On November 17, graduates from Conestoga's Bachelor of Applied Technology - Architecture - Project & Facility Management (APFM) program gathered virtually for the fourth annual APFM alumni reunion event.
APFM faculty member Raymond Chung (left), as well as graduates Luke Antonio (centre) and Jehan Salim (right), were inducted into the APFM hall of fame in recognition of their contributions to the program and to the industry.
Joined by APFM students, past and present faculty, administration and Conestoga President John Tibbits, the evening focused on celebrating the impact of the program and its graduates.
"We have a lot to celebrate as we recognize the achievements of our more than 400 APFM graduates and their contributions to their communities," said faculty member and event organizer Ron Bean. "We just recognized our sixteenth cohort at convocation this fall, and we're excited to see them enter the workforce and make a difference."
The program boasts a nearly 90 per cent employment rate within six months of graduation, with graduates making a difference in their workplaces and communities in Ontario, across the country and around the world.
As part of the celebration, program representatives inducted three new members into the APFM hall of fame in recognition of their impact: 2012 graduate Luke Antonio, 2013 graduate Jehan Salim, and recently retired faculty member Raymond Chung. This year's inductees join 2007 APFM graduates Marisa Havens and Nick Heibein, 2013 graduates Jillian Harvey and Yumna Nasir, as well as retired faculty members Colin McGugan and Jim Bechard, and retired School of Engineering & Technology executive dean Julia Biedermann who were instrumental in the program's design and launch.
Antonio pursued a degree to strengthen Indigenous communities, businesses and people in northern Ontario. A member of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, he founded PLA LTD (Aboriginal Project Consulting and Construction Services) on the Indigenous values of partnership, trust, transparency and community engagement. With more than 20 successful projects, Antonio has empowered Indigenous Peoples by hiring locally and enriching communities socially and economically. He was recognized as a Conestoga alumnus of distinction in 2021 for outstanding contributions to his profession and community and represented Conestoga at the 2022 Premier's Awards in November in the Community Services category.
Soon after graduating from Conestoga, Salim responded to a call for female architect volunteers with the United Nations Development Program, where she helped rehabilitate public buildings that were destroyed in battle in Iraq during the ISIL occupation. Salim soon turned her passion for supporting war-torn communities into a full-time career, holding leadership positions with the technical unit at United Nations for High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and currently with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where she supports the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and leads the Building Management Unit team that oversees the operation of over 44 premises/facilities in Ukraine. Salim was recognized as a Conestoga alumna of distinction in 2021.
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 reuse 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.