Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
MSc, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (UBC, 2015)
BSc Honours, UBC (2012)
“UBC gave me a solid base of skills and the drive to make a positive impact in the world.”
From Computer Science studies to software development, alum Ryan Trenholm found purpose in improving community services
AS A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER AND DESIGNER at Diamond Municipal Solutions in Edmonton, Alberta, Ryan Trenholm has worked with more than 200 municipalities from all across Canada.
As part of the research and development team, the UBC alumnus toiled alongside leading thinkers to create a cloud-based parks and recreation management software system with the aim of revolutionizing how municipalities engage with their citizens.
“My main focus is to ensure that our software looks amazing and provides an enjoyable experience when using our software,” he says.
But in a welcome turn of events, Trenholm’s parks and recreation management software team spun off its own company called PathFive, which, he says, “allows the team to really focus on providing innovative and intuitive recreation management solutions.”
PathFive, along with Diamond Municipal Solutions and several other StarDyne Technologies companies, were acquired by a company called Aptean—a leading provider of enterprise software solutions.
“This acquisition is providing our team with the opportunity to work with even more municipalities across North America, as well as the rest of the globe.”
The welcome shake-up reunited Trenholm with the Okanagan Valley. He now works out of the company’s Kelowna Offices in the Landmark Centre downtown.
Trenholm even purchased his first home here this past fall.
“Overall, things are really going well for me,” he says. “I’m still doing what I love and I love what I do, each and every day!”
As lead for the new PathFive development team, Trenholm is responsible for managing the development road map, working closely with our customers and municipal partners gathering feedback and suggestions, designing and implementing improvements and new applications within the software, and presenting this information back to key company stakeholders.
“I’m working with several other product lines in Aptean’s public sector to develop and expand their user experience standards, guidelines, and resources in order to improve the appearance and usability across all of their products.”
Trenholm applied his passion for making a positive impact in the community, and credits UBC Okanagan for discovering that in him.
“During my time as a student, I realized that my goals of making a better future were not so silly or unreachable. Things which may seem like simple tasks, such as redesigning the website for a non-profit organization, can actually have a very positive impact on those who use the services.”
Through the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) program, Trenholm collaborated with the City of Kelowna’s Park Services department on several research projects to improve irrigation practices and maintenance efficiency in Kelowna parks. It included developing a cloud-based mobile application with GPS capability to help parks employees visualize equipment locations in parks, record maintenance activities, and report water usage. Trenholm presented his research—titled “Reducing Water Usage in Civic Parks Using Adaptive Irrigation”—at UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver.
Going into his fourth-year of Computer Science studies, and building on his URA research in his upper years, led Trenholm to win a Top Oral Presenter award while representing UBC at the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
“I was the only student selected to represent UBC and the only Canadian to win an award,” he says. “It was incredibly rewarding and a perfect way to complete my undergraduate degree. Without a doubt, the biggest highlight from my UBC experience.”
Trenholm chose UBC’s Okanagan campus for a number of reasons. Along with receiving a world-class, high-quality education, the close-knit campus was particularly appealing.
“This exceptional learning environment offers students greater opportunities to get to know their professors and fellow students, encourages greater engagement in research projects and topics, and promotes collaboration and cooperation with the local community.”
Growing up on a farm in Tappen, BC, near Salmon Arm, Trenholm was a dedicated hard worker who enjoyed learning and problem solving—and video games. But while he was excited for the educational opportunity that UBC Okanagan offered, he admits that when he arrived on campus he had little confidence and was absolutely terrified of public speaking.
“During my time at UBC Okanagan, specifically through the mentorship I was given by Professor Ramon Lawrence and research programs such as the URA, I was able to overcome my fear of public speaking and develop the confidence in myself to be able to effectively communicate my ideas and ideals to others.”
When he looks back at his time at UBC, he remembers a welcoming and friendly campus. Trenholm says the supportive community encourages you to grow and explore.
“UBC helped me find my voice, and to become an excellent presenter and communicator,” he says. “My experience at the university inspired a passion for research and for helping people. I was encouraged to constantly seek out new opportunities to challenge myself.
“UBC allowed me to grow personally and professionally, and gave me a solid base of skills and the drive to make a positive impact in the world.”
—by May Alsukhon