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As 2018 comes to a close, we look back at a year filled with unforgettable moments that touch our hearts and amplify our SAIT alumni pride. These grads continue to make their communities better and inspire their peers to aim higher. Here’s how:
We kick off with a heart-warming moment that even caught the attention of pop star Meghan Trainor. 2014 Outstanding Young Alumnus Adam Loria and residents of the Whitehorn Village Retirement Community had a special dance-off that Alberta Health Services captured and shared on social media.
“Our intention was definitely not to make a viral production, but rather to get the lovely residents up, laughing and active,” Loria says. “It was nice to see that it touched people all around the world ― especially the artist herself, Meghan Trainor.”
The video, posted on the Alberta Health Services EMT Facebook page, had over 50,000 views and was shared 746 times.
When we spoke with Hennel in February, she was heading to PyeongChang to photograph the 2018 Winter Olympics for Postmedia Network Inc. — an assignment that earned her this year’s Outstanding Photography Award from Sports Media Canada.
“Receiving this award was a huge honour because I hadn’t submitted any photos for consideration,” Hennel says. “It came as an awesome surprise because others had taken note of my work.
“Plus, this was my first Winter Olympics. But what made the award extra special was the fact that my son, Hunter, came with me to the banquet in Toronto.”
And it’s not the only award Hennel received in 2018. She was a member of two teams that took second place in one awards category and honourable mention in another from the International News Media Association; she took third place in the Sports, Portrait category from Pictures of the Year International; she was a finalist in four categories at the News Photographers Association of Canada National Pictures of the Year awards — including Photojournalist of the Year — and she was a finalist in the Photograph: Series or Essay category of the Alberta Magazine awards.
In October, Trevor Hofbauer’s quest to become the world’s fastest marathoner continued when he won the 2018 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon — the second national championship he’s won this year. During the summer, Hofbauer moved home to Calgary after living and training in Guelph, ON for more than a year. During his time in Guelph, Hofbauer says, he learned that moving east had actually taken him away from his “perfect training environment.” He describes returning to Calgary as coming back to his roots and, as 2018 draws to a close, says he is training with a clear focus on his ambitious marathon goals. Read other insights Hofbauer has gained in four key races over the past five years.
If you’re like us, you too were on the edge of your seat as Foreign Concept’s Executive Chef Jinhee Lee fought her way to the Top Chef Canada finale this spring.
“I really appreciated the city’s support when I was on Top Chef Canada. I am so lucky to live here and to have so many people on #teamjinhee. It really touches my heart,” Lee said in an earlier interview.
Lee is no stranger to competition. Her 2017 win at Gold Medal Plates earned her the title Canadian Culinary Champion and was a career highlight.
Here are seven things we bet you didn’t know about the popular Calgary chef.
In November, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) honoured Bill Pringle (CTSR ’77) with their Persons with Lived Experience Involvement Award as part of the organization’s 100-year anniversary. Pringle, who lives with bipolar disorder, has dedicated more than 15 years of his life to advocating for human rights and breaking down the negative stigma that continue to shroud mental illness, something he understands personally.
“It goes back to my first year at SAIT. By the time I graduated, I was struggling with [bipolar disorder] full time,” explains Pringle, adding that he wasn’t officially diagnosed until almost a decade later. “When I look back, it still amazes me that I got through the program at that time … and from what I can tell, I did quite well.”
After SAIT, Pringle pursued a career in radio and then public relations despite the challenges his mental illness often imposed on his life. Although he can no longer work full time, he continues to be an important voice for mental health in Canada as a member of the CMHA National board of directors and chairman of the National Council of People with Lived Experience (NCPLE).
Executive Producer of Calgary production company Full Swing Productions Scott Westby was picked as one of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 under 40, an award given to Calgarians considered “tomorrow’s captains of industry.” In addition to producing and directing his own films alongside business partner Matt Watterworth (FVP ’08, OYA ’15), Westby is raising awareness about Alberta’s cinematic potential as co-producer of The Alberta Filmmakers Podcast, as a board member of the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and through public speaking initiatives.
