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2020 Transportation Safety Board awards

2020 award recipients

Chair’s Award

Jon Lee

This Award was given to Jon Lee for his exceptional work as a Manager, Regional Operations, Air Investigations.

Photo 1. Jon Lee
Photo 1. Jon Lee

Since joining the TSB over two decades ago, Jon’s notable dedication to the TSB and its mandate make him an exceptional and deserving employee.

The 2020 Chair’s Award was presented to Jon Lee for his exceptional and distinguished career at the TSB and in the aviation industry.

Prior to joining the TSB, Jon gained industry experience as a pilot in operations ranging from regional airlines and transcontinental cargo to medevac and flight instruction. Jon joined the Air Branch in 1999 and has made significant and invaluable contributions to the TSB both as an investigator and as a manager. Throughout his career at the TSB, Jon has led, assisted, and supervised countless investigations.

Jon’s tremendous aviation and investigative experience have benefitted a number of investigators who have joined the TSB in recent years, as well as his fellow colleagues, who often go to him for advice on various topics. He has trained and mentored countless staff members, and he has become one of the most reliable, well-respected, and experienced members of our organization. Jon has been an aircraft accident investigator instructor for the Southern California Safety Institute since 2011.

As an individual, Jon is also a very creative and resourceful employee who often shares novel ideas to improve the way we do business at the TSB. He has a talent to positively challenge the status quo and propose new ways of doing things, such as improving our procedures, technology, efficiency, etc.

This award is also to highlight Jon’s outstanding work in the last year, as he wore several hats in the Air Branch in 2019-20. On top of his usual role as manager for the Edmonton-Western office, Jon has been the acting manager for the Vancouver-Pacific office since November 2019. Not only did he effectively manage two offices at the same time, Jon was required to travel between Edmonton and Vancouver several times; take on a significant workload; manage a large number of employees; and supervise several investigations all at once. Despite these challenges, Jon remained very positive and ensured that both offices maintained an optimal level of performance.

Key Contributor in Investigations Award 

François Dumont

Photo 2. François Dumont
Photo 2. François Dumont

The 2020 Key Contributor in Investigations Award was presented to François Dumont.

François has been the only investigator in the Quebec office with investigator powers for a very long time, and was therefore Investigator-in-charge on at least three ongoing investigations at a time for many months. Amongst them, François was the IIC on the investigation into the grounding of passenger vessel Akademik Ioffe (M18C0225). This investigation was a complex class 2 investigation. François overcame many challenges and was able to bring out key safety messages in these investigation reports.

Despite a hectic schedule, François still made himself available to mentor new investigators and share his knowledge. His deep understanding of the policies and procedures of the TSB, and his great communication skills, make him an outstanding mentor and a colleague who is esteemed by his peers. François has the capacity to synthesize complex occurrences in a way that junior investigators can understand, which is instrumental in getting solid investigation reports completed. François has a very keen eye for mistakes and gives constructive criticisms to his coworkers, ensuring their full cooperation.

François is one of the key players from the Quebec City Regional Office. His positive attitude towards investigations is contagious and François makes working at the TSB an enjoyable place for many of his colleagues.

Distinguished Team Award

Yoho Rail Testing and Research Team (R19C0015):  Abe Aronian, David Mohan, Heather Smith, Mark Wallis, and Robert Leblanc.

Photo 3. Abe Aronian
Photo 3. Abe Aronian

The 2020 Distinguished Team Award was presented to the Yoho Rail Testing and Research Team (R19C0015):  Abe Aronian, David Mohan, Heather Smith, Mark Wallis, and Robert Leblanc.

The team worked on a significant rail project that could have sweeping changes in the industry. Initially, the team deployed for ten days under very challenging weather conditions to recover all components from the triple fatality runaway train in British Columbia. Initial deployment included body surfing through grain to recover every parts. Then the team devised and conducted a series of air-brake tests in Banff to better understand the issues. The team worked tirelessly away from home to test the components and understand the inner workings of the system.

Photo 4. David Mohan
Photo 4. David Mohane

Subsequently, the team developed a test plan that detailed extensive mechanical and human factors testing, the likes of which are normally reserved for test and research agencies.

The team deployed for 21 days in Alberta to perform on-site mechanical tests. The team combined industry knowledge with their scientific expertise to systematically test and evaluate the brake components that survived the incident.

Photo 5. Heather Smith
Photo 5. Heather Smith

The team then re-deployed to Western Canada for six more days of testing where they performed extensive human factors and human performance testing to understand the ability for people to apply as many as 100 hand brakes on a train parked on grade and understand the human factors and limitations that could prevent the correct application of the brakes. 

