Thursday, May 27, 2010

  • Summer guests wheel through the Villages
  • Graphics merged into two departments
  • Waterloo dominates entrepreneur contest
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Summer guests wheel through the Villages

It’s going to be a busy season for “conferences” in Waterloo, as scientists, bicyclists, wedding guests and students of all ages pass through the Villages over the next few months.

A schedule provided by conference manager Susanne Keppler, who’s based in the food services department in Ron Eydt Village, shows that just one event this summer will require as many as 1,000 residence beds. But there are dozens of smaller events, from the International Green Energy Conference next week (250 visitors expected) to a five-day Warrior Girls Volleyball Camp in early July with 13 participants.

The thousand-person event is “Day of the Youth”, a three-day gathering of young people from the New Apostolic Church across Canada. They’ll meet on the July 16-18 weekend: “Join us as we explore our faith, strengthen friendships, and celebrate our experiences.”

About 100 people were due in yesterday for the annual conference of the Bibles for Missions Thrift Stores Foundation. Another 100 visitors are expected today to take part in the annual Canadian Forum on Theology and Education, a gathering for Roman Catholic high school teachers and others interested in religious and educational issues.

A number of events will be using Village I or Ron Eydt Village essentially as a hotel. More than one wedding has booked residence rooms for out-of-town guests, and 550 participants in the Multiple Sclerosis bike tour of southern Ontario will stop off on the August 13-15 weekend. Two dozen participants in the Waterloo Busker Carnival will be staying in the Villages in late August, and so will the men’s soccer team from Seton Hill University, which comes to campus for four days to help sharpen up the Warriors in pre-season competition. Fifty participants in a high school field hockey over Labour Day weekend will close the hotel season.

But other conferences are strictly, even seriously, academic. The Canadian Student Conference on Biomedical Computing and Engineering was held last week;, a workshop on “Theory and Realisation of Practical Quantum Key Distribution” is coming in mid-June; and a workshop on “Selected Areas in Cryptography” is scheduled for August.

Waterloo also plays host this year to the 22nd annual Canadian Materials Science Conference, scheduled for June 9-11. Chair of that conference will be Stephen Corbin of the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

While most events last a weekend or a few days, there are longer-term visitors as well. A group taking part in the International Optometric Bridging Program, hosted by Waterloo’s school of optometry, arrived this week. Susan Cooper, director of the program, explains that it’s “designed to provide optometrists educated outside Canada and the United States with a structured orientation to Canadian standards of optometric practice. The program will provide all qualified applicants with opportunities to gain the critical language, academic and clinical skills necessary for registration in all provinces of Canada. The current class of 18 students from 9 countries, educated in 13 different educational institutions, are in session on campus until June 18, following which they will be heading out to externships in Canadian practice.”

When conferences are held on campus, it’s not only the residences that are affected. Larger events reserve meeting rooms on other parts of the campus — often the Arts Lecture Hall — and the catering division of food services provides refreshments and meals. The conference centre will also be feeding, as well as housing, participants in  August’s International Olympiad of Informatics, which will bring hundreds of high school students from around the world.

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Graphics merged into two departments

Last month, Graphics announced that it was closing part of its print operations, and now comes word of the final phase of its reorganization. Bud Walker, director of business operations, to whom Graphics reports, said yesterday that “after a thorough review, it has been decided that the Graphics operation will now report into two existing departments on campus.”

• The copy centres, courseware, departmental copier administration and remaining production operations will report to Retail Services. The director of retail services, May Yan, also reports to Walker.

• The “Creative Services” unit, which includes graphic design, photography, video production and web development, will now report to Communications and Public Affairs. The director of CPA is Martin Van Nierop, who is responsible to vice-president (external relations) Meg Beckel.

The announcement said that “For all but five Graphics staff, their jobs and job grades will remain unchanged. Three staff have been offered different roles within this new structure, and two staff have been offered roles outside of CPA and Retail Services.”

The change “effectively ends Graphics as a department,” Walker said. “But for Graphics customers, there will be little to no change in how they do business with Graphics staff and in how they access the services that Graphics offers.” The changes take effect on May 31.

Sean Van Koughnett, who has been director of Graphics since 2005, is “helping to work through some of the issues related to this transition,” Walker said. In addition, he continues in his other jobs, as director of the VeloCity technology incubator and the Media-Mobility project, "and will be involved in the 'student success' initiative as it takes shape."

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[Posing on stage]

Members of the Glass Telepresence student team receive their award and pose with research minister John Milloy (third from left), OCE president Tom Corr (far right) and other dignitaries.

Waterloo dominates entrepreneur contest

a news release from the media relations office

Young student entrepreneurs and graduates from UW swept the top awards at Ontario's Next Top Young Entrepreneur Start-Up Pitch Competition last week. The competition was held as part of Discovery 2010, organized by the Ontario Centres of Excellence at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The pitch competition is organized by the Impact Entrepreneurship Group on behalf of OCE's Centre for Commercialization of Research.

“It is not a coincidence that the winning entrepreneurs are students and graduates of Canada’s most innovative university, the University of Waterloo," said Tim Jackson, associate vice-president (commercialization) and CEO of the Accelerator Centre. "The entrepreneurial culture at Waterloo has been showcased by these outstanding students."

