Introducing Mohawk College’s new Chief Information Officer and Chief Financial Officer Reply

I’m pleased to welcome two new senior leaders to Mohawk College.

Laura Dobson is our new Chief Information Officer. Laura brings a wealth of strategic IT planning, governance, change management and project delivery to Mohawk. Laura was previously with eHealth Ontario where she served as Program Director of Business Services and Director, Enterprise Architecture.  Laura has also worked at Innovapost, a subsidiary of Canada Post where she Director of Enterprise Architecture and Project Delivery Director. A Dundas resident, Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario.

Joining Laura on our senior leadership team is Chief Financial Officer Kim Watkins. Kim joined Mohawk from Canadore College where she served as Director of Finance and Controller, providing leadership to Canadore and the college’s Foundation. Kim previously worked as the Manager of Corporate Services at North Bay Hydro Distribution and as a senior accountant at KPMG. Kim is a Certified Professional Accountant and holds an MBA from Laurentian University and a risk management certificate from the University of Toronto.

Laura and Kim will report to Deborah Brown, our Vice President of Corporate Services.

Please join me in extending a warm Mohawk welcome to Laura and Kim.

Mohawk College’s 2016 Distinguished Fellows Reply


MOHAWK COLLEGE’S 2016 DISTINGUISHED FELLOWS: I’m in very good company with Mohawk College’s newest Distinguished Fellows Richard Brennan and Winne Doyle (front row) and Peter Vicano and Ann McLaughlin (back row).

Mohawk will induct four Distinguished Fellows during this week’s Convocation ceremonies.

Distinguished Fellows are recognized for their outstanding professional achievement, expert status with their profession and business acumen. They are highly respected within, and beyond, the communities served by our college.

Distinguished Fellows make invaluable contributions to Mohawk in key ways, including academic advisement and student engagement, community outreach and strategic advisement to Mohawk’s senior leadership team.

This year, we are proud to induct:

Peter Vicano (Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m.)

From modest beginnings that included himself, a pick up and borrowed tools to a major construction company with an impressive list of industrial, commercial and institutional projects, Peter Vicano built a company to be proud of. Founded in 1973, Brantford-based Vicano Construction has completed thousands of construction  projects  throughout       Ontario,  with individual projects in excess of $50 million.  Under Peter’s leadership, Vicano Construction has earned a reputation for ability, integrity, fiscal responsibility and sound management in serving clients.  Peter graduated from Mohawk College’s Architectural Technology program in 1972.

Winnie Doyle (Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m.)

A healthcare professional with more than 35 years of experience, Winnie serves as Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Winnie has worked in clinical practice, research and more recently as a senior administrator in acute clinical programs. Winnie has been a leader in driving improvements to quality and patient engagement in the healthcare system.  She is currently a lecturer at McMaster University and received the 2012 John C. Sibley Award for her outstanding contributions to the education of health professionals. Winnie received her Master of Nursing Administration from the University of Toronto in 2000.

Ann McLaughlin (Thursday, June 16 at 2 p.m.)

An entrepreneur, educator and community builder, Ann is a retired business owner with strong connections to the Hamilton community. Among her many accomplishments, Ann helped build a local business that caught the eye of Toshiba industries and resulted in that company establishing itself in Hamilton. Deeply committed to social justice and the creation of a diverse, tolerant and culturally rich community in Hamilton, Ann has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including Co-Chair for Workforce Planning Hamilton, Mohawk College’s Access Hamilton Employer Engagement Steering Committee, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s HR Committee and as Chairperson of the Turning Point Giving Circle with YWCA Hamilton. Ann has an MBA from McMaster University and an Honours B.A. in Physchology from the University of Guelph.

Richard J. Brennan (Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m.)

A newspaper reporter for 43 years, Richard covered a variety of stories from his days at the Ingersoll Times weekly newspaper to the Toronto Star where he worked as a National Affairs reporter and most notably as a political reporter with the paper’s Queen’s Park and Ottawa bureaus. It was at Queen’s Park where he earned the nickname the Badger for never letting go of a story. It was a reputation that preceded him to Ottawa where shortly upon his arrival in 2007 he was elected president of the 400-member Parliamentary Press Gallery – the only person to hold that title both provincially and federally. Richard graduated from Mohawk’s Journalism program in 1972.





