Brian Williams, Retires after 31 years at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Under his strong leadership, the RV service technician apprenticeship at the Calgary campus greatly flourished and offers training for up to 80 apprentices each year.
The School of transportation has been part of SAIT since its inception in 1916, with the original discipline of motor mechanics. Now, the School of Transportation provides hands-on, practical education for automotive, aviation, heavy duty and rail. The School of Transportation currently has 25 specialty labs,10 shops, and over 60 training vehicles and aircraft, many donated by industry partners.
Prior to joining the School of Transportation, Brian was an avid RVer having owned various types of RVs ranging from truck camper, trailers to motorhomes for weekend and summer trips.
During Brian’s tenure, the RV apprenticeship program at the Calgary campus undergone a great transformation. The entire School of Transportation started with a very small shop facility in the Bob Edwards building. The limited space also meant limited enrollment capacity. SAIT then opened another campus in Edmonton in 2007, which included the RV apprenticeship program. Unfortunately, the RV apprenticeship program was terminated in 2012 due to limited enrollment. At the same time, the School of Transportation in Calgary also moved into a much larger facility, at the Buck Crump building. Due to the larger floor place, the RV apprenticeship program at Calgary really thrived over the years.
When asked about the relationship with the RVDA, Brian responded, “fantastic! I cannot speak highly enough to the support that we receive from the RVDA. I believe that the RVDA supports RV students at SAIT better than any other industry association that I am aware of…the students are very fortunate to receive the support available from the RVDA.” The following are awarded to RV apprentices each year:
- Gene Skog Award – 1 award valued at $690 for a student most improved in 1st Period
- Art Dack Award – $1000 award for the top student in each class; $45,000 have been awarded since 2001
- Paul Sinclair Award – Up to 36 awards of $500 each for graduating students from program; $99,000 have been awarded since 2005
RVDA of Alberta also supports apprentices by subsidizing some living expenses while away from home by way of gift cards for fuel and groceries as well as travel allowance for those travelling more than 200 km to Calgary. To date, a total of $107,000 has been gifted to RV students.
In 2016, SAIT received a $20,000 donation from RVDA Canada and CRVA in support of training units and labs for the RV Program. These will enhance instruction in refrigerators, slide-outs, electronic and A/C controls and furnaces. Brian believes that “the industry overall is very supportive of SAIT and the RV program.”
SAIT Calgary campus had co-hosted the 2013 and 2016 Calgary Trouble Shooter Clinics. This collaboration between industry partners including RVIA and the various component suppliers helped showcase the campus and promote the program to the industry as well as to technicians from outside of Alberta.
RVDA of Alberta regularly participates in career and trade fairs as well as provide space to SAIT during RV shows to promote the RV service technician trade to the general public.
Brian will now spend his retirement doing some international travelling as well as completing a camper conversion for his future North America tour!
We wish Brian all the best!