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2019 Transportation Safety Board awards

2019 award recipients

Chair's Award

This Award was given to Jean-Marc Ledoux for his exceptional work as a Manager, Regional Operations, Air Investigations.

Jean-Marc has been an outstanding manager throughout his career, most notably in 2018–2019, when he simultaneously held his current position and that of acting manager for International Operations and Major Investigations. Despite this great challenge, where he had to supervise a dozen investigators at a time, Jean-Marc was able to take on two critical roles at the TSB for several months with flying colours. Jean-Marc has contributed directly and indirectly to several investigations over the past two decades. Under his supervision since 2003, the Montreal office has completed 70 investigation reports, including six Class 2 investigations; 63 Class 3 investigations; and 1 Class 4 investigation. Since Jean-Marc became manager of the Dorval office, 5 recommendations were issued as part of investigations completed from these reports.

On the international scene, Jean-Marc has also been selected in the past by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the specialized agency of the United Nations, to act as auditor in the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program. Jean-Marc has a wealth of experience in the industry. He is a highly respected figure at the TSB and a national and international authority in the aviation industry, in which he continues to be actively involved.

In summary, Jean-Marc's multi-dimensional contribution to the TSB has contributed to help the Air Investigations Branch meet its priorities. Jean-Marc's performance in his functions consistently exceeds expectations, in terms of both investigation and management. With a friendly approach based on teamwork, Jean-Marc's leadership and commitment to his peers make him a valued but above all, a very dedicated manager. Jean-Marc is also a natural "leader" who knows how to lead a team effectively, while maintaining a very positive atmosphere with his peers, regardless of their experience or training. Over the course of his career, Jean-Marc has also been an exemplary mentor to many TSB investigators, teaching them his knowledge, professionalism and rigour.

Jean-Marc Ledoux (left) receiving his award from Chair Kathy Fox
Jean-Marc Ledoux (left) receiving his  award from Chair Kathy Fox

Key Contributor in Investigations Award 

This year, the Key Contributor in Investigations Award is shared by two recipients for their exceptional work over the past year.

Andrea Chambers

The first Key Contributor in Investigations Award was presented to Andrea Chambers for her exceptional work as a senior technical writer for the Air Investigations Branch. Andrea is a role model due to her diligence, professionalism and ability to add depth to the form and substance of the investigation reports. Her team spirit and altruism embody the very essence of the Key Contributor in Investigations Award. Andrea also stood out as acting manager, Standards and Performance for a few months in 2018. In this role, Andrea showed leadership by leading an investigation team on her own while handling her usual tasks.

Andrea revised/edited over 40 reports in 2018–2019, which added incredible depth to the quality, writing and structure of the reports. Even though it is difficult to focus on only one report as a model, Andrea's work in revising important reports, such as the runway incursion events at Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto (A17O0038) and the loss of control and collision with terrain in Kelowna (A16P0186) are examples of where she put in many hours to improve the form and substance of the reports, thereby helping TSB deliver high-quality reports to the public and the industry.

Without Andrea, the quality and time required to finalize the investigation reports would not reach the heights that it has over the last two years. Her director can personally speak to Andrea's exemplary work, which makes her an employee who is truly respected by her peers at the TSB. She is a devoted employee who is always willing to lend a helping hand to investigators. Despite being expert investigators in their field, they often follow Andrea's constructive suggestions and comments to the letter.

Andrea Chambers (right) receiving her award from Rox-Anne D'Aoust, Director Communications
Andrea Chambers (right) receiving her award from  Rox-Anne D'Aoust, Director Communications

Peter Hickli

The second Key Contributor in Investigations Award was presented to Peter Hickli for his exceptional work as a Regional Senior Investigator for the Railway/Pipeline Branch. Peter joined the TSB after a long career with BC Rail/CN as a car equipment specialist, and he maintains a well-developed network of contacts throughout the province. It is not surprising that when the TSB needed a team to meet with a First Nations group to follow up on a derailment on First Nations land near New Hazleton (R18V0016), Peter Hickli was there with Jim Carmichael, patiently listening to concerns and maintaining TSB independence.

Investigators know an accident investigation can often be a whirlwind of activities. Peter Hickli is the calm at the center of the storm, projecting quiet confidence to his team members and other stakeholders, and creating an environment where constructive cooperation flourishes. As an investigator-in-charge, Peter surrounds himself with experts and creates an environment for success. Since joining the TSB in 2006, Peter has been a contributor on dozens of major investigations.

Over the last three years, railway occurrences involving uncontrolled movements have captured the attention of the TSB and the public: including the April 2017 fatal runaway train collision and derailment in Woss, British Columbia (R17V0096). This derailment involved a provincially regulated railway. It occurred in a remote Vancouver Island community and affected everyone in the community. Peter was chosen to lead the investigation. He surrounded himself with experts in human factors, engineering, equipment, track and operations. Using the project management template for major investigations, Peter refined his primary role to focus on project and stakeholder management.

