Okanagan College is bestowing its highest honour on three notable Okanagan residents, each of whom has helped shape and define the region in unique and impactful ways through entrepreneurship, philanthropy and ecological research.
Anthony von Mandl O.B.C., Bill Redmond and Dr. Rita Winkler will be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College during Convocation ceremonies on June 4 in Kelowna.
Von Mandl, proprietor of VMF Estates, founder of Mission Hill Family Estate and one of the region’s best-known self-made entrepreneurs, will be recognized by the college for his vision and pioneering efforts in making the Okanagan a world-class winery destination.
Bill Redmond spent 40 years building his career in the wholesale food industry. He is the founder and formerly the president and CEO of HRI Supply Ltd. Redmond launched the company in 1978 and guided its growth until it merged with Sysco Corp. in 2001. HRI Supply is the only food distribution company in the B.C. Interior to merge with a Fortune 500 company in the past 30 years. After the merger Redmond continued his career as president and CEO of Sysco Kelowna until he retired from the company in 2004.
Redmond served as Okanagan College’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (2007). He was chairman of the Kelowna Roads Task Force as well as a number of private equity funds. He is still involved in business and is a partner in Dockside Marine Centre.
Dr. Rita Winkler is a forest hydrologist with a 35-year career. She has worked in government, academia and private consulting in operational settings, education and research.
Winkler is credited with sustaining B.C.’s longest running paired watershed experiment, which is located at Upper Penticton Creek in the South Okanagan. Research at this site focuses on improving our understanding of water supplies from forested watersheds and how natural disturbance, land management and climate change can affect this vital resource.
Winkler’s own research on snow processes in forests changed by insect outbreaks, wildfire, logging and regrowth, as well as the resulting changes in streamflow regime, has refined our understanding of the science and guided the development of forest management practices.
Her association with Okanagan College dates back to the 1990s when she was involved in selection of the Forest Renewal BC Chairs in Forest Hydrology. She has been involved in the College’s Penticton Speaker Series and has mentored and collaborated with faculty members at the College for more than 20 years.
Anthony von Mandl and Dr. Rita Winkler will attend the morning ceremony on Saturday, June 4 in Kelowna. Bill Redmond will address the graduates in an afternoon ceremony on June 4.