An RWDI Christmas special edition newsletter

Christmas Greeting from the President/CEO

Christmas and the holiday season is always a special time of year. Time to share, give, receive, and reflect. It is a wonderful time to be with family and friends and just enjoy their company.

I believe we, at RWDI, have a great deal to be thankful for. Among many other things, we have a wonderful group of people that we share a significant amount of time with throughout the year. I have always been impressed with how our staff genuinely enjoys each other’s company both during and outside of work. I recently had a discussion with a CEO of another successful firm who noted the same thing. We agreed that it is intangibles such as this that make great companies.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your contributions, dedication, and support. I would also like to thank you for your generosity, kindness, and compassion which is reflected in many of the Community Awareness activities we engage in.

Please accept my best wishes to you and your family for a safe and Merry Christmas and Holiday Season.

- Mike

New Associates

On behalf of the Senior Leadership Team, we are pleased to announce the promotions of the following individuals to Associates. These promotions acknowledge the contributions made by these individuals and reflect their importance to the future success of RWDI.

Mike Carl - Mike Carl joined RWDI in 2008 as a junior engineer in our Building Performance group. Since then, Mike has been involved in some of RWDI’s most exciting projects, including the Mekkah project. Although he has maintained a quiet profile for much of his time here, Mike has become a dependable and innovative project engineer, and a main contributor to the team’s success. Recently Mike has been promoted to Level F and has assumed the role of Team Leader in the Building Performance team. The team is in great hands!

Tom Lee - Since joining RWDI in 2011, Tom has been a steady, diligent and thoughtful worker, calmly completing assignments and helping to improve our processes on a continuous basis. After a couple years with us, when asked to begin helping with senior Quality Assurance activities, he stepped right up without missing a beat. Tom has also been a vital link to our damping projects in Asia, and maintains strong communications with our Shanghai office despite the sometimes awkward time zone difference. He gets along well with everybody, and always prioritizes the good of the company over personal considerations.

Daniel Hackett - Daniel joined RWDI’s UK office in 2013 after having held a previous position within BMT’s Far East operation. Daniel’s leadership skills and dedication soon became apparent, and he was soon after elevated to team lead within the microclimate team. In the two plus years since then, the team has almost tripled in size and expanded far beyond the original realm of pedestrian wind studies, to include stack effect, CFD and glare work. Daniel has played a strong role in developing a team of engaged professionals pushing the limits of what they can do. Daniel has recently been promoted to Level F in recognition of his efforts.

James Anderson - James joined RWDI’s UK office as a Technical Services Manager in 2007. In this role, James has been responsible for overseeing the UK facilities, model shop, wind tunnel and IT services. As an ex-military man (did you know that he served on Air Force One?) he has put his strong organizational and project execution skills to use time and time again. These skills were put to the test during our move from Dunstable to Milton Keynes where he managed the transition smoothly. James has led the growth of the model shop and wind tunnel teams from approximately 10 individuals to its current total of 31. He has been instrumental in the development of team leaders and technical skill sets in the UK. His strong leadership and versatility will serve RWDI well in the future.

Dawn Porcellato - Dawn joined RWDI back in 1999 . Dawn helps to build and sustain some of our most valuable relationships: those with clients, as well as our trusted collaborators in the architecture and engineering communities. In her role as Business Development Specialist, Dawn undertakes marketing and outreach activities in RWDI’s Building Performance and Climate Engineering practices, supports the delivery of our popular webinar program for architects and engineers, and connects RWDI experts with conferences and seminars where they can share their specialized knowledge and learn from peers. Among many other qualities, Dawn’s ability to connect the right person with the right project or opportunity makes her an asset within and beyond RWDI. It’s a much deserved recognition of her talented skills, work ethic, and overall positive and supportive team attitude that has led to Dawn becoming part of the Associate group.