With friends like these, Mohawk College students can do anything Reply

Marshall family

 Joanne Spadafora, Cindy Butler, Wayne Marshall and Linda Marshall have raised more than $2 million in support of skilled trades. The Gerald Marshall Centre for Transportation at our Stoney Creek campus honours their late father.

We’ve spent the past few weeks in the company of very good friends who make a real difference for Mohawk students.

We hosted our 2nd annual Partnership Dinner with the crew from McKeil Marine and then celebrated the 10th annual Gerald Marshall Centre Benefit.

Both families have been outstanding supporters of our students and unabashed champions of our college. We are honoured to have the McKeil and Marshall family names attached to our Fennell and Stoney Creek campuses.

Proceeds from both sold-out events will help make a Mohawk education accessible to more people in our community and give our students new places to learn on campus.


The crew at McKeil Marine – led by Blair and Kathy McKeil – have been outstanding supporters of Mohawk students. They’ve invested in scholarships, bursaries and our Fennell campus renewal project while also mentoring our students.



Thank you to the team who brought Nursing Week celebrations to Mohawk College Reply

Kudos to Nancy Christensen, Barb Toohey, Arelene Smith, Lindsay Dyment and all the Library and Nursing program faculty and staff who organized Nursing Week celebrations for students at our Institute for Applied Health Sciences.

And, as always, thank you for the work you do in educating and serving the next generation of Mohawk graduates who will provide exemplary nursing care in our community.

Congratulations to Mohawk College’s Future Ready Leadership grads Reply

MohawkCollegeFRL_March29-11It’s not only students who graduate from Mohawk College.

Eighteen administrative staff have just successfully completed our third round of Future Ready Leadership training in partnership with Mohawk College Enterprise.

The program is made up of eight modules that deliver a mix of theory, practical application and experiential team-building.  The aim of the program is to build and support a community of leaders at Mohawk. Staff are nominated by the Senior Leadership Team to take part in the program.

Teams supported Mohawk’s commitment in our strategic plan to be a leader in internationalization and global experiences by working on four projects:

  • launching an international student buddy program
  • sharing international alumni success stories
  • hosting an international student for the holidays
  • connecting international students with local entrepreneurs for mentorship

Congratulations to our latest Future Ready Leadership grads:

  • Danielle Ambrosio
  • Lynn Coleman
  • Kelsey Crawford
  • Laura D’Alessandro
  • Emily Ecker
  • Daniel Farr
  • Jessica Hart
  • Grant Hodson
  • Thomas Jessome
  • Wendy Makey
  • Pearl Mendonca
  • Kurt Muller
  • Elizabeth Pietrantonio
  • Anthony Salvatore
  • Troy Sheeler
  • Christine Sheldrake
  • Chitresh Singh, and
  • Krista Welsh

Special thanks to MCE and Mohawk team who organize and deliver our Future Ready Leadership program: Audie McCarthy, Donna Stevenson, Jack Grosvenor, Sandra Summerhayes, Karen Pashleigh, Carol Mushing and Gabriela VanDyken from Mohawk.


Three Mohawk College students win national awards 1

EmergeCongratulations to Karlo KingRachel Hamilton and Matthew McDougall on winning 2016 Emerge Media Awards.

Karlo took first place in the videography category while Rachel finished second in the graphic / editorial design competition and Matthew  took second place in the Advertising category.

The Emerge Media Awards  showcase the achievements of journalism, media studies and communications students at colleges and universities in Canada.

The awards were presented during a dinner organized by the University of Guelph – Humber College 4th year public relations students.


Mohawk College continues to earn high marks from students Reply

great job stampMohawk remains the number one college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for student satisfaction for the sixth year in a row.

Mohawk has also finished first among GTHA colleges for graduate satisfaction and graduate employment for the fourth consecutive year.

