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“Outstanding achievements” merit international awards for NAV CANADA employees

(Ottawa, October 24, 2017) – NAV CANADA is proud to announce that several employees have been given special recognition for outstanding achievements in the development, operation, or maintenance of the worldwide air traffic control system. Awards in three categories were presented to NAV CANADA by the Washington D.C. based Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) at a luncheon on October 18 during the ATCA Conference and Exposition held in National Harbor, Maryland.

“We are very proud to see our colleagues receive these awards from the premier international association for air traffic control,” said Neil Wilson, President and CEO. “The three ATCA awards align wholly with NAV CANADA’s culture of safety, innovation and collaboration. It is telling that the recipients were working cooperatively in small groups or as part of a large team.”

The NAV CANADA recipients and ATCA awards are below. Their names and a description of their achievements follow.
1.     Fredericton Control Tower and Edmonton Area Control Centre (ACC)   
Andy Pitas Aircraft Safety Award: This Medallion Award is presented to an individual or group who provided flight assistance in the previous year that resulted in the safe recovery of an emergency aircraft through the application of exceptional air traffic service.  
2.     Radar Modernization Project (RAMP) Team 
ATCA Airway Transportation Systems Specialist of the Year Award: This award is presented to a non-military airway facilities technician acting in a non-supervisory capacity who has, during the previous year, performed in an exemplary or extraordinary manner in support of ATC. 
3.     Common Hardware Integrated Platform (CHIP) Infrastructure Team 
ATCA Life Cycle Management Award: The award recognizes the individual(s) or group whose design, development, deployment, maintenance or logistical support had a significant positive impact on the performance or operation of an important ATC system in the previous year. 
Andy Pitas Aircraft Safety Award: Fredericton Control Tower 
Joshua Armstrong, Air Traffic Controller
Larry Arnold, Air Traffic Controller
John AuCoin, Air Traffic Controller
Ian Hanrahan, Unit Operations Specialist
It was November 2, 2016, and the crew were working when cloud and fog rolled in, followed by a call from a distressed VFR pilot. Flying a home-built ultra-light aircraft, the pilot was travelling to Woodstock, New Brunswick, when he became disoriented in cloud. His aircraft had no transponder, so the controllers could not determine his position. The pilot indicated that he was in cloud and that he wanted assistance urgently. To help increase the visibility of the airport, the crew turned the airport lighting to full intensity. The controllers used their directional finder to determine the aircraft’s position and direction of flight, and used binoculars to try to locate the plane. With calm teamwork, the crew eventually guided the pilot out of the cloud and to a safe landing. 
Andy Pitas Aircraft Safety Award: Edmonton ACC 
Ian Selin, Team Supervisor
Mark Smith, Air Traffic Controller
On October 7, 2016, Ian and Mark helped a pilot land safely after his avionics went out on approach to Dawson Creek Airport in British Columbia. Ian and Mark assisted the pilot, starting from his missed approach at 700 feet above the ground in fog and low cloud. During the next 20 minutes, the controllers helped the pilot hold and then climb above the clouds, while managing traffic to provide the pilot with space and time to assess the aircraft. Once above the clouds, the pilot declared an emergency, indicating that he would require vectors to a VFR airport within two hours’ flying time. Ian and Mark provided weather for airports within range and vectors for Grande Prairie. They then vectored the pilot to his final approach at Grande Prairie to below 1000 feet above ground, when the aircraft was cleared for a visual approach.
Airway Transportation Systems Specialist of the Year Award: RAMP Radar Team, Ottawa
Éric Beauchamp, Module Maintenance Specialist
Vanessa Behrens-Nicholls, Radar Systems Engineer
Edward Janes, NCL/CRF Maintenance Support Specialist
Leszek Kropop, Metrologist Test Instruments Specialist
Dan Potvin, Module Maintenance Specialist
While technology continues to advance, a significant challenge for NAV CANADA is to maintain legacy systems. To support the continued maintenance of radar modules from the Radar Modernization Project (RAMP), the Company ordered two new Radio Frequency Test Stations (RFTS). One was successfully delivered, but the second project did not go as planned. With the perseverance of a combined Engineering and Technical Operations team, the project was put back on track. 
The initial team consisted of Edward Janes, Vanessa Behrens-Nicholls and Dan Potvin, who spent many hours checking technical data and hardware specifications with the contractor. Weekly progress meetings found solutions to complex software and hardware problems. They closely monitored the implementation of these solutions to ensure the project stayed on schedule. 
In May 2016, the Centralized Repair Facility received its second new RFTS, known by the team as “The Holodeck”. Éric Beauchamp and Leszek Kropop then teamed up to innovate some very creative solutions to fine tune the station. Their diverse technical backgrounds, testing methodology and detailed notes helped identify shortcomings. The dedication of the entire team has given the Company the ability to repair more modules and ensure RAMP radar sites continue as the backbone of the Company’s surveillance.
Life Cycle Management Award: Common Hardware Integrated Platform (CHIP) Infrastructure Team
Umer Ahmed, Engineering Systems Specialist
Patrick Bureau, Air Traffic Control Surveillance System Engineering Specialist
Philippe Charest-Neault, Life Cycle Management Specialist
Michel Daigle, Hardware Engineering Specialist
Ginette DesLauriers, Director, Systems Engineering
James Elliott, Senior Systems Support Technologist
Steven Fatine, Air Traffic Control Surveillance System Engineering Specialist
Andy Groenenberg, Senior Systems Analyst
Lily Li, Hardware Engineering Specialist
Alison Murphy, Systems Analyst
Chuong Nguyen, Senior Systems Analyst
Alexey Ponomarev, Manager, In‑Service ATC Logistical Support
Mark Richardson, Senior Systems Support Technologist
François St-Amand, Senior Systems Support Technologist
Kyle Tilson, Engineering Project Leader
Jeff Wendt, Team Supervisor, Regional Engineering
Nathalie Chabot
, Data Systems Coordinator
Luc Désilets, Data Systems Coordinator
Brendon Buhler, Electronics Technologist
Bob Cornett, Technical Instructor
Neil Kornberger, ATM Coordinator
Cameron MacIsaac, Manager, ATM Systems,
Tanja Milicevic, Manager, ATM Systems
Blaine Thomas, Electronics Maintenance Specialist
Jason Wood, ATM Team Supervisor
Sepehr Yazdani, Technical Requirements Specialist
Common Hardware Integrated Platform (CHIP) is an important step in the Company’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) strategic plan, as it was introduced to modernize the infrastructure in all seven area control centres. The ATM operational environment was built on a mix of systems, each deployed and maintained independently. With updates planned for several core systems, the team saw an opportunity to consolidate the key underlying information architecture. Moving to a common platform will help automate monitoring and other tasks, decrease maintenance costs, and improve reliability. The benefits to the Company are already significant, saving tens of thousands of hours of preventive maintenance, increasing safety and reliability, and reducing down-time. The team overcame highly complex technical challenges with teamwork, initiative and an innovative approach. Their dedication came from the belief that the CHIP technology would have long-lasting benefits for NAV CANADA.
NAV CANADA is a private, not-for-profit company, established in 1996, providing air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometres of Canadian domestic and international airspace.

The Company is internationally recognized for its safety record and technology innovation. Air traffic management systems developed by NAV CANADA are used by air navigation service providers in countries worldwide.

NAV CANADA is a partner in Aireon LLC, an international joint venture deploying a space‑based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system that will expand air traffic surveillance to all regions of the globe.
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