Danette Hohmeier - Danette joined RWDI in 2010 as a full time 1 year maternity replacement in facilities. In May 2011, she became a full time employee and moved into HR as an HR Advisor; in July 2014, she became a Senior HR Advisor; and, in August 2015, she became an Organizational Development Specialist. She has been key to leading many of our HR and Strategic Initiatives. Along with her role as Organizational Development Specialist, and effective August 2016 where she moved from HR to corporate, she will also be working with Wayne Boulton, Mark Vanderheyden and Mike Soligo as part of the Strategic Initiatives area of RWDI.

Mike Gibbons - Mike Gibbons is a dedicated and valued member of the LE Climate Analytics team, which he joined after transferring from the Wind Loading team in 2012. From the beginning, he has diligently pursued innovative ways to expand and improve our analysis techniques and services. Always conscientious of providing value to the client, he has been instrumental in developing the new services such as wind loading on Solar Arrays and wind assessments for green roofs. While he has long been respected as a mentor, more recently he has demonstrated his talents in leadership through his role as a supervisor for Wind Loading.

Steve Meszaros - Steve originally joined RWDI in the Guelph office in 2000 as a coordinator in the Wind Engineering Group and transitioned into the Acoustics, Noise, and Vibration Group where he remained until 2009. In 2013 he returned to RWDI and has been instrumental in growing our Vancouver Acoustics, Noise, and Vibration Group in the Vancouver Office. Steve is more than a Technical Director in our Vancouver Noise Acoustics and Vibration team, he is the Supervisor for the western Canada portion of the team and provides vital support to our growth in the region.

Peter James (PJ) Mauro - PJ joined RWDI as a Senior Project Manager with the Geoscience Team in 2011 and currently wears multiple hats as a Senior Project Manager, Technical Team Leader and a Technical Director. He provides consulting services in all things Groundwater and his client base has grown from private and public clients primarily in Southern Ontario to Northern Ontario and the Territories. His next target in growing is team’s capabilities is looking at expanded monitoring services as well as looking for strategic growth opportunities in ground water modelling.

Bryce Dawson - Bryce is a Project Manager in our Calgary, Alberta office working primarily in the Oil and Gas sector. He started with RWDI in 2010 and became the Supervisor for Environmental Project Managers in Canada’s western offices in 2015.

Francoise Robe - Francoise joined RWDI in 2014 as a Senior Consultant working in our Calgary, Alberta office. She is the lead for the Oil and Gas client sector in the Environmental group. Francoise is an expert in advanced meteorological and air dispersion modelling.

Matthew Sawycky - Matt joint RWDI in 2011 as a Project Manager working in our Vancouver office. His primary focus is on environmental impact studies in the mining, government and manufacturing client sectors. Matt’s previous experience includes forestry resources management and ecology.

Andrew Gypps - Andrew Gypps joined RWDI-Anemos in 2007 just a few short years after Anemos joined with RWDI. As the UK office’s first full time Project Manager, Andy was faced with many of the challenges in bringing RWDI’s business model into a much smaller niche firm. Coming up on ten years, the success and prosperity of our UK office is a testament in large part to the diligence and hard work Andy has provided over the years. Recently, Andy has assumed the role of Team Leader of RWDI’s UK Project Management team, which is now five in number. We look forward to Andy’s continued leadership and mentorship in the UK office over the coming years.

For those wishing to learn more about the Associate Program, please click here.

Newly Appointed Shareholders

Please join me in congratulating fifteen of our outstanding staff as Principals of RWDI. All of these individuals display the character, dedication and determination that are core requirements for becoming a Principal. They are recognized as experts in their field, and continually share their knowledge while providing mentorship and support to colleagues around them.

Analene Belanger - A graduate in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Analene joined us in 2006 as a Project Manager, after having had a brief stint as a microclimate co-ordinator a few years prior to that. Analene soon established herself as a Project Manager extraordinaire, taking on some of our signature projects in the Building Performance team that helped establish RWDI as a major force in the master planning field, particularly in the Middle East. Analene has accomplished all this with a constantly pleasant demeanor and sense of calm. Congratulations Analene!