First prize winner was Avenir Medical, a company that has developed a technology to greatly enhance hip replacement surgery. The heart of Avenir Medical is PelvAssist, an intra-operative guidance tool that aids orthopaedic surgeons in the proper placement of the acetabular prosthetic component during total hip arthroplasty.

Avenir's team members are four mechatronics engineering graduates: Armen Bakirtzian, now a graduate student in clinical engineering at the University of Toronto; Andre Hladio, now working on a master’s in electrical and computer engineering at Waterloo; Richard Fanson, now doing a master’s in electrical engineering at McMaster University; and Ara Hasserjian, now an MBA candidate at York University.

Second prize winner was Glass Telepresence, which offers revolutionary telepresence communications technology that enables life-size, high-definition, face-to-face visual and spoken communication between remote locations. Team members are three students in the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program: Teresa Thomas, Gabriel Tomescu, and David Farr.

Third prize winner was TalkMesh, which provides a multi-platform, dedicated application to allow close friends to keep in touch. Team members are four Waterloo undergraduates: Anton Lopyrev, Francis Ian Mendiola, and Prabhdeep Gill, all in software engineering, and Artem Lopyrev, mathematics and business.

"I'm delighted, but not surprised, by the these results. It is a further indication of the strength of the University of Waterloo student body to recognize opportunities, assess market conditions and build new ventures to capitalize on these creative initiatives," said Howard Armitage, executive director of the Conrad Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology. "I'm also pleased with the excellent relationship we have been able to forge with OCE's Centre for Commercialization of Research."

Avenir Medical, which started at Waterloo, received an $18,000 loan to launch their business venture over the next six months. The second place team was awarded $5,000 in advisory services from Deloitte Consulting. The third-place team will have lunch with Robert Koturbash, managing director of Maple Leaf Angels.

The competition attracted submissions from colleges and universities across the province and was narrowed down to five finalists. The winners were announced and presented their prizes by Colin Anderson, president and CEO, Ontario Power Authority.

"The calibre of this year's finalists was outstanding," said Mario Thomas, who moderated the judging panel. "Avenir Medical's technology has the potential to greatly improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs because it improves the precision of hip replacement surgical techniques. Winning this competition will give these students the much-needed financial support to help take this exciting venture to market."


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Link of the day

Full moon

When and where

Procurement and contract services annual trade show in Davis Centre lounge, last day, focusing on e-procurement. Details.

Co-op employer interviews begin May 27 (main group).

Centre for Teaching Excellence three-day series of microteaching sessions: “Instructional Skills Workshop” May 27-31, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Retirees Association spring luncheon 11:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, tickets $25, information 519-888-0334.

UW Recreation Committee presents Carolyn Lewis, Service Canada, “Canada Pension Plan and Senior Income Programs” 12:00, Math and Computer room 5158. Details.

International spouses monthly gathering, Dave McDougall speaking on hiking and biking trails, 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre. Details.

Impromptu reception with cake honouring Bob Truman on retirement, 1:30, institutional analysis and planning, Needles Hall 3041.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, gala awards night 6 p.m., Bingemans Conference Centre. Details.

‘The Peeled I’, one-man show based on the life and work of Robertson Davies, May 27-29, Theatre of the Arts. Cancelled.

Health sciences campus asphalt work Friday starting 7 a.m., parking lots closed.

Niagara Region Wine Tour organized by staff association, Saturday, bus leaves Davis Centre 9 a.m. Details.

Niagara Falls and Winery Tour organized by Federation of Students, Saturday, bus leaves Davis Centre 9 a.m.

Wilfrid Laurier University “Celebrating Milestones in Science” open house and gala dinner Saturday. Details.

‘Max & Ruby: Our Favourite Things’ children’s live theatre Sunday 1:00, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Last day to make fee arrangements for spring term, May 31.

Women in Computer Science distinguished lecturer, Monday: Marie desJardins, University of Maryland (Baltimore County), panel discussion on graduate school 2:00, Davis Centre room 1304; social event 3:30; lecture, “Multiagent Communities” 4:30, Davis 1302.

Staff career workshop: “Networking Is Not a Dirty Word” Monday 3:00, Tatham Centre. Details.

Staff workshop: “Job Search Solutions” Monday 5:00, Tatham Centre. Details.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Accelerator Centre one-day conference: “Innovation, Emerging Technologies and Global Markets” Thursday, June 3. Site visits to WatCar and Giga-to-Nano lab; lunch keynote speaker Frank Tompa, school of computer science. Details.

Keystone Campaign annual picnic, “Keystone: Final Answer” June 3, 12:00, Graduate House green. Details.

Conrad Grebel University College fund-raising banquet for Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training, speaker Gareth Brandt, Columbia Bible College, “Leadership for the Next Generation: Is the Church Ready?” June 8, 6:30 p.m. at Grebel, tickets $50, phone ext. 24237.

Retirees Association annual general meeting June 10, 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, information 519-888-0334.

25-Year Club annual reception June 22, 6:00, Physical Activities Complex, by invitation, information ext. 32078.

Jake Thiessen, school of pharmacy, retirement reception June 23, 3:00 to 5:00, Pharmacy building 7th floor, RSVP ext. 84499.

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