The Alberta Rural Development Network is providing NorQuest College with eight $1,000 subsidies to be used for its 4-day Executive Forum, which begins on September 28 at the Banff Centre.

The subsidies are available to any printing company located in rural Alberta, which excludes operations located within the corporate limits of Edmonton or Calgary. They will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and remitted to participants when the workshop is complete. The total cost of the workshop is $1,390 before September 2 and then $1,690 after the early-bird rate.

“[Alberta Rural Development Network] recognizes the value of having printers within Alberta’s rural communities and this is their way to support companies in those communities to take part in a world-class educational event,” said Josh Ramsbottom, Principal of NorQuest’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, which is organizing the event. “ARDN, I believe, has recognized the importance print has within Alberta and I am very thankful of their support of the industry.”

NorQuest’s Executive Forum is to be led by Heidelberg’s Print Media Academy (PMA). The 4-day PMA workshop in Banff is not centered around Heidelberg technologies, but rather on professional development for owners and managers in the print industry.

The Alberta Rural Development Network is a non-profit partnership of Alberta’s 21 publicly funded and governed colleges, universities, and technical institutes, which aims to support and enhance rural development in the province.

More information about the subsidies is available by contacting NorQuest’s Michelle Braun at 780-644-6480 or by email

Students from Ryerson's School of Graphic Communications Management took home two of the top prizes at the recent Walmart Sustainable Packaging Conference this year.

Ryerson fielded two teams in the Sustainable Packaging Student Design Competition. The challenge was to redesign the primary package as well as a retail-ready package for Knorr Sidekicks, a line of ready-to-serve soups and frozen entrees. The Ryerson students proceeded through to the final round of judging, which required the students to deliver presentations to a panel of executives from Unilever, Walmart, and The Packaging Association.

Andrew Wong (team leader), Lee Jones, Liam Maddock, and Dusan Sigulinski are first-place winners, receiving an award of $3,000. Babak Amoozgar (team leader), Faris Abu-Kwiek, Emily Wong and Karley Wu were third-place winners, receiving $1,000. The second place prize went to Christian Thomas from Humber College.

Ryerson's Graphic Communications Management program is also founding a new student group called RyePAC, which will focus on the packaging segment of printing and will have first-place team leader Andrew Wong as elected President of the group. Assistant professor Natalia Gilewicz, who lead the students in the competition, will also oversee the RyePAC group.

Following July elections, Dr. Martin Habekost, a professor with Ryerson University’s Graphic Communications Management program in Toronto, continues as a member of the board for the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA), which is dedicated to furthering print-technology research.

Habekost was first elected to TAGA’s board in 2010 to serve as Vice President of Education, a position he will hold until 2013. With more than 300 individual members and 15 active student chapters worldwide, TAGA’s board includes key industry and academic leaders from top companies and technical universities in the United States, Europe and Asia.

During the July elections, Pittsburgh-based TAGA appointed a new President in Paul Cousineau of Dow Jones and Company, which controls publications like The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and the New York Post.

Cousineau also serves on the Graphic Communications advisory board and Journalism task force at California Polytechnic State University. He is a CalPoly alumni – “My first exposure to TAGA was while attending Cal Poly. With the support of Dr. Harvey Levenson, a small group of students chartered the first TAGA Student Chapter and published the first student technical journal.”

The association also named two new board members in Dr. Don Duncan of Wikoff Color Corporation, who becomes Executive Vice President, and Hal Stratton of Komori America, who becomes elected Secretary/Treasurer.

Ken Macro of Cal-Poly State University, a visiting professor at NorQuest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, held the first of three summer seminars planned for the facility. Under the theme of “Products, Packages & Bags, Opening the door to new sales opportunities,” around 20 printing professionals from the Edmonton area showed up to hear Marco speak about new product ideas and how to help sales teams develop partnerships with clients.

“It’s great to have world-class expertise right on our doorstep,” said Robin Chapelsky of Edmonton’s Priority Printing.

Marco also showed some of the projects created by CalPoly printing students that have been successfully developed into products by California-area printers. “Printers need to redefine themselves today,” said Macro. “Printers should engage their existing clientele and develop new business rather than just looking for an order.”

For three months this summer, Macro is the second visiting professor at the Centre for Excellence in Print Media, based on support from Western Economic Diversification and Productivity Alberta.

The other free Summer Seminar Series presentations are: Preparing a Workforce for the Future, Understanding Generational Differences, to be held on July 30 and Understanding a Dynamic Print Environment, Making Lean Manufacturing Practices Routine, on August 24.

