Sept. 20, 2018 – Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer
Thursday’s official opening of a $14.2-million Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bio-Industrial Technologies is the latest example of how Lambton College meets industry’s changing needs, says Mark Hiseler, vice-president of Suncor’s Sarnia Refinery.
A member of the college’s board, he spoke at the opening event for the centre following extensive renovations and an addition. It’s part of $47-million in capital work that includes a fitness and health sciences addition at the college’s Sarnia campus.
“It’s actually quite impressive,” Hiseler said.
“Not only are they delivering world class education, they’ve got some pretty impressive project execution skills.”
The centre of excellence was the first of the three construction projects to be officially opened by the college. The fitness centre is set to officially open Oct. 18, with the health centre opening scheduled for April.
Renovations and construction at the southern end of the college building began in January 2017 and brought together labs used by technology students, as well as research facilities, which were previously located across the campus.
“The pace of change and the complexity of technology and jobs in our industries, and all the places of work, is accelerating relentlessly,” Hiseler said.
“It’s requiring people to be better educated, better trained than ever before.”
Lambton College has a long history of working with local employers to meet “those constantly changing requirements,” Hiseler said.
“The college has actually proven very nimble, over the years, in adapting its curriculum and methods of delivery so we stay competitive in our industries.”
Suncor, and other companies, “have really benefited from the highly skilled people who have graduated from this institution,” Hiseler said.
“When you hear of all the accomplishments that have happened without a facility like this, it’s extremely exciting to think about what can be accomplished in this new facility,” he said.
“It’s going to be amazing.”
The centre of excellence project received funding from the federal and provincial governments.
College president Judy Morris said the centre “positions Lambton College at the forefront of the bio-industrial energy and emerging technology sectors.”
The college made a commitment five years ago to establish the centre, she said.
“It has taken vision and purpose to bring this centre of excellence from concept to reality.”
Now that it’s open, the centre “presents a unique opportunity for Lambton College to develop a region of innovators, strengthen our local economy and meet the industry demands for skilled labour,” Morris said.
College programs using the centre include Chemical Production and Power Engineering Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology and Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations.