August 5, 2021

043BY MARK LORENTZ

One of the main reasons for choosing college over university is the “hands-on” experience.

This statement was demonstrated at the sixth annual Tool and Trade Show held at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus.

The trade show was created to benefit both students and suppliers.

The students could test out various power tools, participate in games and talk to various sales representatives about the products on display.

Vendors, on the other hand, saw the potential of dealing with students face-to-face, networking and creating potential long-term customers.

“That’s the one big benefit of coming to this year after year, the students get to test out our stuff and see if they like it,” said Greg Barnes, industrial construction specialist at DeWalt.

There was a $100 vendor fee for the show, with a certain per cent going toward grants for students within the programs offered at Waterloo campus.

Fifteen vendors came out for the show including DeWalt, Milwaukee and Hilti who all had large setups with numerous tools for students to test out.

“The women who came by the booth so far are really pumped. They have a real interest and like showing the guys up, I think,” said Nicole Belanger, Hilti account manager for southern Ontario.

“The number of women is definitely growing. Every year there’s more and more. I hope it will continue; I believe it will,” Belange said.

Conestoga students Corrina Carson and Jenniefer Stronge are taking the post-graduate event management program and were in charge of organizing the event.

In their program students need to complete 120 hours of work placement within the academic year. Stronge believes when all is said and done in regards to the event they will have completed half of those hours.

When asked what the most difficult part of organizing the event is, Stronge said “getting the right contact information. Some of the representatives no longer work for the companies here today, so we had to scramble and find who to contact.”

Originally Carson and Stronge asked for six prizes to create some incentive for students to come out to the show.

However, both were shocked by the number of free items that the vendors were giving away, with draws and games throughout the day.

Mark Cooper from DeWalt was running a game where students had to drill four screws into a piece of wood as fast as possible.

The student with the winning time received a brushless hammer drill, retailing at $299.

“It creates competition amongst the programs. A lot of the carpentry guys take pride in this,” Cooper said.

Both Stronge and Carson were happy with how the event turned out.

One of their suggestions for next year is to figure out a way for the woodworking program located at the Doon campus to organize a class field trip out to Waterloo, so they too can experience what the event has to offer.

Doug Lockston a carpentry professor and the faculty adviser for the trade show, addressed the issue of getting students from Doon to Waterloo.

“Most of the students here come during their lunch break, or between classes. We’d love to have students from Doon come up, but they have classes too and the logistics with everyone involved don’t always work out.”

“I’m happy how it turned out, next year I’d prefer a few more vendors,” Lockston said.
For more information on the various trades offered at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus visit www.conestogac.on.ca/trades.

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