Peter's contributions to investigation reports are timely. In Woss, this afforded time to evaluate uncontrolled movement statistics to consider not only events as a whole, but also drill down to try and understand the risk in situations where a train derails, and then re-rails itself. This work led to the release of two more safety letters focused on methods to positively identify a secure coupling and to ensure that, in circumstances where provincial regulations reference federal regulations, the current versions are always referenced.

Peter Hickli (left) receiving his award from Kirby Jang, Director of Rail and Pipelines Investigations
 Peter Hickli (left) receiving his award from Kirby Jang, Director of  Rail and Pipelines Investigations

Distinguished Employee Award

This award was given to Alistair Bratton, Paralegal for the general counsel, for his exceptional work in the file of Mackenzie v. TSB 2018 FC 728 and Mackenzie v. TSB 2019 FCA 39.

The litigation case of the Island Queen III began in October 2017 and deals with the validity of summons issued by investigators pursuant to section 19 of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act. The defense of this issue was crucial for TSB's mandate and in particular, how an investigator can obtain evidence/information in the context of an investigation.

This case was procedurally very complex. In his role in this litigation file, Alistair managed the legal team (articling student, paralegal and legal student). Alistair was instrumental in this file. He acted as liaison between the general counsel, the agents, opposing counsels, TSB investigators and the courts. He prepared extremely voluminous materials (over 60,000 pages). He also reviewed all materials for accuracy.  He went to the Court to represent the TSB interests on the work relating to two warrants. Alistair ensured all materials were ready for court and that the courts were served on time with submissions.

Alistair performed exceptional research with short deadlines. For example, TSB needed to finalize a record for a second procedure and TSB only had 2 days; Alistair ensured all parties were served, materials were complete and accurate. 

Alistair provided an incredible contribution to this case and worked long hours. He always remained positive and calm and he set the tone for the rest of the legal team on how to carry on. Alistair showed and continues to show commitment and professionalism.

Alistair Bratton (right) receiving his award from Patrizia Huot, general counsel
 Alistair Bratton (right) receiving  his award from Patrizia Huot, general counsel

Distinguished Team Award

This award was presented to the Investigator Competency and Training Working Group: Mike Cunningham, Suzanne Robillard, Wendy Jolliffe, Jennifer Philopoulos, Mike Adam, Pascale Lachance, Claude Lelièvre, Joel Morley, Missy Rudin-Brown, Francois Dumont, Shannon Pittman and Don Ross.

The Investigator Competency and Training working group was created to update the multi-modal investigator competencies and training that are required for an investigator to exercise the powers of the Act.

The first challenge for this working group was to research what other similar organizations had in place as competencies. Under the leadership of the Co-Chair, Mike Cunningham, the information was gathered, reviewed and summarized in a number of reports. Through discussions, the working group found a format that was best for the TSB's unique environment of accident investigation. The gap analysis consisted of conducting a survey of investigators, observing 5 weeks of training and a validation exercise. The next challenge was to determine how to incorporate so much learning into the new investigator curriculum in the most efficient way for the learner and the organization.

The working group held its first meeting in January 2017 and its last official meeting in January 2019. As with all working groups, the difficulty in balancing workload and higher priorities with working group tasks was challenging. Over this 2-year period, some members left and new members joined yet the experienced members supported the new members to advance the work.

The foundation laid by this working group has resulted in the development of a new multi-modal accident investigation training program that will involve all branches within the organization and include a broad set of activities.

As a result of their work, the framework for new investigator training has been developed and the training team may now develop the content. New investigators will now be able to participate in a comprehensive training program that is guided and supported during their first 2 years of employment. In addition, experienced investigators and their managers may now use the Competency Profile to identify competencies they wish to further develop and enhance. This includes the maintenance of any specialized competency required by the TSB.

HO team representatives

Pascale Lachance and Suzanne Robillard (left and right) receiving their award from Martin Breton, Director of Operations Services (Joel Morley absent from picture)
 Pascale Lachance and Suzanne  Robillard (left and right) receiving their award from Martin Breton, Director  of Operations Services (Joel Morley absent from picture)
Missy Rudin-Brown (right) receiving her award from Susan Greene, Associate Director of Operational Services
 Missy Rudin-Brown (right) receiving  her award from Susan Greene, Associate Director of Operational Services
Wendy Jolliffe (right) receiving her award from Susan Greene, Associate Director of Operational Services
 Wendy Jolliffe (right) receiving her award from Susan Greene, Associate Director of Operational Services

Dartmouth Regional Office team representatives

Shannon Pittman, Mrs. Caroline Ross (on behalf of Don Ross), Mike Cunningham and Jennifer Philopoulos (second from left to right) receiving their award from Daphne Boothe, Manager, Regional Operations
 Shannon Pittman, Mrs. Caroline Ross  (on behalf of Don Ross), Mike Cunningham and Jennifer Philopoulos (second from  left to right) receiving their award from Daphne Boothe, Manager, Regional  Operations