Jan Dale - Jan joined RWDI in 2004 after graduating from University of Western’s wind engineering program. After spending the early part of his career in Loads and Effects, Jan moved to the Building Science microclimate team in 2010 and became team leader the following year. Jan combines leadership skills with deep technical knowledge to help grow one of RWDI’s core technical teams to almost triple its size in the last five years. Congratulations Jan!

Justin Downey - Justin joined RWDI in 2014 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario and spending several successful years in the sustainable design business as business partner of Mike Williams. Justin’s strong business development and technical skills have helped build RWDI’s energy modeling and LEED consulting business to double its size since joining, and in the meantime Justin has helped anchor Building Science’s Calgary presence through the pursuit and maintenance of new client relationships. Congratulations Justin!

Jordan Gilmour - Jordan joined RWDI as a Project Manager in the Building Science and Loads Effects teams in 2006 after graduating some years earlier from McMaster University. As one of RWDI’s most dependable and productive Project Managers over this time, Jordan more recently moved into the role of Team Leader for the Project Management team, and from there to Project Delivery Manager in Building Science. Jordan’s dependability, hard work and his ability to lead by example are but a few of the valuable skills he brings to the role. Congratulations Jordan!

Vincent Tang - A University of Toronto graduate, Vincent joined RWDI in 2001 in the Building Performance team, and since that time has established himself as one of the technical anchors not only within his team but in other areas of the company as well. Vincent’s programming wizardry combined with his fundamental engineering knowledge has served him in his role of Technical Director in an engineering team known for producing some of RWDI’s most spectacular and noteworthy feats of engineering. In 2014 Vincent built RWDI’s stack effect tool, which has since become one of RWDI’s latest hot commodities and a major differentiator from our competitors. Congratulations Vincent!

Mike Williams - Mike joined RWDI in 2014 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario and forging a successful business alongside Justin Downey. Based in our Toronto office, Mike mixes a blend of strong technical expertise in the energy modeling and sustainability field with exemplary client service and a keen forward looking sense of business strategy. In the RWDI tradition, Mike is not daunted, but rather energized, by unique challenges and service areas that can take RWDI into new business territories. Congratulations Mike!

Pierre-Olivier Dallaire - Pierre joined RWDI in January 2006, after completing his M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Universite de Sherbrooke. His research involved the study of the phenomenon of aeolian vibrations of cylindrical structures, which proved valuable as after a short time in the Wind Loading team Pierre focused on Bridges. His background led him to be involved in many of the more challenging projects in the Bridge teams. He became a Technical Director and Associate of RWDI in 2013. His analytical skills and knowledge are unmatched and he approaches work with a positive attitude that is infectious. Pierre is passionate about driving the company forward technically and is a great asset. Congratulations Pierre!

Trevor Haskett - Trevor joined RWDI in August 1999, after finishing his M.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Trevor brought a strong background in modelling, analysis, dynamics and control systems to his role at RWDI. He became a key member of Motioneering between 2001-2008, helping execute the design and installation of bespoke damping solutions. This role continues today – Trevor is a now Senior Technical Director and has been leader of the Vibration and Damping services in Loads and Effects since 2014. Trevor is recognized by colleagues as being technically excellent, on both design and dynamics issues, and his interaction with clients is noted as being impressive - clients value his depth of knowledge and ability to keep things simple and clear. Congratulations Trevor!

Jason Garber - Jason joined RWDI in October 1998 after graduating with an M.E.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario. Jason spent most of his M.E.Sc. at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory at Western, and also spent time abroad at Monash University in Australia under the watchful eye of Bill Melbourne. His exceptional technical background led him to immediately fall into the more challenging projects in the Loads and Effects wind loading group. He became an Associate of RWDI in 2003 and a Senior Specialist in Wind Engineering in 2007. Jason has been an instrumental part in the streaming of RWDI Wind Loading offerings into building envelope and structures focused service lines, leading the structures (Bones) team since early 2016. His willingness to share his experience has made Jason a go-to person for everyone with a Wind Engineering problem. Congratulations Jason!