NorQuest will also host a Heidelberg Print Media Academy leadership workshop for print owners and managers from September 28 to October 1 at the Banff Centre in Alberta.

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Dr. Ken Macro is to join NorQuest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, as a visiting professor, from June 13 to August 30, 2011. The Edmonton-based college began its Visiting Professor Program, funded through Western Economic Diversification and Productivity Alberta, earlier this year with the arrival of Ryerson University’s Dr. Abhay Sharma.

“I am elated and honoured to accept a visiting professor position at NorQuest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media,” said Macro. “I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with production personnel and executives from successful and progressive printing companies in Alberta to research production efficacy and to improve throughput, output and, hopefully, mindsets.”
Dr. Macro is a faculty member of the Graphic Communication program at California Polytechnic State University, located in San Luis Obispo, California. He is the co-author of the book Lean Printing: Pathways to Success. He will be working with print companies in northern Alberta for up to nine weeks to improve productivity and processes through a lean manufacturing program.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to have someone with Dr. Macro’s experience engaging companies in Western Canada through the Centre,” said Josh Ramsbottom, Principal, NorQuest’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media. “His expertise will advance our mission to help make the print industry more productive and competitive.”

Markham-based Sina Printing has made a donation in print which helped send a local-area student to a internship at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in California.

Kasia Niton, a student of Sheridan College's Bachelor of Applied Arts Animation Program, earned a hard-won internship at the Nickelodeon Studios of Burbank, California, home of shows such as Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants and Jimmy Neutron. She designed a card which she sold to raise funds for her trip.

"We are proud to support Canadian talent," said Mike Meshkati, President of Sina, who donated the printing of the card. "We were pleased to donate the production of a beautiful greeting card designed by Kasia to showcase her skill, and raise money to finance her time away from home. Best of luck, Kasia!"

Kasia has almost reached her funding goals and would welcome further donations. She has an online portfolio of her works, which can be viewed here.

By Jennifer K. Blezard

The Tips, Tricks and Skills event hosted at SAIT Polytechnic this January was featured as a segment of annual International Printing Week celebrations.

The event provided a forum for students from the SAIT Digital Graphics Communication (DGC) program and NorQuest College in Edmonton, to exhibit their work and provide insight into some do’s and don’ts of printing. NorQuest is currently delivering SAIT’s DGC program to students in Edmonton.

The celebration was sponsored by the Alberta Graphic Arts Industry Network (aGain). Luda Paul, president of aGain and an instructor for the SAIT DGC program, was pleased to sponsor the event so that sector council, students and industry professionals could meet and network.

“We want to let the industry people know what our students are learning,” said Paul. Upon graduation, Paul has no doubts that SAIT and NorQuest’s DGC program alumni will find employment in the industry. Representatives from the Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC), aGain and industry professionals partook in event festivities.

Marie Eveline, executive director of CPISC announced the official launch of the Bridging the Gaps report at Tips, Tricks and Skills. The launch was followed by a press release on January 21. Eveline says Bridging the Gaps is essentially about re-training those already working in the industry.

Implemented as a means of pinpointing potential gaps in training, Bridging the Gaps is a resource used to determine the right tools needed to seal “gaps” in training for printing professionals. Project chair, Abe Giesbrecht says Bridging the Gaps will be a useful tool for the industry.

“Employers, educators and employees alike will benefit from this information as it will empower positive training and education decisions within our industry.” The SAIT and NorQuest DGC programs are keeping pace with technological demands and industry know-how.

For Dean McElhinney, general manager of Unicom Graphics, Tips, Tricks and Skills was an opportunity to see first-hand what DGC students are learning at SAIT and NorQuest. “They’re teaching what works,” said McElhinney.

Ashley Patton, 22, SAIT alumnus 2010, says events like Tips, Tricks and Skills are critical for establishing networks within the industry. ”It’s about making connections and making your name known,” said Patton. Patton is a customer service representative for Menzies Graphics Group, and made her initial contact with the Menzies Group at last year’s event.

Josh Ramsbottom, coordinator for the centre for excellence in print media at NorQuest College, says the collaboration of the two colleges was a highlight. Ramsbottom was eager that Tips, Tricks and Skills opened the door to industry and student networking opportunities. “It’s really important for industry to see education in Alberta is working to provide skilled workers.”

NorQuest plans to participate at next year’s event in partnership with SAIT. Willem Sijpheer, academic chair for the information and communications technology programs at SAIT, says student participation and involvement came across very strongly.

“They really got involved with their presentations to the audience and connected with the industry,” said Sijpheer. “Good journalism and printing are the lifeblood of our society. We need to encourage young people to look at the printing and publishing industry as a career opportunity. It offers exciting and challenging careers. We don’t train for jobs. We train for careers.”