These are some of the highlights from our latest Key Performance Indicator (KPI) survey results. The annual survey is carried out by the Government of Ontario.

I want to thank our faculty and staff who do an exemplary job every day of teaching and serving our students.

While we’re proud of our scores, we’re not taking our high marks for granted.

In fact, we aim to be the number one college in the GTHA for employer satisfaction and the number one college in Ontario for graduate employment. These are among the commitments we’ve made in our new five-year strategic plan.

All of our KPI scores are posted online.


Mohawk College’s 2016-17 budget: growing, hiring and building Reply

Our Board of Governors last week approved Mohawk’s 2016-17 balanced budget of $213.9 million. Our budget includes the largest investment pool in the college’s history. The funding will allow us to invest in key projects that kick-start Mohawk’s strategic plan. Here’s a copy of the note I sent to our faculty and staff earlier today.

Dear Colleagues:

We are starting the first year of Mohawk’s strategic plan with the deepest investment pool in our college’s history.

The Board of Governors last week approved our 2016-17 balanced budget of $213.9 million. The budget includes a record $4.5 million investment pool to kick-start a number of projects in our strategic plan. More than half of the funding will be invested in hiring new full-time faculty and academic staff, developing new programs and continuing to improve the quality of all our programs. We will also be making strategic investments in Student Services and Corporate Services to make Mohawk an even better place to learn and work.

Along with a record investment pool, we will carry out $9.3 million worth of construction and renovation projects at all three of our campuses. These projects include: an inter-professional hospital simulation lab at IAHS; a new building at our Stoney Creek campus where apprentices and students from different programs will work on major projects; and phase one of the Partnership and Innovation Centre at our Fennell campus. We also plan to repave our Fennell parking lots this summer and we will not be increasing parking rates in 2016-17.

This is a great news budget for Mohawk because of your exemplary financial stewardship of student tuition and taxpayer dollars. Like our Board of Governors, I want to commend Chief Financial Officer Karen Moore and our Finance team for leading a flawless budget process that began last September.  We are well-positioned to educate and serve a record number of students over the coming year while continuing to renew our campuses and delivering on the commitments made in our strategic plan.


Ron McKerlie



Remarks: Strengthening collaborations with Mohawk College’s partners in Burlington Reply

I had the opportunity to speak this morning at the Burlington Economic Development
Corporation‘s Annual General Meeting.

Strengthening collaborations and partnerships is one of the priorities in Mohawk’s new strategic plan. Mohawk has more than 1,000 private, public and nonprofit sectors, with many in Burlington.

Our college can help companies grow and compete globally by working on applied research and capstone projects, providing co-op work terms to top young talent, developing marketing and advertising campaigns with students through The Agency at the McKeil School of Business and receiving customized training and development programs through Mohawk College Enterprise.

Here’s a copy of my remarks:

“Good morning everyone.

Thank you Frank for the invitation to talk about partnerships and collaboration.

Not only am I proud to serve as president of the number one college in the GTHA for student satisfaction and graduate employment.

I’m also proud to call Burlington – Canada’s best medium-sized city – my home.

And I’m not alone.

Burlington is home to thousands of Mohawk students and future ready graduates.

Since 2011, Mohawk has educated and served 5,000 full and part-time students from Burlington and another 400 apprentices.

Visit any Burlington employer, from L3 Wescam, Stresscrete and Jo Brant Hospital to Cogeco and the CUMIS Group, and you’ll find Mohawk alumni.

Even more future ready Mohawk graduates are headed your way. Ready to live and work in Burlington.  And ready to help you attract even more high growth, knowledge-based companies.

Like the City of Burlington, Mohawk is ready to grow.

We just launched our latest strategic plan for Mohawk.

Like Burlington’s strategic plan, we’ve set bold and ambitious goals.

Within the next five years, we aim to be the number one college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for employer satisfaction.

We’ve set our sights on being the number one college in Ontario for graduate employment. Many of our business, health and technology programs already have grad employment rates at 100 per cent. We have students graduating with multiple job offers which warms the hearts of parents everywhere.

