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RDP director honoured with prestigious innovation and technology award

Dr. Tonya Wolfe wins ASTech Award for Women in Manufacturing

A leader at Red Deer Polytechnic has been honoured for innovation in the manufacturing and energy sector.

Dr. Tonya Wolfe, Director of the Centres for Manufacturing and Energy Innovation, accepted an ASTech Award for Women in Manufacture at NAIT last Friday.

She accepted the award representing the team of colleagues who work within the Polytechnic’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing (CIM-TAC) and Energy Innovation Centre.

“The impact of the Women in Manufacturing initiative is far-reaching and complements our role as a polytechnic institution. The initiative also amplifies our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization,” said Kylie Thomas, Vice President Academic and Provost in a press release.

“Our modern facilities provide a variety of partners access to applied research opportunities right here in central Alberta. The CIM-TAC and Energy Innovation Centre are hubs for advancing research, innovation and learning for individuals and small and medium enterprises.”

In a release, RDP acknowledged that women are underrepresented in the manufacturing and energy sector. The program at RDP helps women and under-represented individuals grow their knowledge, skills and confidence in the manufacturing and energy technology sector. In turn, that growth contributes to gender equity in this rapidly advancing field while sparking creativity and innovation across the province.

The Women in Manufacturing initiative, which has been piloted at the Polytechnic, assists women, gender-diverse people and under-represented individuals in the evaluation and manufacturing of their own products by providing technical expertise and advanced manufacturing equipment in the CIM-TAC and Energy Innovation Centre.

The individuals who contribute to the success of the CIM-TAC and Energy Innovation Centre and who were recognized with this award include Alicia Cafferata-Arnett (Applied Research Specialist), Jennifer Dornstauder (Manufacturing Design Engineer), Eryn Beddoes (Project Manager of Facility Infrastructure and Engineering), Prateeksha Aggarwal (Applied Research Technician), Dylann Sikstrom (Engineering student), and Sherri O’Muir (Marketing Strategist).

“I want to congratulate Tonya and her team and acknowledge their impact supporting women, gender diverse people and under-represented individuals as they grow their competencies in manufacturing and energy innovation,” added Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic.

“These Red Deer Polytechnic employees provide expert guidance and state-of-the-art technology for entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition. These collaborative efforts contribute to the economic diversity and prosperity of Alberta.”

The Women in Manufacturing initiative also works toward several of the sustainable development goals as outlined in the United Nations SDG Accord, which was recently signed by Red Deer Polytechnic. These goals include gender equality, economic growth, reduced inequalities, and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

ASTech has celebrated Alberta’s excellence in science, technology and innovation for 33 years. During this span, more than 600 individuals, organizations and teams have been recognized at an annual awards event that acknowledges excellence and inspires innovation in the province.