Ender Ozkan - Ender joined RWDI in 2013 following a decade working as a wind engineer in ARUP’s Advanced Technology Group. Ender is a recognized expert and is often invited to speak on practical aspects of wind engineering. As a Regional Manager, he has provided strong leadership to our UK office through a period of significant growth in recent years. Ender continues to pursue and develop strong client relationships across Europe. Congratulations Ender!

Brent Langille - Brent is a Senior Consultant in our Windsor office who helps industry and governments manage waste and comply with regulations. Brent graduated from the University of Windsor and is a Professional Geologist. He joined RWDI’s Environmental group in 2011 and became an Associate in 2015. He has 18 years’ experience in hydrogeology and geotechnical construction quality assurance and construction quality control. Brent excels at helping our clients not only understand and solve waste management challenges but communicate with stakeholders, including the general public and regulators, about their work. Congratulations Brent!

Teresa Drew - Teresa brings over 25 years of experience to her role as Technical Manager overseeing the technical quality and development of all service areas in our Environmental Group. She joined RWDI in 2011 and became an Associate in 2013. Her secondary role at RWDI is a Senior Consultant working primarily for industry in our Calgary office and is an expert in environmental noise and vibration. She has been an invaluable part of RWDI’s Leadership Development Program from the beginning, always willing to co-facilitate workshops and provide coach-like mentorship beyond her own team. She is also leading the charge on making Job Hazard Analysis a better tool for all at RWDI. She promotes initiatives and efforts wherever she sees the need and has been instrumental in gaining SRED and IRAP funding for special projects. She is an “East Coaster” at heart and an avid Star Wars fan… sorry, Star Trek fan. Congratulations Teresa!

Sharon Schajnoha - Sharon is a Senior Project Manager and the Business Development Manager for the Environmental group working in our Guelph office. Sharon graduated from the Environmental Engineering program at the University of Guelph and joined RWDI in 1997. She became an Associate of the firm in 2004. She brings nearly two decades of varied experience in environmental engineering, air quality and environmental noise. Sharon has performed acoustic and air quality studies in a range of fields and industries, including transportation, land use planning, health care and education. Whether she is studying noise mitigation possibilities for the construction of a new transportation corridor or elucidating the regulatory implications of a land-use change for local industry or a developer, Sharon is known for insight, pragmatism, and clarity of communication. You may also know her for the work she has recently done as Business Development Manager as she played an integral role in the recent branding refresh. She also leads marketing, market intelligence and business strategies for the Environmental group. Congratulations Sharon!

Ron Chapman - Ron graduated with a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. Before joining RWDI, he was employed as a software developer with a few firms including the Toronto Stock Exchange. Ron joined RWDI in 2005 in Calgary as a Technical Director and became Leader of the Environmental Software team. He was made an Associate in 2008. Ron is known internally and externally for his drive to exceed client expectations and for his innovative work to extend our service offerings and technological capabilities. Ron’s project work ranges from technical areas such as real-time atmospheric dispersion modelling and operational weather forecasting to organizational areas such as decision support systems and training programs. Among other advances, Ron is responsible for the creation and development of our forecasting service line, including a custom-built, high-performance computer cluster that runs high-resolution weather forecast models in-house. Since the inception of RWDI’s formal leadership development program a few years ago, Ron has been an integral part of delivering high level professional development workshops to RWDI’s leaders across the world. Congratulations Ron!

Greg Thompson - Greg began his career at RWDI earlier than most when he was hired as a summer student in high school. Upon completing his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, he returned to RWDI as a member of the Building Performance and Motioneering teams. As a Project Manager, his unique and diversified background positioned him to successfully manage the challenging international projects he is well known for. Greg’s dedication, positivity and zeal are also applied to business development in the role of Regional Business Development Leader for the US north east for Loads & Effects. Congratulations Greg!