Photo 6. Mark Wallis
Photo 6. Mark Wallis

The team collaborated to create a consolidated SES and HF test report, which distilled a monumental amount of data and complex information into a comprehensive and easy to understand scientific report.

This project is a spectacular example of collaboration between the SES and HF teams, and it highlights the depth of work that can be accomplished when professionals work together to achieve a common goal - improving safety in Canada.

Photo 7. Robert Leblanc
Photo 7. Robert Leblanc

This project is a truly remarkable example of dedication, professionalism, teamwork, and a commitment to making change in the industry. All team members showed extreme dedication to the cause under trying conditions and have never once waivered on their goals of helping the industry correct some long-standing technical issues. We are extremely pleased with the conduct of the team and the results they generated.

Living Our Values Award

Dan White

Photo 8. Dan White
Photo 8. Dan White

The 2020 Living Our Values Award was presented to Dan White.

Dan joined the TSB in 2009 as Senior Classification Advisor. He is as engaged today as he was when he first started. Over the years, Dan has grown to be an exemplary leader and great listener, one who is able to stay calm and supportive in the many difficult situations involving Human Resources (HR). On top of this, he is able to be fair with his team members and clients.

As the Manager of HR, Dan is often faced with all kinds of cases related to the multiple branches of HR. He has always been the first person to demonstrate and promote open-mindedness. He thinks about the situations that may have brought individuals to their current situation, he is non-judgmental, and faces every different situation with an open mind. Whatever the situation, Dan never has any judgment towards the people he interacts with, and everyone feels safe when it comes to explaining a situation with as much honesty as possible.

Dan brings out the best in everyone, including his employees, peers, and clients. He never hesitates to involve his team in different files to mentor them and to broaden their knowledge. He encourages the team to take initiatives on certain files, to continuously improve processes and procedures. His feedback is always constructive and done in a respectful manner.

Dan is one of those people who exemplify the values of the TSB: respect, openness, safety, integrity, and excellence.

Rising Star Award

The 2020 Rising Star Award is shared by two recipients for their exceptional work.

Leah Elmer

Photo 9. Leah Elmer
Photo 9. Leah Elmer

The first 2020 Rising Star Award was presented to Leah Elmer for the high quality of her work, her accountability, her positive and uplifting personality, and her outstanding communications skills.

Leah is the Regional Office Administrator for Pacific Region. Since she started with the TSB back in February 2019, she has done an outstanding job of modeling and encouraging positive values and behaviors. She makes a point of checking in with everyone to ask how they are doing. She ensures that Occupational Health and Safety training is up to date and ensures that everyone has appropriate Personel Protective Equipment, thereby ensuring that all in the office are as safe as they can be when deployed or working in the office and shop. Her impartial guidance and direction with regard to expenses and overtime reporting ensures stewardship of our resources and sets an example for accountability and ethical behavior. In light of the COVID-19 challenges, she has done an excellent job of coordinating admittance to the office for those who have a need to access documents or parts, thereby minimizing exposure. She is the definition of a team player and is always there to help others, while also being very keen about learning new things and keeping up with all of TSB procedures and processes. Leah has shown her commitment to the TSB and is a real pleasure to work with.

Sébastien Lafleur

Photo 10. Sébastien Lafleur
Photo 10. Sébastien Lafleur

The second Rising Star Award was presented to Sébastien Lafleur. Sébastien never stopped showing enthusiasm to learn and do a better job. Arriving at the TSB was a challenge for him as he  was coming from a large organization. There were about forty outstanding staffing actions, and all of them were for groups and levels that he had never staffed before. There was also staffing of EX positions which Sébastien had also never done before, and he requested to be involved in many processes to increase his knowledge. Sébastien took his new role with a lot of enthusiasm and has learned to know all of these groups and levels, made research and made his way through staffing files. He has also integrated new innovating tools, which were welcomed favorably by his clients. Not only did Sébastien adapt rapidly in his new role, but he also wanted to put measures in place to improve existing processes. He re-opened the staffing software file, which had been put on hold because of the high volume of staffing requests. He planned a demo of the tool with the Chair and the Executive Committee, which were very well received.

Sébastien is a reliable coworker on whom we can always count. The guidance he provides on staffing files are full of integrity and align with the values of the Public Service. All his clients gave positive feedback on interactions with Sébastien. He takes his job at heart and when it comes to staffing a position, he understands the urgency behind someone missing in a team and this pushes him to want to make a difference.