SAIT receives $2-million donation to energize students in electrical trades

A $2-million donation to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology will help better set students up for future success in the electrical trades.

It marks the largest legacy gift in SAIT’s history.

The gift is from the estate of Calgary business leader Randy O’Dell, founder of O’Dell Electric Ltd., who died last Nov. 14 at the age of 65 following a three-year battle with cancer.

It will go towards creating The Randy O’Dell Centre for Electrical Trades.

“This is a very special day for us and we are grateful for this gift,” said David Ross, SAIT president and CEO.

“The investment in SAIT by the O’Dell estate is an investment in student success. An important legacy has been created in support of our electrical trade apprentices and its impact on students and the industry will be felt over the coming years.”

Electrical apprentices in SAIT’s MacPhail School of Energy will benefit from and be supported by the donation, through student awards to learning spaces to the equipment required to become successful in their line of work.

Jesiahh Ahh, a 2018 pre-employment electrician program graduate, said he found his true purpose in life at SAIT, and added O’Dell’s appreciation for craftsmanship, hard work and a job well done will be a legacy for future students.

“I want to thank him for believing in SAIT and what it has done for me and will do for students in the years to come,” says Ahh.

Sherry Payne, O’Dell’s longtime friend and colleague, and executrix of the O’Dell estate said almost all of their apprentices at the company have gone through SAIT and O’Dell wanted to give back to Calgary.

“It was a city that afforded him great opportunity that he wouldn’t have had in small town New Brunswick. He was very proud of the people that we had on staff at O’Dell. And it just made sense to give back to the industry that gave him such a successful career,” said Payne.

The Randy O’Dell Centre for Electrical Trades will benefit students in three apprenticeship programs at SAIT — appliance service technician, electrician and electric motor systems technician — as well as students in pre-employment electrician and master electrician programs.

 

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