2016 Community Awareness Heartfelt Successes

  • 2016 Silent Auction for SickKids
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation (Big Bike)
  • Canadian Breast Cancer Run for the Cure
  • Booster Juice/Elf Suit for SickKids
  • Toy Drive for Children's Foundation of Guelph-Wellington
  • Food Bank of Guelph
  • Coldest Night of the Year
  • SickKids Volleyball
  • Food Cycle Ride
  • Ride Don't Hide
  • United Way
  • Rotary Club as well on Earth Day
  • Downtown Food Servings
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Guelph Chamber of Commerce
  • Guelph Wish Fund for Children
  • MS Society of Canada
  • Salvation Army
  • Kerala State Council for Child Welfare
  • UK: Paper Plane Competition to raise money for the National Brain Appeal
  • UK: Eurovision Song Contest sweepstake to raise money for the National Brain Appeal
  • UK: Euro 2016 sweepstakes to raise money for the National Brain Appeal
  • UK: Charity Hair Cut to give hair to the Little Princess Trust and money to Cancer Research UK

Canadian Breast Cancer Run for the Cure

RWDI was the top corporate sponsor in Guelph in this year’s CIBC run for the Cure and we won an award! We had our largest team to date with 36 participants! We run because we have friends whose lives have been touched by cancer and their strength has inspired us in a profound way. We are all very passionate about promoting and raising awareness in addition to collecting money to fund breast cancer research, education, advocacy and promote health initiatives across the country aimed to significantly reduce the burden of breast cancer in Canada. RWDI was the top corporate sponsor in this year’s CIBC run for the Cure and we won: Christmas Shoe boxes. We were able to fill over 50 shoeboxes as a team and donate over 100 sets of socks & mittens to local Guelph Shelters for this winter.

Booster Juice Fundraiser

Booster Juice was available for staff to purchase and a portion of our overall sales went towards SickKids. We sold 28 Booster juices in total and raised $80.

Ride Don’t Hide

Ride Don’t Hide is a community bike ride hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), with the goal to raise awareness and help break the stigma surrounding mental health while raising essential funds to support mental health programs. CMHA rides will be hosted in six provinces in 35 communities with the aim to engage over 8,000 participants and raise $1,500,000. Learn more about how you can make an impact by joining Ride Don’t Hide and how CMHA will support you before, during/after the ride.

Food Cycle Ride

The Food Cycle Ride is held to support the Centre Wellington Food Bank. Proceeds from the Ride will enable the food bank to buy produce, meat and dairy products from local farmers and use its community kitchen to prepare these foods to add to the CWFB’s food baskets. The kitchen is also used to teach food preparation and to provide healthy meals for other community groups. Participate individually, or have more fun by joining friends, family, or co-workers. We encourage riders to raise money through pledges of support. A delicious lunch prepared and served by the Centre Wellington Food Bank, accompanied by live entertainment by local musicians following the Ride. Beautiful trophies for individual, family and team that raises the most money for the Food Bank, as well as for the largest team. The Food Cycle Ride over scenic routes through beautiful Centre Wellington has raised over $50,000 for the Food Bank in the five years since its inception in 2011. By participating in the event, you can cycle either 35 or 70 kilometres, on routes that traverse the Grand River and pass through farming communities and towns in Wellington and Waterloo Counties. Alternatively, for casual cyclists and families, two distances (20 km and 40 km) have been marked out on the Elora-Cataract Trailway, an abandoned rail line converted to recreational use.

Coldest Night of the Year

The Coldest Night of the Year is a Canada-wide winter walk-a-thon to support local homeless ministries in each participating city. It's a fun and chilly event, and it provides much-needed support and awareness for homeless organizations that often face a decline in funds during the coldest months of the year. All proceeds from our fundraising went towards the Lakeside Hope House in Guelph.

