2013 EWO Career Achievement Awards

EWO recognizes Kirk Patterson and Kitty Runstedler as the 2013 Career Achievement Award recipients

At the May 2013 Education at Work Ontario (EWO) Conference held at the Fern Resort in Orillia, Ontario, two very special individuals were recognized for their noteworthy contribution to the association and Co-op education.   Kirk Patterson, Business Developer with the University of Waterloo was the recipient of the EWO Career Achievement Award (University) and Kitty Runstedler , Employment Advisor with Conestoga College, received the same award in the College category.

University:  Kirk Patterson, Business Developer with the University of Waterloo

Kirk PattersonCarol Cox, long-time manager with the Canadian Association of Cooperative Education (CAFCE) wrote such an eloquent nomination letter; I would remiss to not include portions of it here.

 “Definition of P. Kirk Patterson (pronounced KaPten): passionate, tenacious, dreamer, out-side of the box thinker, styling (just look at those French tailored shirts and cuff links), and a foodie (firsthand experience chasing down food trucks in Vancouver with him this summer). Those are just a few characteristics that came immediately to the top as I started to put ink to this support letter for Kirk Patterson’s “EWO Career Achievement Award (2013)” nomination. I have known Kirk for 18 years.

 Kirk has been a part of the Canadian post-secondary Co-operative Education scene even as a student working as a law clerk. Kirk has been an integral part of both the national and two provincial co-operative education associations from their beginnings. Kirk’s blood, sweat, and tears wetted the mortar that forged the foundation of both the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education and Education at Work–Ontario.

No one should ever portray the always young-at-heart Kirk as old by putting a number to all of his volunteer years per committee that surpasses his real age. Kirk’s participation in CAFCE includes several different positions on the board of directors at several different times over the associations 40 years. There are probably only a handful of the committees that were ever formed to which he did not volunteer on. With maybe the most important one to the fundamental survival of CAFCE being the successful conferences of which he found himself chairing a few. Let me put this graciously, if his volunteer committee years matched his real age he would be older than Father Time. The committee will only need to reference Andrew Crichton’s article on CAFCE’s first 30 years http://www.cafce.ca/en/history  to understand his commitment in the promotion of post-secondary co-operative education and the sustainability of CAFCE and EWO.


Scott Davis, Faculty Relations Manager at the University of Waterloo added:

Kirk is a co-op evangelist.  He is an extremely dedicated Supporter of Co-operative education in Ontario (and all of Canada) and has been since his days with Fanshawe College.  In both his work life and his volunteer life, Kirk offers his support and talents whenever needed and has facilitated many different activities for the associations –from obtaining swag of the EWO conferences to pushing our agenda with the provincial government.

 Kirk is a source of inspiration for new co-op staff…he is a true believer in the power of collegiality and collaboration.  Even though post-secondary institutions often compete, Kirk recognizes and promotes the power in being united and spreading a professional message about co-op across the province.”

 EWO is grateful to have the support and tireless dedication of Kirk for many years.  Congratulations Kirk.

College: Kitty Runstedler , Employment Advisor with Conestoga College

Kitty RunstedlerKitty Runstedler is not just an employment advisor – she is the best friend a co-op student could ever hope to have.  Pamela Healey, Director Co-op and Career Services at Conestoga College says,

“Kitty is always available to help students with their individual co-op challenges and proactively contacts those students who are not seeking assistance but may be at risk”.

 Kitty’s dedication to promoting co-op has motivated her to step forward and serve as EWO President and to be instrumental in the creation of a new, dynamic web site for EWO, to lobby for an increase in the Cooperative Education Tax Credit (CETC) and to assume the role of co-chair of the CAFCE 2014 conference organizing committee.

 Cathie Edmond, Past President, EWO agrees,

“Kitty is an extremely positive person and her enthusiasm for co-op is infectious.  She is an excellent ambassador and I am confident that she is an ideal mentor for a student hoping to begin their professional career.  She is one of those people that students credit as making a difference in their academic life.”


What better testimonial than the words of one of her students,

Kitty is a very enthusiastic and kind-hearted individual who is always willing to help others.  She sees the best of people and always encourages them to do their best.  Kitty is an excellent advisor, mentor and all around good person to work with.”  Ainsley Moir, Marketing Co-op Student

 There is a saying that if you want something done, you assign it to a busy person.  Kitty is someone who does not hesitate to accept a task if the outcome will advance co-op or help a student realize their goals during their co-op career.  Congratulations Kitty on receiving this Career Achievement Award.

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