Government of Yukon

January 17, 2014

Exceptional public servants receive Premier’s Award of Excellence

WHITEHORSE—Premier Darrell Pasloski presented three teams and four individuals with the 2013 Premier’s Award of Excellence today in Whitehorse.

“I am honoured today to present the award to these public servants in recognition of their outstanding achievement, leadership and public service,” Premier Darrell Pasloski said. “The award winners are some of our best and brightest and exemplify the spirit of a public service that works every day to make Yukon a better place for all.”

The individual recipients are Aimee Ellis, Janet Mann, John Russell and Bill Stanley. The team recipients are employees from the Children’s Assessment and Treatment Services branch, the George Black Ferry crew and the Operation Nanook team.

The Premier’s Award of Excellence was established in 2005 to recognize exceptional accomplishments of Yukon government employees and celebrates their talent and teamwork.

The recipients are chosen by the Premier’s Award of Excellence Selection Committee, which includes Yukon government employees from several departments and one community representative.

Learn more
Premier’s Award of Excellence:


See backgrounder below.


Elaine Schiman
Cabinet Communications

Sarah Crane
Communications, Public Service Commission

2013 Premier’s Award of Excellence recipients


2013 Individual Recipients

Aimee Ellis, Energy, Mines and Resources

Aimee Ellis is the manager of the Energy, Mines and Resources library. Her leadership has benefitted the government and the staff who work with her. She fosters a strong culture of collaboration in the library and supports the professional and personal development of her staff. Through her vision, leadership and passion, the library operates with a high level of professionalism. Aimee successfully oversaw and led major projects such as the library transfer during devolution and the merging of library collections.

Janet Mann, Executive Council Office

Janet Mann is an assistant deputy minister in the Executive Council Office and is respected across government for her expertise and dedication to the public service. Through hard work, passion, humour and respect, she inspires teamwork and collaboration. She has a busy workload but often helps other departments when needed. Janet has shared her extensive knowledge with many others throughout her career, teaching financial management to hundreds of employees across the government.

John Russell, Environment

John Russell recently retired as the director of Conservation Officer Services with the Environment department. He was responsible for establishing and building a strong and effective policy framework. During his 34-year-career in the public service, he led the Conservation Services Branch to become a widely-respected model of professionalism. He has been a mentor, role model and leader to many employees. John led by example through his work ethic, dedication and strong commitment to protection of our natural resources.

Bill Stanley, Highways and Public Works

Bill Stanley has spent more than 40 years working to develop safe, efficient and sustainable public transportation infrastructure in Northern Canada. As the Shakwak manager with the Highways and Public Works department, he ensures that the terms of the Shakwak Agreement are fulfilled. He is responsible for designing and overseeing construction of highways and bridges in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. His colleagues say Bill is tireless in his dedication to improving design and construction methods.

2013 Team Recipients

Children’s Assessment and Treatment Services team

A team from the Children’s Assessment and Treatment Services branch in Health and Social Services used innovation and creativity to support a client with challenging disabilities. The team members showed commitment and dedication as they stepped outside their usual roles by undertaking extensive research, extra training and new duties. They developed specialized programming to stimulate, challenge and engage the client and saw inspiring results. Through the team’s hard work and compassion, the child has made great improvements.

Members of this team include:

  • Sherry Anderson
  • Lonny Bjorgford
  • Cathy Gillis
  • Rachael Grace 
  • Charlene Smith
  • Katie van Tighem

George Black Ferry Crew

Three employees on the George Black Ferry crew with the Highways and Public Works department in Dawson City were recognized for their exemplary actions during an emergency situation last June. The Yukon River was running high and fast when a canoeist overturned near the ferry. They immediately launched a lifeboat and responded with a man overboard situation. Their emergency training and quick action saved a life. Through leadership, a commitment to safety and years of emergency training, these employees were prepared to act when faced with an emergency situation in challenging conditions.

Members of this team include:

  • William Christiansen
  • Derrick Hastings
  • Roger Mendelsohn

Operation Nanook

The Operation Nanook team worked closely with the Canadian Armed Forces and other public agencies to stage a major emergency preparedness exercise in the Whitehorse area during the summer of 2013. Their initiative and proactive approach ensured the Yukon government was fully involved in the event and set a precedent for the federal government when engaging territorial governments in future exercises. Operation Nanook enhanced Yukon’s capacity for dealing with emergencies, making us better prepared for future situations. The team members went above and beyond their regular duties to advance this project. Many departments were involved this effort, including Community Services, Executive Council Office, Health and Social Services, Tourism and Culture, Highways and Public Works, Justice and Economic Development.

Members of this team include:

  • Chris Balzer
  • Helen Booth
  • Louise Dawson
  • Mike Etches
  • Karen Keeley
  • Kirsten MacDonald
  • Michael McKeage 
  • Jerry McLachlan
  • Dan Profeit
  • Stefanie Richardson
  • Rick Smith
  • Michael Templeton

News Release #14-009