tour bus features a lounge, eight bunks, a kitchen area with a sink, fridge and microwave, a washroom with a shower and toilet, and a dining area with two dinette tables.

“Without the tremendous support of the administration, faculty and students in their respective trades that were required to complete this project, this would never have been so successful,” said Paul. “This was such a positive project as faculty had students knocking at their doors asking if they could help out on the bus on their own time.”

Patti Gilchrist is one of the Carpentry Technician students who helped renovate the bus.

“I enjoy the work and I thought it would be interesting, I’d get to learn some new things, and be able to work with the instructors here with us,” said Patti. “Plus, I’ve motorhomed all my life, my dad’s taken us all over in a 40-foot motorhome.”


Patti Gilchrist (right) works on the tour bus project with her peers

Patti said the experience has been amazing. “Seeing it drive away knowing we all did this for a band and we all work so well together, I think it’s nice. And we got to know our teachers more,” she added.

Rod McLeod, Chair of the School of Trades and Technology, is proud of the work Fleming faculty and students did on this project.

“Paul Jordan was the lead faculty on the initiative and did a tremendous amount with the project,” said Rod. “Faculty members Susan Brown, Gord Knox, Jason Jackson, Rick Murdock, Aaron Lishman, and Darren Cavanaugh helped bring this to fruition and did amazing work with their students. It was a great project that the students truly enjoyed.”

The James Barker Band picked up the bus on Sunday, April 23 and has been using it on their Canadian tour.

“It’s been perfect. I know if we did it on our own it wouldn’t be close, it is unbelievable how great it is and how good of a job they did,” said James Barker. “It’s been super comfortable, it’s been great, I’ve gotten some good sleeps on there. We have an Xbox One set up in the back so we have that going, too.”

The band plans to return to Fleming College in the future for upgrades, and to continue this project and collaboration with the School of Trades and Technology. One idea for phase two is for Electrical students to incorporate solar panels for charging the battery bank.

Construction Engineering Technician students break new ground on sustainability

Two Construction Engineering Technician (CET) students are breaking new ground on sustainability efforts at Fleming College.

Tyler Fenton and Andrew Lloyd were awarded applied projects funding from the Office of Sustainability and FastStart Fleming to further their research on ways to make Fleming campuses more sustainable. Tyler is researching sustainable permeable pavement, while Andrew is researching integration of the Tesla Powerwall and Tesla Roof into the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre.

“The Applied Projects Funding Program by the Office of Sustainability is intended to provide experiential learning for students in creating a more sustainable post-secondary institution and support Fleming’s commitment towards achieving net zero institutions,” said Trish O’Connor, Director of the Office of Sustainability. “I’m looking forward to watching their research develop.”

Tyler Fenton
Tyler Fenton, Construction Engineering Technician student, working on the permeable pavement at GHD Canada

With the support and direct supervision of CET program coordinator Dr. Adel A. Zadeh, Tyler is researching and testing permeable pavement, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of current pavement materials on sidewalks, bicycle paths, driveways, parking lots, and low traffic areas. Tyler received $500 from the Office of Sustainability applied projects fund to work on this project.

“Currently when it rains, water bounces off the pavement and goes into the storm system, which costs the city money to treat,” said Tyler. “With permeable pavement, it would allow water to go through it and into the ground.”

Tyler said permeable pavement would be useful outside of the college, as well. He provided the example of a subdivision built around a fountain, which serves the purpose of collecting excess water to avoid flooding. With permeable pavement, the need for a fountain would be obsolete and therefore more land would be available to build more homes.

Tyler (right) with Adam Bonner (left, front) and Shaun Shepherd working at GHD Canada.

Tyler has been working on and testing the permeable pavement at GHD Canada in Peterborough. On Wednesday, April 5, Tyler worked with GHD Senior Technicians Adam Bonner and Shaun Shepherd (Resources Drilling and Blasting, Class of 2005, and Geological Technician, Class of 2007) to mix, cast, and compact the pavement. He will later test porosity (void content), density, infiltration rate (permeability) and mechanical properties, including compression and tensile strength.

“This applied project allows you to see the practical way of the materials through testing and seeing how it’s applicable for design. There are lots of environmental benefits, and students are learning about sustainability and caring about the construction materials they are using,” said program coordinator Adel. “It’s also an opportunity to work on challenges, because everything is not always A to B and we don’t always know the outcome; for example, we couldn’t use vibration so we used other equipment to compact the samples. Everything is not always what you see in a textbook.”

Adel said he is thankful for the support and resources GHD Canada is providing for this project, which includes a concrete mixer, their facility and technicians.

Joel Kimmitt, Principal Engineer at GHD Canada and Fleming Earth Resources Technician Program Advisory Committee member, said he is very interested in helping Tyler and learning more about the CET program at Fleming.

“We’ve had a longstanding connection with the college and many of our employees are Fleming grads from Frost Campus,” said Joel. “I’m interested in this program because it’s more on the civil engineering side, which could potentially yield employees for the company.”

Joel is also interested in the results of Tyler’s research. “It’s interesting because this technology is not widely used in Canada, so we don’t have a lot of experience with it either.”

Adel would like to bring phase 2 of the project to Fleming’s Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment at Frost Campus, if he receives more funding.  Adel would like to expand this research in order to investigate the water filtration of these paving materials as a function of different mix compositions used, applying microstructural analysis of hydration and carbonation products between different cementitious materials and permeable pavement capability to help absorb heavy metals and chemicals.

Tyler’s Construction Engineering Technician classmate Andrew Lloyd is researching sustainable initiatives as well, thanks to funding he received from FastStart Fleming.

Andrew (right)
Andrew Lloyd (right) at the Green Your Campus conference

Andrew earned 2nd Place in the Green Your Campus conference co-hosted by Fleming’s Office of Sustainability, FastStart and the Trent Green Team, on March 11, 2017, receiving a $1, 000 prize to conduct feasibility research on a Tesla Powerwall at Sutherland Campus. Andrew was one of 10 Fleming groups who presented at the conference, which also featured 25 groups from Trent University. Projects were judged by Fleming and Trent faculty based on presentation and potential effect on meeting the college’s sustainability plan goals.

For his project, Andrew proposed integrating the Tesla Powerwall and Tesla Roof (or equivalent solar panels) into the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre at Sutherland Campus. In addition to helping power the Fleming Kube during peak consumption times, Andrew proposed the Powerwall and Roof also be used to help train students in electrical trades.

“The city wants to be net zero emissions by 2050, so there is a demand on businesses to be net zero,” said Andrew. “If you can teach the trades students that before they go into the workforce, it will make them more valuable when they graduate.”

Andrew is currently working with Adel and Javier Bravo, Fleming College Entrepreneurship Liaison, to research the feasibility of this within Fleming College. His goal is to know whether implementation is possible by December 2017.

Both Andrew and Tyler are working towards their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications, and Andrew plans to take the Project Management graduate certificate at Fleming College as well. Both students plan to combine their construction engineering careers with their interest in sustainability to build a brighter future.