“A lot of filmmakers cut their teeth in Alberta and then leave for the larger centres in Vancouver and Toronto,” Westby says. “But my business partner Matt Watterworth and I share a vision of building a viable, sustainable industry here. Community building takes a lot of time and work, and we have to take the advice we give to new filmmakers: ‘Nobody’s going to do it for you!’”
SAIT’s Outstanding Young Alumni (OYA) Award program turned 10 years old in 2018, which means we’ve been celebrating some of our brightest and dedicated young graduates for a decade.
This year’s OYA was Jennifer Dalen (RTBN ’12), program director for Real Country 95.5 in Red Deer, AB. In her acceptance speech, Dalen gives thanks to the people who have mentored and supported her along the way.
“Looking at the incredible list of past Outstanding Young Alumni who have stood in this exact spot … to be standing up here is immensely humbling.”
Connie DeSousa (PCK ’00), co-owner and co-chef at Charcut Roast House, and Ryan Scott (BA ’01), president and CEO, Avalon Masterbuilder, were honoured as SAIT’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.
Nominations for the 2019 Alumni Awards open this coming February.
In January, The SAIT Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNTCR) team won the national title against Canada’s top engineering schools for the first time in 32 years.
Abigail Watt was president of the race team, which also received the President’s Student Leadership Award in March 2018. Watt was there to accept the honour. She graduated in June, receiving the Governor General Academic Collegiate Bronze medal and is out in the world using her experiences and skills as a Technical Trainee for Engineered Air in Calgary.
Being a socially conscious artist isn’t new to Michelle Atkinson (NMPD ’03), the creator of Jewelnotes, but this time she is using her talent to fund a SAIT student award.
This year, Atkinson set up the award as a tribute to her father, Roger Atkinson, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2014. The Atkinson Family Award will support a first-year millwright student starting in fall 2019. It is funded by home decorations that Atkinson made out of recycled glass and can still be purchased at jewelnotes.ca.
“I’m not having kids, so I tried to think of other ways I could honour my father and my family,” Atkinson says. “At first, I thought I’d eventually create a memorial award, but then I realized it was silly to wait until he wasn’t around anymore.”
Since LINK profiled Calgary-based artists Adrian Pool (ACPP ’13) and Martinus Pool (ACPP ’18) in the Spring 2018 issue, interest in their AdrianMartinus workshop has exploded.
The brothers use reclaimed wood and broken skateboards to create furniture and art objects. In July, a video showing their work was posted on a YouTube channel called Insider, which boasts 3.4 million subscribers.
“That video went viral and demand for our skateboard bowls went through the roof,” Martinus says. “We tripled our following online and now we’re shipping all over the world. It’s been crazy.”
Crazy good, that is.
“Our whole business model has flipped, and now the furniture and art stuff are our main income,” Martinus says. “We’ve been able to stop taking general commission jobs and instead focus on what we want to do, which is to develop our branded furniture line.”
In 2018, 100 SAIT alumni came out to volunteer for alumni events, including Alumni Cooking Classes, Residence Move-in, the Welcome Back Pancake Breakfast and the River and Pathway Cleanup.
Jona Way, a 1977 graduate of SAIT’s Tourism Administration program is one of those volunteers who has long given her time to SAIT. After retiring as an instructor in the Travel and Tourism program earlier this year ― and a long trip to the Greek Islands ― Way came back to a job offer she couldn’t refuse: working on the Calgary 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee.
“It gave me an opportunity to use all my best sales skills while meeting with Calgary hoteliers. Sadly though, because of the outcome of the plebiscite, I am re-retired!”
It was a big year for 2016 Distinguished Alumna Jennifer Carlson. The co-founder of Baby Gourmet ― an organic baby food company ― launched a new venture that was once again inspired by her family.
Now the parent of a teen and a pre-teen, Carlson has turned her focus from organic baby food to natural skin care with Thirsty Naturals.
Carlson has also been inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs as the Chair of Innovations and New Ventures for SAIT’s School of Business ― a job she took in the fall of 2017.