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), based in Burnaby, has announced several part-time courses available for printing professionals to hone their skills.

News of the upcoming January courses, which take place over a few weeks and range in price from $390 to $495, comes from the British Columbia Printing Industries Association, which been involved in the redevelopment of BCIT's printing program for several years.

Some of the printing-industry relevant courses include: Press Operations, Web to Print, Practical Colour Management, Digital Printing, and Digital Darkroom, while specific software courses cover Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat.

More information about the upcoming courses can be found here

Last week, 25 students celebrated graduation from the Eva's Phoenix Print Shop program, which, now in its ninth year, moved into an expanded production facility in June 2010.

Approximately 80 people attended the annual graduation ceremony, held for the first time in the program's expanded Buzz Hargrove Youth Training Centre. The Phoenix Print Shop program began in 2001 with just 800 square feet of production space in downtown Toronto.

The program's new facility measures just under 7,000 square feet, after Eva's Phoenix, which works with at-risk youths, signed a $1 lease agreement with the City of Toronto to expand into a neighboring warehouse.

The evening celebrations also included naming this year's winning design entries in the annual greeting-card competition, from which proceeds are used to support Eva's Foundations of Print training program. James Lee took first place in both the Holiday Greeting Card and Year Round Card categories.

Other key student award winners from the night included: Jinique Edwards (Macdonald-Odell Award for Achievement); Leticia Lusigi-Clarke (Heidelberg Canada Award); Zuwena Abeid (Gordon and Constance Tetley Award); Chantal Marcelle (Haynes-Connell Foundation); Daniel Moore (PAC scholarship); Llewwllyn Augustin and Eric McCarthy (Long-term Achievement); and Tom Clark and Chad Yanch (Perseverance Award).

The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, visited NorQuest College to announce an investment of $896,750 toward the Centre for Excellence in Print Media.

The new funding is designed to expand a primary function of the Centre for Excellence in Print Media (CEPM), based in Edmonton, to provide advanced educational facilities for small- and medium-sized printing companies in Western Canada, as well as students in the program.

“Our Government is proud to support the growth of Alberta’s print industry by facilitating access to new technologies and processes that enable businesses to increase their productivity and maintain a competitive advantage,” stated Yelich.

The Federal funding, according to CEPM, is being directed toward acquiring new equipment, software and expertise needed to upgrade its Job Definition Format (JDF) system.

“The Centre for Excellence in Print Media is an exciting collaboration between industry and NorQuest College – making it possible for print media companies to become more efficient and competitive in the global market,” stated  Dr. Jodi Abbott, NorQuest President and CEO. “The Federal government’s commitment to this innovative centre will do a great deal to help expand industry knowledge, create opportunities and prepare the business leaders of tomorrow.”

CEPM was established in March 2008 largely based on a Federal government investment of over $1.4 million.

Executives from HIFLEX Corp. travelled to Toronto yesterday to celebrate a new partnership with Ryerson University's Graphic Communications Management program.

The degree-level printing program is currently installing HIFLEX MIS and Web2Print systems for teaching students about JDF-based workflow. Gary Marron, President and CEO of the HIFLEX North America, was on hand to accept an award in recognition of the company’s support of printing education, on a worldwide basis.

Today, the HIFLEX team travelled to Guelph for a 2-day Automation Solutions Network event (formerly known as the JDF User Group) taking place at Ampersand Printing, one of the world's leading integrators of JDF-based systems.

Then on June 17, HIFLEX travels back to Ryerson's GCM building for the 2010 JDF Education Event. This full-day conference also features the JDF initiatives from companies like Agfa, Avanti, EFI, Heidelberg and Xerox.

The Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC) has received additional funding to support seven more printing-industry hires in its Career Focus subsidy program, which began two years ago.
Under the program, employers who meet the eligibility criteria established by the Government of Canada will be required to guarantee a minimum of four months of continuous employment for a new or recent graduate, who must work for at least 30 hours per week.  In return, employers will receive a subsidy representing one third of a new employee's total wage, up to a maximum of $12,750 per employee.

While CPISC began year two of its Career Focus program in April, the organization is now accepting new applications for this round of funding on a first-come, first-served basis.

At the time of the program’s July 2009 introduction, CPISC received a $651,000 government grant to run Career Focus over three years.

By Marvin Calderon

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology held an open house on March 25 to demonstrate, with the help of student Alana Kim Nobel, its new Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 press to professionals of Alberta’s printing community.

