Conestoga news

November 26, 2021 9:34 AM

Graduate impact celebrated at APFM alumni night

More than 50 graduates from Conestoga's Bachelor of Applied Technology - Architecture - Project & Facility Management (APFM) program gathered on November 18 for the third annual APFM alumni reunion night. 

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APFM faculty member Jim Bechard (left), as well as graduates Jillian Harvey (centre) and Yumna Nasir (right), were inducted into the APFM hall of fame in recognition of their contributions to the program and to industry.

Joined by students, past and present faculty, chairs, and executive deans, as well as Conestoga President John Tibbits, the evening celebrated the impact of the program and its graduates.

"Our alumni night provides an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of our more than 400 APFM graduates and the contributions they make to industry," said faculty member and event organizer Ron Bean. "We have a lot to celebrate as we recognize our fifteenth cohort crossing the stage at convocation this December."

The program boasts a 90 per cent employment rate within six months of graduation, with alumni making a difference in their workplaces and communities in Ontario, across the country and as far away as Australia and Jordan.

As part of the celebration, program representatives inducted three new members into the APFM hall of fame in recognition of their impact: 2013 graduates Jillian Harvey and Yumna Nasir, as well recently retired faculty member Jim Bechard. This year's inductees join 2007 APFM graduates Marisa Havens and Nick Heibein, as well as retired faculty member Colin McGugan and retired School of Engineering & Technology executive dean Julia Biedermann who were both instrumental in the program's design and launch.

After earning her master's degree and two professional designations following her graduation from Conestoga, Harvey serves as facilities coordinator for the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario portfolio with the University of Guelph, supporting the coordination of capital projects at agricultural research stations across Ontario. She also initiated the Women of APFM award which was established by a group of alumni to encourage women within the APFM program to consider pursuing a unique career. Harvey was recognized as a 2020 Conestoga alumna of distinction for outstanding contributions to her profession and community.

Also an Alumni of Distinction recipient (2019), Nasir currently works at Plan Group as National Director of Operations, Technology, helping manage several major P3 projects. Prior to Plan Group, she notably worked with EllisDon as facility manager and operations lead for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para-pan Am Games. She also helped lead one of North American's largest private-public partnership projects as the facilities and operations director (construction) for Crosslinx Transit Solutions and the Eglington Crosstown Light Rail Transit Project. In 2017, Nasir was recognized as one of the Top 5 Emerging Female Leaders in Infrastructure classified by the Women's Infrastructure Network.

This year's event also combined the distribution of student awards and provided opportunities to network.  

Conestoga's unique four-year APFM co-op degree program is the only in Canada to be regulated by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Foundation and the first Canadian program to be accredited by the Applied and Natural Sciences Accreditation Commission (ABET). The program focuses on the entire architectural process from the planning phase through to occupancy and the adaptive re-use of buildings. Students gain strong foundations in architecture, construction, basic engineering and business; insight into project and facility management; and have additional exposure to liberal arts disciplines and practical applications for the business enterprise.