Heatwave Volleyball All Day Tournament 2016 for SickKids

On Saturday June 4th RWDI’s all-star volleyball players hit the courts for an action packed day in support of SickKids. We had two teams compete in the all-day volleyball tournament ‘Vortex Setting’ (Competitive) and ‘Net Pressures’ (Recreational) and we all played very well as a team! This is the third year RWDI has participated in the Heatwave event with two team entries and we’re looking forward to next year! These children at SickKids who are fighting childhood cancer are true heroes and inspire all of us to make a difference. Their inspiration is clearly seen here through the generous support at these incredible events. They inspire corporations, players, volunteers, donors and sponsors to come together to raise funds to end childhood cancer. For the past 22 years we have dedicated these events to these courageous children at SickKids. Together, through fundraising we continue to give a remarkable gift to our future generations. This could not be made possible without generosity and support from participants like you. Join us today by registering your team and start fundraising! The future of healthier children starts at SickKids. Help SickKids change their world so they can change ours. Together We Will!

Tree Planting for Earth Day

Tree planting as part of the Rotary Forest Project at Guelph Lake is happening on Saturday April 23, 2016 from 9 am to 2 pm. RWDI is a corporate sponsor of this event and we have registered a team. It's a family friendly event and provides a great opportunity to spend some quality time with fellow RWDIer and celebrate Earth Day in a meaningful way to benefit the environment.

Downtown Group Serving

RWDI employees participate every few months in serving meals to the community in downtown Guelph for those in need. Our work involves preparing a hot, wholesome and healthy meal and serving it to those in need.

Pictures captured from this years charity events

We sincerely thank everyone who generously donated to any of the above charity initiatives. Overall, for FY16, RWDI (company-wide) donated over $70,000 to charitable initiatives. You truly are touching the lives and hearts of those who need your assistance… you should feel extremely proud! Here are some quotes that really sum it all up.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” - Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank: The Play
"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” - Mother Teresa
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” - John Holmes
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” - John Bunyan

During 2016, GBS gave back to the Portland, Oregon community in the following ways

  • Four times a year, employees of GBS go to the Clark Center to prepare and serve meals to the residence of the Center. The Clark Center provides housing to men who are transitioning from homelessness to a life of being self-supporting and contributing again to society. GBS prepares and serves meals to about 100 men each quarter. While the men there are very appreciative of what we do, it is equally an inspiring and uplifting experience to us to see so many men make a strong, concerted effort on their own to better themselves. Cost for the food alone was about $900.
  • During the holiday season this year, as a result of donations from GBS staff and a generous donation from RWDI, GBS “adopted” 12 children from families living in affordable housing provided by Portland non-profit Central City Concern. The GBS team shopped and purchased gifts of toys and clothing for the children and gift cards for their families, to hopefully brighten the holidays for these children and their families. Total donation by GBS employees and RWDI was about $700.
  • In recognition of Earth Day in 2016, many members of the GBS team got their hands and clothes dirty by volunteering for Friends of Trees, an organization whose purpose is to improve our natural environment by planting trees and restoring sensitive natural areas. The GBS team spent a half day digging and planting trees in a neighborhood in the Portland area. No cash donation; only our time.
  • GBS attended a fund raising event to show its support for Dress for Success Oregon, an organization whose mission is to assist lower income women become successful in both work and in life by providing professional attire, counseling, and a network of support to those women. Total donation was $200.