Willem Sijpheer, Chair of the school’s Journalism and Digital Graphics Communications (DGC) programs, told a thrilled crowd that the press installation is just one more step in the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's (SAIT) promise to become the premier polytechnic in Canada.

“One of the greatest challenges has always been to have equipment which is leading edge so that students get exposed to some of the environments they’re going to have in the work place,” said Marie Eveline, Executive Director of Ottawa-based Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council, who attended the Calgary event. She said SAIT’s reputation across Canada has definitely improved, while students from the program are "very enthused about our industry and possibilities of careers in our industry."

The 4-colour, 20-inch SM 52 press, driven by a modern computer interface, is a big step up, said second-year student Mike Huynh: “I think by having new equipment like this they can be work-ready when they leave (their) institution. Most industry [workplaces] have 4-colour, 6-colour presses and this will prepare you for the industry.

The event, which attracted mostly Calgary-based professionals, featured a printing demonstration of an 11-inch poster featuring the walkway leading into SAIT’s historic Heritage Hall – illuminated by early morning light.

“It’s put our credibility quite high,” said SAIT’s Mo Keshavjee, about the presence of SM 52 press. “We produce graduates that work with the best equipment and so they can leave here and can go anywhere…in Canada and in North America.”

Gerry Federow, VP of the Alberta Graphics Arts Industry Network, said because of the new press the industry has become highly optimistic of the graduates and “highlights SAIT as one of the leaders in the graphic arts and communications program.”

He said the school’s reputation has increased in major cities like Toronto and others and believes will see more individuals looking to attend SAIT because of its attractive program.

By Josh Ramsbottom 

NorQuest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media, in late February, hosted the first annual Alberta Print Wars competition held between student teams from NorQuest and SAIT’s Digital Graphic Communication diploma programs.

Each institution fielded a 2-student team, which went head to head to produce a 4-colour poster on the NorQuest’s Heidelberg SM52 press. The students used this friendly contest to brush up on their press skills while showcasing the type of technology they utilize as part of their studies. 

The competition also benefited both institutions as they continue to evaluate their programs and look forward to a provincial competition to determine who will represent Alberta at the upcoming Canada Skills offset printing competition, taking place May 20 to 23, 2010, in Kitchener, Ontario.

NorQuest College’s program, based in Edmonton, squeaked out a win against its southern rivals, based in Calgary, to capture the honours of the inaugural competition. Once the judges tallied the scores, Marwa Bondok and Jolene Sichkaryk, both in the first year of their studies, edged their SAIT counterparts, Courtney Johnston and Justine Bratberg.

Sichkaryk said, “Before we started I thought I might be nervous but because of the program time spent learning on the press, the nervousness disappeared and I just focused on the job.”

“The competition was a lot of fun and everyone was very encouraging,” said Marwa Bondok. “The feedback from the judges was wonderful. I am very encouraged as to where a career can take me.”

Don Yez (Technician Heidelberg Canada), Reg Stanton (VP of Operations with McCallum Printing Group) and Murray Fisher (Press Operator with Ion Print Solutions) served as industry judges who graded the two team’s performances and then provided valuable feedback to the students.

Don Yez was very happy to see the strides both schools have made to educate the industries future employees. “I am thoroughly impressed with the way the students interacted in their teams and with the technology they were working with. It was great to see.” Don’s only criticism was that it was disappointing not to have more industry people come out to watch. "Industry really needs to see what these school’s students are capable of and what they are learning on."

Reg Stanton echoed Yez’ remarks regarding the students: "All four of these students who participated in the competition have a bright future ahead of them.”

The idea behind Print Wars was to test the student’s ability to work under pressure while emulating the production process of a typical job in the industry. Each team had to run a job using the 4-colour Heidelberg SM52 and were judged on their ability to produce sellable sheets off the press and maintain quality for the production run.

SAIT is eager for a rematch and the second Alberta Print Wars competition is expected to run in Calgary during SAIT’s next open house in 2011.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is now running its new four-colour, Heidelberg Speedmaster 52 press for students in the Calgary post-secondary school’s Digital Graphics Communications program.

SAIT staff finalized a purchase agreement with Heidelberg Canada at the September 2009 WorldSkills 2009 event in Calgary. The press was then brought into SAIT’s Senator Buns Building over the holidays, under the supervision of a Heidelberg technical crew, for a January 2010 launch.

SAIT’s Digital Graphics Communications program is led by Willem Sijpheer, who, along with the program’s printing instructors, Peter Masch and Jim Drever, will leverage the modern 20-inch offset press to develop more press operators for the industry, particularly in Canada’s Western provinces.

A full report of the press installation appears in the February issue of PrintAction magazine.

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