Quebec Regional Office team representative

François Dumont (right) receiving his award from Jean L. Laporte, Chief Operating Officer
 François Dumont (right) receiving his  award from Jean L. Laporte, Chief Operating Officer

Edmonton Regional Office team representative:

Mike Adam (left) receiving his award from Natacha Van Themsche, Director of Air Investigations
 Mike Adam (left) receiving his award  from Natacha Van Themsche, Director of Air Investigations

Laboratory team representative

Claude Lelièvre (right) receiving his award from Martin Breton, Director of Operations Services
 Claude Lelièvre (right) receiving his  award from Martin Breton, Director of Operations Services

Living Our Values Award

This award was given to Pierre Gavillet, Regional Senior Investigator, Quebec region for the Air Investigations Branch. Since joining the TSB, he has always treated his co-workers and external clients with consideration, courtesy, discretion and fairness. Pierre does not hesitate to share his ideas and openly shares any information to help the organization achieve its mandate. He is always willing to get involved in the various working groups set up, not to mention his involvement as an instructor in internal TSB training for investigators. Pierre does not hesitate to promote a safety culture within the TSB or any other organization. For example, Pierre has made several presentations to different groups, both in general and commercial aviation. His presentations are extensive and greatly appreciated by the participants based on the comments received.

Pierre is undoubtedly a person of the highest integrity, honest, impartial and very reliable. In all the projects assigned to him, Pierre is fully and professionally involved. When asked to become involved in the 703 Operator Safety Study (A15H0001), he had no hesitation despite his workload. His involvement was greatly appreciated by the team members and helped the project move forward. Over the years, Pierre has always demonstrated his commitment to excellence in his work.

Pierre Gavillet (left) receiving his award from Chair Kathy Fox
 Pierre Gavillet (left) receiving his  award from Chair Kathy Fox

Rising Star Award

This year, the Rising Star Award is shared by two recipients for their exceptional work over the past year.

The first Rising Star award was presented to Jeremy Warkentin.  Jeremy is an excellent critical thinker and, as such, is not shy about asking questions, taking advice, and listening carefully for what is being explained or discussed. He is open-minded and presents his observations in a very respectful way. He is eager to do the work, even in the most difficult situations. His approach to safety analysis is excellent, and he can discuss issues with impartiality that usually only comes with someone who has been doing the job for several years.

To date, Jeremy has participated in a number of investigations, namely:

Fond du Lac (A17C0146) (Class 2), where he was asked to do the maintenance records review;

The Super T Aviation Academy forced landing in Calgary (A18W0054), his first Class 4 as IIC under supervision;

The Black Diamond hay field collision on departure (A18W0111) (Class 4);

The Edmonton Aries Aviation Services (A18W0116) (Class 3), Jeremy was 2IC and technical investigator for this complex investigation with an extremely large amount of data to process, and aircraft systems to examine. His methodical approach to examining the various aircraft systems, and proving that they were functional, resulted in the investigation being able to narrow the scope and produce succinct findings; and

The B747 occurrence in Halifax (A18A0085) (Class 3), given Jeremy's large aircraft technical experience, he was asked to deploy on very short notice to support the field phase, which he did with great enthusiasm. 

In all of the above-mentioned investigations, the work produced by Jeremy was of high quality and very timely, exceeding the set expectations. Jeremy also received praises from colleagues, superiors and external stakeholders on the work carried out.

Jeremy Warkentin (left) receiving his award from Natacha Van Themsche, Director of Air Investigations
 Jeremy Warkentin (left) receiving  his award from Natacha Van Themsche, Director of Air Investigations

The second Rising Star Award was presented to Mélissa St-Jean. Mélissa has demonstrated a rapid learning curve and adapts quickly in a changing environment. She has demonstrated this on numerous occasions through deployments, investigation planning report writing & Occupational Safety and Health commitments. Mélissa is very involved in raising awareness (outreach) of the TSB's work to the industry.

In 2017, when she was still new at the TSB, Mélissa was asked to join the team for the Nathan E. Stewart (M16P0378) investigation. After months of data collection and over 2500 documents later, Mélissa was the go-to team member to find verification of many things stated in the final report. Mélissa provided the highest level of respect and integrity in collecting data and communicating with representatives of several organizations. Her commitment to getting it right was impressive, and excellence in her work ethic is very much present. Mélissa deployed on the Travestern occurrence (M17C0059) and had to extract the VDR data.  This VDR data was not easily readable and Mélissa had to take the initiative to contact the manufacturer and local representative in order to obtain the software to read the data.

Mélissa St-Jean (right) receiving her award from Jean L. Laporte, Chief of Operating Officer
 Mélissa St-Jean (right) receiving her award from  Jean L. Laporte, Chief of Operating Officer