The Calgary office took charge of giving back to the community as well this past year

  • Collected 10 bags of winter gear for the Calgary Drop-in Center
  • Organized an office outing to help with Meal Service at the Calgary Drop-in Center on Saturday January 14th, 2017
  • Matched RWDI’s $5000 goal for the Sick Kids Campaign (via the Crist Family Foundation)
  • Collected non-perishable food donations for the Food Bank, to be picked up on December 19th.. just in time for the holidays

Doors Open Guelph

RWDI has been approached by the Guelph Arts Council to be part of Doors Open Guelph in the Spring of 2017. The program is part of a larger Ontario-based program that “showcases the buildings, natural spaces, infrastructure and cultural landscapes that shape and define our communities.” The 2017 event is significant as Ontario is celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation. In the neighbourhood at Southgate, both Guelph Hydro and Sleemans have participated in the past. We will run an open house, similar to the family and friends event house we hosted in October, whereby we showcase both the facility and the great work we do across a wide variety of our technical offerings. The event will run from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday April 22, 2017. The expected turnout is approximately 500 people from the Greater Guelph area. This is an excellent opportunity to increase brand recognition in our community, promote community outreach and team engagement. Please let Sharon Schajnoha know if you’re interested in participating. The level of effort would include attending a meeting in advance of the event and the event itself, both on a volunteer-basis.

Christmas Festivities from around our offices

Warm wishes and holiday cheer from the UK Office

Staff eagerly open up their Secret Santa gifts

Season's Greetings from Portland

This December, Green Building Services is grateful to continue our long-held tradition of helping families in need during the holiday season. With generous donations from RWDI and GBS staff, we have “adopted” 12 children from families living in affordable housing provided by Portland non-profit Central City Concern. We are shopping for and providing gifts of toys and clothing for the children, individually geared to the child’s wants and needs, and gift cards for their families, to ensure their holidays are merry and bright.

In addition, four times a year, in collaboration with Transition Projects, we demonstrate our culinary skills by providing a full taco bar dinner to residents of the Bud Clark Commons, a transitional housing center for individuals experiencing homelessness. Our sleight-of-hand in the kitchen is truly something to behold, as we slice and dice with engineered precision, and we always receive heartfelt thanks from the nearly 100 recipients of the bountiful repast that somehow magically appears. Our final cooking night for the year is Tuesday, December 13. Hold on to your Santa hats and don’t forget the hot sauce!

Emerging from a balmy fall, we’re now dodging unpredictable weather that threatens ice storms, as winter is finally making its descent. We were looking forward to a visit from Linda Derma, but that will be rescheduled for sunnier days. In the meantime, we’re racing forward to finish out the year, with our annual holiday party taking place December 16, graciously provided by RWDI at Nel Centro, one of Portland’s très chic restaurants. This gives us a prime opportunity to clean out our closets, desperately in search of that perfect giveaway for the highly anticipated White Elephant Gift Exchange. Finally, we’re looking forward to starting the New Year with a bang, as a fully integrated, rebranded member of the RWDI family and collaborating on some truly exciting projects!

Happy Holidays, One and All! Best wishes for a Sustainable, High-Performance New Year!

"Festivus for the rest of us" in Vancouver

Vancouver's wintery-white Christmas Tree!

The Vancouver office hosted four holiday events this year, a new record.

On the 27th of November, we had an exciting party for all the kids! It was quite a festive celebration, complete with Jumbo Connect-4, Ring Toss, a very colourful Spin-Art activity, and of course, gifts from Santa for every child (except Santa (Matt Johnston) was truly missed this year, after frightening some young’uns last year!).

The Vancouver RWDI Christmas party was a hit this year – we had the pleasure of a gastronomic extravaganza, excellent company and even a cozy fireplace in our own private room at Glowbal in the new Telus building downtown. Our youngest addition, Florence, even joined us and stole the limelight for most of the evening. The servers were particularly friendly and the food delicious! A night to remember!

On Wednesday, December 7th, some Vancouver staff brought in Christmas cake and Egg Nog. Staff gathered around to decorate our RWDI Christmas tree.

On the 13th of December, the Vancouver office staff spent their lunch time participating in a gift exchange called Festivus for the rest of us.

Holiday happenings in Guelph

Christmas Tree Decorating, Toy Drive and More!

Guelph staff came together earlier this month to decorate two Christmas Trees in the Piazza.

