Conestoga news

September 18, 2019 2:14 PM

Engineering, technology and trades welcome new executive dean

Conestoga recently appointed Tony Thoma to the role of executive dean to the Schools of Engineering & Technology, Trades & Apprenticeship and the Institute of Food Processing Technology. The announcement was made in July following Dr. Julia Biedermann’s retirement after more than two decades at the college and nearly six years as executive dean. 

Conestoga College_Tony Thoma.jpg
Tony Thoma was appointed to the role of executive dean to the Schools of Engineering & Technology, Trades & Apprenticeship and the Institute of Food Processing Technology in July.

A respected leader in education and heavy industry, Thoma comes to Conestoga from Niagara College where he held positions in administration and special projects focusing on engineering technology, skilled trades and applied research. According to Thoma, his decision to make a move to Conestoga stemmed from the college’s reputation as a leader in polytechnic education.  

“Conestoga is known as an institution for its strategic planning and foresight -- that really appealed to me,” said Thoma. “Investments in program development to satisfy long-term objectives are key to addressing the demand for career-ready gradates with the skills and knowledge to serve the workforce needs of local communities.”

Before his tenure at Niagara, Thoma spent seven years as the dean of Engineering Technology, Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship at Mohawk College, a role that led him to work extensively with McMaster University on the joint Bachelor of Technology degree programs and support the development of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre -- a living-lab for students and faculty supporting industry innovation with new manufacturing technologies.

No stranger to industry, Thoma has also held impressive senior level positions with a number of manufacturing companies, including auto parts manufacturer Wescast Industries in Brantford with experience in operations, engineering, maintenance and the construction of casting and machining operations around the globe. He graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgy and Materials Science, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Brock University and an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University. 

“I’ve really appreciated the way I have been welcomed into the Conestoga community -- I’ve enjoyed meeting new people, seeing some familiar faces and welcoming new and returning students to the start of a new academic year,” said Thoma. “I’m also excited for what lies ahead in engineering, technology and trades at Conestoga with recent investments made in new programs and infrastructure.”

Thoma officially took over as executive dean on July 15, and although retired from the position, Biedermann remains engaged in special projects at the college. 

The School of Engineering & Technology offers a comprehensive suite of programs with a wide range of credentials. Conestoga is the only college in Ontario to offer fully accredited engineering degrees.  Programs feature project-based learning, co-op work experience and applied research opportunities to prepare graduates for success in their chosen fields.

Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and our growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of post-secondary trades programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices. Visit the School of Trades and Apprenticeship for more information.