A few weeks ago, we hosted a Meet the Employer night for students in our Insurance program. Dozens of employers took part. They had more job offers than students graduating from our program.  The demand for graduates is just as high in our Financial Services program.

Along with being number one in employer satisfaction and graduate employment, we aspire to be among the top 10 colleges in Canada for applied research.

We’re currently ranked 17th in Canada.

If you joined us for Burlington Day at our Fennell campus last fall, then you’ll already toured our centres of excellence in applied research.

We have teams of students, graduates, faculty and staff working in three centres that are unique to Ontario:

  • An Additive Manufacturing Resource Centre where we create prototypes and metal parts on industrial 3D printers.
  • A mobile and electronic health development and innovation centre where the leading edge of health and technology intersect.
  • And an Energy Research Centre, specializing in smart grids, microgrids, power quality and distributed generation.

Our applied research teams are working with more than 100 partners from the private, public and non-profit sectors. We’re working with start-ups, small and medium size enterprises, multinational corporations and international NGOs. One of our teams is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners to build a vaccination database for health workers in Tanzania.

Another partner who’s closer to home is Burlington-based m-Health Solutions.

m-Health Solutions is an innovative health sciences company. They provide fast, convenient, flexible, and simple arrhythmia monitoring and cardiac diagnosis solutions to physicians and patients.

Electrocardiograms are sent over a wireless network to a cardiac interpreting centre. This provides physicians with near real time monitoring. For patients, this technology can be a life-saver.

Our applied research team worked with m-Health Solutions to build a secure electronic document exchange between their company and primary care clinics.

m-Health Solutions is now working with our additive manufacturing centre to build highly specialized metal parts.

m-Health Solutions is the kind of company we love to work with at Mohawk.

We get to help a growing local company bring an innovative solution to market and compete on the world stage.

We get to help build prosperity and create jobs in our community.

And our students get invaluable experience that transforms them into future ready graduates. They get to hone their technical skills. And they develop their soft skills working with clients and managing projects. They learn to think and act like entrepreneurs.

They are exactly what knowledge-based businesses are looking for. They’re also sought after by cities that want the talent pool to attract high-growth companies.

The work we’re doing in applied research is drawing national and international attention and acclaim. Our mobile and electronic health solutions team is a finalist for a PriceWaterhouseCoopers Vision to Reality Award. This award recognize companies that lead the charge in disrupting and reshaping industries through innovation.

When we talk with our partners in applied research, here are the four things they value most about working with Mohawk.

For start-ups and smaller companies, Mohawk is their research and development department. These companies get full access to equipment and technology that they could never afford on their own. They also tap into the brainpower of our students and faculty.

Our additive manufacturing centre is the first and only one of its kind in Ontario. There are just three centres like it in all of Canada. And it’s just an easy 20 minute drive from Burlington.

Our teams move at the speed of business. We understand the need to be first to market. We don’t talk about what we could do. We just do it. We get it done. And we get it done right.

Our teams connect companies to government funding. Not only do we make the connections, we handle the paperwork.

And Mohawk has a very simple policy when it comes to intellectual property. You own whatever you create with our teams. It’s yours, not ours.

Now applied research is just one of the ways we’re helping to grow Burlington companies.

You can put our students to work through co-op work terms and capstone projects that are embedded into the curriculum of our projects.

Thousands of Mohawk students do co-ops every year. Our college was the first in Canada to offer cooperative education and we remain a leader. Just last week, one of our co-op students won a provincial award for her work at ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

Every company and city is looking to attract top young talent. A co-op is a powerful magnet.  And it’s a risk free audition for both you and the student.

We have a team at Mohawk that will make it easy for you to set up value-added co-ops for students in our business and technology programs.

Along with being a leader in co-ops, we’re the largest trainer of apprentices in Ontario. We’re training the next generation of skilled trades people who keep our economy moving.  And we’re open to unique partnerships.

Here’s one example. The Walters Group is in the business of creating complex structural steel for commercial and industrial construction projects throughout North America. Walters wanted to get ahead of the growing skills shortage. So we created a unique one-year program where students earn while they learn. They spend part of their week studying at Mohawk and then work paid shifts at Walters. The best students graduate with job offers.

With Sheridan College moving their apprenticeship training programs to Brampton, we’re ready to work with Burlington businesses. Our skilled trades campus is one of the best equipped in the country and it’s just a short drive down the 403.

We can also bring the training to you. We also offer customized corporate training through Mohawk College Enterprise. The City of Burlington is among the many clients of our award-winning Future Ready Leadership program. Audie McCarthy, who’s the president of Mohawk College Enterprise, is with us this morning if you want to find out more about training and development solutions for your workforce.

And I want to highlight one other way that we can help grow Burlington businesses. The Agency at Mohawk’s McKeil School of Business brings together our marketing, advertising, graphic design and public relations students. Under supervision of industry-experienced faculty, our students work on campaigns for start-ups, non-profits and community groups. Every year, we work with about two dozen clients. Our clients get agency-calibre work and our students gain invaluable experience.

We’ve also been talking with the team at Burlington Economic Development.

Another Burlington Day at our Fennell campus is in the works for early 2017.

We’re planning to take our international students on a bus tour and job crawl through Burlington. We currently have 2,000 international students from more than 70 countries. These students bring global perspective to our college. On Thursday, I’ll be announcing Mohawk’s plans for persuading more of our international students to live and work here after they graduate.

And we’re also planning breakfast sessions and lunch and learns for Burlington companies interested in digital health, additive manufacturing, environmental sustainability, logistics and transportation.

Of course, you don’t have to wait. Mohawk is always open for business and ready to partner.

Collaboration and partnerships are a priority in our new strategic plan.

We have more than a thousand partners. Currently many are here in Burlington. We value every partnership.

We want to broaden and deepen collaborations for the benefit of our students, our partners and the communities we serve.

We’ll do that by staying responsive and relevant.

For Burlington companies, that means working together on applied research projects.

Putting our students to work through co-ops, capstone projects and advertising campaigns.

Closing the growing skills gap with Mohawk apprentices and the next generation of skilled tradespeople.

Delivering customized training.

And continuing to transform our students into future-ready Mohawk graduates.

As Canada’s best mid-size city, you’ll attract more than your share of highly skilled Mohawk graduates.

Graduates who will help Burlington businesses grow and attract new companies, new investments and new jobs.

Thank you to all the Burlington companies that are putting our students and graduates to work.

And to the companies that are interested in doing the same,  Mohawk is open for business and ready to partner.

We have information available at the back of the room and my team and I would be happy to answer some questions now and after the AGM.

Thank you.”





Mohawk College raises $57,956 for the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton Reply


united wayThanks to everyone who supported this year’s United Way campaign. Together, we raised $57,956 to support the community-building work of the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton and their member agencies.

Over the last four years, Mohawk students, faculty and staff have donated more than $233,000 to the United Way.

I want to thank this year’s campaign co-chairs Rochelle Reid and Lori Koziol and our United Way volunteer team of:

  • Anne Neziol
  • Jenn Horwath
  • Katherine McCurdy
  • Debra Pearson
  • Karen Pashleigh
  • Christine Sheldrake
  • Felicia Caggiano
  • Shaunna Kaminsky
  • Zoe Johnson
  • Carol Mushing
  • Theresa Bain
  • Dusty Noble
  • Elyse Pipitone
  • Troy Heath
  • Corinne Ethier
  • Frances Lima
  • Marylisa Forsyth
  • Lisa Fitzpatrick
  • Sean Coffey
  • Michelle Ball
  • Luke Baylis, and
  • Eryka Kaminsky

Special thanks to four staff who went above and beyond for the United Way – Debra Pearson for her work on the wine elimination draw and the introduction of the United Way leaves, Corinne Ethier for her work on the online auction, Marylisa Forsyth for setting up online donations and Anne Neziol who served as campaign representative for Stoney Creek.