[Left to right] Erin, Kyla, Lorena, and Alicia standing proudly next to their beautiful Christmas Tree!

[Left to right] Mike, Tanya, Stephanie, Adriana, and Melissa are ready for their close-up with their Christmas Tree!

Toys lay under the Christmas Tree for our Toy Drive in Guelph!

Guelph staff pose for a photo with Santa after a fun-filled morning of singing, laugher, and ugly Christmas Sweaters!

The winners of Guelph's Ugly Christmas Sweater Contests: [Left to right] Adriana, Tanya, Jane, and Aimee.

Elf Costume Contest

RWDI's Version of "Say Yes to the Dress"… except it was an Elf Costume!

It all started on Tuesday, November 22nd whereby there were 5 individual cash boxes set up, each depicting a picture of our GM’s. Staff we then asked to deposit whatever cash amount they wanted to into the respective “GM elf cash box” of the GM they wanted to see wear the costume. On December 14th, the monies were collected and counted and low and behold, Jon Galsworthy was deemed the lucky winner raising, himself alone, $196.00! Jon was a great sport and wore the costume for the morning, prior to a client visit he had in the afternoon. All proceeds from this festive initiative are going to the SickKids Foundation (overall, we raised an additional $500 from these cash boxes) .

Thank you to all the GM’s for being so brave and agreeing to participate in this fun event!

Our contestants this year: Mark Hunter, Jon Galsworthy, Rob Tonin, Bill Smeaton, Mark Vanderheyden

And the winners is...

Jon Galsworthy, Congratulations!
Our elf, Jon, joins staff in the Piazza to watch his co-star Will Ferrell play Elf!

Kids Christmas Party

SickKids Donation

Nancy and Chantelle join us from Sickkids for a big thank you to donating this year!

Congratulations and thank you to RWDIers for an incredibly successful fundraising campaign for SickKids! As a result of the auction, the Buddy the Elf campaign, the smoothie day, and the generous support of the Crist Family Foundation, we raised nearly $11,034! In appreciation of our ongoing support, several representatives from the SickKids Foundation traveled to Guelph on December 13 to present us with a recognition award. The picture on the award plaque depicts a beautiful brave little girl sporting a collection of beads. We learned during our meeting with the Foundation representatives that children being treated at SickKids have the option of participating in the “Bravery Bead Program.” A child undergoing treatment receives a bead for each procedure they undergo or event they experience. There is a unique bead to represent everything from a needle injection for blood samples to hair loss as a result of chemo treatments. The children wear these beads to represent their own unique journey through treatment. Some children have collected so many beads, that their parents carry them in tote bags, which the children insist must accompany them everywhere at the hospital campus.

The work of SickKids Hospital is phenomenal. They provide care to children from all parts of Canada. Their research and outreach are continuously evolving allowing children to thrive with conditions that may have been untreatable in the not so distant past. We likely all know someone who at one point has been under their care. Our donation will be put to great use and make a difference in the lives of so many children and their families.

A heart-felt thanks to everyone who made a donation, purchased a smoothie or an item from the auction or voted with their wallets in the Elf campaign. Thank you to the GMs for their willingness to be Buddy the Elf and especially to Jon for sporting the costume for the day (the shorts were a welcomed addition).

Thank you to Jane Tassone for coordinating the auction and to all of the sponsors of the auction, including our suppliers and service providers.

A special thank you to Crystal Crist and the Crist Family Foundation for your ongoing generosity and support!

More to come… RWDI will be featured as a corporate sponsor of the week in a January addition of the SickKids’ newsletters. We will circulate it once it has been released.

Christmas Potluck

Staff enjoy various cheeses, crackers, salads, meatballs, turkey and more!

Choir! Choir! Choir! at RWDI

Celebrate: the warmth of the season, the beauty of the season, the memories of the season, and the joy of the season. May you have peace and happiness this holiday season.

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